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vated his critical eyebrows, and, having refreshed his faculties with a dose of that delicious opium 21 which is distilled from the black poppy of the Thebais, gave orders for the minstrel to be forth with introduced into the
The Princess, who had once in her life seen a poet from behind the screens of gauze in her Father's hall, and had conceived from that specimen no very favorable ideas of the Caste, expected but little in this new exhibition to interest her; — she felt inclined, however, to alter her opinion on the very first appearance of FERAMORZ. He was a youth about LALLA Rookh's own age, and graceful as that idol of women, Crishna,22 — such as he
appears to their young imaginations, heroic, beautiful, breathing music from his very eyes, and exalting the religion of his worshippers into love. His dress was simple, yet not without some marks of costliness; and the ladies of the Princess were not long in discovering that the cloth which encircled his high Tartarian cap was of the most delicate kind that the shawl-goats of Tibet supply.23 Here and there, too, over his vest, which was confined by a flowered girdle of Kashan, hung strings of fine pearl, disposed with an air of studied negligence :- nor did the exquisite embroidery of his sandals escape the observation of these fair critics; who, however they might give way to FADLADEEN upon the unimportant topics of religion and government, had the spirit of martyrs in everything relating to such momentous matters as jewels and embroidery.
For the purpose of relieving the pauses of recitation by music, the young Cashmerian held in his hand a kitar;
- such as, in old times, the Arab maids of the West used to listen to by moonlight in the gardens of the Alhambra — and having premised, with much humility, that the story he was about to relate was founded on the adventures of that Veiled Prophet of Khorassan 24 who, in the year of the Hegira 163, created such alarm throughout the Eastern Empire, made an obeisance to the Princess, and thus began :
THE VEILED PROPHET OF KHORASSAN.25
In that delightful Province of the Sun,
The first of Persian lands he shines upon,
Where all the loveliest children of his beam,
Flow'rets and fruits, blush over every stream,
And, fairest of all streams, the MURGA roves
Among MEROU's 27 bright palaces and groves;-
There on that throne, to which the blind belief
Of millions rais’d him, sat the Prophet-Chief,
The Great MOKANNA. O’er his features hung
The Veil, the Silver Veil, which he had flung
In mercy there, to hide from mortal sight
His dazzling brow, till man could bear its light.
For, far less luminous, his votaries said,
Were ev’n the gleams, miraculously shed
O’er Moussa's 28 cheek,29 when down the Mount he
All glowing from the presence of his God !
On either side, with ready hearts and hands,
His chosen guard of bold Believers stands;
Young fire-eyed disputants, who deem their swords,
On points of faith, more eloquent than words;
And such their zeal, there's not a youth with brand
Uplifted there, but, at the Chief's command,
Would make his own devoted heart its sheath,
And bless the lips that doom’d so dear a death!
In hatred to the Caliph's hue of night, 30
Their vesture, helms and all, is snowy
Their weapons various — some equipp'd for speed, ,
With javelins of the light Kathaian reed ; 81
Or bows of buffalo horn and shining quivers
Fill'd with the stems 32 that bloom on IRAN's rivers;
While some, for war's more terrible attacks,
Wield the huge mace and ponderous battle-axe;
And as they wave aloft in morning's beam
The milk-white plumage of their helms, they seem
Like a chenar-tree grove,34 when winter throws
O’er all its tufted heads his feathering snows.
Between the porphyry pillars, that uphold
The rich moresque-work of the roof of gold,
Aloft the Haram's curtain'd galleries rise,
Where, through the silken network, glancing eyes,
From time to time, like sudden gleams that glow
Through autumn clouds, shine o'er the pomp below. -
What impious tongue, ye blushing saints, would dare
To hint that aught but Heaven hath placed you there?
Or that the loves of this light world could bind,
In their gross chain, your Prophet's soaring mind ?
No-wrongful thought !- commission'd from above
To people Eden's bowers with shapes of love,
(Creatures so bright, that the same lips and eyes
They wear on earth will serve in Paradise)
There to recline among Heaven's native maids,
And crown the Elect with bliss that never fades
Well hath the Prophet-Chief his bidding done;
And every beauteous race beneath the sun,
From those who kneel at Brahma's burning founts, 85
To the fresh nymphs bounding o'er YEMEN's mounts;
From PERSIA's eyes of full and fawn-like ray
To the small, half-shut glances of KATHAY ; 86
And GEORGIA's bloom, and Azab's darker smiles,
And the gold ringlets of the Western Isles;
All, all are there; --each Land its flower hath given,
To form that fair young Nursery for Heaven!
But why this pageant now? this arm’d array ?
What triumph crowds the rich Divan to-day
With turban'd heads, of every hue and race,
Bowing before that veil'd and awful face,
Like tulip-beds,87 of different shape and dyes,
Bending beneath the invisible West-wind's sighs !
What new-made mystery now, for Faith to sign,
And blood to seal, as genuine and divine,
What dazzling mimicry of God's own power
krapas che Hath the bold Prophet plann’d to grace this hour ?
Not such the pageant now, though not less proud;
Yon warrior youth, advancing from the crowd,
With silver bow, with belt of broider'd crape,
And fur-bound bonnet of Bucharian shape,
So fiercely beautiful in form and eye,
Like war's wild planet in a summer sky;
That youth to-day — a proselyte, worth hordes
Of cooler spirits and less practised swords —
Is come to join, all bravery and belief,
The creed and standard of the heaven-sent Chief.
Though few his years, the West already knows
Young Azim's fame;- beyond the Olympian snows,
Ere manhood darken’d o'er his downy cheek,
O’erwhelm'd in fight and captive to the Greek,89
He linger'd there, till peace dissolv'd his chains;
Oh, who could, even in bondage, tread the plains
Of glorious GREECE, nor feel his spirit rise
Kindling within him ? who, with heart and eyes,
Could walk where Liberty had been, nor see