Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

the uneasy heaviness of its movements, to have been modelled upon the gait of a very tired dromedary. The licences too in which it indulged were unpardonable ; for instance this line, and the poem abounded with such;

Like the faint, exquisite music of a dream.

• What critic that can count,” said FADLADEEN, “ and has his full complement of fingers to count withal, would tolerate for an instant such syllabic superfluities ?” — He here looked round and discovered that most of his audience were asleep; while the glimmering lamps seemed inclined to follow their example. It became necessary, therefore, however painful to himself, to put an end to his valuable animadversions for the present, and he accordingly. concluded, with an air of dignified candour, thus ; — " notwithstanding the observations which I have thought it my duty to make, it is by no means my wish to discourage the young man: --- so far from it, indeed, that if he will but totally alter his style of writing and thinking, I have very little doubt that I shall be vastly pleased with him.”

Some days elapsed, after this harangue of the Great Chamberlain, before Lalla Rookh could venture to ask for another story. The youth was still a welcome guest in the pavilion ; — to one heart, perhaps, too dangerously welcome - but all mention of poetry was, as if by common consent, avoided. Though none of the party had much respect for FADLADEEN, yet his censures, thus magisterially delivered, evidently made an impression on them all. The Poet himself, to whom criticism was quite a new operation, (being wholly unknown in that Paradise of the Indies, Cashmere,) felt the shock as it is generally felt at first, till use has made it more tolerable to the patient; — the Ladies began to suspect that they ought not to be pleased, and seemed to conclude that there must have been much good sense in what FADLADEEN said, from its having set them all so soundly to sleep; —- while the self-complacent Chamberlain was left to triumph in the idea of having, for the hundred and fiftieth time in his life, extinguished a Poet. Lalla Rookh alone -- and Love knew why - persisted in being delighted with all, she had heard, and in resolving to hear more as speedily as possible. Her manner, however, of first returning to the subject was

K

own

unlucky. It was while they rested during the heat of noon near a fountain, on which some hand had rudely traced those well-known words from the Garden of Sadi, — 6 Many, like me, have viewed this fountain, but they are gone, and their eyes are closed for ever !” — that she took occasion, from the melancholy beauty of this passage, to dwell upon the charms of poetry in general. “ It is true," she said, “ few poets can imitate that sublime bird, which flies always in the air, and never touches the earth 3: - it is only once in many ages a Genius appears, whose words, like those on the Written Mountain, last for ever:- but still there are some, as delightful perhaps, though not so wonderful, who, if not stars over our head, are at least flowers along our path, and whose sweetness of the moment we ought gratefully to inhale, without calling upon them for a brightness and a durability beyond their nature. In short,” continued she, blushing, as if conscious of being caught in an oration, « it is quite cruel that a poet cannot wander through his regions of enchantment, without having a critic for ever, like the old Man of the Sea, upon his back !" + - Fadla

3 The Huma.

4 The Story of Sinbad.

DEEN, it was plain, took this last luckless allusion to himself, and would treasure it up in his mind as a whetstone for his next criticism. A sudden silence ensued; and the Princess, glancing a look at FERAMORZ, saw plainly she must wait for a more courageous

moment.

But the glories of Nature and her wild, fragrant airs, playing freshly over the current of youthful spirits, will soon heal even deeper wounds than the dull Fadladeens of this world can inflict. In an evening or two after, they came to the small Valley of Gardens, which had been planted by order of the Emperor for his favourite sister Rochinara, during their progress to Cashmere, some years before; and never was there a more sparkling assemblage of sweets, since the Gulzar-e-Irem, or Rose-bower of Irem. Every precious flower was there to be found, that poetry, or love, or religion has ever consecrated; from the dark hyacinth, to which Hafez compares his mistress's hair, to the Cámalatá, by whose rosy blossoms the heaven of Indra is scented. As they sat in the cool fragrance of this delicious spot, and LALLA Rookh remarked that she could fancy it the abode of that Flower-loving Nymph whom they worship in the temples of Kathay, or of one of those Peris, those beautiful creatures of the air, who live upon perfumes, and to whom a place like this might make some amends for the Paradise they have lost, — the young Poet, in whose eyes she appeared, while she spoke, to be one of the bright spiritual creatures she was describing, said hesitatingly that he remembered a Story of a Peri, which, if the Princess had no objection, he would venture to relate. 6 It is,” said he, with an appealing look to FADLADEEN, “in a lighter and humbler strain than the other;" then, striking a few careless but melancholy chords on his kitar, he thus began:

ren

« ForrigeFortsæt »