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And this,” said the Great Chamberlain, “ is poetry ! this flimsy manufacture of the brain, which, in comparison with the lofty and durable monuments of genius, is as the gold filigree-work of Zamara beside the eternal architecture of Egypt !” After this gorgeous sentence, which, with a few more of the same kind, FADLADEEN kept by him for rare and important occasions, he proceeded to the anatomy of the short poem just recited. The lax and easy kind of metre in which it was written ought to be denounced, he said, as one of the leading causes of the alarming growth of poetry in our times.
If some check were not given to this lawless facility, we should soon be overrun by 'a race of bards as numerous and as shallow as the hundred and twenty thousand Streams of Basra.' They who succeeded in this style deserved chastisement for their
I « It is said that the rivers or streams of Basra were reckoned in the time of Belal ben Abi Bordeh, and amounted to the number of one hundred and twenty thousand streams.” - Ein Haukal.
very success; as warriors have been punished, even after gaining a victory, because they had taken the liberty of gaining it in an irregular or unestablished
What, then, was to be said to those who failed ? to those who presumed, as in the present lamentable instance, to imitate the license and ease of the bolder sons of song,
grace vigour which gave a dignity even to negligence; who, like them, Aung the jereed' carelessly, but not, like them, to the mark; — “ and who,” said he, raising his voice to excite a proper degree of wakefulness in his hearers, “contrive to appear heavy and constrained in the midst of all the latitude they have allowed themselves, like one of those young pagans that dance before the Princess, : who has the ingenuity to move as if her limbs were fettered, in a pair of the lightest and loosest drawers of Masulipatam !"
It was but little suitable, he continued, to the grave march of criticism to follow this fantastical Peri, of whom they had just heard, through all her flights and adventures between earth and heaven, but he could not help adverting to the puerile conceitedness of the Three Gifts which she is supposed to carry to the skies, a drop of blood, forsooth, a sigh, and a tear ! How the first of these articles was delivered into the Angels 6 radiant hand” he professed himself at a loss to discover; and as to the safe carriage of the sigh and the tear, such Peris and such poets were beings by far too incomprehensible for him even to guess how they managed such matters. “ But, in short," said he, “ it is a waste of time and patience to dwell longer upon a thing so incurably frivolous, — puny even among its own puny race, and such as only the Banyan Hospital for Sick Insects should undertake.”
2 The name of the javelin with which the Easterns exercise, v. Castellan, Moeurs des Othomans, tom. iii. p. 161.
In vain did LALLA Rooku try to soften this inexorable critic; in vain did she resort to her most eloquent common-places, reminding him that poets were a timid and sensitive race, whose sweetness was not to be drawn forth, like that of the fragrant grass near the Ganges, by crushing and trampling upon them ; — that severity often destroyed every chance of the perfection which it demanded; and that, after all, perfection was like the Mountain of the Talisman, no one had ever yet reached its summit. * Neither these gentle axioms, nor the still gentler looks with which they were inculcated, could lower for one instant the elevation of FADLADEEN's eyebrows, or charm him into any thing like encouragement or even toleration
3 For a description of this Hospital of the Banyans, v. Parsons's Travels, p. 262.
Toleration, indeed, was not among the weaknesses of FADLADEEN: – he carried the same spirit into matters of poetry and of religion, and, though little versed in the beauties or sublimities of either, was a perfect master of the art of persecution in both. His zeal, too, was the same in either pursuit; whether the game before him was pagans or poetasters, — worshippers of cows, or writers of epics.
of her poet.
4 ~ Near this is a curious hill, called Koh Talism, the Mountain of the Talisman, because, according to the traditions of the country, no person ever succeeded in gaining its summit.” - Kinreir.
They had now arrived at the splendid city of Lahore, whose mausoleums and shrines, magnificent and numberless, where Death seemed to share equal honours with Heaven, would have powerfully affected the heart and imagination of Lalla Rooky, if feelings more of this earth had not taken entire possession of her already. She was here met by messengers, dispatched from Cashmere, who informed her that the King had arrived in the Valley, and was himself superintending the sumptuous preparations that were making in the Saloons of the Shalimar for her reception. The chill she felt on receiving this intelligence, — which to a bride whose heart was free and light would have brought only images of affection and pleasure, - convinced her that her peace was gone for ever, and that she" was in love, irretrievably in love, with young FERAMORZ. The veil, which this passion wears at first, had fallen off, and to know that she loved was now as painful as to love without knowing it had been delicious. FERAMORZ too, — what misery would be his, if the sweet hours of intercourse so imprudently allowed them should have stolen into his heart the same fatal fasci. nation as into hers; — if, notwithstanding her rank,