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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 Angel's “ 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.”
In vain did LALLA Rookh 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 of her poet. 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.
3 For a description of this Hospital of the Banyans, v. Parsons's Travels, p. 262.
. 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 Rookh, 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 fascination as into hers; — if, notwithstanding her rank, and the modest homage he always paid to it, even he should have yielded to the influence of those long and happy interviews, where music, poetry, the delightful scenes of nature, - all tended to bring their hearts close together, and to waken by every means that too ready passion, which often, like the young of the desert-bird, is warmed into life by the eyes alone! She saw but one way to preserve herself from being culpable as well as unhappy, and this, however painful, she was resolved to adopt. FERAMORZ must' no more be admitted to her presence. To have strayed so far into the dangerous labyrinth was wrong, but to linger in it, while the clew was yet in her hand, would be criminal. Though the heart she had to offer to the King of Bucharia might be cold and broken, it should at least be pure; and she must only try to forget the short vision of happiness she had enjoyed, — like that Arabian shepherd, who, in wandering into the wilderness, caught a glimpse of the Gardens of Irim, and then lost them again for ever ! 6
's The Arabians believe that the ostriches hatch their young by only looking at them. — P. Vanslebe, Relat. d'Egypte.
6 V. Sale's Koran, note, vol. ii, p. 484.
The arrival of the young Bride at Lahore was celebrated in the most enthusiastic manner. The Rajas and Omras in her train, who had kept at a certain distance during the journey, and never encamped nearer to the Princess than was strictly necessary for her safeguard, here rode in splendid cavalcade through the city, and distributed the most costly presents to the crowd. Engines were erected in all the squares, which cast forth showers of confectionary among the people; while the artisans, in chariots adorned with tinsel and flying streamers, exhibited the badges of their respective trades through the streets. Such brilliant displays of life and pageantry among the palaces, and domes, and gilded minarets of Lahore, made the city altogether like a place of enchantment ; - particularly on the day when LALLA Rookh set out again upon her journey, when she was accompanied to the gate by all the fairest and richest of the nobility, and rode along between ranks of beautiful boys and girls, who waved plates of gold and silver flowers over their beads? as they went, and then threw them to be gathered by the populace.