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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!
5 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.
For many days after their departure from Lahore, a considerable degree of gloom hung over the whole party. LALLA Rooks, who had intended to make illness her excuse for not admitting the young minstrel, as usual, to the pavilion, soon found that to feign indisposition was unnecessary; — FADLADEEN felt the loss of the good road they had hitherto travelled, and was very near cursing Jehan-guire (of blessed memory !) for not having continued his delectable alley of trees, at least as far as the mountains of Cashmere; - while the Ladies, who had nothing now to do all day but to be fanned by peacocks' feathers and listen to FADLADEEN, seemed heartily weary of the life they led, and, in spite of all the Great Chaniberlain's criticisms, were tasteless enough to wish for the poet again. One evening, as they were proceeding to their place of rest for the night, the Princess, who, for the freer enjoyment of the air, had mounted her favourite Arabian palfrey, in passing by a small grove heard the notes of a lute from within its leaves, and a voice, which she but too well knew, singing the following words :
8 The fine road made by the Emperor Jehan-Guire from Agra to Lahore, planted with trees on each side.
Tell me not of joys above,
If that world can give no bliss,
Which enslaves our souls in this !
Tell me not of Houris' eyes ;
Far from me their dangerous glow,
Wound like some that burn below!
Who that feels what Love is here,
All its falsehood - all its pain --
Risk the fatal dream again?
Who, that midst a desert's heat
Sees the waters fade away,
Streams again as false as they ?
The tone of melancholy defiance in which these words were uttered, went to LALLA Rookh's heart; — and, as she reluctantly rode on, she could not help feeling it as a sad but sweet certainty, that FERAMORZ was to the full as enamoured and miserable as herself.
The place where they encamped that evening was the first delightful spot they had come to since they left Lahore. On one side of them was a grove full of small Hindoo temples, and planted with the most graceful trees of the East; where the tamarind, the cassia, and the silken plantains of Ceylon were mingled in rich contrast with the high fan-like foliage of the Palmyra, - that favourite tree of the luxurious bird that lights up the chambers of its nest with fireflies. 9 In the middle of the lawn where the pavilion stood there was a tank surrounded by small mangoetrees, on the clear cold waters of which floated multitudes of the beautiful red lotus; while at a distance stood the ruins of a strange and awful-looking tower, which seemed old enough to have been the temple of some religion no longer known, and which spoke the voice of desolation in the midst of all that bloom and loveliness. This singular ruin excited the wonder and conjectures of all. LALLA Rooku guessed in vain, and
9 The Baya, or Indian Gross-beak.
Sir W. Jones.