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· For many days after their departure from Lahore, a considerable degree of gloom hung over the whole party. LALLA Rooky, 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 Chanıberlain'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. 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 multi
tudes 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 Rookh guessed in vain, and
9 The Baya, or Indian Gross-beak. — Sir W. Jones.
the all-pretending FADLADEEN, who had never till this journey been beyond the precincts of Delhi, was proceeding most learnedly to show that he knew nothing whatever about the matter, when one of the Ladies suggested, that perhaps FERAMORZ could satisfy their curiosity. They were now approaching his native mountains, and this tower might be a relic of some of those dark superstitions, which had prevailed in that country before the light of Islam dawned upon it. The Chamberlain, who usually preferred his own ignorance to the best knowledge that any one else could give him, was by no means pleased with this officious reference; and the Princess, too, was about to interpose a faint word of objection, but, before either of them could speak, a slave was dispatched for FERAMORZ, who, in a very few minutes, appeared before them, - looking so pale and unhappy in LALLA Rooki's eyes, that she already repented of her cruelty in having so long excluded him. · That venerable tower, he told them, was the remains of an ancient Fire-Temple, built by those Ghebers or Persians of the old religion, who, many hundred years since, had Aled hither from their Arab conquerors, preferring liberty and their altars in a foreign land to the alternative of apostasy or persecution in their own. It was impossible, he added, not to feel interested in the many glorious but unsuccessful struggles, which had been made by these original natives of Persia to cast off the yoke of their bigoted conquerors. Like their own Fire in the Burning Field at Bakou', when suppressed in one place, they had but broken out with fresh flame in another; and, as a native of Cashmere, of that fair and Holy Valley, which had in the same manner become the prey of strangers, and seen her ancient shrines and native princes swept away before the march of her intolerant invaders, he felt a sympathy, he owned, with the sufferings of the persecuted Ghebers, which every monument like this before them but tended more powerfully to awaken.
It was the first time that FERAMORZ had ever ventured upon so much prose before FADLADEEN, and it may easily be conceived what effect such prose as this must have produced upon that most orthodox and most pagan-hating personage. He sat for some minutes
· The “ Ager ardens” described by Kempfer, Amanitat. Exot.