Billeder på siden

LALLA Rookh could think of nothing all day but the misery of these two young lovers. Her gaiety was gone, and she looked pensively even upon FADLADEEN. She felt too, without knowing why, a sort of uneasy pleasure in imagining that Azim must have been just such a youth as FERAMORZ; just as worthy. to enjoy all the blessings, without any of the pangs, of that illusive passion, which too often, like the sunny apples of Istkahar, is all sweetness on one side, and all bitterness on the other.

As they passed along a sequestered river after sunset, they saw a young Hindoo girl upon the bank, whose employment seemed to them so strange, that they stopped their palankeens to observe her. She had lighted a small lamp, filled with oil of cocoa, and placing it in an earthen dish, adorned with a wreath of flowers, had committed it with a trembling hand to the stream, and was now anxiously watching its progress down the current, heedless of the gay cavalcade which had drawn up beside her. LALLA Rookh was all curiosity; - when one of her attendants, who had lived upon the banks of the Ganges, (where this ceremony is so frequent, that often, in the dusk of the evening, the river is seen glittering all over with lights, like the Oton-tala or Sea of Stars,) informed the Princess that it was the usual way, in which the friends of those who had gone on dangerous voyages offered up vows for their safe return. If the lamp sunk immediately, the omen was disastrous; but if it went shining down the stream,

and continued to burn till entirely out of sight, the · return of the beloved object was considered as certain.

LaLLa Rooky, as they moved on, more than once looked back, to observe how the young Hindoo's lamp proceeded; and, while she saw with pleasure that it was still unextinguished, she could not help fearing that all the hopes of this life were no better than that feeble light upon the river. The remainder of the journey was passed in silence. She now, for the first time, felt that shade of melancholy, which comes over the youthful maiden's heart, as sweet and transient as her own breath upon a mirror; nor was it till she heard the lute of FERAMORZ, touched lightly at the door of her pavilion, that she waked from the reverie in which she had been wandering. Instantly her eyes were lighted up with pleasure, and, after a few unheard remarks from FADLADEEN upon the indecorum of a poet seating himself in presence of a Princess, every thing was arranged as on the preceding evening, and all listened with eagerness, while the story was thus continued :

W hose are the gilded tents that crowd the way,
Where all was waste and silent yesterday?
This City of War which, in a few short hours,
Hath sprung up here, as if the magic powers
Of Him who, in the twinkling of a star,
Built the high pillar'd halls of CHILMINAR,
Had conjur'd up, far as the eye can see,
This world of tents and domes and sun-bright armory!~
Princely pavilions, screen’d by many a fold
Of crimson cloth, and topp'd with balls of gold;
Steeds, with their housings of rich silver spun,
Their chains and poitrels glittering in the sun;
And camels, tufted o'er with Yemen's shells,
Skaking in every breeze their light-ton'd bells !

But yester-eve, so motionless around,
So mute was this wide plain, that not a sound

| The edifices of Chilminar and Balbec are supposed to have been built by the Genii, acting under the orders of Jan ben Jan, who governed the world long before the time of Adam.

But the far torrent, or the locust-bird ?
Hunting among the thickets, could be heard ;-
Yet hark! what discords now, of every kind,
Shouts, laughs, and screams are revelling in the wind !
The neigh of cavalry;—the tinkling throngs
Of laden camels and their drivers' songs;-
Ringing of arms, and flapping in the breeze
Of streamers from ten thousand canopies ; -
War-music, bursting out from time to time
With gong and tymbalon's tremendous chime; —
Or, in the pause, when harsher sounds are mute,
The mellow breathings of some horn or flute,
That far off, broken by the eagle note
Of the’ Abyssinian trumpet , swell and float!

Who leads this mighty army? - ask ye “who?” And mark ye not those banners of dark hue,

2 A native of Khorassan, and allured southward by means of the water of a fountain between Shiraz and Ispahan, called the Fountain of Birds, of which it is so fond that it will follow wherever that water is carried.

3 This trumpet is often called in Abyssinia, nesser cano, which signifies the Note of the Eagle. — Note of Bruce's editor,

« ForrigeFortsæt »