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her through the curtains, with the feathers of the Argus pheasant's wing;-and the lovely troop of Tartarian and Cashmerian maids of honour, whom the young King had sent to accompany his bride, and who rode on each side of the litter, upon small Arabian horses;-all was brilliant, tasteful, and magnificent, and pleased even the critical and fastidious FADLADEEN, Great Nazir, or Chamberlain of the Haram, who was borne in his palankeen immediately after the Princess, and considered himself not the least important personage of the pageant.
FADLADEEN was a judge of every thing, from the pencilling of a Circassian's eyelids to the deepest questions of science and literature; from the mixture of a conserve of rose-leaves, to the composition of an epic poem: and such influence had his opinion upon the various tastes of the day, that all the cooks and poets of Delhi stood in awe of him. His political conduct and opinions were founded upon that line of Sadi,-"Should the Prince at noon-day say, It is night, declare that you behold the moon and stars." And his zeal for religion, of which Aurung. zebe was a munificient protector, was about as disinterested as that of the goldsmith who fell in love with the diamond eyes of the idol of Jaghernaut.
During the first days of their journey, LALLA ROOKH, who had passed all her life within the shadow of the Royal Gardens of Shalimar, found enough in the beauty of the scenery through which they passed to interest her mind, and delight her imagination; and when at evening, or in the heat of the day, they turned off from the high road to those retired and romantic places which had been selected for her encampments-sometimes on the banks of a small rivulet, as clear as the waters of the Lake of Pearl; sometimes under the sacred shade of a Banyan tree, from which the view opened upon a glade covered with antelopes; and often in those hidden, embowered spots, described by one from the Isles of the West,
as "places of melancholy, delight, and safety, where all the company around was wild peacocks and turtle-doves;"-she felt a charm in these scenes, so lovely and so new to her, which, for a time, made her indifferent to every other amusement. But LALLA ROOKH was young, and the young love variety; nor could the conversation of her ladies and the Great Chamberlain, FADLADEEN, (the only persons, of course admitted to her pavilion,) sufficiently enliven those many vacant hours, which were devoted neither to the pillow nor the palankeen. There was a little Persian slave who sung sweetly to the Vina, and who, now and then, lulled the Princess to sleep with the ancient ditties of her country, about the loves of Wamak and Ezra, the fair-haired Zal and his mistress Rodahver; not forgetting the combat of Rustam with the terrible White Demon. At other times she was amused by those graceful dancing-girls of Delhi, who had been permitted by the Bramins of Great Pagoda to attend her, much to the horror of the good Mussulman FADLA DEEN, who could see nothing graceful or agreeable in idolaters, and to whom the very tinkling of their golden anklets. was an abomination.
But these and many other diversions were repeated till they lost all their charm, and the nights and noon-days were beginning to move heavily, when, at length, it was recollected that, among the attendants sent by the bridegroom, was a young poet of Cashmere, much celebrated throughout the Valley for his manner of reciting the Stories of the East, on whom his Royal Master had conferred the privilege of being admitted to the pavilion of the Princess, that he might help to beguile the tediousness of the journey, by some of his most agreeable recitals. At the mention of a poet, FADLADEEN elevated his critical eyebrows, and, having refreshed his faculties with a dose of that delicious opium which is distilled from the black poppy of the Thebais, gave orders for the minstrel to be forthwith introduced into the presence.
The Princess, who had once in her life seen a poet from behind the screens of gauze in her Father's hall, and had conceived from that specimen no very favourable idea of the Cast, expected but little in this new exhibition to interest her;-she felt inclined, however, to alter her opinion on the very first appearance of FERAMORZ. He was a youth about LALLA ROOKH's own age, and graceful as that idol of women, Crishna,*-such as he appears to their young imaginations, heroic, beautiful, breathing from his very eyes, and exalting the religion of his worshippers into love. His dress was simple, yet not without some marks of costliness; and the ladies of the Princess were not long in discovering that the cloth which encirled his high Tartarian cap, was of the most delicate kind that the shawl-goats of Tibet supply. Here and there, too, over his vest, which was confined by a flowered girdle of Kashan, hung strings of fine pearl, disposed with an air of studied negligence;-nor did the exquisite embroidery of his sandals escape the observation of these fair critics; who, however they might give way to FADLADEEN upon the unimportant topics of religion and government, had the spirit of martyrs in every thing relating to such momentous matters as jewels and embroidery.
For the purpose of relieving the pauses of recitation by music, the young Cashmerian held in his hand a kitar;-such as, in old times, the Arab maids of the West used to listen to by moonlight in the gardens of Alhambra-and, having promised, with much humility, that the story he was about to relate was founded on the adventures of that Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, who, in the year of the Hegira 163, created such alarm throughout the Eastern Empire, made an obeisance to the Princess, and thus began:
*The Indian Apollo.
THE VEILED PROPHET OF KHORASSAN.*
IN that delightful Province of the Sun,
O'er Moussa's cheek when down the mount ho trod,
All glowing from the presence of his God!
On either side, with ready hearts and hands, His chosen guard of bold Believers stands; Young fire-eyed disputants, who deem their swords, On points of faith, more eloquent than words; And such their zeal, there's not a youth with brand Uplifted there, but, at the Chief's command, Would make his own devoted heart its sheath, And bless the lips that doom'd so dear a death! In hatred to the Caliph's hue of night, § Their vesture, helms and all, is snowy white;
* Khorassan signifies, in the old Persian language, Province, or Region of the Sun.-Sir W. Jones.
† One of the royal cities of Khorassan.
Black was the colour adopted by the Caliphs of the House of Abbas, in their garments, turbans, and standards.
Their weapons various-some equipp'd, for speed, With javelins of the light Kathaian reed;
Or bows of buffalo horn and shining quivers
Between the porphyry pillars, that uphold
What impious tongue, ye blushing saints, would dare
Pichula, used anciently for arrows by the Persians. The burning fountains of Brahma near Chittogong, esteemed as holy.-Turner.