Billeder på siden

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 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 paganhating personage.

He sat for some minutes aghast, ejaculating only at intervals,“ Bigoted conquerers ! sympathy with Fire-Worshippers!" - while FERAMORZ, happy to take advantage of this almost speechless horror of the Chamberlain, proceeded to say that he knew a melancholy story, connected with the events of one of those struggles of the brave Fire-worshippers against their Arab masters, which, if the evening was not too

*“ Cashmere (says its historians) had its own princes 4000 years before its conquest by Akbar in 1585. Akbar would have found some difficulty to reduce this paradise of the Indies, situated as it is within such a fortress of' mountains, but its monarch, Yusef-Khan, was basely betrayed by his Omrahs." -- PENNANT

* Voltrire tells us that in his Tragedy, “Les Guébres,” he was generally supposed to have alluded to the Jansenists. I should not be surprised if this story of the Fire-worshippers were found capable of a similar doubleness of application

far advanced, he should have much pleasure in being allowed to relate to the Princess. It was impossible for LALLA Rookh to refuse; he had never before looked half so animated; and when he spoke of the Holy Valley his eyes had sparkled, she thought, like the talismanic characters on the scimitar of Solomon. Her consent was therefore most readily granted; and while FADLADEEN sat in unspeakable dismay, expecting treason and abomination in every line, the poet thus began his story of the Fire-worshippers.



'T is moonlight over OMAN'S SEA;

Her banks of pearl and palmy isles
Bask in the night-beam beauteously,

And her blue waters sleep in smiles.
”T is moonlight in HARMOZIA's | walls,
And through her Emir's porphyry halls,
Where, some hours since, was heard the swell
Of trumpet and the clash of zel, I
Bidding the bright-eyed sun farewell; -
The peaceful sun, whom better suits

The music of the bulbul's nest,
Or the light touch of lovers' lutes,

To sing him to his golden rest.
All hush'd - there's not a breeze in motion;
The shore is silent as the ocean.
If zephyrs come, so light they come,

Nor leaf is stirr'd nor wave is driven;
The wind-tower on the Emir's dome &

Can hardly win a breath from heaven.

* The Persian Gulf, sometimes so called, which separates the shores of Persia and Arabia.

+ The present Gombaroon, a town on the Persian side of the Gulf. | A Moorish instrument of music.

f “At Gombaroon and other places in Persia, they have towers for the purpose of catching the wind, and cooling the houses." — Le BRUYN.


Ev'n he, that tyrant Arab, sleeps
Calm, while a nation round him weeps;
While curses load the air he breathes,
And falchions from unnumber'd sheaths
Are starting to avenge the shame
His race hath brought on IRAN'S
Hard, heartless Chief, unmov'd alike

and swords that strike;.
One of that saintly, murderous brood,

To carnage and the Koran given,
Who think through unbelievers' blood

Lies their directest path to heaven;
One, who will pause and kneel unshod

In the warm blood his hand hath pour'd,
To mutter o'er some text of God

Engraven on his reeking sword; † -
Nay, who can coolly note the line,
The letter of those words divine,
To which his blade, with searching art,
Had sunk into its victim's heart!

Just Alla! what must be thy look,

When such a wretch before thee stands
Unblushing, with thy Sacred Book, —

Turning the leaves with blood-stain'd hands,
And wresting from its page sublime
His creed of lust, and hate, and crime!-

* “Iran is the true general name for the empire of Persia.” – Asiat. Ros. Disc. 5.

† “ On the blades of their scimitars some verse from the Koran is usually inscribed." - RUSSEL.

Ev'n as those bees of TREBIZOND,

Which, from the sunniest flowers that glad With their pure smile the gardens round,

Draw venom forth that drives men mad.*

Never did fierce ARABIA send

A satrap forth more direly great;
Never was IRAN doom'd to bend

Beneath a yoke of deadlier weight.
Her throne had fali'n - her pride was crush'd
Her sons were willing slaves, nor blushid,
In their own land, no more their own, -
To crouch beneath a stranger's throne.
Her towers, where MITHRA once had burn'd,
To Moslem shrines — oh shame! were turn'd,
Where slaves, converted by the sword,
Their mean, apostate worship pour’d,
And curs’d the faith their sires ador’d.
Yet has she hearts, mid all this ill,
O'er all this wreck high buoyant still
With hope and vengeance;

hearts that yet -
Like gems in darkness, issuing rays
They've treasur'd from the sun that's set,

Beam all the light of long-lost days!
And swords she hath, nor weak nor slow

To second all such hearts can dare;
As he shall know, well, dearly know,

Who sleeps in moonlight luxury there

* “ There is a kind of Rhododendros about Trebizond, whose flowers the bee feeds upon, and the honey thence drives people mad." - TOURNEFORT.

« ForrigeFortsæt »