« ForrigeFortsæt »
The young village-maid, when with flowers she dresses
Her dark flowing hair for some festival day, Will think of thy fate, till, neglecting her tresses, She mournfully turns from the mirror away.
Nor shall Iran, beloved of her Hero, forget thee,
Though tyrants watch over her tears as they start; Close, close by the side of that Hero she 'll set thee, Embalm'd in the innermost shrine of her heart.
With everything beauteous that grows in the deep; Each flower of the rock and each gem of the billow Shall sweeten thy bed and illumine thy sleep.
Around thee shall glisten the loveliest amber
We'll dive where the gardens of coral lie darkling,
We'll seek where the sands of the Caspian are sparkling,
Farewell-farewell! until Pity's sweet fountain
THE singular placidity with which Fadladeen had listened, during the latter part of this obnoxious story, surprised the Princess and Feramorz exceedingly; and even inclined towards him the hearts of these unsuspicious young persons, who little knew the source of a complacency so marvellous. The truth was, he had been organizing, for the last few days, a most notable plan of persecution against the Poet, in consequence of some passages that had fallen from him on the second evening of recital, -which appeared to this worthy Chamberlain to contain language and principles for which nothing short of the summary criticism of the Chabuk would be advisable. It was his intention, therefore, immediately on their arrival at Cashmere, to give information to the King of Bucharia of the very dangerous sentiments of his minstrel; and if, unfortunately, that monarch did not act with suitable vigour on the occasion, (that is, if he did not give the Chabuk to Feramorz, and a place to Fadladeen), there would be an end, he feared, of all legitimate government in Bucharia. He could not help, however, auguring better both for himself and the cause of potentates in general; and it was the pleasure arising from these mingled anticipations that diffused such unusual satisfaction through his features, and made his eyes shine out, like poppies of the desert, over the wide and lifeless wilderness of that countenance.
Having decided upon the Poet's chastisement in this manner, he thought it but humanity to spare him the minor tortures of criticism. Accordingly, when they assembled the following evening in the pavilion, and Lalla Rookh was expecting to see all the beauties of her bard melt away, one by one, in the acidity of criticism, like pearls in the cup of the Egyptian queen,—he agreeably disappointed her, by merely saying, with an ironical smile, that the merits of such a poem deserved to be tried at a much higher tribunal; and then suddenly passed off into a panegyric upon all Mussulman sovereigns, more particularly his august and Imperial master, Aurungzebe, the wisest and best of the descendants of Timur,—who, among other great things he had done for mankind, had given to him, Fadladeen, the very profitable posts of Betel-carrier and Taster of Sherbets to the Emperor, Chief Holder of the Girdle of Beautiful Forms, and Grand Nazir, or Chamberlain of the Haram.
They were now not far from that Forbidden River, beyond which no pure Hindoo can pass; and were reposing for a time in the rich valley of Hussun Abdaul, which had always been a favourite restingplace of the Emperors in their annual migrations to Cashmere. Here often had the Light of the Faith, Jehan-Guire, been known to wander with his beloved and beautiful Nourmahal; and here would Lalla Rookh have been happy to remain forever, giving up the throne of Bucharia and the world for
Feramorz and love in this sweet, lonely valley. But the time was now fast approaching when she must see him no longer,—or, what was still worse, behold him with eyes whose every look belonged to another; and there was a melancholy preciousness in these last moments, which made her heart cling to them as it would to life. During the latter part of the journey, indeed, she had sunk into a deep sadness, from which nothing but the presence of the young minstrel could awake her. Like those lamps in tombs, which only light up when the air is admitted, it was only at his approach that her eyes became smiling and animated. But here, in this dear valley, every moment appeared an age of pleasure; she saw him all day, and was, therefore, all day happy, resembling, she often thought, that people of Zinge, who attribute the unfading cheerfulness they enjoy to one genial star that rises nightly over their heads.
The whole party, indeed, seemed in their liveliest mood during the few days they passed in this delightful solitude. The young attendants of the Princess, who were here allowed a much freer range than they could safely be indulged with in a less sequestered place, ran wild among the gardens and bounded through the meadows, lightly as young roes over the aromatic plains of Tibet. While Fadladeen, in addition to the spiritual comfort derived by him from a pilgrimage to the tomb of the Saint from whom the valley is named, had also opportu
nities of indulging, in a small way, his taste for victims, by putting to death some hundreds of those unfortunate little lizards which all pious Mussulmans make it a point to kill;-taking for granted, that the manner in which the creature hangs its head is meant as a mimicry of the attitude in which the Faithful say their prayers.
About two miles from Hussun Abdaul were those Royal Gardens which had grown beautiful under the care of so many lovely eyes, and were beautiful still, though those eyes could see them no longer. This place, with its flowers and its holy silence, interrupted only by the dipping of the wings of birds in its marble basins filled with the pure water of those hills, was to Lalla Rookh all that her heart could fancy of fragrance, coolness, and almost heavenly tranquillity. As the Prophet said of Damascus, "It was too delicious"; and here, in listening to the sweet voice of Feramorz, or reading in his eyes what yet he never dared to tell her, the most exquisite moments of her whole life were passed. One evening, when they had been talking of the Sultana Nourmahal, the Light of the Haram, who had so often wandered among these flowers, and fed with her own hands, in those marble basins, the small shining fishes of which she was so fond, the youth, in order to delay the moment of separation, proposed to recite a short story, or rather rhapsody, of which this adored Sultana was the heroine. It related, he said, to the reconcilement of a sort of