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VEILED PROPHET OF KHORASSAN.
IN that delightful Province of the Sun, The first of Persian lands he shines upon, Where all the loveliest children of his beam, Flowerets and fruits, blush over every stream, And fairest of all streams, the Murga roves Among Merou's bright palaces and groves,There on that throne, to which the blind belief Of millions raised him, sat the Prophet-Chief, The Great Mokanna. O'er his features hung The Veil, the Silver Veil, which he had flung In mercy there, to hide from mortal sight His dazzling brow, till man could bear its light. For, far less luminous, his votaries said, Were even the gleams, miraculously shed O'er Moussa's cheek, when down the Mount he 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!
Fill'd with the stems that bloom on Iran's rivers;
Between the porphyry pillars, that uphold The rich moresque-work of the roof of gold, Aloft the Haram's curtain'd galleries rise, Where, through the silken network, glancing eyes, From time to time, like sudden gleams that glow Through autumn clouds, shine o'er the pomp below. What impious tongue, ye blushing saints, would dare To hint that aught but Heaven hath placed you there? Or that the loves of this light world could bind, In their gross chain, your Prophet's soaring mind? No-wrongful thought!-commission'd from above To people Eden's bowers with shapes of love, (Creatures so bright, that the same lips and eyes They wear on earth will serve in Paradise,) There to recline among Heaven's native maids, And crown the Elect with bliss that never fades
Well hath the Prophet-Chief his bidding done;
But why this pageant now? this arm'd array What triumph crowds the rich Divan to-day With turban'd heads, of every hue and race, Bowing before that veil'd and awful face, Like tulip-beds, of different shape and dyes, Bending beneath the invisible West-wind's sighs? What new-made mystery now, for Faith to sign, And blood to seal, as genuine and divine, What dazzling mimickry of God's own power Hath the bold Prophet plann'd to grace this hour?
Not such the pageant now, though not less proud; Yon warrior youth, advancing from the crowd, With silver bow, with belt of broider'd crape, And fur-bound bonnet of Bucharian shape, So fiercely beautiful in form and eye, Like war's wild planet in a summer sky,— That youth to-day — a proselyte, worth hordes Of cooler spirits and less practised swords
Is come to join, all bravery and belief,
The creed and standard of the heaven-sent Chief.
Though few his years, the West already knows
For his soul's quiet work'd the awakening spell;
And now, returning to his own dear land,
Full of those dreams of good that, vainly grand,
Haunt the young heart,-proud views of human-kind,
False views, like that horizon's fair deceit,
Where earth and heaven but seem, alas, to meeť!—
Seem'd doubly edged, for this world and the next;
Believes the form, to which he bends his knee,
Low as young Azim knelt, that motley crowd Of all earth's nations sunk the knee and bow'd, With shouts of 'Alla!' echoing long and loud; While high in air, above the Prophet's head, Hundreds of banners, to the sunbeam spread, Waved, like the wings of the white birds that fan The flying throne of star-taught Soliman. Then thus he spoke: frame
Stranger, though new the
I've tracked its flame
Thy soul inhabits now,
Nor think 'tis only the gross Spirits, warm'd