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the nights and noondays 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 ideas of the Caste, 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 music 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 encircled his high Tartarian cap was of the most delicate kind that the shawl-goats of Tibet supply. Here and there, too,
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 everything 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 the 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 :