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THE

VEILED PROPHET OF KHORASSAN.

I

N 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 Meron'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 e'en 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 !

In hatred to the caliph's hue of night,
Their vesture, helms and all, is snowy white;
Their weapons various, — some, equipp'd for speed,
With javelins of the light Kathaian reed,
Or bows of buffalo horn, and shining quivers
Fill’d with the stems that bloom on Iran's rivers,
While some, for war's more terrible attacks,
Wield the huge mace, and ponderous battle-axe;
And, as they wave aloft in

morning's beam
The milk-white plumage of

their helms, they seem Like a chenar-tree grove

when winter throws O’er all its tufted heads his

feathering snows.

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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 th'elect with bliss that never fades, Well hath the Prophet-Chief his bidding done; And every beauteous race beneath the sun, From those who kneel at Brahma's burning founts, To the fresh nymphs bounding o'er Yemen's mounts; From Persia's eyes of full and fawn-like ray, To the small, half-shut glances of Kathay; And Georgia's bloom, and Azab's darker smiles, And the gold ringlets of the Western Isles, All, all are there ; each land its flower hath given, To form that fair young Nursery for Heaven !

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 th' invisible west

wind's sighs ?

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What new

made
mystery now,
for Faith to

sign,
And blood to seal, as

genuine and divine ? What dazzling mimicry

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,

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