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taking workman than would ever be guessed, I fear, from the result, I felt that, in this instance, I had taken upon myself a more than ordinary responsibility, from the immense stake risked by others on my chance of success. For a long time, therefore, after the agreement had been concluded, though generally at work with a view to this task, I made but very little real progress in it.; and I have still by me the beginnings of several stories continued, some of them, to the length of three or four hundred lines, which, after in vain endeavoring to mould them into shape, I threw aside, like the tale of Cambuscan, “left half-told.” One of these stories, entitled The Peri's Daughter, was meant to relate the loves of a nymph of this aërial extraction with a youth of mortal race, the rightful Prince of Ormuz, who had been, from his infancy, brought up in seclusion, on the banks of the river Amou, by an aged guardian named Mohassan. The story opens with the first meeting of these destined lovers, then in their childhood; the Peri having wafted her daughter to this holy retreat, in a bright, enchanted boat, whose first appearance is thus described:
For, down the silvery tide afar,
As shines, in heav'n, some pilgrim-star,
“It comes, it comes,” young Orian cries,
Within the boat a baby slept,
While one, who seem'd of riper years,
But not of earth, or earth-like spheres,
The feathers of some holy bird,
With which, from time to time, she stirr'd
The butterflies that, bright and blue
Around the sleeping infant flew.
And now the fairy boat hath stopp’d
A song is sung by the Peri in approaching, of which the following forms a part :
My child she is but half divine,
His funeral shrine,
To my own sweet bowers of Peristan;
For the eyes of a baby born of man.
Thy leaflest bed,
In another of these inchoate fragments, a proud female saint, named Banou, plays a principal part; and her progress through the streets of Cufa, on the night of a great illuminated festival, I find thus described :
It was a scene of mirth that drew
They never rose till morn again. There are yet two more of these unfinished sketches, one of which extends to a much greater length than I was aware of; and, as far as I in judge from a hasty renewal of my acquaintance with it, is not incapable of being yet turned to account.
In only one of these unfinished sketches, the tale of The Peri's Daughter, had I yet ventured to invoke that most home-felt of all my inspirations, which has lent to the story of The Fire-worshippers its main attraction and interest. That it was my intention, in the concealed Prince of Ormuz, to shadow out some impersonation of this feeling, I take for granted from the prophetic words supposed to be addressed to him by his aged guardian:
Bright child of destiny! even now
And hail her native Lord in thee!
In none of the other fragments do I find any trace of this sort of feeling, either in the subject or the personages of the intended story; and this was the reason, doubtless, though hardly known, at the time, to myself, that, finding my subjects so slow in kindling my own sympathies, I began to despair of their ever touching the hearts of others; and felt often inclined to say :
“Oh no, I have no voice or hand
For such a song, in such a land.”
Had this series of disheartening experiments been carried on much further, I must have thrown aside the work in despair. But, at last, fortunately, as it proved, the thought occurred to me of founding a story on the fierce struggle so long maintained between the Ghebers,* or ancient Fire-worshippers of Persia, and their haughty Moslem masters. From that moment, a new and deep interest in my whole task took possession of me. The
* Voltaire, in his tragedy of “Les Guèbres," written with a similar under-current of meaning, was accused of having transformed his Fire-worshippers into Jansenists. “Quelques figuristes,” he says, "prétendent que les Guèbres sont les Jansenistes."
(cause of tolerance was again my inspiring theme; and the spirit that had spoken in the melodies of Ireland soon found itself at home in the East.
Having thus laid open the secrets of the workshop to account for the time expended in writing this work, I must also, in justice to my own industry, notice the pains I took in long and laboriously reading for it. To form a storehouse, as it were, of illustration purely Oriental, and so familiarize myself with its various treasures, that, as quick as Fancy required the aid of fact, in her spiritings, the memory was ready, like another Ariel, at her "strong bidding,” to furnish materials for the spell-work, — such was, for a long while, the sole object of my studies; and whatever time and trouble this preparatory process may have cost me, the effects resulting from it, as far as the humble merit of truthfulness is concerned, have been such as to repay me more than sufficiently for my pains. I have not forgotten how great was my pleasure, when told by the late Sir James Mackintosh, that he was once asked by Colonel Ws, the historian of British India, 66 whether it was true that Moore had never been in the East ?" “Never," answered Mackintosh. “Well, that shows me,” replied Colonel W-s, “that reading over D’Herbelot is as good as riding on the back of a camel.”
I need hardly subjoin to this lively speech, that, although D’Herbelot's valuable work was, of course, one of my manuals, I took the whole range of all such Oriental reading as was accessible to me; and became, for the time, indeed, far more conversant with all relating to that distant region, than I have ever been with the scenery, productions, or modes of life of any of those countries lying most within my reach. We know that D'Anville, though never in his life out of Paris, was able to correct a number of errors in a plan of the Troad taken by De Choiseul, on the spot; and for my own very different, as