Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

As rising on its purple wing
The insect-queen () of eastern spring,
O'er emerald meadows of Kashmeer
Invites the young pursuer near,
And leads him on from flower to flower
A weary chase and wasted hour,
Then leaves him, as it soars on high,
With panting heart and tearful eye :
So Beauty lures the full-grown child,
With hue as bright, and wing as wild ;
A chase of idle hopes and fears,
Begun in folly, closed in tears.
If won, to equal ills betray'd,
Woe waits the insect and the maid ;
A life of pain, the loss of peace,
From infant's play, and man's caprice :
The lovely toy so fiercely sought
Hath lost its charm by being caught,
For every touch that woo'd its stay
Hath brush'd its brightest hues away,
Till, charm, and hue, and beauty gone,
'Tis left to fly or fall alone.
With wounded wing, or bleeding breast,
Ah! where shall either victim rest ?
Can this with faded pinion soar
From rose to tulip as before?
Or Beauty, blighted in an hour,
Find joy within her broken bower ?
No: gayer insects fluttering by
Ne'er droop the wing o'er those that die,
And lovelier things have mercy shown
To every failing but their own,
And every woe a tear can claim
Except an erring sister's shame.

*

The Mind, that broods o'er guilty woes,

Is like the Scorpion girt by fire,
In circle narrowing as it glows,
The flames around their captive close,
Till inly search'd by thousand throes,

And maddening in her ire,
One sad and sole relief she knows,

The sting she nourish'd for her fous, (1) The blue-winged buttorfly of Kashmeer, the most rare and beautiful of the species.

Whose venom never yet was vain,
Gives but one pang, and cures all pain,
And darts into her desperate brain ;
So do the dark in soul expire,
Or live like Scorpion girt by fire ; (")
So writhes the mind Remorse hath riven,
Unfit for, earth, undoom'd for heaven,
Darkness above, despair beneath,
Around it flame, within it death!

*

Black Hassan from the Haram flies,
Nor bends on woman's form his eyes;
The unwonted chase each hour employs,
Yet shares he not the hunter's joys.
Not thus was Hassan wont to fly
When Leila dwelt in his Serai.
Doth Loila there no longer dwell ?
That tale can only Hassan tell:
Strange rumours in our city say
Upon that eve she fled away,
When Rhamazan's (o) last sun was set,
And flashing from each minaret
Millions of lamps proclaim'd the feast
Of Bairam through the boundless East.
'Twas then she went as to the bath,
Which Hassan vainly search'd in wrath ;
For she was flown her master's rage
In likeness of a Georgian page,
And far beyond the Moslem's power
Had wrong'd him with the faithless Giaour.
Somewhat of this had Hassan deem'd;
But still so fond, so fair she seem'd,
Too well he trusted to the slave
Whose treachery deserv'd a grave :
And on that eve had gone to mosque,
And thence to feast in his kiosk.
Such is the tale his Nubians tell,
Who did not watch their charge too well;

(1) Alluding to the dubious suicide of the scorpion, so placed for experiment by gentlo philosophers. Some maintain that the position of the sting, when turned to wards the head, is merely a convulsive movement; but others have actually brought un the verdict, Felo de se. The scorpions are surely interested in a speedy decision of the question; as, if once fairly establishod as insect Catos, they will probably be allowed to live as long as they think proper, without being ‘martyred for the sake of an hypothesis.

(2) The cannon at sunset close the Rhamazan, See ante, p. 248. note.

[blocks in formation]

Her eye's dark charm 't were vain to tell,
But gaze on that of the Gazelle,
It wül assist thy fancy well;
As large, as languishingly dark,
But Soul beam'd forth in every spark
That darted from beneath the lid,
Bright as the jewel of Giamschid. (*)
Yea, Soul, and should our prophet say
That form was nought but breathing clay,
By Alla! I would answer nay;
Though on Al-Sirat's (') arch I stood,
Which totters o'er the fiery flood,
With Paradise within my view,
And all his Houris beckoning through.
Oh!' who young Leila's glance could read
And keep that portion of his creed, (*)
Which saith that woman is but dust,
A soulless toy for tyrant's lust?
On her might Muftis gaze, and own
That through her eye the Immortal shone ;
On her fair

cheek's unfading hue
The young pomegranate's (*) blossoms strew
(1) Phingari, the moon.

(2) The celebrated fabulous ruby of Sultan Giannschid, tho ombollisher of Islakhar; from its splendour, named Schebgerag, “ the torch of night ;" also “ the cup of tho sun," &c. - In the first edition, “ Giamschid " was writion as a word of throo syllables, so D'Herbolot has it; but I am told Richardson roduces it to a dissyllable, and writes." Jamshid.” I have left in the text the orthography of the one with the pronunciation of the other.

(3) Al-Sirat, the bridge of breadth, less than the thread of a famished spider, over which the Mussulmans must skate into Paradise, to which it is the only entrance ; but this is not the worst, the river beneath being hell itself

, into which, as may be expected, the unskilful and tender of foot contrive to tumble with a " facilis descensus Averní," not very pleasing in prospect to the next passenger. There is a shorter cnt downwards for the Jows and Christians.

(4) A vulgar error: the Koran allots at least a third of Paradise to well-bohavoo womon ; bus by far the greater number of Mussulmans interpret the text their own way, and exclude their moieties from heaven. Being enemies to Platonics, they can. not discern "any fitness of things” in tho souls of the other sex, conceiving them to bo superseded by the Houris.

(5) An oriental simile, which may, perhaps, though fairly stolen, be deemed " plus Arabe qu'en Arabic."

Their bloom in blushes ever new;
Her hair in hyacinthine (") flow,
When left to roll its folds below,
As midst her handmaids in the hall
She stood superior to them all,
Hath swept the marble where her feet
Gleam'd whiter than the mountain sleet
Ere from the cloud that gave it birth
It fell, and caught one stain of earth.
The cygnet nobly walks the water;
So moved on earth Circassia's daughter,
The loveliest bird of Franguestan! (*)
As rears her crest the ruffled Swan,

And spurns the wave with wings of pride,
When pass the steps of stranger man

Along the banks that bound her tide ;
Thus rose fair Leila's whiter neck :
Thus arm'd with beauty would she check
Intrusion's glance, till Folly's gaze
Shrunk from the charms it meant to praise.
Thus high and graceful was her gait;
Her heart as tender to her mate;
Her mate - stern Hassan, who was he?
Alas! that name was not for thee!

[blocks in formation]

Stern Hassan hath a journey ta’en
With twenty vassals in his train,
Each arm'd, as best becomes a man,
With arquebuss and ataghan ;
The chief before, as deck'd for war,
Bears in his belt the scimitar
Stain'd with the best of Arnaut blood,
When in the pass the rebels stood,
And few return'd to tell the tale
Of what befell in Parne's vale.
The pistols which his girdle bore
Were those that once a pasha wore,
Which still, though gemm'd and poss'd with gold,
Even robbers tremble to behold.
'Tis said he goes to woo a bride
More true than her who left his side ;

(!) Hyacinthine, in Arabic," Sunbul;" as common a thought in the eastern pooto as it was among the Greeks.

(2) "Franguestan,” Circassia.

The faithless slave that broke her bower,
And, worse than faithless, for a Giaour !

*

The sun's last rays are on the hill,
And sparkle in the fountain rill,
Whose welcome waters, cool and clear,
Draw blessings from the mountaineer :
Jlere may the loitering merchant Greek
Find that repose 't were vain to seek
In cities lodged too near his lord,
And trembling for his secret hoard-
Ilere may he rest where none can see,
In crowds a slave, in deserts free ;
And with forbidden wine may stain
The bowl a Moslem must not drain.

*

The foremost Tartar's in the gap,
Conspicuous by his yellow cap;
The rest in lengthening line the while
Wind slowly through the long defile:
Above, the mountain rears a peak,
Where vultures wet the thirsty beak,
And theirs may be a feast to-night,
Shall tempt them down ere morrow's light;
Beneath, a river's wintry stream
Has shrunk before the summer beam,
And left a channel bleak and bare,
Save shrubs that spring to perish there :
Each side the midway path there lay
Small broken crags of granite gray,
By time, or mountain Lightning, riven
From summits clad in mists of heaven;
For where is he that hath beheld
The peak of Liakura unveil'd ?

setting

They reach the grove of pine.at last :
“ Bismillah! (') now the peril's past;
For yonder view the opening plain,
And there we 'll prick our steeds amain :"
The Chiaus spake, and as he said,

A bullet 'whistled o'er his head; (!) Bismillah

-" In the name of God;" the cominencement of av de chaptons of the Koran but ono, and of prayer and thanksgiving.

VOL. 111.-8

« ForrigeFortsett »