The Princess, whose heart was sad enough already, could have wished that FERAMORZ had chosen a less melancholy story; as it is only to the happy that tears are a luxury. Her Ladies however were by no means sorry that love was once more the Poet's theme; for, whenever he spoke of love, they said, his voice was as sweet as if he had chewed the leaves of that enchanted tree, which grows over the tomb of the musician, Tan-Sein.[212]

Their road all the morning had lain through a very dreary country; --through valleys, covered with a low bushy jungle, where in more than one place the awful signal of the bamboo staff[213] with the white flag at its top reminded the traveller that in that very spot the tiger had made some human creature his victim. It was therefore with much pleasure that they arrived at sunset in a safe and lovely glen and encamped under one of those holy trees whose smooth columns and spreading roofs seem to destine them for natural temples of religion. Beneath this spacious shade some pious hands had erected a row of pillars ornamented with the most beautiful porcelain[214] which now supplied the use of mirrors to the young maidens as they adjusted their hair in descending from the palankeens. Here while as usual the Princess sat listening anxiously with FADLADEEN in one of his loftiest moods of criticism by her side the young Poet leaning against a branch of the tree thus continued his story:--

The morn hath risen clear and calm
And o'er the Green Sea[215] palely shines,
Revealing BAHREIN'S groves of palm
And lighting KISHMA'S amber vines.
Fresh smell the shores of ARABY,
While breezes from the Indian sea
Blow round SELAMA'S[216] sainted cape
And curl the shining flood beneath,--
Whose waves are rich with many a grape
And cocoa-nut and flowery wreath
Which pious seamen as they past
Had toward that holy headland cast--
Oblations to the Genii there
For gentle skies and breezes fair!
The nightingale now bends her flight[217]
From the high trees where all the night
She sung so sweet with none to listen;
And hides her from the morning star
Where thickets of pomegranate glisten
In the clear dawn, --bespangled o'er
With dew whose night-drops would not stain
The best and brightest scimitar[218]
That ever youthful Sultan wore
On the first morning of his reign.

And see-- the Sun himself! --on wings
Of glory up the East he springs.
Angel of Light! who from the time
Those heavens began their march sublime,
Hath first of all the starry choir
Trod in his Maker's steps of fire!
Where are the days, thou wondrous sphere,
When IRAN, like a sun-flower, turned
To meet that eye where'er it burned?--
When from the banks of BENDEMEER
To the nut-groves of SAMARCAND
Thy temples flamed o'er all the land?
Where are they? ask the shades of them
Who, on CADESSIA'S[219] bloody plains,
Saw fierce invaders pluck the gem
From IRAN'S broken diadem,
And bind her ancient faith in chains:--
Ask the poor exile cast alone
On foreign shores, unloved, unknown,
Beyond the Caspian's Iron Gates,
Or on the snowy Mossian mountains,
Far from his beauteous land of dates,
Her jasmine bowers and sunny fountains:
Yet happier so than if he trod
His own beloved but blighted sod
Beneath a despot stranger's nod!--
Oh, he would rather houseless roam
Where Freedom and his God may lead,
Than be the sleekest slave at home
That crouches to the conqueror's creed!

Is IRAN'S pride then gone for ever,
Quenched with the flame in MITHRA'S caves?
No-- she has sons that never-- never--
Will stoop to be the Moslem's slaves
While heaven has light or earth has graves;--
Spirits of fire that brood not long
But flash resentment back for wrong;
And hearts where, slow but deep, the seeds
Of vengeance ripen into deeds,
Till in some treacherous hour of calm
They burst like ZEILAN'S giant palm[220]
Whose buds fly open with a sound
That shakes the pigmy forests round!
Yes, EMIR! he, who scaled that tower,
And had he reached thy slumbering breast
Had taught thee in a Gheber's power
How safe even tyrant heads may rest--
Is one of many, brave as he,
Who loathe thy haughty race and thee;
Who tho' they knew the strife is vain,
Who tho' they know the riven chain
Snaps but to enter in the heart
Of him who rends its links apart,
Yet dare the issue, --blest to be
Even for one bleeding moment free
And die in pangs of liberty!
Thou knowest them well-- 'tis some moons since
Thy turbaned troops and blood-red flags,
Thou satrap of a bigot Prince,
Have swarmed among these Green Sea crags;
Yet here, even here, a sacred band
Ay, in the portal of that land
Thou, Arab, darest to call thy own,
Their spears across thy path have thrown;
Here-- ere the winds half winged thee o'er--
Rebellion braved thee from the shore.

Rebellion! foul, dishonoring word,
Whose wrongful blight so oft has stained
The holiest cause that tongue or sword
Of mortal ever lost or gained.
How many a spirit born to bless
Hath sunk beneath that withering name,
Whom but a day's, an hour's success
Had wafted to eternal fame!
As exhalations when they burst
From the warm earth if chilled at first,
If checkt in soaring from the plain
Darken to fogs and sink again;--
But if they once triumphant spread
Their wings above the mountain-head,
Become enthroned in upper air,
And turn to sun-bright glories there!

And who is he that wields the might
Of Freedom on the Green Sea brink,
Before whose sabre's dazzling light[221]
The eyes of YEMEN'S warriors wink?
Who comes embowered in the spears
Of KERMAN'S hardy mountaineers?
Those mountaineers that truest, last,
Cling to their country's ancient rites,
As if that God whose eyelids cast
Their closing gleam on IRAN'S heights,
Among her snowy mountains threw
The last light of his worship too!
'Tis HAFED-- name of fear, whose sound
Chills like the muttering of a charm!--
Shout but that awful name around,
And palsy shakes the manliest arm.

'Tis HAFED, most accurst and dire
(So rankt by Moslem hate and ire)
Of all the rebel Sons of Fire;
Of whose malign, tremendous power
The Arabs at their mid-watch hour
Such tales of fearful wonder tell
That each affrighted sentinel
Pulls down his cowl upon his eyes,
Lest HAFED in the midst should rise!
A man, they say, of monstrous birth,
A mingled race of flame and earth,
Sprung from those old, enchanted kings[222]
Who in their fairy helms of yore
A feather from the mystic wings
Of the Simoorgh resistless wore;
And gifted by the Fiends of Fire,
Who groaned to see their shrines expire
With charms that all in vain withstood
Would drown the Koran's light in blood!

Such were the tales that won belief,
And such the coloring Fancy gave
To a young, warm, and dauntless Chief,--
One who, no more than mortal brave,
Fought for the land his soul adored,
For happy homes and altars free,--
His only talisman, the sword,
His only spell-word, Liberty!
One of that ancient hero line,
Along whose glorious current shine
Names that have sanctified their blood:
As LEBANON'S small mountain-flood
Is rendered holy by the ranks
Of sainted cedars on its banks.[223]
'Twas not for him to crouch the knee
Tamely to Moslem tyranny;
'Twas not for him whose soul was cast
In the bright mould of ages past,
Whose melancholy spirit fed
With all the glories of the dead
Tho' framed for IRAN'S happiest years.
Was born among her chains and tears!--
'Twas not for him to swell the crowd
Of slavish heads, that shrinking bowed
Before the Moslem as he past
Like shrubs beneath the poison-blast--
No-- far he fled-- indignant fled
The pageant of his country's shame;
While every tear her children shed
Fell on his soul like drops of flame;
And as a lover hails the dawn
Of a first smile, so welcomed he
The sparkle of the first sword drawn
For vengeance and for liberty!
But vain was valor-- vain the flower
Of KERMAN, in that deathful hour,
Against AL HASSAN'S whelming power.--
In vain they met him helm to helm
Upon the threshold of that realm
He came in bigot pomp to sway,
And with their corpses blockt his way--
In vain-- for every lance they raised
Thousands around the conqueror blazed;
For every arm that lined their shore
Myriads of slaves were wafted o'er,--
A bloody, bold, and countless crowd,
Before whose swarm as fast they bowed
As dates beneath the locust cloud.

There stood-- but one short league away
From old HARMOZIA'S sultry bay--
A rocky mountain o'er the Sea--
Of OMAN beetling awfully;[224]
A last and solitary link
Of those stupendous chains that reach
From the broad Caspian's reedy brink
Down winding to the Green Sea beach.
Around its base the bare rocks stood
Like naked giants, in the flood
As if to guard the Gulf across;
While on its peak that braved the sky
A ruined Temple towered so high
That oft the sleeping albatross[225]
Struck the wild ruins with her wing,
And from her cloud-rockt slumbering
Started-- to find man's dwelling there
In her own silent fields of air!
Beneath, terrific caverns gave
Dark welcome to each stormy wave
That dasht like midnight revellers in;--
And such the strange, mysterious din
At times throughout those caverns rolled,--
And such the fearful wonders told
Of restless sprites imprisoned there,
That bold were Moslem who would dare
At twilight hour to steer his skiff
Beneath the Gheber's lonely cliff.[226]
On the land side those towers sublime,
That seemed above the grasp of Time,
Were severed from the haunts of men
By a wide, deep, and wizard glen,
So fathomless, so full of gloom,
No eye could pierce the void between:
It seemed a place where Ghouls might come
With their foul banquets from the tomb
And in its caverns feed unseen.
Like distant thunder, from below
The sound of many torrents came,
Too deep for eye or ear to know
If 'twere the sea's imprisoned flow,
Or floods of ever-restless flame.
For each ravine, each rocky spire
Of that vast mountain stood on fire;[227]
And tho' for ever past the days
When God was worshipt in the blaze--
That from its lofty altar shone,--
Tho' fled the priests, the votaries gone,
Still did the mighty flame burn on,[228]
Thro' chance and change, thro' good and ill,
Like its own God's eternal will,
Deep, constant, bright, unquenchable!

Thither the vanquisht HAFED led
His little army's last remains;--
"Welcome, terrific glen!" he said,
"Thy gloom, that Eblis' self might dread,
"Is Heaven to him who flies from chains!"
O'er a dark, narrow bridge-way known
To him and to his Chiefs alone
They crost the chasm and gained the towers;--
"This home," he cried, "at least is ours;
"Here we may bleed, unmockt by hymns
"Of Moslem triumph o'er our head;
"Here we may fall nor leave our limbs
"To quiver to the Moslem's tread.
"Stretched on this rock while vultures' beaks
"Are whetted on our yet warm cheeks,
"Here-- happy that no tyrant's eye
"Gloats on our torments-- we may die!"--

'Twas night when to those towers they came,
And gloomily the fitful flame
That from the ruined altar broke
Glared on his features as he spoke:--
"'Tis o'er-- what men could do, we've done--
"If IRAN will look tamely on
"And see her priests, her warriors driven
"Before a sensual bigot's nod,
"A wretch who shrines his lusts in heaven
"And makes a pander of his God;
"If her proud sons, her high-born souls,
"Men in whose veins-- oh last disgrace!
"The blood of ZAL and RUSTAM[229] rolls.--
"If they will court this upstart race
"And turn from MITHRA'S ancient ray
"To kneel at shrines of yesterday;
"If they will crouch to IRAN'S foes,
"Why, let them-- till the land's despair
"Cries out to Heaven, and bondage grows
"Too vile for even the vile to bear!
"Till shame at last, long hidden, burns
"Their inmost core, and conscience turns
"Each coward tear the slave lets fall
"Back on his heart in drops of gall.
"But here at least are arms unchained
"And souls that thraldom never stained;--
"This spot at least no foot of slave
"Or satrap ever yet profaned,
"And tho' but few-- tho' fast the wave
"Of life is ebbing from our veins,
"Enough for vengeance still remains.
"As panthers after set of sun
"Rush from the roots of LEBANON
"Across the dark sea-robber's way,[230]
"We'll bound upon our startled prey.
"And when some hearts that proudest swell
"Have felt our falchion's last farewell,
"When Hope's expiring throb is o'er
"And even Despair can prompt no more,
"This spot shall be the sacred grave
"Of the last few who vainly brave
"Die for the land they cannot save!"

His Chiefs stood round-- each shining blade
Upon the broken altar laid--
And tho' so wild and desolate
Those courts where once the Mighty sate:
Nor longer on those mouldering towers
Was seen the feast of fruits and flowers
With which of old the Magi fed
The wandering Spirits of their Dead;[231]
Tho' neither priest nor rites were there,
Nor charmed leaf of pure pomegranate,[232]
Nor hymn, nor censer's fragrant air,
Nor symbol of their worshipt planet;[233]
Yet the same God that heard their sires
Heard them while on that altar's fires
They swore the latest, holiest deed
Of the few hearts, still left to bleed,
Should be in IRAN'S injured name
To die upon that Mount of Flame--
The last of all her patriot line,
Before her last untrampled Shrine!

Brave, suffering souls! they little knew
How many a tear their injuries drew
From one meek maid, one gentle foe,
Whom love first touched with others' woe--
Whose life, as free from thought as sin,
Slept like a lake till Love threw in
His talisman and woke the tide
And spread its trembling circles wide.
Once, EMIR! thy unheeding child
Mid all this havoc bloomed and smiled,--
Tranquil as on some battle plain
The Persian lily shines and towers[234]
Before the combat's reddening stain
Hath fallen upon her golden flowers.
Light-hearted maid, unawed, unmoved,
While Heaven but spared the sire she loved,
Once at thy evening tales of blood
Unlistening and aloof she stood--
And oft when thou hast paced along
Thy Haram halls with furious heat,
Hast thou not curst her cheerful song,
That came across thee, calm and sweet,
Like lutes of angels touched so near
Hell's confines that the damned can hear!

Far other feelings Love hath brought--
Her soul all flame, her brow all sadness,
She now has but the one dear thought,
And thinks that o'er, almost to madness!
Oft doth her sinking heart recall
His words-- "for my sake weep for all;"
And bitterly as day on day
Of rebel carnage fast succeeds,
She weeps a lover snatched away
In every Gheber wretch that bleeds.
There's not a sabre meets her eye
But with his life-blood seems to swim;
There's not an arrow wings the sky
But fancy turns its point to him.
No more she brings with footsteps light
AL HASSAN's falchion for the fight;
And-- had he lookt with clearer sight,
Had not the mists that ever rise
From a foul spirit dimmed his eyes--
He would have markt her shuddering frame,
When from the field of blood he came,
The faltering speech-- the look estranged--
Voice, step and life and beauty changed--
He would have markt all this, and known
Such change is wrought by Love alone!
Ah! not the Love that should have blest
So young, so innocent a breast;
Not the pure, open, prosperous Love,
That, pledged on earth and sealed above,
Grows in the world's approving eyes,
In friendship's smile and home's caress,
Collecting all the heart's sweet ties
Into one knot of happiness!
No, HINDA, no, --thy fatal flame
Is nurst in silence, sorrow, shame;--
A passion without hope or pleasure,
In thy soul's darkness buried deep,
It lies like some ill-gotten treasure,--
Some idol without shrine or name,
O'er which its pale-eyed votaries keep
Unholy watch while others sleep.

Seven nights have darkened OMAN'S sea,
Since last beneath the moonlight ray
She saw his light oar rapidly
Hurry her Gheber's bark away,--
And still she goes at midnight hour
To weep alone in that high bower
And watch and look along the deep
For him whose smiles first made her weep;--
But watching, weeping, all was vain,
She never saw his bark again.
The owlet's solitary cry,
The night-hawk flitting darkly by,
And oft the hateful carrion bird,
Heavily flapping his clogged wing,
Which reeked with that day's banqueting--
Was all she saw, was all she heard.

'Tis the eighth morn-- AL HASSAN'S brow
Is brightened with unusual joy--
What mighty mischief glads him now,
Who never smiles but to destroy?
The sparkle upon HERKEND'S Sea,
When tost at midnight furiously,[235]
Tells not of wreck and ruin nigh,
More surely than that smiling eye!
"Up, daughter, up-- the KERNA'S[236] breath
"Has blown a blast would waken death,
"And yet thou sleepest-- up, child, and see
"This blessed day for heaven and me,
"A day more rich in Pagan blood
"Than ever flasht o'er OMAN'S flood.
"Before another dawn shall shine,
"His head-- heart-- limbs-- will all be mine;
"This very night his blood shall steep
"These hands all over ere I sleep!"--

"His blood!" she faintly screamed-- her mind
Still singling one from all mankind--
"Yes-- spite of his ravines and towers,
"HAFED, my child, this night is ours.
"Thanks to all-conquering treachery,
"Without whose aid the links accurst,
"That bind these impious slaves, would be
"Too strong for ALLA'S self to burst!
"That rebel fiend whose blade has spread
"My path with piles of Moslem dead,
"Whose baffling spells had almost driven
"Back from their course the Swords of Heaven,
"This night with all his band shall know
"How deep an Arab's steel can go,
"When God and Vengeance speed the blow.
"And-- Prophet! by that holy wreath
"Thou worest on OHOD'S field of death,[237]
"I swear, for every sob that parts
"In anguish from these heathen hearts,
"A gem from PERSIA'S plundered mines
"Shall glitter on thy shrine of Shrines.
"But, ha! --she sinks-- that look so wild--
"Those livid lips-- my child, my child,
"This life of blood befits not thee,
"And thou must back to ARABY.
"Ne'er had I riskt thy timid sex
"In scenes that man himself might dread,
"Had I not hoped our every tread
"Would be on prostrate Persian necks--
"Curst race, they offer swords instead!
"But cheer thee, maid, --the wind that now
"Is blowing o'er thy feverish brow
"To-day shall waft thee from the shore;
"And ere a drop of this night's gore
"Have time to chill in yonder towers,
"Thou'lt see thy own sweet Arab bowers!"

His bloody boast was all too true;
There lurkt one wretch among the few
Whom HAFED'S eagle eye could count
Around him on that Fiery Mount,--
One miscreant who for gold betrayed
The pathway thro' the valley's shade
To those high towers where Freedom stood
In her last hold of flame and blood.
Left on the field last dreadful night,
When sallying from their sacred height
The Ghebers fought hope's farewell fight,
He lay-- but died not with the brave;
That sun which should have gilt his grave
Saw him a traitor and a slave;--
And while the few who thence returned
To their high rocky fortress mourned
For him among the matchless dead
They left behind on glory's bed,
He lived, and in the face of morn
Laught them and Faith and Heaven to scorn.

Oh for a tongue to curse the slave
Whose treason like a deadly blight
Comes o'er the councils of the brave
And blasts them in their hour of might!
May Life's unblessed cup for him
Be drugged with treacheries to the brim.--
With hopes that but allure to fly,
With joys that vanish while he sips,
Like Dead-Sea fruits that tempt the eye,
But turn to ashes on the lips![238]
His country's curse, his children's shame,
Outcast of virtue, peace and fame,
May he at last with lips of flame
On the parched desert thirsting die,--
While lakes that shone in mockery nigh,[239]
Are fading off, untouched, untasted,
Like the once glorious hopes he blasted!
And when from earth his spirit flies,
Just Prophet, let the damned-one dwell
Full in the sight of Paradise
Beholding heaven and feeling hell!

-- on to Part Seven --

[212] "Within the enclosure which surrounds his monument (at Gualior) is a small tomb to the memory of Tan-Sein, a musician of incomparable skill, who flourished at the court of Akbar. The tomb is overshadowed by a tree, concerning which a superstitious notion prevails, that the chewing of its leaves will give an extraordinary melody to the voice." --Narrative of a Journey from Agra to Ouzein, by W. Hunter, Esq.

[213] "It is usual to place a small white triangular flag, fixed to a bamboo staff of ten or twelve feet long, at the place where a tiger has destroyed a man. It is common for the passengers also to throw each a stone or brick near the spot, so that in the course of a little time a pile equal to a good wagon-load is collected. The sight of these flags and piles of stones imparts a certain melancholy, not perhaps altogether void of apprehension." --Oriental Field Sports, vol. ii.

[214] "The Ficus Indica is called the Pagod Tree of Councils; the first, from the idols placed under its shade; the second, because meetings were held under its cool branches. In some places it is believed to be the haunt of spectres, as the ancient spreading oaks of Wales have been of fairies; in others are erected beneath the shade pillars of stone, or posts, elegantly carved, and ornamented with the most beautiful porcelain to supply the use of mirrors." --Pennant.

[215] The Persian Gulf. --"To dive for pearls in the Green Sea, or Persian Gulf." --Sir W. Jones.

[216] Or Selemeh, the genuine name of the headland at the entrance of the Gulf, commonly called Cape Musseldom. "The Indians when they pass the promontory throw cocoa-nuts, fruits, or flowers into the sea to secure a propitious voyage." --Morier.

[217] "The nightingale sings from the pomegranate-groves in the daytime and from the loftiest trees at night." --Russel's "Aleppo."

[218] In speaking of the climate of Shiraz, Francklin says, "The dew is of such a pure nature, that if the brightest scimitar should be exposed to it all night, it would not receive the least rust."

[219] The place where the Persians were finally defeated by the Arabs, and their ancient monarchy destroyed.

[220] The Talpot or Talipot tree. "This beautiful palm-tree, which grows in the heart of the forests, may be classed among the loftiest trees, and becomes still higher when on the point of bursting forth from its leafy summit. The sheath which then envelopes the flower is very large, and, when it bursts, makes an explosion like the report of a cannon." --Thunberg.

[221] "When the bright scimitars make the eyes of our heroes wink." --The Moallakat, Poem of Amru.

[222] Tahmuras, and other ancient Kings of Persia; whose adventures in Fairy-land among the Peris and Divs may be found in Richardson's curious Dissertation. The griffin Simoorgh, they say, took some feathers from her breast for Tahmuras, with which he adorned his helmet, and transmitted them afterwards to his descendants.

[223] This rivulet, says Dandini, is called the Holy River from the "cedar-saints" among which it rises.

[224] This mountain is my own creation, as the "stupendous chain," of which I suppose it a link, does not extend quite so far as the shores of the Persian Gulf.

[225] These birds sleep in the air. They are most common about the Cape of Good Hope.

[226] "There is an extraordinary hill in this neighborhood, called Kohé Gubr, or the Guebre's mountain. It rises in the form of a lofty cupola, and on the summit of it, they say, are the remains of an Atush Kudu or Fire Temple. It is superstitiously held to be the residence or Deeves or Sprites, and many marvellous stories are recounted of the injury and witchcraft suffered by those who essayed in former days to ascend or explore it." --Pottinger's "Beloochistan."

[227] The Ghebers generally built their temples over subterraneous fires.

[228] "At the city of Yezd, in Persia, which is distinguished by the appellation of the Darub Abadut, or Seat of Religion, the Guebres are permitted to have an Atush Kudu or Fire Temple (which, they assert, has had the sacred fire in it since the days of Zoroaster) in their own compartment of the city; but for this indulgence they are indebted to the avarice, not the tolerance of the Persian government, which taxes them at twenty-five rupees each man." --Pottinger's "Beloochistan."

[229] Ancient heroes of Persia. "Among the Guebres there are some who boast their descent from Rustam." --Stephen's Persia.

[230] See Russel's account of the panther's attacking travellers in the night on the sea-shore about the roots of Lebanon.

[231] "Among other ceremonies the Magi used to place upon the tops of high towers various kinds of rich viands, upon which it was supposed the Peris and the spirits of their departed heroes regaled themselves." --Richardson.

[232] In the ceremonies of the Ghebers round their Fire, as described by Lord, "the Daroo," he says, "giveth them water to drink, and a pomegranate leaf to chew in the mouth, to cleanse them from inward uncleanness."

[233] "Early in the morning, they (the Parsees or Ghebers at Oulam) go in crowds to pay their devotions to the Sun, to whom upon all the altars there are spheres consecrated, made by magic, resembling the circles of the sun, and when the sun rises, these orbs seem to be inflamed, and to turn round with a great noise. They have every one a censer in their hands, and offer incense to the sun." --Rabbi Benjamin.

[234] A vivid verdure succeeds the autumnal rains, and the ploughed fields are covered with the Persian lily, of a resplendent yellow color." --Russel's "Aleppo."

[235] It is observed, with respect to the Sea of Herkend, that when it is tossed by tempestuous winds it sparkles like fire." --Travels of Two Mohammedans.

[236] A kind of trumpet; --it "was that used by Tamerlane, the sound of which is described as uncommonly dreadful, and so loud as to be heard at a distance of several miles." --Richardson.

[237] "Mohammed had two helmets, an interior and exterior one; the latter of which, called Al Mawashah, the fillet, wreath, or wreathed garland, he wore at the battle of Ohod." --Universal History.

[238] "They say that there are apple-trees upon the sides of this sea, which bear very lovely fruit, but within are all full of ashes." --Thevenot.

[239] "The Suhrab or Water of the Desert is said to be caused by the rarefaction of the atmosphere from extreme heat; and, which augments the delusion, it is most frequent in hollows, where water might be expected to lodge. I have seen bushes and trees reflected in it, with as much accuracy is though it had been the face of a clear and still lake." --Pottinger.

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