The next evening LALLA ROOKH was entreated by her Ladies to continue the relation of her wonderful dream; but the fearful interest that hung round the fate of HINDA and her lover had completely removed every trace of it from her mind; --much to the disappointment of a fair seer or two in her train, who prided themselves on their skill in interpreting visions, and who had already remarked, as an unlucky omen, that the Princess, on the very morning after the dream, had worn a silk dyed with the blossoms of the sorrowful tree, Nilica.
FADLADEEN, whose indignation had more than once broken out during the recital of some parts of this heterodox poem, seemed at length to have made up his mind to the infliction; and took his seat this evening with all the patience of a martyr while the Poet resumed his profane and seditious story as follows:--
To tearless eyes and hearts at ease
The leafy shores and sun-bright seas
That lay beneath that mountain's height
Had been a fair enchanting sight.
'Twas one of those ambrosial eyes
A day of storm so often leaves
At its calm setting-- when the West
Opens her golden bowers of rest,
And a moist radiance from the skies
Shoots trembling down, as from the eyes
Of some meek penitent whose last
Bright hours atone for dark ones past,
And whose sweet tears o'er wrong forgiven
Shine as they fall with light from heaven!
'Twas stillness all-- the winds that late
Had rushed through KERMAN'S almond groves,
And shaken from her bowers of date
That cooling feast the traveller loves,
Now lulled to languor scarcely curl
The Green Sea wave whose waters gleam
Limpid as if her mines of pearl
Were melted all to form the stream:
And her fair islets small and bright
With their green shores reflected there
Look like those PERI isles of light
That hang by spell-work in the air.
But vainly did those glories burst
On HINDA'S dazzled eyes, when first
The bandage from her brow was taken,
And, pale and awed as those who waken
In their dark tombs-- when, scowling near,
The Searchers of the Grave appear--
She shuddering turned to read her fate
In the fierce eyes that flasht around;
And saw those towers all desolate,
That o'er her head terrific frowned,
As if defying even the smile
Of that soft heaven to gild their pile.
In vain with mingled hope and fear,
She looks for him whose voice so dear
Had come, like music, to her ear,--
Strange, mocking dream! again 'tis fled.
And oh, the shoots, the pangs of dread
That thro' her inmost bosom run,
When voices from without proclaim
"HAFED, the Chief" --and, one by one,
The warriors shout that fearful name!
He comes-- the rock resounds his tread--
How shall she dare to lift her head
Or meet those eyes whose scorching glare
Not YEMEN'S boldest sons can bear?
In whose red beam, the Moslem tells,
Such rank and deadly lustre dwells
As in those hellish fires that light
The mandrake's charnel leaves at night.
How shall she bear that voice's tone,
At whose loud battle-cry alone
Whole squadrons oft in panic ran,
Scattered like some vast caravan,
When stretched at evening round the well
They hear the thirsting tiger's yell.
Breathless she stands with eyes cast down
Shrinking beneath the fiery frown
Which, fancy tells her, from that brow
Is flashing o'er her fiercely now:
And shuddering as she hears the tread
Of his retiring warrior band.--
Never was pause full of dread;
Till HAFED with a trembling hand
Took hers and leaning o'er her said,
"HINDA"-- that word was all he spoke.
And 'twas enough-- the shriek that broke
From her full bosom told the rest.--
Panting with terror, joy, surprise,
The maid but lifts her wandering eyes,
To hide them on her Gheber's breast!
'Tis he, 'tis he-- the man of blood,
The fellest of the Fire-fiend's brood,
HAFED, the demon of the fight,
Whose voice unnerves, whose glances blight,--
Is her own loved Gheber, mild
And glorious as when first he smiled
In her lone tower and left such beams
Of his pure eye to light her dreams,
That she believed her bower had given
Rest to some wanderer from heaven!
Moments there are, and this was one,
Snatched like a minute's gleam of sun
Amid the black Simoom's eclipse--
Or like those verdant spots that bloom
Around the crater's burning lips.
Sweetening the very edge of doom!
The past, the future-- all that Fate
Can bring of dark or desperate
Around such hours but makes them cast
Intenser radiance while they last!
Even he, this youth-- tho' dimmed and gone
Each Star of Hope that cheered him on--
His glories lost-- his cause betrayed--
IRAN, his dear-loved country, made
A land of carcasses and slaves,
One dreary waste of chains and graves!
Himself but lingering, dead at heart,
To see the last, long struggling breath
Of Liberty's great soul depart,
Then lay him down and share her death--
Even he so sunk in wretchedness
With doom still darker gathering o'er him,
Yet, in this moment's pure caress,
In the mild eyes that shone before him,
Beaming that blest assurance worth
All other transports known on earth.
That he was loved-well, warmly loved--
Oh! in this precious hour he proved
How deep, how thorough-felt the glow
Of rapture kindling out of woe;--
How exquisite one single drop
Of bliss thus sparkling to the top
Of misery's cup-- how keenly quaft,
Tho' death must follow on the draught!
She too while gazing on those eyes
That sink into her soul so deep,
Forgets all fears, all miseries,
Or feels them like the wretch in sleep,
Whom fancy cheats into a smile.
Who dreams of joy and sobs the while!
The mighty Ruins where they stood
Upon the mount's high, rocky verge
Lay open towards the ocean flood,
Where lightly o'er the illumined surge
Many a fair bark that, all the day,
Had lurkt in sheltering creek or bay
Now bounded on and gave their sails,
Yet dripping to the evening gales;
Like eagles when the storm is done,
Spreading their wet wings in the sun.
The beauteous clouds, tho' daylight's Star
Had sunk behind the hills of LAR,
Were still with lingering glories bright.--
As if to grace the gorgeous West
The Spirit of departing Light
That eve had left his sunny vest
Behind him ere he winged his flight.
Never was scene so formed for love!
Beneath them waves of crystal move
In silent swell-- Heaven glows above
And their pure hearts, to transport given,
Swell like the wave and glow like heaven.
But ah! too soon that dream is past--
Again, again her fear returns;--
Night, dreadful night, is gathering fast,
More faintly the horizon burns,
And every rosy tint that lay
On the smooth sea hath died away
Hastily to the darkening skies
A glance she casts-- then wildly cries
"At night, he said-- and look, 'tis near--
"Fly, fly-- if yet thou lovest me, fly--
"Soon will his murderous band be here.
"And I shall see thee bleed and die.--
"Hush! heardest thou not the tramp of men
"Sounding from yonder fearful glen?--
"Perhaps, even now they climb the wood--
"Fly, fly-- tho' still the West is bright,
"He'll come-- oh! yes-- he wants thy blood--
"I know him-- he'll not wait for night!"
In terrors even to agony
She clings around the wondering Chief;--
"Alas, poor wildered maid! to me
"Thou owest this raving trance of grief.
"Lost as I am, naught ever grew
"Beneath my shade but perisht too--
"My doom is like the Dead Sea air,
"And nothing lives that enters there!
"Why were our barks together driven
"Beneath this morning's furious heaven?
"Why when I saw the prize that chance
"Had thrown into my desperate arms,--
"When casting but a single glance
"Upon thy pale and prostrate charms,
"I vowed (tho' watching viewless o'er
"Thy safety thro' that hour's alarms)
"To meet the unmanning sight no more--
"Why have I broke that heart-wrung vow?
"Why weakly, madly met thee now?
"Start not-- that noise is but the shock
"Of torrents thro' yon valley hurled--
"Dread nothing here-- upon this rock
"We stand above the jarring world,
"Alike beyond its hope-- its dread--
"In gloomy safety like the Dead!
"Or could even earth and hell unite
"In league to storm this Sacred Height,
"Fear nothing thou-- myself, tonight,
"And each o'erlooking star that dwells
"Near God will be thy sentinels;--
"And ere to-morrow's dawn shall glow,
"Back to thy sire"--
The maiden screamed-- "Thou'lt never see
"To-morrow's sun-- death, death will be
"The night-cry thro' each reeking tower,
"Unless we fly, ay, fly this hour!
"Thou art betrayed-- some wretch who knew
"That dreadful glen's mysterious clew-
"Nay, doubt not-- by yon stars, 'tis true--
"Hath sold thee to my vengeful sire;
"This morning, with that smile so dire
"He wears in joy he told me all
"And stampt in triumph thro' our hall,
"As tho' thy heart already beat
"Its last life-throb beneath his feet!
"Good Heaven, how little dreamed I then
"His victim was my own loved youth!--
"Fly-- send-- let some one watch the glen--
"By all my hopes of heaven 'tis truth!"
Oh! colder than the wind that freezes
Founts that but now in sunshine played,
Is that congealing pang which seizes
The trusting bosom, when betrayed.
He felt it-- deeply felt-- and stood,
As if the tale had frozen his blood,
So mazed and motionless was he;--
Like one whom sudden spells enchant,
Or some mute, marble habitant
Of the still Halls of ISHMONIE!
But soon the painful chill was o'er,
And his great soul herself once more
Lookt from his brow in all the rays
Of her best, happiest, grandest days.
Never in moment most elate
Did that high spirit loftier rise:--
While bright, serene, determinate,
His looks are lifted to the skies,
As if the signal lights of Fate
Were shining in those awful eyes!
'Tis come-- his hour of martyrdom
In IRAN'S sacred cause is come;
And tho' his life hath past away
Like lightning on a stormy day,
Yet shall his death-hour leave a track
Of glory permanent and bright
To which the brave of after-times,
The suffering brave, shall long look back
With proud regret, --and by its light
Watch thro' the hours of slavery's night
For vengeance on the oppressor's crimes.
This rock, his monument aloft,
Shall speak the tale to many an age;
And hither bards and heroes oft
Shall come in secret pilgrimage,
And bring their warrior sons and tell
The wondering boys where HAFED fell;
And swear them on those lone remains
Of their lost country's ancient fanes,
Never-- while breath of life shall live
Within them-- never to forgive
The accursed race whose ruthless chain
Hath left on IRAN'S neck a stain
Blood, blood alone can cleanse again!
Such are the swelling thoughts that now
Enthrone themselves on HAFED'S brow;
And ne'er did Saint of ISSA gaze
On the red wreath for martyrs twined.
More proudly than the youth surveys
That pile which thro' the gloom behind,
Half lighted by the altar's fire,
Glimmers-- his destined funeral pyre!
Heaped by his own, his comrades' hands,
Of every wood of odorous breath.
There, by the Fire-God's shrine it stands,
Ready to fold in radiant death
The few still left of those who swore
To perish there when hope was o'er--
The few to whom that couch of flame,
Which rescues them from bonds and shame,
Is sweet and welcome as the bed
For their own infant Prophet spread,
When pitying Heaven to roses turned
The death-flames that beneath him burned!
With watchfulness the maid attends
His rapid glance where'er it bends--
Why shoot his eyes such awful beams?
What plans he now? what thinks or dreams?
Alas! why stands he musing here,
When every moment teems with fear?
"HAFED, my own beloved Lord,"
She kneeling cries-- "first, last adored!
"If in that soul thou'st ever felt
"Half what thy lips impassioned swore,
"Here on my knees that never knelt
"To any but their God before,
"I pray thee, as thou lovest me, fly--
"Now, now-- ere yet their blades are nigh.
"Oh haste-- the bark that bore me hither
"Can waft us o'er yon darkening sea
"East-- west-- alas, I care not whither,
"So thou art safe, and I with thee!
"Go where we will, this hand in thine,
"Those eyes before me smiling thus,
"Thro' good and ill, thro' storm and shine,
"The world's a world of love for us!
"On some calm, blessed shore we'll dwell,
"Where 'tis no crime to love too well;
"Where thus to worship tenderly
"An erring child of light like thee
"Will not be sin-- or if it be
"Where we may weep our faults away,
"Together kneeling, night and day,
"Thou, for my sake, at ALLA'S shrine,
"And I-- at any God's, for thine!"
Wildly these passionate words she spoke--
Then hung her head and wept for shame;
Sobbing as if a heart-string broke
With every deep-heaved sob that came,
While he, young, warm-- oh! wonder not
If, for a moment, pride and fame;
His oath-- his cause-- that shrine of flame,
And IRAN'S self are all forgot
For her, whom at his feet he sees
Kneeling in speechless agonies.
No, blame him not if Hope awhile
Dawned in his soul and threw her smile
O'er hours to come-- o'er days and nights,
Winged with those precious, pure delights
Which she who bends all beauteous there
Was born to kindle and to share.
A tear or two which as he bowed
To raise the suppliant, trembling stole,
First warned him of this dangerous cloud
Of softness passing o'er his soul.
Starting he brusht the drops away
Unworthy o'er that cheek to stray;--
Like one who on the morn of fight
Shakes from his sword the dews of night,
That had but dimmed not stained its light.
Yet tho' subdued the unnerving thrill,
Its warmth, its weakness lingered still
So touching in each look and tone,
That the fond, fearing, hoping maid
Half counted on the flight she prayed,
Half thought the hero's soul was grown
As soft, as yielding as her own,
And smiled and blest him while he said,--
"Yes-- if there be some happier sphere
"Where fadeless truth like ours is dear.--
"If there be any land of rest
"For those who love and ne'er forget,
"Oh! comfort thee-- for safe and blest
"We'll meet in that calm region yet!"
Scarce had she time to ask her heart
If good or ill these words impart,
When the roused youth impatient flew
To the tower-wall, where high in view
A ponderous sea-horn hung, and blew
A signal deep and dread as those
The storm-fiend at his rising blows.--
Full well his Chieftains, sworn and true
Thro' life and death, that signal knew;
For 'twas the appointed warning-blast,
The alarm to tell when hope was past
And the tremendous death-die cast!
And there upon the mouldering tower
Hath hung this sea-horn many an hour,
Ready to sound o'er land and sea
That dirge-note of the brave and free.
They came-- his Chieftains at the call
Came slowly round and with them all--
Alas, how few! --the worn remains
Of those who late o'er KERMAN'S plains
When gayly prancing to the clash
Of Moorish zel and tymbalon
Catching new hope from every flash
Of their long lances in the sun,
And as their coursers charged the wind
And the white ox-tails streamed behind,
Looking as if the steeds they rode
Were winged and every Chief a God!
How fallen, how altered now! how wan
Each scarred and faded visage shone,
As round the burning shrine they came;--
How deadly was the glare it cast,
As mute they paused before the flame
To light their torches as they past!
'Twas silence all-- the youth hath planned
The duties of his soldier-band;
And each determined brow declares
His faithful Chieftains well know theirs.
But minutes speed-- night gems the skies--
And oh, how soon, ye blessed eyes
That look from heaven ye may behold
Sights that will turn your star-fires cold!
Breathless with awe, impatience, hope,
The maiden sees the veteran group
Her litter silently prepare,
And lay it at her trembling feet;--
And now the youth with gentle care,
Hath placed her in the sheltered seat
And prest her hand-- that lingering press
Of hands that for the last time sever;
Of hearts whose pulse of happiness
When that hold breaks is dead for ever.
And yet to her this sad caress
Gives hope-- so fondly hope can err!
'Twas joy, she thought, joy's mute excess--
Their happy flight's dear harbinger;
'Twas warmth-- assurance-- tenderness--
'Twas any thing but leaving her.
"Haste, haste!" she cried, "the clouds grow dark,
"But still, ere night, we'll reach the bark;
"And by to-morrow's dawn-- oh bliss!
"With thee upon the sun-bright deep,
"Far off, I'll but remember this,
"As some dark vanisht dream of sleep;
"And thou" --but ah! --he answers not--
Good Heaven! --and does she go alone?
She now has reached that dismal spot,
Where some hours since his voice's tone
Had come to soothe her fears and ills,
Sweet as the angel ISRAFIL'S,
When every leaf on Eden's tree
Is trembling to his minstrelsy--
Yet now-- oh, now, he is not nigh.--
"HAFED! my HAFED! --if it be
"Thy will, thy doom this night to die
"Let me but stay to die with thee
"And I will bless thy loved name,
"Till the last life-breath leave this frame.
"Oh! let our lips, our cheeks be laid
"But near each other while they fade;
"Let us but mix our parting breaths,
"And I can die ten thousand deaths!
"You too, who hurry me away
"So cruelly, one moment stay--
"Oh! stay-- one moment is not much--
"He yet may come-- for him I pray--
"HAFED! dear HAFED!" --all the way
In wild lamentings that would touch
A heart of stone she shrieked his name
To the dark woods-- no HAFED came:--
No-- hapless pair-- you've lookt your last:--
Your hearts should both have broken then:--
The dream is o'er-- your doom is cast--
You'll never meet on earth again!
Alas for him who hears her cries!
Still half-way down the steep he stands,
Watching with fixt and feverish eyes
The glimmer of those burning brands
That down the rocks with mournful ray,
Light all he loves on earth away!
Hopeless as they who far at sea
By the cold moon have just consigned
The corse of one loved tenderly
To the bleak flood they leave behind,
And on the deck still lingering stay,
And long look back with sad delay
To watch the moonlight on the wave
That ripples o'er that cheerless grave.
But see-- he starts-- what heard he then?
That dreadful shout! --across the glen
From the land-side it comes and loud
Rings thro' the chasm, as if the crowd
Of fearful things that haunt that dell
Its Ghouls and Divs and shapes of hell,
And all in one dread howl broke out,
So loud, so terrible that shout!
"They come-- the Moslems come!" --he cries,
His proud soul mounting to his eyes,--
"Now, Spirits of the Brave, who roam
"Enfranchised thro' yon starry dome,
"Rejoice-- for souls of kindred fire
"Are on the wing to join your choir!"
He said-- and, light as bridegrooms bound
To their young loves, reclined the steep
And gained the Shrine-- his Chiefs stood round--
Their swords, as with instinctive leap,
Together at that cry accurst
Had from their sheaths like sunbeams burst.
And hark! --again--again it rings;
Near and more near its echoings
Peal thro' the chasm-- oh! who that then
Had seen those listening warrior-men,
With their swords graspt, their eyes of flame
Turned on their Chief-- could doubt the shame,
The indignant shame with which they thrill
To hear those shouts and yet stand still?
He read their thoughts-- they were his own--
"What! while our arms can wield these blades,
"Shall we die tamely? die alone?
"Without one victim to our shades,
"One Moslem heart, where buried deep
"The sabre from its toil may sleep?
"No-- God of IRAN'S burning skies!
"Thou scornest the inglorious sacrifice.
"No-- tho' of all earth's hope bereft,
"Life, swords, and vengeance still are left.
"We'll make yon valley's reeking caves
"Live in the awe-struck minds of men
"Till tyrants shudder, when their slaves
"Tell of the Gheber's bloody glen,
"Follow, brave hearts! --this pile remains
"Our refuge still from life and chains;
"But his the best, the holiest bed,
"Who sinks entombed in Moslem dead!"
Down the precipitous rocks they sprung,
While vigor more than human strung
Each arm and heart. --The exulting foe
Still thro' the dark defiles below,
Trackt by his torches' lurid fire,
Wound slow, as thro' GOLCONDA'S vale
The mighty serpent in his ire
Glides on with glittering, deadly trail.
No torch the Ghebers need --so well
They know each mystery of the dell,
So oft have in their wanderings
Crost the wild race that round them dwell,
The very tigers from their delves
Look out and let them pass as things
Untamed and fearless like themselves!
There was a deep ravine that lay
Yet darkling in the Moslem's way;
Fit spot to make invaders rue
The many fallen before the few.
The torrents from that morning's sky
Had filled the narrow chasm breast-high,
And on each side aloft and wild
Huge cliffs and toppling crags were piled,--
The guards with which young Freedom lines
The pathways to her mountain-shrines,
Here at this pass the scanty band;
Of IRAN'S last avengers stand;
Here wait in silence like the dead
And listen for the Moslem's tread
So anxiously the carrion-bird
Above them flaps his wing unheard!
They come-- that plunge into the water
Gives signal for the work of slaughter.
Now, Ghebers, now-- if e'er your blades
Had point or prowess prove them now--
Woe to the file that foremost wades!
They come-- a falchion greets each brow,
And as they tumble trunk on trunk
Beneath the gory waters sunk,
Still o'er their drowning bodies press
New victims quick and numberless;
Till scarce an arm in HAFED'S band,
So fierce their toil, hath power to stir,
But listless from each crimson hand
The sword hangs clogged with massacre.
Never was horde of tyrants met
With bloodier welcome-- never yet
To patriot vengeance hath the sword
More terrible libations poured!
All up the dreary, long ravine,
By the red, murky glimmer seen
Of half-quenched brands, that o'er the flood
Lie scattered round and burn in blood,
What ruin glares! what carnage swims!
Heads, blazing turbans, quivering limbs,
Lost swords that dropt from many a hand,
In that thick pool of slaughter stand;--
Wretches who wading, half on fire
From the tost brands that round them fly,
'Twixt flood and flame in shrieks expire;--
And some who grasp by those that die
Sink woundless with them, smothered o'er
In their dead brethren's gushing gore!
But vainly hundreds, thousands bleed,
Still hundreds, thousands more succeed;
Countless as toward some flame at night
The North's dark insects wing their flight
And quench or perish in its light,
To this terrific spot they pour--
Till, bridged with Moslem bodies o'er,
It bears aloft their slippery tread,
And o'er the dying and the dead,
Tremendous causeway! on they pass.
Then, hapless Ghebers, then, alas,
What hope was left for you? for you,
Whose yet warm pile of sacrifice
Is smoking in their vengeful eyes;--
Whose swords how keen, how fierce they knew.
And burned with shame to find how few.
Crusht down by that vast multitude
Some found their graves where first they stood;
While some with hardier struggle died,
And still fought on by HAFED'S side,
Who fronting to the foe trod back
Towards the high towers his gory track;
And as a lion swept away
By sudden swell of JORDAN'S pride
From the wild covert where he lay,
Long battles with the o'erwhelming tide,
So fought he back with fierce delay
And kept both foes and fate at bay.
But whither now? their track is lost,
Their prey escaped-- guide, torches gone--
By torrent-beds and labyrinths crost,
The scattered crowd rush blindly on--
"Curse on those tardy lights that wind,"
They panting cry, "so far behind;
"Oh, for a bloodhound's precious scent,
"To track the way the Ghebers went!"
Vain wish-- confusedly along
They rush more desperate as more wrong:
Till wildered by the far-off lights,
Yet glittering up those gloomy heights,
Their footing mazed and lost they miss,
And down the darkling precipice
Are dasht into the deep abyss;
Or midway hang impaled on rocks,
A banquet yet alive for flocks
Of ravening vultures, --while the dell
Re-echoes with each horrible yell.
Those sounds-- the last, to vengeance dear.
That e'er shall ring in HAFED'S ear,--
Now reached him as aloft alone
Upon the steep way breathless thrown,
He lay beside his reeking blade,
Resigned, as if life's task were o'er,
Its last blood-offering amply paid,
And IRAN'S self could claim no more.
One only thought, one lingering beam
Now broke across his dizzy dream
Of pain and weariness-- 'twas she,
His heart's pure planet shining yet
Above the waste of memory
When all life's other lights were set.
And never to his mind before
Her image such enchantment wore.
It seemed as if each thought that stained,
Each fear that chilled their loves was past,
And not one cloud of earth remained
Between him and her radiance cast;--
As if to charms, before so bright,
New grace from other worlds was given.
And his soul saw her by the light
Now breaking o'er itself from heaven!
A voice spoke near him-- 'twas the tone
Of a loved friend, the only one
Of all his warriors left with life
From that short night's tremendous strife.--
"And must we then, my chief, die here?
"Foes round us and the Shrine so near!"
These words have roused the last remains
Of life within him: --"What! not yet
"Beyond the reach of Moslem chains!"
The thought could make even Death forget
His icy bondage: --with a bound
He springs all bleeding from the ground
And grasps his comrade's arm now grown
Even feebler, heavier than his own.
And up the painful pathway leads,
Death gaining on each step he treads.
Speed them, thou God, who heardest their vow!
They mount-- they bleed-- oh save them now--
The crags are red they've clambered o'er,
The rock-weed's dripping with their gore;--
Thy blade too, HAFED, false at length,
How breaks beneath thy tottering strength!
Haste, haste-- the voices of the Foe
Come near and nearer from below--
One effort more-- thank Heaven! 'tis past,
They've gained the topmost steep at last.
And now they touch the temple's walls.
Now HAFED sees the Fire divine--
When, lo! --his weak, worn comrade falls
Dead on the threshold of the shrine.
"Alas, brave soul, too quickly fled!
"And must I leave thee withering here,
"The sport of every ruffian's tread,
"The mark for every coward's spear?
"No, by yon altar's sacred beams!"
He cries and with a strength that seems
Not of this world uplifts the frame
Of the fallen Chief and toward the flame
Bears him along; with death-damp hand
The corpse upon the pyre he lays,
Then lights the consecrated brand
And fires the pile whose sudden blaze
Like lightning bursts o'er OMAN'S Sea.--
"Now, Freedom's God! I come to Thee,"
The youth exclaims and with a smile
Of triumph vaulting on the pile,
In that last effort ere the fires
Have harmed one glorious limb expires!
What shriek was that on OMAN'S tide?
It came from yonder drifting bark,
That just hath caught upon her side
The death-light-- and again is dark.
It is the boat-- ah! why delayed?--
That bears the wretched Moslem maid;
Confided to the watchful care
Of a small veteran band with whom
Their generous Chieftain would not share
The secret of his final doom,
But hoped when HINDA safe and free
Was rendered to her father's eyes,
Their pardon full and prompt would be
The ransom of so dear a prize.--
Unconscious thus of HAFED'S fate,
And proud to guard their beauteous freight,
Scarce had they cleared the surfy waves
That foam around those frightful caves
When the curst war-whoops known so well
Came echoing from the distant dell--
Sudden each oar, upheld and still,
Hung dripping o'er the vessel's side,
And driving at the current's will,
They rockt along the whispering tide;
While every eye in mute dismay
Was toward that fatal mountain turned.
Where the dim altar's quivering ray
As yet all lone and tranquil burned.
Oh! 'tis not, HINDA, in the power
Of Fancy's most terrific touch
To paint thy pangs in that dread hour--
Thy silent agony-- 'twas such
As those who feel could paint too well,
But none e'er felt and lived to tell!
'Twas not alone the dreary state
Of a lorn spirit crusht by fate,
When tho' no more remains to dread
The panic chill will not depart;--
When tho' the inmate Hope be dead,
Her ghost still haunts the mouldering heart;
No-- pleasures, hopes, affections gone,
The wretch may bear and yet live on
Like things within the cold rock found
Alive when all's congealed around.
But there's a blank repose in this,
A calm stagnation, that were bliss
To the keen, burning, harrowing pain,
Now felt thro' all thy breast and brain;--
That spasm of terror, mute, intense,
That breathless, agonized suspense
From whose hot throb whose deadly aching,
The heart hath no relief but breaking!
Calm is the wave-- heaven's brilliant lights
Reflected dance beneath the prow;--
Time was when on such lovely nights
She who is there so desolate now
Could sit all cheerful tho' alone
And ask no happier joy than seeing
That starlight o'er the waters thrown--
No joy but that to make her blest,
And the fresh, buoyant sense of Being
Which bounds in youth's yet careless breast,--
Itself a star not borrowing light
But in its own glad essence bright.
How different now! --but, hark! again
The yell of havoc rings-- brave men!
In vain with beating hearts ye stand
On the bark's edge-- in vain each hand
Half draws the falchion from its sheath;
All's o'er-- in rust your blades may lie:--
He at whose word they've scattered death
Even now this night himself must die!
Well may ye look to yon dim tower,
And ask and wondering guess what means
The battle-cry at this dead hour--
Ah! she could tell you-- she who leans
Unheeded there, pale, sunk, aghast,
With brow against the dew-cold mast;--
Too well she knows-- her more than life,
Her soul's first idol and its last
Lies bleeding in that murderous strife.
But see-- what moves upon the height?
Some signal! --'tis a torch's light
What bodes its solitary glare?
In gasping silence toward the Shrine
All eyes are turned-- thine, HINDA, thine
Fix their last fading life-beams there.
'Twas but a moment-- fierce and high
The death-pile blazed into the sky
And far-away o'er rock and flood
Its melancholy radiance sent:
While HAFED like a vision stood
Revealed before the burning pyre.
Tall, shadowy, like a Spirit of fire
Shrined in its own grand element!
"'Tis he!" --the shuddering maid exclaims,--
But while she speaks he's seen no more;
High burst in air the funeral flames,
And IRAN'S hopes and hers are o'er!
One wild, heart-broken shriek she gave;
Then sprung as if to reach that blaze
Where still she fixt her dying gaze,
And gazing sunk into the wave.--
Deep, deep, --where never care or pain
Shall reach her innocent heart again!
* * * * *
Farewell-- farewell to thee. ARABY'S daughter!
(Thus warbled a PERI beneath the dark sea,)
No pearl ever lay under OMAN'S green water
More pure in its shell than thy Spirit in thee.
Oh! fair as the sea-flower close to thee growing,
How light was thy heart till Love's witchery came,
Like the wind of the south o'er a summer lute blowing,
And husht all its music and withered its frame!
But long upon ARABY'S green sunny highlands
Shall maids and their lovers remember the doom
Of her who lies sleeping among the Pearl Islands
With naught but the sea-star to light up her tomb.
And still when the merry date-season is burning
And calls to the palm-groves the young and the old,
The happiest there from their pastime returning
At sunset will weep when thy story is told.
The young village-maid when with flowers she dresses
Her dark flowing hair for some festival day
Will think of thy fate till neglecting her tresses
She mournfully turns from the mirror away.
Nor shall IRAN, beloved of her Hero! forget thee--
Tho' tyrants watch over her tears as they start,
Close, close by the side of that Hero she'll set thee,
Embalmed in the innermost shrine of her heart.
Farewell-- be it ours to embellish thy pillow
With everything beauteous that grows in the deep;
Each flower of the rock and each gem of the billow
Shall sweeten thy bed and illumine thy sleep.
Around thee shall glisten the loveliest amber
That ever the sorrowing sea-bird has wept;
With many a shell in whose hollow-wreathed chamber
We Peris of Ocean by moonlight have slept.
We'll dive where the gardens of coral lie darkling
And plant all the rosiest stems at thy head;
We'll seek where the sands of the Caspian are sparkling
And gather their gold to strew over thy bed.
Farewell-- farewell! --Until Pity's sweet fountain
Is lost in the hearts of the fair and the brave,
They'll weep for the Chieftain who died on that mountain,
They'll weep for the Maiden who sleeps in this wave.
-- on to Part Nine --
 "Blossoms of the sorrowful Nyctanthes give a durable color to silk." --Remarks on the Husbandry of Bengal, p. 200. Nilica is one of the Indian names of this flower. --Sir W. Jones. The Persians call it Gul. --Carreri.
 "In parts of Kerman, whatever dates are shaken from the trees by the wind they do not touch, but leave them for those who have not any, or for travellers. --Ebn Haukal.
 The two terrible angels, Monkir and Nakir, who are called "the Searchers of the Grave" in the "Creed of the orthodox Mahometans" given by Ockley, vol. ii.
 "The Arabians call the mandrake 'the devil's candle,' on account of its shining appearance in the night." --Richardson.
 For an account of Ishmonie, the petrified city in Upper Egypt, where it is said there are many statues of men, women, etc., to be seen to this day, see Perry's "Views of the Levant."
 The Ghebers say that when Abraham, their great Prophet, was thrown into the fire by order of Nimrod, the flame turned instantly into "a bed of roses, where the child sweetly reposed." --Tavernier.
 "The shell called Siiankos, common to India, Africa, and the Mediterranean, and still used in many parts as a trumpet for blowing alarms or giving signals: it sends forth a deep and hollow sound." --Pennant.
 "The finest ornament for the horses is made of six large flying tassels of long white hair, taken out of the tails of wild oxen, that are to be found in some places of the Indies." --Thevenot.
 "The angel Israfil, who has the most melodious voice of all God's creatures." --Sale.
 "In this thicket upon the banks of the Jordan several sorts of wild beasts are wont to harbor themselves, whose being washed out of the covert by the overflowings of the river, gave occasion to that allusion of Jeremiah, he shall come up like a lion from the smelling of Jordan." --Maundrell's "Aleppo."
 "This wind (the Samoor) so softens the strings of lutes, that they can never be tuned while it lasts." --Stephen's Persia.
 "One of the greatest curiosities found in the Persian Gulf is a fish which the English call Star-fish. It is circular, and at night very luminous, resembling the full moon surrounded by rays." --Mirza Abu Taleb.
 Some naturalists have imagined that amber is a concretion of the tears of birds. --See Trevoux, Chambers.
 "The bay Kieselarke, which is otherwise called the Golden Bay, the sand whereof shines as fire." --Struy.