Lalla Rookh/Paradise and the Peri
The story of the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan being ended, they were now doomed to hear FADLADEEN'S criticisms upon it. A series of disappointments and accidents had occurred to this learned Chamberlain during the journey. In the first place, those couriers stationed, as in the reign of Shah Jehan, between Delhi and the Western coast of India, to secure a constant supply of mangoes for the Royal Table, had by some cruel irregularity failed in their duty; and to eat any mangoes but those of Mazagong was of course impossible. In the next place, the elephant laden with his fine antique porcelain, had, in an unusual fit of liveliness, shattered the whole set to pieces:--an irreparable loss, as many of the vessels were so exquisitely old, as to have been used under the Emperors Yan and Chun, who reigned many ages before the dynasty of Tang. His Koran too, supposed to be the identical copy between the leaves of which Mahomet's favorite pigeon used to nestle, had been mislaid by his Koran-bearer three whole days; not without much spiritual alarm to FADLADEEN who though professing to hold with other loyal and orthodox Mussulmans that salvation could only be found in the Koran was strongly suspected of believing in his heart that it could only be found in his own particular copy of it. When to all these grievances is added the obstinacy of the cooks in putting the pepper of Canara into his dishes instead of the cinnamon of Serendib, we may easily suppose that he came to the task of criticism with at least a sufficient degree of irritability for the purpose.
"In order," said he, importantly swinging about his chaplet of pearls, "to convey with clearness my opinion of the story this young man has related, it is necessary to take a review of all the stories that have ever"---"My good FADLADEEN!" exclaimed the Princess, interrupting him, "we really do not deserve that you should give yourself so much trouble. Your opinion of the poem we have just heard, will I have no doubt be abundantly edifying without any further waste of your valuable erudition."--"If that be all," replied the critic,--evidently mortified at not being allowed to show how much he knew about everything but the subject immediately before him--"if that be all that is required the matter is easily despatched." He then proceeded to analyze the poem, in that strain (so well known to the unfortunate bards of Delhi), whose censures were an infliction from which few recovered and whose very praises were like the honey extracted from the bitter flowers of the aloe. The chief personages of the story were, if he rightly understood them, an ill-favored gentleman with a veil over his face;--a young lady whose reason went and came according as it suited the poet's convenience to be sensible or otherwise;--and a youth in one of those hideous Bokharian bonnets, who took the aforesaid gentleman in a veil for a Divinity. "From such materials," said he, "what can be expected?--after rivalling each other in long speeches and absurdities through some thousands of lines as indigestible as the filberts of Berdaa, our friend in the veil jumps into a tub of aquafortis; the young lady dies in a set speech whose only recommendation is that it is her last; and the lover lives on to a good old age for the laudable purpose of seeing her ghost which he at last happily accomplishes, and expires. This you will allow is a fair summary of the story; and if Nasser, the Arabian merchant, told no better, our Holy Prophet (to whom be all honor and glory!) had no need to be jealous of his abilities for story-telling."
With respect to the style, it was worthy of the matter;--it had not even those politic contrivances of structure which make up for the commonness of the thoughts by the peculiarity of the manner nor that stately poetical phraseology by which sentiments mean in themselves, like the blacksmith's apron converted into a banner, are so easily gilt and embroidered into consequence. Then as to the versification it was, to say no worse of it, execrable: it had neither the copious flow of Ferdosi, the sweetness of Hafez, nor the sententious march of Sadi; but appeared to him in the uneasy heaviness of its movements to have been modelled upon the gait of a very tired dromedary. The licenses too in which it indulged were unpardonable;--for instance this line, and the poem abounded with such;--
Like the faint, exquisite music of a dream.
"What critic that can count," said FADLADEEN, "and has his full complement of fingers to count withal, would tolerate for an instant such syllabic superfluities?"--He here looked round, and discovered that most of his audience were asleep; while the glimmering lamps seemed inclined to follow their example. It became necessary therefore, however painful to himself, to put an end to his valuable animadversions for the present and he accordingly concluded with an air of dignified candor, thus:--
"Notwithstanding the observations which I have thought it my duty to make, it is by no means my wish to discourage the young man:--so far from it indeed that if he will but totally alter his style of writing and thinking I have very little doubt that I shall be vastly pleased with him."
Some days elapsed after this harangue of the Great Chamberlain before LALLA ROOKH could venture to ask for another story. The youth was still a welcome guest in the pavilion--to one heart perhaps too dangerously welcome;--but all mention of poetry was as if by common consent avoided. Though none of the party had much respect for FADLADEEN, yet his censures thus magisterially delivered evidently made an impression on them all. The Poet himself to whom criticism was quite a new operation, (being wholly unknown in that Paradise of the Indies, Cashmere,) felt the shock as it is generally felt at first, till use has made it more tolerable to the patient;--the Ladies began to suspect that they ought not to be pleased and seemed to conclude that there must have been much good sense in what FADLADEEN said from its having set them all so soundly to sleep;--while the self-complacent Chamberlain was left to triumph in the idea of having for the hundred and fiftieth time in his life extinguished a Poet. LALLA ROOKH alone--and Love knew why--persisted in being delighted with all she had heard and in resolving to hear more as speedily as possible. Her manner however of first returning to the subject was unlucky. It was while they rested during the heat of noon near a fountain on which some hand had rudely traced those well-known words from the Garden of Sadi.--"Many like me have viewed this fountain, but they are gone and their eyes are closed for ever!"--that she took occasion from the melancholy beauty of this passage to dwell upon the charms of poetry in general. "It is true," she said, "few poets can imitate that sublime bird which flies always in the air and never touches the earth:--it is only once in many ages a Genius appears whose words, like those on the Written Mountain last for ever:--but still there are some as delightful perhaps, though not so wonderful, who if not stars over our head are at least flowers along our path and whose sweetness of the moment we ought gratefully to inhale without calling upon them for a brightness and a durability beyond their nature. In short," continued she, blushing as if conscious of being caught in an oration, "it is quite cruel that a poet cannot wander through his regions of enchantment without having a critic for ever, like the old Man of the Sea, upon his back!"--FADLADEEN, it was plain took this last luckless allusion to himself and would treasure it up in his mind as a whetstone for his next criticism. A sudden silence ensued; and the Princess, glancing a look at FERAMORZ, saw plainly she must wait for a more courageous moment.
But the glories of Nature and her wild, fragrant airs playing freshly over the current of youthful spirits will soon heal even deeper wounds than the dull Fadladeens of this world can inflict. In an evening or two after, they came to the small Valley of Gardens which had been planted by order of the Emperor for his favorite sister Rochinara during their progress to Cashmere some years before; and never was there a more sparkling assemblage of sweets since the Gulzar-e-Irem or Rose-bower of Irem. Every precious flower was there to be found that poetry or love or religion has ever consecrated; from the dark hyacinth to which Hafez compares his mistress's hair to be Cámalatá by whose rosy blossoms the heaven of Indra is scented. As they sat in the cool fragrance of this delicious spot and LALLA ROOKH remarked that she could fancy it the abode of that flower-loving Nymph whom they worship in the temples of Kathay, or of one of those Peris, those beautiful creatures of the air who live upon perfumes and to whom a place like this might make some amends for the Paradise they have lost,--the young Poet in whose eyes she appeared while she spoke to be one of the bright spiritual creatures she was describing said hesitatingly that he remembered a Story of a Peri, which if the Princess had no objection he would venture to relate. "It is," said he, with an appealing look to FADLADEEN, "in a lighter and humbler strain than the other:" then, striking a few careless but melancholy chords on his kitar, he thus began:--
PARADISE AND THE PERI.
One morn a Peri at the gate
Of Eden stood disconsolate;
And as she listened to the Springs
Of Life within like music flowing
And caught the light upon her wings
Thro' the half-open portal glowing,
She wept to think her recreant race
Should e'er have lost that glorious place!
"How happy," exclaimed this child of air,
"Are the holy Spirits who wander there
"Mid flowers that never shall fade or fall;
"Tho' mine are the gardens of earth and sea
"And the stars themselves have flowers for me,
"One blossom of Heaven out-blooms them all!
"Tho' sunny the Lake of cool CASHMERE
"With its plane-tree Isle reflected clear,
"And sweetly the founts of that Valley fall;
"Tho' bright are the waters of SING-SU-HAY
And the golden floods that thitherward stray,
Yet--oh, 'tis only the Blest can say
How the waters of Heaven outshine them all!
"Go, wing thy flight from star to star,
From world to luminous world as far
As the universe spreads its flaming wall:
Take all the pleasures of all the spheres
And multiply each thro' endless years
One minute of Heaven is worth them all!"
The glorious Angel who was keeping
The gates of Light beheld her weeping,
And as he nearer drew and listened
To her sad song, a tear-drop glistened
Within his eyelids, like the spray
From Eden's fountain when it lies
On the blue flower which--Bramins say--
Blooms nowhere but in Paradise.
"Nymph of a fair but erring line!"
Gently he said--"One hope is thine.
'Tis written in the Book of Fate,
The Peri yet may be forgiven
Who brings to this Eternal gate
The Gift that is most dear to Heaven!
Go seek it and redeem thy sin--
'Tis sweet to let the Pardoned in."
Rapidly as comets run
To the embraces of the Sun;--
Fleeter than the starry brands
Flung at night from angel hands
At those dark and daring sprites
Who would climb the empyreal heights,
Down the blue vault the PERI flies,
And lighted earthward by a glance
That just then broke from morning's eyes,
Hung hovering o'er our world's expanse.
But whither shall the Spirit go
To find this gift for Heaven;--"I know
The wealth," she cries, "of every urn
In which unnumbered rubies burn
Beneath the pillars of CHILMINAR:
I know where the Isles of Perfume are
Many a fathom down in the sea,
To the south of sun-bright ARABY;
I know too where the Genii hid
The jewelled cup of their King JAMSHID,
"With Life's elixir sparkling high--
"But gifts like these are not for the sky.
"Where was there ever a gem that shone
"Like the steps of ALLA'S wonderful Throne?
"And the Drops of Life--oh! what would they be
"In the boundless Deep of Eternity?"
While thus she mused her pinions fanned
The air of that sweet Indian land
Whose air is balm, whose ocean spreads
O'er coral rocks and amber beds,
Whose mountains pregnant by the beam
Of the warm sun with diamonds teem,
Whose rivulets are like rich brides,
Lovely, with gold beneath their tides,
Whose sandal groves and bowers of spice
Might be a Peri's Paradise!
But crimson now her rivers ran
With human blood--the smell of death
Came reeking from those spicy bowers,
And man the sacrifice of man
Mingled his taint with every breath
Upwafted from the innocent flowers.
Land of the Sun! what foot invades
Thy Pagods and thy pillared shades--
Thy cavern shrines and Idol stones,
Thy Monarch and their thousand Thrones?
'Tis He of GAZNA, fierce in wrath
He comes and INDIA'S diadems
Lie scattered in his ruinous path.-
His bloodhounds he adorns with gems,
Torn from the violated necks
Of many a young and loved Sultana;
Maidens within their pure Zenana,
Priests in the very fane he slaughters,
And chokes up with the glittering wrecks
Of golden shrines the sacred waters!
Downward the PERI turns her gaze,
And thro' the war-field's bloody haze
Beholds a youthful warrior stand
Alone beside his native river,--
The red blade broken in his hand
And the last arrow in his quiver.
"Live," said the Conqueror, "live to share
"The trophies and the crowns I bear!"
Silent that youthful warrior stood--
Silent he pointed to the flood
All crimson with his country's blood,
Then sent his last remaining dart,
For answer, to the Invader's heart.
False flew the shaft tho' pointed well;
The Tyrant lived, the Hero fell!--
Yet marked the PERI where he lay,
And when the rush of war was past
Swiftly descending on a ray
Of morning light she caught the last--
Last glorious drop his heart had shed
Before its free-born spirit fled!
"Be this," she cried, as she winged her flight,
"My welcome gift at the Gates of Light.
"Tho' foul are the drops that oft distil
"On the field of warfare, blood like this
"For Liberty shed so holy is,
"It would not stain the purest rill
"That sparkles among the Bowers of Bliss!
"Oh, if there be on this earthly sphere
"A boon, an offering Heaven holds dear,
"'Tis the last libation Liberty draws
"From the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause!"
"Sweet," said the Angel, as she gave
The gift into his radiant hand,
"Sweet is our welcome of the Brave
"Who die thus for their native Land.--
"But see--alas! the crystal bar
"Of Eden moves not--holier far
"Than even this drop the boon must be
"That opes the Gates of Heaven for thee!"
Her first fond hope of Eden blighted,
Now among AFRIC'S lunar Mountains
Far to the South the PERI lighted
And sleeked her plumage at the fountains
Of that Egyptian tide whose birth
Is hidden from the sons of earth
Deep in those solitary woods
Where oft the Genii of the Floods
Dance round the cradle of their Nile
And hail the new-born Giant's smile.
Thence over EGYPT'S palmy groves
Her grots, and sepulchres of Kings,
The exiled Spirit sighing roves
And now hangs listening to the doves
In warm ROSETTA'S vale; now loves
To watch the moonlight on the wings
Of the white pelicans that break
The azure calm of MOERIS' Lake.
'Twas a fair scene: a Land more bright
Never did mortal eye behold!
Who could have thought that saw this night
Those valleys and their fruits of gold
Basking in Heaven's serenest light,
Those groups of lovely date-trees bending
Languidly their leaf-crowned heads,
Like youthful maids, when sleep descending
Warns them to their silken beds,
Those virgin lilies all the night
Bathing their beauties in the lake
That they may rise more fresh and bright,
When their beloved Sun's awake,
Those ruined shrines and towers that seem
The relics of a splendid dream,
Amid whose fairy loneliness
Naught but the lapwing's cry is heard,--
Naught seen but (when the shadows flitting,
Fast from the moon unsheath its gleam,)
Some purple-winged Sultana sitting
Upon a column motionless
And glittering like an Idol bird!--
Who could have thought that there, even there,
Amid those scenes so still and fair,
The Demon of the Plague hath cast
From his hot wing a deadlier blast,
More mortal far than ever came
From the red Desert's sands of flame!
So quick that every living thing
Of human shape touched by his wing,
Like plants, where the Simoom hath past
At once falls black and withering!
The sun went down on many a brow
Which, full of bloom and freshness then,
Is rankling in the pest-house now
And ne'er will feel that sun again,
And, oh! to see the unburied heaps
On which the lonely moonlight sleeps--
The very vultures turn away,
And sicken at so foul a prey!
Only the fierce hyaena stalks
Throughout the city's desolate walks
At midnight and his carnage plies:--
Woe to the half-dead wretch who meets
The glaring of those large blue eyes
Amid the darkness of the streets!
"Poor race of men!" said the pitying Spirit,
"Dearly ye pay for your primal Fall--
"Some flowerets of Eden ye still inherit,
"But the trail of the Serpent is over them all!"
She wept--the air grew pure and clear
Around her as the bright drops ran,
For there's a magic in each tear
Such kindly Spirits weep for man!
Just then beneath some orange trees
Whose fruit and blossoms in the breeze
Were wantoning together, free,
Like age at play with infancy--
Beneath that fresh and springing bower
Close by the Lake she heard the moan
Of one who at this silent hour,
Had thither stolen to die alone.
One who in life where'er he moved,
Drew after him the hearts of many;
Yet now, as tho' he ne'er were loved,
Dies here unseen, unwept by any!
None to watch near him--none to slake
The fire that in his bosom lies,
With even a sprinkle from that lake
Which shines so cool before his eyes.
No voice well known thro' many a day
To speak the last, the parting word
Which when all other sounds decay
Is still like distant music heard;--
That tender farewell on the shore
Of this rude world when all is o'er,
Which cheers the spirit ere its bark
Puts off into the unknown Dark.
Deserted youth! one thought alone
Shed joy around his soul in death
That she whom he for years had known,
And loved and might have called his own
Was safe from this foul midnight's breath,--
Safe in her father's princely halls
Where the cool airs from fountain falls,
Freshly perfumed by many a brand
Of the sweet wood from India's land,
Were pure as she whose brow they fanned.
But see--who yonder comes by stealth,
This melancholy bower to seek,
Like a young envoy sent by Health
With rosy gifts upon her cheek?
'Tis she--far off, thro' moonlight dim
He knew his own betrothed bride,
She who would rather die with him
Than live to gain the world beside!--
Her arms are round her lover now,
His livid cheek to hers she presses
And dips to bind his burning brow
In the cool lake her loosened tresses.
Ah! once, how little did he think
An hour would come when he should shrink
With horror from that dear embrace,
Those gentle arms that were to him
Holy as is the cradling place
Of Eden's infant cherubim!
And now he yields--now turns away,
Shuddering as if the venom lay
All in those proffered lips alone--
Those lips that then so fearless grown
Never until that instant came
Near his unasked or without shame.
"Oh! let me only breathe the air.
"The blessed air, that's breathed by thee,
"And whether on its wings it bear
"Healing or death 'tis sweet to me!
"There--drink my tears while yet they fall--
"Would that my bosom's blood were balm,
"And, well thou knowst, I'd shed it all
"To give thy brow one minute's calm.
"Nay, turn not from me that dear face--
"Am I not thine--thy own loved bride--
"The one, the chosen one, whose place
"In life or death is by thy side?
"Thinkst thou that she whose only light,
"In this dim world from thee hath shone
"Could bear the long, the cheerless night
"That must be hers when thou art gone?
"That I can live and let thee go,
"Who art my life itself?--No, no--
"When the stem dies the leaf that grew
"Out of its heart must perish too!
"Then turn to me, my own love, turn,
"Before, like thee, I fade and burn;
"Cling to these yet cool lips and share
"The last pure life that lingers there!"
She fails--she sinks--as dies the lamp
In charnel airs or cavern-damp,
So quickly do his baleful sighs
Quench all the sweet light of her eyes,
One struggle--and his pain is past--
Her lover is no longer living!
One kiss the maiden gives, one last,
Long kiss, which she expires in giving!
"Sleep," said the PERI, as softly she stole
The farewell sigh of that vanishing soul,
As true as e'er warmed a woman's breast--
"Sleep on, in visions of odor rest
"In balmier airs than ever yet stirred
"The enchanted pile of that lonely bird
"Who sings at the last his own death-lay
"And in music and perfume dies away!"
Thus saying, from her lips she spread
Unearthly breathings thro' the place
And shook her sparkling wreath and shed
Such lustre o'er each paly face
That like two lovely saints they seemed,
Upon the eve of doomsday taken
From their dim graves in ordor sleeping;
While that benevolent PERI beamed
Like their good angel calmly keeping
Watch o'er them till their souls would waken.
But morn is blushing in the sky;
Again the PERI soars above,
Bearing to Heaven that precious sigh
Of pure, self-sacrificing love.
High throbbed her heart with hope elate
The Elysian palm she soon shall win.
For the bright Spirit at the gate
Smiled as she gave that offering in;
And she already hears the trees
Of Eden with their crystal bells
Ringing in that ambrosial breeze
That from the throne of ALLA swells;
And she can see the starry bowls
That lie around that lucid lake
Upon whose banks admitted Souls
Their first sweet draught of glory take!
But, ah! even PERIS' hopes are vain--
Again the Fates forbade, again
The immortal barrier closed--"Not yet,"
The Angel said as with regret
He shut from her that glimpse of glory--
"True was the maiden, and her story
"Written in light o'er ALLA'S head
"By seraph eyes shall long be read.
"But, PERI, see--the crystal bar
"Of Eden moves not--holier far
"Than even this sigh the boon must be
"That opes the Gates of Heaven for thee."
Now upon SYRIA'S land of roses
Softly the light of Eve reposes,
And like a glory the broad sun
Hangs over sainted LEBANON,
Whose head in wintry grandeur towers
And whitens with eternal sleet,
While summer in a vale of flowers
Is sleeping rosy at his feet.
To one who looked from upper air
O'er all the enchanted regions there,
How beauteous must have been the glow,
The life, the sparkling from below!
Fair gardens, shining streams, with ranks
Of golden melons on their banks,
More golden where the sunlight falls;--
Gay lizards, glittering on the walls
Of ruined shrines, busy and bright
As they were all alive with light;
And yet more splendid numerous flocks
Of pigeons settling on the rocks
With their rich restless wings that gleam
Variously in the crimson beam
Of the warm West,--as if inlaid
With brilliants from the mine or made
Of tearless rainbows such as span
The unclouded skies of PERISTAN.
And then the mingling sounds that come,
Of shepherd's ancient reed, with hum
Of the wild bees of PALESTINE,
Banqueting thro' the flowery vales;
And, JORDAN, those sweet banks of thine
And woods so full of nightingales.
But naught can charm the luckless PERI;
Her soul is sad--her wings are weary--
Joyless she sees the Sun look down
On that great Temple once his own,
Whose lonely columns stand sublime,
Flinging their shadows from on high
Like dials which the Wizard Time
Had raised to count his ages by!
Yet haply there may lie concealed
Beneath those Chambers of the Sun
Some amulet of gems, annealed
In upper fires, some tablet sealed
With the great name of SOLOMON,
Which spelled by her illumined eyes,
May teach her where beneath the moon,
In earth or ocean, lies the boon,
The charm, that can restore so soon
An erring Spirit to the skies.
Cheered by this hope she bends her thither;--
Still laughs the radiant eye of Heaven,
Nor have the golden bowers of Even
In the rich West begun to wither;--
When o'er the vale of BALBEC winging
Slowly she sees a child at play,
Among the rosy wild flowers singing,
As rosy and as wild as they;
Chasing with eager hands and eyes
The beautiful blue damsel-flies,
That fluttered round the jasmine stems
Like winged flowers or flying gems:--
And near the boy, who tired with play
Now nestling mid the roses lay.
She saw a wearied man dismount
From his hot steed and on the brink
Of a small imaret's rustic fount
Impatient fling him down to drink.
Then swift his haggard brow he turned
To the fair child who fearless sat,
Tho' never yet hath day-beam burned
Upon a brow more fierce than that,--
Sullenly fierce--a mixture dire
Like thunder-clouds of gloom and fire;
In which the PERI'S eye could read
Dark tales of many a ruthless deed;
The ruined maid--the shrine profaned--
Oaths broken--and the threshold stained
With blood of guests!--there written, all,
Black as the damning drops that fall
From the denouncing Angel's pen,
Ere Mercy weeps them out again.
Yet tranquil now that man of crime
(As if the balmy evening time
Softened his spirit) looked and lay,
Watching the rosy infant's play:--
Tho' still whene'er his eye by chance
Fell on the boy's, its lucid glance
Met that unclouded, joyous gaze,
As torches that have burnt all night
Tho' some impure and godless rite,
Encounter morning's glorious rays.
But, hark! the vesper call to prayer,
As slow the orb of daylight sets,
Is rising sweetly on the air.
From SYRIA'S thousand minarets!
The boy has started from the bed
Of flowers where he had laid his head.
And down upon the fragrant sod
Kneels with his forehead to the south
Lisping the eternal name of God
From Purity's own cherub mouth,
And looking while his hands and eyes
Are lifted to the glowing skies
Like a stray babe of Paradise
Just lighted on that flowery plain
And seeking for its home again.
Oh! 'twas a sight--that Heaven--that child--
A scene, which might have well beguiled
Even haughty EBLIS of a sigh
For glories lost and peace gone by!
And how felt he, the wretched Man
Reclining there--while memory ran
O'er many a year of guilt and strife,
Flew o'er the dark flood of his life,
Nor found one sunny resting-place.
Nor brought him back one branch of grace.
"There was a time," he said, in mild,
Heart-humbled tones--"thou blessed child!
"When young and haply pure as thou
"I looked and prayed like thee--but now"--
He hung his head--each nobler aim
And hope and feeling which had slept
From boyhood's hour that instant came
Fresh o'er him and he wept--he wept!
Blest tears of soul-felt penitence!
In whose benign, redeeming flow
Is felt the first, the only sense
Of guiltless joy that guilt can know.
"There's a drop," said the PERI, "that down from the moon
"Falls thro' the withering airs of June
"Upon EGYPT'S land, of so healing a power,
"So balmy a virtue, that even in the hour
"That drop descends contagion dies
"And health reanimates earth and skies!--
"Oh, is it not thus, thou man of sin,
"The precious tears of repentance fall?
"Tho' foul thy fiery plagues within
"One heavenly drop hath dispelled them all!"
And now--behold him kneeling there
By the child's side, in humble prayer,
While the same sunbeam shines upon
The guilty and the guiltless one.
And hymns of joy proclaim thro' Heaven
The triumph of a Soul Forgiven!
'Twas when the golden orb had set,
While on their knees they lingered yet,
There fell a light more lovely far
Than ever came from sun or star,
Upon the tear that, warm and meek,
Dewed that repentant sinner's cheek.
To mortal eye this light might seem
A northern flash or meteor beam--
But well the enraptured PERI knew
'Twas a bright smile the Angel threw
From Heaven's gate to hail that tear
Her harbinger of glory near!
"Joy, joy for ever! my task is done--
"The Gates are past and Heaven is won!
"Oh! am I not happy? I am, I am--
"To thee, sweet Eden! how dark and sad
"Are the diamond turrets of SHADUKIAM,
"And the fragrant bowers of AMBERABAD!
"Farewell ye odors of Earth that die
"Passing away like a lover's sigh;--
"My feast is now of the Tooba Tree
"Whose scent is the breath of Eternity!
"Farewell, ye vanishing flowers that shone
"In my fairy wreath so bright an' brief;--
"Oh! what are the brightest that e'er have blown
"To the lote-tree springing by ALLA'S throne
"Whose flowers have a soul in every leaf.
"Joy, joy for ever.--my task is done--
"The Gates are past and Heaven is won!"
- The celebrity of Mazagong is owing to its mangoes, which are certainly the best I ever tasted. The parent-tree, from which all those of this species have been grafted, is honored during the fruit-season by a guard of sepoys; and, in the reign of Shah Jehan, couriers ware stationed between Delhi and the Mahratta coast, to secure an abundant and fresh supply of mangoes for the royal table."--Mrs. Graham's Journal of Residence in India.
- This old porcelain is found in digging, and "if it is esteemed, it is not because it has acquired any new degree of beauty in the earth, but because it has retained its ancient beauty; and this alone is of great importance in China, where they give large sums for the smallest vessels which were used under the Emperors Yan and Chun, who reigned many ages before the dynasty of Tang, at which time porcelain began to be used by the Emperors" (about the year 442).--Dunn's Collection of curious Observations, etc.
- The blacksmith Gao, who successfully resisted the tyrant Zohak, and whose apron became the royal standard of Persia.
- "The Huma, a bird peculiar to the East. It is supposed to fly constantly in the air, and never touch the ground; it is looked upon as a bird of happy omen; and that every head it overshades will in time wear a crown."--Richardson. In the terms of alliance made by Fuzel Oola Khan with Hyder in 1760, one of the stipulations was, "that he should have the distinction of two honorary attendants standing behind him, holding fans composed of the feathers of the humma, according to the practice of his family."--Wilks's South of India. He adds in a note;--"The Humma is a fabulous bird. The head over which its shadow once passes will assuredly be circled with a crown. The splendid little bird suspended over the throne of Tippoo Sultaun, found at Seringapatam in 1799, was intended to represent this poetical fancy."
- "To the pilgrims to Mount Sinai we must attribute the inscriptions, figures, etc., on those rocks, which have from thence acquired the name of the Written Mountain."--Volney. M. Gebelin and others have been at much pains to attach some mysterious and important meaning to these inscriptions; but Niebuhr, as well as Volney, thinks that they must have been executed at idle hours by the travellers to Mount Sinai, "who were satisfied with cutting the unpolished rock with any pointed instrument; adding to their names and the date of their journeys some rude figures, which bespeak the hand of a people but little skilled in the arts."--Niebuhr.
- The Story of Sinbad.
- "The Cámalatá (called by Linnaeus, Ipomaea) is the most beautiful of its order, both in the color and form of its leaves and flowers; its elegant blossoms are 'celestial rosy red, Love's proper hue,' and have justly procured is the name of Cámalatá, or Love's creeper."--Sir W. Jones.
- "According to Father Premare, in his tract on Chinese Mythology, the mother of Fo-hi was the daughter of heaven, surnamed Flower-loving; and as the nymph was walking alone on the bank of a river, she found herself encircled by a rainbow, after which she became pregnant, and, at the end of twelve years, was delivered of a son radiant as herself."--Asiat. Res.
- "Numerous small islands emerge from the Lake of Cashmere. One is called Char Chenaur, from the plane trees upon it.--Foster.
- "The Altan Kol or Golden River of Tibet, which runs into the Lakes of Sing-su-hay, has abundance of gold in its sands, which employs the inhabitants all the summer in gathering it."--Description of Tibet in Pinkerton.
- "The Brahmins of this province insist that the blue campac flowers only in Paradise."--Sir W. Jones. It appears, however, from a curious letter of the Sultan of Menangeabow, given by Marsden, that one place on earth may lay claim to the possession of it. "This is the Sultan, who keeps the flower champaka that is blue, and to be found in no other country but his, being yellow elsewhere."--Marsden's Sumatra.
- "The Mahometans suppose that falling stars are the firebrands wherewith the good angels drive away the bad, when they approach too near the empyrean or verge or the heavens."--Fryer.
- The Forty Pillars; so the Persians call the ruins of Persepolis. It is imagined by them that this palace and the edifices at Balbec were built by Genii, for the purpose of hiding in their subterraneous caverns immense treasures, which still remain there.--D'Herbelot, Volney.
- Diodorus mentions the Isle of Panchai, to the south of Arabia Felix, where there was a temple of Jupiter. This island, or rather cluster of isles, has disappeared, "sunk [says Grandpré] in the abyss made by the fire beneath their foundations."--Voyage to the Indian Ocean.
- The Isles of Panchaia.
- "The cup of Jamshid, discovered, they say, when digging for the foundations of Persepolis."-Richardson.
- "It is not like the Sea of India, whose bottom is rich with pearls and ambergris, whose mountains of the coast are stored with gold and precious stones, whose gulfs breed creatures that yield ivory, and among the plants of whose shores are ebony, red wood, and the wood of Hairzan, aloes, camphor, cloves, sandal-wood, and all other spices and aromatics; where parrots and peacocks are birds of the forest, and musk and civit are collected upon the lands."--Travels of Two Mohammedans.
- "With this immense treasure Mamood returned to Ghizni and in the year 400 prepared a magnificent festival, where he displayed to the people his wealth in golden thrones and in other ornaments, in a great plain without the city of Ghizni." Ferishta.
- "Mahmood of Gazna, or Chizni, who conquered India in the beginning of the 11th century."--See his History in Dow and Sir J. Malcolm.
- "It is reported that the hunting equipage of the Sultan Mahmood was so magnificent, that he kept 400 greyhounds and bloodhounds each of which wore a collar set with jewels and a covering edged with gold and pearls."--Universal History, vol. iii.
- "The Mountains of the Moon, or the Montes Lunae of antiquity, at the foot of which the Nile is supposed to arise."--Bruce.
- "The Nile, which the Abyssinians know by the names of Abey and Alawy or the Giant."--Asiat. Research. vol. i. p. 387.
- See Perry's View of the Levant for an account of the sepulchres in Upper Thebes, and the numberless grots, covered all over with hieroglyphics in the mountains of Upper Egypt.
- "The orchards of Rosetta are filled with turtle-doves.--Sonnini.
- Savary mentions the pelicans upon Lake Moeris.
- "The superb date-tree, whose head languidly reclines, like that of a handsome woman overcome with sleep."--Dafard el Hadad.
- "That beautiful bird, with plumage of the finest shining blue, with purple beak and legs, the natural and living ornament of the temples and palaces of the Greeks and Romans, which, from the stateliness of its part, as well as the brilliancy of its colors, has obtained the title of Sultana,"--Sonnini.
- Jackson, speaking of the plague that occurred in West Barbary, when he was there, says, "The birds of the air fled away from the abodes of men. The hyaenas, on the contrary, visited the cemeteries," etc.
- "Gondar was full of hyaenas from the time it turned dark, till the dawn of day, seeking the different pieces of slaughtered carcasses, which this cruel and unclean people expose in the streets without burial, and who firmly believe that these animals are Falashta from the neighboring mountains, transformed by magic, and come down to eat human flesh in the dark in safety."--Bruce.
- "In the East, they suppose the Phoenix to have fifty orifices in his bill, which are continued to his tail; and that, after living one thousand years, he builds himself a funeral pile, sings a melodious air of different harmonies through his fifty organ pipes, flaps his wings with a velocity which sets fire to the wood and consumes himself."--Richardson.
- "On the shores of a quadrangular lake stand a thousand goblets, made of stars, out of which souls predestined to enjoy felicity drink the crystal wave."--From Chateaubriand's Description of the Mahometan Paradise, in his "Beauties of Christianity."
- Richardson thinks that Syria had its name from Suri, a beautiful and delicate species of rose, for which that country has always been famous;--hence, Suristan, the Land of Roses.
- "The number of lizards I saw one day in the great court of the Temple of the Sun at Balbec amounted to many thousands; the ground, the walls, and stones of the ruined buildings, were covered with them."--Bruce.
- "The Syrinx or Pan's pipes is still a pastoral instrument in Syria."--Russel.
- "Wild bees, frequent in Palestine, in hollow trunks or branches of trees, and the clefts of rocks. Thus it is said (Psalm lxxxi.), honey out of the stony rock."--Burder's Oriental Customs.
- "The River Jordan is on both sides beset with little, thick, and pleasant woods, among which thousands of nightingales warble all together."--Thevenot.
- The Temple of the Sun at Balbec.
- "You behold there a considerable number of a remarkable species of beautiful insects, the elegance of whose appearance and their attire procured for them the name of Damsels.--Sonnini.
- "Such Turks as at the common hours of prayer are on the road, or so employed as not to find convenience to attend the mosques, are still obliged to execute that duty; nor are they ever known to fail, whatever business they are then about, but pray immediately when the hour alarms them, whatever they are about, in that very place they chance to stand on; insomuch that when a janissary, whom you have to guard you up and down the city, hears the notice which is given him from the steeples, he will turn about, stand still, and beckon with his hand, to tell his charge he must have patience for awhile; when, taking out his handkerchief, he spreads it on the ground, sits cross-legged thereupon, and says his prayers, though in the open market, which, having ended he leaps briskly up, salutes the person whom he undertook to convey, and renews his journey with the mild expression of Ghell yelinnum ghell, or Come, dear, follow me."--Aaron Hill's Travels.
- The Nucta, Or Miraculous Drop, which falls in Egypt precisely on St. John's day in June and is supposed to have the effect of stopping the plague.
- The Country of Delight--the name of a province in the kingdom of Jinnistan, or Fairy Land, the capital of which is called the City of Jewels. Amberabad is another of the cities of Jinnistan.
- The tree Tooba, that stands in Paradise, in the palace of Mahomet. See Sale's Prelim. Disc.--Tooba, says D'Herbelot, signifies beatitude, or eternal happiness.
- Mahomet is described, in the 53d chapter of the Koran, as having seen the Angel Gabriel "by the lote-tree, beyond which there is no passing: near it is the Garden of Eternal Abode." This tree, say the commentators, stands in the seventh Heaven, on the right hand of the Throne of God.