Lalla Rookh

Lalla Rookh:
The Fire-Worshippers
by Thomas Moore

double picture: young woman leaning on windowsill, and sun setting behind ocean cliffs

Crowell 1884

“’Tis she, that Emir’s blooming child.”

For many days after their departure from Lahore, a considerable degree of gloom hung over the whole party. Lalla Rookh, who had intended to make illness her excuse for not admitting the young minstrel, as usual, to the pavilion, soon found that to feign indisposition was unnecessary;—Fadladeen felt the loss of the good road they had hitherto travelled, and was very near cursing Jehan-Guire (of blessed memory!) for not having continued his delectable alley of trees,207 at least as far as the mountains of Cashmere;—while the Ladies, who had nothing now to do all day but to be fanned by peacocks’ feathers and listen to Fadladeen, seemed heartily weary of the life they led, and, in spite of all the Great Chamberlain’s criticisms, were so tasteless as to wish for the poet again. One evening, as they were proceeding to their place of rest for the night, the Princess, who, for the freer enjoyment of the air, had mounted her favourite Arabian palfrey, in passing by a small grove, heard the notes of a lute from within its leaves, and a voice, which she but too well knew, singing the following words:—


Tell me not of joys above,

If that world can give no bliss,

Truer, happier than the Love

Which enslaves our souls in this.

Tell me not of Houris’ eyes;—

Far from me their dangerous glow,

If those looks that light the skies

Wound like some that burn below.

Who, that feels what Love is here,

All its falsehood—all its pain—

Would, for even Elysium’s sphere,

Risk the fatal dream again?

Who, that midst a desert’s heat

Sees the waters fade away,

Would not rather die than meet

Streams again as false as they?

The tone of melancholy defiance in which these words were uttered, went to Lalla Rookh’s heart;—and, as she reluctantly rode on, she could not help feeling it to 162 be a sad but still sweet certainty, that Feramorz was to the full as enamoured and miserable as herself.

The place where they encamped that evening was the first delightful spot they had come to since they left Lahore. On one side of them was a grove full of small Hindoo temples, and planted with the most graceful trees of the East; where the tamarind, the cassia, and the silken plantains of Ceylon were mingled in rich contrast with the high fanlike foliage of the Palmyra,—that favourite tree of the luxurious bird that lights up the chambers of its nest with fire-flies.208 In the middle of the lawn where the pavilion stood there was a tank surrounded by small mangoe-trees, on the clear cold waters of which floated multitudes of the beautiful red lotus;209 while at a distance stood the ruins of a strange and awful-looking tower, which seemed old enough to have been the temple of some religion no longer known, and which spoke the voice of desolation in the midst of all that bloom and loveliness. This singular ruin excited the wonder and conjectures of all. Lalla Rookh guessed in vain, and the all-pretending Fadladeen, who had never till this journey been beyond the precincts of Delhi, was proceeding most learnedly to show that he knew nothing whatever about the matter, when one of the Ladies suggested that perhaps Feramorz could satisfy 163 their curiosity. They were now approaching his native mountains, and this tower might perhaps be a relic of some of those dark superstitions, which had prevailed in that country before the light of Islam dawned upon it. The Chamberlain, who usually preferred his own ignorance to the best knowledge that any one else could give him, was by no means pleased with this officious reference; and the Princess, too, was about to interpose a faint word of objection, but, before either of them could speak, a slave was despatched for Feramorz, who, in a very few minutes, made his appearance before them looking so pale and unhappy in Lalla Rookh’s eyes, that she repented already of her cruelty in having so long excluded him.

That venerable tower, he told them, was the remains of an ancient Fire-temple, built by those Ghebers or Persians of the old religion, who, many hundred years since, had fled hither from their Arab conquerors,210 preferring liberty and their altars in a foreign land to the alternative of apostasy or persecution in their own. It was impossible, he added, not to feel interested in the many glorious but unsuccessful struggles, which had been made by these original natives of Persia to cast off the yoke of their bigoted conquerors. Like their own Fire in the Burning Field at Bakou,211 when suppressed in 164 one place, they had but broken out with fresh flame in another; and, as a native of Cashmere, of that fair and Holy Valley, which had in the same manner become the prey of strangers,212 and seen her ancient shrines and native princes swept away before the march of her intolerant invaders, he felt a sympathy, he owned, with the sufferings of the persecuted Ghebers, which every monument like this before them but tended more powerfully to awaken.

It was the first time that Feramorz had ever ventured upon so much prose before Fadladeen, and it may easily be conceived what effect such prose as this must have produced upon that most orthodox and most pagan-hating personage. He sat for some minutes aghast, ejaculating only at intervals, “Bigoted conquerors!—sympathy with Fire-worshippers!”213—while Feramorz, happy to take advantage of this almost speechless horror of the Chamberlain, proceeded to say that he knew a melancholy story, connected with the events of one of those struggles of the brave Fire-worshippers against their Arab masters, which, if the evening was not too far advanced, he should have much pleasure in being allowed to relate to the Princess. It was impossible for Lalla Rookh to refuse;—he had never before looked half so animated; and when he spoke of the Holy Valley his 165
eyes had sparkled, she thought, like the talismanic characters on the scimitar of Solomon. Her consent was therefore most readily granted; and while Fadladeen sat in unspeakable dismay, expecting treason and abomination in every line, the poet thus began his story of the Fire-worshippers:—


decorative title page: The FIRE WORSHIPPERS


young woman looking mournfully out the window

’Tis moonlight over Oman’s Sea;214

Her banks of pearl and palmy isles

Bask in the night-beam beauteously,

And her blue waters sleep in smiles.

’Tis moonlight in Harmozia’s215 walls,

And through her Emir’s porphyry halls,

Where, some hours since, was heard the swell

Of trumpet and the clash of zel,216

Bidding the bright-eyed sun farewell;—

The peaceful sun, whom better suits

The music of the bulbul’s nest,

Or the light touch of lovers’ lutes,


To sing him to his golden rest.

All hush’d—there’s not a breeze in motion;

The shore is silent as the ocean.

If zephyrs come, so light they come,

Nor leaf is stirr’d nor wave is driven;—

The wind-tower on the Emir’s dome217

Can hardly win a breath from heaven.

Even he, that tyrant Arab, sleeps

Calm, while a nation round him weeps;

While curses load the air he breathes,

And falchions from unnumbered sheaths

Are starting to avenge the shame

His race hath brought on Iran’s218 name.

Hard, heartless Chief, unmov’d alike

Mid eyes that weep, and swords that strike;—

One of that saintly, murderous brood,

To carnage and the Koran given,

Who think through unbelievers’ blood

Lies their directest path to heaven;—

One, who will pause and kneel unshod

In the warm blood his hand hath pour’d,

To mutter o’er some text of God

Engraven on his reeking sword;219

Nay, who can coolly note the line,

The letter of those words divine,


To which his blade, with searching art,

Had sunk into its victim’s heart!

Just Alla! what must be thy look,

When such a wretch before thee stands

Unblushing, with thy Sacred Book,—

Turning the leaves with blood-stain’d hands,

And wresting from its page sublime

His creed of lust, and hate, and crime;—

Even as those bees of Trebizond,

Which, from the sunniest flowers that glad

With their pure smile the gardens round,

Draw venom forth that drives men mad.220

Never did fierce Arabia send

A satrap forth more direly great;

Never was Iran doom’d to bend

Beneath a yoke of deadlier weight.

Her throne had fallen—her pride was crush’d—

Her sons were willing slaves, nor blush’d,

In their own land,—no more their own,—

To crouch beneath a stranger’s throne.

Her towers, where Mithra once had burn’d,

To Moslem shrines—oh shame!—were turn’d,

Where slaves, converted by the sword,

Their mean, apostate worship pour’d,


And curs’d the faith their sires ador’d.

Yet has she hearts, mid all this ill,

O’er all this wreck high buoyant still

With hope and vengeance;—hearts that yet—

Like gems, in darkness, issuing rays

They’ve treasur’d from the sun that’s set,—

Beam all the light of long-lost days!

And swords she hath, nor weak nor slow

To second all such hearts can dare;

As he shall know, well, dearly know,

Who sleeps in moonlight luxury there,

Tranquil as if his spirit lay

Becalm’d in Heaven’s approving ray.

Sleep on—for purer eyes than thine

Those waves are hush’d, those planets shine;

Sleep on, and be thy rest unmov’d

By the white moonbeam’s dazzling power;—

None but the loving and the lov’d

Should be awake at this sweet hour.

And see—where, high above those rocks

That o’er the deep their shadows fling,

Yon turret stands;—where ebon locks,

As glossy as a heron’s wing

Upon the turban of a king,221

Hang from the lattice, long and wild—


’Tis she, that Emir’s blooming child,

All truth and tenderness and grace,

Though born of such ungentle race;—

An image of Youth’s radiant Fountain

Springing in a desolate mountain!222

Oh what a pure and sacred thing

Is Beauty, curtain’d from the sight

Of the gross world, illumining

One only mansion with her light!

Unseen by man’s disturbing eye,—

The flower that blooms beneath the sea,

Too deep for sunbeams, doth not lie

Hid in more chaste obscurity.

So, Hinda, have thy face and mind,

Like holy mysteries, lain enshrin’d.

And oh, what transport for a lover

To lift the veil that shades them o’er!—

Like those who, all at once, discover

In the lone deep some fairy shore,

Where mortal never trod before,

And sleep and wake in scented airs

No lip had ever breath’d but theirs.

Beautiful are the maids that glide,

On summer-eves, through Yemen’s223 dales,


And bright the glancing looks they hide

Behind their litters’ roseate veils;—

And brides, as delicate and fair

As the white jasmine flowers they wear,

Hath Yemen in her blissful clime,

Who, lull’d in cool kiosk or bower,224

Before their mirrors count the time,225

And grow still lovelier every hour.

But never yet hath bride or maid

In Araby’s gay Haram smil’d,

Whose boasted brightness would not fade

Before Al Hassan’s blooming child.

Light as the angel shapes that bless

An infant’s dream, yet not the less

Rich in all woman’s loveliness;—

With eyes so pure, that from their ray

Dark Vice would turn abash’d away,

Blinded like serpents, when they gaze

Upon the emerald’s virgin blaze;226

Yet fill’d with all youth’s sweet desires,

Mingling the meek and vestal fires

Of other worlds with all the bliss,

The fond, weak tenderness of this:

A soul, too, more than half divine,

Where, through some shades of earthly feeling,


Religion’s soften’d glories shine,

Like light through summer foliage stealing,

Shedding a glow of such mild hue,

So warm, and yet so shadowy too,

As makes the very darkness there

More beautiful than light elsewhere.

Such is the maid who, at this hour,

Hath risen from her restless sleep,

And sits alone in that high bower,

Watching the still and shining deep.

Ah! ’twas not thus,—with tearful eyes

And beating heart,—she used to gaze

On the magnificent earth and skies,

In her own land, in happier days.

Why looks she now so anxious down

Among those rocks, whose rugged frown

Blackens the mirror of the deep?

Whom waits she all this lonely night?

Too rough the rocks, too bold the steep,

For man to scale that turret’s height!—

So deem’d at least her thoughtful sire,

When high, to catch the cool night-air,

After the day-beam’s withering fire,227

He built her bower of freshness there,


And had it deck’d with costliest skill,

And fondly thought it safe as fair:—

Think, reverend dreamer! think so still,

Nor wake to learn what Love can dare;—

Love, all-defying Love, who sees

No charm in trophies won with ease;—

Whose rarest, dearest fruits of bliss

Are pluck’d on Danger’s precipice!

Bolder than they who dare not dive

For pearls, but when the sea’s at rest,

Love, in the tempest most alive,

Hath ever held that pearl the best

He finds beneath the stormiest water.

Yes—Araby’s unrivall’d daughter,

Though high that tower, that rock-way rude,

There’s one who, but to kiss thy cheek,

Would climb the’ untrodden solitude

Of Ararat’s tremendous peak,228

And think its steeps, though dark and dread,

Heaven’s pathways, if to thee they led!

Even now thou seest the flashing spray,

That lights his oar’s impatient way;—

Even now thou hear’st the sudden shock

Of his swift bark against the rock,

And stretchest down thy arms of snow,

As if to lift him from below!


Like her to whom, at dead of night,

The bridegroom, with his locks of light,229

Came, in the flush of love and pride,

And scal’d the terrace of his bride;—

When, as she saw him rashly spring,

And midway up in danger cling,

She flung him down her long black hair,

Exclaiming, breathless, “There, love, there!”

And scarce did manlier nerve uphold

The hero Zal in that fond hour,

Than wings the youth who, fleet and bold,

Now climbs the rocks to Hinda’s bower.

See—light as up their granite steeps

The rock-goats of Arabia clamber,230

Fearless from crag to crag he leaps,

And now is in the maiden’s chamber.

She loves—but knows not whom she loves,

Nor what his race, nor whence he came;—

Like one who meets, in Indian groves,

Some beauteous bird without a name,

Brought by the last ambrosial breeze,

From isles in the’ undiscover’d seas,

To show his plumage for a day

To wondering eyes, and wing away!

Will he thus fly—her nameless lover?


Alla forbid! ’twas by a moon

As fair as this, while singing over

Some ditty to her soft Kanoon,231

Alone, at this same witching hour,

She first beheld his radiant eyes

Gleam through the lattice of the bower,

Where nightly now they mix their sighs;

And thought some spirit of the air

(For what could waft a mortal there?)

Was pausing on his moonlight way

To listen to her lonely lay!

This fancy ne’er hath left her mind:

And—though, when terror’s swoon had past,

She saw a youth, of mortal kind,

Before her in obeisance cast,—

Yet often since, when he hath spoken

Strange, awful words,—and gleams have broken

From his dark eyes, too bright to bear,

Oh! she hath fear’d her soul was given

To some unhallow’d child of air,

Some erring Spirit cast from heaven,

Like those angelic youths of old,

Who burn’d for maids of mortal mould,

Bewilder’d left the glorious skies,

And lost their heaven for woman’s eyes.

Fond girl! nor fiend nor angel he


Who woos thy young simplicity;

But one of earth’s impassion’d sons,

As warm in love, as fierce in ire,

As the best heart whose current runs

Full of the Day-God’s living fire.

But quench’d to-night that ardour seems,

And pale his cheek, and sunk his brow;—

Never before, but in her dreams,

Had she beheld him pale as now:

And those were dreams of troubled sleep,

From which ’twas joy to wake and weep;

Visions, that will not be forgot,

But sadden every waking scene,

Like warning ghosts, that leave the spot

All wither’d where they once have been.

“How sweetly,” said the trembling maid,

Of her own gentle voice afraid,

So long had they in silence stood,

Looking upon that tranquil flood—

“How sweetly does the moon-beam smile

“To-night upon yon leafy isle!

“Oft, in my fancy’s wanderings,

“I’ve wish’d that little isle had wings,

“And we, within its fairy bowers,

“Were wafted off to seas unknown,


“Where not a pulse should beat but ours,

“And we might live, love, die alone!

“Far from the cruel and the cold,—

“Where the bright eyes of angels only

“Should come around us, to behold

“A paradise so pure and lonely.

“Would this be world enough for thee?”—

Playful she turn’d, that he might see

The passing smile her cheek put on;

But when she mark’d how mournfully

His eyes met hers, that smile was gone;

And, bursting into heart-felt tears,

“Yes, yes,” she cried, “my hourly fears,

“My dreams have boded all too right—

“We part—for ever part—to-night!

“I knew, I knew it could not last—

“’Twas bright, ’twas heavenly, but ’tis past!

“Oh! ever thus, from childhood’s hour,

“I’ve seen my fondest hopes decay;

“I never lov’d a tree or flower,

“But ’twas the first to fade away.

“I never nurs’d a dear gazelle,

“To glad me with its soft black eye,

“But when it came to know me well,

“And love me, it was sure to die!

“Now too—the joy most like divine


“Of all I ever dreamt or knew,

“To see thee, hear thee, call thee mine,—

“Oh misery! must I lose that too?

Yet go—on peril’s brink we meet;—

“Those, frightful rocks—that treacherous sea—


“No, never come again—though sweet,

“Though heaven, it may be death to thee.

“Farewell—and blessings on thy way,

“Where’er thou goest, beloved stranger!

“Better to sit and watch that ray,

“And think thee safe, though far away,

“Than have thee near me, and in danger!”

man in helmet comforts weeping young woman

“Danger!—oh, tempt me not to boast—”

The youth exclaim’d—“thou little know’st

“What he can brave, who, born and nurst

“In Danger’s paths, has dar’d her worst;

“Upon whose ear the signal word

“Of strife and death is hourly breaking;

“Who sleeps with head upon the sword

“His fever’d hand must grasp in waking.


“Say on—thou fear’st not then,

“And we may meet—oft meet again?”

“Oh! look not so—beneath the skies

“I now fear nothing but those eyes.

“If aught on earth could charm or force

“My spirit from its destin’d course,—

“If aught could make this soul forget

“The bond to which its seal is set,


“’Twould be those eyes;—they, only they,

“Could melt that sacred seal away!

“But no—’tis fix’d—my awful doom

“Is fix’d—on this side of the tomb

“We meet no more;—why, why did Heaven

“Mingle two souls that earth has riven,

“Has rent asunder wide as ours?

“Oh, Arab maid, as soon the Powers

“Of Light and Darkness may combine,

“As I be link’d with thee or thine!

“Thy Father——”

“Holy Alla save

“His grey head from that lightning glance!

“Thou know’st him not—he loves the brave;

“Nor lives there under heaven’s expanse

“One who would prize, would worship thee

“And thy bold spirit, more than he.

“Oft when, in childhood, I have play’d

“With the bright falchion by his side,

“I’ve heard him swear his lisping maid

“In time should be a warrior’s bride.

“And still, whene’er at Haram hours

“I take him cool sherbets and flowers,

“He tells me, when in playful mood,

“A hero shall my bridegroom be,

“Since maids are best in battle woo’d,


“And won with shouts of victory!

“Nay, turn not from me—thou alone

“Art form’d to make both hearts thy own.

“Go—join his sacred ranks—thou know’st

“The’ unholy strife these Persians wage:—

“Good Heaven, that frown!—even now thou glow’st

“With more than mortal warrior’s rage.

“Haste to the camp by morning’s light,

“And, when that sword is raised in fight,

“Oh still remember, Love and I

“Beneath its shadow trembling lie!

“One victory o’er those Slaves of Fire,

“Those impious Ghebers, whom my sire


man lifts his cape to reveal his curved knife to startled young woman

“Hold, hold—thy words are death—”

The stranger cried, as wild he flung

His mantle back, and show’d beneath

The Gheber belt that round him clung.—232

“Here, maiden, look—weep—blush to see

“All that thy sire abhors in me!

“Yes—I am of that impious race,

“Those Slaves of Fire, who, morn and even,

“Hail their Creator’s dwelling-place

“Among the living lights of heaven:233

“Yes—I am of that outcast few,

“To Iran and to vengeance true,


“Who curse the hour your Arabs came

“To desolate our shrines of flame,

“And swear, before God’s burning eye,

“To break our country’s chains, or die!

“Thy bigot sire,—nay, tremble not,—

“He, who gave birth to those dear eyes,


“With me is sacred as the spot

“From which our fires of worship rise!

“But know—’twas he I sought that night,

“When, from my watch-boat on the sea,

“I caught this turret’s glimmering light,

“And up the rude rocks desperately

“Rush’d to my prey—thou know’st the rest—

“I climb’d the gory vulture’s nest,

“And found a trembling dove within;—

“Thine, thine the victory—thine the sin—

“If Love hath made one thought his own,

“That Vengeance claims first—last—alone!

“Oh! had we never, never met,

“Or could this heart e’en now forget

“How link’d, how bless’d we might have been,

“Had fate not frown’d so dark between!

“Hadst thou been born a Persian maid,

“In neighbouring valleys had we dwelt,

“Through the same fields in childhood play’d,

“At the same kindling altar knelt,—

“Then, then, while all those nameless ties,

“In which the charm of Country lies,

“Had round our hearts been hourly spun,

“Till Iran’s cause and thine were one;

“While in thy lute’s awakening sigh

“I heard the voice of days gone by,


“And saw, in every smile of thine,

“Returning hours of glory shine;—

“While the wrong’d Spirit of our Land

“Liv’d, look’d, and spoke her wrongs through thee,—

“God! who could then this sword withstand?

“Its very flash were victory!

“But now—estrang’d, divorc’d for ever,

“Far as the grasp of Fate can sever;

“Our only ties what love has wove,—

“In faith, friends, country, sunder’d wide;

“And then, then only, true to love,

“When false to all that’s dear beside!

“Thy father Iran’s deadliest foe—

“Thyself perhaps, even now—but no—

“Hate never look’d so lovely yet!

“No—sacred to thy soul will be

“The land of him who could forget

“All but that bleeding land for thee.

“When other eyes shall see, unmov’d,

“Her widows mourn, her warriors fall,

“Thou’lt think how well one Gheber lov’d,

“And for his sake thou’lt weep for all!

“But look——”

With sudden start he turn’d

And pointed to the distant wave,

Where lights, like charnel meteors, burn’d


Bluely, as o’er some seaman’s grave;

And fiery darts, at intervals,234

Flew up all sparkling from the main,

As if each star that nightly falls,

Were shooting back to heaven again.

“My signal lights!—I must away—

“Both, both are ruin’d, if I stay.

“Farewell—sweet life! thou cling’st in vain—

“Now, Vengeance, I am thine again!”

Fiercely he broke away, nor stopp’d,

Nor look’d—but from the lattice dropp’d

Down ’mid the pointed crags beneath,

As if he fled from love to death.

While pale and mute young Hinda stood

Nor mov’d, till in the silent flood

A momentary plunge below

Startled her from her trance of woe;—

Shrieking she to the lattice flew,

“I come—I come—if in that tide

“Thou sleep’st to-night, I’ll sleep there too,

“In death’s cold wedlock, by thy side.

“Oh! I would ask no happier bed

“Than the chill wave my love lies under:—

Sweeter to rest together dead,

“Far sweeter, than to live asunder!”


But no—their hour is not yet come—

Again she sees his pinnace fly,

Wafting him fleetly to his home,

Where’er that ill-starr’d home may lie;

And calm and smooth it seem’d to win

Its moonlight way before the wind,

As if it bore all peace within,

Nor left one breaking heart behind!

man climbs down outer wall from window


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.235

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,236 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,237 which now supplied the use 191 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:—


boat with lateen sails rowing across the bay

The morn hath risen clear and calm,

And o’er the Green Sea238 palely shines,

Revealing Bahrein’s239 groves of palm,

And lighting Kishma’s239 amber vines.

Fresh smell the shores of Araby,

While breezes from the Indian sea

Blow round Selama’s240 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 pass’d,

Had tow’rd that holy headland cast—


Oblations to the Genii there

For gentle skies and breezes fair!

The nightingale now bends her flight241

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 scimitar242

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, turn’d

To meet that eye where’er it burn’d?—

When, from the banks of Bendemeer

To the nut-groves of Samarcand,

Thy temples flam’d o’er all the land?

Where are they? ask the shades of them


Who, on Cadessia’s243 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, unlov’d, unknown,

Beyond the Caspian’s Iron Gates,244

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 belov’d, 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,

Quench’d 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,245

Whose buds fly open with a sound

That shakes the pigmy forests round!

Yes, Emir! he, who scal’d that tower,

And, had he reach’d thy slumbering breast,

Had taught thee, in a Gheber’s power

How safe e’en tyrant heads may rest—

Is one of many, brave as he,

Who loathe thy haughty race and thee;

Who, though they know the strife is vain,

Who, though 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

E’en for one bleeding moment free,

And die in pangs of liberty!

Thou know’st them well—’tis some moons since

Thy turban’d troops and blood-red flags,

Thou satrap of a bigot Prince,

Have swarm’d among these Green Sea crags;

Yet here, e’en here, a sacred band,

Ay, in the portal of that land

Thou, Arab, dar’st to call thy own,

Their spears across thy path have thrown;


Here—ere the winds half wing’d thee o’er—

Rebellion brav’d thee from the shore.

Rebellion! foul, dishonouring word,

Whose wrongful blight so oft has stain’d

The holiest cause that tongue or sword

Of mortal ever lost or gain’d.

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 chill’d at first,

If check’d 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 light246

The eyes of Yemen’s warriors wink?

Who comes, embower’d 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!

man in helmet looks glum

’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 accurs’d and dire

(So rank’d 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,247

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 groan’d 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 colouring Fancy gave

To a young, warm, and dauntless Chief,—

One who, no more than mortal brave,

Fought for the land his soul ador’d,

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 render’d holy by the ranks

Of sainted cedars on its banks.248

’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,

Though fram’d 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 bow’d

Before the Moslem, as he pass’d,

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 welcom’d he


The sparkle of the first sword drawn

For vengeance and for liberty!

But vain was valour—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 block’d his way—

In vain—for every lance they rais’d,

Thousands around the conqueror blaz’d;

For every arm that lin’d their shore,

Myriads of slaves were wafted o’er,—

A bloody, bold, and countless crowd,

Before whose swarm as fast they bow’d

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:249

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 brav’d the sky,

A ruin’d Temple tower’d, so high

That oft the sleeping albatross250

Struck the wild ruins with her wing,

And from her cloud-rock’d 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 dash’d, like midnight revellers, in;—

And such the strange, mysterious din

At times throughout those caverns roll’d,—

And such the fearful wonders told

Of restless sprites imprison’d there,

That bold were Moslem, who would dare,

At twilight hour, to steer his skiff

Beneath the Gheber’s lonely cliff.251

On the land side, those towers sublime,

That seem’d above the grasp of Time,

Were sever’d 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 seem’d a place where Gholes 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 imprison’d flow,

Or floods of ever-restless flame.

For, each ravine, each rocky spire

Of that vast mountain stood on fire;252

And, though for ever past the days

When God was worshipp’d in the blaze

That from its lofty altar shone,—

Though fled the priests, the votaries gone,

Still did the mighty flame burn on,253

Through chance and change, through good and ill,

Like its own God’s eternal will,

Deep, constant, bright, unquenchable!

Thither the vanquish’d 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 cross’d the chasm and gain’d the towers,—

“This home,” he cried, “at least is ours;—

“Here we may bleed, unmock’d by hymns

“Of Moslem triumph o’er our head;

“Here we may fall, nor leave our limbs

“To quiver to the Moslem’s tread.

“Stretch’d 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 ruin’d altar broke,

Glar’d 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 Rustam254 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 e’en 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 unchain’d,

“And souls that thraldom never stain’d;—

“This spot, at least, no foot of slave

“Or satrap ever yet profan’d;

“And though but few—though fast the wave

“Of life is ebbing from our veins,

“Enough for vengeance still remains.

“As panthers, after set of sun,

“Bush from the roots of Lebanon

“Across the dark-sea robber’s way,255

“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 e’en 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!”

man with sword addresses his soldiers

His Chiefs stood round—each shining blade

Upon the broken altar laid—


And though so wild and desolate

Those courts, where once the Mighty sate;

No 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;256

Though neither priest nor rites were there,

Nor charmed leaf of pure pomegranate;257

Nor hymn, nor censer’s fragrant air,

Nor symbol of their worshipp’d planet;258

Yet the same God that heard their sires

Heard them, while on that altar’s fires

They swore259 the latest, holiest deed

Of the few hearts, still left to bleed,

Should be, in Iran’s injur’d 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 touch’d 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, bloom’d and smil’d,—

Tranquil as on some battle plain

The Persian lily shines and towers,260

Before the combat’s reddening stain

Hath fall’n upon her golden flowers.

Light-hearted maid, unaw’d, unmov’d,

While Heaven but spar’d the sire she lov’d,

Once at thy evening tales of blood

Unlistening and aloof she stood—

And oft, when thou hast pac’d along

Thy Haram halls with furious heat,

Hast thou not curs’d her cheerful song,

That came across thee, calm and sweet,

Like lutes of angels, touch’d so near

Hell’s confines, that the damn’d 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 snatch’d 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 footstep light

Al Hassan’s falchion for the fight;

And—had he look’d with clearer sight,

Had not the mists, that ever rise

From a foul spirit, dimm’d his eyes—

He would have mark’d her shuddering frame,

When from the field of blood he came,

The faltering speech—the look estrang’d—

Voice, step, and life, and beauty chang’d—

He would have mark’d all this, and known

Such change is wrought by Love alone!

Ah! not the Love, that should have bless’d

So young, so innocent a breast;

Not the pure, open, prosperous Love,

That, pledg’d on earth and seal’d 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 nurs’d 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 darken’d 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 clogg’d wing,

Which reek’d with that day’s banqueting—

Was all she saw, was all she heard.


young woman sits up in bed as her father speaks

’Tis the eighth morn—Al Hassan’s brow

Is brighten’d with unusual joy—

What mighty mischief glads him now,

Who never smiles but to destroy?

The sparkle upon Herkend’s Sea,

When toss’d at midnight furiously,261

Tells not of wreck and ruin nigh,

More surely than that smiling eye!

“Up, daughter, up—the Kerna’s262 breath

“Has blown a blast would waken death,

“And yet thou sleep’st—up, child, and see

“This blessed day for Heaven and me,

“A day more rich in Pagan blood

“Than ever flash’d 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 scream’d—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 wor’st on Ohod’s field of death,263

“I swear, for every sob that parts

“In anguish from these heathen hearts,

“A gem from Persia’s plunder’d 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 risk’d thy timid sex

“In scenes that man himself might dread,

“Had I not hop’d 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 lurk’d 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 through 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 return’d

To their high rocky fortress mourn’d

For him among the matchless dead

They left behind on glory’s bed,

He liv’d, and, in the face of morn,

Laugh’d 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 drugg’d 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!264

His country’s curse, his children’s shame,

Outcast of virtue, peace, and fame,

May he, at last, with lips of flame

On the parch’d desert thirsting die,

While lakes, that shone in mockery nigh,265

Are fading off, untouch’d, untested,

Like the once glorious hopes he blasted!

And, when from earth his spirit flies,

Just Prophet, let the damn’d one dwell

Full in the sight of Paradise,

Beholding heaven, and feeling hell!

young woman sitting by ship’s railing looking pensive


Lalla Rookh had, the night before, been visited by a dream which, in spite of the impending fate of poor Hafed, made her heart more than usually cheerful during the morning, and gave her cheeks all the freshened animation of a flower that the Bid-musk had just passed over.266 She fancied that she was sailing on that Eastern Ocean, where the sea-gipsies, who live for ever on the water,267 enjoy a perpetual summer in wandering from isle to isle, when she saw a small gilded bark approaching her. It was like one of those boats which the Maldivian islanders send adrift, at the mercy of winds and waves, loaded with perfumes, flowers, and odoriferous wood, as an offering to the Spirit whom they call King of the Sea. At first, this little bark appeared to be empty, but, on coming nearer——

She had proceeded thus far in relating the dream to her Ladies, when Feramorz appeared at the door of the pavilion. In his presence, of course, every thing else was forgotten, and the continuance of the story was instantly requested by all. Fresh wood of aloes was set to burn in the cassolets;—the violet sherbets268 were hastily handed round, and after a short prelude on his lute, in the pathetic measure of Nava,269 which is always used to express the lamentations of absent lovers, the Poet thus continued:—


The day is lowering—stilly black

Sleeps the grim wave, while heaven’s rack,

Dispers’d and wild, ’twixt earth and sky

Hangs like a shatter’d canopy.

There’s not a cloud in that blue plain

But tells of storm to come or past;—

Here, flying loosely as the mane

Of a young war-horse in the blast;—

There, roll’d in masses dark and swelling,

As proud to be the thunder’s dwelling!


While some, already burst and riven,

Seem melting down the verge of heaven;

As though the infant storm had rent

The mighty womb that gave him birth,

And, having swept the firmament,

Was now in fierce career for earth.

On earth ’twas yet all calm around,

A pulseless silence, dread, profound,

More awful than the tempest’s sound.

The diver steer’d for Ormus’ bowers,

And moor’d his skiff till calmer hours;

The sea-birds, with portentous screech,

Flew fast to land;—upon the beach

The pilot oft had paus’d, with glance

Turn’d upward to that wild expanse;—

And all was boding, drear, and dark

As her own soul, when Hinda’s bark

Went slowly from the Persian shore.—

No music tim’d her parting oar,270

Nor friends upon the lessening strand

Linger’d, to wave the unseen hand,

Or speak the farewell, heard no more;

But lone, unheeded, from the bay

The vessel takes its mournful way,

Like some ill-destin’d bark that steers

In silence through the Gate of Tears.271


And where was stern Al Hassan then?

Could not that saintly scourge of men

From bloodshed and devotion spare

One minute for a farewell there?

No—close within, in changeful fits

Of cursing and of prayer, he sits

In savage loneliness to brood

Upon the coming night of blood,—

With that keen, second-scent of death,

By which the vulture snuffs his food

In the still warm and living breath!272

While o’er the wave his weeping daughter

Is wafted from these scenes of slaughter,

As a young bird of Babylon,273

Let loose to tell of victory won,

Flies home, with wing, ah! not unstain’d

By the red hands that held her chain’d.

And does the long-left home she seeks

Light up no gladness on her cheeks?

The flowers she nurs’d—the well-known groves,

Where oft in dreams her spirit roves—

Once more to see her dear gazelles

Come bounding with their silver bells;

Her birds’ new plumage to behold,

And the gay, gleaming fishes count,


She left, all filleted with gold,

Shooting around their jasper fount;274

Her little garden mosque to see,

And once again, at evening hour,

To tell her ruby rosary275

In her own sweet acacia bower.—

Can these delights, that wait her now,

Call up no sunshine on her brow?

No,—silent, from her train apart,—

As if e’en now she felt at heart

The chill of her approaching doom,—

She sits, all lovely in her gloom

As a pale Angel of the Grave;

And o’er the wide, tempestuous wave,

Looks, with a shudder, to those towers,

Where, in a few short awful hours,

Blood, blood, in streaming tides shall run,

Foul incense for to-morrow’s sun!

“Where art thou, glorious stranger! thou,

“So loved, so lost, where art thou now?


“The’ unhallow’d name thou’rt doom’d to bear,

“Still glorious—still to this fond heart

“Dear as its blood, whate’er thou art!

“Yes—Alla, dreadful Alla! yes—

“If there be wrong, be crime in this,


“Let the black waves that round us roll,

“Whelm me this instant, ere my soul,

“Forgetting faith—home—father—all—

“Before its earthly idol fall,

“Nor worship e’en Thyself above him—

“For, oh, so wildly do I love him,

“Thy Paradise itself were dim

“And joyless, if not shared with him!”

Her hands were clasp’d—her eyes upturn’d,

Dropping their tears like moonlight rain;

And, though her lip, fond raver! burn’d

With words of passion, bold, profane,

Yet was there light around her brow,

A holiness in those dark eyes,

Which show’d, though wandering earthward now,

Her spirit’s home was in the skies.

Yes—for a spirit pure as hers

Is always pure, e’en while it errs;

As sunshine, broken in the rill,

Though turn’d astray, is sunshine still!

So wholly had her mind forgot

All thoughts but one, she heeded not

The rising storm—the wave that cast

A moment’s midnight, as it pass’d—


Nor heard the frequent shout, the tread

Of gathering tumult o’er her head—

Clash’d swords, and tongues that seem’d to vie

With the rude riot of the sky.—

But, hark!—that war-whoop on the deck—

That crash, as if each engine there,

Masts, sails, and all, were gone to wreck,

Mid yells and stampings of despair!

Merciful Heaven! what can it be?

’Tis not the storm, though fearfully

The ship has shudder’d as she rode

O’er mountain-waves—“Forgive me, God!

“Forgive me”—shrieked the maid, and knelt,

Trembling all over—for she felt

As if her judgment-hour was near

While crouching round, half dead with fear,

Her handmaids clung, nor breath’d, nor stirr’d—

When, hark!—a second crash—a third—

And now, as if a bolt of thunder

Had riv’n the labouring planks asunder,

The deck falls in—what horrors then!

Blood, waves, and tackle, swords and men

Come mix’d together through the chasm,—

Some wretches in their dying spasm

Still fighting on—and some that call

“For God and Iran!” as they fall!


swordsman fights off others as he carries a woman over his shoulder

Whose was the hand that turn’d away

The perils of the’ infuriate fray,

And snatch’d her breathless from beneath

This wilderment of wreck and death?

She knew not—for a faintness came

Chill o’er her, and her sinking frame


Amid the ruins of that hour

Lay, like a pale and scorched flower,

Beneath the red volcano’s shower.

But, oh! the sights and sounds of dread

That shock’d her ere her senses fled!

The yawning deck—the crowd that strove

Upon the tottering planks above—

The sail, whose fragments, shivering o’er

The stragglers’ heads, all dash’d with gore,

Flutter’d like bloody flags—the clash

Of sabres, and the lightning’s flash

Upon their blades, high toss’d about

Like meteor brands276—as if throughout

The elements one fury ran,

One general rage, that left a doubt

Which was the fiercer, Heaven or Man!

Once too—but no—it could not be—

’Twas fancy all—yet once she thought,

While yet her fading eyes could see,

High on the ruin’d deck she caught

A glimpse of that unearthly form,

That glory of her soul,—e’en then,

Amid the whirl of wreck and storm,

Shining above his fellow-men,

As, on some black and troublous night,


The Star of Egypt,277 whose proud light

Never hath beam’d on those who rest

In the White Islands of the West,278

Burns through the storm with looks of flame

That put Heaven’s cloudier eyes to shame.

But no—’twas but the minute’s dream—

A fantasy—and ere the scream

Had half-way pass’d her pallid lips,

A death-like swoon, a chill eclipse

Of soul and sense its darkness spread

Around her, and she sunk, as dead.

How calm, how beautiful comes on

The stilly hour, when storms are gone;

When warring winds have died away,

And clouds, beneath the glancing ray,

Melt off, and leave the land and sea

Sleeping in bright tranquillity,—

Fresh as if Day again were born,

Again upon the lap of Morn!—

When the light blossoms, rudely torn

And scatter’d at the whirlwind’s will,

Hang floating in the pure air still,

Filling it all with precious balm,

In gratitude for this sweet calm;—

And every drop the thunder-showers


Have left upon the grass and flowers

Sparkles, as ’twere that lightning-gem279

Whose liquid flame is born of them!

When, ’stead of one unchanging breeze,

There blow a thousand gentle airs,

And each a different perfume bears,—

As if the loveliest plants and trees

Had vassal breezes of their own

To watch and wait on them alone,

And waft no other breath than theirs:

When the blue waters rise and fall,

In sleepy sunshine mantling all;

And e’en that swell the tempest leaves

Is like the full and silent heaves

Of lovers’ hearts, when newly blest,

Too newly to be quite at rest.

Such was the golden hour that broke

Upon the world, when Hinda woke

From her long trance, and heard around

No motion but the water’s sound

Rippling against the vessel’s side,

As slow it mounted o’er the tide.—

But where is she?—her eyes are dark,

Are wilder’d still—is this the bark,

The same, that from Harmozia’s bay


Bore her at morn—whose bloody way

The sea-dog track’d?—no—strange and new

Is all that meets her wondering view.

Upon a galliot’s deck she lies,

Beneath no rich pavilion’s shade,—

No plumes to fan her sleeping eyes,

Nor jasmine on her pillow laid.

But the rude litter, roughly spread

With war-cloaks, is her homely bed,

And shawl and sash, on javelins hung,

For awning o’er her head are flung.

Shuddering she look’d around—there lay

A group of warriors in the sun,

Resting their limbs, as for that day

Their ministry of death were done.

Some gazing on the drowsy sea,

Lost in unconscious reverie;

And some, who seem’d but ill to brook

That sluggish calm, with many a look

To the slack sail impatient cast,

As loose it flagg’d around the mast.

young woman sits up in litter, looking at soldiers outside

Blest Alla! who shall save her now?

There’s not in all that warrior band

One Arab sword, one turban’d brow

From her own Faithful Moslem land.


Their garb—the leathern belt280 that wraps

Each yellow vest281—that rebel hue—

The Tartar fleece upon their caps282

Yes—yes—her fears are all too true,

And Heaven hath, in this dreadful hour,

Abandon’d her to Hafed’s power;

Hafed, the Gheber!—at the thought

Her very heart’s blood chills within;

He, whom her soul was hourly taught

To loathe, as some foul fiend of sin,

Some minister, whom Hell had sent

To spread its blast, where’er he went,


And fling, as o’er our earth he trod,

His shadow betwixt man and God!

And she is now his captive,—thrown

In his fierce hands, alive, alone;

His the infuriate band she sees,

All infidels—all enemies!

What was the daring hope that then

Cross’d her like lightning, as again,

With boldness that despair had lent,

She darted through that armed crowd

A look so searching, so intent,

That e’en the sternest warrior bow’d

Abash’d, when he her glances caught,

As if he guess’d whose form they sought.

But no—she sees him not—’tis gone,

The vision that before her shone

Through all the maze of blood and storm,

Is fled—’twas but a phantom form—

One of those passing, rainbow dreams,

Half light, half shade, which Fancy’s beams

Paint on the fleeting mists that roll

In trance or slumber round the soul.

But now the bark, with livelier bound,

Scales the blue wave—the crew’s in motion,

The oars are out, and with light sound


Break the bright mirror of the ocean,

Scattering its brilliant fragments round.

And now she sees—with horror sees,

Their course is tow’rd that mountain-hold,—

Those towers, that make her life-blood freeze,

Where Mecca’s godless enemies

Lie, like beleaguer’d scorpions, roll’d

In their last deadly, venomous fold!

Amid the’ illumin’d land and flood

Sunless that mighty mountain stood;

Save where, above its awful head,

There shone a flaming cloud, blood-red,

As ’twere the flag of destiny

Hung out to mark where death would be!

Had her bewilder’d mind the power

Of thought in this terrific hour,

She well might marvel where or how

Man’s foot could scale that mountain’s brow,

Since ne’er had Arab heard or known

Of path but through the glen alone.—

But every thought was lost in fear,

When, as their bounding bark drew near

The craggy base, she felt the waves

Hurry them tow’rd those dismal caves,

That from the Deep in windings pass


Beneath that Mount’s volcanic mass;—

And loud a voice on deck commands

To lower the mast and light the brands!—

Instantly o’er the dashing tide

Within a cavern’s mouth they glide,

Gloomy as that eternal Porch

Through which departed spirits go:—

Not e’en the flare of brand and torch

Its flickering light could further throw

Than the thick flood that boil’d below.

Silent they floated—as if each

Sat breathless, and too aw’d for speech

In that dark chasm, where even sound

Seem’d dark,—so sullenly around

The goblin echoes of the cave

Mutter’d it o’er the long black wave,

As ’twere some secret of the grave!

But soft—they pause—the current turns

Beneath them from its onward track;—

Some mighty, unseen barrier spurns

The vexed tide, all foaming, back,

And scarce the oars’ redoubled force

Can stem the eddy’s whirling force;

When, hark!—some desperate foot has sprung

Among the rocks—the chain is flung—


The oars are up—the grapple clings,

And the toss’d bark in moorings swings.

Just then, a day-beam through the shade

Broke tremulous—but, ere the maid

Can see from whence the brightness steals,

Upon her brow she shuddering feels

A viewless hand, that promptly ties

A bandage round her burning eyes;

While the rude litter where she lies,

Uplifted by the warrior throng,

O’er the steep rocks is borne along.

Blest power of sunshine!—genial Day,

What balm, what life is in thy ray!

To feel thee is such real bliss,

That had the world no joy but this,

To sit in sunshine calm and sweet,—

It were a world too exquisite

For man to leave it for the gloom,

The deep, cold shadow of the tomb.

E’en Hinda, though she saw not where

Or whither wound the perilous road,

Yet knew by that awakening air,

Which suddenly around her glow’d,

That they had risen from darkness then,

And breath’d the sunny world again!


But soon this balmy freshness fled—

For now the steepy labyrinth led

Through damp and gloom—’mid crash of boughs,

And fall of loosen’d crags that rouse

The leopard from his hungry sleep,

Who, starting, thinks each crag a prey,

And long is heard, from steep to steep,

Chasing them down their thundering way!

The jackal’s cry—the distant moan

Of the hyæna, fierce and lone—

And that eternal saddening sound

Of torrents in the glen beneath,

As ’twere the ever-dark Profound

That rolls beneath the Bridge of Death!

All, all is fearful—e’en to see,

To gaze on those terrific things

She now but blindly hears, would be

Relief to her imaginings;

Since never yet was shape so dread,

But Fancy, thus in darkness thrown

And by such sounds of horror fed,

Could frame more dreadful of her own.

group of soldiers carry a litter bearing a blindfolded young woman

But does she dream? has Fear again

Perplex’d the workings of her brain,

Or did a voice, all music, then


Come from the gloom, low whispering near—

“Tremble not, love, thy Gheber’s here!”

She does not dream—all sense, all ear,

She drinks the words, “Thy Gheber’s here.”

’Twas his own voice—she could not err—

Throughout the breathing world’s extent


There was but one such voice for her,

So kind, so soft, so eloquent!

Oh, sooner shall the rose of May

Mistake her own sweet nightingale,

And to some meaner minstrel’s lay

Open her bosom’s glowing veil,283

Than Love shall ever doubt a tone,

A breath of the beloved one!

Though blest, ’mid all her ills, to think

She has that one beloved near,

Whose smile, though met on ruin’s brink,

Hath power to make e’en ruin dear,—

Yet soon this gleam of rapture, crost

By fears for him, is chill’d and lost.

How shall the ruthless Hafed brook

That one of Gheber blood should look,

With aught but curses in his eye,

On her—a maid of Araby

A Moslem maid—the child of him,

Whose bloody banner’s dire success

Hath left their altars cold and dim,

And their fair land a wilderness!

And, worse than all, that night of blood

Which comes so fast—oh! who shall stay

The sword, that once hath tasted food


Of Persian hearts, or turn its way?

What arm shall then the victim cover,

Or from her father shield her lover?

“Save him, my God!” she inly cries—

“Save him this night—and if thine eyes

“Have ever welcom’d with delight

“The sinner’s tears, the sacrifice

“Of sinners’ hearts—guard him this night,

“And here, before thy throne, I swear

“From my heart’s inmost core to tear

“Love, hope, remembrance, though they be

“Link’d with each quivering life-string there,

“And give it bleeding all to Thee!

“Let him but live,—the burning tear,

“The sighs, so sinful, yet so dear,

“Which have been all too much his own,

“Shall from this hour be Heaven’s alone.

“Youth pass’d in penitence, and age

“In long and painful pilgrimage,

“Shall leave no traces of the name

“That wastes me now—nor shall his name

“E’er bless my lips, but when I pray

“For his dear spirit, that away

“Casting from its angelic ray

“The’ eclipse of earth, he, too, may shine


“Redeem’d, all glorious and all Thine!

“Think—think what victory to win

“One radiant soul like his from sin,—

“One wandering star of virtue back

“To its own native, heaven-ward track!

“Let him but live, and both are Thine,

“Together Thine—for, blest or crost,

“Living or dead, his doom is mine,

“And, if he perish, both are lost!”

fallen shield alongside white dove and helmet like a jaguar’s head


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.284

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:—


high cliffs overlooking the sea and distant setting sun

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 eves

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 rush’d through Kerman’s almond groves,

And shaken from her bowers of date

That cooling feast the traveller loves,285

Now, lull’d 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 aw’d as those who waken


In their dark tombs—when, scowling near,

The Searchers of the Grave286 appear,—

She shuddering turn’d to read her fate

In the fierce eyes that flash’d around;

And saw those towers all desolate,

That o’er her head terrific frown’d,

As if defying e’en 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 through 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.287

How shall she bear that voice’s tone,


At whose loud battle-cry alone

Whole squadrons oft in panic ran,

Scatter’d like some vast caravan,

When, stretch’d 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 so 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 wondering 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 smil’d

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!

man in armor talks to sorrowing young woman

Moments there are, and this was one,

Snatch’d 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—though dimm’d and gone

Each star of Hope that cheer’d him on—

His glories lost—his cause betray’d—

Iran, his dear-lov’d 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 lov’d—well, warmly lov’d—


Oh! in this precious hour he prov’d

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 quaff’d,

Though 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 a 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 tow’rds the ocean flood,

Where lightly o’er the illumin’d surge

Many a fair bark that, all the day,

Had lurk’d 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, though 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 wing’d his flight.

Never was scene so form’d 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 last,

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 lov’st me, fly—

“Soon will his murderous band be here,

“And I shall see thee bleed and die.—

“Hush! heard’st thou not the tramp of men

“Sounding from yonder fearful glen?—

“Perhaps e’en now they climb the wood—


“Fly, fly though 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 e’en to agony

She clings around the wondering Chief;—

“Alas, poor wilder’d maid! to me

“Thou ow’st this raving trance of grief.

“Lost as I am, nought ever grew

“Beneath my shade but perish’d 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 vow’d (though watching viewless o’er

“Thy safety through 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 through yon valley hurl’d—

“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 e’en earth and hell unite

“In league to storm this Sacred Height,

“Fear nothing thou—myself, to-night,

“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 scream’d—“thou’lt never see

“To-morrow’s sun—death, death will be

“The night-cry through each reeking tower,

“Unless we fly, ay, fly this hour!

“Thou art betray’d—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 stamp’d in triumph through our hall,

“As though thy heart already beat

“Its last life-throb beneath his feet!

“Good Heaven, how little dream’d I then

“His victim was my own lov’d youth!—


“Fly—send—let some one watch the glen—

“By all my hopes of heaven ’tis truth!”

young woman embracing man in armor

Oh! colder than the wind that freezes

Founts, that but now in sunshine play’d,

Is that congealing pang which seizes

The trusting bosom, when betray’d.

He felt it—deeply felt—and stood,

As if the tale had frozen his blood,

So maz’d and motionless was he;—

Like one whom sudden spells enchant,


Or some mute, marble habitant

Of the still Halls of Ishmonie!288

But soon the painful chill was o’er,

And his great soul, herself once more,

Look’d 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, though his life hath pass’d 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 through 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 Issa289 gaze

On the red wreath, for martyrs twin’d,

More proudly than the youth surveys

That pile, which through the gloom behind,

Half lighted by the altar’s fire,

Glimmers—his destin’d funeral pyre!

Heap’d 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 turn’d

The death-flames that beneath him burn’d!290

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 ador’d!

“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 lov’st 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 is thine,


“Those eyes before me smiling thus,

“Through good and ill, through 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 her heart-string broke

With every deep-heav’d 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

Dawn’d in his soul, and threw her smile

O’er hours to come—o’er days and nights,


Wing’d 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 bow’d

To raise the suppliant, trembling stole,

First warn’d him of this dangerous cloud

Of softness passing o’er his soul.

Starting, he brush’d 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 dimm’d, not stain’d its light.

Yet, though subdued the’ unnerving thrill,

Its warmth, its weakness linger’d still

So touching in each look and tone,

That the fond, fearing, hoping maid

Half counted on the flight she pray’d,

Half thought the hero’s soul was grown

As soft, as yielding as her own,

And smil’d and bless’d 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!”


man in armor blowing a conch horn

Scarce had she time to ask her heart

If good or ill these words impart,

When the rous’d youth impatient flew

To the tower-wall, where, high in view,

A ponderous sea-horn291 hung, and blew

A signal, deep and dread as those

The storm-fiend at his rising blows.—

Full well his Chieftains, sworn and true

Through life and death, that signal knew;

For ’twas the’ appointed warring-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

Went gaily 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 charg’d the wind,

And the white ox-tails stream’d behind,292

Looking, as if the steeds they rode

Were wing’d, and every Chief a God!

How fallen, how alter’d now! how wan

Each scarr’d and faded visage shone,

As round the burning shrine they came!—

How deadly was the glare it cast,

As mute they pass’d before the flame

To light their torches as they pass’d!

’Twas silence all—the youth had plann’d

The duties of his soldier-band;

And each determin’d brow declares

His faithful Chieftains well know theirs.


soldiers in solemn procession

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 shelter’d seat,

And press’d 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 night’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 vanish’d dream of sleep;

“And thou——” but ah!—he answers not—

Good Heaven!—and does she go alone?

She now has reach’d 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,293


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 lovèd 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 shriek’d his name

To the dark woods—no Hafed came:—

No—hapless pair—you’ve look’d 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 fix’d 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 consign’d

The corse of one, lov’d 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 through the chasm; as if the crowd

Of fearful things, that haunt that dell,

Its Gholes and Dives and shapes of hell,

Had 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


“Enfranchis’d through 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, reclimb’d the steep

And gain’d 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 through the chasm—oh! who that then

Had seen those listening warrior-men,

With their swords grasp’d, their eyes of flame

Turn’d 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 scorn’st the’ inglorious sacrifice.


“No—though 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 Ghebers’ bloody glen.

“Follow, brave hearts!—this pile remains

“Our refuge still from life and chains;

“But his the best, the holiest bed,

“Who sinks entomb’d in Moslem dead!”

Down the precipitous rocks they sprung,

While vigour, more than human, strung

Each arm and heart.—The’ exulting foe

Still through the dark defiles below,

Track’d by his torches’ lurid fire,

Wound slow, as through Golconda’s vale294

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,

Cross’d the wild race that round them dwell,

The very tigers from their delves

Look out, and let them pass, as things

Untam’d 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 fill’d the narrow chasm breast high.

And, on each side, aloft and wild,

Huge cliffs and toppling crags were pil’d,—

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, clogg’d with massacre.

Never was horde of tyrants met

With bloodier welcome—never yet

To patriot vengeance hath the sword

More terrible libations pour’d!

battle scene with swordsmen bearing down on others

All up the dreary, long ravine,

By the red, murky glimmer seen


Of half-quench’d brands that o’er the flood

Lie scatter’d round and burn in blood,

What ruin glares! what carnage swims!

Heads, blazing turbans, quivering limbs,

Lost swords that, dropp’d from many a hand,

In that thick pool of slaughter stand;—

Wretches who wading, half on fire

From the toss’d brands that round them fly,

’Twixt flood and flame in shrieks expire;—

And some who, grasp’d by those that die,

Sink woundless with them, smother’d o’er

In their dead brethren’s gushing gore!

But vainly hundreds, thousands bleed,

Still hundreds, thousands more succeed;

Countless as tow’rds 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, bridg’d 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 burn with shame to find how few?

Crush’d 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

Tow’rds 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,295

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 escap’d—guide, torches gone—

By torrent-beds and labyrinths crost,

The scatter’d 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 Gheber went!”

Vain wish—confusedly along


They rush, more desperate as more wrong

Till, wilder’d by the far-off lights,

Yet glittering up those gloomy heights,

Their footing, maz’d and lost, they miss,

And down the darkling precipice

Are dash’d into the deep abyss;

Or midway hang, impal’d 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,

Resign’d, 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 seem’d as if each thought that stain’d,

Each fear that chill’d their loves was past,

And not one cloud of earth remain’d

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 lov’d 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 rous’d the last remains

Of life within him—“what! not yet

“Beyond the reach of Moslem chains!”

The thought could make e’en Death forget

His icy bondage—with a bound

He springs, all bleeding, from the ground,

And grasps his comrade’s arm, now grown

E’en feebler, heavier than his own,

And up the painful pathway leads,

Death gaining on each step he treads.


Speed them, thou God, who heard’st their vow!

They mount—they bleed—oh, save them now!—

The crags are red they’ve clamber’d o’er,

The rock-weeds dripping with their gore;—

Thy blade too, Hafed, false at length,

Now 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 gain’d 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 tow’rds 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 harm’d one glorious limb, expires!

man stands tall, raising his arms aloft


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 delay’d?—

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 hop’d when Hinda, safe and free,

Was render’d 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 clear’d 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 rock’d along the whispering tide;

While every eye, in mute dismay,

Was tow’rd that fatal mountain turn’d,


Where the dim altar’s quivering ray

As yet all lone and tranquil burn’d.

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 crush’d by fate,

When, though no more remains to dread,

The panic chill will not depart;—

When, though 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 congeal’d around.

But there’s a blank repose in this,

A calm stagnation, that were bliss

To the keen, burning, harrowing pain,

Now felt through all thy breast and brain;—

That spasm of terror, mute, intense,

That breathless, agonis’d 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, though 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 scatter’d death,

E’en 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 tow’rd the Shrine

All eyes are turn’d—thine, Hinda, thine

Fix their last fading life-beams there.

’Twas but a moment—fierce and high

The death-pile blaz’d into the sky,

And far away, o’er rock and flood

Its melancholy radiance sent;

While Hafed, like a vision, stood

Reveal’d before the burning pyre,

Tall, shadowy, like a Spirit of Fire

Shrin’d 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 fix’d her dying gaze,—

And, gazing, sunk into the wave,

Deep, deep,—where never care or pain

Shall reach her innocent heart again!

young woman sinks beneath the waves, with boat in the background


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 south296 o’er a summer lute blowing,

And hush’d 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 nought but the sea-star297 to light up her tomb.

And still, when the merry date-season is burning,298

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, belov’d of her Hero! forget thee—

Though tyrants watch over her tears as they start,

Close, close by the side of that Hero she’ll set thee,

Embalm’d in the innermost shrine of her heart.

Farewell—be it ours to embellish thy pillow

With every thing 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;299

With many a shell, in whose hollow-wreath’d 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 Caspian300 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.

winged Peri kneels over fallen young woman


The singular placidity with which Fadladeen had listened, during the latter part of this obnoxious story, surprised the Princess and Feramorz exceedingly; and even inclined towards him the hearts of these unsuspicious young persons, who little knew the source of a complacency so marvellous. The truth was, he had been organising, for the last few days, a most notable plan of persecution against the poet, in consequence of some passages that had fallen from him on the second evening of recital,—which appeared to this worthy Chamberlain to contain language and principles, for which nothing short of the summary criticism of the Chabuk301 would be advisable. It was his intention, therefore, immediately on their arrival at Cashmere, to give information to the King of Bucharia of the very dangerous sentiments of his minstrel; and if, unfortunately, that monarch did not act with suitable vigour on the occasion, (that is, if he did not give the Chabuk to Feramorz, and a place to Fadladeen,) there would be an end, he feared, of all legitimate government in Bucharia. He could not help, however, auguring better both for himself and the cause of potentates in general; and it was the pleasure arising from these mingled anticipations that diffused such unusual satisfaction through his features, and made his eyes shine out, like poppies of the desert, over the wide and lifeless wilderness of that countenance.


Having decided upon the Poet’s chastisement in this manner, he thought it but humanity to spare him the minor tortures of criticism. Accordingly, when they assembled the following evening in the pavilion, and Lalla Rookh was expecting to see all the beauties of her bard melt away, one by one, in the acidity of criticism, like pearls in the cup of the Egyptian queen,—he agreeably disappointed her, by merely saying, with an ironical smile, that the merits of such a poem deserved to be tried at a much higher tribunal; and then suddenly passed off into a panegyric upon all Mussulman sovereigns, more particularly his august and Imperial master, Aurungzebe,—the wisest and best of the descendants of Timur,—who, among other great things he had done for mankind, had given to him, Fadladeen, the very profitable posts of Betel-carrier, and Taster of Sherbets to the Emperor, Chief Holder of the Girdle of Beautiful Forms,302 and Grand Nazir, or Chamberlain of the Haram.

They were now not far from that Forbidden River,303 beyond which no pure Hindoo can pass; and were reposing for a time in the rich valley of Hussun Abdaul, which had always been a favourite resting-place of the Emperors in their annual migrations to Cashmere. Here often had the Light of the Faith, Jehan-Guire, been known to wander with his beloved and beautiful Nourmahal; and 280 here would Lalla Rookh have been happy to remain for ever, giving up the throne of Bucharia and the world, for Feramorz and love in this sweet, lonely valley. But the time was now fast approaching when she must see him no longer,—or, what was still worse, behold him with eyes whose every look belonged to another; and there was a melancholy preciousness in these last moments, which made her heart cling to them as it would to life. During the latter part of the journey, indeed, she had sunk into a deep sadness, from which nothing but the presence of the young minstrel could awake her. Like those lamps in tombs, which only light up when the air is admitted, it was only at his approach that her eyes became smiling and animated. But here, in this dear valley, every moment appeared an age of pleasure; she saw him all day, and was, therefore, all day happy,—resembling, she often thought, that people of Zinge, who attribute the unfading cheerfulness they enjoy to one genial star that rises nightly over their heads.304

cover of 1871 Oakley and Mason edition

Cover of 1871 Oakley and Mason edition


Note 207, p. 160.—Alley of trees.—The fine road made by the emperor Jehan-Guire from Agra to Lahore, planted with trees on each side. This road is 250 leagues in length. It has “little pyramids or turrets,” says Fernier, “erected every half league, to mark the ways, and frequent wells to afford drink to passengers, and to water the young trees.”


Note 208, p. 162.—That favourite tree of the luxurious bird that lights up the chambers of its nest with fire-flies.—The Baya, or Indian Gross-beak.—Sir W. Jones.

Note 209, p. 162.—On the clear cold waters of which floated multitudes of the beautiful red lotus.—“Here is a large pagoda by a tank, on the water of which float multitudes of the beautiful red lotus; the flower is larger than that of the white water-lily, and is the most lovely of the nymphæas I have seen.”—Mrs. Graham’s Journal of a Residence in India.

Note 210, p. 163.—Had fled hither from their Arab conquerors.—“On les voit persécutés par les Khalifes se retirer dans les montagnes du Kerman: plusieurs choisirent pour retraite la Tartarie et la Chine; d’autres s’arrêtèrent sur les bords du Gange, à l’est de Delhi.”—M. Anquetil, Mémoires de l’Académie, tom. xxxi. p. 346.

Note 211, p. 163.—Like their own Fire in the Burning Field at Bakou.—The “Ager ardens” described by Kæmpfer, Amœnitat. Exot.

Note 212, p. 164.—The prey of strangers.—“Cashmere (says its historians) had its own princes 4000 years before its conquest by Akbar in 1585. Akbar would have found some difficulty to reduce this paradise of the Indies, situated as it is within such a fortress of mountains, but its monarch, Yusef-Khan, was basely betrayed by his Omrahs.”—Pennant.

Note 213, p. 164.—Fire-worshippers.—Voltaire tells us that in his Tragedy, “Les Guèbres,” he was generally supposed to have alluded to the Jansenists. I should not be surprised if this story of the Fire-worshippers were found capable of a similar doubleness of application.

Note 214, p. 169.—’Tis moonlight over Oman’s sea.

The Persian Gulf, sometimes so called, which separates the shores of Persia and Arabia.

Note 215, p. 169.—’Tis moonlight in Harmozia’s walls.

The present Gombaroon, a town on the Persian side of the Gulf.

Note 216, p. 169.—Of trumpet and the clash of zel.

A Moorish instrument of music.

Note 217, p. 170.—The wind-tower on the Emir’s dome.

“At Gombaroon and other places in Persia, they have towers for the purpose of catching the wind, and cooling the houses.”—Le Bruyn.

Note 218, p. 170.—His race hath brought on Iran’s name.

“Iran is the true general name for the empire of Persia.”—Asiat. Res. Disc. 5.


Note 219, p. 170.—Engraven on his reeking sword.

“On the blades of their scimitars some verse from the Koran is usually inscribed.”—Russel.

Note 220, p. 171.—Draw venom forth that drives men mad.

“There is a kind of Rhododendros about Trebizond, whose flowers the bee feeds upon, and the honey thence drives people mad.”—Tournefort.

Note 221, p. 172.—Upon the turban of a king.

“Their kings wear plumes of black herons’ feathers upon the right side, as a badge of sovereignty.”—Hanway.

Note 222, p. 173.—Springing in a desolate mountain.

“The Fountain of Youth, by a Mahometan tradition, is situated in some dark region of the East.”—Richardson.

Note 223, p. 173.—On summer-eves, through Yemen’s dales.

Arabia Felix.

Note 224, p. 174.—Who, lull’d in cool kiosk or bower.

“In the midst of the garden is the chiosk, that is, a large room, commonly beautified with a fine fountain in the midst of it. It is raised nine or ten steps, and inclosed with gilded lattices, round which vines, jessamines, and honeysuckles, make a sort of green wall; large trees are planted round this place, which is the scene of their greatest pleasures.”—Lady M. W. Montague.

Note 225, p. 174.—Before their mirrors count the time.

The women of the East are never without their looking-glasses. “In Barbary,” says Shaw, “they are so fond of their looking-glasses, which they hang upon their breasts, that they will not lay them aside, even when after the drudgery of the day they are obliged to go two or three miles with a pitcher or a goat’s skin to fetch water.”—Travels.

In other parts of Asia they wear little looking-glasses on their thumbs. “Hence (and from the lotus being considered the emblem of beauty) is the meaning of the following mute intercourse of two lovers before their parents:—

“‘He, with salute of deference due,

A lotus to his forehead prest;

She rais’d her mirror to his view,

Then turn’d it inward to her breast.’”

Asiatic Miscellany, vol. ii.

Note 226, p. 174.—Upon the emerald’s virgin blaze.

“They say that if a snake or serpent fix his eyes on the lustre of those stones (emeralds), he immediately becomes blind.”—Ahmed ben Abdalaziz, Treatise on Jewels.


Note 227, p. 175.—After the day-beam’s withering fire.

“At Gombaroon and the Isle of Ormus, it is sometimes so hot that the people are obliged to lie all day in the water.”—Marco Polo.

Note 228, p. 176.—Of Ararat’s tremendous peak.

This mountain is generally supposed to be inaccessible. Struy says, “I can well assure the reader that their opinion is not true, who suppose this mount to be inaccessible.” He adds, that “the lower part of the mountain is cloudy, misty, and dark; the middlemost part very cold, and like clouds of snow; but the upper regions perfectly calm.” It was on this mountain that the ark was supposed to have rested after the Deluge, and part of it, they say, exists there still, which Struy thus gravely accounts for:—“Whereas none can remember that the air on the top of the hill did ever change or was subject either to wind or rain, which is presumed to be the reason that the Ark has endured so long without being rotten.”—See Carreri’s Travels, where the Doctor laughs at this whole account of Mount Ararat.

Note 229, p. 177.—The bridegroom, with his locks of light.

In one of the books of the Shâh Nâmeh, when Zal (a celebrated hero of Persia, remarkable for his white hair) comes to the terrace of his mistress Rodahver at night, she lets down her long tresses to assist him in his ascent;—he, however, manages it in a less romantic way, by fixing his crook in a projecting beam.—See Champion’s Ferdosi.

Note 230, p. 177.—The rock-goats of Arabia clamber.

“On the lofty hills of Arabia Petræa are rock-goats.”—Niebuhr.

Note 231, p. 178.—Some ditty to her soft Kanoon.

“Canun, espèce de psaltérion, avec des cordes de boyaux; les dames en touchent dans le sérail, avec des écailles armées de pointes de cooc.”—Toderini, translated by De Cournand.

young man embracing young woman, both in Oriental dress, with sun setting over the ocean behind

Leavitt & Allen 1866

“My dreams have boded all too right—

“We part—for ever part—to-night!

“I knew, I knew it could not last—

“’Twas bright, ’twas heavenly, but ’tis past!

Note 232, p. 184.—The Gheber belt that round him clung.

“They (the Ghebers) lay so much stress on their cushee or girdle, as not to dare to be an instant without it.”—Grose’s Voyage.—“Le jeune homme nia d’abord la chose; mais, ayant été dépouillé de sa robe, et la large ceinture qu’il portoit comme Ghebr,” &c. &c.—D’Herbelot, art. Agduani. “Pour se distinguer des Idolâtres de l’Inde, les Guèbres se ceignent tous d’un cordon de laine, ou de poil de chameau.”—Encyclopédie Françoise.

D’Herbelot says this belt was generally of leather.

Note 233, p. 184.—Among the living lights of heaven.

“They suppose the Throne of the Almighty is seated in the sun, and hence their worship of that luminary.”—Hanway. “As to fire, the Ghebers 362 place the spring-head of it in that globe of fire the Sun, by them called Mythras, or Mihir, to which they pay the highest reverence, in gratitude for the manifold benefits flowing from its ministerial omniscience. But they are so far from confounding the subordination of the Servant with the majesty of its Creator, that they not only attribute no sort of sense or reasoning to the sun or fire, in any of its operations, but consider it as a purely passive blind instrument, directed and governed by the immediate impression on it of the will of God: but they do not even give that luminary, all-glorious as it is, more than the second rank amongst his works, reserving the first for that stupendous production of divine power, the mind of man.”—Grose. The false charges brought against the religion of these people by their Mussulman tyrants is but one proof among many of the truth of this writer’s remark, that “calumny is often added to oppression, if but for the sake of justifying it.”

Note 234, p. 188.—And fiery darts, at intervals.

“The Mameluks that were in the other boat, when it was dark, used to shoot up a sort of fiery arrows into the air, which in some measure resembled lightning or falling stars.”—Baumgarten.

young woman in stagey Oriental dress looking at young man by window

Leavitt & Allen 1866

Fiercely he broke away, nor stopp’d,

Nor look’d—but from the lattice dropp’d

Down ’mid the pointed crags beneath,

As if he fled from love to death.

Note 235, p. 190.—Which grows over the tomb of the musician, Tan-Sein.—“Within the inclosure which surrounds this 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.

Note 236, p. 190.—The awful signal of the bamboo staff.—“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 waggon-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.

Note 237, p. 190.—Ornamented with the most beautiful porcelain.—“The Ficus Indica is called the Pagod Tree and 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.


Note 238, p. 192.—And o’er the Green Sea palely shines.

The Persian Gulf.—“To dive for pearls in the Green Sea, or Persian Gulf”—Sir W. Jones.

Note 239, p. 192.—Revealing Bahrein’s groves of palm,
And lighting Kishma’s amber vines.

Islands in the Gulf.

Note 240, p. 192.—Blow round Selama’s sainted cape.

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.

Note 241, p. 193.—The nightingale now bends her flight.

“The nightingale sings from the pomegranate groves in the day-time, and from the loftiest trees at night.”—Russel’s Aleppo.

Note 242, p. 193.—The best and brightest scimitar.

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.”

Note 243, p. 194.—Who, on Cadessia’s bloody plains.

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

Note 244, p. 194.—Beyond the Caspian’s Iron Gates.

Derbend.—“Les Turcs appellent cette ville Demir Capi, Porte de Fer; ce sont les Caspiæ Portæ des anciens.”—D’Herbelot.

Note 245, p. 195.—They burst, like Zeilan’s giant palm.

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.

Note 246, p. 196.—Before whose sabre’s dazzling light.

“When the bright cimitars make the eyes of our heroes wink.”—The Moallakat, Poem of Amru.

Note 247, p. 198.—Sprung from those old, enchanted kings.

Tahmuras, and other ancient kings of Persia; whose adventures in Fairy-land among the Peris and Dives 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.


Note 248, p. 199.—Of sainted cedars on its banks.

This rivulet, says Dandini, is called the Holy river from the “cedar-saints” among which it rises.

In the Lettres Edifiantes, there is a different cause assigned for its name of Holy. “In these are deep caverns, which formerly served as so many cells for a great number of recluses, who had chosen these retreats as the only witnesses upon earth of the severity of their penance. The tears of these pious penitents gave the river of which we have just treated the name of the Holy River.”—See Châteaubriand’s Beauties of Christianity.

Note 249, p. 200.—Of Oman beetling awfully.

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. “This long and lofty range of mountains formerly divided Media from Assyria, and now forms the boundary of the Persian and Turkish empires. It runs parallel with the river Tigris and Persian Gulf, and almost disappearing in the vicinity of Gomberoon (Harmozia), seems once more to rise in the southern districts of Kerman, and following an easterly course through the centre of Meckraun and Balouchistan, is entirely lost in the deserts of Sinde.”—Kinneir’s Persian Empire.

Note 250, p. 201.—That oft the sleeping albatross.

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

Note 251, p. 201.—Beneath the Gheber’s lonely cliff.

“There is an extraordinary hill in this neighbourhood, 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 of 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.

Note 252, p. 202.—Of that vast mountain stood on fire.

The Ghebers generally built their temples over subterraneous fires.

Note 253, p. 202.—Still did the mighty flame burn on.

“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.


Note 254, p. 204.—The blood of Zal and Rustam rolls.

Ancient heroes of Persia. “Among the Guebres there are some who boast their descent from Rustam.”—Stephen’s Persia.

Note 255, p. 204.—Across the dark-sea robber’s way.

See Russel’s account of the panther’s attacking travellers in the night on the sea-shore about the roots of Lebanon.

Note 256, p. 206.—The wandering Spirits of their Dead.

“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.

Note 257, p. 206.—Nor charmed leaf of pure pomegranate.

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.”

Note 258, p. 206.—Nor symbol of their worshipp’d planet.

“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.

Note 259, p. 206.—They swore the latest, holiest deed.

“Nul d’entre eux oseroit se parjurer, quand il a pris à témoin cet élément terrible et vengeur.”—Encyclopédie Françoise.

Note 260, p. 207.—The Persian lily shines and towers.

“A vivid verdure succeeds the autumnal rains, and the ploughed fields are covered with the Persian lily, of a resplendent yellow colour.”—Russel’s Aleppo.

greyscale portrait of young woman in turban

Leavitt & Allen 1866


And watch, and look along the deep

For him whose smiles first made her weep;—

Note 261, p. 210.—When toss’d at midnight furiously.

“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.

Note 262, p. 210.—Up, daughter, up—the Kerna’s breath.

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 the distance of several miles.”—Richardson.


Note 263, p. 212.—Thou wor’st on Ohod’s field of death.

“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.

Note 264, p. 214.—But turn to ashes on the lips.

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. The same is asserted of the oranges there; vide Witman’s Travels in Asiatic Turkey.

“The Asphalt Lake, known by the name of the Dead Sea, is very remarkable on account of the considerable proportion of salt which it contains. In this respect it surpasses every other known water on the surface of the earth. This great proportion of bitter tasted salts is the reason why neither animal nor plant can live in this water.”—Klaproth’s Chemical Analysis of the Water of the Dead Sea, Annals of Philosophy, January, 1813. Hasselquist, however, doubts the truth of this last assertion, as there are shell-fish to be found in the lake.

Lord Byron has a similar allusion to the fruits of the Dead Sea, in that wonderful display of genius, his third Canto of Childe Harold,—magnificent beyond any thing, perhaps, that even he has ever written.

Note 265, p. 214.—While lakes, that shone in mockery nigh.

“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 as though it had been the face of a clear and still lake.”—Pottinger.

“As to the unbelievers, their works are like a vapour in a plain which the thirsty traveller thinketh to be water, until when he cometh thereto he findeth it to be nothing.”—Koran, chap. 24.

Note 266, p. 215.—The Bidmusk had just passed over.—“A wind which prevails in February, called Bidmusk, from a small and odoriferous flower of that name.”—“The wind which blows these flowers commonly lasts till the end of the month.”—Le Bruyn.

Note 267, p. 215.—The sea-gipsies, who live for ever on the water.—“The Biajús are of two races: the one is settled on Borneo, and are a rude but warlike and industrious nation, who reckon themselves the original possessors of the island of Borneo. The other is a species of sea-gipsies or itinerant fishermen, who live in small covered boats, and enjoy a perpetual summer on the eastern ocean, shifting to leeward from island to island, with the variations of the monsoon. In some of their customs this singular race resemble the natives of the Maldivia islands. The Maldivians annually launch a small bark, loaded with perfumes, gums, flowers, and 367 odoriferous wood, and turn it adrift at the mercy of winds and waves, as an offering to the Spirit of the Winds; and sometimes similar offerings are made to the spirit whom they term the King of the Sea. In like manner the Biajús perform their offering to the God of Evil, launching a small bark, loaded with all the sins and misfortunes of the nation, which are imagined to fall on the unhappy crew that may be so unlucky as first to meet with it.”—Dr. Leyden on the Languages and Literature of the Indo-Chinese Nations.

Note 268, p. 215.—The violet sherbets.—“The sweet-scented violet is one of the plants most esteemed, particularly for its great use in Sorbet, which they make of violet sugar.”—Hasselquist.

“The sherbet they most esteem, and which is drunk by the Grand Signor himself, is made of violets and sugar.”—Tavernier.

Note 269, p. 215.—The pathetic measure of Nava.—“Last of all she took a guitar, and sung a pathetic air in the measure called Nava, which is always used to express the lamentations of absent lovers.”—Persian Tales.

Note 270, p. 217.—No music tim’d her parting oar.

“The Easterns used to set out on their longer voyages with music.”—Harmer.

Note 271, p. 217.—In silence through the Gate of Tears.

“The Gate of Tears, the straits or passage into the Red Sea, commonly called Babelmandel. It received this name from the old Arabians, on account of the danger of the navigation, and the number of shipwrecks by which it was distinguished; which induced them to consider as dead, and to wear mourning for all who had the boldness to hazard the passage through it into the Ethiopic ocean.”—Richardson.

Note 272, p. 218.—In the still warm and living breath.

“I have been told that whensoever an animal falls down dead, one or more vultures, unseen before, instantly appear.”—Pennant.

Note 273, p. 218.—As a young bird of Babylon.

“They fasten some writing to the wings of a Bagdat or Babylonian pigeon.”—Travels of certain Englishmen.

Note 274, p. 219.—Shooting around their jasper fount.

“The Empress of Jehan-Guire used to divert herself with feeding tame fish in her canals, some of which were many years afterwards known by fillets of gold, which she caused to be put round them.”—Harris.

Note 275, p. 219.—To tell her ruby rosary.

“Le Tespih, qui est un chapelet composé de 99 petites boules d’agate, de jaspe, d’ambre, de corail, ou d’autre matière précieuse. J’en ai vu un superbe au Seigneur Jerpos; il étoit de belles et grosses perles parfaites et égales, estimé trente mille piastres.”—Toderini.


Note 276, p. 223.—Like meteor brands as if throughout.

The meteors that Pliny calls “faces.”

Note 277, p. 224.—The Star of Egypt whose proud light.

“The brilliant Canopus, unseen in European climates.”—Brown.

Note 278, p. 224.—In the White Islands of the West.

See Wilford’s learned Essays on the Sacred Isles in the West.

Note 279, p. 225.—Sparkles, as ’twere that lightning gem.

A precious stone of the Indies, called by the ancients Ceraunium, because it was supposed to be found in places where thunder had fallen. Tertullian says it has a glittering appearance, as if there had been fire in it; and the author of the Dissertation in Harris’s Voyages supposes it to be the opal.

Note 280, p. 227.—Their garb—the leathern belt that wraps.

D’Herbelot, art. Agduani.

Note 281, p. 227.—Each yellow vest—that rebel hue.

“The Guebres are known by a dark yellow colour, which the men affect in their clothes.”—Thevenot.

Note 282, p. 227.—The Tartar fleece upon their caps.

“The Kolah or cap, worn by the Persians, is made of the skin of the sheep of Tartary.”—Waring.

Note 283, p. 234.—Open her bosom’s glowing veil.

A frequent image among the Oriental poets. “The nightingales warbled their enchanting notes, and rent the thin veils of the rosebud and the rose.”—Jami.

Note 284, p. 237.—The sorrowful tree, Nilica.—“Blossoms of the sorrowful Nyctanthes give a durable colour 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.

Note 285, p. 239.—That cooling feast the traveller loves.

“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.

Note 286, p. 240.—The Searchers of the Grave appear.

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.


Note 287, p. 240.—The mandrake’s charnel leaves at night.

“The Arabians call the mandrake ’the Devil’s candle,’ on account of its shining appearance in the night.”—Richardson.

Note 288, p. 249.—Of the still Halls of Ishmonie.

For an account of Ishmonie, the petrified city in Upper Egypt, where it is said there are many statues of men, women, &c. to be seen to this day, see Perry’s View of the Levant.

Note 289, p. 250.—And ne’er did saint of Issa gaze.—Jesus.

Note 290, p. 251.—The death-flames that beneath him burn’d!

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.

Of their other Prophet, Zoroaster, there is a story told in Dion Prusæus, Orat. 36, that the love of wisdom and virtue leading him to a solitary life upon a mountain, he found it one day all in a flame, shining with celestial fire, out of which he came without any harm, and instituted certain sacrifices to God, who, he declared, then appeared to him.—See Patrick on Exodus, iii. 2.

Note 291, p. 254.—A ponderous sea-horn hung, and blew.

“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.

Note 292, p. 255.—And the white ox-tails stream’d behind.

“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.

Note 293, p. 257.—Sweet as the angel Israfil’s.

“The angel Israfil, who has the most melodious voice of all God’s creatures.”—Sale.

Note 294, p. 261.—Wound slow, as through Golconda’s vale.

See Hoole upon the Story of Sinbad.

Note 295, p. 265.—From the wild covert where he lay.

“In this thicket upon the banks of the Jordan several sorts of wild beasts are wont to harbour 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 swelling of Jordan.”—Maundrell’s Aleppo.


Note 296, p. 275.—Like the wind of the south o’er a summer lute blowing.

“This wind (the Samoor) so softens the strings of lutes, that they can never be tuned while it lasts.”—Stephen’s Persia.

men in a boat trying to stop young woman from leaping overboard

Leavitt & Allen 1866: title page

Note 297, p. 275.—With nought but the sea-star to light up her tomb.

“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.

Note 298, p. 275.—And still, when the merry date-season is burning.

For a description of the merriment of the date-time, of their work, their dances, and their return home from the palm-groves at the end of autumn with the fruits, see Kæmpfer, Amœnitat. Exot.

Note 299, p. 276.—That ever the sorrowing sea-bird has wept.

Some naturalists have imagined that amber is a concretion of the tears of birds.—See Trevoux, Chambers.

Note 300, p. 276.—We’ll seek where the sands of the Caspian are sparkling.

“The bay Kieselarke, which is otherwise called the Golden Bay, the sand whereof shines as fire.”—Struy.

Note 301, p. 278.—The summary criticism of the Chabuk.—“The application of whips or rods.”—Dubois.

Note 302, p. 279.—Chief Holder of the Girdle of Beautiful Forms.—Kæmpfer mentions such an officer among the attendants of the King of Persia, and calls him “formæ corporis estimator.” His business was, at stated periods, to measure the ladies of the Haram by a sort of regulation-girdle, whose limits it was not thought graceful to exceed. If any of them outgrew this standard of shape, they were reduced by abstinence till they came within proper bounds.

Note 303, p. 279.—Forbidden River.—The Attock.

“Akbar on his way ordered a fort to be built upon the Nilab, which he called Attock, which means in the Indian language Forbidden; for, by the superstition of the Hindoos, it was held unlawful to cross that river.”—Dow’s Hindostan.

Note 304, p. 280.—One genial star that rises nightly over their heads.—“The inhabitants of this country (Zinge) are never afflicted with sadness or melancholy; on this subject the Sheikh Abu-Al-Kheir-Azhari has the following distich:—

“‘Who is the man without care or sorrow, (tell) that I may rub my hand to him.


“‘(Behold) the Zingians, without care or sorrow, frolicksome with tipsiness and mirth.’

“The philosophers have discovered that the cause of this cheerfulness proceeds from the influence of the star Soheil or Canopus, which rises over them every night.”—Extract from a Geographical Persian Manuscript called Heft Aklim, or the Seven Climates, translated by W. Ouseley, Esq.

cover of 1891 Crowell edition

Cover of 1891 Crowell edition

Notes and Corrections: The Fire-Worshippers

Do not ask why our author gave his Iranian hero the name Hafed, which appears to be Arabic.

Day One

[169] and the clash of zel
[Turkish zil, a finger cymbal; see pages 310ff here. Moore must have missed the “finger” part and homed in on “cymbal”, or he wouldn’t be talking about clashing.]

[174] Where, through some shades of earthly feeling,
text has . for final ,

[180] “I never nurs’d a dear gazelle, / “To glad me with its soft black eye,
[Yup, here is the locus classicus for these much-parodied lines.]

[183] “I’ve heard him swear his lisping maid
open quote invisible

[184] “Hold, hold—thy words are death—”
[There isn’t really a stanza break here, but it was the nearest practical place to put the illustration.]

Day Two

[192] Bahrein’s239 . . . Kishma’s239
[The shared footnote goes back to 1817. In Moore’s century, “Kishma” was also spelled “Kishim”; on modern maps it is Qeshm.]

[196] Rebellion! foul, dishonouring word
[I think he’s saying

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?

Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

But it is not easy to be sure.]

[202] “Thy gloom, that Eblis’ self might dread
[Do not ask why a Zoroastrian is citing an Islamic entity.]

[212] “And, ere a drop of this night’s gore
text has e’er
[Corrected from 1817 edition.]

Day Three

[234] How shall the ruthless Hafed brook / That one of Gheber blood should look
[Call me slow, but until this moment I had not realized that Hinda does not know her lover’s name.]

[235] nor shall his name / E’er bless my lips
[Not a difficult vow to keep, seeing as how she doesn’t know his name.]

Day Four

[242] Panting with terror, joy, surprise
[Every time I encounter a scene like this, I wonder if the original audience is also supposed to be overcome with surprise. Or did they, like the modern reader, see it coming a mile away?]

[244] Where lightly o’er the illumin’d surge
[The 1817 edition has “th’ illumin’d”, which I much prefer.]

[257] Of hearts, whose pulse of happiness,
text has . for final ,

[265] Long battles with the o’erwhelming tide
[The 1817 edition has “th’ o’erwhelming”. If there is a pattern to these variations, I have yet to figure it out.]

[268] The corpse upon the pyre he lays
[Huh what? He’s supposed to be a Zoroastrian (“Fire Worshipper”); the whole point of sky burial is to avoid polluting either earth or fire.]

[270] What shriek was that on Oman’s tide?
[Honestly, one of Hafed’s men should have gagged Hinda. By my count this makes five shrieks in the last few hours; there will be at least one more before the curtain falls. ]


[278] The singular placidity with which Fadladeen had listened, during the latter part of this obnoxious story, surprised the Princess and Feramorz exceedingly
[Frankly, it surprised me too. Maybe he was too busy counting shrieks to speak up.]


[Note 208] the most lovely of the nymphæas I have seen
[It is characteristic of Maria Graham that she knows the scientific names of all the plants she admires.]

[Note 216] the clash of zel . . . A Moorish instrument of music
[Since the zel is (a) Turkish and (b) a finger cymbal, our author has neatly merged the two basic types of error: commission and omission.]

[Note 223] Yemen . . . Arabia Felix
[Or vice versa. The Latin name is a direct translation of earlier Ἀραβια εὐδαιμων, “fortunate Arabia”. Not that I suppose the Yemenis espe­cially cared what the Greeks and Romans called them.]

[Note 226] Ahmed ben Abdalaziz, Treatise on Jewels.
comma invisible

[Note 228] This mountain is generally supposed to be inaccessible.
[The first ascent of Ararat by a European was in 1829. (I have to specify “by a European” because there are always two other options to consider when talking about mountains. Either the indigenous population considers it sacred, so tramping all over it and ramming it full of pitons would be unthinkable, or they have been climbing it casually for centuries, but nobody bothered to ask.)]

[Note 232] Encyclopédie Françoise.
[The OCR rendered it “Encyclopédie Framboise,” which sounds tasty.]

Note 251, p. 201.
. in “p.” missing

[Note 251] “There is an extraordinary hill in this neighbourhood, called Kohé Gubr
open quote missing
[There exists a children’s picture book called Punctuation Takes a Vacation.]

[Note 276] The meteors that Pliny calls “faces.”
[I assume he means faces, plural of fax, torch.]

[Note 279] called by the ancients Ceraunium, because it was supposed to be found in places where thunder had fallen
[Fun fact: The Greeks had three words: βροντη (brontê, as in brontosaurus), the thunder you hear; στεροπη (steropê), the lightning you see; and κεραυνος (keraunos), the thunderbolt that strikes you.]

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.