Lalla Rookh

Lalla Rookh:
The Light of the Haram
by Thomas Moore

grayscale portrait of young woman in ornate attire

Leavitt & Allen 1866


her glance

Spoke something, past all mortal pleasures,

As, in a kind of holy trance,

The whole party, indeed, seemed in their liveliest mood during the few days they passed in this delightful solitude. The young attendants of the Princess, who were here allowed a much freer range than they could safely be indulged with in a less sequestered place, ran wild among the gardens and bounded through the meadows, lightly 281 as young roes over the aromatic plains of Tibet. While Fadladeen, in addition to the spiritual comfort derived by him from a pilgrimage to the tomb of the Saint from whom the valley is named, had also opportunities of indulging, in a small way, his taste for victims, by putting to death some hundreds of those unfortunate little lizards,305 which all pious Mussulmans make it a point to kill;—taking for granted, that the manner in which the creature hangs its head is meant as a mimicry of the attitude in which the Faithful say their prayers.

About two miles from Hussun Abdaul were those Royal Gardens,306 which had grown beautiful under the care of so many lovely eyes, and were beautiful still, though those eyes could see them no longer. This place, with its flowers, and its holy silence, interrupted only by the dipping of the wings of birds in its marble basins filled with the pure water of those hills, was to Lalla Rookh all that her heart could fancy of fragrance, coolness and almost heavenly tranquillity. As the Prophet said of Damascus, “it was too delicious;”307—and here, in listening to the sweet voice of Feramorz, or reading in his eyes what yet he never dared to tell her, the most exquisite moments of her whole life were passed. One evening, when they had been talking of the Sultana Nourmahal, the Light of the Haram,308 who had so often 282 wandered among these flowers, and fed with her own hands, in those marble basins, the small shining fishes of which she was so fond,309—the youth, in order to delay the moment of separation, proposed to recite a short story, or rather rhapsody, of which this adored Sultana was the heroine. It related, he said, to the reconcilement of a sort of lovers’ quarrel which took place between her and the Emperor during a Feast of Roses at Cashmere; and would remind the Princess of that difference between Haroun-al-Raschid and his fair mistress Marida,310 which was so happily made up by the soft strains of the musician, Moussali. As the story was chiefly to be told in song, and Feramorz had unluckily forgotten his own lute in the valley, he borrowed the vina of Lalla Rookh’s little Persian slave, and thus began:—


decorative title page: The LIGHT of the HAREM


palm-fringed river passes along Oriental buildings

Who has not heard of the vale of Cashmere,

With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave,311

Its temples, and grottos, and fountains as clear

As the love-lighted eyes that hang over their wave?


Oh! to see it at sunset,—when warm o’er the Lake

Its splendour at parting a summer eve throws,

Like a bride, full of blushes, when lingering to take

A last look of her mirror at night ere she goes!—

When the shrines through the foliage are gleaming half shown,

And each hallows the hour by some rites of its own.

Here the music of pray’r from a minaret swells,

Here the Magian his urn, full of perfume, is swinging,

And here, at the altar, a zone of sweet bells

Round the waist of some fair Indian dancer is ringing.312

Or to see it by moonlight,—when mellowly shines

The light o’er its palaces, gardens, and shrines;

When the water-falls gleam, like a quick fall of stars,

And the nightingale’s hymn from the Isle of Chenars

Is broken by laughs and light echoes of feet

From the cool, shining walks where the young people meet.—

Or at morn, when the magic of daylight awakes

A new wonder each minute, as slowly it breaks,

Hills, cupolas, fountains, call’d forth every one

Out of darkness, as if but just born of the Sun.

When the Spirit of Fragrance is up with the day,

From his Haram of night-flowers stealing away;

And the wind, full of wantonness, woos like a lover

The young aspen-trees,313 till they tremble all over.


When the East is as warm as the light of first hopes,

And Day, with his banner of radiance unfurl’d,

Shines in through the mountainous portal314 that opes,

Sublime, from that Valley of bliss to the world!

But never yet, by night or day,

In dew of spring or summer’s ray,

Did the sweet Valley shine so gay

As now it shines—all love and light,

Visions by day and feasts by night!

A happier smile illumes each brow,

With quicker spread each heart uncloses,

And all is ecstasy—for now

The Valley holds its Feast of Roses;315

The joyous Time, when pleasures pour

Profusely round, and, in their shower,

Hearts open, like the Season’s Rose,—

The Flow’ret of a hundred leaves,316

Expanding while the dew-fall flows,

And every leaf its balm receives.

’Twas when the hour of evening came

Upon the Lake, serene and cool,

When Day had hid his sultry flame

Behind the palms of Baramoule,317

When maids began to lift their heads,


Refresh’d from their embroider’d beds,

Where they had slept the sun away,

And wak’d to moonlight and to play.

All were abroad—the busiest hive

On Bela’s318 hills is less alive,

When saffron-beds are full in flower,

Than look’d the Valley in that hour.

A thousand restless torches play’d

Through every grove and island shade,

A thousand sparkling lamps were set

On every dome and minaret;

And fields and pathways, far and near,

Were lighted by a blaze so clear,

That you could see, in wandering round,

The smallest rose-leaf on the ground.

Yet did the maids and matrons leave

Their veils at home, that brilliant eve;

And there were glancing eyes about,

And cheeks, that would not dare shine out

In open day, but thought they might

Look lovely then, because ’twas night.

And all were free, and wandering,

And all exclaim’d to all they met,

That never did the summer bring

So gay a Feast of Roses yet;—

The moon had never shed a light


So clear as that which bless’d them there;

The roses ne’er shone half so bright,

Nor they themselves look’d half so fair.

And what a wilderness of flowers!

It seem’d as though from all the bowers

And fairest fields of all the year,

The mingled spoil were scatter’d here.

The Lake, too, like a garden breathes,

With the rich buds that o’er it lie,—

As if a shower of fairy wreaths

Had fall’n upon it from the sky!

And then the sounds of joy,—the beat

Of tabors and of dancing feet;—

The minaret-crier’s chaunt of glee

Sung from his lighted gallery,319

And answered by a ziraleet

From neighbouring Haram, wild and sweet;—

The merry laughter, echoing

From gardens, where the silken swing320

Wafts some delighted girl above

The top leaves of the orange grove;

Or, from those infant groups at play

Among the tents321 that line the way,

Flinging, unaw’d by slave or mother,

Handfuls of roses at each other.—


Then, the sounds from the Lake, the low whispering in boats,

As they shoot through the moonlight;—the dipping of oars,

And the wild, airy warbling that every where floats,

Through the groves, round the islands, as if all the shores,

Like those of Kathay, utter’d music, and gave

An answer in song to the kiss of each wave.322

But the gentlest of all are those sounds, full of feeling,

That soft from the lute of some lover are stealing,—

Some lover, who knows all the heart-touching power

Of a lute and a sigh in this magical hour.

Oh! best of delights as it every where is

To be near the lov’d One,—what a rapture is his

Who in moonlight and music thus sweetly may glide

O’er the Lake of Cashmere, with that One by his side!

If woman can make the worst wilderness dear,

Think, think what a Heaven she must make of Cashmere!

So felt the magnificent Son of Acbar,323

When from power and pomp and the trophies of war

He flew to that Valley, forgetting them all

With the Light of the Haram, his young Nourmahal.

When free and uncrown’d as the Conqueror rov’d

By the banks of that Lake, with his only belov’d,

He saw, in the wreaths she would playfully snatch


From the hedges, a glory his crown could not match,

And prefrr’d in his heart the least ringlet that curl’d

Down her exquisite neck to the throne of the world.

man and woman in Oriental garb walking through a garden

There’s a beauty, for ever unchangingly bright,

Like the long, sunny lapse of a summer-day’s light,


Shining on, shining on, by no shadow made tender,

Till Love falls asleep in its sameness of splendour.

This was not the beauty—oh, nothing like this,

That to young Nourmahal gave such magic of bliss!

But that loveliness, ever in motion, which plays

Like the light upon autumn’s soft shadowy days,

Now here and now there, giving warmth as it flies

From the lip to the cheek, from the cheek to the eyes;

Now melting in mist and now breaking in gleams,

Like the glimpses a saint hath of Heav’n in his dreams.

When pensive, it seem’d as if that very grace,

That charm of all others, was born with her face!

And when angry,—for ev’n in the tranquillest climes

Light breezes will ruffle the blossoms sometimes—

The short, passing anger but seem’d to awaken

New beauty, like flowers that are sweetest when shaken.

If tenderness touch’d her, the dark of her eye

At once took a darker, a heavenlier dye,

From the depth of whose shadow, like holy revealings

From innermost shrines, came the light of her feelings.

Then her mirth—oh! ’twas sportive as ever took wing

From the heart with a burst, like the wild-bird in spring;

Illum’d by a wit that would fascinate sages,

Yet playful as Peris just loos’d from their cages.324

While her laugh, full of life, without any control

But the sweet one of gracefulness, rung from her soul;


And where it most sparkled no glance could discover,

In lip, cheek, or eyes, for she brighten’d all over,—

Like any fair lake that the breeze is upon,

When it breaks into dimples and laughs in the sun.

Such, such were the peerless enchantments that gave

Nourmahal the proud Lord of the East for her slave:

And though bright was his Haram,—a living parterre

Of the flowers325 of this planet—though treasures were there,

For which Soliman’s self might have giv’n all the store

That the navy from Ophir e’er wing’d to his shore,

Yet dim before her were the smiles of them all,

And the Light of his Haram was young Nourmahal!

But where is she now, this night of joy,

When bliss is every heart’s employ?—

When all around her is so bright,

So like the visions of a trance,

That one might think, who came by chance

Into the vale this happy night,

He saw that City of Delight326

In Fairy-land, whose streets and towers

Are made of gems and light and flowers!—

Where is the lov’d Sultana? where,

When mirth brings out the young and fair,

Does she, the fairest, hide her brow,

In melancholy stillness now?


Alas!—how light a cause may move

Dissension between hearts that love!

Hearts that the world in vain had tried,

And sorrow but more closely tied;

That stood the storm, when waves were rough,

Yet in a sunny hour fall off,

Like ships that have gone down at sea,

When heaven was all tranquillity!

A something, light as air—a look,

A word unkind or wrongly taken—

Oh! love, that tempests never shook,

A breath, a touch like this hath shaken.

And ruder words will soon rush in

To spread the breach that words begin;

And eyes forget the gentle ray

They wore in courtship’s smiling day;

And voices lose the tone that shed

A tenderness round all they said;

Till fast declining, one by one,

The sweetnesses of love are gone,

And hearts, so lately mingled, seem

Like broken clouds,—or like the stream,

That smiling left the mountain’s brow

As though its waters ne’er could sever,

Yet, ere it reach the plain below,

Breaks into floods, that part for ever.


young man with beard and turban looks thoughtful in garden

Oh, you, that have the charge of Love,

Keep him in rosy bondage bound,

As in the Fields of Bliss above

He sits, with flow’rets fetter’d round;327

Loose not a tie that round him clings,

Nor ever let him use his wings;

For e’en an hour, a minute’s flight

Will rob the plumes of half their light.

Like that celestial bird,—whose nest

Is found beneath far Eastern skies,—

Whose wings, though radiant when at rest,

Lose all their glory when he flies!328


Some difference, of this dangerous kind,—

By which, though light, the links that bind

The fondest hearts may soon be riven;

Some shadow in Love’s summer heaven,

Which, though a fleecy speck at first,

May yet in awful thunder burst;—

Such cloud it is that now hangs over

The heart of the Imperial Lover,

And far hath banish’d from his sight

His Nourmahal, his Haram’s Light!

Hence is it, on this happy night,

When Pleasure through the fields and groves

Has let loose all her world of loves,

And every heart has found its own,

He wanders, joyless and alone,

And weary as that bird of Thrace,

Whose pinion knows no resting place.329

In vain the loveliest cheeks and eyes

This Eden of the Earth supplies

Come crowding round—the cheeks are pale,

The eyes are dim:—though rich the spot

With every flow’r this earth has got,

What is it to the nightingale,

If there his darling rose is not?330

In vain the Valley’s smiling throng

Worship him, as he moves along;


He heeds them not—one smile of hers

Is worth a world of worshippers.

They but the Star’s adorers are,

She is the Heav’n that lights the Star!

young man with beard and turban turns his back on group of young women

Hence is it, too, that Nourmahal,

Amid the luxuries of this hour,

Far from the joyous festival,

Sits in her own sequester’d bower,

With no one near, to soothe or aid,

But that inspir’d and wondrous maid,

Namouna, the Enchantress;—one,


O’er whom his race the golden sun

For unremember’d years has run,

Yet never saw her blooming brow

Younger or fairer than ’tis now.

Nay, rather,—as the west wind’s sigh

Freshens the flower it passes by,—

Time’s wing but seem’d, in stealing o’er,

To leave her lovelier than before.

Yet on her smiles a sadness hung,

And when, as oft, she spoke or sung

Of other worlds, there came a light

From her dark eyes so strangely bright,

That all believ’d nor man nor earth

Were conscious of Namouna’s birth!

All spells and talismans she knew,

From the great Mantra,331 which around

The Air’s sublimer Spirits drew,

To the gold gems332 of Afric, bound

Upon the wandering Arab’s arm,

To keep him from the Siltim’s333 harm.

And she had pledg’d her powerful art,—

Pledg’d it with all the zeal and heart

Of one who knew, though high her sphere,

What ’twas to lose a love so dear,—

To find some spell that should recall

Her Selim’s334 smile to Nourmahal!


’Twas midnight—through the lattice, wreath’d

With woodbine, many a perfume breath’d

From plants that wake when others sleep,

From timid jasmine buds, that keep

Their odour to themselves all day,

But, when the sun-light dies away,

Let the delicious secret out

To every breeze that roams about;—

When thus Namouna:—“’Tis the hour

“That scatters spells on herb and flower,

“And garlands might be gather’d now,

“That, twin’d around the sleeper’s brow,

“Would make him dream of such delights,

“Such miracles and dazzling sights,

“As Genii of the Sun behold,

“At evening, from their tents of gold

“Upon the’ horizon—where they play

“Till twilight comes, and, ray by ray,

“Their sunny mansions melt away.

“Now, too, a chaplet might be wreath’d

“Of buds o’er which the moon has breath’d,

“Which worn by her, whose love has stray’d,

“Might bring some Peri from the skies,

“Some sprite, whose very soul is made

“Of flow’rets’ breaths and lovers’ sighs,

“And who might tell——”


“For me, for me,”

Cried Nourmahal impatiently,—

“Oh! twine that wreath for me to-night.”

Then, rapidly, with foot as light

As the young musk-roe’s, out she flew,

To cull each shining leaf that grew

Beneath the moonlight’s hallowing beams,

For this enchanted Wreath of Dreams.

Anemones and Seas of Gold,335

And new-blown lilies of the river,

And those sweet flow’rets, that unfold

Their buds on Camadeva’s quiver;336

The tube-rose, with her silvery light,

That in the Gardens of Malay

Is call’d the Mistress of the Night,337

So like a bride, scented and bright,

She comes out when the sun’s away;—

Amaranths, such as crown the maids

That wander through Zamara’s shades;338

And the white moon-flower, as it shows,

On Serendib’s high crags, to those

Who near the isle at evening sail,

Scenting her clove-trees in the gale;

In short, all flow’rets and all plants,

From the divine Amrita tree,339

That blesses heaven’s inhabitants


With fruits of immortality,

Down to the basil tuft,340 that waves

Its fragrant blossom over graves,

And to the humble rosemary,

Whose sweets so thanklessly are shed

To scent the desert341 and the dead:—

All in that garden bloom, and all

Are gather’d by young Nourmahal,

Who heaps her baskets with the flowers

And leaves, till they can hold no more;

Then to Namouna flies, and showers

Upon her lap the shining store.

With what delight the’ Enchantress views

So many buds, bath’d with the dews

And beams of that bless’d hour!—her glance

Spoke something, past all mortal pleasures,

As, in a kind of holy trance,

She hung above those fragrant treasures,

Bending to drink their balmy airs,

As if she mix’d her soul with theirs.

And ’twas, indeed, the perfume shed

From flow’rs and scented flame, that fed

Her charmèd life—for none had e’er

Beheld her taste of mortal fare,

Nor ever in aught earthly dip,


But the morn’s dew, her roseate lip.

Fill’d with the cool, inspiring smell,

The’ Enchantress now begins her spell,

Thus singing as she winds and weaves

In mystic form the glittering leaves:—

veiled woman sits on the edge of a couch talking to reclining young woman


I know where the winged visions dwell

That around the night-bed play;

I know each herb and flow’ret’s bell,

Where they hide their wings by day.

Then hasten we, maid,

To twine our braid,

To-morrow the dreams and flowers will fade.

The image of love, that nightly flies

To visit the bashful maid,

Steals from the jasmine flower, that sighs

Its soul, like her, in the shade.

The dream of a future, happier hour,

That alights on misery’s brow,

Springs out of the silvery almond-flower,

That blooms on a leafless bough.342

Then hasten we, maid,

To twine our braid,

To-morrow the dreams and flowers will fade.

The visions, that oft to worldly eyes

The glitter of mines unfold,

Inhabit the mountain-herb,343 that dyes

The tooth of the fawn like gold.

The phantom shapes—oh touch not them—

That appal the murderer’s sight,

Lurk in the fleshly mandrake’s stem,


That shrieks, when pluck’d at night!

Then hasten we, maid,

To twine our braid,

To-morrow the dreams and flowers will fade.

The dream of the injur’d, patient mind,

That smiles at the wrongs of men,

Is found in the bruis’d and wounded rind

Of the cinnamon, sweetest then.

Then hasten we, maid,

To twine our braid,

To-morrow the dreams and flowers will fade.

No sooner was the flowery crown

Plac’d on her head, than sleep came down,

Gently as nights of summer fall,

Upon the lids of Nourmahal;—

And, suddenly, a tuneful breeze,

As full of small, rich harmonies

As ever wind, that o’er the tents

Of Azab344 blew, was full of scents,

Steals on her ear, and floats and swells,

Like the first air of morning creeping

Into those wreathy, Red-Sea shells,

Where Love himself, of old, lay sleeping;345

And now a Spirit form’d, ’twould seem,


Of music and of light,—so fair,

So brilliantly his features beam,

And such a sound is in the air

Of sweetness when he waves his wings,—

Hovers around her, and thus sings:—

winged Peri plays a harp over sleeping young woman

From Chindara’s346 warbling fount I come,

Call’d by that moonlight garland’s spell;


From Chindara’s fount, my fairy home,

Where in music, morn and night, I dwell:

Where lutes in the air are heard about,

And voices are singing the whole day long,

And every sigh the heart breathes out

Is turn’d, as it leaves the lips, to song!

Hither I come

From my fairy home,

And if there’s a magic in Music’s strain,

I swear by the breath

Of that moonlight wreath,

Thy Lover shall sigh at thy feet again.

For mine is the lay that lightly floats,

And mine are the murmuring, dying notes,

That fall as soft as snow on the sea,

And melt in the heart as instantly:—

And the passionate strain that, deeply going,

Refines the bosom it trembles through,

As the musk-wind, over the water blowing,

Ruffles the wave, but sweetens it too.

Mine is the charm, whose mystic sway

The Spirits of past Delight obey;—

Let but the tuneful talisman sound,

And they come, like Genii, hovering round.


And mine is the gentle song that bears

From soul to soul, the wishes of love,

As a bird, that wafts through genial airs

The cinnamon-seed from grove to grove.347

’Tis I that mingle in one sweet measure

The past, the present, and future of pleasure;348

When Memory links the tone that is gone

With the blissful tone that’s still in the ear;

And Hope from a heavenly note flies on

To a note more heavenly still that is near.

The warrior’s heart, when touch’d by me,

Can as downy soft and as yielding be

As his own white plume, that high amid death

Through the field has shone—yet moves with a breath!

And oh, how the eyes of Beauty glisten,

When Music has reach’d her inward soul,

Like the silent stars, that wink and listen

While Heaven’s eternal melodies roll.

So, hither I come

From my fairy home,

And if there’s a magic in Music’s strain,

I swear by the breath

Of that moonlight wreath,

Thy Lover shall sigh at thy feet again.


’Tis dawn—at least that earlier dawn,

Whose glimpses are again withdrawn,349

As if the morn had wak’d, and then

Shut close her lids of light again.

And Nourmahal is up, and trying

The wonders of her lute, whose strings—

Oh, bliss!—now murmur like the sighing

From that ambrosial Spirit’s wings.

And then, her voice—’tis more than human—

Never, till now, had it been given

To lips of any mortal woman

To utter notes so fresh from heaven;

Sweet as the breath of angel sighs,

When angel sighs are most divine.—

“Oh! let it last till night,” she cries,

“And he is more than ever mine.”

And hourly she renews the lay,

So fearful lest its heavenly sweetness

Should, ere the evening, fade away,—

For things so heavenly have such fleetness!

But, far from fading, it but grows

Richer, diviner as it flows;

Till rapt she dwells on every string,

And pours again each sound along,

Like echo, lost and languishing,

In love with her own wondrous song.


That evening, (trusting that his soul

Might be from haunting love releas’d

By mirth, by music, and the bowl,)

The’ Imperial Selim held a feast

In his magnificent Shalimar:350

In whose Saloons, when the first star

Of evening o’er the waters trembled,

The Valley’s loveliest all assembled;

All the bright creatures that, like dreams,

Glide through its foliage, and drink beams

Of beauty from its founts and streams;351

And all those wandering minstrel-maids,

Who leave—how can they leave?—the shades

Of that dear Valley, and are found

Singing in gardens of the South352

Those songs, that ne’er so sweetly sound

As from a young Cashmerian’s mouth.

There, too, the Haram’s inmates smile;—

Maids from the West, with sun-bright hair,

And from the Garden of the Nile,

Delicate as the roses there;353

Daughters of Love from Cyprus’ rocks,

With Paphian diamonds in their locks;354

Light Peri forms, such as there are

On the gold meads of Candahar;355

And they, before whose sleepy eyes,


In their own bright Kathaian bowers,

Sparkle such rainbow butterflies,

That they might fancy the rich flowers,

That round them in the sun lay sighing,

Had been by magic all set flying.356

Every thing young, every thing fair

From East and West is blushing there,

Except—except—oh, Nourmahal!

Thou loveliest, dearest of them all,

The one, whose smile shone out alone,

Amidst a world the only one;

Whose light, among so many lights,

Was like that star on starry nights,

The seaman singles from the sky,

To steer his bark for ever by!

Thou wert not there—so Selim thought,

And every thing seem’d drear without thee;

But, ah! thou wert, thou wert,—and brought

Thy charm of song all fresh about thee.

Mingling unnoticed with a band

Of lutanists from many a land,

And veil’d by such a mask as shades

The features of young Arab maids,357

A mask that leaves but one eye free,

To do its best in witchery,—


She rov’d, with beating heart, around,

And waited, trembling, for the minute,

When she might try if still the sound

Of her lov’d lute had magic in it.

The board was spread with fruits and wine;

With grapes of gold, like those that shine

On Casbin’s hills;358—pomegranates full

Of melting sweetness, and the pears,

And sunniest apples359 that Caubul

In all its thousand gardens360 bears;—

Plantains, the golden and the green,

Malaya’s nectar’d mangusteen;361

Prunes of Bokara, and sweet nuts

From the far groves of Samarcand,

And Basra dates, and apricots,

Seed of the Sun,362 from Iran’s land;—

With rich conserve of Visna cherries,363

Of orange flowers, and of those berries

That, wild and fresh, the young gazelles

Feed on in Erac’s rocky dells.364

All these in richest vases smile,

In baskets of pure santal-wood,

And urns of porcelain from that isle365

Sunk underneath the Indian flood,

Whence oft the lucky diver brings


Vases to grace the halls of kings.

Wines, too, of every clime and hue,

Around their liquid lustre threw;

Amber Rosolli,366—the bright dew

From vineyards of the Green-Sea gushing;367

And Shiraz wine, that richly ran

As if that jewel, large and rare,

The ruby for which Kublai-Khan

Offer’d a city’s wealth,368 was blushing

Melted within the goblets there!

And amply Selim quaffs of each,

And seems resolv’d the flood shall reach

His inward heart,—shedding around

A genial deluge, as they run,

That soon shall leave no spot undrown’d,

For Love to rest his wings upon.

He little knew how well the boy

Can float upon a goblet’s streams,

Lighting them with his smile of joy;—

As bards have seen him in their dreams,

Down the blue Ganges laughing glide

Upon a rosy lotus wreath,369

Catching new lustre from the tide

That with his image shone beneath.


But what are cups, without the aid

Of song to speed them as they flow?

And see—a lovely Georgian maid,

With all the bloom, the freshen’d glow

Of her own country maidens’ looks,

When warm they rise from Teflis’ brooks;370

And with an eye, whose restless ray,

Full, floating, dark—oh, he, who knows

His heart is weak, of heaven should pray

To guard him from such eyes as those!—

With a voluptuous wildness flings

Her snowy hand across the strings

Of a syrinda,371 and thus sings:—

Come hither, come hither—by night and by day,

We linger in pleasures that never are gone;

Like the waves of the summer, as one dies away,

Another as sweet and as shining comes on.

And the love that is o’er, in expiring, gives birth

To a new one as warm, as unequall’d in bliss;

And, oh! if there be an Elysium on earth,

It is this, it is this.372

Here maidens are sighing, and fragrant their sigh

As the flower of the Amra just op’d by a bee;373


And precious their tears as that rain from the sky,374

Which turns into pearls as it falls in the sea.

Oh! think what the kiss and the smile must be worth

When the sigh and the tear are so perfect in bliss,

And own if there be an Elysium on earth,

It is this, it is this.

Here sparkles the nectar, that, hallow’d by love,

Could draw down those angels of old from their sphere,

Who for wine of this earth375 left the fountains above,

And forgot heaven’s stars for the eyes we have here.

And, bless’d with the odour our goblet gives forth,

What Spirit the sweets of his Eden would miss?

For, oh! if there be an Elysium on earth,

It is this, it is this.

The Georgian’s song was scarcely mute,

When the same measure, sound for sound,

Was caught up by another lute,

And so divinely breathed around,

That all stood hush’d and wondering,

And turn’d and look’d into the air,

As if they thought to see the wing

Of Israfil,376 the Angel, there;—


So powerfully on every soul

That new, enchanted measure stole.

While now a voice, sweet as the note

Of the charm’d lute, was heard to float

Along its chords, and so entwine

Its sounds with theirs, that none knew whether

The voice or lute was most divine,

So wondrously they went together:—

gathering of woman surrounding one man in Oriental setting


There’s a bliss beyond all that the minstrel has told,

When two, that are link’d in one heavenly tie,

With heart never changing, and brow never cold,

Love on through all ills, and love on till they die!

One hour of a passion so sacred is worth

Whole ages of heartless and wandering bliss;

And, oh! if there be an Elysium on earth,

It is this, it is this.

’Twas not the air, ’twas not the words,

But that deep magic in the chords

And in the lips, that gave such power

As music knew not till that hour.

At once a hundred voices said,

“It is the mask’d Arabian maid!”

While Selim, who had felt the strain

Deepest of any, and had lain

Some minutes rapt, as in a trance,

After the fairy sounds were o’er,

Too inly touched for utterance,

Now motion’d with his hand for more:—


Fly to the desert, fly with me,

Our Arab tents are rude for thee;

But, oh! the choice what heart can doubt,

Of tents with love, or thrones without?

Our rocks are rough, but smiling there

The’ acacia waves her yellow hair,

Lonely and sweet, nor lov’d the less

For flowering in a wilderness.

Our sands are bare, but down their slope

The silvery-footed antelope

As gracefully and gaily springs

As o’er the marble courts of kings.

Then come—thy Arab maid will be

The lov’d and lone acacia-tree,

The antelope, whose feet shall bless

With their light sound thy loneliness.

Oh! there are looks and tones that dart

An instant sunshine through the heart,—

As if the soul that minute caught

Some treasure it through life had sought;

As if the very lips and eyes,

Predestin’d to have all our sighs,


And never be forgot again,

Sparkled and spoke before us then!

So came thy every glance and tone,

When first on me they breath’d and shone;

New, as if brought from other spheres,

Yet welcome as if loved for years.

Then fly with me,—if thou hast known

No other flame, nor falsely thrown

A gem away, that thou hadst sworn

Should ever in thy heart be worn.

Come, if the love thou hast for me

Is pure and fresh as mine for thee,—

Fresh as the fountain under ground,

When first ’tis by the lapwing found.377

But if for me thou dost forsake

Some other maid, and rudely break

Her worshipp’d image from its base,

To give to me the ruin’d place;—

Then, fare thee well—I’d rather make

My bower upon some icy lake

When thawing suns begin to shine,

Than trust to love so false as thine!


There was a pathos in this lay,

That, e’en without enchantment’s art,

Would instantly have found its way

Deep into Selim’s burning heart;

But, breathing, as it did, a tone

To earthly lutes and lips unknown;

With every chord fresh from the touch

Of Music’s Spirit,—’twas too much!

Starting, he dash’d away the cup,—

Which, all the time of this sweet air,

His hand had held, untasted, up,

As if ’twere fix’d by magic there,—

And naming her, so long unnam’d,

So long unseen, wildly exclaim’d,

“Oh Nourmahal! oh Nourmahal!

“Hadst thou but sung this witching strain,

“I could forget—forgive thee all,

“And never leave those eyes again.”

The mask is off—the charm is wrought—

And Selim to his heart has caught,

In blushes, more than ever bright,

His Nourmahal, his Haram’s Light

And well do vanish’d frowns enhance

The charm of every brightened glance;


And dearer seems each dawning smile

For having lost its light awhile:

And, happier now for all her sighs,

As on his arm her head reposes,

She whispers him with laughing eyes,

“Remember, love, the Feast of Roses!”

young man and woman in Oriental attire, embracing


horses and elephants marching through Oriental city

Fadladeen, at the conclusion of this light rhapsody, took occasion to sum up his opinion of the young Cashmerian’s poetry,—of which, he trusted, they had that evening heard the last. Having recapitulated the epithets, “frivolous”—“inharmonious”—“nonsensical,” he proceeded to say that, viewing it in the most favourable light, it resembled one of those Maldivian boats, to which the Princess had alluded in the relation of her dream,378—a slight, gilded thing, sent adrift without rudder or ballast, and with nothing but vapid sweets and faded flowers on board. The profusion, indeed, of flowers and birds, which this poet had ready on all occasions,—not to mention dews, gems, &c.—was a most oppressive kind of opulence to his hearers; and had the unlucky effect of giving to his style all the glitter of the flower-garden without its method, and all the flutter of the aviary without its song. In addition to this, he chose his subjects badly, and was always most inspired by the worst 322 parts of them. The charms of paganism, the merits of rebellion,—these were the themes honoured with his particular enthusiasm; and, in the poem just recited, one of his most palatable passages was in praise of that beverage of the Unfaithful, wine;—“being, perhaps,” said he, relaxing into a smile, as conscious of his own character in the Haram on this point, “one of those bards, whose fancy owes all its illumination to the grape, like that painted porcelain,379 so curious and so rare, whose images are only visible when liquor is poured into it.” Upon the whole, it was his opinion, from the specimens which they had heard, and which, he begged to say, were the most tiresome part of the journey, that—whatever other merits this well-dressed young gentleman might possess—poetry was by no means his proper avocation: “and indeed,” concluded the critic, “from his fondness for flowers and for birds, I would venture to suggest that a florist or a bird-catcher is a much more suitable calling for him than a poet.”

They had now begun to ascend those barren mountains which separate Cashmere from the rest of India; and, as the heats were intolerable, and the time of their encampments limited to the few hours necessary for refreshment and repose, there was an end to all their delightful evenings, and Lalla Rookh saw no 323 more of Feramorz. She now felt that her short dream of happiness was over, and that she had nothing but the recollection of its few blissful hours, like the one draught of sweet water that serves the camel across the wilderness, to be her heart’s refreshment during the dreary waste of life that was before her. The blight that had fallen upon her spirits soon found its way to her cheek, and her ladies saw with regret—though not without some suspicion of the cause—that the beauty of their mistress, of which they were almost as proud as of their own, was fast vanishing away at the very moment of all when she had most need of it. What must the King of Bucharia feel, when, instead of the lively and beautiful Lalla Rookh, whom the poets of Delhi had described as more perfect than the divinest images in the house of Azor,380 he should receive a pale and inanimate victim, upon whose cheek neither health nor pleasure bloomed, and from whose eyes Love had fled,—to hide himself in her heart?

If anything could have charmed away the melancholy of her spirits, it would have been the fresh airs and enchanting scenery of that Valley, which the Persians so justly call the Unequalled.381 But neither the coolness of its atmosphere, so luxurious after toiling up those bare and burning mountains,—neither the splendour of the 324 minarets and pagodas, that shone out from the depth of its woods, nor the grottos, hermitages, and miraculous fountains,382 which make every spot of that region holy ground, neither the countless waterfalls, that rush into the Valley from all those high and romantic mountains that encircle it, nor the fair city on the Lake, whose houses, roofed with flowers,383 appeared at a distance like one vast and variegated parterre;—not all these wonders and glories of the most lovely country under the sun could steal her heart for a minute from those sad thoughts, which but darkened, and grew bitterer every step she advanced.

The gay pomps and processions that met her upon her entrance into the Valley, and the magnificence with which the roads all along were decorated, did honour to the taste and gallantry of the young King. It was night when they approached the city, and, for the last two miles, they had passed under arches, thrown from hedge to hedge, festooned with only those rarest roses from which the Attar Gul, more precious than gold, is distilled, and illuminated in rich and fanciful forms with lanterns of the triple-coloured tortoise-shell of Pegu.384 Sometimes, from a dark wood by the side of the road, a display of fire-works would break out, so sudden and so brilliant, that a Brahmin might fancy he beheld that grove, in whose purple shade 325 the God of Battles was born, bursting into a flame at the moment of his birth;—while, at other times, a quick and playful irradiation continued to brighten all the fields and gardens by which they passed, forming a line of dancing lights along the horizon; like the meteors of the north as they are seen by those hunters,385 who pursue the white and blue foxes on the confines of the Icy Sea.

These arches and fire-works delighted the Ladies of the Princess exceedingly; and, with their usual good logic, they deduced from his taste for illuminations, that the King of Bucharia would make the most exemplary husband imaginable. Nor, indeed, could Lalla Rookh herself help feeling the kindness and splendour with which the young bridegroom welcomed her;—but she also felt how painful is the gratitude, which kindness from those we cannot love excites; and that their best blandishments come over the heart with all that chilling and deadly sweetness, which we can fancy in the cold, odoriferous wind386 that is to blow over this earth in the last days.

The marriage was fixed for the morning after her arrival, when she was, for the first time, to be presented to the monarch in that Imperial Palace beyond the lake, called the Shalimar. Though never before had a night 326 of more wakeful and anxious thought been passed in the Happy Valley, yet, when she rose in the morning, and her Ladies came around her, to assist in the adjustment of the bridal ornaments, they thought they had never seen her look half so beautiful. What she had lost of the bloom and radiancy of her charms was more than made up by that intellectual expression, that soul beaming forth from the eyes, which is worth all the rest of loveliness. When they had tinged her fingers with the Henna leaf, and placed upon her brow a small coronet of jewels, of the shape worn by the ancient Queens of Bucharia, they flung over her head the rose-coloured bridal veil, and she proceeded to the barge that was to convey her across the lake;—first kissing, with a mournful look, the little amulet of cornelian, which her father at parting had hung about her neck.

The morning was as fresh and fair as the maid on whose nuptials it rose, and the shining lake, all covered with boats, the minstrels playing upon the shores of the islands, and the crowded summer-houses on the green hills around, with shawls and banners waving from their roofs, presented such a picture of animated rejoicing, as only she, who was the object of it all, did not feel with transport. To Lalla Rookh alone it was a melancholy pageant; nor could she have even borne to look 327 upon the scene, were it not for a hope that, among the crowds around, she might once more perhaps catch a glimpse of Feramorz. So much was her imagination haunted by this thought, that there was scarcely an islet or boat she passed on the way, at which her heart did not flutter with the momentary fancy that he was there. Happy, in her eyes, the humblest slave upon whom the light of his dear looks fell!—In the barge immediately after the Princess sat Fadladeen, with his silken curtains thrown widely apart, that all might have the benefit of his august presence, and with his head full of the speech he was to deliver to the King, “concerning Feramorz, and literature, and the Chabuk, as connected therewith.”

They now had entered the canal which leads from the Lake to the splendid domes and saloons of the Shalimar, and went gliding on through the gardens that ascended from each bank, full of flowering shrubs that made the air all perfume; while from the middle of the canal rose jets of water, smooth and unbroken, to such a dazzling height, that they stood like tall pillars of diamond in the sunshine. After sailing under the arches of various saloons, they at length arrived at the last and most magnificent, where the monarch awaited the coming of his bride; and such was the agitation of her heart and frame, that it was with difficulty she could walk up the marble 328 steps, which were covered with cloth of gold for her ascent from the barge. At the end of the hall stood two thrones, as precious as the Cerulean Throne of Coolburga,387 on one of which sat Aliris, the youthful King of Bucharia, and on the other was, in a few minutes, to be placed the most beautiful Princess in the world. Immediately upon the entrance of Lalla Rookh into the saloon, the monarch descended from his throne to meet her; but scarcely had he time to take her hand in his, when she screamed with surprise, and fainted at his feet. It was Feramorz himself that stood before her!—Feramorz was, himself, the Sovereign of Bucharia, who in this disguise had accompanied his young bride from Delhi, and, having won her love as an humble minstrel, now amply deserved to enjoy it as a King.

The consternation of Fadladeen at this discovery was, for the moment, almost pitiable. But change of opinion is a resource too convenient in courts for this experienced courtier not to have learned to avail himself of it. His criticisms were all, of course, recanted instantly: he was seized with an admiration of the King’s verses, as unbounded as, he begged him to believe, it was disinterested; and the following week saw him in possession of an additional place, swearing by all the Saints of Islam that never had there existed so great 329 a poet as the Monarch Aliris, and, moreover, ready to prescribe his favourite regimen of the Chabuk for every man, woman, and child that dared to think otherwise.

Of the happiness of the King and Queen of Bucharia, after such a beginning, there can be but little doubt; and, among the lesser symptoms, it is recorded of Lalla Rookh, that, to the day of her death, in memory of their delightful journey, she never called the King by any other name than Feramorz.

busy market in front of Indian city gate


Note 305, p. 281.—Lizards.—“The lizard Stellio. The Arabs call it Hardun. The Turks kill it, for they imagine that by declining the head it mimics them when they say their prayers.”—Hasselquist.

Note 306, p. 281.—Royal Gardens.—For these particulars respecting Hussun Abdaul, I am indebted to the very interesting Introduction of Mr. Elphinstone’s work upon Caubul.

Note 307, p. 281.—It was too delicious.—“As you enter at that Bazar, without the gate of Damascus, you see the Green Mosque, so called because it hath a steeple faced with green glazed bricks, which render it very resplendent; it is covered at top with a pavilion of the same stuff. The Turks say this mosque was made in that place, because Mahomet being come so far, would not enter the town, saying it was too delicious.”—Thevenot. This reminds one of the following pretty passage in Isaac Walton:—“When I sat last on this primrose bank, and looked down these meadows, I thought of them as Charles the Emperor did of the city of Florence, ‘that they were too pleasant to be looked on, but only on holidays.’”

Note 308, p. 281.—The Sultana Nourmahal, the Light of the Haram.—Nourmahal signifies Light of the Haram. She was afterwards called Nourjehan, or the Light of the World.

Note 309, p. 282.—The small shining fishes of which she was so fond.—See note, p. 367.

Note 310, p. 282.—Haroun-al-Raschid and his fair mistress Marida.“Haroun al Raschid, cinquième Khalife des Abassides, s’étant un jour brouillé avec une de ses maîtresses nominée Maridah, qu’il aimoit cependant jusqu’à l’excès, et cette mésintelligence ayant déjà durée quelque tems commença à s’ennuyer. Giafar Barmaki, son favori, qui s’en apperçût, commanda à Abbas ben Ahnaf, excellent poëte de ce tems-là, de composer quelques vers sur le sujet de cette brouillerie. Ce poëte exécuta l’ordre de Giafar, qui fit chanter ces vers par Moussali en présence du Khalife, et ce Prince fut tellement touché de la tendresse des vers du poëte et de la douceur de la voix du musicien, qu’il alla aussitôt trouver Maridah, et fit sa paix avec elle.”—D’Herbelot.


Note 311, p. 285.—With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave.

“The rose of Kashmire, for its brilliancy and delicacy of odour, has long been proverbial in the East.”—Forster.

Note 312, p. 286.—Round the waist of some fair Indian dancer is ringing.

“Tied round her waist the zone of bells, that sounded with ravishing melody.”—Song of Jayadeva.

Note 313, p. 286.—The young aspen-trees.

“The little isles in the Lake of Cachemire are set with arbours and large-leaved aspen-trees, slender and tall.”—Bernier.

Note 314, p. 287.—Shines in through the mountainous portal that opes.

“The Tuckt Suliman, the name bestowed by the Mahometans on this hill, forms one side of a grand portal to the Lake.”—Forster.

Note 315, p. 287.—The Valley holds its Feast of Roses.

“The Feast of Roses continues the whole time of their remaining in bloom.”—See Pietro de la Valle.

Note 316, p. 287.—The Flow’ret of a hundred leaves.

“Gul sad berk, the Rose of a hundred leaves. I believe a particular species.”—Ouseley.

Note 317, p. 287.—Behind the palms of Baramoule.—Bernier.

Note 318, p. 288.—On Bela’s hills is less alive.

A place mentioned in the Toozek Jehangeery, or Memoirs of Jehanguire, where there is an account of the beds of saffron-flowers about Cashmere.

Note 319, p. 289.—Sung from his lighted gallery.

“It is the custom among the women to employ the Maazeen to chaunt from the gallery of the nearest minaret, which on that occasion is illuminated, and the women assembled at the house respond at intervals with a ziraleet or joyous chorus.”—Russel.

Note 320, p. 289.—From gardens, where the silken swing.

“The swing is a favourite pastime in the East, as promoting a circulation of air, extremely refreshing in those sultry climates.”—Richardson.

“The swings are adorned with festoons. This pastime is accompanied with the music of voices and of instruments, hired by the masters of the swings.”—Thevenot.


Note 321, p. 289.—Among the tents that line the way.

“At the keeping of the Feast of Roses we beheld an infinite number of tents pitched, with such a crowd of men, women, boys, and girls, with music, dances,” &c. &c.—Herbert.

Note 322, p. 290.—An answer in song to the kiss of each wave.

“An old commentator of the Chou-King says, the ancients having remarked that a current of water made some of the stones near its banks send forth a sound, they detached some of them, and being charmed with the delightful sound they emitted, constructed King or musical instruments of them.”—Grosier.

This miraculous quality has been attributed also to the shore of Attica. “Hujus littus, ait Capella, concentum musicum illisis terræ undis reddere, quod propter tantam eruditionis vim puto dictum.”—Ludov. Vives in Augustin. de Civitat. Dei, lib. xviii. c. 8.

Note 323, p. 290.—So felt the magnificent Son of Acbar.

Jehanguire was the son of the Great Acbar.

Note 324, p. 292.—Yet playful as Peris just loos’d from their cages.

In the wars of the Dives with the Peris, whenever the former took the latter prisoners, “they shut them up in iron cages, and hung them on the highest trees. Here they were visited by their companions, who brought them the choicest odours.”—Richardson.

Note 325, p. 293.—Of the flowers of this planet—though treasures were there.

In the Malay language the same word signifies women and flowers.

Note 326, p. 293.—He saw that City of Delight.

The capital of Shadukiam. See note, p. 357.

Note 327, p. 295.—He sits, with flow’rets fetter’d round.

See the representation of the Eastern Cupid, pinioned closely round with wreaths of flowers, in Picart’s Cérémonies Religieuses.

Note 328, p. 295.—Lose all their glory when he flies.

“Among the birds of Tonquin is a species of goldfinch, which sings so melodiously that it is called the Celestial bird. Its wings, when it is perched, appear variegated with beautiful colours, but when it flies they lose all their splendour.”—Grosier.

Note 329, p. 296.—Whose pinion knows no resting place.

“As these birds on the Bosphorus are never known to rest, they are called by the French ‘les âmes damnées.’”—Dalloway.


Note 330, p. 296.—If there his darling rose is not.

“You may place a hundred handfuls of fragrant herbs and flowers before the nightingale, yet he wishes not, in his constant heart, for more than the sweet breath of his beloved rose.”—Jami.

Note 331, p. 298.—From the great Mantra, which around.

“He is said to have found the great Mantra, spell or talisman, through which he ruled over the elements and spirits of all denominations.”—Wilford.

Note 332, p. 298.—To the gold gems of Afric.

“The gold jewels of Jinnie, which are called by the Arabs El Herrez, from the supposed charm they contain.”—Jackson.

Note 333, p. 298.—To keep him from the Siltim’s harm.

“A demon, supposed to haunt woods, &c. in a human shape.”—Richardson.

Note 334, p. 298.—Her Selim’s smile to Nourmahal.

The name of Jehanguire before his accession to the throne.

Note 335, p. 300.—Anemones and Seas of Gold.

“Hemasagara, or the Sea of Gold, with flowers of the brightest gold colour.”—Sir W. Jones.

Note 336, p. 300.—Their buds on Camadeva’s quiver.

“This tree (the Nagacesara) is one of the most delightful on earth, and the delicious odour of its blossoms justly gives them a place in the quiver of Camadeva, or the God of Love.”—Id.

Note 337, p. 300.—Is call’d the Mistress of the Night.

“The Malayans style the tube-rose (Polianthes tuberosa) Sandal Malam, or the Mistress of the Night.”—Pennant.

Note 338, p. 300.—That wander through Zamara’s shades.

The people of the Batta country in Sumatra (of which Zamara is one of the ancient names), “when not engaged in war, lead an idle, inactive life, passing the day in playing on a kind of flute, crowned with garlands of flowers, among which the globe-amaranthus, a native of the country, mostly prevails.”—Marsden.

Note 339, p. 300.—From the divine Amrita tree.

“The largest and richest sort (of the Jambu, or rose-apple) is called Amrita, or immortal, and the mythologists of Tibet apply the same word to a celestial tree, bearing ambrosial fruit.”—Sir W. Jones.


Note 340, p. 301.—Down to the basil tuft, that waves.

Sweet basil, called Rayhan in Persia, and generally found in churchyards.

“The women in Egypt go, at least two days in the week, to pray and weep at the sepulchres of the dead; and the custom then is to throw upon the tombs a sort of herb, which the Arabs call rihan, and which is our sweet basil.”—Maillet, Lett. 10.

Note 341, p. 301.—To scent the desert and the dead.

“In the Great Desert are found many stalks of lavender and rosemary.”—Asiat. Res.

Note 342, p. 303.—That blooms on a leafless bough.

“The almond-tree, with white flowers, blossoms on the bare branches.”—Hasselquist.

Note 343, p. 303.—Inhabit the mountain-herb, that dyes.

An herb on Mount Libanus, which is said to communicate a yellow golden hue to the teeth of the goats and other animals that graze upon it.

Niebuhr thinks this may be the herb which the Eastern alchymists look to as a means of making gold. “Most of those alchymical enthusiasts think themselves sure of success, if they could but find out the herb, which gilds the teeth and gives a yellow colour to the flesh of the sheep that eat it. Even the oil of this plant must be of a golden colour. It is called Haschischat ed dab.”

Father Jerom Dandini, however, asserts that the teeth of the goats at Mount Libanus are of a silver colour; and adds, “This confirms to me that which I observed in Candia: to wit, that the animals that live on Mount Ida eat a certain herb, which renders their teeth of a golden colour; which, according to my judgment, cannot otherwise proceed than from the mines which are under ground.”—Dandini, Voyage to Mount Libanus.

young woman bends over resting young woman on Oriental couch

Leavitt & Allen 1866

No sooner was the flowery crown

Plac’d on her head, than sleep came down,

Gently as nights of summer fall,

Upon the lids of Nourmahal;—

Note 344, p. 304.—Of Azab blew, was full of scents.

The myrrh country.

Note 345, p. 304.—Where Love himself, of old, lay sleeping.

“This idea (of deities living in shells) was not unknown to the Greeks, who represent the young Nerites, one of the Cupids, as living in shells on the shores of the Red Sea.”—Wilford.

Note 346, p. 305.—From Chindara’s warbling fount I come.

“A fabulous mountain, where instruments are said to be constantly playing.”—Richardson.


Note 347, p. 307.—The cinnamon-seed from grove to grove.

“The Pompadour pigeon is the species, which, by carrying the fruit of the cinnamon to different places, is a great disseminator of this valuable tree.”—See Brown’s Illustr. Tab. 19.

Note 348, p. 307.—The past, the present, and future of pleasure.

“Whenever our pleasure arises from a succession of sounds, it is a perception of a complicated nature, made up of a sensation of the present sound or note, and an idea or remembrance of the foregoing, while their mixture and concurrence produce such a mysterious delight, as neither could have produced alone. And it is often heightened by an anticipation of the succeeding notes. Thus Sense, Memory and Imagination are conjunctively employed.”—Gerrard on Taste.

This is exactly the Epicurean theory of Pleasure, as explained by Cicero:—“Quocirca corpus gaudere tamdiu, dum præsentem sentiret voluptatem: animum et præsentem percipere pariter cum corpore et prospicere venientem, nec præteritam præterfluere sinere.”

Madame de Staël accounts upon the same principle for the gratification we derive from rhyme:—“Elle est l’image de l’espérance et du souvenir. Un son nous fait désirer celui qui doit lui répondre, et quand le second retentit il nous rappelle celui qui vient de nous échapper.”

Note 349, p. 308.—Whose glimpses are again withdrawn.

“The Persians have two mornings, the Soobhi Kazim and the Soobhi Sadig, the false and the real day-break. They account for this phenomenon in a most whimsical manner. They say that as the sun rises from behind the Kohi Qaf (Mount Caucasus), it passes a hole perforated through that mountain, and that darting its rays through it, it is the cause of the Soobhi Kazim, or this temporary appearance of day-break. As it ascends, the earth is again veiled in darkness, until the sun rises above the mountain, and brings with it the Soobhi Sadig, or real morning.”—Scott Waring. He thinks Milton may allude to this, when he says,—

“Ere the blabbing Eastern scout,

The nice morn on the Indian steep

From her cabin’d loop-hole peep.”

Note 350, p. 309.—In his magnificent Shalimar.

“In the centre of the plain, as it approaches the Lake, one of the Delhi Emperors, I believe Shah Jehan, constructed a spacious garden called the Shalimar, which is abundantly stored with fruit-trees and flowering shrubs. Some of the rivulets which intersect the plain are led into a canal at the back of the garden, and flowing through its centre, or occasionally thrown into a variety of water-works, compose the chief beauty of the Shalimar. 377 To decorate this spot, the Mogul Princes of India have displayed an equal magnificence and taste; especially Jehan Gheer, who, with the enchanting Noor Mahl, made Kashmire his usual residence during the summer months. On arches thrown over the canal are erected, at equal distances, four or five suites of apartments, each consisting of a saloon, with four rooms at the angles, where the followers of the court attend, and the servants prepare sherbets, coffee, and the hookah. The frame of the doors of the principal saloon is composed of pieces of a stone of a black colour, streaked with yellow lines, and of a closer grain and higher polish than porphyry. They were taken, it is said, from a Hindoo temple, by one of the Mogul princes, and are esteemed of great value.”—Forster.

Note 351, p. 309.—Of beauty from its founts and streams.

“The waters of Cachemir are the more renowned from its being supposed that the Cachemirians are indebted for their beauty to them.”—Ali Yezdi.

Note 352, p. 309.—Singing in gardens of the South.

“From him I received the following little Gazzel, or Love Song, the notes of which he committed to paper from the voice of one of those singing girls of Cashmere, who wander from that delightful valley over the various parts of India.”—Persian Miscellanies.

Note 353, p. 309.—Delicate as the roses there.

“The roses of the Jinan Nile, or Garden of the Nile (attached to the Emperor of Marocco’s palace), are unequalled, and mattresses are made of their leaves for the men of rank to recline upon.”—Jackson.

Note 354, p. 309.—With Paphian diamonds in their locks.

“On the side of a mountain near Paphos there is a cavern which produces the most beautiful rock-crystal. On account of its brilliancy it has been called the Paphian diamond.”—Mariti.

Note 355, p. 309.—On the gold meads of Candahar.

“There is a part of Candahar, called Peria, or Fairy Land.”—Thevenot. In some of those countries to the north of India, vegetable gold is supposed to be produced.

Note 356, p. 310.—Had been by magic all set flying.

“These are the butterflies which are called in the Chinese language Flying Leaves. Some of them have such shining colours, and are so variegated, that they may be called flying flowers; and indeed they are always produced in the finest flower-gardens.”—Dunn.

young woman reposes on balcony, looking up at night sky

Leavitt & Allen (undated): frontispiece

Thou loveliest, dearest of them all

The one whose smile shone out alone

Amidst a world the only one!


Note 357, p. 310.—The features of young Arab maids.

“The Arabian women wear black masks with little clasps prettily ordered.”—Carreri. Niebuhr mentions their showing but one eye in conversation.

Note 358, p. 311.—On Casbin’s hills.

“The golden grapes of Casbin.”—Description of Persia.

Note 359, p. 311.—And sunniest apples that Caubul—

“The fruits exported from Caubul are apples, pears, pomegranates,” &c.—Elphinstone.

Note 360, p. 311.—in all its thousand gardens bears.

“We sat down under a tree, listened to the birds, and talked with the son of our Mehmaundar about our country and Caubul, of which he gave an enchanting account: that city and its 100,000 gardens,” &c.—Id.

Note 361, p. 311.—Malaya’s nectar’d mangusteen.

“The mangusteen, the most delicate fruit in the world; the pride of the Malay islands.”—Marsden.

Note 362, p. 311.—Seed of the Sun, from Iran’s land.

“A delicious kind of apricot, called by the Persians tokm-ek-shems, signifying sun’s seed.”—Description of Persia.

Note 363, p. 311.—With rich conserve of Visna cherries.

“Sweetmeats, in a crystal cup, consisting of rose-leaves in conserve, with lemon of Visna cherry orange flowers,” &c.—Russel.

Note 364, p. 311.—Feed on in Erac’s rocky dells.

“Antelopes, cropping the fresh berries of Erac.”—The Moallakat, Poem of Tarafa.

Note 365, p. 311.—And urns of porcelain from that isle.

Mauri-ga-Sima, an island near Formosa, supposed to have been sunk in the sea for the crimes of its inhabitants. The vessels which the fishermen and divers bring up from it are sold at an immense price in China and Japan.—See Kæmpfer.

Note 366, p. 312.—Amber Rosolli.—Persian Tales.

Note 367, p. 312.—From vineyards of the Green-Sea gushing.

The white wine of Kishma.


Note 368, p. 312.—Offer’d a city’s wealth.

“The King of Zeilan is said to have the very finest ruby that was ever seen. Kublai-Khan sent and offered the value of a city for it, but the King answered he would not give it for the treasure of the world.”—Marco Polo.

Note 369, p. 312.—Upon a rosy lotus wreath.

The Indians feign that Cupid was first seen floating down the Ganges on the Nymphæa Nelumbo.—See Pennant.

Note 370, p. 312.—When warm they rise from Teflis’ brooks.

Teflis is celebrated for its natural warm baths.—See Ebn Haukal.

Note 371, p. 312.—Of a syrinda.

“The Indian Syrinda, or guitar.”—Symez.

Note 372, p. 313.—It is this, it is this.

“Around the exterior of the Dewan Khafs (a building of Shah Allum’s) in the cornice are the following lines in letters of gold upon a ground of white marble:—‘If there be a paradise upon earth, it is this, it is this.’”—Franklin.

Note 373, p. 313.—As the flower of the Amra just op’d by a bee.

“Delightful are the flowers of the Amra trees on the mountain-tops, while the murmuring bees pursue their voluptuous toil.”—Song of Jayadeva.

Note 374, p. 314.—And precious their tears as that rain from the sky.

“The Nisan or drops of spring rain, which they believe to produce pearls if they fall into shells.”—Richardson.

Note 375, p. 314.—Who for wine of this earth left the fountains above.

For an account of the share which wine had in the fall of the angels, see Mariti.

Note 376, p. 314.—Of Israfil, the Angel, there.

The Angel of Music.—See note 293.

Note 377, p. 318.—When first ’tis by the lapwing found.

The Hudhud, or Lapwing, is supposed to have the power of discovering water under ground.


Note 378, p. 321.—Of her dream.—See p. 215.

Note 379, p. 322.—Like that painted porcelain. “The Chinese had formerly the art of painting on the sides of porcelain vessels fish and other animals, which were only perceptible when the vessel was full of some liquor. They call this species Kia-tsin, that is, azure is put in press, on account of the manner in which the azure is laid on.”—“They are every now and then trying to recover the art of this magical painting, but to no purpose.”—Dunn.

Note 380, p. 323.—House of Azor.—An eminent carver of idols, said in the Koran to be father to Abraham. “I have such a lovely idol as is not to be met with in the house of Azor.”—Hafiz.

Note 381, p. 323.—The Unequalled.—Kachmire be Nazeer.—Forster.

Note 382, p. 324.—Miraculous fountains.—“The pardonable superstition of the sequestered inhabitants has multiplied the places of worship of Mahadeo, of Beschan, and of Brama. All Cashmere is holy land, and miraculous fountains abound.”—Major Rennel’s Memoirs of a Map of Hindostan.

Jehanguire mentions “a fountain in Cashmere called Tirnagh, which signifies a snake; probably because some large snake had formerly been seen there.”—“During the lifetime of my father, I went twice to this fountain, which is about twenty coss from the city of Cashmere. The vestiges of places of worship and sanctity are to be traced without number amongst the ruins and the caves, which are interspersed in its neighbourhood.”—Toozek Jehangeery.—Vide Asiat. Misc. vol. ii.

There is another account of Cashmere by Abul-Fazil, the author of the Ayin-Acbaree, “who,” says Major Rennel, “appears to have caught some of the enthusiasm of the valley, by his description of the holy places in it.”

Note 383, p. 324.—Roofed with flowers.—“On a standing roof of wood is laid a covering of fine earth, which shelters the building from the great quantity of snow that falls in the whiter season. This fence communicates an equal warmth in winter, as a refreshing coolness in the summer season, when the tops of the houses, which are planted with a variety of flowers, exhibit at a distance the spacious view of a beautifully chequered parterre.”—Forster.

Note 384, p. 324.—The triple-coloured tortoise-shell of Pegu.—“Two hundred slaves there are, who have no other office than to hunt the woods and marshes for triple-coloured tortoises for the King’s Vivary. Of the shells of these also lanterns are made.”—Vincent le Blanc’s Travels.


Note 385, p. 325.—Like the meteors of the north as they are seen by those hunters.—For a description of the Aurora Borealis as it appears to these hunters, vide Encyclopædia.

Note 386, p. 325.—Odoriferous wind.—This wind, which is to blow from Syria Damascena, is, according to the Mahometans, one of the signs of the Last Day’s approach.

Another of the signs is, “Great distress in the world, so that a man when he passes by another’s grave shall say, “Would to God I were in his place!”—Sale’s Preliminary Discourse.

Note 387, p. 328.—As precious as the Cerulean Throne of Coolburga.—“On Mahommed Shaw’s return to Koolburga (the capital of Dekkan), he made a great festival, and mounted this throne with much pomp and magnificence, calling it Firozeh, or Cerulean. I have heard some old persons, who saw the throne Firozeh in the reign of Sultan Mamood Bhamenee, describe it. They say that it was in length nine feet, and three in breadth; made of ebony, covered with plates of pure gold, and set with precious stones of immense value. Every prince of the house of Bhamenee, who possessed this throne, made a point of adding to it some rich stones; so that when in the reign of Sultan Mamood it was taken to pieces, to remove some of the jewels to be set in vases and cups, the jewellers valued it at one corore of oons (nearly four millions sterling). I learned also that it was called Firozeh from being partly enamelled of a sky-blue colour, which was in time totally concealed by the number of jewels.”—Ferishta.



cover of undated Leavitt & Allen Bros. edition

Cover of undated Leavitt & Allen Bros. edition

Notes and Corrections: The Light of the Haram

There must have been a lapse of communication between editor and illustrator. The story is called “Light of the Haram” in the Table of Contents and in all the page headers, but “Light of the Harem” in the decorative title page.

[290] Then, the sounds from the Lake, the low whispering in boats,
[The 1817 edition starts the line with “And, the sounds”. I think this is the only time I’ve noticed a difference in wording, as opposed to minor tweaks of punctuation or verse layout.]

[309] In his magnificent Shalimar:350
[The author’s Note rather ill-advisedly cites a source that suggests the Shalimar was the work of . . . Shah Jahan. That would be Jehangir’s son, who has probably not been born yet. Fortunately, the current story is that it was Jehangir who had it built for Nur Jahan (this story’s “Noor Mahal”).]


[328] It was Feramorz himself that stood before her!
[Raise your hand if you saw this plot twist coming from several miles away.]


[Note 309] See note, p. 367.
[Wouldn’t it have been more helpful to give the number of the note? I suppose he means Note 274 (in Day Three of “The Fire-Worshippers”), about the Empress’s fish.]

[Note 310] “Haroun al Raschid, cinquième Khalife des Abassides
open quote missing

[Note 310] Giafar, qui fit chanter ces vers
text has qiu

[Note 326] See note, p. 357.
[As noted earlier, it would have been more helpful to give the number of the note. Here, he means Note 195 (in “Paradise and the Peri”). In part:

The Country of Delight—the name of a province in the kingdom of Jinnistan, or Fairy Land, the capital of which is called the City of Jewels. ]

Note 344, p. 304.
text has Note 44

[Note 350] one of the Delhi Emperors, I believe Shah Jehan, constructed a spacious garden called the Shalimar
[Our author, or his source, seems a bit confused about who was whose father.]

[Note 350] with the enchanting Noor Mahl
spelling unchanged

[Note 357] The Arabian women wear black masks with little clasps prettily ordered.
[I believe those are Omani women, but maybe this was too fine a distinction for the average Orientalist. Looking it up, I was reassured to learn that the masks are not actually black leather, which would be hideously uncomfortable, but a glossy cotton percale, typically dyed with indigo.]

[Note 369] floating down the Ganges on the Nymphæa Nelumbo
[If he means the N. nelumbo of Linnaeus, it is now Nelumbo nucifera, the East Indian lotus. (But why nucifera? Surely lotuses don’t yield nuts?)]

[Note 377] See note 293.
[Note 293 is in Day Four of “The Fire-Worshippers”.]

[Note 378] See p. 215.
[It is thoughtful of the author to refresh our memories of an incident that happened almost a hundred pages ago. It was in the prose interlude between Days Two and Three of “The Fire-Worshippers”.]

[Note 383] On a standing roof of wood is laid a covering of fine earth
[It is not clear whether the author knows that sod roofs can also be found in the colder parts of Europe.]

[Note 386] “Would to God
punctuation unchanged
[The 1817 edition didn’t have a quotation mark here; in fact it didn’t even capitalize “would”.]

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.