« ПретходнаНастави »
say, It is night, declare that you behold the moon and stars.” And his zeal for religion, of which Aurungzebe was a munificent protector, was about as disinterested as that of the goldsmith who fell in love with the diamond eyes of the idol of Jaghernaut.*
During the first days of their journey, Lalla Rookh, who had passed all her life within the shadow of the Royal Gardens of Delhi, found enough in the beauty of the scenery through which they passed to interest her mind, and delight her imagination; and when at evening, or in the heat of the day, they turned off from the high road to those retired and romantic places which had been selected for her encampments, - sometimes on the banks of a small rivulet, as clear as the waters of the Lake of Pearl ; sometimes under the sacred shade of a Banyan tree, from which the view opened upon a glade covered with antelopes ; and often in those hidden, embowered spots, described by one from the Isles of the West, + as “ places of melancholy, delight, and safety, where all the company around was wild peacocks and turtle-doves;”-she felt a charm in these scenes, so lovely and so new to her, which, for a time, made her indifferent to every other amusement. But Lalla Rookh was young, and the young love variety ; nor could the conversation of her Ladies and the Great Chamberlain, Fadladeen, (the only persons, of course, admitted to her pavilion,) sufficiently enliven those many vacant hours which were devoted neither to the pillow nor the palankeen. There was a little Persian slave who sung sweetly to the Vina, and who, now and then, lulled the Princess to sleep with the ancient ditties of her country, about the loves of Wamak and Ezra, I the fair-haired Zal and his mistress Rodahver ;$ not forgetting the combat of Rustam with the terrible White Demon.ll at other times she was amused by those graceful dancing-girls of Delhi who had been permitted by the Bramins of the Great Pagoda to attend her, much to the horror of the good Mussulman Fadladeen, who could see nothing graceful or agreeable in idolaters, and to whom the very tinkling of their golden anklets was an abomination.
But these and many other diversions were repeated till they lost all their charm, and the nights and noon-days were beginning to move heavily, when, at length, it was recollected that, among the attendants sent by the bridegroom, was a young poet of Cashmere, much celebrated throughout the Valley for his manner of reciting
* “The idol at Jaghernat has two fine diamonds for eyes. No goldsmith is suffered to enter the Pagoda, one having stole one of these eyes, being locked up all night with the idol."— Tavernier. + Sir Thomas Roe, Ambassador from James I. to Jehanguire.
1 "The romance Wemakweazra, written in Persian verse, which contains the loves of Wamak and Ezra, two celebrated lovers who lived before the time of Mahomet."-Note on the Oriental Tales.
§ Their amour is recounted in the Shah-Namêh of Ferdousi.
|| Rustam is the Hercules of the Persians. For the particulars of his victory over the Sepeed Deeve, or White Demon, see Oriental Collections, vol. ii. p. 45.-Near the city of Shirauz is an immense quadrangular monument, in commemoration of this combat, called the Kelaat-i-Deev Sepeed, or Castle of the White Giant, which Father Angelo, in his Gazophilacium Persicum, p. 127, declares to have been the most memorable monument of antiquity which he had seen in Persia.--Sec Ouseley's Persian Miscellanies.
the stories of the East, on whom his Royal Master had conferred the privilege of being admitted to the pavilion of the Princess, that he might help to beguile the tediousness of the journey by some of his most agreeable recitals. At the mention of a poet, Fadladeen elevated his critical eyebrows, and, having refreshed his faculties with a doze of that delicious opium which is distilled from the black poppy of the Thebais, gave orders for the minstrel to be forthwith introduced into the presence.
The Princess, who had once in her life seen a poet from behind the screens of gauze in her Father's hall, and had conceived from that specimen no very favourable ideas of the Caste, expected but little in this new exhibition to interest her;—she felt inclined, however, to alter her opinion on the very appearance of Feramorz. He was a youth about Lalla Rookh's own age, and graceful as that idol of women, Chrishna, * -such as he appears to their young ima. ginations, heroic, beautiful, breathing music from his very eyes, and exalting the religion of his worshippers into love. His dress was simple, yet not without some marks of costliness ; and the Ladies of the Princess were not long in discovering that the cloth, which encircled his high Tartarian cap, was of the most delicate kind that the shawl goats of Tibet supply. Here and there, too, over his vest, which was confined by a flowered girdle of Kashan, hung strings of fine pearl, disposed with an air of studied negligence ;-nor did the exquisite embroidery of his sandals escape the observation of these fair critics ; who, however they might give way to Fadladeen upon the unimportant topics of religion and government, had the spirit of martyrs in everything relating to such momentous matters as jewels and embroidery.
For the purpose of relieving the pauses of recitation by music, the young Cashmerian held in his hand a kitar ;-such as, in old times, the Arab maids of the West used to listen to by moonlight in the gardens of the Alhambra—and, having premised, with much humility, that the story he was about to relate was founded on the adventures of that Veiled Prophet of Khorassan + who, in the year of the Hegira 163, created such alarm throughout the Eastern Empire, made an obeisance to the Princess, and thus began :
THE VEILED PROPHET OF KHORASSAN.
* The Indian Apollo._"He and the three Rámas are described as youths of perfect beauty; and the princesses of Hindustan were all passionately in love with Chrishna, who continues to this hour the darling God of the Indian women.”—Sir W. Jones, on the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India. For the real history of this Impostor, whose original name was Hakem
ben Haschem, and who was called Mocanná from the veil of silver gauze (or, as others say, golden) which he always wore, see D'Herbelot.
1 Khorassan signifies, in the old Persian language, Province or Region of the Sun.—Sir W. Jones.
Among Merou's* bright palaces and groves ;-
On either side, with ready hearts and hands,
Between the porphyry pillars, that uphold
* One of the royal cities of Khorassan.
† Moses. Black was the colour adopted by the Caliphs of the House of Abbas, in their garments, turbans, and standards. -" Il faut remarquer ici touchant les habits blancs des disciples de Hakem, que la couleur des habits, des coiffures et des étendarts des Khalifes Abassides étant la noire, ce chef de Rebelles ne pouvait pas choisir une que lui fût plus opposée." —D'Herbelot.
§ The oriental plane. “The chenar is a delightful tree ; its bole is of a fine white and smooth bark; and its foliage, which grows in a luft at the summit, is of a bright green.”-Morier's Travels.
(Creatures so bright that the same lips and eyes
Not such the pageant now, though not less proud;
-a proselyte, worth hordes
Though few his years, the West already knows
Nor feel those godlike breathings in the air * The burning fountains of Brahma near Chittogong, esteemed as holy.Turner.
+ China. "The name of tulip is said to be of Turkish extraction, and given to the ! flower on account of its resembling a turban."-Beckmann's History of Inven
$ In the war of the Caliph Mahadi against the Empress Irene, for an account of which vide Gibbon, vol. x.
Which mutely told her spirit had been there?
Low as young Azim knelt, that motley crowd
* This wonderful Throne was called The Star of the Genii. For a full description of it see the Fragment, translated by Captain Franklin, from a Persian MS. entitled “The History of Jerusalem.” Oriental Collections, vol. i. p. 235. -When Soliman travelled, the eastern writers say,
“He had a carpet of green silk on which his throne was placed, being of a prodigious length and breadth, and sufficient for all his forces to stand upon, the men placing themselves on his right hand, and the spirits on his left ; and that when all were in order, the wind, at his command, took up the carpet, and transported it, with all that were upon it, wherever he pleased; the army of birds at the same time flying over their heads, and forming a kind of canopy to shade
them from the sun.”-Sali's Koran, vol. ii. p. 214, note.
† The transmigration of souls was one of his doctrines.-Vide D`Herbelot.