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No trace of me shall greet them, when they come,
And I can trust thy faith, for-thou'lt be dumb.
Now mark how readily a wretch like me
In one bold plunge commences Deity!”

He sprung and sunk, as the last words were said-
Quick closed the burning waters o'er his head,
And Zelica was left-within the ring
Of those wide walls the only living thing ;
The only wretched one, still cursed with breath,
In all that frightful wilderness of death !
More like some bloodless ghost-such as, they tell,
In the Lone Cities of the Silent * dwell,
And there, unseen of all but Alla, sit
Each by its own pale carcass, watching it.

But morn is up, and a fresh warfare stirs
Throughout the camp of the beleaguerers.
Their globes of fire (the dread artillery lent
By Greece to conquering Mahadi) are spent ;
And now the scorpion's shaft, the quarry sent
From high balistas, and the shielded throng
Of soldiers swinging the huge ram along,
All speak the impatient Islamite's intent
To try, at length, if tower and battlement
And bastioned wall be not less hard to win,
Less tough to break down, than the hearts within.
First in impatience and in toil is he,
The burning Azim--oh! could he but see
The Impostor once alive within his grasp,
Not the gaunt lion's hug, nor boa's clasp,
Could match that gripe of vengeance, or keep pace
With the fell heartiness of Hate's embrace !

Loud rings the ponderous ram against the walls;
Now shake the ramparts, now a buttress falls,
But still no breach—“Once more, one mighty swing
Of all your beams, together thundering!"
There—the wall shakes, the shouting troops exult,
“Quick, quick discharge your weightiest catapult
Right on that spot, and Neksheb is our own!"
'Tis done—the battlements come crashing down,
And the huge wall, by that stroke riven in two,
Yawning, like some old crater rent anew,
Shows the dim, desolate city smoking through.
But strange! no signs of life--nought living seen
Above, below-what can this stillness mean?
A minute's pause suspends all hearts and eyes,
“In through the breach,” impetuous Azim cries ;

• "They have all a great reverence for burial-grounds, which they sometimes call' by the poetical name of Cities of the Silent, and which they people with the ghosts of the departed, who sit each at the head of his own grave, in isible to mortal eyes."-Elphinstone.

But the cool Caliph, fearful of some wile
In this blank stillness, checks the troops awhile.
Just then, a figure, with slow step, advanced
Forth from the ruined walls, and, as there glanced
A sunbeam over it, all eyes could see
The well-known Silver Veil !—“'Tis He, 'tis He,
Mokanna, and alone !” they shout around ;
Young Azim from his steed springs to the ground-

'Mine, Holy Caliph! mine," he cries, “the task
To crush yon daring wretch-'tis all I ask.”
Eager he darts to meet the demon foe,
Who still across wide heaps of ruin slow
And falteringly comes, till they are near;
Then, with a bound, rushes on Azim's spear,
And, casting off the Veil in falling, shows,
Oh!-'tis his Zelica's life-blood that flows !

“I meant not, Azim,” soothingly she said, As on his trembling arm she leaned her head, And, looking in his face, saw anguish there Beyond all wounds the quivering flesh can bear“I meant not thou shouldst have the pain of this :Though death, with thee thus tasted, is a bliss Thou wouldst not rob me of, didst thou but know How oft I've prayed to God I might die so! But the Fiend's venom was too scant and slow ;To linger on were maddening-and I thought If once that Veil-nay, look not on it-caught The eyes of your fierce soldiery, I should be Struck by a thousand death-darts instantly. But this is sweeter-oh! believe me, yesI would not change this sad but dear caress, This death within thy arms I would not give, For the most smiling life the happiest live! All that stood dark and drear before the eye Of my strayed soul is passing swiftly by; A light comes o'er me from those looks of love, Like the first dawn of mercy from above; And if thy lips but tell me I'm forgiven, Angels will echo the blest words in Heaven ! But live, my Azim ;-oh! to call thee mine Thus once again ! my Azim-dream divine ! Live, if thou ever lov’dst me, if to meet Thy Zelica hereafter would be sweet, Oh, live to pray for her-to bend the knee Morning and night before that Deity, To whom pure lips and hearts without a stain, As thine are, Azim, never breathed in vain,And pray that He may pardon her,- may take Compassion on her soul for thy dear sake, And, nought remembering but her love to thee, Make her all thine, all His, eternally!

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Go to those happy fields where first we twined
Our youthful hearts together-every wind
That meets thee there, fresh from the well-known flowers,
Will bring the sweetness of those innocent hours
Back to thy soul, and thou mayst feel again
For thy poor Zelica as thou didst then.
So shall thy orisons, like dew that flies
To Heaven upon the morning's sunshine, rise
With all love's earliest ardour to the skies!
And should they—but, alas, my senses fail-
Oh for one minute !-should thy prayers prevail.
If pardoned souls may, from that World of Bliss,
Reveal their joy to those they love in this-
I'll come to thee-in some sweet dream-and tell-
Oh Heaven-I die-dear love! farewell, farewell,”

Time fleeted-years on years had passed away,
And few of those who, on that mournful day,
Had stood, with pity in their eyes, to see
The maiden's death, and the youth's agony,
Were living still—when, by a rustic grave,
Beside the swift Amoo's transparent wave,
An aged man, who had grown aged there
By that lone grave, morning and night in prayer,
For the last time knelt down-and, though the shade
Of death hung darkening over him, there played
A gleam of rapture on his eye and cheek,
That brightened even Death-like the last streak
Of intense glory on the horizon's brim,
When night o'er all the rest hangs chill and dim.
His soul had seen a Vision, while he slept;
She, for whose spirit he had prayed and wept
So many years, had come to him, all drest
In angel smiles, and told him she was blest !
For this the old man breathed his thanks, and died.-
And there, upon the banks of that loved tide,
He and his Zelica sleep side by side.

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The story of the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan being ended, they were now doomed to hear Fadladeen's criticisms upon it. A series of disappointments and accidents had occurred to this learned Chamberlain during the journey. In the first place, those couriers stationed, as in the reign of Shah Jehan, between Delhi and the Western coast of India, to secure a constant supply of mangoes for the Royal Table, had, by some cruel irregularity, failed in their duty; and to eat any mangoes but those of Mazagong was, of course, impossible. In the next place, the elephant, laden with his fine antique porcelain, had, in an unusual fit of liveliness, shattered the whole set to pieces:-an irreparable loss, as many of the vessels were so exquisitely old as to have been used under the Emperors Yan and Chun, who reigned many ages before the dynasty of Tang. His Koran, too, supposed to be the identical copy between

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the leaves of which Mahomet's favourite pigeon used to nestle, had been mislaid by his Koran-bearer three whole days; not without much spiritual alarm to Fadladeen, who, though professing to hold, with other loyal and orthodox Mussulmans, that salvation could only be found in the Koran, was strongly suspected of believing in his heart that it could only be found in his own particular copy of it. When to all these grievances is added the obstinacy of the cooks in putting the pepper of Canara into his dishes instead of the cinnamon of Serendib, we may easily suppose that he came to the task of criticism with, at least, a sufficient degree of irritability for the purpose.

“In order," said he, importantly swinging about his chaplet of pearls, “ to convey with clearness my opinion of the story this young man has related, it is necessary to take a review of all the stories that have ever- -”—“My good Fadladeen !” exclaimed the Princess, interrupting him, “we really do not deserve that you should give yourself so much trouble. Your opinion of the poem we have just heard will, I have no doubt, be abundantly edifying, without any further waste of your valuable erudition."-" If that be all,” replied the critic,-evidently mortified at not being allowed to show how much he knew about everything but the subject immediately before him—“if that be all that is required, the matter is easily despatched.”. He then proceeded to analyse the poem, in that strain (so well known to the unfortunate bards of Delhi) whose censures were an infliction from which few recovered, and whose very praises were like the honey extracted from the bitter flowers of the aloe. The chief personages of the story were, if he rightly understood them, an ill-favoured gentleman, with a veil over his face;-a young lady, whose reason went and came, according as it suited the poet's convenience to be sensible or otherwise ;-and a youth in one of those hideous Bucharian bonnets, who took the aforesaid gentleman in a veil for a Divinity. “From such materials,” said he, “what can be expected ?-after rivalling each other in long speeches and absurdities, through some thousands of lines as indigestible as the filberts of Berdaa, our friend in the veil jumps into a tub of aquafortis; the young lady dies in a set speech, whose only recommendation is that it is her last; and the lover lives on to a good old age, for the laudable purpose of seeing her ghost, which he at last happily accomplishes, and expires. This, you will allow, is a fair summary of the story; and if Nasser, the Arabian merchant, told no better, our Holy Prophet (to whom be all honour and glory!) had no need to be jealous of his abilities for story-telling."

With respect to the style, it was worthy of the matter ;—it had not even those politic contrivances of structure which make up for the commonness of the thoughts by the peculiarity of the manner, nor that stately poetical phraseology by which sentiments mean in

* “ La lecture de ces Fables plaisoit si fort aux Arabes que quand Mahomet les entretenoit de l'Histoire de l'Ancien Testament ils les méprisoient, lui disant que celles que Nasser leur racontoient étoient beaucoup plus belles. Cette préférence attira à Nasser la malédiction de Mahomet et de tous ses disciples."-D'Herbelot.


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themselves, like the blacksmith's * apron converted into a banner, are so easily gilt and embroidered into consequence. Then, as to the versification, it was, to say no worse of it, execrable: it had neither the copious flow of Ferdosi, the sweetness of Hafez, nor the sententious march of Sadi; but appeared to him, in the uneasy heaviness of its movements, to have been modelled upon the gait of a very tired dromedary. The licences, too, in which it indulged, were unpardonable;– for instance this line, and the poem abounded with such ;

Like the faint, exquisite music of a dream. “What critic that can count,” said Fadladeen, “and has his full complement of fingers to count withal, would tolerate for an instant such syllabic superfluities?”—He here looked round, and discovered that most of his audience were asleep; while the glimmering lamps seemed inclined to follow their example. It became necessary, therefore, however painful to himself, to put an end to his valuable animadversions for the present, and he accordingly concluded, with an air of dignified candour, thus :-" Notwithstanding the observations which I have thought it my duty to make, it is by no means my wish to discourage the young man :-so far from it, indeed, that if he will but totally alter his style of writing and thinking, I have very little doubt that I shall be vastly pleased with him."

Some days elapsed, after this harangue of the Great Chamberlain, before Lalla Rookh could venture to ask for another story. The youth was still a welcome guest in the pavilion—to one heart, perhaps, too dangerously welcome ;-but all mention of poetry was, as if by common consent, avoided. Though none of the party had much respect for Fadladeen, yet his censures, thus magisterially delivered, evidently made an impression on them all. The Poet himself, to whom criticism was quite a new operation, (being wholly unknown in that Paradise of the Indies, Cashmere,) felt the shock as it is generally felt at first, till use has made it more tolerable to the patient ;- the Ladies began to suspect that they ought not to be pleased, and seemed to conclude that there must have been much good sense in what Fadladeen said, from its having set them all so soundly to sleep ;-while the self-complacent Chamberlain was left to triumph in the idea of having, for the hundred and fiftieth time in his life, extinguished a Poet. Lalla Rookh aloneand Love knew why-persisted in being delighted with all she had heard, and in resolving to hear more as speedily as possible. Her manner, however, of first returning to the subject was unlucky. It was while they rested during the heat of noon near a fountain, on which some hand had rudely traced those well-known words from the Garden of Sadi, —“Many, like me, have viewed this fountain, but they are gone, and their eyes are closed for ever!”—that she took occasion, from the melancholy beauty of this passage, to dwell upon the charms of poetry in general. " It is true," she said, “few poets can imitate that sublime bird which flies always in the air,

* The blacksmith Gao, who successfully resisted the tyrant Zohak, and whose apron became the Royal Standard of Persia,

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