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tribe of Turcomans, might be easily transferred to canvass as a counterpart to Goldsmith's Auburn:—
“Just upon the edge of the bank, the little stream, after filling a canal, had been trained to fall over an artificial cascade of stone, the sides of which had been adorned with ornaments of the same; but the canal was almost obliterated, and the stone over which the water rushed was broken, and had fallen in such a manner as to confine the stream still more. A rude spout of stone had been placed so as to collect it in the basin below, and to enable the women to fill their water-vessels more easily. A huge old sycamore-tree, once the chief ornament of the garden, grew on one side and overshadowed the basin; and a vine, which had rooted itself among the broken stones, formed a still closer covering, protecting the water from the rays of the sun, so as to render it always cool and refreshing. It was a delicious spot, and had become the favourite rendezvous of the whole aoul: the women came morning and evening to fill their water-skins; the elders of the men met to smoke their calleeoons under the shade, and the youths to talk over their exploits performed or anticipated, to play at games of chance, and listen to the tales of a Kissago, or to gossip with the women; the children sported below upon the green bank, or threw themselves into the sparkling waters of the little lake at its foot.”—Vol. i. pp. 59, 60.
The following sketch of a Persian cavalier has the richness and freshness of one of Heber's, or Morier's, or Sir John Malcolm's pages:—
“He was a man of goodly stature, and powerful frame; his countenance, hard, strongly marked, and furnished with a thick black beard, bore testimony of exposure to many a blast, but it still preserved a prepossessing expression of good-humour and benevolence. His turban, which was formed of a cashmere shawl, sorely tached and torn, and twisted here and there with small steel chains, according to the fashion of the time, was wound around a red cloth cap, that rose in four peaks high above the head. His oemah, or riding-coat, of crimson cloth, much stained and faded, opening at the bosom, showed the links of a coat-of-mail which he wore below; a yellow shawl formed his girdle; his huge shulwars, or riding trowsers, of thick fawn-coloured Kerman woollen stuff, fell in folds over the large red leather boots in which his legs were cased. By his side hung a crooked scymitar in a black leather scabbard, and from the holsters of his saddle peeped out the but-ends of a pair of pistols; weapons of which I then knew not the use, any more than of the matchlock which was slung at his back. He was mounted on a powerful but jaded horse, and appeared to have already travelled far.”
Scenes of active life are painted by the author of the Kuzzilbash with the same truth, accuracy, and picturesque effect, which he displays in landscapes or single figures. In war, especially, he is at home; and gives the attack, the retreat, the rally, the bloody and desperate close combat, the flight, pursuit, and massacre, with all the current of a heady fight, as one who must have witnessed such terrors. We regret we have not space to give a farther extract ; and still more that we cannot add to these just praises any compliment to the art with which the author has conducted the incidents of his story—which are, to say the least, very slightly put together, and frequently place out of perspective the hero and his affairs. The historical events are dwelt on so often, and at such length, that we lose interest for the Kuzzilbash, in tracing the career of Nadir and the revolutions of Persia. This is a sin which, we hope, the author will not cleave to, on further experience. We must also hint, that the moral characters of the agents whom he introduces, are not sufficiently discriminated to maintain much interest with the reader; they too much resemble the fortem Gyan fortemque Cloanthum. It may be answered, with plausibility, that people,
396 CRITICISM ON Novels AND Rom ANCEs.
trammelled by the dogmatic rules of a false religion, and the general pressure of an arbitrary government, are not apt to run into the individual varieties of character to be found in a free and Christian community. But a more close inspection of that great mass which preserves, at the first view, one dull appearance of universal resemblance, gives a great many differences both of a national, a professional, and an individual kind. While, then, we sincerely hope the author of the Kuzzilbash will resume the pen, we would venture to recommend that he commence on a more restricted canvass, and lend considerably more attention to the discrimination of his characters, and the combination of his story. In this case, with his stores of information and powers of language, we cannot help thinking he will secure public favour. In the mean time, and with our recollection of the remarkable circumstance, that English literature has found an interest even in Persia, we feel disposed to nourish hopes that the taste may increase. Why may not European productions become, in time, as indispensable to the moral habits of a Persian, as a Chinese leaf to an European breakfast P Such expectations may appear extravagant to that sect of dampers who may be termed the Cui-bonists.-What would be the good consequence, they may ask, should Britain be able to introduce into Persia the whole trash which loads her own circulating libraries? We reply that these volumes of inanity, as Johnson would have