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Unblushing, with thy Sacred Book,-
Turning the leaves with blood-stain'd hands,
And wrestling from its page sublime
His creed of lust and hate and crime?
Even as those bees of Trebizond,-
Which from the sunniest flowers that glad With their pure smile the gardens round, Draw venom forth that drives men mad!
Never did fierce Arabia send
A satrap forth more direly great; Never was Iran doom'd to bend
Beneath a yoke of deadlier weight.
Her throne had fallen-her pride was crush'd-
Her sons were willing slaves, nor blush'd,
In their own land,-
-no more their own,
To crouch beneath a stranger's throne.
Her towers, where Mithra once had burn'd,
To Moslem shrines-oh, shame!-were turn'd
Where slaves, converted by the sword,
Their mean, apostate worship pour'd,
And cursed the faith their sires adored.
Yet has she hearts, 'mid all this ill,
O'er this wreck high buoyant still
With hope and vengeance ;-hearts that yet,-
Like gems, in darkness issuing rays
They've treasured from the sun that's set,-
Beam all the light of long-lost days!
And swords she hath, nor weak nor slow
To second all such hearts can dare:
As he shall know, well, dearly know,
Who sleeps in moonlight luxury there,
Tranquil as his spirit lay
Becalm'd in Heaven's approving ray!
Sleep on-for purer eyes than thine
Those waves are hush'd, those planets shine.
Sleep on, and be thy rest unmoved
By the white moonbeam's dazzling power ;— None but the loving and the loved
Should be awake at this sweet hour.
And see where, high above those rocks
That o'er the deep their shadows fling,
Yon turret stands ;-where ebon locks,
As glossy as a heron's wing
Upon the turban of a king,
Hang from the lattice, long and wild,—
'Tis she, that Emir's blooming child,
All truth and tenderness and grace,
Though born of such ungentle race ;-
An image of Youth's fairy Fountain
Springing in a desolate mountain !
Oh, what a pure and sacred thing
Is beauty, curtain'd from the sight Of the gross world, illumining
One only mansion with her light!
Unseen by man's disturbing eye,
The flower, that blooms beneath the sea
Too deep for sunbeams, doth not lie
Hid in more chaste obscurity!
So, Hinda, have thy face and mind,
Like holy mysteries, lain enshrined.
And oh, what transport for a lover
To lift the veil that shades them o'er !—
Like those who, all at once, discover
In the lone deep some fairy shore, Where mortal never trod before, And sleep and wake in scented airs No lip had ever breathed but theirs!
Beautiful are the maids that glide,
On summer eves, through Yemen's dales,
And bright the glancing looks they hide
Behind their litters' roseate veils ;
And brides, as delicate and fair
As the white jasmine flowers they wear,
Hath Yemen in her blissful clime,
Who, lull'd in cool kiosk or bower, Before their mirrors count the time,
And grow still lovelier every hour. But never yet hath bride or maid
In Araby's gay harams smiled,
Whose boasted brightness would not fade
Before Al Hassan's blooming child.
Light as the angel shapes that bless
An infant's dream, yet not the less
Rich in all woman's loveliness ;-
With eyes so pure, that from their ray
Dark vice would turn abash'd away,
Blinded like serpents, when they gaze
Upon the emerald's virgin blaze!
Yet, fill'd with all youth's sweet desires,
Mingling the meek and vestal fires
Of other worlds with all the bliss,
The fond, weak tenderness of this!
A soul, too, more than half divine,
Where, through some shades of earthly feeling, Religion's soften'd glories shine,
Like light through summer foliage stealing,
Shedding a glow of such mild hue,
So warm, and yet so shadowy too,
As makes the very darkness there
More beautiful than light elsewhere!
Such is the maid who, at this hour,
Hath risen from her restless sleep, And sits alone in that high bower, Watching the still and shining deep.
Ah! 'twas not thus,-with tearful eyes
And beating heart,—she used to gaze
On the magnificent earth and skies,
In her own land, in happier days.
Why looks she now so anxious down
Among those rocks, whose rugged frown
Blackens the mirror of the deep?
Whom waits she all this lonely night?
Too rough the rocks, too bold the steep, For man to scale that turret's height !—
So deem'd at least her thoughtful sire,
When high, to catch the cool night-air, After the day-beams' withering fire,
He built her bower of freshness there, And had it deck'd with costliest skill,
And fondly thought it safe as fair :Think, reverend dreamer! think so still,
Nor wake to hear what Love can dare-
Love, all-defying Love, who sees
No charm in trophies won with ease ;-
Whose rarest, deepest fruits of bliss
Are pluck'd on danger's precipice!
Bolder than they, who dare not dive
For pearls, but when the sea's at rest,
Love, in the tempest most alive,
Hath ever held that pearl the best He finds beneath the stormiest water! Yes-Araby's unrivalled daughter, Though high that tower, that rock-way rude, There's one who, but to kiss thy cheek, Would climb th' untrodden solitude
Of Ararat's tremendous peak,
And thinks its steeps, though dark and dread,
Heaven's pathways, if to thee they led!
E'en now thou seest the flashing spray,
That lights his oar's impatient way ;—
E'en now thou hear'st the sudden shock
Of his swift bark against the rock,
And stretchest down thy arms of snow,
As if to lift him from below!
Like her to whom, at dead of night,
The bridegroom, with his locks of light,
Came, in the flush of love and pride,
And scaled the terrace of his bride ;-
When, as she saw him rashly spring,
And midway up in danger cling,
She flung him down her long black hair,
Exclaiming breathless, "There, love, there!"
And scarce did manlier nerve uphold
The hero Zal in that fond hour,
Than wings the youth who, fleet and bold,
Now climbs the rocks to Hinda's bower.
See-light as up their granite steeps
The rock-goats of Arabia clamber,
Fearless from crag to crag he leaps,
And now is in the maiden's chamber.
She loves but knows not whom she loves,
Nor what his race, nor whence he came ;-
Like one who meets, in Indian groves,
Some beauteous bird, without a name,
Brought by the last ambrosial breeze,
From isles in th' undiscover'd seas,
To show his plumage for a day
To wondering eyes, and wing away
Will he thus fly-her nameless lover?
Alla forbid! 'twas by a moon
As fair as this, while singing over
Some ditty to her soft Kanoon,
Alone, at this same witching hour,
She first behold his radiant eyes
Gleam through the lattice of the bower,
Where nightly now they mix their sighs;