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"There was a time," he said, in mild,
And hope and feeling, which had slept
Blest tears of soul-felt penitence!
In whose benign, redeeming flow Is felt the first, the only sense
Falls through the withering airs of June
Of guiltless joy that guilt can know. "There's a drop," said the Peri, "that down from
The precious tears of repentance fall?
One heavenly drop hath dispell'd them all!"
'Twas when the golden orb had set,
To mortal eye this light might seem
"Joy, joy for ever! my task is done—
To thee, sweet Eden! how dark and sad
And the fragrant bowers of Amberabad !
"Farewell, ye odours of earth, that die,
"Farewell, ye vanishing flowers, that shone
In my fairy wreath, so bright and brief,Oh! what are the brightest that e'er have blown, To the lote-tree, springing by Alla's throne, Whose flowers have a soul in every leaf! Joy, joy for ever!-my task is doneThe gates are pass'd, and Heaven is won!"
"AND this," said the Great Chamberlain, "is poetry this flimsy manufacture of the brain, which, in comparison with the lofty and durable monuments of genius, is as the gold filigree-work of Zamara beside the eternal architecture of Egypt !" After this gorgeous sentence, which, with a few more of the same kind, Fadladeen kept by him for rare and important occasions, he proceeded to the anatomy of the short poem just recited. The lax and easy kind of metre
in which it was written ought to be denounced, he said, as one of the leading causes of the alarming growth of poetry in our times. If some check were not given to this lawless facility, we should soon be overrun by a race of bards as numerous and as shallow as the hundred and twenty thousand streams of Basra. They who succeeded in this style deserved chastisement for their very success ;—as warriors have been punished, even after gaining a victory, because they had taken the liberty of gaining it in an irregular or unestablished manner. What, then, was to be said to those who failed? to those who presumed, as in the present lamentable instance, to imitate the licence and ease of the bolder sons of song, without any of that grace or vigour which gave a dignity even to negligence; who, like them, flung the jereed carelessly, but not, like them, to the mark; "and who, said he, raising his voice to excite a proper degree of wakefulness in his hearers, "contrive to appear heavy and constrained in the midst of all the latitude they have allowed themselves, like one of those young pagans that dance before the Princess, who has the ingenuity to move as if her limbs were fettered, in a pair of the lightest and loosest drawers of Masulipatam!"
It was but little suitable, he continued, to the grave march of criticism to follow this fantastical Peri, of whom they had just heard, through all her flights and adventures between earth and heaven, but he could not help adverting to the puerile conceitedness of the Three Gifts which she is supposed to carry to the skies, a drop of blood, forsooth, a sigh, and a tear! How the first of these articles was delivered into the Angel's "radiant hand" he professed himself at a loss to discover; and as to the safe carriage of the sigh and the tear, such Peris and such Poets were beings by far too incomprehensible for him even toguess how they managed such matters. "But, in short,"
said he, "it is a waste of time and patience to dwell longer upon a thing so incurably frivolous,-puny even among its own puny race, and such as only the Banyan Hospital for Sick Insects should undertake."
In vain did Lalla Rookh try to soften this inexorable critic; in vain did she resort to her most eloquent commonplaces, reminding_him_that poets were a timid and sensitive race, whose sweetness was not to be drawn forth, like that of the fragrant grass near the Ganges, by crushing and trampling upon them; that severity often destroyed every chance of the perfection which it demanded; and that, after all, perfection was like the Mountain of the Talismanno one had ever reached its summit. Neither these gentle axioms, nor the still gentler looks with which they were inculcated, could lower for one instant the elevation of Fadladeen's eyebrows, or charm him into anything like encouragement, or even toleration, of her Poet. Toleration, indeed, was not among the weaknesses of Fadladeen: he carried the same spirit into matters of poetry and of religion, and, though little versed in the beauties or sublimities of either, was a perfect master of the art of persecution in both. His zeal, too, was the same in either pursuit; whether the game before him was pagans or poetasters,— worshippers of cows, or writers of epics.
They had now arrived at the splendid city of Lahore, whose mausoleums and shrines, magnificent and numberless, where Death seemed to share equal honours with Heaven, would have powerfully affected the heart and imagination of Lalla Rookh, if feelings more of this earth had not taken entire possession of her already. She was here met by messengers, despatched from Cashmere, who informed her that the King had arrived in the valley, and was himself superintending the sumptuous preparations that were making in the saloons of the Shalimar for her reception. The chill she felt on receiving this intelli
gence-which to a bride whose heart was free and light would have brought only images of affection and pleasure-convinced her that her peace was gone for ever, and that she was in love, irretrievably in love, with young Feramorz. The veil, which this passion wears at first, had fallen off, and to know that she loved was now as painful as to love without knowing it had been delicious. Feramorz, too,-what misery would be his, if the sweet hours of intercourse so imprudently allowed them should have stolen into his heart the same fatal fascination as into hers; if, notwithstanding her rank, and the modest homage he always paid to it, even he should have yielded to the influence of those long and happy interviews, where music, poetry, and the delightful scenes of nature—all tended to bring their hearts close together, and to waken by every means that too ready passion, which often, like the young of the desert-bird, is warmed into life by the eyes alone! She saw but one way to preserve herself from being culpable as well as unhappy, and this, however painful, she was resolved to adopt. Feramorz must no more be admitted to her presence. To have strayed so far into the dangerous labyrinth was wrong, but to linger in it, while the clew was yet in her hand, would be criminal. Though the heart she had to offer to the King of Bucharia might be cold and broken, it should at least be pure; and she must only try to forget the short vision of happiness she had 'enjoyed,-like that Arabian shepherd, who, in wandering into the wilderness, caught a glimpse of the Gardens of Irim, and then lost them again for ever!
The arrival of the young Bride at Lahore was celebrated in the most enthusiastic manner. The rajas and omras in her train, who had kept at a certain distance during the journey, and never encamped nearer to the Princess than was strictly necessary for her safeguard, here rode in splendid cavalcade through