i π(1)r

Zóphiël;

or,
the Bride of Seven.

by
Maria del Occidente.

Second American from the first London edition

Published for the benefit of the Polish Exiles.

Boston:
Hillard, Gray, and co.
18341834.

ii π(1)v iii π(2)r

Preface to the Second American Edition.

It is, now, more than three years, since this poem was prepared for the press; and while employed about its notes, in Paris, during the winter immediately succeeding the late revolution, the writer conceived a design of publishing it, as a slight assistance to the Polish cause; a cause, at that time, so fashionable that private ladies of rank and character performed, at public concerts, for the purpose of increasing a fund for the oppressed but nobles Polonais. On the evening of the 1831-03-02second of March, 1831, such a concert was attended, and the tickets sold for a napoleon each;—praiseworthy as it was, alas! that such a cause should have required such assistance!

Poland fell; and the fashion of befriending her, like other fashions, soon past away. It is of no use, said almost everyone, to try to befriend a country that is entirely fallen. But how can a country be no more while her children still exist? Or how can a cause be extinct while those who engaged in defending it are still alive and still willing to struggle? Men there are who come thousands of miles to an unknown country, and endure all the misery and scorn that attends poverty and dependence, rather than join the armies of their oppressors, or than even to use their swords, as mere mercenaries, against nations that never wronged them.

iv π(2)v iv

Whatever may be the future fate of magnanimous but betrayed Poland, many of her persecuted defenders suffer for the necessaries of life in the bosom of this prosperous community. The feeling awakened by their arrival has burned for a moment. May it not pass away like a flame of straw kindled on a rock!

The arrival of Polish exiles will soon cease to be a novelty;—but it is melancholy to reflect, that their sufferings and wants must continue. To be able to relieve even the slightest of such afflictions will be sufficient compensation to the composer of the following cantos.

It is the design, of the writer, to get out as many editions, for the purpose already said, as she can find either means or friends to engage in; but how many that will be, rests, at present, with the great Director of human and individual circumstance.

It may be well to mention, here, that the labour of the publisher is undertaken on reasonable terms; the present edition consists of five hundred copies. After every expense is paid a balance of two hundred and fifty dollars, or, perhaps, rather more, will remain at the disposal of the Polish Committee;—that is, if all the copies are purchased,—if gentlemen possessed both of humanity and a love for the fine arts, are willing to give (either for the poem or the object of its publication) the same small sum so often paid for the spectacle of a new melo-drama or the airs of a musical debutante.

For those (and of such certainly there are many) who are diffident of their own opinion and dislike to purchase or even to read a book, unless previously and highly recommended, it may not be amiss to observe that no poetical work, ever written in the New World, has received greater praise, in Europe, than the Oriental story, or poem, now presented. In proof of this assertion vπ(3)r v passages from popular English works, as well as many private letters can be brought forward if necessary. A very favorable notice appeared last autumn (soon after Zóphiël appeared in London) in Fraser’s Magazine. A late work called The Doctor, reviewed in the British Quarterly, mentions Zóphiël, or the Bride of Seven as the most passionate and imaginative of any poem ever written by a female.

There was a time when every Roman artist was content to rest his reputation on Grecian taste and encomiums. Such a time is still present to Americans, in regard to their Alma Mater,—at least so far as concerns either poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, or music.

The elms and oaks of liberty and utility are growing so strong and fast in this rich land of corn and forest trees, that little sun or moisture can be spared for arts, a tribe of sensitives. When any aspirant or artist, therefore, believes himself possessed of the power of imitating his Creator by giving material semblance to forms already existing in his own world of ideas, he generally succeeds in reaching the other continent, the land of his forefathers; and on the approbation obtained in that land, depends in a great degree, his future success and reputation. As instances of this may be mentioned Benjamin West, Greenough, and indeed (with few exceptions) every American who has distinguished himself either by forms of beauty or the embodiment of beautiful conceptions.

To return, a moment, to the poem in question—Mr. Southey and others think it will take a permanent place among such English works as are thought worth preserving; if that should be the case it will probably owe its preservation to the nature and treatment of its subject; or in other words to its originality.

vi π(3)v vi

Chateaubriand, in his noble poem Les Martyrs, has introduced angels as presiding over the various passions of his enchanting mortals; but, in English, Milton, Byron, and Moore are, it is believed, all who have attempted to depict those sometimes-erring yet celestial messengers, as existing in friendly intercourse with beings of earth. From neither of these masters is Zóphiël a copy.

One or two short articles, in journals of this country, object to this poem as being difficult to understand; but those who make the objection, probably, read it hastily, and confused themselves by looking from the verses to the notes, and back again, when the attention was distracted. It will be better to read the story as it was composed, without reference to explanations or comments till the whole is finished. The notes can be read afterward with equal advantage. Indeed they are merely added, to show how much authority exists for every incident and allusion of a narrative imagined under the influence of soft luxuriant tropical scenery; where the writer drew solely from nature, and had access to no books at all relative to the subject. Zóphiël, if read in the manner proposed will be found as simply arranged and as easy to comprehend as the tales of Arabian Nights or any common novel.

vii π(4)r vii

Advertisement.

Any member of the Polish Committee or competent agent for the relief of suffering Polish exiles, can see the exact amount of the expenses of publication, from an estimate made by Messrs. Hilliard, Gray, & Co. And provided such an agent will dispose of any specified number of volumes, he can retain an overplus of, at least, half he receives for the immediate relief of such as it is intended to benefit.

Note to the Second Edition.

It was thought by a friend of the Polish sufferers, who was so good as to interest himself in the publication of this work, that some religious persons might object to the following stanza, which occurs near the beginning of the first canto.

Blest were those days! Can these dull ages boast

Aught to compare? though now no more beguile,

Chained in their darkling depths, the infernal host;

Who would not brave a fiend to share an angel’s smile?

The reader is requested to consider these lines as merely the expression of a passing emotion, occasioned by a sudden thought of the exquisite pleasure that must be felt in looking, if it were possible, at a creature entirely superior to mortals, and coming from the abodes of perfection.

viii π(4)v

Errata.

  • Page 1, line 6 from bottom, for casts read cast.
  • 13, 15 on one.
  • 23, 4 top, thee the.
  • 30, 10 bottom, being like thee, read being like to thee.
  • 42, 9 heard read hear.
  • 58, 10 Amphitrite read Amphitrit’. Such errors as exist, also, in the London edition are marked, in the examples, with asterisks.
  • 67, 8 top, for round her arms flower-white, and round, and fair, read o’er her arms flower-white, and round, and bare. Such errors as exist, also, in the London edition are marked, in the examples, with asterisks.
  • In the second note to the second canto, for the gods’ manes, read the gods manes.
  • Page 99, note 10, for sprinkled with dust, read sprinkled with golden dust. Such errors as exist, also, in the London edition are marked, in the examples, with asterisks.
  • Page 122, line 4 from top, for Phraërion’s read Phraërion. Such errors as exist, also, in the London edition are marked, in the examples, with asterisks.
  • 161, 6 bottom, for as it had stopp’d, read as if had stopp’d.
  • Page 170, line 8 from top, for mortal-borne, read mortal-born.
  • 185, 11 bottom, for rewards, read regards.
  • 225, 6 top, for wistfulness, wishfulness. Such errors as exist, also, in the London edition are marked, in the examples, with asterisks.
001 1(1)r

To Robert Southey, Esq.

Oh! laurel’d bard, how can I part,

Those cheering smiles no more to see,

Until my soothed and solaced heart

Pours forth one grateful lay to thee?

Fair virtue tuned thy youthful breath,

And peace and pleasure bless thee now;

For love and beauty guard the wreath

That blooms upon thy manly brow.

The Indian, leaning on his bow,

On hostile cliff, in desert drear,

Casts with less joy his glance below,

When came some friendly warrior near;—

The native dove of that warm isle

Where oft, with flowers, my lyre was drest,

Sees with less joy the sun awhile

When vertic rains have drenched her nest

1 002 1(1)v 2

Than I, a stranger, first beheld

Thine eye’s harmonious welcome given

With gentle word which, as it swell’d,

Came to my heart benign as heaven.

Soft be thy sleep as mists that rest

On Skiddaw’s top at summer morn;

Smooth be thy days as Derwent’s breast,

When summer light is almost gone!

And yet, for thee, why breathe a prayer?

I deem thy fate is given in trust

To seraphs, who by daily care,

Would prove that heaven is not unjust.

And treasured shall thine image be

In memory’s purest, holiest shrine,

While truth and honour glow in thee,

Or life’s warm quivering pulse is mine.

Keswick, 1831-04-18April 18, 1831.
003 1(2)r

Preface.

In finishing Zóphiël, the writer has endeavored to adhere entirely to that belief (once prevalent among the fathers of the Greek and Roman churches), which supposes that the oracles of antiquity were delivered by demons or fallen angels, who wandered about the earth, formed attachments to such mortals as pleased them best, and caused themselves, in many places, to be adored as divinities.

In endeavoring to give authority for the incidents of the story, all quotations from the sacred writings have been scrupulously avoided; and the beings introduced are to be considered only as Phœbus, Zephyr, &c. under other names.

Most of the systems of ancient philosophy, either Western or Oriental, suppose beings similar to the angels of the fathers, and differ from the Mosaic account only in being more full and explicit. Justin Martyr and others supposed that even Homer borrowed from Hebraic records and traditions, and 0041(2)v 4 found in his writings the creation of the world, the tower of Babel, and the angels cast out of heaven. Hesiod’s beautiful allegory of Love calling order from chaos, Vide Brucker’s Historia Philosophiæ may, it is said, be traced to the same source.

The fact of the actual existence of such beings as angels it is for others to question: according to all that is related of them, they are creatures superior in power, but endued with wishes and propensities nearly resembling those of mortals; and, in their attributes, corresponding almost entirely with those deities which they are thought, by the fathers, to have personated, and which have ever been a subject for poetry and fable.

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Canto First.

Grove of Acacias.

I

Shade of Columbus, here thy relics rest;

Here, while these numbers to the desert ring,

The self-same breeze that passes o’er thy breast, The self-same breeze that passes o’er thy breast. The remains of Columbus are preserved in the Cathedral at Havanna, beneath a monument and bust of very rude sculpture. These stanzas were written on the same coast, about seventy miles distant.

Salutes me, as with panting heart, I sing.

II

Madoc! my ancient father’s bones repose Madoc, my father’s ancient bones repose Where their bold harps thy country’s bards enwreathed. The well-known and beautiful poem of Dr. Robert Southey, which bears the name of the Welch prince, Madoc, renders it unnecessary to give any farther account of him.

Where their bold harps thy country’s bards enwreathed;

And this warm blood once coursed the veins of those

Who flourished where thy first faint sigh was breathed.

III

Heroes departed both, if still ye love

These realms to which on earth, ye oped the way,

Amid the joys that crown your deeds, above,

One moment pause and deign to bless my lay!

006 1(3)v 6

IV

Spirits, who hovered o’er Euphrates’ stream,

When the first beauteous mother of our race

First oped her mild eyes to the new light-beam,

And in the lucid wave first saw her own fair face;

Did then yon ocean, in its bosom press

These western solitudes? or are they new

Only to men? Was this sweet wilderness,

This distant world, then visited by you?

V

If ye then knew; or haply, if ye here

Come wandering now, oh, listen! nor refuse

Your unseen harps a moment to my ear;

Of one like you I’d sing: whisper my trembling muse!

VI

Rest in my wild retreat! The solar fires

Tell on this glowing cheek their fervid powers;

Yet ’tis the ocean’s breath my lip respires

Grown fragrant in its course o’er thousand shrubs and flowers.

VII

The time has been;—this holiest records tell,—

When restless spirits raised a war in heaven;

Great was the crime, and banished thence they fell

To depths unknown; yet kept the potence, given

007 1(4)r 7

For nobler use, to tempt the hapless race

Of feeble mortals, who but form a grade

’Twixt spirits and the courser of the chase.

Man, thing of heaven and earth, why, thou wert made,

Ev’n spirits knew not! yet they loved to sport

With thy mysterious mind; and lent their powers,

The good to benefit, the ill to hurt.

Dark fiends assailed thee, in thy dangerous hours,

But better angels thy far perils eyed;

And often, when in heaven they might have stayed,

Came down to watch by some just hero’s side,

Or meet the aspiring love of some high-gifted maid.

VIII

Blest were those days! Can these dull ages boast

Aught to compare? though now no more beguile,

Chained in their darkling depths, the infernal host; From the cessation of the oracles, at the death of the founder of our religion, the old Christian fathers inferred that the demons who uttered them, were at that time confined.

Who would not brave a fiend to share an angel’s smile?

008 1(4)v 8

IX

’Twas then there lived a captive Hebrew pair;

In woe the embraces of their youth had past;

And blest their paler years one daughter; fair

She flourished, like a lonely rose, the last

And lovliest of her line. The tear of joy,

The early love of song, the sigh that broke

From her young lip, the best beloved employ;

What womanhood disclosed, in infancy bespoke

X

A child of passion; tenderest and best

Of all that heart has inly loved and felt,

Adorned the fair enclosure of her breast:

Where passion is not found, no virtue ever dwelt.

XI

Yet, not, perverted, would my words imply

The impulse given by heaven’s great artisan

Alike to man and worm, mere spring, whereby

The distant wheels of life, while time endures, roll on:

But the collective attributes that fill,

About the soul, their all-important place;

That feed her fires, empower her fainting will,

And write the God on feeble mortal’s face.

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XII

Yet anger, or revenge, envy or hate,

The damsel knew not: when her bosom burned

And injury darkened the decrees of fate,

She had more piteous sighed to see that pain returned.

XIII

Or if perchance, though formed most just and pure,

Amid their virtue’s wild luxuriance hid,

Such germs, all mortal bosoms must immure

Which sometimes show their poisonous heads, unbid,—

If, haply such the fair Judean finds,

Self knowledge wept the abasing truth to know;

And innate Pride, that queen of noble minds,

Crushed them indignant ere a bud could grow.

XIV

And such, even now, in earliest youth are seen;

But would they live, with armour more deform

Their breasts made soft by too much love must screen:—

The bird that sweetest sings can least endure the storm.

XV

And yet, despite of all, the starting tear,

The melting tone, the blood suffusive, proved,

The soul that in them spoke, could spurn at fear

Of death or danger; and had those she loved

010 1(5)v 10

Required it at their need, she could have stood,

Unmoved, as some fair-sculptured statue, while

The dome that guards it, earth’s convulsions rude

Are shivering, meeting ruin with a smile.

XVI

And this, at intervals, in language bright

Told her blue eyes; though oft the tender lid

Drooped like a noon-day lily, languid, white—

And trembling all save love and lustre hid;

Then, as young Christian bard had sung, they seemed

Like some Madonna in his soul, so sainted;

But opening in their energy they beamed

As tasteful Grecians their Minerva painted;

While o’er her graceful shoulder’s milky swell,

Silky as those on little children seen,

Yet thick as Indian fleece her ringlets fell,

Nor owned Pactolus’ sands a brighter sheen.

XVI

And now, full near, the hour unwished for drew,

When Sèphora had hoped to see her wed;

And, for ’twould else expire, impatient grew

To renovate her race from beauteous Egla’s bed.

011 1(6)r 11

XVII

None of their kindred lived to claim her hand,

But stranger-youths had asked her of her sire

With gifts and promise fair; he could withstand

All save her tears; and harkening her desire

Still left her free; but soon her mother drew

From her a vow, that when the twentieth year Twenty years, among the Spartans, was the age required by the law for the marriage of women; and in whatever climate they may live, it is seldom that they attain their full height and proportion before that age. If this custom of the Spartans could be everywhere observed, it is probable that the strength and beauty of the race would be improved by it.

Its full fair finish o’er her beauty threw,

If what her fancy fed on, came not near,

She would entreat no more, but to the voice

Of her light-giver hearken; and her life

And love, all yielding to that kindly choice,

Would hush each idle wish and learn to be a wife.

XVIII

Now oft it happen’d, when morning task was done,

And lotted out, for every household maid,

Her light and pleasant toil; ere yet the sun

Was high, fair Egla to a woody shade,

012 1(6)v 12

Loved to retire. Acacias here inclined Some of the acacias of the East are endowed with a sensitive power, and are said to bend gently, over those who seek their shade.

Their friendly heads, in thick profusion, planted,

And with a thousand tendrils clasped and twined;

And when, at fervid noon, all nature panted,

Enwoven with their boughs, a fragrant bower

Inviting rest its mossy pillow flung;

And here the full cerulean passion-flower, And here the full cerulean passion-flower, Climbing among the leaves, its mystic symbols hung. Those who have only seen this flower as a curious exotic in severer climates, can have little idea of the profusion with which it grows in its native realms. It climbs from shrub to shrub, forming natural bowers, sparkling with morning dew, and looking, from its beamy shape, like a beautiful planet.

Climbing among the leaves, its mystic symbols hung.

XIX

And though the sun had gained his utmost height,

Just as he oped its vivid folds at dawn,

Looked still, that tenderest, frailest child of light,

By shepherds named the glory of the morn.

XX

Sweet flower, thou’rt lovelier even than the rose:

The rose is pleasure,—felt and known as such—

Soon past, but real,—tasted, while it glows;

But thou, too bright and pure for mortal touch,

Art like those brilliant things we never taste

Or see, unless with Fancy’s lip and eye,

When maddened by her mystic spells, we waste

Life on a thought, and rob reality.

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XXI

Here, too, the lily raised its snow-white head;

And myrtle leaves, like friendship, when sincere,

Most sweet when wounded, all around were spread;

And though from noon’s fierce heat the wild deer fled,

A soft warm twilight reigned impervious here.

XXII

Tranquil and lone in such a light to be,

How sweet to sense and soul! the form recline

Forgets it e’er felt pain; and Reverie,

Sweet mother of the muses, heart and soul are thine! It is impossible for those who never felt it, to conceive the effect of such a situation in a warm climate. In this island, the woods, which are naturally so interwoven with vines, as to be impervious to a human being, are, in some places, cleared and converted into nurseries, for the young coffee-trees, which remain sheltered from the sun and wind, till sufficiently grown to transplant. To enter one of these semilleros, as they are here called, at noon-day, produces an effect like that anciently ascribed to the waters of Lethe. After sitting down upon the trunk of a fallen cedar or palm-tree, and breathing for a moment the freshness of the air and the odour of the passions-flower, which is one of the most abundant, and certainly the most beautiful of the climate; the noise of the trees, which are continually kept in motion by the trade winds; the fluttering and various notes (though not musical) of the birds; the loftiness of the green canopy, for the trunks of the trees are bare to a great height, and seem like pillars supporting the thick mass of leaves above; and the soft peculiar light which the intense ray of the sun, thus impeded, produces; have altogether such an effect, that one seems involuntarily to forget everything but the present, and it requires a strong effort to rise and leave the place.

XXIII

This calm retreat on summer day she sought,

And sat to tune her lute; but all night long

Quiet had from her pillow flown, and thought,

Feverish and tired, sent forth unseemly throng

014 1(7)v 14

Of boding images. She scarce could woo

One song reluctant, ere advancing quick

Through the fresh leaves, Sèphora’s form she knew,

And duteous rose to meet: but fainting, sick,

Her heart sank tremulously in her; why

Sought out at such an hour, it half divined;

And seated now beside, with downcast eye,

And throbbing pulse, she met the pressure kind,

And warmly given; while thus the matron fair,

Though marred by grief and time, with soothing word,

Solicitous, and gently serious air,

The purpose why she hither came preferr’d.

XXIV

Egla, my hopes thou knowest, though exprest

Not oft, lest they should pain thee; I have dealt

Not rudely with thy fancies, yet my breast

Retains the wish most vehemently felt.

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Know, I have marked that when the reason why

Thou still wouldst live in virgin state, thy sire

Has prest thee to impart, quick in thine eye

Semblance of hope has played; fain to transpire,

Words seemed to seek thy lip; but the bright rush

Of heart-blood eloquent, alone would tell

In the warm language of a rebel blush

What thy less treacherous tongue had guarded well.

XXV

Is the long frequent day spent lonely here?

Or haply, rather, hath some stranger youth—?

Then Egla; see my heart! Oh, mother dear,

Distrust my wisdom; but regard my truth!

XXVI

Long time ago, while yet a twelve year’s child,

These shrubs and vines new-planted near this spot,

I sat me, tired with pleasant toil, and whiled

Away the time, with lute; and often thought

Of the lost land thou lovest; every scene

Which thou so oft, when I had climbed thy knee,

Wouldst sing of, weeping, through my mind had been

In fair succession, when from yon old tree

016 1(8)v 16

I heard a piteous moan. Wondering I went

And found an aged man; worn and oppressed

He seemed with toil; and said in whispers faint,

Oh, little maiden, how I am distrest!

I sink for very want. Give me, I pray,

A drop of water and a cake: I die

Of thirst and hunger; yet my sorrowing way

May tread once more, if thou my need supply.

XXVII

A long time missing from thy gentle arms,

It chanced that day was sent me, in the shade,

New bread, a cake of figs, and wine of palms, The palm is a very common plant in this country (Media,) and generally fruitful: this they cultivate like fig-trees, and it produces them bread, wine, and honey. See Beloe’s notes to his translation of Herodotus. Mr. Gibbon adds, that the diligent natives celebrated, either in verse or prose, three hundred and sixty uses to which the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the juice, and the whole of this plant were applied. Nothing can be more curious and interesting than the natural history of the palm tree.

Mingled with water, sweet with honey made.

XXVIII

These brought I to him; tried to raise his head;

Held to his lip the cup; and, while he quaffed,

Upon my garment wiped the tears that sped

Adown his silvery beard, and mingled with the draught.

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XXIX

When, gaining sudden strength, he raised his hand,

And in this guise did bless me; Mayst thou be

A crown to him who weds thee! In a land

Far distant dwells a captive!—Hearken me,

And choose thee now a bridegroom meet. To-day

O’er broad Euphrates’ steepest banks a child

Fled from his youthful nurse’s arms; in play

Elate, he bent him o’er the brink, and smiled

To see their fears who followed him; but who

The keen wild anguish of that scene can tell!

He bent him o’er the brink; and, in their view,

But ah! too far beyond their aid, he fell.

XXX

They wailed; the long torn ringlets of their hair The women, among all the nations of antiquity, were accustomed to express violent grief, by tearing their hair. This must have been a great and affecting sacrifice to the object bemoaned, as they considered it a part of themselves, and absolutely essential to their beauty. Fine hair has been a subject of commendation among all people, and particularly the ancients. Cyrus, when he went to visit his uncle Astyages, found him with his eyelashes coloured and decorated with false locks; the first Cæsar obtained permission to wear the laurel wreath, in order to conceal the bareness of his temples. The quantity and beauty of the hair of Absalom, is commemorated in holy writ. The modern oriental ladies also set the greatest value on their hair, which they braid and perfume. Thus the poet Hafiz, whom Sir William Jones styles the Anacreon of Persia. These locks, each curl of which is worth a hundred musk-bags of China, would be sweet indeed, if their scent proceeded from sweetness of temper. And again, When the breeze shall waft the fragrance of thy locks over the tomb of Hafiz, a thousand flowers shall spring from out the earth that hides his corse. Achilles clipped his yellow locks, and then threw them as a sacrifice upon the funeral pyre of Patroclus. The women of the Aborigines of America cut off locks of their long black hair, and strew them upon the graves of their husbands.

Bestrewed the ambient gale; deep rolled the stream

And swallowed the fair child; no succour there!

They, women;—whither look?—who to redeem

2 018 2(1)v 18

What the fierce waves were preying on? When lo!

Approached a stranger boy. Aside he flung,

Quick as a thought, his quiver and his bow,

And parted by his limbs the sparkling billows sung.

XXXI

They clung to an old palm and watched; nor breath

Nor word dared utter; while the refluent blood

Left on each countenance the hue of death,

Oped lip and far-strained eye spoke worse than death endured.

019 2(2)r 19

XXXII

But down the flood the dauntless boy appeared,

Now rising—plunging—in the eddy whirled—

Mastering his course; but now a rock he neared;

And closing o’er his head, the dark, deep, waters curled.

XXXIII

Then Hope groaned forth her last, and to despair

Yielded with shrieks; but ere the echo wild

Had ceased to thrill, restored to light and air,

He climbs, he gains the rock, and holds alive the child.

XXXIV

Now mark what chanced! that infant was the son

Of Babylonia’s sovereign; soon was placed

Before his throne the youth who so had won

From death the royal heir. A captive graced

All o’er with nature’s gifts just dawning, brave,

And panting for renown, blushing and praised

The stripling stood; and closely prest, would crave

Nought but a place mid warlike men; yet raised

To his full wish, the kingly presence leaving,

So light with airy hope, his graceful feet

Scarce touched the marble as he trod, while, heaving

With plans to please his sire, his heart more warmly beat.

020 2(2)v 20

XXXV

But when his mother heard, she wept, and said,

If he, our only child, be far away,

Or slain in war, how shall our years be stay’d?

Friendless and old, where is the hand to lay

Our white hairs in the earth? So when her fears

He saw would not be calmed, he did not part;

But lived in low estate to dry her tears,

And crush’d the full ripe wish at his exulting heart.

XXXVI

The old man ceased; ere I could speak, his face

Grew more than mortal fair: a mellow light

Mantling around him, filled the shady place,

And while I wondering stood, he vanish’d from my sight.

XXXVII

This I had told, but shame withheld, and fear

Thou’dst deem some spirit guiled me,—disapprove,—

Perchance forbid my customed wandering here.

But whenceso’er the vision, I have strove

Still vainly to forget. I’ve heard thee mourn

Kindred afar, and captive:—oh! my mother

Should he, my heaven announced, exist, return—

And meet me here, lost—wedded to another!

021 2(3)r 21

XXXVIII

Then Sèphora answered: In the city where

Our distant kindred dwelt, blood has been shed.

Fond dreamer, had thy visioned love been there!

Ere now he’s sleeping with the silent dead.

XXXIX

Or doth he live, he knows not—would not know,

(Thralled, dead to thee, in some fair Syrian’s arms,)

Who pines for him afar in fruitless woe,

And wastes upon a thought love, life and charms.

XL

’Tis as a vine of Galilee should say,

Culterer, I reck not thy support, I sigh

For a young palm tree of Euphrates; nay,

Or let me him entwine, or in my blossom die.

XLI

Thy heart is set on joys it ne’er can prove;

And, panting ingrate, scorns the blessings given.

Hope not from dust-formed man, a seraph’s love,

Or days on earth like to the days of heaven!

XLII

But to my theme; maiden, a lord for thee,

And not of thee unworthy, lives and glows.

Nay, chase the dread that in thy looks I see,

Nor make it taste of anguish to disclose

022 2(3)v 22

What well might be delight. Rememberest thou

When to the altar, by thy father reared,

As we went forth with sacrifice and vow,

A victim-dove escaped, and there appeared

A stranger? Quickly from his shrilly string

He let an arrow glance; and to a tree

Nailed fast the little truant, by the wing,

And brought it, scarcely bleeding, back to thee.

XLIII

His voice, his mien, the lustre of his eye,

And pretty deed he had done, were theme of praise

Though blent with fear that stranger should espy

Thy lonely haunts. When, in the sunny rays

He turned and went, with black locks clustering bright

Around his pillar neck,—’Tis pity he,

Thou saidst, in all the comeliness and might

Of perfect man, ’tis pity he should be

But an idolater! How nobly sweet

He tempers pride with courtesy! A flower

Drops honey when he speaks. His sandal’d feet

Are light as antelope. He stands, a tower.

023 2(4)r 23

XLIV

That very stranger sought thy sire, and swore

For thee much love, that day conceived for thee,

To be a false idolater no more.

’Tis Meles, late returned from embassy

To distant courts, and loved by the young king

Of Media. Bethink thee, Egla; muse

Upon the good, union like this may bring

On thee and thine. Yet, if thy soul refuse,

We will not press thee. Weep if’t be thy will,

Even on the breast that nourished thee, and ne’er

Distrest thee or compelled; this bosom still,

E’en shouldst thou blight its dearest hopes, will share,

Nay, bear thy pains. But sooner in the grave

’Twill quench my waning years, if reckless thou

Of what I not command, but only crave,

Canst see me pine and disregard thy vow.

XLV

Then Egla, Think not, kindest, I forget,

Who have received such love, how much is due

From me to thee! The Mede I’ll wed: but yet—

Why will these tears gush forth?—thus—in thy presence too!

024 2(4)v 24

XLVI

Sèphora held her to her heart, the while

Grief had its way; then saw her gently laid,

And bade her, kissing her blue eyes, beguile

Slumbering, the fervid noon. Her leafy bed

Breathed forth o’erpowering sighs; increased the heat;

Sleepless had been the night; her weary sense

Could now no more. Lone in the still retreat,

Wounding the flowers to sweetness more intense

She sank. Thus kindly Nature lets our woe

Swell till it bursts forth from the o’erfraught breast;

Then draws an opiate from the bitter flow,

And lays her sorrowing child soft in the lap of rest.

XLVII

Now all the mortal maid lies indolent;

Save one sweet cheek, which the cool velvet turf

Had touched too rude, though all with blooms besprent,

One soft arm pillowed. Whiter than the surf

That foams against the sea-rock looked her neck

By the dark, glossy, odorous shrubs relieved,

That close inclining o’er her, seemed to reck That close inclining o’er her, seemed to reck What ’twas they canopied. This kind of acacia or mimosa particularly belongs to Abyssinia: it is said to incline its branches, as if sensible when any one seeks its shade. The Arabians love it as a friend. A low species of 0463(7)v 46 mimosa, which grows profusely in this island (Cuba), is extremely sensitive; it not only shuts its pretty leaves, like a closed fan, when touched, but the whole branch which supports them stoops and clings closely to the main stalk. The affection of Aswad for a mimosa that bent over him in the gardens of Shedad or Irem, forms a particularly beautiful passage in Thalaba.

What ’twas they canopied; and quickly heaved,

025 2(5)r 25

Beneath her robe’s white folds and azure zone,

Her heart yet incomposed, a fillet through

Peeped softly azure, while with tender moan,

As if of bliss, Zephyr her ringlets blew

Sportive; about her neck their gold he twined;

Kissed the soft violet on her temples warm,

And eyebrow just so dark might well define

Its flexile arch; throne of expression’s charm.

XLVIII

As the vexed Caspian, though its rage be past,

And the blue smiling heavens swell o’er in peace,

Shook to the centre by the recent blast,

Heaves on tumultuous still, and hath not power to cease;

So still each little pulse was seen to throb,

Though passion and its pain were lulled to rest;

And ever and anon a piteous sob

Shook the pure arch expansive o’er her breast.

Every one must have observed this effect in little children who for several hours after they have cried themselves to sleep, and sometimes, even, when a smile is on their lips, are heard from time to time to sob.
026 2(5)v 26

XLIX

Save that, a perfect peace was, sovereign, there

O’er fragrance, sound, and beauty; all was mute;

Only a dove bemoaned her absent phere,

Or fainting breezes swept the slumberer’s lute.

L

It chanced, that day, lured by the verdure, came

Zóphiël, a spirit sometimes ill; but ere

He fell, a heavenly angel. The faint flame

Of dying embers on an altar, where

Zorah, fair Egla’s sire, in secret bowed

And sacrificed to the great unseen God,

While friendly shades the sacred rites enshroud, While friendly shades the sacred rites enshroud. The captive Hebrews, though they sometimes outwardly conformed to the religion of their oppressors, were accustomed to practice their own in secret.

The spirit saw; his inmost soul was awed,

And he bethought him of the forfeit joys

Once his in Heaven; deep in a darkling grot

He sat him down; the melancholy noise

Of leaf and creeping vine accordant with his thought.

LI

When fiercer spirits howled, he but complained

Ere yet ’twas his to roam the pleasant earth.

His heaven-invented harp he still retained, His heaven-invented harp he still retained. The invention of the harp was ascribed, by the Hebraic historians, to Jubal; who, as he lived before the deluge, enjoyed, in common with others of his race, the privilege of conversing with angels, from whom he may be supposed to have received his art. That Mercury, to whom the Grecians ascribed the invention of the lyre, according to the belief of the Christian fathers, might have been the son of a guilty angel.

Though tuned to bliss no more, and had its birth

027 2(6)r 27

Of him, beneath some black, infernal clift,

The first drear song of woe; and torment wrung

The restless spirit less, when he might lift

His plaining voice, and frame the like as now he sung.

LII

Woe to thee, wild ambition! I employ

Despair’s low notes thy dread effects to tell;

Born in high heaven, her peace thou couldst destroy;

And, but for thee, there had not been a Hell.

Through the celestial domes thy clarion pealed;

Angels, entranced, beneath thy banners ranged,

And straight were fiends; hurled from the shrinking field,

They waked in agony to wail the change.

Darting through all her veins the subtle fire,

The world’s fair mistress first inhaled thy breath;

To lot of higher beings learnt to aspire;

Dared to attempt, and doomed the world to death.

The thousand wild desires, that still torment

The fiercely struggling soul, where peace once dwelt,

But perished; feverish hope; drear discontent,

Impoisoning all possest,—Oh! I have felt

028 2(6)v 28

As spirits feel,—yet not for man we moan,

Scarce o’er the silly bird in state were he,

That builds his nest, loves, sings the morn’s return,

And sleeps at evening; save by aid of thee.

Fame ne’er had roused, nor song her records kept;

The gem, the ore, the marble breathing life,

The pencil’s colours, all in earth had slept,

Now see them mark with death his victim’s strife.

Man found thee, death: but Death and dull decay,

Baffling, by aid of thee, his mastery proves;

By mighty works he swells his narrow day,

And reigns, for ages, on the world he loves.

Yet what the price? With stings that never cease

Thou goad’st him on; and when too keen the smart,

His highest dole he’d barter but for peace,

Food thou wilt have, or feast upon his heart.

LIII

Thus Zóphiël still, though now the infernal crew

Had gained, by sin, a privilege in the world,

Allayed their torments in the cool night dew,

And by the dim starlight again their wings unfurled.

029 2(7)r 29

LIV

And now, regretful of the joys his birth

Had promised, deserts, mounts, and streams he crost,

To find, amid the loveliest spots of earth,

Faint semblance of the heaven he had lost.

LV

And oft, by unsuccessful searching pained,

Weary he fainted through the toilsome hours; Weary he fainted through the toilsome hours, And then his mystic nature he sustained On steam of sacrifices, breath of flowers. Eusebe dans sa Préparation Evangelique, raporte quantité de passages de Porphyre, où ce philosophe Payen assure que les mauvais démons sont les auteurs des enchantemens, des philtres, and des maléfices; que le mensonge est essentiel a leur nature; qu’ils ne font que tromper nos yeux par des spectres and par des fantômes; qu’ils excitent en nous la plupart de nos passions; qu’ils ont l’ambition de vouloir passer pour des dieux; que leurs corps aëriens se nourissent de fumigations de sang répandu et de la graisse des sacrifices; qu’il n’y a qu’eux qui se mêlent de rendre des oracles, et á qui cette fonction plein de tromperie soit tombée en partage. Fontenelle Histoire des Oracles It is related, also, in the Caherman Nameh, that the Peris fed upon precious odours, brought them by their companions when imprisoned and hung up in cages by the Dives. Most of the oriental superstitions harmonize perfectly with the 0473(8)r 47 belief of the fathers; and what is there in philosophy, natural or moral, to disprove the existence of beings similar to those described by the latter?

And then his mystic nature he sustained

On steam of sacrifices, breath of flowers.

LVI

Sometimes he gave out oracles, amused Sometimes he gave out oracles. This passage accords with a belief prevalent in the earlier ages of Christianity, that all nations, except the descendants of Abraham, were abandoned by the Almighty, and subjected to the power of demons or evil spirits. Fontenelle, in his Histoire des Oracles, makes the following extract from the works of the Pagan philosopher Porphry:—Auguste déja vieux et songeant à se choisir un successeur alla consulter l’Oracle de Delphes. L’Oracle ne répondoit point, quoiqu’Auguste n’épargnât pas des sacrifices. A la fin, cependant, il en tira cette résponse. L’enfant Hebrew á qui tous les Dieux obeiessant, me chasse d’ici, et me renvoie dans les Enfers. Sors de ce temple sans parler!

With mortal folly; resting on the shrines,

Or, all in some fair Sybyl’s form infused,

Spoke from her trembling lips, or traced her mystic lines. The identity of Zóphiël with Appollo will be perceived in this and other passages.

LVII

And now he wanders on from glade to glade

To where more precious shrubs diffuse their balms;

And gliding through the thickly-woven shade

Where the soft captive lay in all her charms,

He caught a glimpse. The colours in her face,

Her bare white arms, her lips, her shining hair,

Burst on his view. He would have flown the place;

Fearing some faithful angel rested there,

030 2(7)v 30

Who’d see him, ’reft of glory, lost to bliss,

Wandering, and miserably panting, fain

To glean a joy e’en from a place like this:

The thought of what he once had been was pain

Ineffable. But what assailed his ear?

A sigh! Surprised, another glance he took;

Then doubting—fearing—softly coming near—

He ventured to her side and dared to look;

Whispering, Yes, ’tis of earth! So, new-found life

Refreshing, looked sweet Eve, with purpose fell,

When first sin’s sovereign gazed on her, and strife

Had with his heart, that grieved with arts of hell,

Stern as it was, to win her o’er to death.

Most beautiful of all in earth or heaven!

Oh, could I quaff for aye that fragrant breath!

Couldst thou, or being like thee, be given

To bloom for ever for me thus! Still true Still true To one dear theme, my full soul flowing o’er, Would find no room for thought of what it knew, Nor, picturing forfeit transport, curse me more. Si l’homme (says a modern writer), constant dans ses affection, pouvoit sans cesse fournir à un sentiment renouvelé sans cesse, sans doute la solitude et l’amour l’égaleroient à Dieu même; car ce sont là les deux eternels plaisirs du grand Etre. Saint Theresa used to describe the Prince of Darkness as an unhappy being who never could know what it was to love.

To one dear theme, my full soul, flowing o’er

Would find no room for thought of what it knew,

Nor picturing forfeit transport, curse me more.

LVIII

But oh! severest curse! I cannot be

In what I love, blest e’en the little span

(With all a spirit’s keen capacity

For bliss) permitted the poor insect, man.

031 2(8)r 31

LIX

The few I’ve seen, and deemed of worth to win,

Like some sweet flowret, mildewed in my arms,

Withered to hideousness as foul as sin,

Grew fearful hags; and then, with potent charm

Of muttered word and harmful drug, did learn

To force me to their will. Down the damp grave,

Loathing I went, at Endor, and uptorn,

Brought back the dead; when tortured Saul did crave

To view his lowering fate. Fair, nay, as this

Young slumberer, that dread witch; when, I arrayed

In lovely shape, to meet my guileful kiss.

She yielded first her lip. And thou, sweet maid—

What is’t I see?— a recent tear has strayed,

And left its stain upon her cheek of bliss.

LX

She has fall’n to sleep in grief; haply been chid,

Or by rude mortal wrong’d. So let it prove

Meet for my purpose: ’mid these blossoms hid,

I’ll gaze; and when she wakes, with all that love

And art can lend, come forth. He who would gain

A fond, full heart, in love’s soft surgery skill’d,

Should seek it when ’tis sore; allay its pain

With balm by pity prest: ’tis all his own so heal’d.

032 2(8)v 32

LXI

She may be mine a little year; e’en fair

And sweet as now. Oh! respite! while possest

I lose the dismal sense of my despair:

But then—I will not think upon the rest!

LXII

And wherefore grieve to cloud her little day Zóphiël, being one of the angels who fell before the Creation was completed, is not supposed to know anything of the immortality of the souls of men.

Of fleeting life? What doom from power divine

I bear eternally: pity—away!

Wake, pretty fly! and, while thou mayst, be mine,

’Though but an hour; so thou supply’st thy looms

With shining silk, and in the cruel snare

Seest the fond bird entrapped, but for his plumes,

To work thy robes, or twine amidst thy hair.

LXIII

To whisper softly in her ear he bent,

But draws him back restrained: a higher power,

That loved her, and would keep her innocent,

Repelled his evil touch. And from her bower,

To lead the maid, Sephora comes; the sprite,

Half baffled, followed, hovering on unseen,

Till Meles, fair to see and nobly dight,

Received his pensive bride. Gentle of mien,

033 3(1)r 33

She meekly stood. He fastened round her arms

Rings of refulgent ore; low and apart

Murmuring, So, beauteous captive, shall thy charms

For ever thrall and clasp thy captive’s heart.

LXIV

The air’s light touch seemed softer as she moved,

In languid resignation; his quick eye

Spoke in black glances how she was approved,

Who shrank reluctant from its ardency.

LXV

’Twas sweet to look upon the goodly pair

In their contrasted loveliness: her height

Might almost vie with his, but heavenly fair,

Of soft proportion she, and sunny hair;

He cast in manliest mould, with ringlets murk as night.

LXVI

And oft her drooping and resigned blue eye

She’d wistful raise to read his radiant face;

But then, why shrunk her heart?—a secret sigh

Told her it most required what there it could not trace.

Now fair had fall’n the night. The damsel mused

At her own window, in the pearly ray

Of the full moon; her thoughtful soul infused

Thus in her words; left lone awhile to pray.

Cœlestes, or the moon, was adored by many of the Jewish women, as well as the Carthaginians. They addressed their vows to her, burnt incense, poured out drink offerings, and made cakes for her with their own hands. This goddess is called, in Scripture, the Queen of Heaven.
3 034 3(1)v 34

LXVIII

What bliss for her who lives her little day,

In blest obedience, like to those divine,

Who to her loved, her earthly lord can say,

God is thy law, most just, and thou art mine.

To every blast she bends in beauty meek;—

Let the storm beat,—his arms her shelter kind,—

And feels no need to blanch her rosy cheek

With thoughts befitting his superior mind.

Who only sorrows when she sees him pained,

Then knows to pluck away pain’s keenest dart;

Or bid love catch it ere its goal be gained,

And steal its venom ere it reach his heart.

’Tis the soul’s food:—the fervid must adore.—

For this the heathen, unsufficed with thought,

Moulds him an idol of the glittering ore,

And shrines his smiling goddess, marble-wrought.

What bliss for her, ev’n in this world of woe,

Oh! Sire who mak’st yon orb-strewn arch thy throne;

That sees thee in thy noblest work below

Shine undefaced, adored, and all her own!

035 3(2)r 35

This I had hoped; but hope too dear, too great,

Go to thy grave!—I feel thee blasted, now.

Give me fate’s sovereign, well to bear the fate

Thy pleasure sends; this, my sole prayer, allow!

LXIX

Still fixed on heaven, her earnest eye, all dew,

Seemed, as it sought amid the lamps of night,

The God her soul addressed; but other view

Far different, sudden from that pensive plight

Recalled her: quick as on primeval gloom

Burst the new day-star when the Eternal bid,

Appeared, and glowing filled the dusky room,

As ’twere a brilliant cloud. The form it hid

Modest emerged, as might a youth beseem;

Save a slight scarf, his beauty bare, and white

As cygnet’s bosom on some silver stream;

Or young Narcissus, when to woo the light

Of its first morn, that flow’ret open springs;

And near the maid he comes with timid gaze,

And gently fans her with his full-spread wings,

Transparent as the cooling gush that plays

036 3(2)v 36

From ivory fount. Each bright prismatic tint

Still vanishing, returning, blending, changing

About their tender mystic texture glint,

Like colours o’er the full-blown bubble ranging.

That pretty urchins launch upon the air,

And laugh to see it vanish; yet, so bright,

More like—and even that were faint compare,

As shaped from some new rainbow. Rosy light,

Like that which Pagans say the dewy car

Precedes of their Aurora, clipp’d him round,

Retiring as he moved; and evening’s star

Shamed not the diamond coronal that bound

His curly locks. And, still to teach his face

Expression dear to her he wooed, he sought;

And, in his hand, he held a little vase

Of virgin gold, in strange devices wrought.

LXX

Love-toned he spoke; Fair sister, art thou here

With pensive looks, so near thy bridal bed,

Fixed on the pale cold moon? Nay, do not fear!

To do thee weal, o’er mount and stream I’ve sped.

037 3(3)r 37

LXXI

Say, doth thy soul, in all its sweet excess,

Rush to this bridegroom, smooth and falsehood-taught?

Ah, no! thou yield’st thee to a feared caress;

And strugglest with a heart that owns him not.

LXXII

Send back this Meles to Euphrates:—there

Is no reluctance. Withering by that stream,

Tell him there droops a flower that needs his care.

But why, at such an hour, so base a theme?

LXXIII

I’ll tell thee secrets of the nether earth

And highest heaven! Or dost some service crave?

Declare thy bidding, best of mortal birth,

I’ll be thy winged messenger, thy slave.

LXXIV

Then softly Egla: Lovely being, tell,

In pity to the grief thy lips betray

The knowledge of—say, with some kindly spell,

Dost come from heaven to charm my pains away? Les Perses semble être les premiers hommes connus de nous qui parlèrent des anges comme d’huissiers célestes et de porteurs d’ordres. Voltaire sur les Moeurs et l’Esprit des Nations

038 3(3)v 38

LXXV

Alas! what know’st thou of my plighted lord?

If guilt pollute him, as, unless mine ear

Deceive me in the purport of thy word,

Thou meanst t’imply,—kind spirit rest not here,

But to my father hasten, and make known

The fearful truth: my doom is his command;

Writ in heaven’s book, I guard the oath I’ve sworn,

Unless he will to blot it by thine hand.

LXXVI

Oaths sworn for Meles little need avail,

Zóphiël replies: Ere morn, if’t be thy will,

To Lybian deserts he shall tell his tale,

I’ll hurl him, at thy word, o’er forest, sea, and hill.

LXXVII

But soothe thee maiden; be thy soul at peace!

Mine be the care to hasten to thy sire,

And null thy vow. Let every terror cease:

Perfect success attends thy least desire.

LXXVIII

Then lowly bending with seraphic grace,

The vase he proffered full; and not a gem

Drawn forth successive from its sparkling place

But put to shame the Persian diadem.

039 3(4)r 39

LXXIX

While he Nay, let me o’er thy white arms bind

These orient pearls, less smooth; Egla, for thee,

My thrilling substance pained by storm and wind,

I sought them in the caverns of the sea.

LXXX

Look! here’s a ruby; drinking solar rays,

I saw it redden on a mountain tip;

Now on thy snowy bosom let it blaze:

’Twill blush still deeper to behold thy lip.

LXXXI

Here’s for thy hair a garland; every flower

That spreads its blossoms, watered by the tear

Of the sad slave in Babylonian bower,

Might see its frail bright hues perpetuate here.

LXXXII

For morn’s light bell, this changeful amethyst;

A sapphire for the violet’s tender blue;

Large opals, for the queen-rose zephyr-kist;

And here are emeralds of every hue,

For folded bud and leaflet, dropped with dew.

It was not unusual among the nations of the East to imitate flowers with precious stones. The Persian kings, about the time of Artaxerxes, sat, when they gave audience, under a vine, the leaves of which were formed of gold, and the grapes of emeralds. Gold is supposed by some of the Asiatics to have grown like a tree, in the garden of Eden; and the veins of ore found in the earth still correspond to the form of the branches. Shedad, in the gardens of his wonderful palace, had trees formed of gold and silver, with fruits and blossoms of precious stones. This palace, the Arabs suppose, still exists in the deserts, where, though generally invisible, individuals from time to time have been indulged with a sight of it.
040 3(4)v 40

LXXXIII

And here’s a diamond, culled from Indian mine,

To gift a haughty queen: it might not be;

I knew a worthier brow, sister divine, Sister was an affectionate appellation used by the Hebrews to women.

And brought the gem; for well I deem for thee

The arch-chymic sun in earth’s dark bosom wrought

To prison thus a ray, that when dull night

Frowns o’er her realms, and nature’s all seems nought,

She whom he grieves to leave may still behold his light.

LXXXV

Thus spoke he on, while still the wondering maid

Gazed, as a youthful artist; rapturously

Each perfect, smooth, harmonious limb surveyed

Insatiate still her beauty-loving eye.

LXXXVI

For Zóphiël wore a mortal form; and blent

In mortal form, when perfect, Nature shews

Her all that’s fair enhanced; fire, firmament,

Ocean, earth, flowers, and gems,—all there disclose

041 3(5)r 41

Their charms epitomised: the heavenly power

To lavish beauty, in this last work, crown’d:

And Egla, formed of fibres such as dower

Those who most feel, forgot all else around.

LXXXVII

He saw, and softening every wily word,

Spoke in more melting music to her soul;

And o’er her sense, as when the fond night-bird And o’er her sense, as when the fond night-bird, Woos the full rose, o’erpowering fragrance stole. This allusion is familiar to anyone in the slightest degree acquainted with Oriental literature. The nightingale, if he sees the rose, becomes intoxicated; he lets go from his hands the reins of prudence. Fable of the Gardener and the Nightingale Lady Montagu also translates a song, thus: The nightingale now hovers amid the flowers. His passion is to seek roses. Again, from the poet Hafiz:— When the roses wither, and the bower loses its sweetness, You have no longer the tale of the nightingale. 048 3(8)v 48 Indeed the rose, in Oriental poetry, is seldom mentioned without her paramour, the nightingale, which gives reason to suppose that the nightingale, in those countries where it was first celebrated, had really some natural fondness for that flower, or perhaps for some insect which took shelter in it. In Sir W. Jones’s translation of the Persian fable of The Gardener and Nightingale, is the following distich: I know not what the rose says under his lips, that he brings back the helpless nightingales, with their mournful notes. One day the gardener, according to his established custom, went to view the roses; he saw a plaintive nightingale rubbing his head on the leaves of the roses, and tearing asunder, with his sharp bill, that volume adorned with gold. And Geláleddîn Rùzbehár; While the nightingale sings thy praises with a loud voice, I am all ear, like the stalk of the rose tree. Pliny, however, in his delightful description of this bird, says nothing, I believe, about the rose.

Woos the full rose, o’erpowering fragrance stole;

LXXXVIII

Or when the lilies, sleepier perfume, move,

Disturbed by two young sister-fawns, that play

Among their graceful stalks at morn, and love

From their white cells to lap the dew away.

LXXXIX

She strove to speak, but ’twas in murmurs low;

While o’er her cheek, his potent spell confessing,

Deeper diffused the warm carnation glow

Still dewy wet with tears, her inmost soul confessing.

XC

As the lithe reptile, in some lonely grove,

With fixed bright eye, of fascinating flame,

Lures on by slow degrees the plaining dove,

So nearer, nearer still the bride and spirit came.

042 3(5)v 42

XCI

Success seemed his; but secret, in the height

Of exultation, as he braved the power

Which baffled him at morn, a secret light

Shot from his eye, with guilt and treachery fraught.

XCII

Nature upon her children oft bestows

The quick, untaught perception; and while art

O’ertasks himself with guile, loves to disclose

The dark thought in the eye, to warn the o’er-trusting heart.

XCIII

Or haply ’twas some airy guardian foiled

The sprite. What mixed emotions shook his breast;

When her fair hand, ere he could clasp, recoiled;

The spell was broke; and doubt and terrors prest

Her sore. While Zóphiël: Meles’ step I heard—

He’s a betrayer!—wilt receive him still?

The rosy blood, driven to her heart by fear,

She said, in accents faint but firm, I will.

XCIV

The spirit heard; and all again was dark;

Save as before the melancholy flame

Of the full moon; and faint, unfrequent spark,

Which from the perfume’s burning embers came,

043 3(6)r 43

XCV

That stood in vases round the room disposed.

Shuddering and trembling to her couch she crept,

Soft ope’d the door, and quick again was closed,

And through the pale grey moonlight Meles stept.

XCVI

But ere he yet, with haste, could throw aside

His broidered belt and sandals,—dread to tell,

Eager he sprang—he sought to clasp his bride—

He stopt:— a groan was heard—he gasped, and fell

XCVII

Low by the couch of her who widowed lay,

Her ivory hands, convulsive, clasped in prayer,

But lacking power to move; and, when ’twas day,

A cold black corse was all of Meles, there.

044 3(6)v 045 3(7)r

Notes to Canto the First.

The self-same breeze that passes o’er thy breast. The remains of Columbus are preserved in the Cathedral at Havanna, beneath a monument and bust of very rude sculpture. These stanzas were written on the same coast, about seventy miles distant. Madoc, my father’s ancient bones repose Where their bold harps thy country’s bards enwreathed. The well-known and beautiful poem of Dr. Robert Southey, which bears the name of the Welch prince, Madoc, renders it unnecessary to give any farther account of him. And here the full cerulean passion-flower, Climbing among the leaves, its mystic symbols hung. Those who have only seen this flower as a curious exotic in severer climates, can have little idea of the profusion with which it grows in its native realms. It climbs from shrub to shrub, forming natural bowers, sparkling with morning dew, and looking, from its beamy shape, like a beautiful planet. That close inclining o’er her, seemed to reck What ’twas they canopied. This kind of acacia or mimosa particularly belongs to Abyssinia: it is said to incline its branches, as if sensible when any one seeks its shade. The Arabians love it as a friend. A low species of 0463(7)v 46 mimosa, which grows profusely in this island (Cuba), is extremely sensitive; it not only shuts its pretty leaves, like a closed fan, when touched, but the whole branch which supports them stoops and clings closely to the main stalk. The affection of Aswad for a mimosa that bent over him in the gardens of Shedad or Irem, forms a particularly beautiful passage in Thalaba. While friendly shades the sacred rites enshroud. The captive Hebrews, though they sometimes outwardly conformed to the religion of their oppressors, were accustomed to practice their own in secret. His heaven-invented harp he still retained. The invention of the harp was ascribed, by the Hebraic historians, to Jubal; who, as he lived before the deluge, enjoyed, in common with others of his race, the privilege of conversing with angels, from whom he may be supposed to have received his art. That Mercury, to whom the Grecians ascribed the invention of the lyre, according to the belief of the Christian fathers, might have been the son of a guilty angel. Weary he fainted through the toilsome hours, And then his mystic nature he sustained On steam of sacrifices, breath of flowers. Eusebe dans sa Préparation Evangelique, raporte quantité de passages de Porphyre, où ce philosophe Payen assure que les mauvais démons sont les auteurs des enchantemens, des philtres, and des maléfices; que le mensonge est essentiel a leur nature; qu’ils ne font que tromper nos yeux par des spectres and par des fantômes; qu’ils excitent en nous la plupart de nos passions; qu’ils ont l’ambition de vouloir passer pour des dieux; que leurs corps aëriens se nourissent de fumigations de sang répandu et de la graisse des sacrifices; qu’il n’y a qu’eux qui se mêlent de rendre des oracles, et á qui cette fonction plein de tromperie soit tombée en partage. Fontenelle Histoire des Oracles It is related, also, in the Caherman Nameh, that the Peris fed upon precious odours, brought them by their companions when imprisoned and hung up in cages by the Dives. Most of the oriental superstitions harmonize perfectly with the 0473(8)r 47 belief of the fathers; and what is there in philosophy, natural or moral, to disprove the existence of beings similar to those described by the latter? Sometimes he gave out oracles. This passage accords with a belief prevalent in the earlier ages of Christianity, that all nations, except the descendants of Abraham, were abandoned by the Almighty, and subjected to the power of demons or evil spirits. Fontenelle, in his Histoire des Oracles, makes the following extract from the works of the Pagan philosopher Porphry:—Auguste déja vieux et songeant à se choisir un successeur alla consulter l’Oracle de Delphes. L’Oracle ne répondoit point, quoiqu’Auguste n’épargnât pas des sacrifices. A la fin, cependant, il en tira cette résponse. L’enfant Hebrew á qui tous les Dieux obeiessant, me chasse d’ici, et me renvoie dans les Enfers. Sors de ce temple sans parler! Still true To one dear theme, my full soul flowing o’er, Would find no room for thought of what it knew, Nor, picturing forfeit transport, curse me more. Si l’homme (says a modern writer), constant dans ses affection, pouvoit sans cesse fournir à un sentiment renouvelé sans cesse, sans doute la solitude et l’amour l’égaleroient à Dieu même; car ce sont là les deux eternels plaisirs du grand Etre. Saint Theresa used to describe the Prince of Darkness as an unhappy being who never could know what it was to love. And o’er her sense, as when the fond night-bird, Woos the full rose, o’erpowering fragrance stole. This allusion is familiar to anyone in the slightest degree acquainted with Oriental literature. The nightingale, if he sees the rose, becomes intoxicated; he lets go from his hands the reins of prudence. Fable of the Gardener and the Nightingale Lady Montagu also translates a song, thus: The nightingale now hovers amid the flowers. His passion is to seek roses. Again, from the poet Hafiz:— When the roses wither, and the bower loses its sweetness, You have no longer the tale of the nightingale. 048 3(8)v 48 Indeed the rose, in Oriental poetry, is seldom mentioned without her paramour, the nightingale, which gives reason to suppose that the nightingale, in those countries where it was first celebrated, had really some natural fondness for that flower, or perhaps for some insect which took shelter in it. In Sir W. Jones’s translation of the Persian fable of The Gardener and Nightingale, is the following distich: I know not what the rose says under his lips, that he brings back the helpless nightingales, with their mournful notes. One day the gardener, according to his established custom, went to view the roses; he saw a plaintive nightingale rubbing his head on the leaves of the roses, and tearing asunder, with his sharp bill, that volume adorned with gold. And Geláleddîn Rùzbehár; While the nightingale sings thy praises with a loud voice, I am all ear, like the stalk of the rose tree. Pliny, however, in his delightful description of this bird, says nothing, I believe, about the rose.
049 4(1)r

Canto the Second.

Death of Altheëtor.

4 050 4(1)v

Argument.

Sardius, in his pavilion, alone with Altheëtor.—Description of the pavilion.—Sardius sends a detachment of his guards in search of Meles.—Egla and her parents are brought before the king, to answer for the murder of Meles.—Egla relates the manner of Meles’ death, is retained at the palace, and invited to banquet with Sardius and his princes.—Sardius determines to espouse Egla, but delays his purpose, at the entreaty of Idaspes.—Egla is commanded, on pain of the death of her father, to receive, as bridegroom, whomever the King may appoint.—Alcestes, Ripheus, Philomars, and Rosanes, seek her chamber, and die in succession.—Sickness and death of Altheëtor.—Sorrow of Zóphiël.— Egla and her parents sent back to their home.

051 4(2)r

Canto the Second.

Death of Altheëtor This name is formed of the two Greek words Alethes and etor.

I

Soon over Meles’ grave the wild flower dropt

Its brimming dew; nor far, where Tigris’ spray.

Leaps to the beam, in life’s sweet blossom cropt,

Four others, fair as he, were snatched from day

Bridegrooms like him, they knew his fate; yet bent

On their desires, resolved that fate to brave;

So, in succession, each a victim went,

Borne from the bridal chamber to the grave.

II

Low liest thou, Meles! and ’tis mine to know,

By light of song, the darkly-hidden power

That closed thy bland, but wily lip; and show,

In flowing verse, what followed thy death-hour.

052 4(2)v 52

III

Noon slept upon thy grave, and Media’s king

Had sat him down, from court and harem far,

With a young boy who knew to touch the string

Of the sweet harp, and wage the ivory war Chess was known at an early period. Queen Parysatis played with Artaxerxes, her son, for the life of a person whom she wished to destroy. Sir William Jones’s article on the ancient game of Chaturanga, or Indian chess, is well known.

On painted field. The fainting breezes played

Among the curling clusters of his hair;

Thro’ myrtle blooms and berries, white and red,

O’er the cool space of a pavilion, fair

As fond Ionian artist might devise:

Twelve columns, ivory white, support a dome,

Painted to emulate the dark blue skies,

When seamen watch the stars, and sigh, and think of home.

IV

And, in the midst Night’s goddess (to the sight

More softly beauteous for a pictured moon

That mantles her, in pale mysterious light,)

Comes stealing to the arms of her Endymion.

053 4(3)r 53

V

On six fair pedestals, ranged two by two,

Like Leda’s sons, the smiling pillars stood;

As, each by either’s side, they rose to view,

Spotless from limpid bath, in some deep dusky wood,

Draining their dripping locks. In either space

Between, three lattices, with blossoms bowered,

Alternate with three pictured scenes had place;

And all who saw, believed some god empowered

The gifted hand that spread their tints. In one,

Far from the Grecian camp, his rage profound

Soothing, with lyre in hand, sat Thetis’ son;

Beside the ocean wave that darkly dashed around.

VI

Upon the next young Myrrha’s form appears;

Guilt, fear, repentance, blanch her cheek of love,

While, tender, beauteous, shuddering, drowned in tears,

She flies the day, and hides in Saba’s deepest grove.

VII

A peerless third the bride of Love displays,

Psyche, with lamp in hand; blest, while unknown

The cause that gave her bliss; now, daring rays

The mystery pierce, and all her pleasures flown.

054 4(3)v 54

VIII

Beneath that dome, reclined the youthful king,

Upon a silver couch; Couches of gold and silver were not uncommon among the Median and Persian princes. and soothed to mood

As free and soft as perfumes from the wing

Of bird that shook the jasmines as it wooed, The white and yellow jessamine is now found growing in abundance about mount Casius, intermixed with laurels, myrtles, and other delightful shrubs.

Its fitful song the mingling murmer meeting

Of marble founts of many a fair device;

And bees that banquet, from the sun retreating,

In every full, deep flower, that crowns his paradise. In every full deep flower that crowned his paradise. The Medes and the Persians were accustomed to retire to delicious gardens, which were called paradises. Josephus, speaking of a powerful Babylonian king, says: He erected elevated places, for walking, of stone, and made them resemble mountains; and built them so that they might be planted with all sorts of trees. He also erected what was called a pensile paradise, because his wife was desirous to have things like her own country, she having been bred up in the palaces of Media. The same custom is still continued in the east, where people of distinction pass their most pleasant hours in the pavilions or kiosks of their gardens.

IX

While gemmy diadem thrown down beside,

And garment, at the neck plucked open, proved

His unconstraint, and scorn of regal pride,

When thus apart retired, he sat with those he loved.

X

One careless arm around the boy was flung,

Not undeserving of that free caress;

But warm and true, and of a heart and tongue

To heighten bliss or mitigate distress.

055 4(4)r 55

XI

Quick to perceive, in him no freedom rude

Reproved full confidence: friendship the meat

His soul had starved without, with gratitude

Was ta’en; and her rich wine crowned high the banquet sweet.

What sire Altheëtor owned ’twere hard to trace;

A beautiful Ionian was his mother;

Some found to Sardius semblance, in his face,

Who never better could have loved a brother.

XII

But now the ivory battle at its close,

Go to thy harp, said Sardius, ’twere severe

To keep thee longer, thus; then, as he rose,

Where’s our ambassador? Call Meles here.

XIIXIII

Altheëtor said: Alas! my prince, the chase

Detains him long; and yet from peril sure

’Tis deemed he fares: nay, those there are who trace

His absence to some silvan paramour.

XIV

Let him be sought, said Sardius. Sardius is the name of a precious stone. No delay

Mocked that command; but vestige, glimpse, nor breath

Was gleaned, till, sadly, on the seventh day,

A band returned with tidings of his death.

056 4(4)v 56

XV

Sardius was sad upon his audience-seat.

Then spoke old Philomars: Remember well,

O king! without the city, had retreat

Two of those captives of a race so fell,

Thy father and my lord would rid the earth,

Root, branch and bud, and gave the task to me;

But two escaped the sword, and so had birth

Another serpent. This, O prince! to thee

Was told; and to complete the work I craved;

But thou didst check my zeal, with angry mood,

And saidst, If any trembling wretch be saved,

Let him live on; there’s been enough of blood.

We’ve traced Lord Meles to that serpent’s den,

And seen him in the vile earth murdered lie;

Yet wherefore grieves the greatest king of men?

This only is the fruit of clemency.

XVI

Then Sardius spoke, (as on the earth he cast,

While grief gave anger place, his full dark eye):

Whoe’er has done this deed has done his last!

Soldier, priest, Jew, or Mede, by Belus he shall die.

057 4(5)r 57

XVII

Then brought they Zorah in, misfortune’s pride,

His venerable locks with age were white;

He cheered his trembling partner, at his side,

Reposing on his God, befall him as it might.

XVII

Young Egla marked him stand so firm and pale;

Looked in her mother’s face—’twas anguish there;

Then gently threw aside her azure veil,

And in an upward glance sent forth to heaven a prayer.

XIX

Then prostrate thus: Oh, monarch, seal my doom!

Thy sorrow for Lord Meles’ death I know;

Take then thy victim, drag me to his tomb,

And to his manes let my life-blood flow! And to his manes let my life-blood flow. Egla might have heard of the gods’ manes from some wandering Ionian. The Greeks attributed four distinct parts to man;— the body which is resolved to dust; the soul which as they imagined, passed to Tartarus, or the Elysian fields, according to its merits; the image which inhabited the infernal vestibule; and the shade which wandered about the sepulchre: this last they were accustomed to invoke three times, and libations were poured out to this as well as to the gods’ manes, who were the genii of the dead, and had the care of their sepulchres and wandering shades. See Travels of Antenor The Jews, besides, at the time this scene is supposed to have transpired, began to be imbued with the Chaldaic superstitions or 0946(7)v 94 belief. The modern Jews, says Father Augustin Calmet, hold the souls of men to be spiritual and immortal, but that they sometimes appear again as well as good and evil dæmons; that the souls of the Hebrews are never visible either in hell or paradise, except their bodies are buried; that even after they are buried, the soul makes frequent excursions from its destined residence to visit its former body and inquire into its condition; that it wanders about for a full year after its first separation from the body; and that it was before the expiration of this year that the Witch of Endor called up the soul of Samuel. Origen and Theophylact say also that the Jews and Heathens believed the soul to continue near the body for some time after the death of the person. Calmet Origen, in his second book against Celsus, (continues the reverend Father Dom Augustin Calmet) relates and subscribes to the opinion of Plato, who says, that the shadows and images of the dead, which are seen near sepulchres, are nothing but the soul disengaged from its gross body, but not yet entirely freed from matter. From the same old book, which is probably read by few, I cannot forbear transcribing the following curious account, which, however impossible, appears to have been, at one time, generally believed:— If there is any truth in what we are told by the learned Digby, Chancellor to Henrietta Queen of England, by Father Kircher, a celebrated Jesuit, by Father Schott of the same order, and by Gafferell and Vallemont, concerning the wonderful mystery of the Palingenesis, or resurrection of plants, it will help to account for the shades and phantoms which many will confidently assert they have seen in church-yards. The account which these curious naturalists give of their performing the wonderful operation of the Palingenesis is as follows:— They take a flower and burn it to ashes, from which, being collected with great care, they extract all the salts by calcination. These salts they put into a glass vial, and having added to them a certain compositon which has a property of putting the ashes in motion upon the application of heat, the whole becomes a fine dust of a bluish colour. From this dust, when agitated by a gentle heat, there arises gradually a stalk, leaves, and then a flower; in short, there is seen the apparition of a plant rising out of the ashes. When the heat ceases the whole show disappears, and the dust falls into its former chaos at the bottom of the vessel. The return of heat always raises, out of its ashes, this vegetable phœnix which derives 0956(8)r 95 its life from the presence of this genial warmth, and dies as soon as it is withdrawn. Then follows the manner in which Father Kircher endeavours to account for the wonderful phenomenon, and the author continues with an assertion that the members of the Royal Society at London had (as he was informed) made the same experiment upon a sparrow, and were then hoping to make it succeed upon men.

XX

Oh! by the God who made yon glowing sun,

And warmed cold dust to beauty with his breath;

By all the good that e’er was caused or done,

Nor I, nor mine, have wrought thy subject’s death.

XXI

Yet think not I would live; alas! to me

No warrior of my country e’er shall come;

And forth with dance, and flowers, and minstrelsy,

I go to bid no brother welcome home.

058 4(5)v 58

XXII

Sad, from my birth, nay—born upon that day

When perished all my race, my infant ears

Were opened first with groans; and the first ray

I saw came dimly through my mother’s tears.

Pour forth my life, a guiltless offering

Most freely given! But let me die alone!

Destroy not those who gave me birth! oh, king!

I’ve blood enough: let it for all atone!

XXIII

She traced it on her hand, through the soft skin

Meandering seen. Without, that hand was white

As drops for infant lip; the palm within

Faintly carnationed, as of Amphitrite,

The fond Ionians fancied the pure shell

Chosen by that loved goddess for a car,

While o’er her feet dissolving foam-wreaths fell

In kisses; so they dreamed, in little bark afar.

XXIV

Egla had ceased: her pure cheeks heightened glow;

Her white hands clasped; blue veil, half fallen down;

Fair locks and gushing tears, stole o’er him so,

That Sardius had not harmed her for his crown.

059 4(6)r 59

Yet, serious, thus fair justice’ course pursued:

As if to hide what look and tone revealed;

What lured a Median to thy solitude?

How came his death; and who his corse concealed?

XXV

’Twas thus she told her tale: A truant dove

Had flown; I strayed a little from the track

That winds in mazes to my lonely grove,

But heard a hunter’s voice and hastened back.

XXVI

Lord Meles saw; and with a slender dart,

Fastened the little flutterer to a tree

By the white wing, with such surpassing art,

’Twas scarcely wounded when returned to me. The Medes as well as the Persians were expert with the bow and javelin.

XXVII

Thankful I took; but taught to be afraid

Of stranger’s glance, retired: my mother sighed

And trembling saw; yet soon our dwelling’s shade

The Median sought, and claimed me for a bride.

XXVIII

But when reluctant to my humble room

I had retired, was spread a fragrance there,

Like rose and lotus shaken in their bloom;

And something came and spoke, and looked so fair,

060 4(6)v 60

XXIX

It seemed all fresh from heaven; but soon the thought

Of things that tempt to sorcery in the night

Made me afraid. It fled; and Meles sought

His bridal bed; the moon was shining bright;

XXX

I saw his bracelets gleam, and knew him well;

But, ere he spoke, was breathed a sound so dread,

That fear enchained my senses like a spell,

And when the morning came, my lord was dead.

XXXI

And then my mother, in her anxious care,

Concealed me in a cave, that long before

Saved her from massacre; and left me there,

To live in darkness, till the search was o’er

Her fears foretold. So, in that cavern’s gloom

Alone upon the damp bare rock I lay,

Like a deserted corse; but that cold tomb

Soon filled with rosy mists, like dawn of day,

Which, half dispersing, showed the same fair thing

I saw before; and with it came another,

More gentle than the first, and helped it bring

Fresh flowers and fruits, in semblance like a brother.

061 4(7)r 61

XXXII

They spread, upon the rock, a flowery couch;

And of a sparkling goblet bade me sip,—

For that they saw me cold; I dared not touch,

But, mid the sweet temptation, closed my lip;

And from their grateful warmth and looks so fair

I turned away and shrank. Of their intent,

I do not know to tell, or what they were—

But feared and doubted both; and when they went,

Fled trembling to my home; content to meet

The sternest death injustice might prepare,

Ere trust my weakness, in that dark retreat,

To such strange peril as assailed me there.

XXXIII

She ceased: and now, in palace bade to stay,

Awaits the royal pleasure; but no more,

Though strictly watched and guarded, all the day,

To that stern warrior’s threats was given o’er,

Dark Philomars, strong in his country’s cause;

But harder than his battle-helm his heart;

Born while his father fought, and nurst in wars,

Pillage and fire his sports, to kill his only art.

062 4(7)v 62

XXXIV

And, when he sacked a city, he could tear

The screaming infant from its mother’s arms,

Dash it to earth; and, while ’twas weltering there

With demon grasp, impress her shuddering charms:

Then, as she faints with shrieks and struggles vain,

Coolly recall her with the ruffian blow;

And look, and pause, insatiate of her pain,

Then gash her tender throat, and see the life-blood flow.

XXXV

Oh, Nature! can it be?—the thought alone

Chills the quick pulse: Belief retires afar;

Reason grows angry; Pity breathes a groan;

And each distrusts the truth: yet, such things are. yet, such things are. In the whole catalogue of all the crimes and cruelties ever recorded since the invention of letters, there is nothing so horrid to the imagination as the simple fact of the existence of desire in the immediate presence of death and carnage. Peter the Great, Czar of Muscovy, killed several of his soldiers with his own hand, at the taking of Narva, to prevent the same atrocity related of Philomars in the text. Jornandés reconte (says Monsieur de Chateaubriand) que des sorcières chasées loin des habitations, des hommes dans les deserts de la Scythie, furent vistitées par des démons et de cet commerce sortir la nation des Huns. Deeds are still done which might well serve to prove a similar origin.

Are?—Nay, in this late age! God, canst thou view

Thine image so debased? The bard in grief

Thinks o’er the creed of fiends; sees what men do;

And, wondering, scarce rejects the wild belief.

XXXVI

Night came; and old Idaspes, all alone

With Sardius, had retired; but why so late

He wakes, with his white hairs, may not be known,

And still the captives tremble for their fate.

063 4(8)r 63

But when the old man went, that gentle boy

Altheëtor sat by his loved master’s couch;

And fervent pleadings for their lives employ

His lips that else had sung. The while his touch

Thrilled o’er his lyre, gay Meles’ early blight

Past from the prince’s thought; the transient gloom

Was to his soul just as some bird of night

Had flitted cross the moon when full and bright

She o’er his garden shone in the sweet month of bloom. When the Persians celebrate their feast of roses.

XXXVII

Of late his harem tired; if suns were there

He did not burn, but sickened in their rays,

And snow white Egla, mild, and chaste, and fair, And snow-white Egla, mild, and chaste, and fair, Came o’er his fancy. The love of Sardius for Egla resembles that of Cyrus for Aspasia or Milto, of whom the Chevalier de Lentier gives the following account:—Aspasia being brought to Sardis by one of the satraps of Cyrus, was compelled to come into the presence of that prince with many other women. While the rest, by every art, endeavoured to attract his attention, Milto stood at a distance, with her eyes fixed upon the earth; and Cyrus was so charmed with the singularity of her modesty (or, more probably, of her beauty) that he dismissed all beside, and remained a long time attached to this favourite.

Came o’er his fancy; as in sultry days,

Soft clouds appear, when travellers bare the brow;

And faint and panting, bless the timely shade,

And breathe the cool refreshment; so e’en now

Refreshed his languid soul the softly-imaged maid.

XXXVIII

Or, as some youth waked from the vine’s excess,

Parched and impure forgets the joys it gave;

And flies the fair Bacchante’s wild caress,

For some lone Naiad’s grot, and cools him in the wave.

064 4(8)v 64

XXXIX

Or as some graceful fawn, o’erspent with play,

Faints in the beam, and where deep shades invite;

Flies, all impatient of the burning day,

And woos the lily’s shade to hide him from its light.

XL

So felt the king; nor sleeping quite nor waking,

As wildering o’er his lids the zephyrs sweep,

Whole beds of purple hyacinths forsaking;

And when sweet reverie gave place to sleep,

He dreamed of baths, or beds of flowers and dew,

Or sculptured marbles, as at Cnidos seen;

But still, with fair long locks and veil of blue,

Another form would blend with every view,

With visionary grace and heavenly eye and mien.

XLI

The smile of morning woke Idaspes’ care;

And Egla, dubious if its light might bring

Or weal or woe to her, was bid prepare

To sit at evening banquet with the king.

XLII

Then came an ancient dame, skilled in those arts,

Employed by beauty’s daughters to enchain,

Or lightly touch, the soft voluptuous hearts

Of youths that seem, as they, of curl and eyebrow vain. Many of the young men of Asia, and even those of Athens, used the same arts at their toilets as the women.

065 5(1)r 65

XLIII

And pouring perfumes in the bath, she told

Wild tales of a Chaldean princess, loved

By the fair sprite Eroziel, who, of old,

Taught all those trims to heighten beauty, proved

By Lydian, Median, Perse, and Greek; with black ..................... .....................with black To tip the eyelid,—stain the finger,—deck The cheek with hues that languor bids it lack. The arts practised by women to heighten their beauty, were supposed to have been taught to them by fallen angels. Dans le livre de la parure des femmes, chap. 2. Tertulien 0966(8)v 96 explique, plus au long, pourquoi le démon et ses mauvais anges apprirent, autre fois, aux femmes l’art de se farder et les moyens d’embellir leurs corps. Ils volurent, sans doute, dit il, les recompenser des faveurs qu’elles leurs avoient accordés: Tertulien suppose donc qu’il y avoit eu un mauvais commerce entre les mauvais anges at les femmes. Ce paradox n’est pas particulier à Tertulien que plusieurs autres péres de l’Eglise devant et apprès lui ne l’aient pas avancé. Mais cette erreur a êté solidement refutée par St. Chrisostome, St. Augustin, St. Epiphane, &c. A l’occasion de cet etrange commerce, notre auteur fait une reflection qui passe les bornes de la raillerie. Les demons, dit il sont venu trouver les filles des hommes: tout demons qu’il sont, ils en ont êté favorablement reçus; il ne manquoit que cette ignominie aux femmes, ut hæc ignominia fœminæ accedat. Nam cúm et materias quasdam bene occultas et artes plurasque non bene revelatas, seculo, multó magis imperito prodidissent (siquidem et metallorum opera nudaverant et herbarum ingenia traduxerant et incantationum vires promulgaverant et omnem curiositatem usque ad stellarum interpretationem designaverant) propriè et quasi peculiariter fœminis instrumentum istud muliebris gloriæ contulerunt: lumina lapillorum, quibus brachia arcantur; et medicamenta ex fuco, quibus lanæ colorantur et illum ipsum nigrem pulverem, quo oculorum exordia producantur. The above extract is from a French translation, or rather compendium, of Tertullian, which was sent to me by Monsieur Van Praët, from the Bibliotheque du Roi at Paris. But as many of the most curious passages were entirely omitted, the same gentleman was so obliging as to look for the Latin folio, containing that very amusing article of Tertullian, entitled De Habitu Muliebri; from which I had intended to have given, in this note, a longer extract, written out for me by Baron Joseph de Palm; from whose very beautiful German verses two inadequate translations will appear in this volume. The extract, however, was accidentally left at Paris; and Zóphiël being reviewed and arranged for the last time at Keswick (England) I fear it may not reach me soon enough to be inserted.

To tip the eye-lid; stain the finger; deck

The cheek with hues that languor bids it lack;

And how he taught to twine the arms and neck

With wreaths of gems, or made or found by him, With wreaths of gems, or made or found by him, Or his enamoured brothers, when they bore Love for the like. This passage, like the preceding one, is simply in pursuance of the belief of Tertullian, that the custom of arraying themselves with 0977(1)r 97 gold and gems was first taught to beautiful women by their angel lovers, who understood chemistry, and imparted to them, among other onamental arts, that of preparing colours for dying their garments and heightening the beauty of their complexions. But the sage Comte de Gabalis says that gnomes are the guardians of minerals and precious stones. I know not what origin he ascribes to his peuples des elémens, but he expressly affirms that no sylphe or sylphide, gnome or gnomide, can be immortal, unless united with a son or daughter of earth. Those who have any curiosity to know more, must, I suppose, consult those learned authors whom he names in the following passage:— En croyez vous, dit il, plus à votre nourice qu’à la raison naturelle qu’à Platon, Pythagore, Celse, Psellus, Procle, Porphyre, Plotin, Trismegiste, Nolius, Dornée, Fludd; qu’au gran Philippe Aureole Theophraste Bombast Paracelse de Hohenheim, et qu’à tous nos compagnonns? After describing the people of earth, air, fire, and water, the sage continues—Il y avoit beaucoup de proportion entre Adam et ces creatures si parfaites; parce qu’étant composé de se qu’il y avoit de plus pur dans les quatre elémens il renfermoit les perfections de ces quatre especes de peuples, et êtoit leur roi naturel. Mais dès-lors que son peché l’eût precipité dans les particles les plus viles des elémens, comme vouz verrez quelque fois, l’harmonie fut deconcertee, et il (Adam) n’eût plus de proportion, êtant impur et grosier avec ces substance si purs et si subtiles.

Or his enamoured brothers, when they bore

Love for the like, and many a secret dim

That nature would conceal, from charm’d recesses tore.

XLIV

This story o’er, the dainty maids were fain

To take the white rose of her hand, and tip

Each taper finger with a ruddy stain,

To make it like the coral of her lip.

XLV

But Egla this refused them; and forbore

The folded turban twined with many a string

Of gems; and, as in tender memory, wore

Her country’s simpler garb, to meet the youthful king.

5 066 5(1)v 66

XLVI

Day o’er, the task was done; the melting hues

Of twilight gone, and reigned the evening gloom

Gently o’er fount and tower; she could refuse

No more; and, led by slaves, sought the fair banquetroom.

XLVII

With unassured yet graceful step advancing,

The light vermilion of her cheek more warm

For doubtful modesty; while all were glancing

Over the strange attire that well became such form.

XLVIII

To lend her space the admiring band gave way;

The sandals on her silvery feet were blue;

Of saffron tint her robe, as when young day

Spreads softly o’er the heavens, and tints the trembling dew.

XLIX

Light was that robe, as mist; and not a gem

Or ornament impedes its wavy fold,

Long and profuse; save that, above its hem

’Twas ’broidered with pomegrante-wreath, in gold.

L

And, by a silken cincture, broad and blue

In shapely guise about the waist confined,

Blent with the curls that, of a lighter hue,

Half floated, waving in their length behind;

The other half, in braided tresses twined,

Was decked with rose of pearls, and sapphires azure too,

067 5(2)r 67

Arranged with curious skill to imitate

The sweet acacia’s blossoms; just as live

And droop those tender flowers in their natural state;

And so the trembling gems seemed sensitive;

And pendant, sometimes, touch her neck; and there

Seem shrinking from its softness as alive.

And round her arms flower-white, and round, and fair,

Slight bandelets were twined of colours five; Slight bandelets were twined of colours five. There is a German work by Hartman, on the toilette of Hebrew women, which those who are curious on the subject may do well to consult. The father Calmet has also written a dissertation on the dress of the ancient Hebrews, which the French translator of Tertullian says, Ne prouve pas clairement sa proposition. M. de Chateaubriand introduces his Cymodocée (when arrayed for a religious ceremony, after her conversion to Christianity) in the same costume chosen by Egla for the banquet of Sardius.

Like little rainbows seemly on those arms;

None of the court had seen the like before;

Soft, fragrant, bright,—so much like heaven her charms,

It scarce could seem idolatry t’ adore.

LI

He who beheld her hand forgot her face;

Yet in that face was all beside forgot;

And he, who as she went, beheld her pace,

And locks profuse, had said, nay, turn thee not.

LII

Placed on a banquet-couch beside the king,

’Mid many a sparkling guest no eye forbore;

But, like their darts, the warrior-princes fling

Such looks as seemed to pierce, and scan her o’er and o’er:

068 5(2)v 68

Nor met alone the glare of lip and eye—

Charms, but not rare:—the gazer stern and cool,

Who sought but faults, nor fault or spot could spy;

In every limb, joint, vein, the maid was beautiful.

LIII

Save that her lip, like some bud-bursting flower,

Just scorned the bounds of symmetry, perchance,

But by its rashness gained an added power;

Heightening perfection to luxuriance. This description is from the life; and does not exceed in any particular the face of a Canadian lady of Swiss descent. She was called by the peasants of her neighborhood L’ange des bois.

LIV

But that was only when she smiled, and when

Dissolved th’ intense expression of her eye;

And had her Spirit-love first seen her then

He had not doubted her mortality.

LV

And could she smile, for that a stranger hung

O’er her fair form, and spoke to her of love?—

Where is the youth who scorned a court, and sprung

Amid Euphrates’ waves, as told her in her grove?

069 5(3)r 69

Haply she did, and for awhile forgot

Those dark acacias, where so oft was wept

Her lone, uncertain, visionary lot;

Yet where an angel watched her as she slept.

LVI

When light, love, music, beauty, all dispense

Their wild commingling charms, who shall control

The gushing torrent of attracted sense,

And keep the forms of memory and of soul?

LVII

Oh! theme of rapture, honoured Constancy!

Invoked, hoped, sworn, but rare!—have we perchance

To thank the generous breast that nurtures thee

For thy dear life, when saved? or fate or circumstance?

LVIII

Thy fragrant form, as the tall lily white,

Looks full and soft; yet supple as the reed

Kissing its image in the fountain light,

Or ostrich’ wavy plume. So speaks the Mede;

While bending o’er her banquet-couch, he breathes

Her breath, whose fragrance woos that near advance;

Plays with her silken tresses’ wandering wreaths,

And looks, and looks again with renovated glance.

070 5(3)v 70

LIX

But, ever watchful, to his prince’s side

Came old Idaspes; he, alone, might dare

To check the rising transport, ere its tide

Arose too high to quell; —and thus, expressed his care,

Whispering in murmurs first: At last, O king!

Thy subjects breathe; the cries of slaughter cease;

And happy labourers bless thee, as they bring

Forth from thy smiling fields, the fruits of peace.

Their wounds just healing over, wouldst thou rush

Upon thy doom and theirs? What bitter tears

Must flow, if thou shouldst fall! what blood must gush!

Wait, till the cause of Meles’ fate appears.

And ere this dangerous beauty be thy bride,

Let him who loves thee best come forth and prove

The peril first. Alcestes rose beside,

And said, Oh prince! to prove my faith and love,

I’ll dare as many deaths as on the sod

Without, the falling rose of leaves has strown!

And if bland Meles fell by rival god,

So let me fall; and live the pride of Media’s throne!

071 5(4)r 71

LX

Egla, o’erwhelmed with shame, distaste, and fear,

Could, of remonstrance, utter not a breath;

Ere fixed Idaspes’ whisper met her ear:

One word impassive seals thy father’s death.

LXI

And while Alcestes’ bolder glances stray

O’er the fair trembler to his monarch dear;

Not one distrustful whispering came t’ allay

The sudden joy with slightest shade of fear;

A dark-hair’d priestess, well he knew, of late

Had Meles loved; and for the mystery

That hung so darkly o’er his early fate,

Looked for no deadlier cause than wounded jealousy.

LXII

And for the story of the cave, he deemed

That lone, and in the dark, the frightened maid

Had gained a respite from her tears, and dreamed;

Or haply framed the tale, but to evade

Some fear’d result. But, be it as it might,

The thoughtless king accedes; and, ere the day

Again had dawned, dead, ghastly to the sight,

Before his bridal door the tall Alcestes lay.

072 5(4)v 72

LXIII

So died the youth. But little might avail

His sacrifice; for Sardius, who forbore

His purpose but awhile, contemn’d the tale,

And madly spoke thus, ere the day was o’er:

LXIV

Ask of Alcestes’ manes, did he die It is said by Pliny, that Appion raised up the soul of Homer, in order to learn from him his country and his parents; and Apolonius Tynæus is said to have raised the manes of Achilles.

By angry god or mortal’s traitorous hand?

Whoe’er will draw light to this mystery,

Shall live the captain of my choicest band.

LXV

That promise claimed Ripheus; he desired

No dearer boon; yet haply panted, less

By maddening thought of love and beauty fired,

Than to a rival court to prove his fearlessness.

LXVI

He had grasp’d the wily Parthian in the fight;

Leapt on the wounded tiger in the chase;

And oft his mother, vain in her delight, And oft his mother, vain in her delight, Boasted she owed him to a God’s embrace. The Christian fathers did not in the least doubt that many of the heroes of antiquity were really so produced. They, however, supposed7 0987(1)v 98 posed that their fathers were some of those banished angels, who assumed, at pleasure, the forms of those gods, under whose names they caused themselves to be adored.

Boasted she owed him to a god’s embrace.

073 5(5)r 73

LXVII

So he relied on that; and fickle chance

Conspired with the deceit, until his doom

Was rush’d upon. But still his bold advance

Some caution guarded; to the fatal room

He came; and first explored with trusty blade;

But soon as he approached the fatal bride,

Opened the terrace door, and, half in shade,

A form, as of a mortal, seem’d to glide;

LXVIII

He flew to strike, but baffling still the blow,

And still, receding from the chamber far,

It lured him on; and in the morning low

And bloody lay the form, which not a scar

Before had e’er defaced. Dismay profound

Gave place to doubt; for, as by mortal hand

And mortal weapon made, the wound was found,

And heard had been the clash that snapp’d his dinted brand.

LXIX

Then came, with rage renewed, rough Philomars,

(For gentle bridegroom’s office most unmeet

Of all), and craved, in guerdon of his scars,

Permission to drag forth the deep deceit,

074 5(5)v 74

He charged upon the daughter of the Jew,

Whose life provoked his thirst; and pledged him, rife

With ancient hate, to bring her fraud to view,

Or pay the bold aspersion with his life.

LXX

Led from the bridal room a deep arcade,

And paths of flowers and fountains, often graced

With bathing beauty, now reflect the shade

Of warriors tall, and grim with helm and corselet braced.

LXXI

They guard each pass, so that a bird in vain

An outlet to his airy rounds might seek;

And Philomars stalk’d o’er the floor, with pain

Stifling the rage which, yet, he dared not wreak.

And muttering ’twixt clench’d teeth, At last, young witch,

Ends thy career; then he, with careful touch

Of his proved sword, examined every niche;

Then, to the bride approach’d, and would have pierced her couch.

LXXII

Not Eva, lovelier than the tints of air, Not Eva, lovelier than the tints of air The beauty which the antediluvian women must have possessed, in order to be a temptation to angels as the Christian fathers supposed them to have been, agrees with the account of Rabadan the Morisco, whose poem is said, by Dr Southey to contain the fullest Mahommedan Genesis. The Creator, having formed the earth and adjusted his plan of procedure, summoned his angels, and requested that one of them might descend and bring him soil or clay wherewith to make a man; but the angels unanimously expressed a reluctance to what they could but consider a loathsome and debasing office. Azaraël, however, an angel of extraordinary stature, flew down, and collected the material required from the north, east, south, and west, of the new made earth. Azaraël, said the Creator, thou shalt, in reward of thine obedience, be him who separateth the souls from the bodies of the creatures I am about to make: henceforth be called Azaraël Malec el Mout, or Azaraël, the angel of death. The Creator then caused the earth which Azaraël had brought to be washed and purified in the fountains of heaven, till it became so resplendently clear, that it cast a more shining and beautiful light than the sun in its utmost glory. Gabriel was then commanded to carry this lovely though as yet inanimate statue of clay throughout the heavens, the earth, the centres, and the seas. When the angels saw so beautiful an image, they said, Lord, if it be pleasing in thy sight, we will, in thy most high and mighty name, prostrate ourselves before it. This proposal meeting the approbation of the Creator, the angels all bowed, inclining their celestial countenances at the feet of the inanimate Adam. Eblis or Lucifer was the only one who refused, proudly valuing himself upon his heavenly composition; whereupon the Creator said to him, with extreme sternness, Prostrate thyself to Adam. He made a show of doing so, but remained upon his knees, and then rose up before he had performed what God had commanded him. The other angels, seeing him so refractory, prostrated themselves a second time, in order to complete what he had left undone. 0997(2)r 99 For this reason the Mahommedans, in all their prayers, at each inclination of the body, made two prostrations, one immediately after the other. See Rabadan

Crouching amid the leaves lest heaven should see

That form, all panting ’neath her yellow hair, That form, all panting ’neath her yellow hair. Milton has described the hair of the first woman as of a yellow or golden tint. This colour appears to have been admired from the most remote antiquity. Indeed, when fine eyes and symmetry of outline are united with a white transparent skin and hair of this colour in profusion, the form so constructed and adorned seems more than mortal. Persons of this complexion are generally of tender, voluptuous dispositions, and not naturally addicted to the passions of hatred and revenge. Such however are extremely rare: and unless by the race of artists, seem, at present, less appreciated than beauties of a darker shade. Black hair and eyes embellish, very much, a common face and person; and could one look entirely over the world, the aggregate of comeliness would, perhaps, be found greater among the dark than among the fair-haired nations. The Athenian ladies, so late as the time of Alcibiades, wore a yellow powder in their hair to give it the appearance of gold. Josephus writes that king Solomon caused many of the finest horses, of those presented to him by neigbouring princes, to be ridden by young men, chosen at the most beautiful period of their lives, and remarkable for stature and symmetry of person. These, dressed in the rich colours of Tyre, wore their hair long, and sprinkled with dust. This king, so renowned for his wisdom, deserves to be still more so for his taste. The murder of his brother, As related by Josephus. however, though so little mentioned, is a very dark blot on his character. Pleasure is too generally selfish and cruel.

E’er looked more fair, or trembled more than she.

075 5(6)r 75

LXXIII

But the pale blaze of every fragrant lamp

That moment died, as if a sudden gust

Of thick cold air, had gush’d from cavern damp;

And groping, in the darkness, vainly curst

And struggled Philomars. ’Twas his last breath

That Egla heard; the suffocating noise

Of the one lengthen’d pang that gave him death:

She swooned upon her couch, but might not know the cause.

LXXIV

The young Rosanes came at early morn,

To view the corse, that lay in piteous case,

Grasping the sword its hand, at eve, had drawn;

The last fierce frown still stiff upon its face.

LXXV

And thus the youth (in dress of horseman dight):

Art dead, old wolf? If ever, since his reign,

Pluto was grateful, take his thanks to night;

For who has sent down more to people his domain?

LXXVI

But prithee, soldier, when the nether coasts

Receive thy soul, less grim and angry be;

Lest the fair sun be clouded o’er with ghosts

That rush again to earth to ’scape the sight of thee!

076 5(6)v 76

LXXVII

Rosanes, of the painted eyebrow, vain,

To gain report for wit and valour strove;

Rearing his Parthian courser on the plain,

And boasting, at the feast, of Naiad’s love.

LXXVIII

And round his neck an amulet he wore And round his neck an amulet he wore, Of many a gem in mystic mazes tied. Men of all countries and ages have put faith in these talismans; the Egyptians have left a great number: they wore them on the neck, in the form of little cylinders, ornamented with figures and hieroglyphics. Les Grecs faisoient aussi un grand usage des amulettes; ils attribuerent des propriétés surnaturelles au laurier, au saule, aux 1007(2)v 100 arbrisseux épineux, au jaspe, à presque tous les pierres precieuses. Voyages d’Antenor The Arabs, (says Shaw) hang about their children’s necks the figure of an open hand, which the Turks and Moors paint upon their ships and houses, as an antidote and counter-charm to an evil eye. Those who are grown up still carry about with them some paragraph or other of their Koran, which, as the Jews did their phylacteries, they place upon their breast, or sew under their caps, to prevent fascination and witchcraft, and to secure themselves from sickness and misfortune. The virtue of these charms and scrolls is supposed, likewise, to be so far universal, that they suspend them upon the necks of their cattle, horses, and other beasts of burden. The most wonderful properties were ascribed to precious stones; some detected the presence of poison, others made ineffectual the powers of evil spirits and magicians. Giafar, the founder of the Barmecides, being obliged to fly from Persia, his native country, took refuge at Damascus, and implored the protection of Caliph Soliman. When he was presented to that prince, the Caliph suddenly changed colour, and commanded him to retire, suspecting he had poison about him. Soliman had discovered it by means of ten stones which he wore upon his arm. They were fastened together like a bracelet, and never failed to strike against each other and make a slight noise, when any poison was near. Upon inquiry, it was found that Giafar carried poison in his ring, for the purpose of self-destruction, in case he had been taken by his enemies. Marigny Sir Walter Scott avails himself, very beautifully, of that power of detecting poison attributed to the Opal. Belief in the efficacy of amulets is too pleasing to be easily laid aside; and probably will, in some degree, exist as long as the pain of fear or the pleasure of security. I was shown, last evening, in company with a young Greek of Athens, an amulet which had belonged to his deceased companion. It was a little square case, of silver, suspended from a chain, in order to be worn about the neck in the manner of a miniature. On the outside there were three small figures in relief; the Saviour, Mary, and Martha; and the case contained a thin slip of light-coloured wood, about an inch in breadth, and an inch and a half in length, delicately carved, and representing a figure on horseback. This wood was supposed, by its former possessor, to be a fragment of the real cross. The 1017(3)r 101 Greek youth, in whose presence it was shewn, has been educated by a gentleman of the south of England, and now living at the foot of Skiddaw with his enchanting lady. The protectors are all generosity, the youth all gratitude; and nothing can be more interesting than their family circle. The latter recollected some of the airs of his native country, which were wild and sweet, and, accompanied by the pianoforte, had a fine effect; and it was difficult to forbear thinking of those lyres which, once, might possibly have thrilled to them.

Of many a gem in mystic mazes tied;

And mad for much applause, not long forbore

To name his wishes for the dangerous bride.

LXXIX

Enough to tell, he shared the common fate

Of those whose rash adventurous zeal could dare

The spirit-guarded couch. But oh! thy state,

Altheëtor, generous boy! best claims the minstrel’s care.

LXXX

When Media’s last king died, a tumult rose,

And all Idaspes’ prudence scarce procured

To keep the youthful Sardius from his foes;

And, ere his father’s throne was yet secured,

Upon a terrace while Altheëtor hung

About the prince, who carelessly carest,

A well-aimed arrow glanced; the stripling sprung,

Stood like a shield, and let it pierce his breast.

077 5(7)r 77

LXXXI

But sage Pithoës knew the healing good

Of every herb; he pluck’d the dart away;

And stopp’d the rich effusion of his blood

As at his monarch’s feet the boy exulting lay;

LXXXII

Drew forth from scrip, an antidotal balm;

And ere the venom through life’s streams could creep;

Bestowed for death’s convulsions dewy calm,

And steep’d each throbbing vein in salutary sleep.

LXXXIII

But now Altheëtor’s sick. The kindly draught,

The bath of bruised herbs were vainly tried;

While his young breath seem’d as it fain would waft

His soul away;—so piteously he sighed.

LXXXIV

Above his couch were hung his sword and lyre,

His polish’d bow, and javelin often proved

In the far chase, where once in faith and fire

He fared beside to guard and watch the prince he loved.

LXXXV

His fragrant locks, thrown backward from his brow,

Displayed its throbbing pulse: ah! how rebell’d

That heart, the seat of truth! Beside him now

One languid hand the good Pithoës held;

078 5(7)v 78

LXXXVI

And look’d, and thought, and bent his brow in vain;

Then in the sadness of his baffled skill,

Resign’d the boy to fate; then thought again,—

Was there no hidden cause for such consuming ill?

LXXXVII

Still o’er the couch he casts his gentle eyes,

And brought fresh balm; but all was unavailing.

Altheëtor faintly breathes his thanks, and sighs,

As if his guiltless life that moment were exhaling.

LXXXVIII

’Twas long he had not spoke; now heaved his breast,

And now, despite of shame, a tear was straying

From the closed, quivering lid. Some grief supprest,

Some secret care upon his life was preying.

LXXXIX

So came a glimpse across Pithoës’s thought;

And, in obedience to the doubt, he said,

’Tis strange, Altheëtor, thou hast never aught

Ask’d, or express’d, of the fair captive maid,

For it was thou who forced the crowd to yield,

When she was rudely dragg’d, on audience day,

And gently loosed from Philomars’s shield,

A lock of her fair hair he else had torn away.

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XC

Sardius believed and loved her, would have wed,

But old Idaspes, doubtful ’twas some god

That, amorous of her charms, laid Meles dead,

Awhile restrain’d the King, who saw, unawed,

The gay Alcestes, from her chamber fair

Thrown dead and black. Ripheus, too, lies low;

Old Philomars spoke his last curses there;

And young Rosanes ne’er his silver bow

Shall draw again; and yet the King is fix’d

In his resolve to wed; some power divine,

Envying our peace, impels; or she has mix’d,

By magic skill, some philtre with his wine. By magic skill, some philtre with his wine. The ancients were much addicted to this practice, and sometimes died in consequence of mixtures secretly thrown into their drink or food, for the purpose of securing their love for particular persons. A pretty incident of the kind is introduced into that very entertaining work, Les Voyages d’Antenor. According to Josephus, the immediate cause of the execution of Mariamne was Herod’s fear of such experiments. Sending for this Queen, in a violent fit of fondness, he met nothing but coldness and reproaches in return; and while stung to the soul at her behaviour, his mother and sister took the opportunity to inform him that Mariamne had prepared for him a love-potion.

XCI

Or there’s in her blue eye some wicked light, Or there’s in her blue eye some wicked light. The fear of hurtful influences emanating from the eyes of persons suspected of magic was common to most nations of antiquity; and perhaps, is not yet entirely laid aside in some parts of Europe. Les Thessaliens, les Illyriens, et les Triballes êtoient célèbre par leurs enchantemens. Les derniers, selon Pline pouvoient faire périr des animaux et des enfans par leurs seule regards. Les anciens craignoient les regards des envieux autant pour euxmêmes que pour leurs enfans; c’est pourquoi ils attachoient les mêmes amulettes au cou de leurs enfans: ils en mettoient aux jambs des portes, de manière qu’en les ouvrannut on agitoit ces phallus, et on ébranloit les clochettes. Voyages d’Antenor

That steadily allures him to his doom:

She’s bidden to the feast again to-night,

And good Idaspes’ countenance in gloom

Is fall’n:—in vain he strives;—his silver hairs

Rise with the anguish at his heart’s true core;

While the impatient, reckless Sardius swears

By Baal, whate’er betides, to wait but three days more.

080 5(8)v 80

XCII

Nor soldier, prince, or satrap, more appear

Vaunting their fealty firm with flattering breath,

But each speak low, as if some god were near,

In silent anger singling him for death.

XCIII

Now o’er Altheëtor’s face what changes glisten’d

As ear and open lip drank every word;

He rais’d him from his couch, he looked, he listen’d,

Reviving—renovating—as he heard.

XCIV

O’er cheek and brow a lively red was rushing,

While half he felt his dark eye could not tell;

Then (spent the pang of hope) cold dews were gushing

From brow again turned pale. He droop’d—he fell

Faint on his pillow. Unsurprised and calm

Soon to restore the good Pithoës knew;

He saw what fever raged, and knew its balm;

Spoke comfort to his charge; and for awhile withdrew.

XCV

What in his breast revolved, I cannot tell;

To seek Idaspes’ aid his steps were bent;

And when ’twas midnight, as by sudden spell

Restored, to bridal room Altheëtor went.

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XCVI

Touching his golden harp to prelude sweet

Entered the youth, so pensive, pale, and fair;

Advanced respectful to the virgin’s feet,

And, lowly bending down, made tuneful parlance there.

XCVII

Like perfume soft his gentle accents rose,

And sweetly thrill’d the gilded roof along;

His warm devoted soul no terror knows,

And truth and love lend fervour to his song.

XCVIII

She hides her face upon her couch, that there

She may not see him die. No groan; she springs

Frantic between a hope-beam and despair,

And twines her long hair round him as he sings. And twines her long hair round him as he sings. This act was often resorted to as the most forcible manner of imploring protection. When the young Prince Cyrus was brought before his brother, Artaxerxes, whose throne he had attempted to 1027(3)v 102 usurp, Parysates, his mother, entwined him with her hair, and by tears and entreaties succeeded in saving him from death.

XCIX

Then thus:—Oh! Being! who unseen but near

Art hovering now, behold and pity me!

For love, hope, beauty, music,—all that’s dear,

Look,—look on me,—and spare my agony!

C

Spirit! in mercy, make me not the cause,

The hateful cause, of this kind being’s death!

In pity kill me first!—He lives—he draws—

Thou wilt not blast?—he draws his harmless breath.

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CI

Still lives Altheëtor;—still unguarded strays

One hand o’er his fall’n lyre; but all his soul

Is lost,—given up; he fain would turn to gaze,

But cannot turn, so twined. Now, all that stole

Through every vein, and thrilled each separate nerve,

Himself could not have told,—all wound and clasped

In her white arms and hair. Ah! can they serve

To save him?—What a sea of sweets!—he gasped,

But ’twas delight:—sound, fragrance, all were breathing.

Still swell’d the transport, Let me look and thank:

He sigh’d (celestial smiles his lip enwreathing),

I die—but ask no more, he said and sank,

Still by her arms supported—lower—lower—

As by soft sleep oppress’d;—so calm, so fair—

He rested on the purple tap’stried floor,

It seemed an angel lay reposing there.

CII

Egla bent o’er him, in amaze;—awhile

Thank’d God, the Spirit, and her stars (so much

Like life his gently closing lids and smile);—

Then felt upon his heart. Ah! to that touch

083 6(2)r 83

Responds no quivering pulse:—’tis past. Then burst

Her grief thus from her inmost heart, that bleeds:—

Nay finish! fiend, unpitying and accurst!

Finish, and rid me too, of life, and of thy deeds!

CIII

She hid her face in both her hands; and when,

At length, look’d out, a form was bending o’er

The good, the beauteous boy. With piteous ken

It sought her eye, but still to speak forbore.

CIV

A deep unutterable anguish kept

The silence long;—then from his inmost breast

The Spirit spoke, Oh! were I him so wept,

Daughter of the earth, I tell thee I were blest:

CV

Couldst thou conceive but half the pain I bear,

Or agent of what good I would fain be,

I had not added to my deep despair

And heavy curse, another curse—from thee.

CVI

I’ve loved the youth; since first to this vile court

I followed thee, from the deserted cave;—

I saw him—in thy arms—and did not hurt;

What could I more?—alas! I could not save!

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CVII

He died of love; or the o’erperfect joy He died of love; or the o’erperfect joy Of being pitied,—prayed for,—prest by thee. Zimmerman, in his admired work on Solitude, gives an instance of two Italian lovers, who, after having been separated, sprang into each other’s embrace, and both died immediately. Joy is seldom perfect enough to kill; but could it exist as free from the alloy of any other sensation as grief is sometimes felt, it would probably destroy life much sooner from the circumstance of mortal nerves being far less accustomed to it. Many, says Dr. Goldsmith, die of grief, but who was ever known to die of joy? Instances of the latter, though rare, are sometimes found. I was told by a lady, whose word there was not the least reason to doubt, of a person she had known who was passionately fond of music. She had heard him say, while listening to a concert of sacred compositions, I shall certainly die if I hear many more of these strains. A few years afterwards, the same person actually fell dead while assisting at a concert. This happened in a country where education and every custom tends rather to the annihilation than the culture of any deep or violent emotion.

Of being pitied,—prayed for,—prest by thee.—

Oh! for the fate of that devoted boy

I’d sell my birth-right to eternity.

CVIII

I’m not the cause of this thy last distress.

Nay! look upon thy Spirit ere he flies!

Look on me, once, and learn to hate me less!

He said: and tears fell fast from his immortal eyes.

CIX

Her looks were on the corse: no more he said;

Deeper the darkness grew: ’twas near the dawn;

And chilled and sorrowing through the air he sped,

And in Hircania’s deepest shades, ere morn,

Was hidden ’mid the leaves. Low moan’d the blast,

And chilly mists obscured the rising sun;

So bitter were his tears, that, where he past,

Was blighted every flower that they fell upon.

CX

Wild was the place, but wilder his despair:

Low shaggy rocks that o’er deep caverns scowl

Echo his groans: the tigress, in her lair,

Starts at the sound, and answers with a growl.

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CXI

The day wore on; the tide of transport through,

He listened to the forest’s murmuring sound;

Until his grief alleviation drew,

From the according horrors that surround.

CXII

And thus, at length his plaintive lip expressed

The mitigated pang; ’tis sometimes so

When grief meets genius in the mortal breast,

And words, most deeply sweet, betray subsided woe.

CXIII

Thou’rt gone, Altheëtor; of thy gentle breath

Guiltless am I, but bear the penalty!

Oh! is there one to whom thine early death

Can cause the sorrow it has caused to me?

CXIV

Cold, cold, and hush’d, is that fond, faithful breast;

Oh! of the breath of God too much was there!

It swelled, aspired, it could not be compressed—

But gained a bliss frail nature could not bear. But gained a bliss frail nature could not bear. Excessive joy, by preventing sleep (as it invariably does, in a person capable of feeling it at all) very soon procures for itself a mitigation proceeding from corporeal uneasiness; were this not the case, it would soon terminate in death or madness, even though not felt in a very unusual degree. Past joy is a thing so pleasant to speak upon, that raptures are generally exaggerated in the telling. When really intense, as they are sometimes described, their power to produce death can scarcely be doubted. Every one has heard of Chilo’s death in the arms of his son, who returned victorious from the Olympic Games.

XXVCXV

Oh! good and true beyond thy mortal birth!

What high-soul’d angel helped in forming thee?

Haply thou wert what I had been, if earth

Had been the element composing me.

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CXVI

Banish’d from heaven so long, what there transpires,

This weary exiled ear may rarely meet.

But it is whispered that the unquelled desires ―it is whispered that the unquelled desires Another spirit for each forfeit seat, Left vacant by our fall. It was an idea generally entertained by the fathers that the many vacancies caused by the different orders of angels who fell, through love or ambition, were to be filled up by souls selected from the 1037(4)r 103 human species. Another opinion afterwards arose, and was favoured by one or more of the Popes, that it was only the tenth order of the celestial hierarchy which supplied angels, who, by falling, assimilated themselves to the inhabitants of earth, and that it is only to supply the deficiencies of that grade that the best of mortals will be promoted. Much interesting speculation on this subject may be found in the works of Dionysius, to which I had free access while at Paris, but no time to make extracts or translations.

Another spirit for each forfeit seat,

Left vacant by our fall. That spirit placed

In mortal form, must every trial bear,

Midst all that can pollute; and, if defaced

But by one stain, it may not enter there.

CXVII

Though all the earth is wing’d, from bound to bound;

Though heaven desires, and angels watch and pray

To see their ranks with fair completion crowned;

So few to bless their utmost search are found,

That half in heaven have ceased to hope the day;

And pensive seraphs’ sighs o’er heavenly harps resound.

CXVIII

And when, long wandering from his blissful height,

One like to thee some quick-eyed spirit views,

He springs to heaven, more radiant from delight,

And heaven’s blue domes ring loud with rapture at the news.

CXIX

Yet oft the being, by all heaven beloved,

(So doubtful every good, in world like this;)

Some fiend corrupts ere ripe to be removed:

And tears are seen in eyes made but to float in bliss.

0876(4)r 87

CXX

Thou’lt take perchance, Altheëtor, (who so pure,

That may if thou mayst not?) mid the bright throng,

My high, my forfeit place; love would secure

Its prize; so kill’d thee, ere below too long.

CXXI

Decay shall ne’er thy perfect form defile,

Nor hungry flame consume. In dews I’ll steep

Thy limbs; and thou shalt look upon the pile

As gentle as a maiden, fallen asleep

’Mid musings of ideal bliss; and making

Of her wild hopes, lit up by fancy’s beam,

A fairer lover than may woo her waking;

Blest to her wish alone in soft ecstatic dream.

CXXII

And I will steal thee, when the perfumes rise The Assyrians, Persians, and Medians, are said not to have burned their dead; but the mother of Altheëtor was an Ionian; the only reason that can be assigned, for Zóphiël’s supposing he would be burnt after the Grecian manner.

Around the cassia wood in smoky wave;

I’ll shroud thee in a mist from mortal eyes,

And gently lay thee in some sparry cave

0886(4)v 88

Of Paros; there, seek out some kindly Gnome

And see him (’mid his lamps of airy light),

By wonderous process, done in earth’s dark womb,

Change thee, smile, lip, hair, all, to marble pure and white.

CXXIII

Oh! my loved Hyacinth! when as a god Oh! my loved Hyacinth! when as a god I hurled the disk; and, from thy hapless head, The pure bright blood made flowers upon the sod. This and other passages which serve to identify ZophiëlZóphiël with Apollo, are perfectly conformable, to a belief once acknowledged by every Christian. An able writer in the North American Review The above extract is from an article entitled Ancient and Modern Poetry, which appeared sometime between the years 1821–1824twenty-one and four. appears to have read a great deal on the subject; the following is not irrelative:— Some evil spirits, or fallen angels, whom the fathers had cast out, were compelled by the fire of exorcism to confess that they were the same who had inspired the heathen poets; and these with all the duties of gay religions full of pomp and gold, were confined to the doom of that infernal host described by Milton. So far were the Christians from denying the existence of any of the beings of Pagan Mythology, that they continually urged, as an argument in favor of the superiority and divinity of their faith, the power which it gave over them; and Eunapius (see Eunapius’ life of Porphyry in his Vitæ Philosophorum) very gravely mentions the story of Porphyry’s expelling a demon. M. de Fontenelle wrote his Histoire des Oracles expressly to prove that heathen temples were not inhabited by demons or fallen angels. In that work is found the following oracle, extracted from the writings of Eusebius. Unhappy priest (said Apollo to one of his ministers,) ask me no more concerning the divine Father; nor of his only Son; nor of that Spirit which is the soul of all things: it is that spirit which expels me for ever from these abodes.

I hurled the disk; and from thy hapless head

The pure sweet blood made flowers upon the sod;

’Twas thus I wept thee! beautiful but dead,

Like all I’ve loved. Oriel, false fiend, thy breath See fable of Zephyr and Hyacinth. Oriel is supposed to shew himself to mortals as Zephyrus, while Phraërion in reality nurses and protects the flowers.

Guided my weapon: come! most happy thou

If my pain please: I mourn another death:

Come, with thy insect wings, I’ll hear thy mockery now.

CXXIV

Thou didst not change his breath to purple flowers:

Thy poisonous breath can blight but not create!

Thou canst but hover o’er Phraërion’s bowers,

And claim of men the honours of his state.

0896(5)r 89

CXXV

Thou kill’st my Hyacinth; but yet a beam

Of comfort still was mine: I saw preserved

His beauty all entire; and gave a gleam

Of him to a young burning Greek;—so served

Thy crime a worthy cause; for long inspired,

With a consuming wish, that Grecian’s heart,

Lost to repose, so caught what it desired;

And soon the chiseled stone glowed with a wondrous art.

Zóphiël, as may be perceived, since his first introduction, is supposed to be that fallen angel who was adored by mortals as the god Apollo. This manner of imparting to a young artist excellence in sculpture, is not, therefore, out of character.

CXXVI

While thus, the now half-solaced Zóphiël brings

Food to his soul, past o’er his gloomier mood:

He shakes his ringlets, spreads his pinions, springs

From that rude seat, and leaves the mazy wood.

CXXVII

That morn o’er Ecbatane rose pale and slow;

Thick lingering night-damps clog the morning’s breath

And veil’d the sun that rose with bloody glow,

As if great nature’s heart bled for the recent death.

090 6(5)v 90

CXXVIII

White-haired Idaspes from the fatal room

Bade his own slaves love’s loveliest victim bring,

Fresh, fair, but cold;—and in that lurid gloom

Set forth the funeral couch, and show’d him to the king.

CXXIX

And drew away the tunic from the scar

Seen on his cold white breast;—And is it thou?

He said, when treachery wings her darts afar,

What faithful heart will be presented now!

CXXX

Alas! alas! that ever these old eyes

Should see Altheëtor thus! where is there one,

When lowly in the earth Idaspes lies,

Will love and guard his prince as thou hast done?

CXXXI

Sardius believed he slept; but undeceived,

Soon as he found that faithful heart was cold,

He turned away his radiant brow and grieved,

And, at that moment, freely would have sold

CXXXII

The diadem, that from his locks he tore,

For that one life. Idaspes watched his mood,

And (ere that first fierce burst of grief was o’er—

While lost Altheëtor’s every pulse) pursued

091 6(6)r 91

With guardian skill, the kindly deep design,

He probed the king’s light changeful heart; and gained

A promise that the maid of Palestine,

Until twelve moons had o’er his garden waned,

Should live in banishment from court. So sent

To muse, in peace, upon her unknown love

(So long announced) dejected Egla went ―dejected Egla went With all her house; and seeks her own acacia grove. The facility with which the young king of Media forgets his beautiful captive, setting aside the effect produced by the premature death of Altheëtor his preserver, agrees perfectly with the following description. Nous renconntrames une troupe à cheval leste et brilliant, à la tete de laquelle êtoit le jeune Pharnabaze, l’air serein et radieux, faisant caracoler son cheval, et plaisantant avec ses camarades; j’en fus êtourdis: je l’avois vue, la veille, desesperé; s’arrachant les cheveux, se jettant sur le corps de la belle Statira; invoquant la mort, voulant se poignarder; et, déjà la rire, le plaisir, avoit succedés à ce grand desespoir. Voyages d’Antenor

With all her house; and seeks her own acacia grove.

092 6(6)v 093 6(7)r

Notes to Canto the Second.

In every full deep flower that crowned his paradise. The Medes and the Persians were accustomed to retire to delicious gardens, which were called paradises. Josephus, speaking of a powerful Babylonian king, says: He erected elevated places, for walking, of stone, and made them resemble mountains; and built them so that they might be planted with all sorts of trees. He also erected what was called a pensile paradise, because his wife was desirous to have things like her own country, she having been bred up in the palaces of Media. The same custom is still continued in the east, where people of distinction pass their most pleasant hours in the pavilions or kiosks of their gardens. And to his manes let my life-blood flow. Egla might have heard of the gods’ manes from some wandering Ionian. The Greeks attributed four distinct parts to man;— the body which is resolved to dust; the soul which as they imagined, passed to Tartarus, or the Elysian fields, according to its merits; the image which inhabited the infernal vestibule; and the shade which wandered about the sepulchre: this last they were accustomed to invoke three times, and libations were poured out to this as well as to the gods’ manes, who were the genii of the dead, and had the care of their sepulchres and wandering shades. See Travels of Antenor The Jews, besides, at the time this scene is supposed to have transpired, began to be imbued with the Chaldaic superstitions or 0946(7)v 94 belief. The modern Jews, says Father Augustin Calmet, hold the souls of men to be spiritual and immortal, but that they sometimes appear again as well as good and evil dæmons; that the souls of the Hebrews are never visible either in hell or paradise, except their bodies are buried; that even after they are buried, the soul makes frequent excursions from its destined residence to visit its former body and inquire into its condition; that it wanders about for a full year after its first separation from the body; and that it was before the expiration of this year that the Witch of Endor called up the soul of Samuel. Origen and Theophylact say also that the Jews and Heathens believed the soul to continue near the body for some time after the death of the person. Calmet Origen, in his second book against Celsus, (continues the reverend Father Dom Augustin Calmet) relates and subscribes to the opinion of Plato, who says, that the shadows and images of the dead, which are seen near sepulchres, are nothing but the soul disengaged from its gross body, but not yet entirely freed from matter. From the same old book, which is probably read by few, I cannot forbear transcribing the following curious account, which, however impossible, appears to have been, at one time, generally believed:— If there is any truth in what we are told by the learned Digby, Chancellor to Henrietta Queen of England, by Father Kircher, a celebrated Jesuit, by Father Schott of the same order, and by Gafferell and Vallemont, concerning the wonderful mystery of the Palingenesis, or resurrection of plants, it will help to account for the shades and phantoms which many will confidently assert they have seen in church-yards. The account which these curious naturalists give of their performing the wonderful operation of the Palingenesis is as follows:— They take a flower and burn it to ashes, from which, being collected with great care, they extract all the salts by calcination. These salts they put into a glass vial, and having added to them a certain compositon which has a property of putting the ashes in motion upon the application of heat, the whole becomes a fine dust of a bluish colour. From this dust, when agitated by a gentle heat, there arises gradually a stalk, leaves, and then a flower; in short, there is seen the apparition of a plant rising out of the ashes. When the heat ceases the whole show disappears, and the dust falls into its former chaos at the bottom of the vessel. The return of heat always raises, out of its ashes, this vegetable phœnix which derives 0956(8)r 95 its life from the presence of this genial warmth, and dies as soon as it is withdrawn. Then follows the manner in which Father Kircher endeavours to account for the wonderful phenomenon, and the author continues with an assertion that the members of the Royal Society at London had (as he was informed) made the same experiment upon a sparrow, and were then hoping to make it succeed upon men. yet, such things are. In the whole catalogue of all the crimes and cruelties ever recorded since the invention of letters, there is nothing so horrid to the imagination as the simple fact of the existence of desire in the immediate presence of death and carnage. Peter the Great, Czar of Muscovy, killed several of his soldiers with his own hand, at the taking of Narva, to prevent the same atrocity related of Philomars in the text. Jornandés reconte (says Monsieur de Chateaubriand) que des sorcières chasées loin des habitations, des hommes dans les deserts de la Scythie, furent vistitées par des démons et de cet commerce sortir la nation des Huns. Deeds are still done which might well serve to prove a similar origin. And snow-white Egla, mild, and chaste, and fair, Came o’er his fancy. The love of Sardius for Egla resembles that of Cyrus for Aspasia or Milto, of whom the Chevalier de Lentier gives the following account:—Aspasia being brought to Sardis by one of the satraps of Cyrus, was compelled to come into the presence of that prince with many other women. While the rest, by every art, endeavoured to attract his attention, Milto stood at a distance, with her eyes fixed upon the earth; and Cyrus was so charmed with the singularity of her modesty (or, more probably, of her beauty) that he dismissed all beside, and remained a long time attached to this favourite. ..................... .....................with black To tip the eyelid,—stain the finger,—deck The cheek with hues that languor bids it lack. The arts practised by women to heighten their beauty, were supposed to have been taught to them by fallen angels. Dans le livre de la parure des femmes, chap. 2. Tertulien 0966(8)v 96 explique, plus au long, pourquoi le démon et ses mauvais anges apprirent, autre fois, aux femmes l’art de se farder et les moyens d’embellir leurs corps. Ils volurent, sans doute, dit il, les recompenser des faveurs qu’elles leurs avoient accordés: Tertulien suppose donc qu’il y avoit eu un mauvais commerce entre les mauvais anges at les femmes. Ce paradox n’est pas particulier à Tertulien que plusieurs autres péres de l’Eglise devant et apprès lui ne l’aient pas avancé. Mais cette erreur a êté solidement refutée par St. Chrisostome, St. Augustin, St. Epiphane, &c. A l’occasion de cet etrange commerce, notre auteur fait une reflection qui passe les bornes de la raillerie. Les demons, dit il sont venu trouver les filles des hommes: tout demons qu’il sont, ils en ont êté favorablement reçus; il ne manquoit que cette ignominie aux femmes, ut hæc ignominia fœminæ accedat. Nam cúm et materias quasdam bene occultas et artes plurasque non bene revelatas, seculo, multó magis imperito prodidissent (siquidem et metallorum opera nudaverant et herbarum ingenia traduxerant et incantationum vires promulgaverant et omnem curiositatem usque ad stellarum interpretationem designaverant) propriè et quasi peculiariter fœminis instrumentum istud muliebris gloriæ contulerunt: lumina lapillorum, quibus brachia arcantur; et medicamenta ex fuco, quibus lanæ colorantur et illum ipsum nigrem pulverem, quo oculorum exordia producantur. The above extract is from a French translation, or rather compendium, of Tertullian, which was sent to me by Monsieur Van Praët, from the Bibliotheque du Roi at Paris. But as many of the most curious passages were entirely omitted, the same gentleman was so obliging as to look for the Latin folio, containing that very amusing article of Tertullian, entitled De Habitu Muliebri; from which I had intended to have given, in this note, a longer extract, written out for me by Baron Joseph de Palm; from whose very beautiful German verses two inadequate translations will appear in this volume. The extract, however, was accidentally left at Paris; and Zóphiël being reviewed and arranged for the last time at Keswick (England) I fear it may not reach me soon enough to be inserted. With wreaths of gems, or made or found by him, Or his enamoured brothers, when they bore Love for the like. This passage, like the preceding one, is simply in pursuance of the belief of Tertullian, that the custom of arraying themselves with 0977(1)r 97 gold and gems was first taught to beautiful women by their angel lovers, who understood chemistry, and imparted to them, among other onamental arts, that of preparing colours for dying their garments and heightening the beauty of their complexions. But the sage Comte de Gabalis says that gnomes are the guardians of minerals and precious stones. I know not what origin he ascribes to his peuples des elémens, but he expressly affirms that no sylphe or sylphide, gnome or gnomide, can be immortal, unless united with a son or daughter of earth. Those who have any curiosity to know more, must, I suppose, consult those learned authors whom he names in the following passage:— En croyez vous, dit il, plus à votre nourice qu’à la raison naturelle qu’à Platon, Pythagore, Celse, Psellus, Procle, Porphyre, Plotin, Trismegiste, Nolius, Dornée, Fludd; qu’au gran Philippe Aureole Theophraste Bombast Paracelse de Hohenheim, et qu’à tous nos compagnonns? After describing the people of earth, air, fire, and water, the sage continues—Il y avoit beaucoup de proportion entre Adam et ces creatures si parfaites; parce qu’étant composé de se qu’il y avoit de plus pur dans les quatre elémens il renfermoit les perfections de ces quatre especes de peuples, et êtoit leur roi naturel. Mais dès-lors que son peché l’eût precipité dans les particles les plus viles des elémens, comme vouz verrez quelque fois, l’harmonie fut deconcertee, et il (Adam) n’eût plus de proportion, êtant impur et grosier avec ces substance si purs et si subtiles. Slight bandelets were twined of colours five. There is a German work by Hartman, on the toilette of Hebrew women, which those who are curious on the subject may do well to consult. The father Calmet has also written a dissertation on the dress of the ancient Hebrews, which the French translator of Tertullian says, Ne prouve pas clairement sa proposition. M. de Chateaubriand introduces his Cymodocée (when arrayed for a religious ceremony, after her conversion to Christianity) in the same costume chosen by Egla for the banquet of Sardius. And oft his mother, vain in her delight, Boasted she owed him to a God’s embrace. The Christian fathers did not in the least doubt that many of the heroes of antiquity were really so produced. They, however, supposed7 0987(1)v 98 posed that their fathers were some of those banished angels, who assumed, at pleasure, the forms of those gods, under whose names they caused themselves to be adored. Not Eva, lovelier than the tints of air The beauty which the antediluvian women must have possessed, in order to be a temptation to angels as the Christian fathers supposed them to have been, agrees with the account of Rabadan the Morisco, whose poem is said, by Dr Southey to contain the fullest Mahommedan Genesis. The Creator, having formed the earth and adjusted his plan of procedure, summoned his angels, and requested that one of them might descend and bring him soil or clay wherewith to make a man; but the angels unanimously expressed a reluctance to what they could but consider a loathsome and debasing office. Azaraël, however, an angel of extraordinary stature, flew down, and collected the material required from the north, east, south, and west, of the new made earth. Azaraël, said the Creator, thou shalt, in reward of thine obedience, be him who separateth the souls from the bodies of the creatures I am about to make: henceforth be called Azaraël Malec el Mout, or Azaraël, the angel of death. The Creator then caused the earth which Azaraël had brought to be washed and purified in the fountains of heaven, till it became so resplendently clear, that it cast a more shining and beautiful light than the sun in its utmost glory. Gabriel was then commanded to carry this lovely though as yet inanimate statue of clay throughout the heavens, the earth, the centres, and the seas. When the angels saw so beautiful an image, they said, Lord, if it be pleasing in thy sight, we will, in thy most high and mighty name, prostrate ourselves before it. This proposal meeting the approbation of the Creator, the angels all bowed, inclining their celestial countenances at the feet of the inanimate Adam. Eblis or Lucifer was the only one who refused, proudly valuing himself upon his heavenly composition; whereupon the Creator said to him, with extreme sternness, Prostrate thyself to Adam. He made a show of doing so, but remained upon his knees, and then rose up before he had performed what God had commanded him. The other angels, seeing him so refractory, prostrated themselves a second time, in order to complete what he had left undone. 0997(2)r 99 For this reason the Mahommedans, in all their prayers, at each inclination of the body, made two prostrations, one immediately after the other. See Rabadan That form, all panting ’neath her yellow hair. Milton has described the hair of the first woman as of a yellow or golden tint. This colour appears to have been admired from the most remote antiquity. Indeed, when fine eyes and symmetry of outline are united with a white transparent skin and hair of this colour in profusion, the form so constructed and adorned seems more than mortal. Persons of this complexion are generally of tender, voluptuous dispositions, and not naturally addicted to the passions of hatred and revenge. Such however are extremely rare: and unless by the race of artists, seem, at present, less appreciated than beauties of a darker shade. Black hair and eyes embellish, very much, a common face and person; and could one look entirely over the world, the aggregate of comeliness would, perhaps, be found greater among the dark than among the fair-haired nations. The Athenian ladies, so late as the time of Alcibiades, wore a yellow powder in their hair to give it the appearance of gold. Josephus writes that king Solomon caused many of the finest horses, of those presented to him by neigbouring princes, to be ridden by young men, chosen at the most beautiful period of their lives, and remarkable for stature and symmetry of person. These, dressed in the rich colours of Tyre, wore their hair long, and sprinkled with dust. This king, so renowned for his wisdom, deserves to be still more so for his taste. The murder of his brother, As related by Josephus. however, though so little mentioned, is a very dark blot on his character. Pleasure is too generally selfish and cruel. And round his neck an amulet he wore, Of many a gem in mystic mazes tied. Men of all countries and ages have put faith in these talismans; the Egyptians have left a great number: they wore them on the neck, in the form of little cylinders, ornamented with figures and hieroglyphics. Les Grecs faisoient aussi un grand usage des amulettes; ils attribuerent des propriétés surnaturelles au laurier, au saule, aux 1007(2)v 100 arbrisseux épineux, au jaspe, à presque tous les pierres precieuses. Voyages d’Antenor The Arabs, (says Shaw) hang about their children’s necks the figure of an open hand, which the Turks and Moors paint upon their ships and houses, as an antidote and counter-charm to an evil eye. Those who are grown up still carry about with them some paragraph or other of their Koran, which, as the Jews did their phylacteries, they place upon their breast, or sew under their caps, to prevent fascination and witchcraft, and to secure themselves from sickness and misfortune. The virtue of these charms and scrolls is supposed, likewise, to be so far universal, that they suspend them upon the necks of their cattle, horses, and other beasts of burden. The most wonderful properties were ascribed to precious stones; some detected the presence of poison, others made ineffectual the powers of evil spirits and magicians. Giafar, the founder of the Barmecides, being obliged to fly from Persia, his native country, took refuge at Damascus, and implored the protection of Caliph Soliman. When he was presented to that prince, the Caliph suddenly changed colour, and commanded him to retire, suspecting he had poison about him. Soliman had discovered it by means of ten stones which he wore upon his arm. They were fastened together like a bracelet, and never failed to strike against each other and make a slight noise, when any poison was near. Upon inquiry, it was found that Giafar carried poison in his ring, for the purpose of self-destruction, in case he had been taken by his enemies. Marigny Sir Walter Scott avails himself, very beautifully, of that power of detecting poison attributed to the Opal. Belief in the efficacy of amulets is too pleasing to be easily laid aside; and probably will, in some degree, exist as long as the pain of fear or the pleasure of security. I was shown, last evening, in company with a young Greek of Athens, an amulet which had belonged to his deceased companion. It was a little square case, of silver, suspended from a chain, in order to be worn about the neck in the manner of a miniature. On the outside there were three small figures in relief; the Saviour, Mary, and Martha; and the case contained a thin slip of light-coloured wood, about an inch in breadth, and an inch and a half in length, delicately carved, and representing a figure on horseback. This wood was supposed, by its former possessor, to be a fragment of the real cross. The 1017(3)r 101 Greek youth, in whose presence it was shewn, has been educated by a gentleman of the south of England, and now living at the foot of Skiddaw with his enchanting lady. The protectors are all generosity, the youth all gratitude; and nothing can be more interesting than their family circle. The latter recollected some of the airs of his native country, which were wild and sweet, and, accompanied by the pianoforte, had a fine effect; and it was difficult to forbear thinking of those lyres which, once, might possibly have thrilled to them. By magic skill, some philtre with his wine. The ancients were much addicted to this practice, and sometimes died in consequence of mixtures secretly thrown into their drink or food, for the purpose of securing their love for particular persons. A pretty incident of the kind is introduced into that very entertaining work, Les Voyages d’Antenor. According to Josephus, the immediate cause of the execution of Mariamne was Herod’s fear of such experiments. Sending for this Queen, in a violent fit of fondness, he met nothing but coldness and reproaches in return; and while stung to the soul at her behaviour, his mother and sister took the opportunity to inform him that Mariamne had prepared for him a love-potion. Or there’s in her blue eye some wicked light. The fear of hurtful influences emanating from the eyes of persons suspected of magic was common to most nations of antiquity; and perhaps, is not yet entirely laid aside in some parts of Europe. Les Thessaliens, les Illyriens, et les Triballes êtoient célèbre par leurs enchantemens. Les derniers, selon Pline pouvoient faire périr des animaux et des enfans par leurs seule regards. Les anciens craignoient les regards des envieux autant pour euxmêmes que pour leurs enfans; c’est pourquoi ils attachoient les mêmes amulettes au cou de leurs enfans: ils en mettoient aux jambs des portes, de manière qu’en les ouvrannut on agitoit ces phallus, et on ébranloit les clochettes. Voyages d’Antenor And twines her long hair round him as he sings. This act was often resorted to as the most forcible manner of imploring protection. When the young Prince Cyrus was brought before his brother, Artaxerxes, whose throne he had attempted to 1027(3)v 102 usurp, Parysates, his mother, entwined him with her hair, and by tears and entreaties succeeded in saving him from death. He died of love; or the o’erperfect joy Of being pitied,—prayed for,—prest by thee. Zimmerman, in his admired work on Solitude, gives an instance of two Italian lovers, who, after having been separated, sprang into each other’s embrace, and both died immediately. Joy is seldom perfect enough to kill; but could it exist as free from the alloy of any other sensation as grief is sometimes felt, it would probably destroy life much sooner from the circumstance of mortal nerves being far less accustomed to it. Many, says Dr. Goldsmith, die of grief, but who was ever known to die of joy? Instances of the latter, though rare, are sometimes found. I was told by a lady, whose word there was not the least reason to doubt, of a person she had known who was passionately fond of music. She had heard him say, while listening to a concert of sacred compositions, I shall certainly die if I hear many more of these strains. A few years afterwards, the same person actually fell dead while assisting at a concert. This happened in a country where education and every custom tends rather to the annihilation than the culture of any deep or violent emotion. But gained a bliss frail nature could not bear. Excessive joy, by preventing sleep (as it invariably does, in a person capable of feeling it at all) very soon procures for itself a mitigation proceeding from corporeal uneasiness; were this not the case, it would soon terminate in death or madness, even though not felt in a very unusual degree. Past joy is a thing so pleasant to speak upon, that raptures are generally exaggerated in the telling. When really intense, as they are sometimes described, their power to produce death can scarcely be doubted. Every one has heard of Chilo’s death in the arms of his son, who returned victorious from the Olympic Games. ―it is whispered that the unquelled desires Another spirit for each forfeit seat, Left vacant by our fall. It was an idea generally entertained by the fathers that the many vacancies caused by the different orders of angels who fell, through love or ambition, were to be filled up by souls selected from the 1037(4)r 103 human species. Another opinion afterwards arose, and was favoured by one or more of the Popes, that it was only the tenth order of the celestial hierarchy which supplied angels, who, by falling, assimilated themselves to the inhabitants of earth, and that it is only to supply the deficiencies of that grade that the best of mortals will be promoted. Much interesting speculation on this subject may be found in the works of Dionysius, to which I had free access while at Paris, but no time to make extracts or translations. Oh! my loved Hyacinth! when as a god I hurled the disk; and, from thy hapless head, The pure bright blood made flowers upon the sod. This and other passages which serve to identify ZophiëlZóphiël with Apollo, are perfectly conformable, to a belief once acknowledged by every Christian. An able writer in the North American Review The above extract is from an article entitled Ancient and Modern Poetry, which appeared sometime between the years 1821–1824twenty-one and four. appears to have read a great deal on the subject; the following is not irrelative:— Some evil spirits, or fallen angels, whom the fathers had cast out, were compelled by the fire of exorcism to confess that they were the same who had inspired the heathen poets; and these with all the duties of gay religions full of pomp and gold, were confined to the doom of that infernal host described by Milton. So far were the Christians from denying the existence of any of the beings of Pagan Mythology, that they continually urged, as an argument in favor of the superiority and divinity of their faith, the power which it gave over them; and Eunapius (see Eunapius’ life of Porphyry in his Vitæ Philosophorum) very gravely mentions the story of Porphyry’s expelling a demon. M. de Fontenelle wrote his Histoire des Oracles expressly to prove that heathen temples were not inhabited by demons or fallen angels. In that work is found the following oracle, extracted from the writings of Eusebius. Unhappy priest (said Apollo to one of his ministers,) ask me no more concerning the divine Father; nor of his only Son; nor of that Spirit which is the soul of all things: it is that spirit which expels me for ever from these abodes. 104 7(4)v 104 ―dejected Egla went With all her house; and seeks her own acacia grove. The facility with which the young king of Media forgets his beautiful captive, setting aside the effect produced by the premature death of Altheëtor his preserver, agrees perfectly with the following description. Nous renconntrames une troupe à cheval leste et brilliant, à la tete de laquelle êtoit le jeune Pharnabaze, l’air serein et radieux, faisant caracoler son cheval, et plaisantant avec ses camarades; j’en fus êtourdis: je l’avois vue, la veille, desesperé; s’arrachant les cheveux, se jettant sur le corps de la belle Statira; invoquant la mort, voulant se poignarder; et, déjà la rire, le plaisir, avoit succedés à ce grand desespoir. Voyages d’Antenor
105 7(5)r

Canto the Third.

Palace of Gnomes.

106 7(5)v

Argument.

Midnight.—ZophiëlZóphiël and Phraërion sit conversing together near a ruin on the banks of the Tigris.—ZophiëlZóphiël laments his former crimes; speaks of a change in his designs; dwells on the purity of his love for Egla; and expresses a wish to preserve her life and beauty beyond the period allotted to mortals.—Phraërion is induced to lead the way to the palace of Tahathyam.—Palace and banquet of Gnomes. —ZophiëlZóphiël, by force of entreaty and promise, obtains from Tahathyam a drop of the elixir of life.

107 7(6)r

Canto the Third.

Palace of Gnomes.

I

’Tis now the hour of mirth, the hour of love,

The hour of melancholy: Night, as vain

Of her full beauty, seems to pause above,

That all may look upon her ere it wane.

II

The heavenly angel watched his subject star The heavenly angel watched his subject star. This line is in accordance with the belief that the stars are guarded by celestial intelligences, to the prevalence of which many passages in the sacred writings bear testimony, and from which may be inferred a possibility that each inhabited and separate planet may, in reality be under the care of some delegate spirit. Saturninus of Antioch taught that the world and its first inhabitants were created by seven angels, which presided over the seven planets; and that the work was carried on, without the knowledge of the benevolent deity, and in opposition to the material principle. The former, however, beheld it with approbation, and honoured it with several marks of his beneficence. Many singular systems of this kind are classed unde the name of heresies by Mosheim.

O’er all that’s good and fair benignly smiling;

The sighs of wounded love he hears, from far;

Weeps that he cannot heal, and wafts a hope beguiling.

III

The nether earth looks beauteous as a gem;

High o’er her groves in floods of moonlight laving,

The towering palm displays his silver stem, The trunk of the palm-tree is of a light dove or ash-colour, and assumes a silvery appearance by moonlight.

The while his plumy leaves scarce in the breeze are waving.

108 7(6)v 108

IV

The nightingale among his roses sleeps;

The soft-eyed doe in thicket deep is sleeping;

The dark green myrrh her tears of fragrance weeps, ―Myrrh her tears of fragrance weeps. I had hoped to see the plant myrrh in the Jardin des Plantes at Paris, but was disappointed. Its appearance, however, can be easily concieved by the following:—Mr. Bruce, while in Abyssinia, made some remarks on the myrrh tree, which are to be found in the Journal de Physique, &c tome xiii. 17781778. He (Bruce) says, that the naked troglodites brought him specimens of myrrh, of which both the leaves and bark bore a great resemblance to the acacia vera. Among the leaves he observed some straight prickles about two inches in length. He likewise mentions seeing a saffa tree, which was a native of the myrrh country, covered with beautiful crimson flowers. Drops of perfume distil from this tree, which probably harden into that substance called myrrh, which is common in medicine. In one of the letters of M. Demonstier’s delightful work on Mythology, the young Adonis is represented as pointing to a myrrh tree, and exclaiming, Helas! ces larmes precieuses sont les pleurs de ma mère! who, according to the fable, was metamorphosed by the gods in compassion to her grief.

And, every odorous spike For an account of the spikenard of the ancients, Sir William Jones may be referred to with pleasure. One species of it is said to have been discovered by the horses and elephants of the vazir Afufaddaulah. If the spikenard of India was a reed or grass, we can never be able to discover it among the genera of those natural orders which, here, form a wilderness of sweets, and some of them have not only fragrant roots, but even spikes, to the ancient and modern sense of that emphatical word. in limpid dew is steeping.

V

Proud prickly cerea, now thy blossom ’scapes Proud prickly cerea, now thy blossom ’scapes Its cell. Few persons have seen the blossom of this astonishing flower, because it only opens at or after midnight, and is so evanescent, that, unless constantly watched, it is difficult to know the exact time of its perfection. It is large and of a yellowish white, and, in its cup, or, rather, in the midst of its fragrant petals, there is an appearance of lambent light or flame, resembling burning nitre.

Its cell; brief cup of light; and seems to say,

I am not for gross mortals: blood of grapes—

And sleep for them! Come spirits, while ye may!

VI

A silent stream winds darkly through the shade,

And slowly gains the Tigris, where ’tis lost;

By a forgotten prince, of old, ’twas made, The ancients throughout Syria (though ignorant of some useful principles discovered by modern science) were very skilful in hydraulics. Some of the earlier kings of that country had gardens with fountains and artificial streams, without the walls of Jerusalem, in a place which is now a parched and barren desert. See Josephus

And, in its course, full many a fragment crost

109 7(7)r 109

Of marble fairly carved; and by its side

Her golden dust the flaunting lotos threw

O’er her white sisters, throned upon the tide,

And queen of every flower that loves perpetual dew.

VII

Gold-sprinkling lotos, theme of many a song

By slender Indian warbled to his fair!

Still tastes the stream thy rosy kiss, though long

Has been but dust the hand that placed thee there. Of all the varieties of this celebrated flower, the red or rosecoloured is the most admired for its fragrance; the white and yellow give a fainter odour; and the azure-coloured lotos, which is a native of Persia and Cashmir, is perhaps the most beautiful of all.

VIII

The little temple where its relics rest

Long since has fallen, its broken columns lie

Beneath the lucid wave, and give its breast

A whitened glimmer as ’tis stealing by.

IX

Here, cerea, too, thy clasping mazes twine The night-blooming cereus is fond of clasping rocks, old walls, or fallen trees. It grows in profusion where these verses were written (Cuba) and produces a fruit not unpleasant to the taste.

The only pillar time has left erect;

Thy serpent arms embrace it, as ’twere thine,

And roughly mock the beam it should reflect.

110 7(7)v 110

X

An ancient prince, in happy madness blest,

Was wont to wander to this spot; and deem’d

A water nymph came to him, and carest

And loved him well; haply he only dream’d;

But on the spot a little dome arose

And flowers were set that still in wilderness bloom;

And the cold ashes that were him, repose,

Carefully shrined in this lone ivory tomb.

XI

It is a place so strangely wild and sweet,

That spirits love to come; and now, upon

A moonlight fragment, ZophiëlZóphiël chose his seat,

In converse close with soft Phraërion;

XII

Who, on the moss, beside him lies reclining,

O’erstrewn with leaves, from full-blown roses shaken,

By nightingales, that on their branches twining,

The live-long night to love and music waken.

XIII

Phaërion, gentle sprite! nor force nor fire

He had to wake in others doubt or fear:

He’d hear a tale of bliss, and not aspire

To taste himself; ’twas meet for his compeer.

111 7(8)r 111

XIV

No soul-creative in this being born,

Its restless, daring, fond, aspirings hid:

Within the vortex of rebellion drawn,

He joined the shining ranks as others did.

XV

Success but little had advanced; defeat,

He thought so little, scarce, to him, were worse;

And, as he’d held, in heaven, inferior seat,

Less was his bliss, and lighter was his curse.

XVI

He formed no plans for happiness: content

To curl the tendril, fold the bud; his pain

So light, he scarcely felt his banishment.

ZophiëlZóphiël, perchance, had held him in disdain;

But, form’d for friendship, from his o’erfraught soul

’Twas such relief his burning thoughts to pour

In other ears, that, oft the strong control

Of pride he felt them burst, and could restrain no more.

ZophiëlZóphiël was soft, but yet all flame; by turns

Love, grief, remorse, shame, pity, jealousy,

Each boundless in his breast, impels or burns:

His joy was bliss, his pain was agony.

112 7(8)v 112

And mild Phraërion was of heaven, and there,

Nothing imperfect in its kind can be:

There every form is fresh, soft, bright, and fair,

Yet differing each, with that variety,

Not least of miracles, which here we trace;

And wonder and admire the cause that form’d

So like, and yet so different every face,

Though of the self-same clay by the same process warm’d.

XVII

Order is heaven’s first law. But that obeyed,

The planets fixed, the Eternal mind at leisure;

A vast profusion spread o’er all it made,

As if in endless change were found eternal pleasure.

XVIII

Harmless Phraërion form’d to dwell on high,

Retain’d the looks that had been his above;

And his harmonious lip and sweet blue eye

Sooth’d the fallen seraph’s heart, and changed his scorn to love,

Who, when he saw him in some garden pleasant,

Happy, because too little thought had he

To place, in contrast, past delight with present,

Had given his soul of fire for that inanity.

113 8(1)r 113

XIX

But oh! in him the Eternal had infused

The restless soul that doth itself devour,

Unless it can create; and fallen, misused,

But forms the vast design to mourn the feeble power.

XX

In plenitude of love, the Power benign

Nearer itself some beings fain would lift;

To share its joys, assist its vast design To share its joys, assist its vast design With high intelligence; oh dangerous gift. It is said that the angels who rebelled were among the most wise and powerful of celestial creatures. None of them were more resplendent in beauty than Lucifer, who drew with him, when he fell, a third part of the stars of heaven. The supposition that many beings, subordinate to the Supreme will, were employed in that disposition of matter called The Creation, is not only according to every system of religion, but agreeable to analogy. God said let there be light, and light was. The king of Persia commanded a temple to be built, and it rose. There is little more reason to believe that the first was accomplished 14710(2)r 147 without multiplied means and agency than the last. Everything in natural history, and in natural philosophy favours the idea of an infinity of beings to supply the gradations between man and the Sovereign of creation. Indeed, after thinking a little on the subject, it seems almost absurd to believe the contrary. This belief, besides, is far more pleasing in itself than that of regarding the Supreme giver of life only as an all-competent artizan. M. l’Abbé Poule, discoursing upon a future state of existence, gives the following passage:— Il ne seront plus caché, pour nous, ces êtres innombrable, qui echappent à nos connoisances par leur éloignement ou par leur petitesse; les différentes parties qui compose le vaste ensemble de l’univers; leur structures, leur rapport, leur harmonie; ils ne seront plus de enigmes, pour nous, ces jeux surprenans, ces secrets profonds de la nature, ces ressorts admirable que la providence emploie pour la conservation et la propagation de tous les êtres. I translate from the French of M. de Chateaubriand, the following delightful passage:—The sovereign happiness of the elect is a consciousness that their joys are never to be terminated. They are incessantly in the same delicious state of mind, as a mortal who has just performed a good or heroic action; a man of genius who has just given birth to a sublime conception; of a person in the first tranports of an unforbidden love, or the charms of a friendship made certain by a long series of adversity. The nobler passions are not extinguished by death, in the hearts of the just; and whenever they are found, even on earth, respire something of the grandeur and eternity of the supreme intelligence.

With high intelligence; oh, dangerous gift!

XXI

Superior passion, knowledge, force, and fire,

The glorious creatures took; but each the slave

Of his own strength, soon burnt with wild desire,

And basely turn’d it ’gainst the hand that gave.

XXII

But Zóphiël, fallen sufferer, now no more

Thought of the past; the aspiring voice was mute

That urged him on to meet his doom before,

And all dissolved to love each varied attribute.

XXIII

Come, my Phraërion, give me an embrace,

He said. I hope a respite of repose,

Like that respiring from thy sunny face;

Even the peace thy guileless bosom knows.

8 114 8(1)v 114

XXIV

Rememberest thou that cave of Tigris, where

We went with fruits and flowers and meteor light,

And the fair creature, on the damp rock, there

Shivering and trembling so? Ah! well she might!

False were my words, infernal my intent;

Then, as I knelt before her feet and sued;

Yet, still she blooms, uninjured, innocent,

Though now, for seven long months, From the blooming of the roses at Ecbatana, to the coming in of spices at Babylon. by Zóphiël watched and wooed.

XXV

Gentle Phraëion, ’tis for her I crave

Assistance: what I could have blighted then,

’Tis now my only care to guard and save;

Companion, then, my airy flight again.

XXVI

Conduct me to those hoards of sweets and dews,

Treasured in haunts to all but thee unknown,

For favorite sprites: teach me their power and use,

And whatsoe’er thou wilt, of Zóphiël, be it done!

115 8(2)r 115

XXVII

Throughout fair Ecbatane the deeds I’ve wrought

Have cast such dread, that of all Sardius’ train

I doubt if there be one, from tent or court,

Who’ll try what ’tis to thwart a Spirit’s love again.

XXVIII

My Egla, left in her acacia grove,

Has learnt to lay aside that piteous fear

That sorrow’d thee; and I but live to prove

A love for her as harmless as sincere.

XXIX

Inspirer of the arts of Greece, I charm

Her ear with songs she never heard before;

And many an hour of thoughtfulness disarm

With stories cull’d from that vague, wondrous lore, That vague wondrous lore. But seldom told to mortals; arts on gems Inscribed that still exist; but hidden so, From fear of those who wrote, that diadems Have passed from brows that vainly ached to know. It is said to have been believed by the Egyptians that many wonderful secrets were engraved by one of the Mercuries, on tablets of emerald, which still remain hidden in some part of their country. Being assisted by a friend in looking over the first part of Brucker’s Historia Critica Philosophæ for something concerning those tablets of emerald, we were soon disappointed by the following passage:— 148 10(2)v 148 Non detenibimus itaque lectorem fabularum de Mercurio Græcarum atque Latinarum recitatione, quas qui legere vult, apud Lilium Gyraldum (Lugd. Bat.Lugdunum Batavorum 16981698. 4.) vel Natalem Comitem (Mythol. L.Liber V, c. 5. p. m. 439) aliosque mythologiæ veteris interpretes abunde inveniet unde sitem extinguat.—To those authors, therefore, the reader is referred. Some of the fathers (Tertullian in particular) supposed that all impious and daring sciences, such as Magic and Alchemy, came to the heathen nations through the medium of fallen angels, who, during the violence of their love for particular women, would sometimes reveal to them doctrines and truths which could never otherwise have been conceived by their poets and philosophers. Petrarch, in a letter to Robert, King of Naples, says—The expectation which our faith presents was unknown to the heathen philosophers; but they felt that the soul was not to die. Pherecydes was the first among them who openly maintained it. Pherecydes most probably conceived his belief from old and vague traditions, confirmed by his own feelings and experience. Epicurus, continues Petrarch, was the only one who denied it. From Pherecydes it passed to Pythagoras, from Pythagoras to Socrates, from Socrates to Plato; and Cicero established this doctrine in his discourses on friendship, old age, and other parts of his works. The lives of all these philosophers, that of Socrates in particular, rather confirm than disprove the belief of the fathers respecting communications from a higher order of beings.

But seldom told to mortals;—arts on gems

Inscribed that still exist; but hidden so

From fear of those who told that diadems

Have pass’d from brows that vainly ached to know:

Nor glimpse had mortal, save that those fair things

Loved, ages past, like her I now adore,

Caught from their Angels some low whisperings,

Then told of them to such as dared not tell them more;

116 8(2)v 116

But toil’d in lonely nooks far from the eye

Of shuddering, longing men; then, buried deep,

Till distant ages bade their secrets lie,

In hopes that time might tell what their dread oaths must keep.

XXX

Egla looks on me doubtful but amused;

Admires, but trembling, dares not bid me stay;

Yet hour by hour her timid heart, more used,

Grows to my sight and words; and when a day

I leave her, for my needful cares, at leisure

To muse upon and feel her lonely state;

At my returning, though restrain’d her pleasure,

There needs no Spirit’s eye to see she does not hate.

XXXI

Oft have I look’d in mortal hearts, to know

How love, by slow advances, knows to twine

Each fibre with his wreaths; then overthrow

At once each stern resolve. The maiden’s mine!

Yet have I never press’d her ermine hand,

Nor touch’d the living coral of her lip;

Though listening to its tones, so sweet, so bland,

I’ve thought—oh, impious thought!—who form’d might sip!

117 8(3)r 117

XXXII

Most impious thought! Soul, I would rein thee in

E’en as the quick-eyed Parthian quells his steeds;

But thou wilt start, and rise, and plunge in sin,

Till gratitude weeps out, and wounded reason bleeds!

XXXIII

Soul, what a mystery thou art! not one

Admires, or loves, or worships virtue more

Than I; but passion hurls me on, till torn

By keen remorse, I cool, to curse me and deplore.

XXXIV

But to my theme. Now, in the stilly night,

I hover o’er her fragrant couch, and sprinkle

Sweet dews about her, as she slumbers light,

Dews sought, with toil, beneath the pale star’s twinkle,

From plants of secret virtue. All for lust

Too high and pure my bliss; her gentle breath

I hear, inhale, then weep; (for oh! she must:

That form is mortal, and must sleep in death.)

XXXV

And oft, when nature pants, and the thick air,

Charged with foul particles, weighs sluggish o’er

I breathe them all; that deep disgust I bear

To leave a fluid pure and sane for her.

118 8(3)v 118

XXXVI

How dear is this employ! how innocent!

My soul’s wild elements forbear their strife;

While, on these harmless cares, pleased and intent,

I hope to save her beauty and her life,

For many a rapturous year. But mortal ne’er

Shall hold her to his heart! to me confined,

Her soul must glow; nor ever shall she bear

That mortal fruit for which her form’s designed.

XXXVII

Nor grosser blood, commingling with her own,

Shall ever make her mother. Oh! that mild

Sad glance I love—that lip—that melting tone

Shall ne’er be given to any mortal’s child.

XXXVIII

But only for her Spirit shall she live;

Unsoil’d by earth, fresh, chaste, and innocent!

And all a Spirit dares or can I’ll give;

And sure I thus can make her far more blest,

Framed as she is, than mortal love could do;

For more than mortal’s to this creature given,

She’s Spirit more than half; her beauty’s hue

Is of the sky, and speaks my native heaven.

119 8(4)r 119

XXXIX

But! the night wanes! while all is bright above,

He said, and round Phraërion, nearer drawn,

One beauteous arm he flung, first to my love;

We’ll see her safe; then, to our task till dawn.

XL

’Tis often thus with Spirits: when retired

Afar from haunts of men; so they delight

To move in their own beauteous forms attired;

Though like thin shades or air they mock dull mortals’ sight. Though like thin shades or air, they mock dull mortals’ sight. The discoveries effected by chemistry and natural philosophy, although they make apparent the fallacy of many superstitions, do not in the least disprove the existence of spiritual creatures. After hearing explained the nature of light and heat, and observing the effects produced by many common experiments, it is not difficult to conceive of beings, powerful, beautiful, and exquisitely organized; yet of a material so refined and subtle, as to elude the most perfect animal perception.

XLI

Well pleased Phraërion answered that embrace;

All balmy he with thousand breathing sweets

From thousand dewy flowers. But to what place,

He said, will Zóphiël go? who danger greets

As if t’were peace. The Palace of the Gnome, The palace of the Gnome Tahathyam. In respect to the birth of Tahathyam and his court, I have followed the opinion of Tertullian and others. The beings, however, which are described in the text, can only be called Gnomes, 14910(3)r 149 from their residence in the earth, and their knowledge of mineralogy and gems. The Four dusky spirits, by a secret art,Taught by a father thoughtful of his wants; which Tahathyam kept in his immediate service, might have answered the description of the Compte de Gabalis. La terre est remplie presque jusqu’au centre de gnomes, gens de petites statures, gardiens des tresors, des mineraux, et des pierreries. Ceux ci sont ingénieux, amis de l’homme et faciles à commander. Les gnomides, leurs femmes, sont petites mais fort agréables et leur habit et fort curieux. Les gnomes et les sylphes sont mortels, mais cessent d’être mortel du moment qu’ils épousent une des nos filles. De la naquit l’erreur des premiers siècles, de Tertulien, du martyr Justin, de Lactance, de Cyprien de Clement d’Alexandrie, d’Anathagore philosophe ChétienChrétien et généralement des tous les ecrivains de ce tems là. Ils avoient apprisque ces demi-hommes elementaires avoient recherché le commerce des filles; et ils ont imaginé que la chute des anges n’êtoit venue que de l’amour dont ils s’êtoient laissés toucher pour les femmes. Quelques gnomes desireux de devinir immortels avoient vouluu gagner les bonnes graces des nos filles, et leur avoient apportées des pierreries dont ils sont gardiens naturels: et ces auteurs ont crû s’appuyans sur le livre d’Enoch mal-entendu, que c’etoiént des pièges que les anges amoureux avoient preparés pour mieux en assurer la conquite. Comte de Gabalis Though not immediately relative to the subject, I cannot forbear inserting the following curious account of Sylphs:— L’air est pleine d’une innombrable multitude de peuple de figure humaine, un peu fiers en aparence; mais dociles en effet: officieux aux sages, et ennemies de sots et des ignorans. Leurs femmes et leurs filles sont des beautés mâles telles qu’on depeint les amazones. Le même

Tahathyam, for our purpose most were meet;

But then the wave, so cold and fierce, the gloom,

The whirlpools, rocks, that guard that deep retreat

Yet, there are fountains which no sunny ray

E’er danced upon, and drops come there at last

Which for whole ages, filtering all the way,

Through all the veins of earth in winding maze have past.

120 8(4)v 120

XLII

These take from mortal beauty every stain,

And smooth the unseemly lines of age and pain,

With every wondrous efficacy rife;

Nay once a spirit whispered of a draught,

Of which a drop, by any mortal quaft,

Would save for terms of years his feeble flickering life.

XLIII

A Spirit told thee it would save from death

The being who should taste that drop? Is’t so?

Oh! dear Phraërion, for another breath

We have not time! come, follow me! we’ll go

And take one look, then guide me to the track

Of the Gnome’s palace: there is not a blast

To stir the sea-flower! we will go and back

Ere morn—nay come!—the night is wasting fast.

XLIV

My friend, O Zóphiël! only once I went,

Then, though bold Antreon bore me, such the pain,

I came back to the air, so rack’d and spent,

That for a whole sweet moon I had no joy again.

XIV

What sayst thou, back at morn?—the night, a day

And half the night that follows it, alas!

Were time too little for that fearful way;

And then such depths, such caverns we must pass—

121 8(5)r 121

XLVI

Nothing! beloved Phraërion, I know how

To brave such risks; and first, the path will break,

As oft I’ve done in water depths; and thou

Need’st only follow through the way I make.

XLVII

The soft Flower-Spirit shuddered; look’d on high,

And from his bolder brother would have fled;

But then the anger kindling in that eye

He could not bear. So to fair Egla’s bed

Followed and looked; then shuddering all with dread,

To wondrous realms unknown to men he led;

Continuing long in sunset course his flight,

Until for flowery Sicily he bent;

Then, where Italia smiled upon the night,

Between their nearest shores chose midway his descent.

Not far from the scene of Vulcan’s labours; yet the regions sought by these spirits must have been very much deeper.

XLVIII

The sea was calm, and the reflected moon

Still trembled on its surface; not a breath

Curl’d the broad mirror. Night had past her noon;

How soft the air! how cold the depths beneath!

122 8(5)v 122

XLIX

The spirits hover o’er that surface smooth,

Zóphiël’s white arm around Phraërion’s twined

In fond caress, his tender fears to sooth,

While either’s nearer wing the other’s crossed behind,

L

Well pleased, Phraërion half forgot his dread;

And first, with foot as white as lotus leaf,

The sleepy surface of the waves essayed;

But then his smile of love gave place to drops of grief.

LI

How could he for that fluid dense and chill

Change the sweet floods of air they floated on?

E’en at a touch his shrinking fibres thrill;

But ardent Zóphiël, panting, hurries on;

And (catching his mild brother’s tears, with lip

That whisper’d courage ’twixt each glowing kiss,)

Persuades to plunge: limbs, wings, and locks they dip;

Whate’er the other’s pains, the lover felt but bliss.

LII

Quickly he draws Phraërion on; his toil

Even lighter than he hoped: some power benign

Seems to restrain the surges, while they boil

Mid crags and caverns, as of his design

123 8(6)r 123

Respectful. That black, bitter element,

As if obedient to his wish, gave way;

So, comforting Phraërion, on he went

And a high craggy arch they reach, at dawn of day

Upon the upper world; and forced them through

That arch the thick cold floods with such a roar

That the bold Sprite receded; and would view

The cave before he ventured to explore.

LIII

Then fearul lest his frightened guide might part

And not be miss’d, amid such strife and din,

He strained him closer to his burning heart,

And trusting to his strength rush’d fiercely in.

LIV

On, on, for many a weary mile they fare;

Till thinner grew the floods, long dark and dense,

From nearness to earth’s core; and now a glare

Of grateful light, relieved their piercing sense;

As when, above, the sun his genial streams

Of warmth and light darts mingling with the waves

Whole fathoms down; while amorous of his beams

Each scaly monstrous thing leaps from its slimy caves.

124 8(6)v 124

LV

And now Phraërion, with a tender cry,

Far sweeter than the land-bird’s note, afar

Heard through the azure arches of the sky,

By the long baffled storm-worn mariner:

Hold, Zóphiël! rest thee now: our task is done,

Tahathyam’s realms alone can give this light!

Oh! though ’tis not the life-awakening sun,

How sweet to see it break upon such fearful night!

LVI

Clear grew the wave, and thin; a substance white

The wide expanding cavern floors and flanks;

Could one have look’d from high, how fair the sight!

Like these the dolphin on Bahaman banks

Cleaves the warm fluid, in his rainbow tints,

While even his shadow on the sands below

Is seen; as thro’ the wave he glides and glints

Where lies the polished shell and branching corals grow.

LVII

No massive gate impedes; the wave in vain

Might strive against the air to break or fall;

And, at the portal of that strange domain,

A clear bright curtain seem’d, or crystal wall.

125 8(7)r 125

LVIII

The Spirits pass its bounds, but would not far

Tread the slant pavement, like unbidden guest;

The while, on either side, a bower of spar

Gave invitation for a moment’s rest.

LIX

And, deep in either bower, a little throne

Look’d so fantastic, it were hard to know

If busy Nature fashion’d it alone,

Or found some curious artist here below.

LX

Soon spoke Phraërion, Come, Tahathyam, come,

Thou know’st me well! I saw thee once to love;

And bring a guest to view thy sparkling dome

Who comes full fraught with tidings from above.

LXI

Those gentle tones, angelically clear,

Past from his lips, in mazy depths retreating,

(As if that bower had been the cavern’s ear),

Full many a stadia, far; and kept repeating,

As through the perforated rock they pass,

Echo to echo guiding them; their tone

(As just from the sweet spirit’s lip) at last

Tahathyam heard; where, on a glittering throne

126 8(7)v 126

He solitary sat. ’Twas many a year

Ere such delightful, grateful sound had blest

His pleasured sense; and with a starting tear,

Half joy, half grief, he rose to greet his guest.

LXIII

First sending through the rock an answering strain

To give both Spirits welcome, where they wait,

And bid them haste; for he might strive in vain

Half mortal as he was, to reach that gate

For many a day. But in the bower they hear

His bidding; and from cumbrous matter free,

Arose; and to his princely home came near

With such spiritual strange velocity,

They met him, just as by his palace door

The Gnome appeared, with all his band, elate

In the display of his resplendent store,

To such as knew his father’s high estate.

LXIII

His sire, a Seraph, framed to dwell above,

Had lightly left his pure and blissful home Had lightly left his pure and blissful home, To taste the blandishments of mortal love. In the book of Enoch, two hundred or more of such angels as Cephroniel are said to have descended on Mount Hermon, for the purpose of visiting women of whose beauty they had become enamoured. Tertullian regards this book as of sacred authority, as 15010(3)v 150 will be seen in the article, De Habitu Muliebri; but some of the other fathers are disinclined to believe it.

To taste the blandishments of mortal love;

And from that lowly union sprang the Gnome,

127 8(8)r 127

Tahathyam, first of his compeers, and best,

He look’d like heaven, fair semi-earthly thing!

The rest were born of many a maid carest

After his birth, and chose him for their king.

LXIV

He sat upon a car, (and the large pearl

Once cradled in it glimmered, now, without)

Bound midway on two serpents’ backs, that curl

In silent swiftness as he glides about.

This manner of bearing the car is not inconsistent with the known docility and strength of serpents in general.

LXV

A shell, ’twas first in liquid amber wet;

Then ere the fragrant cement harden’d round

All o’er with large and precious stones ’twas set

By skilful Tsavaven, Tsavaven signifies tint-gem. or made or found.

LXVI

The reins seem’d pliant crystal (but their strength It has been said that an art once existed of composing a substance which, together with a perfect pliancy, had the colour and transparency of glass or crystal.

Had match’d his earthly mother’s silken band;)

And, fleck’d with rubies, flow’d in ample length,

Like sparkles o’er Tahathyam’s beauteous hand.

128 8(8)v 128

LXVII

The reptiles, in their fearful beauty, drew The reptiles, in their fearful beauty, drew As if from love, like steeds of Araby;— Like blood of lady’s lip their scarlet hue. The docility, and even affection of the serpent, is sufficiently known and attested. Some chemical arts might have been used, to give the scales of these their scarlet colour, surrounded as they were by beings of such exquisite skill. Litte serpents, however, of a bright glossy scarlet, are not uncommon in America, and (if the Count de Buffon, and his admirer and frequent translator, Dr. Goldsmith, are to be relied on) the snake, as long as it lives, continues to increase, having no fixed dimensions allotted to it, like other animals. These most pleasing writers (if I am not much mistaken) believe also that no particular bound is set to its vitality; and that it is capable of retaining life and youth so long as it can be preserved from accidents. The following account of the celebrated exploit of Prometheus, which M. de Lentier puts into the mouth of an old Grecian or Assyrian mariner, may not be unentertaining. Prometheus having made a statue of clay, mixed it with levin of gall, flesh of the aspic, and foam of the lion. But the figure was still an insensible mass: Prometheus stole fire from the sun, and man was animated. Scarcely had he drawn a breath ere he complained to the gods of the fatal gift of life: pain was his first sensation. Jupiter, to console him and to mitigate his sufferings, gave him a drug that had the virtue of restoring youth. The man was delighted with the present, and placed it on an ass, for the purpose of conveying it to his own abode. The beast, tormented with thirst, stopped on his way at a fountain guarded by a serpent. The wicked reptile would not suffer him to drink, except on condition that the drug should, meanwhile, be left in its care. The ass consented, and the serpent kept the drug. From that time the serpent has had power to renew its youth, while poor human beings grow old without remedy.

As if from love, like steeds of Araby;

Like blood of lady’s lip their scarlet hue;

Their scales so bright and sleek, ’twas pleasure but to see.

LXVIII

With open mouths, as proud to show the bit,

They raise their heads, and arch their necks—(with eye

As bright as if with meteor fire ’twere lit);

And dart their barbed tongues, ’twixt fangs of ivory.

LXIX

These, when the quick-advancing Sprites they saw

Furl their swift wings, and tread with angel grace

The smooth fair pavement, check’d their speed in awe,

And glided far aside as if to give them space.

LXX

Tahathyam, lighted with a pleasing pride,

And in like guise, to meet the strangers bent

His courteous steps; the while on either side

Fierce Aishalat and Pshaämayim went.

LXXI

Bright Ramaöur followed on, in order meet; Bright Ramaöur followed on, in order meet, Then Nahalcoul and Zotzaraven, best Beloved, save Rouämasak, of perfume sweet; Then Talhazak and Marmorak. 151 10(4)r 151 These names are formed from Hebraic words, expressive of the various qualities and employments of the beings who bear them. Aishalat signifies fire-control; Psaämayim, black-water; Ramaöur, light-direct; Nahalcoul, guide-sound; Zotzaraven, shapespar; Rouämasak, mingle-air; Talhazak, dew-congeal; Marmorak, (partly Greek) marble-stain. Nothing can be more barbarous than Hebrew words, as they are pronounced in English. They are, however, much softer on the lips of Oriental speakers, or even those of the south of Europe. Some of the dialects of the Aborigines of America, though they look so repulsively, as we get them on paper, are soft as the murmur of the forest, when spoken by forest orators.

Then Nahalcoul and Zotzaraven, best

Beloved, save Rouämasak of perfume sweet;

Then Talhazak and Marmorak; the rest

129 9(1)r 129

A crowd of various use and properties,

Arranged to meet their monarch’s wishes, vie

In seemly show to please the stranger’s eyes,

And show what could be wrought without or soil or sky.

LXXII

And Zóphiël, though a spirit, ne’er had seen

The like before; and, for he had to ask

A boon, almost as dear as heaven, his mien

Was softness all; but ’twas a painful task

To his impatience thus the time to wait

Due to such welcome: all his soul possest

With thoughts of her he’d left in lonely state,

Unguarded, how he burnt to proffer his request!

LXXIII

The fond Phraërion look’d on him, and knew

How much it pain’d him here below to stay;

So towards the princely Gnome he gently drew

To tell what purpose brought them down from day;

And said, O! king, this humble offering take;

How hard the task to bring I need not tell;

Receive the poor, poor gift, for friendship’s sake!

Tahathyam took a yellow asphodel,

9 130 9(1)v 130

A deep-blue lotus, and a full moss-rose,

And then spoke out, My Talhazak, come hither,

Look at these flowers, cropt where the sun-beam glows;

Crust them with diamond, never let them wither! Diamond, it is said, is but crystal of carbon. Tahathyam, however, might not have meant to have his flowers literally covered or encrusted with diamond, but might only have used this expression to impress on Talhazak a sense of the value he held them in.

LXXIV

Then, soon, Phraërion: Monarch, if ’tis truth,

Thou hast (and that ’tis false sweet powers forfend!)

A draught whose power perpetuates life and youth,

Wilt thou bestow one drop upon my friend?

LXXV

Then Zóphiël could no more withhold, but knelt

And said, Oh! sovereign! happier far than I!

Born as thou wert, and in earth’s entrails pent,

Though once I shared thy father’s bliss on high.

LXXVI

Only one draught! and if its power I prove,

By thy sweet mother, to an Angel dear,

Whate’er thou wilt, of all the world above,

Down to these nether realms I’ll bring thee every year.

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LXXVII

Thy tributary slave, I’ll scorn the pain,

Though storms and rocks my feeling substance tear!

Tahathyam, let me not implore in vain,

Give me the draught, and save me from despair!

LXXVIII

Tahathyam paused; as if the bold request

He liked not to refuse, nor wish’d to grant;

Then (after much revolving in his breast)

What of this cup can an Immortal want?

LXXIX

My Angel sire, for many a year, endured

The vilest toils, deep hidden in the ground,

To mix this drink; nor was’t at last procured

Till all he fear’d had happ’d: Death’s sleep profound

Seized my fair mother. I had shared her doom:

Mortal, like her he held than heaven more dear;

But, by his chymic arts, he robb’d the tomb

And fixed my solitary being here;

As if to hide from the Life-giver’s eye,

Of his presumptuous task, untried before

The prized success, bidding the secret lie

For ever here; I never saw him more,

132 9(2)v 132

When this was done. Yet what avails to live,

From age to age, thus hidden ’neath the wave?

Nor life nor being have I power to give,

And here, alas! are no more lives to save!

LXXX

For my loved father’s sight in vain I pine!

Where is the bright Cephroniel? Spirit tell Where is the bright Cephroniel? Spirit, tell But how he fares. Tahathyam has never seen his father since first established in his submarine kingdom, and knows not whether he has been received again into heaven, or remains still wandering about in a state of punishment. The crimes of those angels made guilty only by their intercourse with mortals, were supposed to have been punished less severely, that those of the subordinates of the prince of Ambition.

But how he fares, and what thou ask’st is thine!

Fair hope from Zóphiël’s look that moment fell.

LXXXI

The anxious Gnome observed; and soon bethought

How far his exile limited his will;

And half divining why he so besought

Gift, worthless, save to man, continued still

His speech:—Thou askest much: should I impart

Spirit, to thee, what my great father fain

Would hide from heaven? and what with all his art

Even the second power desires in vain? Sathan, or evil.

LXXXII

All long but cannot touch: a sword of flame

Guards the life-fruit once seen. Yet, Spirit, know

There is a service,—do what I shall name,

And let the danger threaten,—I’ll bestow.

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LXXXIII

But first partake our humble banquet, spread

Within these rude walls, and repose awhile;

He said, and to the sparry portal led

And usher’d his fair guests with hospitable smile.

LXXXIV

High towered the palace and its massive pile,

Made dubious if of nature or of art,

So wild and so uncouth; yet all the while,

Shaped to strange grace in every varying part.

LXXXV

And groves adorn’d it, green in hue, and bright,

As icicles about a laurel-tree;

And danced about their twigs a wonderous light;

Whence came that light so far beneath the sea?

LXXXVI

Zóphiël looked up to know, and to his view

The vault scarce seem’d less vast than that of day;

No rocky roof was seen; a tender blue

Appear’d, as of the sky, and clouds about it play:

It was perfectly in the power of optics and chemistry, of which sciences these beings were in possession, to produce the effect described beneath the roof so vast a cavern.
134 9(3)v 134

LXXXVII

And, in the midst, an orb look’d as ’twere meant

To shame the sun, it mimick’d him so well.

But ah! no quickening, grateful warmth it sent;

Cold as the rock beneath, the paly radiance fell.

LXXXVIII

Within, from thousand lamps the lustre strays,

Reflected back from gems about the wall;

And from twelve dolphin shapes a fountain plays,

Just in the centre of the spacious hall;

LXXXIX

But whether in the sunbeam form’d to sport,

These shapes once lived in suppleness and pride

And then, to decorate this wondrous court,

Were stolen from the waves and petrified,

Or, moulded by some imitative Gnome,

And scaled all o’er with gems, they were but stone,

Casting their showers and rainbows ’neath the dome,

To man or angel’s eye might not be known.

XC

No snowy fleece in these sad realms was found,

Nor silken ball, by maiden loved so well;

But ranged in lightest garniture around,

In seemly folds, a shining tapestry fell.

135 9(4)r 135

XCI

And fibres of asbestos, bleached in fire,

And all with pearls and sparkling gems o’er-fleck’d,

Of that strange court composed the rich attire,

And such the cold, fair form of sad Tahathyam deck’d.

XCII

Of marble white the table they surround,

And reddest coral deck’d each curious couch,

Which softly yielding to their forms was found,

And of a surface smooth and wooing to the touch.

XCIII

Of sunny gold and silver, like the moon,

Here was no lack; but if the veins of earth,

Torn open by man’s weaker race, so soon

Supplied the alluring hoard, or here had birth

That baffling, maddening, fascinating art, That baffling, maddening, fascinating art, Half told by Sprite most mischievous, that he Might laugh to see men toil, then not impart. Some alchemists still exist, who have not laid aside the hope of success in their labours. In Voltaire’s Life of Charles XII, is related the following circumstance:— A certain Livonian, who was an officer in the Saxon army, and named Paikel, was made prisoner by the troops of Charles, and condemned to be decapitated at Stockholm. Before the execution of his sentence he found means to inform the senate that he was in possesssion of the secret of making gold, which, on condition of pardon, he would communicate to the King. The experiment was made in prison, in presence of Colonel Hamilton and the magistrates of the city; the gold found in the crucible, after the experiment, was carried to the mint at Stockholm, and a judicial report made to the senate, which appeared so important, that the Queen-mother ordered the execution to be suspended until the King could be informed of so singular an event, and transmit his orders to Stockholm15210(4)v 152 holm. Charles answered, that he had refused the pardon of the criminal to his relations, and that he would never grant to interest what he had refused to friendship. After viewing the fable of Midas, in connexion with the belief of the fathers, it is not difficult to imagine that the secret of alchemy was actually imparted to that King by a fallen angel, who caused himself to be adored as the god Bacchus; and the disastrous consequences that must necessarily ensue, provided such an art could be obtained, are forcibly depicted in sufferings of Midas. Gold, like everything else not absolutely necessary to existence, would cease to be valued as soon as it became plenty; but nothing would, perhaps, occasion more dreadful immediate misery, than a possibility of procuring it easily. The secret of alchemy, even if it could be discovered, would bring with it nothing delightful; but it is pleasant to imagine a glimpse of possibility of discovering, sooner or later, the means of preserving mortal life beyond its present imperfect term. It has always seemed to me (whether any other person has thought the same, I know not,) that something in favor of this possibility may be inferred from a passage in the Mosaic account of the fall. The first pair are driven from the garden, lest, having tasted the tree of knowledge, they might pluck, also of the tree of life, and live for ever. Is this an allegory; or to what does this passage relate? The animals (says Father Jerom Dandini, in his voyage to Mount Libanus,) eat a certain herb, which causes their teeth to change to a golden colour. This herb Father Jerom thinks must proceed from mines under mount Ida. And Niebuhr mentions that the Eastern alchemists fancy their success would be certain, provided they could find out the herb which tinges the colour of the flesh of the sheep that eat it.

Half told by Sprite most mischievous, that he

Might laugh to see men toil, then not impart,

The guests left uninquired:—’tis still a mystery.

XCIV

Here were no flowers, but a sweet odour breathed,

Of amber pure; a glistening coronal,

Of various-coloured gems, each brow enwreathed,

In form of garland, for the festival.

136 9(4)v 136

XCV

All that the shell contains most delicate,

Of vivid colours, ranged and drest with care,

Was spread for food, and still was in the state

Of first freshness:—if such creatures, rare

Among cold rocks, so far from upper air,

By force of art, might live and propagate,

Or were in hoards preseved, the muse cannot declare.

XCVI

But here, so low from the life-wakening sun,

However humble, life was sought in vain;

But when by chance, or gift, or peril won,

’Twas prized and guarded well in this domain.

XCVII

Four dusky Spirits, by a secret art

Taught by a father, thoughtful of his wants,

Tahathyam kept for menial toil apart,

But only deep in sea were their permitted haunts.

XCVIII

The banquet-cups, of many a hue and shape,

Boss’d o’er with gems, were beautiful to view;

But, for the madness of the vaunted grape,

Their only draught was a pure limpid dew,

137 9(5)r 137

To Spirits sweet; but these half-mortal lips

Long’d for the streams that once on earth they quaffed;

And, half in shame, Tahathyam coldly sips

And craves excuses for the temperate draught.

XCIX

Man tastes, he said, the grapes sweet blood that streams

To steep his heart when pain’d; when sorrowing he

In wild delirium drowns the sense, and dreams

Of bliss arise, to cheat his misery.

C

Nor with their dews were any mingling sweets

Save those, to mortal lip, of poison fell;

No murmuring bee, was heard in these retreats,

The mineral clod alone supplied their hydromel.

CI

The Spirits while they sat, in social guise,

Pledging each goblet with an answering kiss,

Mark’d many a Gnome conceal his bursting sighs;

And thought death happier than a life like this.

CII

But they had music; at one ample side

Of the vast area of that sparkling hall,

Fringed round with gems, that all the rest outvied;

In form of canopy, was seen to fall In form of canopy was seen to fall The stony tapestry. There now exists, either in Virginia or some of the neighbouring country (I have no reference and do not recollect this in particular), a singularly beautiful grotto, called, by those who live around it, Wyer’s Cave. It contains several apartments, in some of which the concretions are said, by those who have seen them, to be spread over the sides and roof in the form of curtains and festoons. One of the chambers is extremely remarkable. It is commonly called the Lady’s Drawing-room; and on one side of it a crystalline 15310(5)r 153 projection is shown, which rings, at the touch, in such a manner that the person whose description I saw, fancied a skilful hand might draw music from it. Many curious and extensive caverns are found in the island of Cuba. One near the bay of Matanzas is often visited by strangers, but nobody has ventured to penetrate far. I visited one twenty miles distant from this, and not far from the estate San Patricio, which contained three apartments and a reservoir of water; being a great deal above the surface of the earth, on the side of a pleasant hill, it would not, in that climate, have been very uncomfortable as a residence. Some of the concretions had attained the shape of large and perfect columns; others were in the form of two acute pyramids or obelisks, one depending from the roof and the other rising from the floor. These were of a whitish colour; but though evening came on and we had two or three tapers, I could see nothing transparent or sparkling. This grotto is either on the Cafétal Teresa or the one adjoining it; the boundaries of both were covered with wood. There is another, deeper in the earth, about six or seven English miles from Matanzas, on the estate of Octavius Mitchell, Esq., from which I was shown specimens of spar the size and shape of a common quill, and clear like glass. Some beautiful concretions, or perhaps petrifactions, were also found there, which were said to bear some resemblance to groups of sculpture. These I did not see, but one was taken out and named the Twins of Latona

138 9(5)v 138

The stony tapestry, over what, at first,

An altar to some deity appear’d;

But it had cost full many a year to adjust

The limpid crystal tubes that ’neath uprear’d

Their different lucid lengths; and so complete

Their wondrous rangement, that a tuneful Gnome

Drew from them sounds more varied, clear, and sweet,

Than ever yet had rung in any earthly dome.

CIII

Loud, shrilly, liquid, soft; at that quick touch

Such modulation woo’d his angel ears

That Zóphiël wonder’d, started from his couch

And thought upon the music of the spheres.

CIV

Tahathyam mark’d; and casting down the board

A wistful glance to one who shared his cheer,

My Ragasycheon, This name is compounded of a Hebraic and a Greek word, and signifies to move or affect the soul. said he; at his word

A Gnome arose, and knew what strains he fain would hear.

139 9(6)r 139

CV

More like the dawn of youth in form and face,

And than his many pheres more lightly drest,

Yet unsurpass’d in beauty and in grace,

Silken-haired Ragasycheon soon express’d

The feelings rising at his master’s heart;

Choosing such tones as when the breezes sigh

Through some lone portico; or far apart,

From ruder sounds of mirth in the deep forest die.

CVI

Preluding low, in notes that faint and tremble,

Swelling, awakening, dying, plaining deep,

While such sensations in the soul assemble,

As make it pleasure to the eyes to weep.

CVII

Is there a heart that ever loved in vain,

Though years have thrown their veil o’er all most dear,

That lives not each sensation o’er again

In sympathy with sounds like those that mingle here?

CVIII

Still the fair Gnome’s light hands the chime prolong;

And while his utmost art the strain employs,

Cephroniel’s softened son in gushing song,

Pour’d forth his sad, deep sense of long departed joys.

140 9(6)v 140

CIX

Song

Oh, my Phronema! how thy yellow hair

Was fragrant, when, by looks alone carest,

I felt it, wafted by the pitying air,

Float o’er my lips and touch my fervid breast!

How my least word lent colour to thy cheek!

And how thy gentle form would heave and swell,

As if the love thy heart contained would break

That warm pure shrine where nature bade it dwell.

We parted; years are past, and thou art dead:

Never, Phronema, shall I see thee more!

One little ringlet of thy graceful head

Lies next my heart; ’tis all I may adore.

Torn from thy sight, to save a life of gloom,

Hopes unaccomplish’d warmest wishes crost—

How can I longer bear my weary doom?

Alas! what have I gain’d for all I lost?

CX

The music ceased; and from Tahathyam pass’d

The mournful extasy that lent it zest;

But tears adown his paly cheek fell fast,

And sprinkled the asbestos o’er his breast.

141 9(7)r 141

CXI

Then thus: If but a being half so dear

Could to these realms be brought, the slow distress

Of my long solitude were less severe,

And I might learn to bear my weariness.

CXII

There’s a nepenthic draught, which the warm breath

Of mortals, when they quaff, keeps in suspense;

Giving the pale similitude of death,

While thus chain’d up the quick perceptive sense.

Haply ’twere possible. But to the shrine,

Where like a god I guard Cephroniel’s gift!

Soon through the rock they wind; the draught divine

Was hidden by a veil the king alone might lift

CXIII

Cephroniel’s son, with half-averted face

And faltering hand, that curtain drew, and show’d,

Of solid diamond formed, a lucid vase;

And warm within the pure elixir glow’d;

CXIV

Bright red, like flame and blood, (could they so meet)

Ascending, sparkling, dancing, whirling, ever

In quick perpetual movement; and of heat

So high, the rock was warm beneath their feet,

(Yet heat in its intenseness hurtful never),

142 9(7)v 142

Even to the entrance of the long arcade

Which led to that deep shrine, in the rock’s breast

As far as if the half-angel were afraid

To know the secret he himself possessed.

CXV

Tahathyam filled a slip of spar with dread,

As if stood by and frown’d some power divine;

Then trembling, as he turned to Zóphiël said,

But for one service shalt thou call it thine.

CXVI

Bring me a wife; as I have named the way;

(I will not risk destruction save for love!)

Fair-haired and beauteous like my mother; say—

Plight me this pact; so shalt thou bear above,

For thine own purpose, what has here been kept

Since bloom’d the second age, to Angels dear.

Bursting from earth’s dark womb the fierce wave swept

Off every form that lived and loved, while here,

Deep hidden here, I still lived on and wept.

CXVII

Then, Zóphiël, pitying his emotion: So

I promise; nay, unhappy prince, I swear

By what I dare not utter; I will go

And search; and one of all the loveliest bear

143 9(8)r 143

Away, the while she sleeps, to be thy wife:

Give her the nepenthic drink, and through the wave

Brave hell’s worst pains to guard her gentle life.

Monarch! ’tis said: now, give me what I crave!

CXVIII

Tahathyam Evanath, From eva, life and nathan, to give. son of a sire

Who knew how love burns in a breast divine,

If this thy gift sustain—one vital fire,

Sigh not for things of earth, for all earth’s best are thine.

CXIX

He took the spar: the high-wrought hopes of both

Forbad delay. So to the palace back

They came; Tahathyam faintly pressed; nor loth

Saw his fair guests depart to wend their watery track.

144 9(8)v 145 10(1)r

Notes to Canto the Third

Having liberty, while at Paris, to take any books I might wish from the Bibliotheque due Roi, and M. Van Praët being very obliging in looking for them, it was in my power to make much more copious notes than will appear in this Canto, which, from its subject, admits of a great variety. Many obstacles and engagements occurred to prevent; which I regret only, because many passages of the old Christian writers and their Pagan contemporaries on the subject of angels and other spirits, are extremely curious and entertaining. Sufficient poetical authority is, however, given for the incidents of the story, and the text, perhaps, is sufficiently explained. Copious notes extracted from the works of others, indicate nothing but toil and patience in the writer. The heavenly angel watched his subject star. This line is in accordance with the belief that the stars are guarded by celestial intelligences, to the prevalence of which many passages in the sacred writings bear testimony, and from which may be inferred a possibility that each inhabited and separate planet may, in reality be under the care of some delegate spirit. Saturninus of Antioch taught that the world and its first inhabitants were created by seven angels, which presided over the seven planets; and that the work was carried on, without the knowledge of the benevolent deity, and in opposition to the material principle. The former, however, beheld it with approbation, and honoured it with several marks of his beneficence. Many singular systems of this kind are classed unde the name of heresies by Mosheim. 10 146 10(1)v 146 ―Myrrh her tears of fragrance weeps. I had hoped to see the plant myrrh in the Jardin des Plantes at Paris, but was disappointed. Its appearance, however, can be easily concieved by the following:—Mr. Bruce, while in Abyssinia, made some remarks on the myrrh tree, which are to be found in the Journal de Physique, &c tome xiii. 17781778. He (Bruce) says, that the naked troglodites brought him specimens of myrrh, of which both the leaves and bark bore a great resemblance to the acacia vera. Among the leaves he observed some straight prickles about two inches in length. He likewise mentions seeing a saffa tree, which was a native of the myrrh country, covered with beautiful crimson flowers. Drops of perfume distil from this tree, which probably harden into that substance called myrrh, which is common in medicine. In one of the letters of M. Demonstier’s delightful work on Mythology, the young Adonis is represented as pointing to a myrrh tree, and exclaiming, Helas! ces larmes precieuses sont les pleurs de ma mère! who, according to the fable, was metamorphosed by the gods in compassion to her grief. Proud prickly cerea, now thy blossom ’scapes Its cell. Few persons have seen the blossom of this astonishing flower, because it only opens at or after midnight, and is so evanescent, that, unless constantly watched, it is difficult to know the exact time of its perfection. It is large and of a yellowish white, and, in its cup, or, rather, in the midst of its fragrant petals, there is an appearance of lambent light or flame, resembling burning nitre. To share its joys, assist its vast design With high intelligence; oh dangerous gift. It is said that the angels who rebelled were among the most wise and powerful of celestial creatures. None of them were more resplendent in beauty than Lucifer, who drew with him, when he fell, a third part of the stars of heaven. The supposition that many beings, subordinate to the Supreme will, were employed in that disposition of matter called The Creation, is not only according to every system of religion, but agreeable to analogy. God said let there be light, and light was. The king of Persia commanded a temple to be built, and it rose. There is little more reason to believe that the first was accomplished 14710(2)r 147 without multiplied means and agency than the last. Everything in natural history, and in natural philosophy favours the idea of an infinity of beings to supply the gradations between man and the Sovereign of creation. Indeed, after thinking a little on the subject, it seems almost absurd to believe the contrary. This belief, besides, is far more pleasing in itself than that of regarding the Supreme giver of life only as an all-competent artizan. M. l’Abbé Poule, discoursing upon a future state of existence, gives the following passage:— Il ne seront plus caché, pour nous, ces êtres innombrable, qui echappent à nos connoisances par leur éloignement ou par leur petitesse; les différentes parties qui compose le vaste ensemble de l’univers; leur structures, leur rapport, leur harmonie; ils ne seront plus de enigmes, pour nous, ces jeux surprenans, ces secrets profonds de la nature, ces ressorts admirable que la providence emploie pour la conservation et la propagation de tous les êtres. I translate from the French of M. de Chateaubriand, the following delightful passage:—The sovereign happiness of the elect is a consciousness that their joys are never to be terminated. They are incessantly in the same delicious state of mind, as a mortal who has just performed a good or heroic action; a man of genius who has just given birth to a sublime conception; of a person in the first tranports of an unforbidden love, or the charms of a friendship made certain by a long series of adversity. The nobler passions are not extinguished by death, in the hearts of the just; and whenever they are found, even on earth, respire something of the grandeur and eternity of the supreme intelligence. That vague wondrous lore. But seldom told to mortals; arts on gems Inscribed that still exist; but hidden so, From fear of those who wrote, that diadems Have passed from brows that vainly ached to know. It is said to have been believed by the Egyptians that many wonderful secrets were engraved by one of the Mercuries, on tablets of emerald, which still remain hidden in some part of their country. Being assisted by a friend in looking over the first part of Brucker’s Historia Critica Philosophæ for something concerning those tablets of emerald, we were soon disappointed by the following passage:— 148 10(2)v 148 Non detenibimus itaque lectorem fabularum de Mercurio Græcarum atque Latinarum recitatione, quas qui legere vult, apud Lilium Gyraldum (Lugd. Bat.Lugdunum Batavorum 16981698. 4.) vel Natalem Comitem (Mythol. L.Liber V, c. 5. p. m. 439) aliosque mythologiæ veteris interpretes abunde inveniet unde sitem extinguat.—To those authors, therefore, the reader is referred. Some of the fathers (Tertullian in particular) supposed that all impious and daring sciences, such as Magic and Alchemy, came to the heathen nations through the medium of fallen angels, who, during the violence of their love for particular women, would sometimes reveal to them doctrines and truths which could never otherwise have been conceived by their poets and philosophers. Petrarch, in a letter to Robert, King of Naples, says—The expectation which our faith presents was unknown to the heathen philosophers; but they felt that the soul was not to die. Pherecydes was the first among them who openly maintained it. Pherecydes most probably conceived his belief from old and vague traditions, confirmed by his own feelings and experience. Epicurus, continues Petrarch, was the only one who denied it. From Pherecydes it passed to Pythagoras, from Pythagoras to Socrates, from Socrates to Plato; and Cicero established this doctrine in his discourses on friendship, old age, and other parts of his works. The lives of all these philosophers, that of Socrates in particular, rather confirm than disprove the belief of the fathers respecting communications from a higher order of beings. Though like thin shades or air, they mock dull mortals’ sight. The discoveries effected by chemistry and natural philosophy, although they make apparent the fallacy of many superstitions, do not in the least disprove the existence of spiritual creatures. After hearing explained the nature of light and heat, and observing the effects produced by many common experiments, it is not difficult to conceive of beings, powerful, beautiful, and exquisitely organized; yet of a material so refined and subtle, as to elude the most perfect animal perception. The palace of the Gnome Tahathyam. In respect to the birth of Tahathyam and his court, I have followed the opinion of Tertullian and others. The beings, however, which are described in the text, can only be called Gnomes, 14910(3)r 149 from their residence in the earth, and their knowledge of mineralogy and gems. The Four dusky spirits, by a secret art,Taught by a father thoughtful of his wants; which Tahathyam kept in his immediate service, might have answered the description of the Compte de Gabalis. La terre est remplie presque jusqu’au centre de gnomes, gens de petites statures, gardiens des tresors, des mineraux, et des pierreries. Ceux ci sont ingénieux, amis de l’homme et faciles à commander. Les gnomides, leurs femmes, sont petites mais fort agréables et leur habit et fort curieux. Les gnomes et les sylphes sont mortels, mais cessent d’être mortel du moment qu’ils épousent une des nos filles. De la naquit l’erreur des premiers siècles, de Tertulien, du martyr Justin, de Lactance, de Cyprien de Clement d’Alexandrie, d’Anathagore philosophe ChétienChrétien et généralement des tous les ecrivains de ce tems là. Ils avoient apprisque ces demi-hommes elementaires avoient recherché le commerce des filles; et ils ont imaginé que la chute des anges n’êtoit venue que de l’amour dont ils s’êtoient laissés toucher pour les femmes. Quelques gnomes desireux de devinir immortels avoient vouluu gagner les bonnes graces des nos filles, et leur avoient apportées des pierreries dont ils sont gardiens naturels: et ces auteurs ont crû s’appuyans sur le livre d’Enoch mal-entendu, que c’etoiént des pièges que les anges amoureux avoient preparés pour mieux en assurer la conquite. Comte de Gabalis Though not immediately relative to the subject, I cannot forbear inserting the following curious account of Sylphs:— L’air est pleine d’une innombrable multitude de peuple de figure humaine, un peu fiers en aparence; mais dociles en effet: officieux aux sages, et ennemies de sots et des ignorans. Leurs femmes et leurs filles sont des beautés mâles telles qu’on depeint les amazones. Le même Had lightly left his pure and blissful home, To taste the blandishments of mortal love. In the book of Enoch, two hundred or more of such angels as Cephroniel are said to have descended on Mount Hermon, for the purpose of visiting women of whose beauty they had become enamoured. Tertullian regards this book as of sacred authority, as 15010(3)v 150 will be seen in the article, De Habitu Muliebri; but some of the other fathers are disinclined to believe it. The reptiles, in their fearful beauty, drew As if from love, like steeds of Araby;— Like blood of lady’s lip their scarlet hue. The docility, and even affection of the serpent, is sufficiently known and attested. Some chemical arts might have been used, to give the scales of these their scarlet colour, surrounded as they were by beings of such exquisite skill. Litte serpents, however, of a bright glossy scarlet, are not uncommon in America, and (if the Count de Buffon, and his admirer and frequent translator, Dr. Goldsmith, are to be relied on) the snake, as long as it lives, continues to increase, having no fixed dimensions allotted to it, like other animals. These most pleasing writers (if I am not much mistaken) believe also that no particular bound is set to its vitality; and that it is capable of retaining life and youth so long as it can be preserved from accidents. The following account of the celebrated exploit of Prometheus, which M. de Lentier puts into the mouth of an old Grecian or Assyrian mariner, may not be unentertaining. Prometheus having made a statue of clay, mixed it with levin of gall, flesh of the aspic, and foam of the lion. But the figure was still an insensible mass: Prometheus stole fire from the sun, and man was animated. Scarcely had he drawn a breath ere he complained to the gods of the fatal gift of life: pain was his first sensation. Jupiter, to console him and to mitigate his sufferings, gave him a drug that had the virtue of restoring youth. The man was delighted with the present, and placed it on an ass, for the purpose of conveying it to his own abode. The beast, tormented with thirst, stopped on his way at a fountain guarded by a serpent. The wicked reptile would not suffer him to drink, except on condition that the drug should, meanwhile, be left in its care. The ass consented, and the serpent kept the drug. From that time the serpent has had power to renew its youth, while poor human beings grow old without remedy. Bright Ramaöur followed on, in order meet, Then Nahalcoul and Zotzaraven, best Beloved, save Rouämasak, of perfume sweet; Then Talhazak and Marmorak. 151 10(4)r 151 These names are formed from Hebraic words, expressive of the various qualities and employments of the beings who bear them. Aishalat signifies fire-control; Psaämayim, black-water; Ramaöur, light-direct; Nahalcoul, guide-sound; Zotzaraven, shapespar; Rouämasak, mingle-air; Talhazak, dew-congeal; Marmorak, (partly Greek) marble-stain. Nothing can be more barbarous than Hebrew words, as they are pronounced in English. They are, however, much softer on the lips of Oriental speakers, or even those of the south of Europe. Some of the dialects of the Aborigines of America, though they look so repulsively, as we get them on paper, are soft as the murmur of the forest, when spoken by forest orators. Where is the bright Cephroniel? Spirit, tell But how he fares. Tahathyam has never seen his father since first established in his submarine kingdom, and knows not whether he has been received again into heaven, or remains still wandering about in a state of punishment. The crimes of those angels made guilty only by their intercourse with mortals, were supposed to have been punished less severely, that those of the subordinates of the prince of Ambition. That baffling, maddening, fascinating art, Half told by Sprite most mischievous, that he Might laugh to see men toil, then not impart. Some alchemists still exist, who have not laid aside the hope of success in their labours. In Voltaire’s Life of Charles XII, is related the following circumstance:— A certain Livonian, who was an officer in the Saxon army, and named Paikel, was made prisoner by the troops of Charles, and condemned to be decapitated at Stockholm. Before the execution of his sentence he found means to inform the senate that he was in possesssion of the secret of making gold, which, on condition of pardon, he would communicate to the King. The experiment was made in prison, in presence of Colonel Hamilton and the magistrates of the city; the gold found in the crucible, after the experiment, was carried to the mint at Stockholm, and a judicial report made to the senate, which appeared so important, that the Queen-mother ordered the execution to be suspended until the King could be informed of so singular an event, and transmit his orders to Stockholm15210(4)v 152 holm. Charles answered, that he had refused the pardon of the criminal to his relations, and that he would never grant to interest what he had refused to friendship. After viewing the fable of Midas, in connexion with the belief of the fathers, it is not difficult to imagine that the secret of alchemy was actually imparted to that King by a fallen angel, who caused himself to be adored as the god Bacchus; and the disastrous consequences that must necessarily ensue, provided such an art could be obtained, are forcibly depicted in sufferings of Midas. Gold, like everything else not absolutely necessary to existence, would cease to be valued as soon as it became plenty; but nothing would, perhaps, occasion more dreadful immediate misery, than a possibility of procuring it easily. The secret of alchemy, even if it could be discovered, would bring with it nothing delightful; but it is pleasant to imagine a glimpse of possibility of discovering, sooner or later, the means of preserving mortal life beyond its present imperfect term. It has always seemed to me (whether any other person has thought the same, I know not,) that something in favor of this possibility may be inferred from a passage in the Mosaic account of the fall. The first pair are driven from the garden, lest, having tasted the tree of knowledge, they might pluck, also of the tree of life, and live for ever. Is this an allegory; or to what does this passage relate? The animals (says Father Jerom Dandini, in his voyage to Mount Libanus,) eat a certain herb, which causes their teeth to change to a golden colour. This herb Father Jerom thinks must proceed from mines under mount Ida. And Niebuhr mentions that the Eastern alchemists fancy their success would be certain, provided they could find out the herb which tinges the colour of the flesh of the sheep that eat it. In form of canopy was seen to fall The stony tapestry. There now exists, either in Virginia or some of the neighbouring country (I have no reference and do not recollect this in particular), a singularly beautiful grotto, called, by those who live around it, Wyer’s Cave. It contains several apartments, in some of which the concretions are said, by those who have seen them, to be spread over the sides and roof in the form of curtains and festoons. One of the chambers is extremely remarkable. It is commonly called the Lady’s Drawing-room; and on one side of it a crystalline 15310(5)r 153 projection is shown, which rings, at the touch, in such a manner that the person whose description I saw, fancied a skilful hand might draw music from it. Many curious and extensive caverns are found in the island of Cuba. One near the bay of Matanzas is often visited by strangers, but nobody has ventured to penetrate far. I visited one twenty miles distant from this, and not far from the estate San Patricio, which contained three apartments and a reservoir of water; being a great deal above the surface of the earth, on the side of a pleasant hill, it would not, in that climate, have been very uncomfortable as a residence. Some of the concretions had attained the shape of large and perfect columns; others were in the form of two acute pyramids or obelisks, one depending from the roof and the other rising from the floor. These were of a whitish colour; but though evening came on and we had two or three tapers, I could see nothing transparent or sparkling. This grotto is either on the Cafétal Teresa or the one adjoining it; the boundaries of both were covered with wood. There is another, deeper in the earth, about six or seven English miles from Matanzas, on the estate of Octavius Mitchell, Esq., from which I was shown specimens of spar the size and shape of a common quill, and clear like glass. Some beautiful concretions, or perhaps petrifactions, were also found there, which were said to bear some resemblance to groups of sculpture. These I did not see, but one was taken out and named the Twins of Latona 154 10(5)v
155 10(6)r

Canto the Fourth.

The Storm.

156 10(6)v

Argument.

The gloom that precedes a tempest near Carthage.—Zóphiël and Phraërion returning from the palace of Gnomes.—Zóphiël loses the piece of spar which contains his invaluable elixir, and narrowly escapes being sucked down by a whirlpool.—Zóphiël and Phraërion emerge from the sea, and rest a moment in the deserts nearest Carthage; they attempt to pursue their course toward Media.—The storm increases.—Zóphiël meets a spirit who detains and reproaches him.—Phraërion seeks shelter. Zóphiël and Phraërion return to Media.

157 10(7)r

Canto the Fourth.

The Storm.

I

Over that coast whither wrong’d Dido fled

From brother’s murderous hand, low vapours brood,

But all is hush’d; and reigns a calm as dread

As that fell Roman’s who, like wolf pursued, Caius Marius.

In aftertimes upon a fragment sate

Of ruined Carthage, his fierce eye at rest,

While hungry, cold, and spent, he mock’d at fate,

And fed on the revenge deep smouldering in his breast. And fed on the revenge deep smouldering in his breast. Caius Marius, musing over the ruins of Carthage, has been made the subject of a very good picture; and the author of that not very old Italian work, entitled Notti Romane, has entered with great effect into those feelings which the successor of Sylla probably acted under. If the characters of those who commit crimes could be analyzed, it would be found, perhaps invariably, that such persons are either too stupid to be sensible of what they do, or under some illusion of feeling or imagination which entirely conceals from them its atrocity. Nodrito dalla sola vendetta m’inoltrai sulla spiaggia peregrinando verso Minturno: ivi mi abbattei immantininte ne’ guerrieri Sillani miei indefessi persecutori. Mi gettai fra le onde a nuoto, e mi rivolei a due navi, non remote, per ricoverarmi in esse. Le gravi, provette, vaste, oppresse, mie membra faceano a stento quuell’ offizio, cosi che il sommergermi era imminente, lo udiva, intanto que’ sicarj dal lido far voti crudeli a Nettuno, ed a Nereo, perche mi traessero negli abbissi loro, et invocare i mostri voraci del mare; e schernire con ribalde parole quella mia trista ansietà. A me sospinto da continue sciagure, scacciato da ogni lido, era omai divenuto ogni terra inospitale, ogni mare tempestoso; e stetti muto contemplando la ruine della spenta Cartagine, come specchio della fortuna. Notti Romane Marius, soon after the scene depicted in this extract, returned to 174 11(7)v 174 Rome and (as he is made to express it in the same work) purged the city of its horrid ingratitude.

II

But now that city’s turrets frown on high;

And from her distant street is heard the shriek

Of frantic mothers, utter’d as they fly

From where with children’s blood their guilty altars reek. From where with children’s blood their guilty altars reek. The Carthaginians retained the custom of offering human sacrifices to their gods, till the destruction of their city. When Gelon of Syracuse gained a victory over them in Sicily, one of the articles of stipulation was that no more human lives should be sacrificed to Saturn. For (says Rollin) during the whole engage— ment, which lasted from morn till night, Hamilcar, the son of Hanno, was continually offering to the gods, sacrifices of living men, who were thrown on a flaming pile. Seeing his troops put to flight, Hamilcar threw himself upon the same pile, and received, after his death, divine honours. Mothers (according to Plutarch and Tertullian,) threw their children into the sacrificial flames; and the least indication of pity or sorrow, would have been punished in them as impious. According to the belief of the fathers, it must have been the princely instigator of the rebellion in heaven who caused himself to be adored as the god Belus or Saturn, whose altars were continually glowing with the blood and flames of human sacrifices. Those angels who fell from the thirst of power must have beem the authors of all cruelty. The seraphic offenders were only voluptuous. The angel presiding over licentious love is sometimes forcibly alluded to in Les Martyrs of M. de Chateaubriand.

158 10(7)v 158

III

But far, far off, upon the sea’s expanse, But far, far off upon the sea’s expanse, The very silence has a shriek of fear. In the suspense and stillness which precedes a storm on or near the ocean, or any other vast extent of water, there is an effect produced on the feeling of some persons, as if a shriek were really uttered in the distance. This effect was probably attributed, by such of the ancients as observed it, to their sea-gods or nymphs. Christian fathers or Jewish rabbins must have supposed it to proceed from those angels which, according to the books of the latter, preside over the elements.

The very silence has a shriek of fear;

And, ’cross the sight, thick shadows seem to glance;

And sounds like laughter ring, yet leave the ear

In racking doubt if it has heard such peal,

Or if ’twas but affrighted fancy spoke:

Past that suspense, and, lesser pain to feel,

As giant rends his chains the bursting tempest woke.

IV

Alas! for the poor pilot at his prow,

Far from the haven! Will his Neptune save?

The muse no longer hears his frantic vow,

But follows her fair Sprites still deep beneath the wave.

V

Soon through the cavern, the receding light

Refused its beam; Zóphiël, with toil severe,

But bliss in view, through the thrice murky night,

Sped swiftly on. A treasure now more dear

He had to guard than boldest hope had dared

To breathe for years; but rougher grew the way;

And soft Phraërion, shrinking back and scared

At every whirling depth, wept for his flowers and day.

159 10(8)r 159

Shivered, and pained, and shrieking, as the waves

Wildly impel them ’gainst the jutting rocks;

Not all the care and strength of Zóphiël saves

His tender guide from half the wildering shocks

He bore. The calm, which favoured their descent,

And bade them look upon their task as o’er,

Was past; and now the inmost earth seem’d rent

With such fierce storms as never raged before.

VI

Of a long mortal life had the whole pain

Essenced in one consummate pang, been borne,

Known, and survived; it still would be in vain

To try to paint the pains felt by these Sprites forlorn.

VII

The power that made, intending them for bliss,

And gave their thrilling organs but to bless,

Had they been form’d for such a word like this,

Had kindly dull’d their powers and made their tortures less.

VIII

The precious drop closed in its hollow spar,

Between his lips Zóphiël in triumph bore.

Now, earth and sea seem shaken! Dashed afar

He feels it part;—’tis dropt;—the waters roar.

160 10(8)v 160

IX

He sees it in a sable vortex whirling,

Form’d by a cavern vast, that ’neath the sea,

Sucks the fierce torrent in; and madly furling

His wings would plunge; one moment more and he

Suck’d down, in earth’s dark womb must wait eternity.

X

Pursue no farther! stop! alas! for me,

If not thyself! Phraërion’s shrieks accost

Him thus, Who, Zóphiël, shall protect for thee

The maid thou lov’st? Hear! stop! or all are lost.

XI

The verge, the verge is near, Must such a state,

Seraph, be thine? No! sank the spar within,

But the shrill warning reached him through the din

Of waves: back, back, he struggles, ere too late,

And the whole horror of the avoided fate

Shot through his soul. The wages of his sin

He felt, for once, were light, and clasp’d his shrieking mate,

XII

Who thus entreats, Up! to earth’s pleasant fields!

Oh, Zóphiël, all this torture’s for thy pleasure!

Twined in his arms, the baffled Seraph yields,

And flies the hungry depth that gorged his dearest treasure.

161 11(1)r 161

XIII

What added torment—gained; then snatched away—

Prest to his heart—and then, to feel it riven

From heart and hand, while bearing it to day

With joy complete as if recalled to heaven!

XIV

That which, to own was perfect transport, lost;

Yet still (to urge a dangerous course contending

And the fierce passions which his bosom crost

For pity, or some other hope, suspending;)

Resisting all, he forced a desperate way;

His gentle phère with plaints no longer vain,

Clung closer to his neck; nor ceased to pray

To be restored to sun and flowers again.

XV

Thus all entwined they rose again to air,

Near Lybia’s coast. Black clouds, in mass deform,

Were frowning; yet a moment’s calm was there,

As it had stopp’d to breathe awhile the storm.

XVI

Their white feet pressed the desert sod; they shook

From their bright locks the briny drops; nor stayed

Zóphiël on ills, present or past, to look;

For, weary as he was, his lonely maid

11 162 11(1)v 162

Came to his ardent soul in all her charms;

Unguarded she, what being might molest

Even now? his chill’d and wounded substance warms

But at the thought; the while he thus addrest

The shivering Sprite of flowers: The shivering Sprite of flowers. According to the Hebraic writings, nothing animate or inanimate exists throughout all nature, without a particular angel to protect and take care of it. 175 11(8)r 175 Archangelos et angelos, quibus cura committitur Regnorum, provinciarum, Nationum, principium, et particularium personarum; quæritur igitur, num etiam animalia bruta, et res insensibiles, id est lapides, et elementa atque etiam vegetabilia habeant proprios Angelos ad sui custodiam destinatos? Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica;— Bartoloccii This, whether true or false, is much more delightful than the belief or knowledge that everything depends on material laws. The Greeks had a nymph for every tree; and their religion was a mere alteration of those of the more oriental and ancient nations. The idea of the Elysian fields was, it has been supposed, conceived by Orpheus after a glance at the vast subterranean abodes of the priests of Egypt, who, as is usual, converted those sublime truths conveyed to them, according to the faith of the fathers, by erring but celestial intelligences, to purposes of the grossest fraud and cruelty. We must not stay;

All is but desolation here, and gloom:

Up! let us through the air, nor more delay;

Nay, droop not now; a little more essay,

I’ll bear thee forward to thy bower of bloom,

And on thy roses lay thee down to rest.

Come through the desert! banquet on thy store

Of dews and sweets. Come, warm thee at my breast!

On! through the air, nor think of danger more.

XVII

As grateful for the service thou hast done

I live, though lost the object of our task,

As if were still possessed the treasure won;

And all thou wouldst of Zóphiël, freely ask.

XVIII

The Gnome, the secret path, the draught divine,

I know: Tahathyam sighs, beneath the wave,

For mortal bride; valour and skill are mine;

He may again bestow what once he gave.

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XIX

Thus, Zóphiël, renovated, through the air

Was thick and dull, with just enough of hope

To save him from the stupor of despair,

Too much disdain’d the pains he felt, to droop.

XX

But soft Phraërion, smarting from his toil,

To buffet not a tempest was in plight;

And Egla’s lover saw him shrink, recoil,

And beg some nearer shelter for the night;

For now the tempest, bursting in its might,

Raged fiercely round, and made him fain to rest

In cave or tomb. But Zóphiël gently caught him,

Sustain’d him firmly at his fearless breast,

And twixt Euphrates and the Tigris brought him.

XXI

Then paused a moment o’er a desert drear,

Until the thunder-clouds around him burst;

His flights renewed, and wished for Media near;

But stronger grows the gale: what Sprites accurst

Ride on the tempest? Warring elements

Might not alone such ardent course impede;

The wretched Spirit from his speed relents

With sense like mortal bosom, when they bleed.

164 11(2)v 164

XXII

Loud and more loud the blast; in mingled gyre,

Flew leaves and stones; and with a deafening crash

Fell the uprooted trees; heaven seemed on fire—

Not, as ’tis wont, with intermitting flash, Not, as ’tis wont, with intermitting flash, But, like an ocean, all of liquid flame. This is but a simple description of the appearance of the sky for several minutes during a storm which happened (on the island where the verses of the text were written) either in the year 18231823 or 18241824. I lay under a transparent mosquito-net listening to the pleasing noise made by the trees and shrubs around the principal dwelling of the Cafétal San Patricio, and watching the flashes of lightning that darted through the green blinds of an unglazed window. It was about midnight when the loudness of the thunderpeals increased, and the flashes became more continued than any I had ever seen. A crash was soon heard from without, and the whole room seemed deluged, as it were, with flame. Thinking the building on fire I arose, and succeeded in waking a negress, who still slept soundly by the door of my apartment. Going into the hall, and getting a window open which looked into a broad piazza, I was surprised to see it occupied by those fierce dogs which were accustomed to be let loose at ten or eleven o’clock at night, in order that they might prowl about till sunrise and guard the plantation. They had sought shelter from the elements, and as they ran in a distressed manner from one side of the piazza to the other, it seemed as if they moved in fire; for the whole firmament continued to be, at long intervals, like a vast sea 17611(8)v 176 of light. Some glazed windows on the slant roof of the building were torn from their hinges and whirled over the secaderos, Secaderos are made of plaster, in the manner of broad platforms, rising a little, however, in the centre, and formed with many divisions and conduits for the rain which is retained in cisterns beneath them. On these, the red and sweet-smelling coffee berries are dried. and the rain then descended in cataracts. The sun rose brightly the next morning, and the scene, though rather sad, was delightful. The Bermuda-grass plats were strown with leaves, twigs, and broken flowers; and numbers of those black birds which the Spanish inhabitants of the island call judeos, were hovering over a dark clump of bamboos which had been torn up by the roots, and uttering the most piteous cries; for many of them were unable to find again their nests constructed amidst the almost impervious foliage of those vast and beautiful reeds which now lay prostrate. The palm thatching was torn from some of the out-houses of San Patricio. One mansion on a neighbouring estate (belonging to Don José Martinez) was taken by the tempest from an insecure foundation and set in another place; one estate, several leagues distant and near a river, was deluged, but no human lives, that I heard of, were lost.

But, like an ocean all of liquid flame,

The whole broad arch gave one continuous glare,

While through the red light from their prowlings came,

The frightened beasts, and ran, but could not find a lair.

XXIII

Rest, Zóphiël, rest! Phraërion cries: the surge

Was lesser pain; I cannot bear it more!

Beaten in seas so long we but emerge

To meet a fiercer conflict on the shore!

XXIV

Then Zóphiël: There’s a little grot on high,

The wild doves nestle there: it is secure;

To Ecbatane, but for an hour, I’ll fly,

And come for thee at morn: no more endure.

XXV

Nay—wilt not leave me? then I’ll bear thee through

As lately through the whirling floods I bore.

Still closer clingling to his bosom grew

The tender sprite: Then bear—I can no more.

165 11(3)r 165

XXVI

He said, and came a shock, as if the earth

Crash’d ’gainst some other planet; shivered brands

Whirl round their heads; and (shame upon their birth!)

Both Sprites lay mazed and prostrate on the sands.

XXVII

The delicate Phraërion sought a cave

Low browed; and crouching down mid trailing snakes,

And slimy worms (things that would hide to save

Their loathsome lives) hearkens the roar and quakes.

XXVIII

But Zóphiël, stung with shame, and in a mood

Too fierce for fear, uprose; yet ere for flight

Served his torn wings a form before him stood

In gloomy majesty. Like starless night

A sable mantle fell in cloudy fold A sable mantle fell in cloudy fold From its stupendous breast. That many of the angels were of a larger stature than that of men, appears to have been believed by the oriental nations. Asrael, or Azaraël, who assisted in forming the first man, was, according to Rabadan the Morisco, noticed particularly by the Creator on account of his uncommon stature. Herodotus relates that Xerxes while yet undecided upon carrrying the war into Greece, was warmly dissuaded from his design by his brother Artabanes; falling asleep, soon after, he saw, in a dream, a man of uncommon stature and beauty, who urged him on to the undertaking. This, Calmet supposes, must have been some angel or spirit who sought his destruction. It is said of Apollonius Tyaneus, that coming to the tomb of Achilles he raised his manes, and begged that the figure of the hero might appear to him; whereupon a phantom appeared like a young 17712(1)r 177 man, seven feet and a half high; which soon increased to twelve cubits, and assumed an extraordinary beauty. The whole, however, proved to be the work of a dæmon which Apollonius had power over. The incident is introduced by Byron in The Deformed Transformed.

From its stupendous breast; and as it trod

The pale and lurid light, at distance rolled

Before its princely feet receding on the sod.

XXIX

’Twas still as death; save that the thunder spoke

In mutterings low and far; a look severe

Seemed as precluding speech; but Zóphiël broke

The silence first: Why, Spirit, art thou here?

166 11(3)v 166

XXX

It waved its hand, and instantaneous came

A hissing bolt with new impetus back;

Darts round a group of verdant palms the flame;

That being pointed to them, blasted black.

XXXI

Oh! source of all my guilt! at such an hour,

(the mortal-lover said) thine answer there

I need not read: too well I know thy power

In all I’ve felt and feel. But has despair,

Or grief, or torment, e’er made Zóphiël bow?

Declare me that, nor spend thine arts in vain

To torture more: if, like a miscreant, now

I bend to thee, ’tis not for dread of pain;

That I can bear: yet, bid thy legions cease

Their strife. Oh! spare me this resistance rude

But for an hour! let me but on in peace;

So shall I taste the joy of gratitude,

Even to thee.The joy? then first with scorn

Replied that sombre being: dream’st thou still

Of joy? a thing accursed, demean’d, forlorn,

As thou art? Is’t for joy thou mock’st my will?

167 11(4)r 167

Canst thou taste pleasure? banish’d, crush’d, debased.

I can, betrayer! dost thou envy me?

But leave me to my wrongs, and I can taste

Ev’n yet of heaven, spite of my fall and thee.

XXXII

But that affects not thee: thine insults spare

But for an hour; leave me to go at will

Only till morn, and I will back and bear

Whate’er thou wilt. What dost obstruct me still?

Thine armies dim, and shrouded in the storm

Then I must meet; and weary thus, and torn,

Essay the force of an immortal arm.

Lone as I am, until another morn

Shall shame both them and thee to thine abode.

There, on the steam of human heart-blood spilt There, on the steam of human heart-blood spilt By priest or murderer make repast. Those evil spirits or angels who caused themselves to be adored as deities, were said to subsist (according to M. de Fontenelle, who gives authority for all that he asserts,) Leurs corps aëriens se nourissent de fumigations de sang répandu et de la graisse de sacrifices. Histoire des Oracles on the smoke of sacrifices. One is almost induced to believe, with the earlier Christians, that dæmons really inhabited those temples where so much human blood was spilt. It is far more shocking to suppose that so horrid an expedient could have been invented by one’s fellow-mortals for the purposes of deception or interest.

By priest or murderer, make repast; or brood

Over the vile creations of thy guilt. Over the vile creations of thy guilt. It is not impossible that some of the angels who assisted at the creation (as is believed by all very ancient nations) might after the fall have amused themselves with making those noisome and disgusting reptiles and animalculæ which can but startle one’s belief in the beneficence of the being who formed them.

XXXIII

Waste thy life-giving power on reptiles foul; Waste thy life-giving power on reptiles foul. Life, it is supposed, may exist without the slightest mixture of soul, as is the case with many marine animals. Some chemists, in the enthusiasm of their successes, have imagined that even human life was kept up by a mechanical process carried on in the lungs. This, granting it for a moment to be true, does not in the least detract from the power or bounty of the great Creator and fountain of soul, for of what value is any animated form unless ennobled by a breath or emanation from him? After receiving it as truth that such beings as good and evil angels exist, one may reasonably suppose them in possession of many arts and much science, which men, from the shortness of their lives, have been unable to attain.

Slow, slimy worms, and poisonous snakes; then watch,

Like the poor brutes that, here, for hunger prowl,

To mar the beauty that thou canst not match!

168 11(4)v 168

XXXIV

Thus he: the other folded o’er its breast

Its arms, and stood as cold and firm the while,

As if no passion stirr’d; save that express’d

Its pale, pale lip, a faint ferocious smile.

XXXV

While, blent with winds, ten thousand agents wage While, blent with winds, ten thousand agents wage Anew the strife. Many passages in the writings of both Jews and Christians occur to justify this. It must, however, have been some inferior angel, who (according to the continually quoted belief of the fathers) was worshipped as the god Æolus. The prince of the powers of the air himself must have been sufficiently employed in feasting on the exhalations of the blood of his numerous sacrifices. The god Mars, to preserve the same system entire, must have been also one of his subordinates. The field of battle, therefore, together with the hearts that quivered on altars both in the old and new world, must have made his banquets long and frequent.

Anew the strife, and Zóphiël, fain to fly,

But foil’d, gave up to unavailing rage,

And strove, and toil’d, and strove, but could not mount on high.

XXXVI

Then thus the torturer: Hie thee to the bed

Of her thou lov’st; pursue thy dear design;

Go dew the golden ringlets of her head!

Thou wait’st not, sure, for any power of mine.

XXXVII

Yet better were the duties, Spirit dull,

Of thine allegiance! Win her o’er to me,

Take all thou canst,—a pleasure brief but full,

Vain dreamer, if not mine, she’s lost to thee.

XXXVIII

Wilt thou then hurt her? Why am I detain’d?

Oh, strength! once serving ’gainst the powers above,

Where art thou now? Thus Zóphiël; and he strain’d

His wounded wings to mount, but could not move.

169 11(5)r 169

XXXIX

Then thus the scorner: Nay, be calm! I’ll still

The storm for thee: hear! it recedes—’tis ended.

Yet, if thou dreams’t success awaits thee, ill

Dost thou conceive of boundless power offended.

XL

Zóphiël, bland sprite, sublime intelligence,

Once chosen for my friend and worthy me;

Not so wouldst thou have labour’d to be hence,

Had my emprise be crowned with victory.

XLI

When I was bright in heaven, thy seraph eyes

Sought only mine. But he who every power

Beside, while hope allured him, could despise,

Changed and forsook me, in misfortune’s hour.

XLII

Changed and forsook thee? this from thee to me?

Once noble Spirit! Oh! had not too much

My o’erfond heart adored thy fallacy,

I had not, now, been here to bear thy keen reproach;

XLIII

Zóphiël replied: Fallen, wretched, and debased,

E’en to thy scornful words extent, my doom

Too well I know, and for what cause displaced;

But not from thee should the remembrance come.

170 11(5)v 170

XLIV

Forsook thee in misfortune? at thy side

I closer fought as peril thicken’d round,

Watched o’er thee fallen: the light of heaven denied,

But proved my love more fervent and profound.

XLV

Prone as thou wert, had I been mortal-borne,

And own’d as many lives as leaves there be,

From all Hyrcania by his tempest torn

I had lost them, one by one, and given the last for thee.

XLVI

Pain had a joy, for suffering could but wring

Love from my soul, to gild the murky air

Of our first rude retreat; while I, fond thing!

Still thought thee true and smiled upon depair.

XLVII/

Oh! had thy plighted pact of faith been kept,

Still unaccomplish’d were the curse of sin;

Mid all the woes thy ruin’d followers wept,

Had friendship lingered, hell could not have been.

XLVIII

But when, to make me thy first minister

Came the proposal; when the purpose burst

Forth from thy heart’s black den disclosed and bare,

Then first I felt alone, and knew myself accurst.

171 11(6)r 171

Though the first seraph form’d, how could I tell Though the first seraph formed, how could I tell The ways of guile? The angels are supposed to have been created at different periods; they were endowed with different capacities, and had different employments assigned to them. Cùm enim soli Angeli supremæ hierarchiæ immediaté illuminentur à Deo, illi soli dicuntur assistere Deo; cæteri aliarum hierarchiarum, ministrantes Angeli nominantur. Itaque tam illi, quam isti sunt fere infiniti. Bibliotheca Magna Hebraico, Bartoloccii

The ways of guile? What marvel I believed,

When cold ambition mimick’d love so well,

That half the sons of heaven looked on deceived?

XLIX

Ambition thine; to me the Eternal gave

So much of love his kind design was crost:

Held to thy heart I thought thee good as brave,

Nor realized my guilt till all was lost.

L

Now, writhing at my utmost need, how vain

Are Zóphiël’s tears and prayers! Alas! heaven-born,

Of all heaven’s virtues, doth not one remain?

Pity me once, and let me now begone!

LI

Go! said the cold detainer, with a smile

That heighten’d cruelty: yet know, from me,

Thy foolish hopes but lure thee on awhile

To wake thy sense to keener misery.

LII

Oh! skill’d to torment! spare me, spare me now!

Chill’d by a dread foreboding, Zóphiël said:

But little time doth waning night allow.

He knelt; he wept; calm grew the winds; he fled.

172 11(6)v 172

LIII

The clouds disperse; his heavenly voice he sent

In whispers through the caves; Phraërion there.

In covert loathed, to that low music lent

His soft quick ear and sprang to join his phère,

LIV

Soon through the desert, on their airy way,

Mantled in dewy mists the Spirits prest,

And reached fair Media ere the twilight grey

Recall’d the rose’s lover to his nest.

LV

But on the Tygris’ winding banks, though night

Still lingers round, two early mortals greet

The first faint gleam with prayer; and bathed and dight

As travellers came forth. The morn rose sweet,

And rushing by them as the Spirits past,

In tinted vapours, while the pale star sets;

The younger asked, Whence are these ordoursodours cast,

The breeze has waked from beds of violets?

173 11(7)r

Notes to Canto the Fourth

And fed on the revenge deep smouldering in his breast. Caius Marius, musing over the ruins of Carthage, has been made the subject of a very good picture; and the author of that not very old Italian work, entitled Notti Romane, has entered with great effect into those feelings which the successor of Sylla probably acted under. If the characters of those who commit crimes could be analyzed, it would be found, perhaps invariably, that such persons are either too stupid to be sensible of what they do, or under some illusion of feeling or imagination which entirely conceals from them its atrocity. Nodrito dalla sola vendetta m’inoltrai sulla spiaggia peregrinando verso Minturno: ivi mi abbattei immantininte ne’ guerrieri Sillani miei indefessi persecutori. Mi gettai fra le onde a nuoto, e mi rivolei a due navi, non remote, per ricoverarmi in esse. Le gravi, provette, vaste, oppresse, mie membra faceano a stento quuell’ offizio, cosi che il sommergermi era imminente, lo udiva, intanto que’ sicarj dal lido far voti crudeli a Nettuno, ed a Nereo, perche mi traessero negli abbissi loro, et invocare i mostri voraci del mare; e schernire con ribalde parole quella mia trista ansietà. A me sospinto da continue sciagure, scacciato da ogni lido, era omai divenuto ogni terra inospitale, ogni mare tempestoso; e stetti muto contemplando la ruine della spenta Cartagine, come specchio della fortuna. Notti Romane Marius, soon after the scene depicted in this extract, returned to 174 11(7)v 174 Rome and (as he is made to express it in the same work) purged the city of its horrid ingratitude. From where with children’s blood their guilty altars reek. The Carthaginians retained the custom of offering human sacrifices to their gods, till the destruction of their city. When Gelon of Syracuse gained a victory over them in Sicily, one of the articles of stipulation was that no more human lives should be sacrificed to Saturn. For (says Rollin) during the whole engage— ment, which lasted from morn till night, Hamilcar, the son of Hanno, was continually offering to the gods, sacrifices of living men, who were thrown on a flaming pile. Seeing his troops put to flight, Hamilcar threw himself upon the same pile, and received, after his death, divine honours. Mothers (according to Plutarch and Tertullian,) threw their children into the sacrificial flames; and the least indication of pity or sorrow, would have been punished in them as impious. According to the belief of the fathers, it must have been the princely instigator of the rebellion in heaven who caused himself to be adored as the god Belus or Saturn, whose altars were continually glowing with the blood and flames of human sacrifices. Those angels who fell from the thirst of power must have beem the authors of all cruelty. The seraphic offenders were only voluptuous. The angel presiding over licentious love is sometimes forcibly alluded to in Les Martyrs of M. de Chateaubriand. But far, far off upon the sea’s expanse, The very silence has a shriek of fear. In the suspense and stillness which precedes a storm on or near the ocean, or any other vast extent of water, there is an effect produced on the feeling of some persons, as if a shriek were really uttered in the distance. This effect was probably attributed, by such of the ancients as observed it, to their sea-gods or nymphs. Christian fathers or Jewish rabbins must have supposed it to proceed from those angels which, according to the books of the latter, preside over the elements. The shivering Sprite of flowers. According to the Hebraic writings, nothing animate or inanimate exists throughout all nature, without a particular angel to protect and take care of it. 175 11(8)r 175 Archangelos et angelos, quibus cura committitur Regnorum, provinciarum, Nationum, principium, et particularium personarum; quæritur igitur, num etiam animalia bruta, et res insensibiles, id est lapides, et elementa atque etiam vegetabilia habeant proprios Angelos ad sui custodiam destinatos? Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica;— Bartoloccii This, whether true or false, is much more delightful than the belief or knowledge that everything depends on material laws. The Greeks had a nymph for every tree; and their religion was a mere alteration of those of the more oriental and ancient nations. The idea of the Elysian fields was, it has been supposed, conceived by Orpheus after a glance at the vast subterranean abodes of the priests of Egypt, who, as is usual, converted those sublime truths conveyed to them, according to the faith of the fathers, by erring but celestial intelligences, to purposes of the grossest fraud and cruelty. Not, as ’tis wont, with intermitting flash, But, like an ocean, all of liquid flame. This is but a simple description of the appearance of the sky for several minutes during a storm which happened (on the island where the verses of the text were written) either in the year 18231823 or 18241824. I lay under a transparent mosquito-net listening to the pleasing noise made by the trees and shrubs around the principal dwelling of the Cafétal San Patricio, and watching the flashes of lightning that darted through the green blinds of an unglazed window. It was about midnight when the loudness of the thunderpeals increased, and the flashes became more continued than any I had ever seen. A crash was soon heard from without, and the whole room seemed deluged, as it were, with flame. Thinking the building on fire I arose, and succeeded in waking a negress, who still slept soundly by the door of my apartment. Going into the hall, and getting a window open which looked into a broad piazza, I was surprised to see it occupied by those fierce dogs which were accustomed to be let loose at ten or eleven o’clock at night, in order that they might prowl about till sunrise and guard the plantation. They had sought shelter from the elements, and as they ran in a distressed manner from one side of the piazza to the other, it seemed as if they moved in fire; for the whole firmament continued to be, at long intervals, like a vast sea 17611(8)v 176 of light. Some glazed windows on the slant roof of the building were torn from their hinges and whirled over the secaderos, Secaderos are made of plaster, in the manner of broad platforms, rising a little, however, in the centre, and formed with many divisions and conduits for the rain which is retained in cisterns beneath them. On these, the red and sweet-smelling coffee berries are dried. and the rain then descended in cataracts. The sun rose brightly the next morning, and the scene, though rather sad, was delightful. The Bermuda-grass plats were strown with leaves, twigs, and broken flowers; and numbers of those black birds which the Spanish inhabitants of the island call judeos, were hovering over a dark clump of bamboos which had been torn up by the roots, and uttering the most piteous cries; for many of them were unable to find again their nests constructed amidst the almost impervious foliage of those vast and beautiful reeds which now lay prostrate. The palm thatching was torn from some of the out-houses of San Patricio. One mansion on a neighbouring estate (belonging to Don José Martinez) was taken by the tempest from an insecure foundation and set in another place; one estate, several leagues distant and near a river, was deluged, but no human lives, that I heard of, were lost. A sable mantle fell in cloudy fold From its stupendous breast. That many of the angels were of a larger stature than that of men, appears to have been believed by the oriental nations. Asrael, or Azaraël, who assisted in forming the first man, was, according to Rabadan the Morisco, noticed particularly by the Creator on account of his uncommon stature. Herodotus relates that Xerxes while yet undecided upon carrrying the war into Greece, was warmly dissuaded from his design by his brother Artabanes; falling asleep, soon after, he saw, in a dream, a man of uncommon stature and beauty, who urged him on to the undertaking. This, Calmet supposes, must have been some angel or spirit who sought his destruction. It is said of Apollonius Tyaneus, that coming to the tomb of Achilles he raised his manes, and begged that the figure of the hero might appear to him; whereupon a phantom appeared like a young 17712(1)r 177 man, seven feet and a half high; which soon increased to twelve cubits, and assumed an extraordinary beauty. The whole, however, proved to be the work of a dæmon which Apollonius had power over. The incident is introduced by Byron in The Deformed Transformed. There, on the steam of human heart-blood spilt By priest or murderer make repast. Those evil spirits or angels who caused themselves to be adored as deities, were said to subsist (according to M. de Fontenelle, who gives authority for all that he asserts,) Leurs corps aëriens se nourissent de fumigations de sang répandu et de la graisse de sacrifices. Histoire des Oracles on the smoke of sacrifices. One is almost induced to believe, with the earlier Christians, that dæmons really inhabited those temples where so much human blood was spilt. It is far more shocking to suppose that so horrid an expedient could have been invented by one’s fellow-mortals for the purposes of deception or interest. Over the vile creations of thy guilt. It is not impossible that some of the angels who assisted at the creation (as is believed by all very ancient nations) might after the fall have amused themselves with making those noisome and disgusting reptiles and animalculæ which can but startle one’s belief in the beneficence of the being who formed them. Waste thy life-giving power on reptiles foul. Life, it is supposed, may exist without the slightest mixture of soul, as is the case with many marine animals. Some chemists, in the enthusiasm of their successes, have imagined that even human life was kept up by a mechanical process carried on in the lungs. This, granting it for a moment to be true, does not in the least detract from the power or bounty of the great Creator and fountain of soul, for of what value is any animated form unless ennobled by a breath or emanation from him? After receiving it as truth that such beings as good and evil angels exist, one may reasonably suppose them in possession of many arts and much science, which men, from the shortness of their lives, have been unable to attain. 12 178 12(1)v 178 While, blent with winds, ten thousand agents wage Anew the strife. Many passages in the writings of both Jews and Christians occur to justify this. It must, however, have been some inferior angel, who (according to the continually quoted belief of the fathers) was worshipped as the god Æolus. The prince of the powers of the air himself must have been sufficiently employed in feasting on the exhalations of the blood of his numerous sacrifices. The god Mars, to preserve the same system entire, must have been also one of his subordinates. The field of battle, therefore, together with the hearts that quivered on altars both in the old and new world, must have made his banquets long and frequent. Though the first seraph formed, how could I tell The ways of guile? The angels are supposed to have been created at different periods; they were endowed with different capacities, and had different employments assigned to them. Cùm enim soli Angeli supremæ hierarchiæ immediaté illuminentur à Deo, illi soli dicuntur assistere Deo; cæteri aliarum hierarchiarum, ministrantes Angeli nominantur. Itaque tam illi, quam isti sunt fere infiniti. Bibliotheca Magna Hebraico, Bartoloccii
179 12(2)r

Canto the Fifth.

Zameïa.

180 12(2)v

Argument.

Morning.—Helon and Hariph travelling along the banks of the Tigris.—Helon is sorrowful, in consequence of a dream of the preceding night; receives a box from Hariph.—Helon and Hariph see the Princess Zameïa.—Neantes relates the story of Zameïa; her appearance in the temple of Mylitta; her love for Meles; the falsehood and dereliction of Meles; her sufferings; her escape from the garden of Imlec.

181 12(3)r

Canto the Fifth.

Zameïa.

I

How beauteous art thou, O thou morning sun?—

The old man, feebly tottering forth, admires

As much thy beauty, now life’s dream is done,

As when he moved exulting in his fires.

II

The infant strains his little arms to catch

The rays that glance about his silken hair;

And Luxury hangs her amber lamps, to match

Thy face, when turned away from bower and palace fair.

III

Sweet to the lip, the draught, the blushing fruit;

Music and perfumes mingle with the soul;

How thrills the kiss, when feeling’s voice is mute!

And light and beauty’s tints enhance the whole.

182 12(3)v 182

IV

Yet each keen sense were dulness but for thee;

Thy ray to joy, love, virtue, genius, warms;

Thou never weariest: no inconstancy

But comes to pay new homage to thy charms.

V

How many lips have sung thy praise, how long!

Yet, when his slumbering harp he feels thee woo,

The pleasured bard pours fourthforth another song,

And finds in thee, like love, a theme for ever new.

VI

Thy dark-eyed daughters come in beauty forth

In thy near realms; and, like their snow-wreaths fair,

The bright-hair’d youths and maidens of the North

Smile in thy colours when thou art not there.

VII

’Tis there thou bid’st a deeper ardour glow, ’Tis there thou bidst a deeper ardor glow. It has been generally believed that the cold in clime are cold in blood, but this on examination would, I am convinced, be found physically untrue; at least, in those climates near the equator. It is here that most cold-blooded animals, such as the tortoise, the serpent, and various tribes of beautiful insects, are found in the greatest perfection. Fewer instances of delirium or suicide, occasioned by the passion of love, would, perhaps, be found within the tropics than in the other divisions of the earth. Nature, in the colder regions, appears to have given an innate warmth and energy proportionate to those efforts, which the severity of the elements and the numerous wants which they create, keep continually in demand. Those who live, as it were, under the immediate protection of the sun, have little need of internal fires. Their blood is cool and thin; and living where everything is soft and flattering to the senses, it is not surprising that their thoughts seldom wander far beyond what their bright eyes can look upon. Though sometimes subject to violent fits of jealousy, those generally pass off without leaving much regret or unhappiness behind, and any other object falling in their way (for they would not go far to seek it) would very soon become just as valuable to them as the one lost. Such of them as are constant are rather so from indolence, than from any depth of sentiment or conviction of excellence. The man who reflects (says Rousseau) is a monster out of the order of nature. The natives of all tropical regions might be 21414(3)v 214 brought forward in proof of his assertion: they never look at remote results, or enter into refined speculations; and yet, are undoubtedly, less unhappy than any other of the inhabitants of earth.

And higher, purer reveries completest;

As drops that farthest from the ocean flow,

Refining all the way, from springs the sweetest.

VIII

Haply, sometimes, spent with the sleepless night,

Some wretch impassion’d, from sweet morning’s breath,

Turns his hot brow and sickens at thy light;

But Nature, ever kind, soon heals or gives him death.

183 12(4)r 183

IX

Fair sun, no goodlier shape thy smiles this morn

Caress’d than Helon’s, as he came from far;

A broidered scarf for girdle, closely drawn,

And sandals on his feet, like Parthian messenger.

X

The youth’s brown ringlets in the loving beam

Hung changeful, bright, and crisp; his neck, his bust

Have thousand beauties, all their own, and seem

Not only moulded to proportion just,

But all his form, slightly attenuate,

As best bespeaks activity, exprest

Something unseen; as if might emanate,

Excess of soul through the material breast, Excess of soul through the material blast. I have never observed this effect except in very few instances, and those were of persons neither brilliant for their attainments nor (with one exception) remarkable for external beauty. They were, however, possessed of the most excellent dispositions, and it was impossible to converse with them without being sensible of something which could be felt and almost seen—a sort of emanation.

That heaved and panted ’neath his garment blue,

(Which fell but to the knee) and, all about,

A warmth—a mystic charm—seemed breathing through A warmth—a mystic charm—seemed breathing through Each viewless pore, and circling him without. This is but a copy from the life; and the original of it was so uneducated as to be scarcely tolerable; he had made, however, the most generous sacrifices for his friends and relatives; and it was impossible to be near and look at him, while speaking, without perceiving all attempted to be described in the text.

Each viewless pore, and circling him without.

XI

His youthful cheek was bronzed; and though his eye

Was of no vaunted hue, successive came

Of war and chase the quick variety;

But oftener tenderness lent there her gentlest flame.

184 12(4)v 184

XII

His sinewy arms were bare, and at his back

A bow and quiver held their airy place;

Like some young hunter in the tiger’s track

He moved, with dart in hand, all symmetry and grace.

XIII

But though (as rosy mists dispersed around

And birds sang sweet, and thousand insects humm’d;)

He met with passing joy the sight and sound,

Yet sadness o’er his face full soon her reign resumed.

XIV

Nor this escaped an old man at his side,

Whose looks told tales of many years; but fair

He was, and for a youth beseeming guide;

Not Casius’ For the origin of the name of this mountain or ridge, see an article on Mount Caucasus in Asiatic Researches. peaks were whiter that his hair.

XV

On hair or robe nor spot nor stain were seen,

Though earth had been his bed, and dust his path:

Cool look’d he in the sun, and pure and clean,

As if in marble hall and fresh from recent bath.

185 12(5)r 185

XVI

And so he spoke:—Why, Helon, art thou thus

Silent and sad? the desert way we’ve past,

Has been a path of founts and flowers to us;

Yet, at our wandering’s close, I view thy brow o’ercast.

XVII

Then Helon said: What cause for joy have I,

E’en were th’ uncertain dross we seek for found?

Who now regards my gentle mother’s sigh

While I am far? and what reward has crowned

My father’s worth and truth? Alas! our God,

Who sits rejoicing in his mystery

And boundless power, I fear may not accord

The least of his rewards to them or me.

XVIII

Forsake but him, and palaces unfold

Their hospitable gates to me and mine;

Now, for a beggar’s hoard, a little gold,

I go a wanderer forth, the last of all my line.

XIX

I gave up every youthful hope, nay more,

Would give up life as freely as a sigh;

For, if old Oran live, and should restore

The treasure sought, our dwindled line must die.

186 12(5)v 186

XX

Why beats this heart? Why is this arm so strong?

Soon, to a little earth dissolved again,

Shall ever pen of scribe or harper’s song

Declare that one like Helon ere has been?

XXI

My sire and mother dead, around their tombs

I, like a ghost, must linger, loving nought:

Oh! if to this our God his faithful dooms,

Cast—cast me to the flames, and save me from the thought! ―Cast me to the flames, and save me from the thought! Human victims were sometimes thrown into fires burning in honour of the god Baal. It appears, from some passages in the Mosaic writings, that the same custom prevailed even among the Hebrews.

XXII

The old man look’d upon him, mark’d his pain,

And love and pity mingled with that look;

For on his youthful brow was swoln the vein,

And like the fevered sick his pulses shook.

Yet on he spoke:—Still might I, warm with life,

Back to the queen of cities; take my place;

Choose from the bowers of Babylon a wife;

And bless my mother’s eyes with a new blooming race,

That else is lost. What, though the fair I take

E’en from Mylitta’s fanes? Women may be

Enthrall’d by love, and often will forsake ―Forsake All other gods for love’s idolatry. It appears that the Hebrews were not averse to intermarrying with those of other nations, provided such would embrace their religion. Pharaoh’s daughter became, it is supposed, a proselyte; a marriage with her was not, therefore, considered a fault in their wise but voluptuous king. See notes to Josephus

All other gods for love’s idolatry.

187 12(6)r 187

XXIII

The old man turned and uttered,—Do I hear

From Helon this?—some evil thing—some Sprite,

While darkness reigned, has whispered in thine ear,

And tempted thee, in visions of the night.

XXIV

Some evil thing? returned the youth in mood

More vehement: If evil things can give

Dreams such as mine, let me turn foe to good,

And make a God of Evil while I live!

XXV

Make thee a God of Evil? Hariph said;

Too daring boy, the ambient viewless air

Teems with a race that hovers o’er thy head;

Woe to thy heart and thee if some find entrance there!

XXVI

From childhood nurtured ’neath the Baalic willow

Where every breeze respires Idolatry,

Thy soul, even as thy lip Euphrates billow,

Has drank pollution, spite of heaven and me.

XXVII

Pollution!—Hariph, could such being beam

(So Helon spoke) as from a fearful death

I saved last night—(Ah! why was’t but a dream!)

She would not be unworthy—tho’ her breath

188 12(6)v 188

Had been derived from Pagan sorcerer,

Priest of the Cnidian fanes, or priest of fire;

The signet of high heaven, impress’d on her,

Gives to oblivion these, and stamps her heavenly sire!

XXVIII

The old man turn’d, and cast upon the boy,

(Who for his fervour spoke in impious guise),

An anxious glance; but yet a secret joy

The while he thus reproved seem’d hidden in his eyes.

XXIX

Thy doubts and words are guilty! ’Tis not given

To son of mortal (though he even may be

O’erwatch’d and well-beloved by those of heaven)

To know what beings sway his destiny;

XXX

Thy dream was good;—but, lest thyself undo

All that is done, I tell thee, youth, beware!

Curb thine impatience, keep thy God in view,

Nor murmur at the cup his wisdom may prepare.

Virtue! how many as a lowly thing,

Born of weak folly, scorn thee! but thy name

Alone they know;—upon thy soaring wing

They’d fear to mount; nor could thy sacred flame

189 12(7)r 189

Burn in their baser hearts: The biting thorn,

The flinty crag, flowers hiding, strew thy field;—

Yet blest is he whose daring bides the scorn

Of the frail easy herd, and buckles on thy shield.

Who says thy ways are bliss, trolls but a lay

To lure the infant: if thy paths, to view,

Were always pleasant crime’s worst sons would lay

Their daggers at thy feet, and from mere sloth, pursue.

XXXI

Nor deed, nor prayer, nor suffering of the just

Is ever lost: (he said; his clear eye flashed,)

Tempt not the powers that love thee more!—then first,

The youth felt awe, and dropt his lids abashed.

XXXII

Still Hariph spoke:—If ever thou shouldst live

To be in danger from a potent sprite,

Recall me to thy mind; take what I give,

And burn whate’er it holds, with perfume in his sight.

XXXIII

Helon received a little box composed

Of carneol; The carneol is a gem of carnation tint, which for hardness ranks little below the ruby and amethyst. and the sun-beams as they rush’d

Through the transparent hollow gem, disclosed

What seem’d a serpent’s heart, but dried and crushed.

190 12(7)v 190

XXXIV

Then bent they near a thicket, side by side,

Their friendly way; nor more in words exprest;

But often Helon looked upon his guide,

And seem’d communing with his inmost breast.

XXXV

Warm grew the day; and now, as if to mock

Their sight, with sudden wind the river swept;

They turn a mossy, dark, projecting rock,

And start,—for ’neath its crags, a woman slept,

Pallid and worn, but beautiful and young,

Tho’ mark’d her charms by wildest passions trace;

Her long round arms, over a fragment flung,

From pillow all too rude protect a face,

Whose dark and high arch’d brows gave to the thought

To deem what radiance once they towered above;

But all its proudly beauteous outline taught

That anger, there, had shared the throne of love.

XXXVI

Rich are her robes, but torn, and soil’d; and gleams

Above her belt a dagger set with gems.

Her long thick hair, ’scaped from its braiding, streams

Black as a serpent, to her garments’ hems.

191 12(8)r 191

XXXVII

Black as a serpent;—Daughters of the woods,

You see him ’mid Mechaceba’s roses; while

Your light canoes upon the vernal floods,

Are thrown to bear you to some floating isle: Are thrown to bear you to some floating isle. for an account of those flowery islets which once floated about the Mississippi, from whose mud and vegetation they were formed, one has only to look at the beginning of Atala. There M. de Chateaubriand has given a description surpassed only by the exquisite story which follows. 215 14(4)r 215 The Mexicans, before the conquest of their city by Cortez, were accustomed to sail about its lakes on floating islets; these, however, must have been constructed by art.

Where sleeping bisons sail upon the tide;—

There, while thro’ golden blossomed nenuphar,

Your arrows pierce some tall flamingo’s side,

He rears his white-ringed neck and watches you from far. He rears his white-ringed neck, and watches you from far. The ring-necked serpent is still sometimes seen in North America; it is of a shining black, with a white circle about its neck, as exact as if drawn with a pencil. From the extreme swiftness of its movement, it received from the English settlers the name of horseracer. It lifts its head, from time to time, above the grass, through which it glides, and is said to have the power of destroying even men, by twining itself about them. If death, however, has ever happened from that cause, the cases of it must have been very unfrequent. I saw, when a child, a very young snakelet of this kind, which had been found in a cellar, and was kept in spirits of wine by the woman of the house; it was of the length of a common pen, and very smooth and delicate.

XXXVIII

Her sandall’d feet were scarr’d, and drops of blood

Still rested fresh on them, by tooth of thorn

Express’d; and let day’s eye look where it would,

’Twere hard to find such beauty so forlorn.

XXXIX

Near on the moss lay one who seem’d her guide;

A mule among the herbs his pittance took;

A little slave of Ethiope, at her side,

Sat watching o’er them all with many a sorrowing look.

XL

Helon drew back, but only half suppress’d

The cry surprise propell’d.—What strange mischance

Brings to the desert these?—While so address’d

Hariph, the one on earth awoke beneath their glance;

192 12(8)v 192

And laid his finger on his lip, in fear,

And on the sleeper gazed;—she did not stir:

Then throwing from his sunken eye a tear,

He fell before their feet a suppliant for her.

XLI

Then Helon thus: Distrust us not, but tell

Why thou art here, and who is that soft dame?

Thyself, thine accent, and her garb speak well

That from the City of the Dove ye came. That from the City of the Dove ye came. The dove was, in ancient times, the device of the Assyrian empire, as the eagle was that of the Roman; and was adopted from a belief that the Indian god Mahá—dévá, and his goddess, Párvaté, once assumed the appearance of doves, in order to benefit the inhabitants. The worship of the dove was peculiar to India, Arabia, Syria, and Assyria. Semiramis, the Queen and beautifier of Babylon, is said to have been fed by doves in the desert, and to have vanished at last from the sight of mortals in the shape of a dove. Semiramis was supposed to have been an incarnation of Párvaté, consort of Mahá—dévá, or Nature, which goddess was called Samirama, from a circumstance (related in one of the Puránas) of her having chosen to reside in a Sami-tree, whither she had fled from the god, her husband, in a fit of jealousy. It is from the Sami-tree that the Indians cut the Arani, a cubic piece of wood, from which they obtain fire by drawing a cord through a perforation in the centre. According to the fable, a fire issued from Sami-rama while performing austere devotion, which spread over the whole range of mountains near her retirement. This fire she confined to the Samitree, in pity to the neighbouring people. The Arani is still called by the Indians the daughter of the Sami-tree and mother of fire. 216 14(4)v 216 See an extract from the Hindu Sacred Books contained in the Asiatic Researches.

XLII

I’m one, (he said) by cruel man designed

The doubtful faith, in absence, to protect

Of hearts as wayward as the desert wind;

And which, despite of all, love only can subject.

XLIII

To care of women, nurtured from a boy,

Stranger, in me a suffering wretch you see

Ripen’d to age, but in that soft employ,

A princess’ only guard,—but frail and weak as she.

XLIV

Our silken limbs by biting brambles torn,

Have felt the noontide heat and drenching rain;

And that bright maid, for love and pleasure born,

Breathes to the desert-blast her burning sighs in vain.

193 13(1)r 193

XLV

Yet have we lived adorers of that power

Which to the death-reap’d world a race supplies

As numerous as the stars of midnight skies,

Or desert sands, or dust from every flower Phrah: the original name, the Euphrates, is thought by Josephus to signify flower or dispersion.

That blossoms by the stream that flow’d from paradise.

XLVI

Divine Mylitta! child of light and that Divine Mylitta! child of light, and that Which from dark nothing formed the teeming earth. The earnest and apparently pure adoration of Neantes for this goddess may proceed from some glimpses of Oriental and Grecian cosmogony caught from the scribe, his former master. One of the Venuses is said to have been the daughter of Cœlus and Light. This personification of the soul or active principle of creation, by a form of perfect beauty, was an idea sublime, perhaps, as delightful; but, like everything else of excessive refinement, was incapable of being generally understood in the manner first designed; and soon became perverted to the sanction of a pernicious licentiousness. The following is extracted from Enfield’s Compendium of Brucker:— There were different opinions among the ancients concerning the first cause of nature. Some might, possibly, ascribe the origin of all things to a generating force, destitute of thought, which they conceived to be inherent in matter, without looking to any higher principle. But it is probable that the general opinion among them was that which had prevailed among the Egyptians and in the East, and was communicated by traditions to the Greeks—that matter or chaos existed eternally with God; that by the divine energy of emanation material forms went forth from him, and the visible world arose into existence. This principle being admitted, a satisfactory explanation may be given of most of the Grecian fables. Upon this supposition, their doctrines of the Creation, divested of all allegory and fable, will be as follows: The first matter, containing the seeds of all future beings, existed from eternity with God. At length the divine energy, acting upon matter, produced a motion among its parts, by which those of the same kind were brought together, and those of a different kind separated; and by which, according to certain wise laws, the various forms of the material world were produced. The same energy of emanation gave existence to animals and men, and to Gods who inhabit the heavenly bodies and various other parts of nature. Among men, those who possess a larger portion of the divine nature than others, are hereby impelled to great and beneficent actions, and afford illustrious proofs of their divine original, on account of which they 21714(5)r 217 are, after death, raised to a place among the gods, and so became objects of religious worship. This is perfectly in accordance with the Christian belief, that the places left vacant by the fallen angels are to be supplied by human souls; and some of the fathers suppose that such secrets could only have been communicated to the heathen by means of angels.

Which from dark nothing form’d the teeming earth,

Of that which on the circling waters sat;

And warm’d, and charm’d and ranged, till Nature sprang to birth.

XLVII

Divine Mylitta! kindler of the flames

That light life’s lamp,—in duteousness, to thee,

I brought this gem, this sun of Syrian dames,

But, now thy slave and Love’s, thou mock’st her misery.

XLVIII

Then Helon spoke: Has any wretch, more fell

Than he who first his hurtful arts essay’d

On her of Paradise, done this? nay, tell

Thy tale; and take, if we can lend thee, aid.

13 194 13(1)v 194

XLIX

Then listen, stranger, but for Belus’ sake

Let her sleep on who hath such need of rest,

Zameïa’s guardian said, for when awake,

The flames of Tartarus are in her breast.

L

She sat and raved last eve, in the pale light,

Till the fair moon she looked on seem’d to shrink

From her distress; fearing some spell or blight,

I drew her to this grot, and drugg’d her drink.

LI

Then softly near to her wild couch he drew,

Twining the tendrils o’er her, as he can,

To save from sun as they had saved from dew,

Then sat him on the rock, and thus his story ran:

LII

The warrior Imlec by Euphrates’ side

Received his birth; there haply still he thrives;

And when he took Zameïa for a bride,

His beard was white, and he had many wives.

LIII

Now, when I tell thee her inconstancy,

Let thoughts of pity mingle with the blame

’Tis just to cast upon adultery,

And scorn and coldness to the nuptial flame.

195 13(2)r 195

LIV

There’s oft which, were it known, might wash away

Full half the strain of guilt: fame will not heed

The train of lesser truths; but drags today,

And shows the shuddering world, all bare and black, the deed.

LV

There were who said that Imlec’s life was vile,

Ev’n when possess’d of all her blooming charms;

How could she else than loathe who knew the while

He came exhausted from an Ethiop’s arms?

LVI

Whate’er the cause, she ever would rebel:

Yet when increased, her loathing pleased him best;

And, for caprice or love, it so befel,

He built for her, apart from all the rest,

LVII

A precious palace, and a garden fair,

And gave to me the charge, from every ill

To keep and guard her well; nor ever dare,

Unless it wrong’d his love, to cross in aught her will.

LVIII

So she had founts and birds, and gems, and gold,

And care of these and her was given to me;

And Imlec (in his youth a warrior bold)

Beyond the Indus went on embassy.

196 13(2)v 196

LIX

Do all I could, she sullen grew and sad;

And very oft the public streets would see,

And oft (alas! what days of fear I had!)

Her deep disgust for Imlec, spoke to me.

LX

I knew his jealousy, and was afraid;

For, if there fell upon her fame a breath,

(While treating with the Indian king he stay’d)

I had been charged to answer it with death.

LXI

What could I do? bland Mylitta, patroness

Of rich Assyria and her glowing fair

I sought; but no propitious sign might bless

The milk-white doves and flowers of beauty rare

LXII

I daily brought: the goddess scorn’d my pains,

And turned from all my gifts her heavenly eyes;

For yet, the princess never at her fanes

Of her young charms had made the sacrifice

Required of every Babylonian dame,

Whoe’er her lord or sire; this was my care;

And when the opening of the roses came,

With many a votive wreath I led Zameïa there.

197 13(3)r 197

LXIII

Oh! it was sweet to see in marble pure

The semblance of the goddess while she smiled.

As in her own eternal power secure,

She watch’d the movements of her light-winged child.

LXIV

Nor e’er had icy marble ta’en such charm;

Save that the deity once, in a dream,

Came to her sculptor all alive and warm,

And gave him power to catch each glow and gleam.

LXV

And seem’d her lip to deeper pleasure changing,

While to her temple rush’d th’ adoring crowd,

And groups, almost as fair as she, arranging

Their offerings at her feet, in soft submission bow’d;

LXVI

The tender breeze that, sighing all about,

Their musky locks with roses woven greets,

Now whispering through the myrtle groves without,

Now fainting with variety of sweets.

LXVII/

A fairer scene warm Syria never shall A fairer scene warm Syria never shall Behold. Of the festivals given in honor of Mylitta, Herodotus has given an account; and a very full and amusing one is to be found in Les Voyages d’Antenor. No blood flowed upon the altars of this goddess; roses, apple-blossoms, fruits, incense, and perfumes, were thought more acceptable offerings. Mylitta is but one of the names of Venus.

Behold, nor ever had beheld before;

Full many a stranger throng’d the festival;

And here, what’er their god, how could they but adore?

198 13(3)v 198

LXVIII

But of the gentle votarists, some in tears,

And lips amidst their adoration quivering,

While a soft horror in their looks appears,

Do all they could, with fear and doubt were shivering.

LXIX

Some, form’d for faith and tenderest constancy,

But to avert heaven’s anger sought the place;

And breathe for absent lord the blameless sigh,

And shudder at the stranger’s rude embrace.

LXX

Some, in whose panting hearts the natural void

Had never yet been fill’d, all in a glow

Of dubious hope, their fervid thoughts employed

In picturing all they wish’d a moment might bestow.

LXXI

Full in the midst, and taller than the rest,

Zameïa stood distinct; and not a sigh

Disturb’d the gem that sparkled on her breast;

Her oval cheek was heighten’d to a die,

That shamed the mellow vermil of the wreath, This might have been of the pomegranate flower, the bright scarlet of which is very becoming to a dark complexion: it however respires but a faint odour. There is also a species of mimosa, which produces a splendid scarlet flower, much esteemed by the women of those climates where it is found.

Which in her jetty locks became her well,

And mingled fragrance with her sweeter breath;

The while her haughty lips more beautifully swell

199 13(4)r 199

With consciousness of every charm’s excess;

While with becoming scorn she turn’d her face

From every eye that darted its caress,

As if some god alone might hope for her embrace.

LXXII

Soon one, in dress of noble Median, came

Fresh from repose and from the bath; and he,

To the warm fancy of so proud a dame,

Might well, as then he look’d, be deem’d a deity.

LXXIII

The tall Zameïa seen from all apart,

Fix’d his black eye, and, as its glance she caught,

The opening lip, the involuntary start,

Spoke more than words. The stranger saw and sought.

LXXIV

And, when the priest restored her to my hands,

Goddess, in thy propitiated power,

Let holy love now close her nuptial bands!

So prayed I as we went; but evil was the hour

200 13(4)v 200

When from her home I led her! some fell star,

That while the sorcerer culls his herbs malign

Favours his spell, with secret power afar

Reign’d o’er that wretched princess’ birth and mine.

LXXV

Through all the live-long night no sleep for her;

She call’d me to her couch at day’s first beam;

But not on lord or palace to confer:

Stranger and festival—she would no other theme.

LXXVI

I lent her bath of perfume every art;

I spread her banquet of the choicest store;

I bade her women touch their lutes apart,

And told her tales she never heard before.

LXXVII

Warbled her birds, her bubbling fountains play’d;

But bath and banquet all untouch’d remain;

And to her maidens trilling in the shade,

She called impatiently to close the strain.

LXXVIII

And all in her neglected charms she lay;

Fever was in her veins; her pulse beat high;

And on the morning of the second day,

She said, Neantes, will thou see me die?

201 13(5)r 201

LXXIX

Die! (so I spoke) Venus forfend such sight!

Then if thou wilt not, O, my friend (she said)

Go find the lovely Median, ere ’tis night;

Nay, dear Neantes, here upon this bed

Else will I spill my blood. The wall is low

Nearest Euphrates, where pomegranates bloom

Among the orange trees; nay, wilt not go?

Look upon this! and who shall tell my doom

To Imlec? Then that dagger, keen and bright,

She drew from ’neath her robe and bade me be

Content to go and find the Mede ere night.

Lord Imlec, this was treachery to thee!

LXXX

But well I knew Zameïa; was afraid,

And bow’d me to the earth, and said, then be,

Thou dearest wife of him I serve, obey’d,

Though to destruction both of thee and me!

LXXXI

She took the ruby from her neck, give this,

Tis red, like my life-blood, and he will know,

(She said, and gave the jewel many a kiss)

Upon whose bosom he beheld it glow.

202 13(5)v 202

LXXXII

Then as a beggar all in humble guise

I sat me on the palace steps, and thence

Beheld the stranger of the sparkling eyes

Late as he came from kingly audience.

LXXXIII

Then I approach’d and touch’d the broider’d tie

That bound his sandal on; he turn’d and knew

The crimson token; took it silently,

And, quickly mingling with the crowd, withdrew.

LXXXIV

But when all past and I sat down alone,

He came again; but, for he knew his life

For slightest wrong to Imlec must atone,

Against the hope of bliss some doubt and fear made strife.

LXXXV

Jewels, he said, are dim to her dark eyes;

What precious gift shall match this token dear?

One ringlet of thy black hair she will prize,

I said, beyond the gems of all Ophir. ―The gems of all Ophir. Ophir, or Aurea Chersonesus. This pronunciation of the word is agreeable to the accent of all modern Oriental languages, which, as they are generally found on the Hebraic, are, of course, more conformable to the ancient sweetness of a language supposed to have been that of angels and spirits, than those harsh sounds to which is now pevertedperverted by English and North American Theologists. The present Spanish pronunciation of Scriptural names is very soft and delightful. The language in which the Koran is written, and which is universally studied and spoken by learned Mahometans, is said to be a dialect of the Hebrew. The guttural sounds of the modern Castilian have probably been remotely derived from the same source.

LXXXVI

Then I depicted how she wept and burn’d

And panted on her couch; nor, haply, more

Would rise again to life, when I return’d

If any poorer gift than love and hope I bore.

203 13(6)r 203

LXXXVII

Great was the meed (I said) the danger small;

The moon at midnight down; nor very high,

Beside the river’s brink her garden wall;

And safe the path from every hand and eye.

LXXXVIII

So, ere he could depart the hour of love

Was named; and this, my little Ethiop, hung

A curious chain, of silken girdles wove,

Down from the wall where light from bended date he sprung.

LXXXIX

Holy Euphrates lowly murmuring swept Holy Euphrates lowly murmuring swept. Rivers were in general held sacred by the nations of antiquity, and to wash the hands, spit, or throw anything of an impure nature into the Euphrates, was punished by the Babylonians as an act of the greatest impiety. Peleus vowed to make an offering of the hair of Achilles to the stream Sperchius, in case he returned victor from Troy.

As if he moan’d our treachery; sadlier sang

The nightingale: her watch Zameïa kept

Until, upon the flowers, some being gently sprang.

XC

It was the Mede; and thrice returning night

With friendly veil of darkness hid their loves;

But soon again the crescent’s silver light

Must shine upon the deeds of Imlec’s weeping groves.

XCI

A light repast was set forth in a bower;

There sat Zameïa by her lover’s side,

With heart of bliss so full, it had not power

Or space for even a thought of all that might betide.

204 13(6)v 204

XCII

But Meles said: Should I return no more,

Wouldst thou this love’s excess, so dear to me,

For white-hair’d Imlec’s coming keep in store?

Or should some other brave the peril scorn’d for thee?

XCIII

Were it not better, if my soul could tear

It from thy sight, that Meles went his way

In peace to seek some other humbler fair?

Princess, my life and thine are forfeit if I stay.

XCIV

Zameïa, paler than the ivory white Zameïa, paler than the ivory white That formed the pillars of her couch. Ivory, it is said, was not much heard of till the reign of Solomon, 21814(5)v 218 who caused it to be brought from India to Palestine, where it was considered more precious that gold; but, afterwards, ivory beds and ivory palaces are frequently mentioned. The beautiful statue carved by Pygmalion of Cyprus, is said to have been of ivory; marble, however, when white and pure, was, it appears, also called ivory.

That formed the pillars of her couch, exclaim’d:

Do I not love thee more than life or light?

And have I lived to hear another named?

XCV

Imlec to thee is nought! and all in vain

His love for me: ’tis Meles I adore.

If danger come, be mine the care and pain!

Another! let me die or hear that word no more.

XCVI

My own, my bright Zameïa’s truth, he said,

’Twas spoken but to prove; and then he smiled,

And her, all trembling, to the banquet led;

And love and hope are twins; and so she was beguiled.

205 13(7)r 205

XCVII

Another midnight saw them as before;

With banquet spread and wine the lip to woo;

Zameïa, ’neath her robe’s adornment, wore

A steel half hid in gems; he saw it sparkle through.

XCVIII

But well he knew (with all the tenderness

Meet for a heart whose fires so fiercely burn)

To hush her doubts. With many a false caress

He went, and many an oath and promise of return.

XCIX

The bower is lit; the banquet waits; and wake

Love’s votaress and her trembling slave; but where

The lover wont to come and scarce partake

E’en of the grape’s sweet blood for gazing on his fair?

Lone past the night. My beauteous mistress faints

Upon her couch; or fills the frightened ears

Of every slave with passionate complaints;

For, darkly to her soul her boding fate appears.

C

Another midnight—still he had not come—

And thus she me reproach’d: All had been bliss,

Neantes, but for thee. Is this my doom?

And was I made an offering but for this?

206 13(7)v 206

CI/

Alas! I answered, I am but a slave,

Princess, and thine: destroy me if thou wilt.

Shall I go look for him the goddess gave?

Or for thy pleasure shall my blood be spilt.

CII

The frailest hope is better than despair,

And many a life a timely word has saved.

She bade me to the palace; but not there

To find her Median more: the stream that laved

The garden where they met, at early morn,

To his own land had seen him on his way;

Nor word nor token left he, to be borne

To her who, for his sake, sicken’d at light of day.

CIII

But that it had been death to tell her then:

What means to save, alas, could I employ?

That moment came beneath a column’s shade,

To rest him there awhile, a dusky Arab boy.

CIV

Quick came the thought: I gave him gold and craved

A cluster of his locks; he gave me one;

And black as earth-hid ebony it waved

Like those of Meles, thanks to thee, O sun!

207 13(8)r 207

CV

In childhood, once, slave to a scribe, I sought

To trace the character and shape the reed;

And sometimes when my lord beheld, he taught

A little of his art, and now it served my need.

CVI

The choicest of the Arab’s locks I clipt,

And framed a letter as from Meles’ hand;

Then, a black ringlet first in perfumes dipt,

Laid in the midst: nor words more sweet and bland

Could Meles of the honey’d lip indite;

’Twas written on papyrus of the Nile, ’Twas written on papyrus of the Nile, Fragrant with rose;—as opening lotos white, And gold and silver dust in sprinkles o’er it smile. This might have been: the Greeks, however, at a later period, wrote their letters on thin smooth tablets of wood, neatly covered with wax; these were wrapped in linen, and sealed with the wax of Asia. According to Sir William Jones and others, the manuscripts of the modern Persians are sprinkled with dust of gold and silver. These, as well as those of the Arabians, are so very beautiful that those accustomed to them dislike to look on printed copies. As there are many lovers of poetry who are not profound scholars, the following extract from an entertaining work may not be unacceptable:— Les tablettes des Grecs êtaient des tables de bois, et enduites de cire: on y êcrivait avec un petit stylet de cuivre, de fer, ou d’or, pointu d’un côté et plat de l’autre; ce dernier bout servait à effacer. Les Grecs portaiént à la ceinture un étui nommé graphiarium où etaient renfermés ce stylet et ces tablettes. Les lettres que les particuliers s’écrivaient etaient sur des tables de bois mince, deliées, et enduites de cire, que l’on enveloppait de lin, et que l’on cachetait de craie, ou de cire d’Asie. A la tête de leurs lettres ils mettaient, ces mots—Joie et prospérité: à leur fin cette autre formale—Portez vous bien, soyez heureux. Les Athéniens mettaient, après leurs noms, dans leur signature, celui de leurs pères, et les pays de leur naissance; par example: Demosthéne de Peanée fils de Demosthéne. Voyages d’Antenor

Fragrant with rose; as opening lotos white;

And gold and silver dust in sprinkles o’er it smile.

CVIII

’Neath the pomegranates in the orange shade,

Where linger’d last the Median; (such my plan)

Among the falling blossoms it was laid

In secret, ere I came; and thus, in promise, ran.

CVIII

Radiant Zameïa, think upon the pain

I bear in telling thee, how many a night

Must pass, ere back to Babylon again

I come to yield my life to thy delight.

208 13(8)v 208

My soul is sick with absence! while the will

Of an unpitying sov’reign bids me wait.

Preserve a little of love’s balm to heal

Thy Meles, who returns at gathering of the date.

CIX

So, when among the flowers the scroll was flung,

Sadly I came at having found him not;

And near that wall where silken chain was hung,

I drew Zameïa. On the very spot,

Where her loved Meles spoke his last farewell,

That princess kissed a camel-driver’s hair,

And tears of joy (ah! too fallacious!) fell

On what a slave’s poor hand had placed in pity there.

CX

Yet, though ’twas sad to see her so deceived,

I could but bless the tears her cheek was drinking;

For pity framed the falsehood hope believed,

And so by this slight reed her soul was saved from sinking.

CXI

The gathering of the sweet and savoury date

Approach’d, and Imlec still was far away.

Zameïa learn’d to wait, and hope, and wait,

And bless’d the powerful Belus for his stay.

209 14(1)r 209

CXII

But as the date-tree sees her blossoms die, But as the date tree sees her blossoms die. The palm tree is said, by a learned writer, to be the most curious and interesting subject which the science of natural history involves. However that may be, the most eminent naturalists, ancient and modern, have apparently taken pleasure in describing it. A very full and satisfactory account of this surprising vegetable is to be found in the Amoenitates Exoticæ of Kaempfer.

And blasted on the earth her fruit’s soft germ,

Unless her vegetable love come nigh,

With genial power, while yet endures her term;

CXIII

So poor Zameïa’s hopes, like date-buds, down

Must fall to earth unblest and immature:

Alas! unless her Meles come to crown

With fruit, hope’s blossoms cannot long endure!

CXIV

The date was ripe and pluck’d; but still there came

No beauteous Mede. Zameïa raged and pined,

And pined and hoped and wept; what could I frame?

With what new bland deceit bedew her withering mind.

CXV

Night after night, she waked and waked; consumed

Her full round arms; no tulip hue upon

Her sunny cheek in changeful beauty bloom’d;

She felt a dearth, a blight, and all was cold and wan.

I trembled for her life; and on a day

When, ’neath the full pomegranates walk she must

Among the flowers, another letter lay;

And thus it flow’d as kindly as the first.

14 210 14(1)v 210

CXVI

Adored Zameïa! if thou still dost bear

Enough of love to feel a moment’s pain

That Meles, still detain’d by toil and care,

Comes not to thee and Babylon again,

Though dates be pluck’d, I prithee wait a span,

For when rich spices from Arabia’s hills

Load for thy happy streets the caravan,

I come to keep the word my panting soul fulfils.

CXVII

I need not tell who placed the letter there;

And though her reason made some little strife,

By sending doubt ’gainst hope, yet from despair

Awhile her heart emerged; and so was saved her life.

CXVIII

Again she bathed her limbs and eatate her food,

And bound her streaming hair, and clasped her zone.

Like the wild courser, by his wants subdued,

So stoop’d her soul to feed on this poor hope alone.

CXIX

The Median had but lightly loved; while she

Inhaled a flame that never ceased to prey

Upon her victim heart; she ceased to be,

And, sever’d from herself, became, that day,

211 14(2)r 211

Appendage to another. Not the string Not the string of Meles’ sandal—scarf about his waist— Or feather for his arrows—was a thing More wholly his than she. The old Neantes appears to suppose this destructive passion to be no fault of his mistress; but thinks her inspired with it by their goddess, as a punishment for former neglect. Racine, in his tragedy of Phédre, extenuates the crimes of that Queen by a similar supposition.

Of Meles’ sandal, scarf about his waist,

Or feather for his arrows, was a thing

More wholly his than she, so proud ere love debased!

CXX

Euphrates’ floods are swoln with timely rain;

Cassia and myrrh perfume the crowded streets;

The burthen from the camel’s back is ta’en;

But Meles’ footsteps press no flower in our retreats.

CXXI

Most wretched princess! who her state can show?

Panting with haste a messenger arrives

To tell (Oh! full completion of her woe!)

That Imlec’s on his way, and bids prepare his wives.

CXXII

Hide me, she said, in some dark desert cave!

Till I can look a moment on my love!

Cast me, Neantes, to Euphrates’ wave

Ere Imlec come! Oh, Venus! can I prove

For Meles’ ardour, frenzy of the grape,

The poppy’s fœtid juice for Meles breath?

Save me, Neantes, aid me to escape!

If Imlec clasp at all, he clasps me cold in death.

212 14(2)v 212

CXXIII

Her forceful words were true: her pale, pale cheek

And tearless eye too strong concurrence gave;

And o’erwrought passion left her form so weak,

But little more had laid it in the grave.

CXXIV

A curious cincture by her mother wrought,

Twined with a tress of her black hair was thrown

To the full stream, to baffle those who sought:

But by no vestige might our course be known.

CXXV

Enough to tell, upon a fearful night,

By the same silken chain that Meles prest,

The garden wall was scaled: our piteous plight,

This place, O stranger! must declare the rest.

213 14(3)r

Notes to Canto the Fifth.

’Tis there thou bidst a deeper ardor glow. It has been generally believed that the cold in clime are cold in blood, but this on examination would, I am convinced, be found physically untrue; at least, in those climates near the equator. It is here that most cold-blooded animals, such as the tortoise, the serpent, and various tribes of beautiful insects, are found in the greatest perfection. Fewer instances of delirium or suicide, occasioned by the passion of love, would, perhaps, be found within the tropics than in the other divisions of the earth. Nature, in the colder regions, appears to have given an innate warmth and energy proportionate to those efforts, which the severity of the elements and the numerous wants which they create, keep continually in demand. Those who live, as it were, under the immediate protection of the sun, have little need of internal fires. Their blood is cool and thin; and living where everything is soft and flattering to the senses, it is not surprising that their thoughts seldom wander far beyond what their bright eyes can look upon. Though sometimes subject to violent fits of jealousy, those generally pass off without leaving much regret or unhappiness behind, and any other object falling in their way (for they would not go far to seek it) would very soon become just as valuable to them as the one lost. Such of them as are constant are rather so from indolence, than from any depth of sentiment or conviction of excellence. The man who reflects (says Rousseau) is a monster out of the order of nature. The natives of all tropical regions might be 21414(3)v 214 brought forward in proof of his assertion: they never look at remote results, or enter into refined speculations; and yet, are undoubtedly, less unhappy than any other of the inhabitants of earth. Excess of soul through the material blast. I have never observed this effect except in very few instances, and those were of persons neither brilliant for their attainments nor (with one exception) remarkable for external beauty. They were, however, possessed of the most excellent dispositions, and it was impossible to converse with them without being sensible of something which could be felt and almost seen—a sort of emanation. A warmth—a mystic charm—seemed breathing through Each viewless pore, and circling him without. This is but a copy from the life; and the original of it was so uneducated as to be scarcely tolerable; he had made, however, the most generous sacrifices for his friends and relatives; and it was impossible to be near and look at him, while speaking, without perceiving all attempted to be described in the text. ―Cast me to the flames, and save me from the thought! Human victims were sometimes thrown into fires burning in honour of the god Baal. It appears, from some passages in the Mosaic writings, that the same custom prevailed even among the Hebrews. ―Forsake All other gods for love’s idolatry. It appears that the Hebrews were not averse to intermarrying with those of other nations, provided such would embrace their religion. Pharaoh’s daughter became, it is supposed, a proselyte; a marriage with her was not, therefore, considered a fault in their wise but voluptuous king. See notes to Josephus Are thrown to bear you to some floating isle. for an account of those flowery islets which once floated about the Mississippi, from whose mud and vegetation they were formed, one has only to look at the beginning of Atala. There M. de Chateaubriand has given a description surpassed only by the exquisite story which follows. 215 14(4)r 215 The Mexicans, before the conquest of their city by Cortez, were accustomed to sail about its lakes on floating islets; these, however, must have been constructed by art. He rears his white-ringed neck, and watches you from far. The ring-necked serpent is still sometimes seen in North America; it is of a shining black, with a white circle about its neck, as exact as if drawn with a pencil. From the extreme swiftness of its movement, it received from the English settlers the name of horseracer. It lifts its head, from time to time, above the grass, through which it glides, and is said to have the power of destroying even men, by twining itself about them. If death, however, has ever happened from that cause, the cases of it must have been very unfrequent. I saw, when a child, a very young snakelet of this kind, which had been found in a cellar, and was kept in spirits of wine by the woman of the house; it was of the length of a common pen, and very smooth and delicate. That from the City of the Dove ye came. The dove was, in ancient times, the device of the Assyrian empire, as the eagle was that of the Roman; and was adopted from a belief that the Indian god Mahá—dévá, and his goddess, Párvaté, once assumed the appearance of doves, in order to benefit the inhabitants. The worship of the dove was peculiar to India, Arabia, Syria, and Assyria. Semiramis, the Queen and beautifier of Babylon, is said to have been fed by doves in the desert, and to have vanished at last from the sight of mortals in the shape of a dove. Semiramis was supposed to have been an incarnation of Párvaté, consort of Mahá—dévá, or Nature, which goddess was called Samirama, from a circumstance (related in one of the Puránas) of her having chosen to reside in a Sami-tree, whither she had fled from the god, her husband, in a fit of jealousy. It is from the Sami-tree that the Indians cut the Arani, a cubic piece of wood, from which they obtain fire by drawing a cord through a perforation in the centre. According to the fable, a fire issued from Sami-rama while performing austere devotion, which spread over the whole range of mountains near her retirement. This fire she confined to the Samitree, in pity to the neighbouring people. The Arani is still called by the Indians the daughter of the Sami-tree and mother of fire. 216 14(4)v 216 See an extract from the Hindu Sacred Books contained in the Asiatic Researches. Divine Mylitta! child of light, and that Which from dark nothing formed the teeming earth. The earnest and apparently pure adoration of Neantes for this goddess may proceed from some glimpses of Oriental and Grecian cosmogony caught from the scribe, his former master. One of the Venuses is said to have been the daughter of Cœlus and Light. This personification of the soul or active principle of creation, by a form of perfect beauty, was an idea sublime, perhaps, as delightful; but, like everything else of excessive refinement, was incapable of being generally understood in the manner first designed; and soon became perverted to the sanction of a pernicious licentiousness. The following is extracted from Enfield’s Compendium of Brucker:— There were different opinions among the ancients concerning the first cause of nature. Some might, possibly, ascribe the origin of all things to a generating force, destitute of thought, which they conceived to be inherent in matter, without looking to any higher principle. But it is probable that the general opinion among them was that which had prevailed among the Egyptians and in the East, and was communicated by traditions to the Greeks—that matter or chaos existed eternally with God; that by the divine energy of emanation material forms went forth from him, and the visible world arose into existence. This principle being admitted, a satisfactory explanation may be given of most of the Grecian fables. Upon this supposition, their doctrines of the Creation, divested of all allegory and fable, will be as follows: The first matter, containing the seeds of all future beings, existed from eternity with God. At length the divine energy, acting upon matter, produced a motion among its parts, by which those of the same kind were brought together, and those of a different kind separated; and by which, according to certain wise laws, the various forms of the material world were produced. The same energy of emanation gave existence to animals and men, and to Gods who inhabit the heavenly bodies and various other parts of nature. Among men, those who possess a larger portion of the divine nature than others, are hereby impelled to great and beneficent actions, and afford illustrious proofs of their divine original, on account of which they 21714(5)r 217 are, after death, raised to a place among the gods, and so became objects of religious worship. This is perfectly in accordance with the Christian belief, that the places left vacant by the fallen angels are to be supplied by human souls; and some of the fathers suppose that such secrets could only have been communicated to the heathen by means of angels. A fairer scene warm Syria never shall Behold. Of the festivals given in honor of Mylitta, Herodotus has given an account; and a very full and amusing one is to be found in Les Voyages d’Antenor. No blood flowed upon the altars of this goddess; roses, apple-blossoms, fruits, incense, and perfumes, were thought more acceptable offerings. Mylitta is but one of the names of Venus. ―The gems of all Ophir. Ophir, or Aurea Chersonesus. This pronunciation of the word is agreeable to the accent of all modern Oriental languages, which, as they are generally found on the Hebraic, are, of course, more conformable to the ancient sweetness of a language supposed to have been that of angels and spirits, than those harsh sounds to which is now pevertedperverted by English and North American Theologists. The present Spanish pronunciation of Scriptural names is very soft and delightful. The language in which the Koran is written, and which is universally studied and spoken by learned Mahometans, is said to be a dialect of the Hebrew. The guttural sounds of the modern Castilian have probably been remotely derived from the same source. Holy Euphrates lowly murmuring swept. Rivers were in general held sacred by the nations of antiquity, and to wash the hands, spit, or throw anything of an impure nature into the Euphrates, was punished by the Babylonians as an act of the greatest impiety. Peleus vowed to make an offering of the hair of Achilles to the stream Sperchius, in case he returned victor from Troy. Zameïa, paler than the ivory white That formed the pillars of her couch. Ivory, it is said, was not much heard of till the reign of Solomon, 21814(5)v 218 who caused it to be brought from India to Palestine, where it was considered more precious that gold; but, afterwards, ivory beds and ivory palaces are frequently mentioned. The beautiful statue carved by Pygmalion of Cyprus, is said to have been of ivory; marble, however, when white and pure, was, it appears, also called ivory. ’Twas written on papyrus of the Nile, Fragrant with rose;—as opening lotos white, And gold and silver dust in sprinkles o’er it smile. This might have been: the Greeks, however, at a later period, wrote their letters on thin smooth tablets of wood, neatly covered with wax; these were wrapped in linen, and sealed with the wax of Asia. According to Sir William Jones and others, the manuscripts of the modern Persians are sprinkled with dust of gold and silver. These, as well as those of the Arabians, are so very beautiful that those accustomed to them dislike to look on printed copies. As there are many lovers of poetry who are not profound scholars, the following extract from an entertaining work may not be unacceptable:— Les tablettes des Grecs êtaient des tables de bois, et enduites de cire: on y êcrivait avec un petit stylet de cuivre, de fer, ou d’or, pointu d’un côté et plat de l’autre; ce dernier bout servait à effacer. Les Grecs portaiént à la ceinture un étui nommé graphiarium où etaient renfermés ce stylet et ces tablettes. Les lettres que les particuliers s’écrivaient etaient sur des tables de bois mince, deliées, et enduites de cire, que l’on enveloppait de lin, et que l’on cachetait de craie, ou de cire d’Asie. A la tête de leurs lettres ils mettaient, ces mots—Joie et prospérité: à leur fin cette autre formale—Portez vous bien, soyez heureux. Les Athéniens mettaient, après leurs noms, dans leur signature, celui de leurs pères, et les pays de leur naissance; par example: Demosthéne de Peanée fils de Demosthéne. Voyages d’Antenor But as the date tree sees her blossoms die. The palm tree is said, by a learned writer, to be the most curious and interesting subject which the science of natural history involves. However that may be, the most eminent naturalists, ancient and modern, have apparently taken pleasure in describing it. A very full and satisfactory account of this surprising vegetable is to be found in the Amoenitates Exoticæ of Kaempfer. 219 14(6)r 219 Not the string of Meles’ sandal—scarf about his waist— Or feather for his arrows—was a thing More wholly his than she. The old Neantes appears to suppose this destructive passion to be no fault of his mistress; but thinks her inspired with it by their goddess, as a punishment for former neglect. Racine, in his tragedy of Phédre, extenuates the crimes of that Queen by a similar supposition.
220 14(6)v 221 14(7)r

Canto the Sixth.

Bridal of Helon.

222 14(7)v

Argument.

Twilight,—Egla alone in her grove of acacias.—Zóphiël returns wounded and dejected, and sits watching her invisibly.—A being, who wishes to preserve Egla, perceives that she is beset with dangers.—Zameïa dies in attempting the life of Egla.—Egla is reproached by a slave: faints and is supported by Helon; Helon and Hariph bear her home.—Egla, about to destroy herself, is saved by Helon, who receives her in marriage, and puts Zóphiël to flight, by means of a carneol box.—Hariph discovers himself to be the angel Raphaël; seeks Zóphiël in the deserts of Ethiopia, and speaks to him of hope and comfort.

223 14(8)r

Canto the Sixth.

Bridal of Helon.

I

Sweet is the evening twilight; but, alas!

There’s a sadness in it: day’s light tasks are done,

And leisure sighs to think how soon must pass

Those tints that melt o’er heaven, O setting sun,

And look like heaven dissolved. A tender flush

Of blended rose and purple light, o’er all

The luciousluscious landscape spreads, like pleasure’s blush,

And glows o’er wave, sky, flower, cottage, and palmtree tall.

II

’Tis now that solitude has most of pain:

Vague apprehensions of approaching night

Whisper the soul, attuned to bliss, and fain

To find in love equivalent for light.

224 14(8)v 224

III

The bard has sung, God never formed a soul The bard has sung, God never formed a soul Without its own peculiar mate. The gods (says Plato, in his Banquet) formed man, at first, of a round figure, with two bodies and two sexes; the variety of his powers rendered him so audacious that he made war against his creators. Jupiter was about to destroy him, but, reflecting that with him the whole human race must perish, the god contented himself with merely reducing his strength. The androgyne was accordingly separated in two parts, and Apollo received the order of perfecting them. From that time each part, though become a separate being, seeks, desires, and feels a continual impulse to meet the other. See Voyages d’Antenor, tome i. chap. 22 Some of the Jewish Rabbins have entertained a similar opinion: according to their accounts, Adam was created male and female, man on one side, woman on the other, and God, afterwards, separated the two forms that were before united. Les androgynes avoit deux sexes, deux têtes, quatre bras, quatre pieds. Voyages d’Antenor,—see Note to vol. 1 It was evidently from such opinions, as well as his own feelings that Dr. Watts conceived the idea of that popular little poem, which he has called the Indian Philosopher. The different accounts of creation are sufficiently amusing. It is said, in the Talmud, that God did not wish to create woman, because he foresaw that her husband would very soon have to complain of her perversity; he therefore waited till Adam asked her of him, and then took every precaution to make her as good as possible. He 24416(2)v 244 would not take her from the head, lest she should have sufficient wit and spirit to become a coquette; not from the eyes, lest she should cast mischievous glances; nor from the mouth, lest she should listen at doors; nor from the heart, lest she should be jealous; nor from the hands or feet, lest she should be a thief or a runaway; but every precaution was vain: she had all these defects, although drawn from the most quiet and honest part that could possibly be found about Adam. This is merely translated from M. de. Lentier

Without its own peculiar mate, to meet

Its wandering half, when ripe to crown the whole

Bright plan of bliss, most heavenly, most complete!

IV

But thousand evil things there are that hate

To look on happiness; these hurt, impede,

And leagued with time, space, circumstance, and fate,

Keep kindred heart from heart to pine and pant and bleed.

And as the dove to far Palmyra flying

From where her native founts of Antioch beam,

Weary, exhausted, longing, panting, sighing,

Lights sadly at the desert’s bitter stream,—

So many a soul o’er life’s drear desert faring,

Love’s pure congenial spring unfound—unquaff’d—

Suffers—recoils—then, thirsty and despairing

Of what it would, descends and sips the nearest draught.

V

’Tis twilight in fair Egla’s grove, her eye

Is sad and wistful; while the hues that glint

In soft profusion o’er the molten sky,

O’er all her beauty spread a mellower tint.

225 15(1)r 225

VI

And form’d in every fibre, for such love And formed, in every fibre, for such love As heaven not yet had given her to share. Souls, according to Plato, are rays of the divinity, which, ere they are shut in the gross envelope of morality, pass through a state of existence, during which an invincible attraction unites them, two by two, and inflames them with a love pure and celestial. When embodied upon earth, these souls, thus previously united, continually seek and feel a propensity for each other, and, unless they are so happy as to meet, can never be animated by a true and genuine affection.

As heaven not yet had given her to share,

Through the deep shadowy vistas of her grove

Sent looks of wistfulness, no Spirit there

Appears as wont; for many a month so long

He had not left her; what could so detain?

She took her lute and tuned it for a song,

The while spontaneous words accord them to a strain,

Taught by enamoured Zóphiël; softly heaving

The while her heart, thus from its inmost core

Such feelings gush’d, to Lydian numbers weaving

As never had her lip express’d before.

VII

Song

Day, in melting purple dying,

Blossoms, all around me sighing,

Fragrance, from the lilies straying,

Zephyr, with my ringlets playing,

Ye but waken my distress:

I am sick of loneliness.

15 226 15(1)v 226

Thou to whom I love to hearken,

Come, ere night around me darken;

Though thy softness but deceive me,

Say thou’rt true and I’ll believe thee;

Veil, if ill, thy soul’s intent,

Let me think it innocent!

Save thy toiling, spare thy treasure:

All I ask is friendship’s pleasure:

Let the shining ore lie darkling,

Bring no gem in lustre sparkling;

Gifts and gold are nought to me;

I would only look on thee!

Tell to thee the high-wrought feeling,

Ecstasy but in revealing;

Paint to thee the deep sensation,

Rapture in participation,

Yet but torture, if comprest

In a lone unfriended breast.

Absent still? Ah! come and bless me!

Let these eyes again caress thee;

Once, in caution, I could fly thee;

Now, I nothing could deny thee:

In a look if death there be,

Come and I will gaze on thee!

227 15(2)r 227

VIII

An unknown spirit, who for many a year

Had mark’d in Helon, passing excellence,

And loved to watch o’er Egla too, came near

This eve; but other cares had long time kept him hence.

IX

A lute-chord sounds: hark! for a tender hymn

To bear to heaven, he pauses in his flight;

Alas! it is not heaven, that lends her theme!

Nay, if he leave her she is lost to night.

X

He starts; he looks through the light trembling shade

And fears his coming, even now, too late:

What varied perils have beset the maid!

She verges to the crisis of her fate.

XI

He gazes on her guileless face and grieves;

There’s treachery even in her own lute’s sound;

And things his heavenly sense alone perceives,

Unseen amidst the flowers are lurking all around.

XII

And Zóphiël too, late from the deep return’d

In such a state ’twas piteous but to see,

Watch’d near the maid whose love he fain had earn’d,

By fiercer torments still, invisibly.

228 15(2)v 228

XIII

His wings were folded o’er his eyes; severe

As was the pain he’d borne from wave and wind,

The dubious warning of that Being drear,

Who met him in the lightning, to his mind

Was torture worse: a dark presentiment

Came o’er his soul with paralyzing chill,

As when fate vaguely whispers her intent

To poison mortal joy with sense of pending ill.

XIV

He search’d about the grove with all the care

Of trembling jealousy, as if to trace

By track or wounded flower some rival there;

And scarcely dared to look upon the face

Of her he loved, lest it some tale might tell,

To make the only hope that sooth’d him vain:

He hears her notes in numbers die and swell,

But almost fears to listen to the strain

Himself had taught her; lest some hated name

Had been with that dear gentle air enwreathed,

While he was far; she sigh’d—he nearer came;

Oh, transport! Zóphiël was the name she breathed.

229 15(3)r 229

XV

He saw but her; and thought her all alone;—

His name was on her lip,—in hour like this;—

And doating—drinking every look and tone—

Paused, ere he would advance, for very bliss.

XVI

The joy of a whole mortal life he felt

In that one moment. Now, too long unseen,

He fain had shown his beauteous form and knelt,

But, while he still delayed, a motalmortal rushed between.

XVII

Tall was her form; her quivering lip was pale;

Long streamed her hair, and glared her wild dark eye

And grasping Egla’s arm:—no arts avail

Thee now:—vile murderess of my Meles,—die!

She said;—her dagger at soft Egla’s breast

Touch’d the white folded robe—but strength and breath

Failing at once, that frenzied arm arrest

And falling to the earth, Zameïa groaned in death.

XVIII

This Orpha saw, a slave, a sullen maid,

But beautiful, whose glance Rosanes caught,

While yet the captives at the palace stayed,

And, secretly carest, until he taught

230 15(3)v 230

The haughty girl, impatient of her fate,

A hope that gave her, in her lowliness,

The wild ambition of a higher state;—

But who can paint the depth of her distress,

When he had gone to seek the dangerous bride;

And when the following morn his death reveal’d?

Hate, envy, love, sorrow, hopes crush’d—all vied

To nurture the revenge her withering heart conceal’d.

XIX

’Twas she who told Zameïa of the doom

Of her loved Mede, and led her to the breast

She burn’d to pierce;— now from her heart of gloom

Burst the deep smouldering rage, thus bitterly express’d:

XX

Another murder! sorceress to me

Tell not a spirit did it:—I know, well,

What wanton thing thou art;—was’t not by thee,

Rosanes, Meles, young Altheëtor fell?

Lured by thine arts to glut a love as dread

As that fell queen’s, Semiramis. who every morning spilt

The separate life that warm’d her nightly bed;—

Closing, with death’s cold seal, lips that might tell her guilt.

231 15(4)r 231

XXI

Then came Neantes, knelt, and bathed with tears,

The lost Zameïa’s form; ’twas dim and cold,—

But the strong cast of beauty still appears,

Though o’er her brow the last chill dews had roll’d.

XXII

And, as he held the taper hand in his

Of his loved mistress (with a piteous look

On Egla cast,) his sole reproach was this:

Half check’d by rising sobs that burst forth as he spoke:

XXIII

Oh! warm with health and beauty as thou art

Couldst thou have seen her as I have,—then reft

Of all;—and known the torments of her heart,

Thou hadst not ta’en what little life was left.

XXIV

The attempted deed;—the scene;—the bitter word;—

Like knot of serpents, each with separate sting,

Pierced, each and all, more keenly than a sword,

Through Egla’s heart that bled while answering:

Cease!—cease!—I kill’d her not!—nor knew such one

There lived on earth. Alas! her purpose rough,

Would to high heaven, ere she had died, were done!—

Oh! power that form’d me, was it not enough

232 15(4)v 232

To bear perpetual solitude and gloom?

Must I too live a theme of foul reproach

To stranger and to slave!—the tomb, the tomb,

Is all I ask—oh! do I ask too much?

XXV

She said, and swoon’d: so Helon, not in vain,

Search’d wandering for his guide (he knew not whither,)

To lead him to the gates of Ecbatane;

And haply, though unseen, his guide had led him hither.

XXVI

He saw Zameïa on the earth laid low;

And Egla faint, but fresh in all her charms,

Had sunk beside the corse for weight of woe,

But for the timely aid of his receiving arms.

XXVII

The groupe—the dead—the form his arms sustain—

The trembling leaves—the twilight’s fading gleam—

Confuse;—the youth distrusts both eye and brain,—

For ’gainst his heart he sees the image of his dream.

XXVIII

But faithful Hariph soon was at his side,

In search of whom had Helon chanced to roam;

Ask nothing, youth, but haste with me, he cried,

Life has not left the maiden: bear her home.

233 15(5)r 233

XXIX

They laid her on her couch; and in her sire

Found him they sought, and in her dwelling stayed.

Sèphora sat her by the perfume fire,

All night, and watch’d her child;—yet sore afraid

Of her enamoured Spirit; well she knew

The presence of a mortal vex’d his will,—

And mused on Helon’s youth; and could but view,

In thought, another scene of death and ill.

XXX

Egla lay drown’d in grief, and could not speak,

But calm’d at morn the tumult of her breast,

And kiss’d her mother thrice; then bade her seek,

And warn, and save from death, the stranger guest.

XXXI

And through her window when the deepening glows

Of pensive twilight told another day

Was spent, to bathe that fatal form, she rose,

Bound cincture o’er her robe, and sent her maids away.

XXXII

Alone she thought how Helon had sustain’d

And saved, for his own doom, her fatal breath;—

ZameïaOrpha too—why still remain’d

Her own scorn’d life the cause of so much death?

234 15(5)v 234

XXXIII

She could not pray; and to her aching eye

Would come no sweet relief, no wonted tear;

For one of those dark things that lurk’d, was by,

And whispered thoughts of horror in her ear.

XXXIV

Then on his sad unguarded victim fix’d;

And coldly, to her wounded bosom’s core,

Infused him like some fell disease, and mix’d

His being with her blood, all hope was o’er—

All fear—all nature—all was bitterness;

She felt her heart within her like a clod;—

And when, at length the sullen deep distress

Found utterance, thus she spoke ungrateful to her God.

XXXV

Was but my infant life for tortures worse

Than flame or sword preserved?—on me—on me—

Falls the whole burthen of my nation’s curse?—

Of all offence I bear the misery.

XXXVI

Oh! power that made, thou’st been profuse of pain

And I have borne—but now is past the hour;—

I ask no mitigation—that were vain:—

Wreak, wreak on me thy whole avenging power!

235 15(6)r 235

XXXVII

Yet, wherefore more the doom I wish delay?

Dissolve me!—oh! as earth I was before,

Change this fair-colored form to silent grey,

And let my weary organs feel no more.

XXXVIII

She paused—’Tis written thus: Thou shalt not kill.

Yet deeper were the crime to keep a life

Torture to me, to others death and ill;

So in thy presence, God, I end my nature’s strife!

XXXIX

Then from her waist she took the girdle blue,

Look’d on the world without, but breathed no sigh;

Then calmly o’er the window’s carving threw

That scarf, and round her neck wound thrice the silken tie.

XL

Where, in that hour, was Zóphiël? All in vain

He burns with love and jealous rage impell’d:

With the dark Being of the storm again

He strives and struggles in the grove, withheld

From her he loves. He’d seen her borne away,

Even before his eyes; and now, perforce,

Could only look where, newly murdered, lay

The lost Zameïa’s pale and breathless corse.

236 15(6)v 236

XLI

Whichever spirit conquers in the strife,

Alas for Egla! now her hands entwine

The guilty knot—she springs. Hold, hold! thy life,

Maiden, is not thine own, but God’s and mine!

XLII

’Twas Helon’s voice; but still the legate fiend,

Reluctant to resign her, would not part;

But by his secret, subtle nature screen’d,

Even from Spirits, through her brain and heart

Darted like pain. The youth, with firm embrace,

Holds and protects; but, writhing, vex’d and thrown,

She could not even look upon his face,

And answer’d all he said but with a moan.

XLIII

Helon bent o’er and murmur’d, Calm those fears:

To be my bride already art thou given!

And I am he who, in thy childish years,

Was in thy grove announced to thee by heaven.

XLIV

She seem’d to listen: soon her moans were hush’d;

She caught his words thus suffering and possest;

From her torn heart a grateful torrent gush’d,

And love expelled the Demon from her breast.

237 15(7)r 237

XLV

Still Helon held, and sooth’d, and timely drew

Near to the vase of perfumes nightly burning,

And, from his open box of carneol, threw

All it contain’d. ’Twas well:—Zóphiël returning

That moment ’scaped from him whose malice held,

Rush’d fiercely anxious to a scene of love

Approved by heaven—oh! torture! he beheld

A stanger’s arm entwine! Eager to prove

That power to mortal rival late so fell:

Enough had been a moment for his ire;

But a strange force he vainly strove to quell,

Insufferable, from the perfume fire,

Rush’d forth, resistless as his maker’s breath:

And when he fain would place him by the bed

Which, but to touch, had been gay Meles’ death,

He felt him hurl’d away, uttered a shriek, and fled.

XLVI

But Helon lives, supporting still the maid

O’erwhelmed with hopes and fears, and all o’erspent

With recent pain; Didst hear that shriek? he said,

The Sprite has left us: kneel with me! They knelt

238 15(7)v 238

Them both to earth,—the bridegroom and his bride,

So fill’d with present joy, the past was dim;—

’Twas rapture now, whatever might betide,

And pain to her were bliss, so it were shared with him.

XLVII

Then prayed he: Heaven, if either have offended

Punish us now! avenge! but with one breath

Let our so-late-united lives be ended!

Let her be mine—and give me life or death!

XLVIII

Then she: If I now die, I die his wife,

And fully blest, O heaven! await my doom!

Nor would exchange for thousand years of life

The dearer privilege to share his tomb.

XLIX

Yet, if we die not,—Maker, to him give

Light from thy source—so shall my sin be less

In thine account—for oh! I ne’er can live

Other, with him, than his idolatress.

L

Let me adore thy image as I gaze

On her fair eyes now raised with mine to thee;

And let her find, while flow our years and days,

To feed her love some spark of thee in me,

239 15(8)r 239

LI

(He said): Thus, as we kneel, no wild desire

Blends with our voices in unhallowed sighs:

Spirit, to thee we quench the nuptial fire—

Look down propitious on the sacrifice!

LII

Receive it as a token that our love

Is of the soul;—and if our lives endure,

Spirit, who sit’st diffusing life above,

Look on our union, and pronounce it pure!

LIII

While thus they prayed, Hariph her kindred brought

To listen to them; thus, as, one by one,

Rose their heart-offerings,—sense subdued by thought;

This borne to heaven, he said, my task is done.

LIV

Call me no longer Hariph: I but took,

For love of that young pair, this mortal guise;

And often have I stood, beside Heaven’s book,

And given in record, there, their deeds and sighs.

LV

From infancy I’ve watched them,—far apart,—

Oppress’d by men and fiends;—yet, form’d to dwell

Soul blent with soul, and beating heart ’gainst heart;

’Tis done.—Behold the angel Raphaël.

240 15(8)v 240

LVI

That blest commission, friend of men, I bear,

To comfort those who undeservedly mourn;

And every good resolve, kind tear, heart-prayer,

’Tis mine to show before the Eternal’s throne.

LVII

And oft I haste, and when the good and true

Are headlong urged to deep pollution, save;

Just as my wings receive some drops of dew,

Which else must join Asphaltites’ black wave,

LVIII

He said; all o’er to radiant beauty warming,

While they, in doubt of what they looked upon,

Beheld a form—dissolving—dazzling—charming—

But, ere their lips found utterance, it was gone.

He said, all o’er to radiant beauty warming, While they, in doubt of what they looked upon, Beheld a form,—dissolving—dazzling—charming— But, ere their lips found utterance, it was gone. Flesh is said to be composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen: if men have already been able to discover its materials, the power of making and dissolving it at pleasure, may, without inconsistency, be ascribed to beings so much superior to them as angels have ever been thought. Indeed the supposition of such a power is the only thing that can give the least semblance of possibility to what has been related of good and evil angels. The following passage, extracted by Brucker, from the writings of Bonaventura, looks as reasonable as anything which has ever yet been said concerning the mysterious union of spirit and body. The formal principles of bodies are celestial bodies, which by their accession or recession cause the production or corruption of the inferior; it may, therefore, be concluded that there is in these occult forms a capacity of being restored to higher principles, namely celestial bodies, or to powers still higher than these—that is, to separate intellectual substances, which in their respective operations leave traces of themselves.

LIX

Afar that pitying angel bent his flight,

In anxious search, revolving in his breast

Of a once-heavenly brother’s wretched plight;—

Torn from his last dear hope, where could he rest?

LX

Hurl’d, ’gainst his will, the suffering Zóphiël went

To the remotest of Egyptia’s bounds;

Demons pursued to view his punishment,

And with his shrieks the desert blast resounds.

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LXI

Dark shadowy fiends, invidious that he joy’d

In love and beauty still, less deeply curst

Than they, of late had leagued them; and employed

All arts to crush and foil. Now, as when first

Expell’d from heaven they saw him writhe; and while

He groans and clasps the earth, sit them beside,

Ask questions of his bliss, and then with smile

Recount his baffled schemes, and linger to deride.

LXII

And, when they fled, he hid him in a cave,

Strewn with the bones of some sad wretch, who there,

Apart from men, had sought a desert grave,

And yielded to the demon of despair.

LXIII

There, beauteous Zóphiël, shrinking from the ray,

Envying the wretch that so his life had ended,

Wailed his eternity. He fain would pray,—

But could not pray to one he had offended.

LXIV

The fiercest pains of death had been relief,

And yet his quenchless being might not end.

Hark! Raphaël’s voice breaks sweetly on his grief:

Hope, Zóphiël! hope! hope! hope!—thou hast a friend! Hope, Zóphiël! hope! hope! hope! thou hast a friend! As Zóphiël appears to have no evil propensity, and commits only such crimes as are occasioned by the violence of his love; Raphaël may think it possible to induce him to repent, and ultimately obtain pardon. Haruth and Maruth were condemned for a time to inhabit a cavern beneath the tower of Babel, with the permission of returning to heaven after a proper expiation of their offences. Their appearance in this cavern is beautifully represented in Thalaba. These angels, according to the story, had obtained while in heaven such a reputation for wisdom that they were sent on earth to judge the whole race of men. They soon, however, became so enamoured of the beautiful Zohara that she obtained from them the most holy of secrets.

16 242 16(1)v 243 16(2)r

Notes to Canto the Sixth

The bard has sung, God never formed a soul Without its own peculiar mate. The gods (says Plato, in his Banquet) formed man, at first, of a round figure, with two bodies and two sexes; the variety of his powers rendered him so audacious that he made war against his creators. Jupiter was about to destroy him, but, reflecting that with him the whole human race must perish, the god contented himself with merely reducing his strength. The androgyne was accordingly separated in two parts, and Apollo received the order of perfecting them. From that time each part, though become a separate being, seeks, desires, and feels a continual impulse to meet the other. See Voyages d’Antenor, tome i. chap. 22 Some of the Jewish Rabbins have entertained a similar opinion: according to their accounts, Adam was created male and female, man on one side, woman on the other, and God, afterwards, separated the two forms that were before united. Les androgynes avoit deux sexes, deux têtes, quatre bras, quatre pieds. Voyages d’Antenor,—see Note to vol. 1 It was evidently from such opinions, as well as his own feelings that Dr. Watts conceived the idea of that popular little poem, which he has called the Indian Philosopher. The different accounts of creation are sufficiently amusing. It is said, in the Talmud, that God did not wish to create woman, because he foresaw that her husband would very soon have to complain of her perversity; he therefore waited till Adam asked her of him, and then took every precaution to make her as good as possible. He 24416(2)v 244 would not take her from the head, lest she should have sufficient wit and spirit to become a coquette; not from the eyes, lest she should cast mischievous glances; nor from the mouth, lest she should listen at doors; nor from the heart, lest she should be jealous; nor from the hands or feet, lest she should be a thief or a runaway; but every precaution was vain: she had all these defects, although drawn from the most quiet and honest part that could possibly be found about Adam. This is merely translated from M. de. Lentier And formed, in every fibre, for such love As heaven not yet had given her to share. Souls, according to Plato, are rays of the divinity, which, ere they are shut in the gross envelope of morality, pass through a state of existence, during which an invincible attraction unites them, two by two, and inflames them with a love pure and celestial. When embodied upon earth, these souls, thus previously united, continually seek and feel a propensity for each other, and, unless they are so happy as to meet, can never be animated by a true and genuine affection. He said, all o’er to radiant beauty warming, While they, in doubt of what they looked upon, Beheld a form,—dissolving—dazzling—charming— But, ere their lips found utterance, it was gone. Flesh is said to be composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen: if men have already been able to discover its materials, the power of making and dissolving it at pleasure, may, without inconsistency, be ascribed to beings so much superior to them as angels have ever been thought. Indeed the supposition of such a power is the only thing that can give the least semblance of possibility to what has been related of good and evil angels. The following passage, extracted by Brucker, from the writings of Bonaventura, looks as reasonable as anything which has ever yet been said concerning the mysterious union of spirit and body. The formal principles of bodies are celestial bodies, which by their accession or recession cause the production or corruption of the inferior; it may, therefore, be concluded that there is in these occult forms a capacity of being restored to higher principles, namely celestial bodies, or to powers still higher than these—that is, to separate intellectual substances, which in their respective operations leave traces of themselves. 245 16(3)r 245 Hope, Zóphiël! hope! hope! hope! thou hast a friend! As Zóphiël appears to have no evil propensity, and commits only such crimes as are occasioned by the violence of his love; Raphaël may think it possible to induce him to repent, and ultimately obtain pardon. Haruth and Maruth were condemned for a time to inhabit a cavern beneath the tower of Babel, with the permission of returning to heaven after a proper expiation of their offences. Their appearance in this cavern is beautifully represented in Thalaba. These angels, according to the story, had obtained while in heaven such a reputation for wisdom that they were sent on earth to judge the whole race of men. They soon, however, became so enamoured of the beautiful Zohara that she obtained from them the most holy of secrets. The notes of Zóphiël were written some in Cuba, some in Canada, some at Hanover, United States, some at Paris, and the last at Keswick, England, under the kind encouragement of Robert Southey, Esq.; and near a window which overlooks the beautiful lake Derwent, and the finest groups of those mountains which encircle completely that charming valley where the Greta winds over its bed of clean pebbles, looking clear as dew.
246 16(3)v 247 16(4)r

Miscellaneous Pieces.

248 16(4)v 249 16(5)r

Miscellaneous Pieces.

Composed At the Request of a Lady, and Descriptive of her Feelings. She returned to the North, and died soon after.

Adieu, fair isle! I love thy bowers,

I love thy dark-eyed daughters there;

The cool pomegranate’s scarlet flowers

Look brighter in their jetty hair.

They praised my forehead’s stainless white;

And when I thirsted, gave a draught

From the full clustering cocoa’s height,

And smiling, blessed me as I quaff’d.

Well pleased, the kind return I gave,

And, clasped in their embraces’ twine,

Felt the soft breeze, like Lethe’s wave,

Becalm this beating heart of mine.

Why will my heart so wildly beat?

Say, Seraphs, is my lot too blest,

That thus a fitful, feverish heat

Must rifle me of health and rest?

250 16(5)v 250

Alas! I fear my native snows—

A clime too cold, a heart too warm—

Alternate chills—alternate glows—

Too fiercely threat my flower-like form.

The orange-tree has fruit and flowers;

The grenadilla, The grenadilla is a melon produced from a blossom more rich and beautiful than it is easy to describe. Though much larger, it resembles the cerulean passion-flower so nearly as to seem of the same species; but the leaf of its vine is curled, and of a very different shape. in its bloom,

Hangs o’er its high, luxuriant bowers,

Like fringes from a Tyrian loom.

When the white coffee-blossoms swell,

The fair moon full, the evening long,

I love to hear the warbling bell, The word warbling expresses, with more truth than any other, the sound which these bells really produce. The dwelling where I have listened to them with most pleasure, was placed about half a mile from the road where the Montéros travelled, by moonlight, as they often do, in Cuba, to avoid the intense heat of the sun. The sound of their bells, heard at such a distance, was so soft and musical, that it might have been mistaken for the noise of a small stream running over a bed of pebbles. The evenings were sometimes so calm, that many of their songs distinctly reached the ear.

And sun-burnt peasant’s wayward song.

Drive gently on, dark muleteer,

And the light seguidilla frame;

Fain would I listen still, to hear

At every close thy mistress’ name.

251 16(6)r 251

Adieu, fair isle! the waving palm

Is pencilled on thy purest sky;

Warm sleeps the bay, the air is balm,

And, soothed to languor, scarce a sigh

Escapes for those I love so well,

For those I’ve loved and left so long,

On me their fondest musings dwell,

To them alone my sighs belong.

On, on, my bark! blow southern breeze!

No longer would I lingering stay;

’Twere better far to die with these

Than live in pleasure far away.

252 16(6)v 252

From German Verses, by Baron Joseph de Palm.

I saw a little pensive flower,

So delicate in form and hue,

I sighed to pluck—but had not power,

For on a rocky steep it grew.

Beneath the rude uncertain height

Awhile I stood, with soul and eyes

Enchained by wonder and delight;

Then, rushed to climb the precipice.

Upon the beauteous prize intent,

Wildly I plied both strength and art;

But a deep boding sentiment

Was heavy at my anxious heart.

Near to the little flower I drew—

I almost gained the dangerous brink;

But the old crag from which it grew

And looked so fair began to sink.

Warm with the hope which just had birth,

I strove to clasp—an effort gave—

’Twas gone—it sank into the earth,

And left me but an open grave.

253 16(7)r 253

From German Verses, by Baron Joseph de Palm.

Slow was the step that drew me from

The loved enclosure of my home;

My heavy heart heaved with a sigh,

And gathering drops obscured my eye.

I paused, amid the well-known track,

Stood still awhile—then started back;

A rose bent forth and beckoned me—

Fondly I looked—the rose was she.

A nightingale leaned from his spray

And sang to me so sweet a lay,

That, lost in silent ecstacy,

I turned—the nightingale was she.

A little star, that, still on high,

Was trembling in the morning sky,

Bowed, as I looked, inviting me

To stay—the little star was she.

The sun that rose with kindly glow,

Wrote with his beams: no farther go—

I could but rest awhile to see—

Yet, wherefore read?—the sun was she.

254 16(7)v 254

The plain, with more than wonted smile,

Wooed me to wander back awhile;—

Gazing on dew, and flower, and bee,

I lingered still—the plain was she.

Nature had caught me in her arms,

And twined me in a net of charms;

I felt my steps no longer free,

And stopt surprised—Nature was she.

All—all combined—I faintly strove,

Enthralled, entranced, I could not move:

Rose, nightingale, star, sun, plain, tree—

The whole sweet universe was she.

255 16(8)r 255

Song.

Oh, moon of flowers! sweet moon of flowers, The savages of the northern part of America sometimes count by moons. May is called by them the moon of flowers, and October the moon of falling leaves.

Why dost thou mind me of the hours

Which flew so softly on that night

When last I saw and felt thy light?

Oh, moon of flowers! thou moon of flowers,

Would thou couldst give me back those hours,

Since which a dull cold year has fled

Or show me with whom they sped!

Oh, moon of flowers! oh, moon of flowers!

In scenes afar were past those hours,

Which still with fond regret I see,

And wish my heart could change like thee!

255 16(8)v

J.D. Freeman, Printer,
110, Washington Street.