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Though bent on earth thine evil eye,
On-on he hasten'd, and he drew
A troubled memory on my breast,
The flashes of each joyous peal
✦ Jerreed, or Djerrid, a blunted Turkish javelin, which is darted from horseback with great force and precision. It is a favourite exercise of the Mussulmans; but I know not if it can be called a manly one, since the most pert in the art are the Black Eunuchs of Constantinople. I think, next to these, a Mamlouk at Smyrna was the most skilful that came within my observation.
[Every gesture of the impetuous horseman is full of anxiety and passion. In the midst of his career, whilst in full view of the astonished spectator, he suddenly checks his steed, and rising on his stirrup, surveys, with a look of agonis. ing impatience, the distant city illuminated for the feast of Bairam; then pale with anger, raises his arm as if in menace of an invisible enemy; but awakened from his trance of passion by the neighing of his charger, again hurries forward, and disappears. GEORGE ELLIS.]
His brow was bent, his eye was glazed;
Impatient of his flight delay'd,
Down glanced that hand, and grasp'd his blade; 3
The spur hath lanced his courser's sides;
The thought that Conscience must embrace,
The hour is past, the Giaour is gone; And did he fly or fall alone? 7 Woe to that hour he came or went! The curse for Hassan's sin was sent To turn a palace to a tomb: He came, he went, like the Simoom, 8 That harbinger of fate and gloom,
6 ["'T was but an instant, though so long When thus dilated in my song.' ." -MS.]
7 ["But neither fled nor fell alone.".
- MS.] 8 The blast of the desert, fatal to every thing living, and often alluded to in eastern poetry. [Abyssinian Bruce gives, perhaps, the liveliest account of the appearance and effects of the suffocating blast of the Desert:" At eleven o'clock," he says, "while we contemplated with great pleasure the rugged top of Chiggre, to which we were fast approaching, and where we were to solace ourselves with plenty of good water, Idris, our guide, cried out with a loud voice, Fall upon your faces; for here is the simoom.' I saw from the south-east a haze come, in colour like the purple part of the rainbow, but not so compressed or thick. It did not occupy twenty yards in breadth, and was about twelve feet high from the ground. It was a kind of blush upon the air, and it moved very rapidly; for I scarce could turn to fall upon the ground, with my head to the northward, when I felt the heat of its current plainly upon my face. We all lay flat on the ground as if dead, till Idris told us it was blown over. The meteor, or purple haze, which I saw was, indeed, passed, but the light air, which still blew, was of a heat to threaten suffocation. For my part, I found distinctly in my breast that I had imbibed a part of it; nor was 1 free of an asthmatic sensation till I had been some months in Italy, at the baths of Poretta, near two years afterwards.". -See Bruce's Life and Travels, p. 470. edit. 1830.]
Beneath whose widely-wasting breath
The steed is vanish'd from the stall; No serf is seen in Hassan's hall; The lonely Spider's thin gray pall Waves slowly widening o'er the wall; 1 The Bat builds in his Haram bower, And in the fortress of his power
The Owl usurps the beacon-tower;
The wild-dog howls o'er the fountain's brim,
And flung luxurious coolness round
The air, and verdure o'er the ground.
To view the wave of watery light,
And hear its melody by night.
And oft had Hassan's Childhood play'd
That sound had harmonized his rest;
["The lonely spider's thin gray pall
Is curtained on the splendid wall."— MS.]
2 ["The wild-dog howis o'er the fountain's brink, But vainly tells his tongue to drink."- MS. 3 [For thirsty fox and jackal gaunt
May vainly for its waters pant."-MS.]
4 [This part of the narrative not only contains much brilliant and just description, but is managed with unusual taste. The fisherman has, hitherto, related nothing more than the extraordinary phenomenon which had excited his curiosity, and of which it is his immediate object to explain the cause to his hearers; but instead of proceeding to do so, he stops to vent his execrations on the Giaour, to describe the solitude of Hassan's once luxurious haram, and to lament the untimely death of the owner, and of Leila, together with the cessation of that hospitality which they had uniformly experienced. He reveals, as if unintentionally and unconsciously, the catastrophe of his story; but he thus prepares his appeal to the sympathy of his audience, without much diminishing their suspense. GEORGE ELLIS.]
5 ["I have just recollected an alteration you may make in the proof. Among the lines on Hassan's Serai, is this • Unmeet for solitude to share.' Now, to share implies more than one, and Solitude is a single gentleman; it must be thus ——
So here the very voice of Grief
With Hassan on the mountain side.
Is Desolation's hungry den.
The guest flies the hall, and the vassal from labour, Since his turban was cleft by the infidel's sabre 17
9 Green is the privileged colour of the prophet's numerous pretended descendants; with them, as here, faith (the family inheritance) is supposed to supersede the necessity of good works: they are the worst of a very indifferent brood.
10"Salam aleikoum! aleikoum salam!" peace be with you; be with you peace-the salutation reserved for the faithful: to a Christian, "Urlarula," a good journey; or "saban hiresem, saban serula;" good morn, good even; and sometimes," may your end be happy;" are the usual salutes.
Sullen it plunged, and slowly sank, The calm wave rippled to the bank; I watch'd it as it sank, methought Some motion from the current caught Bestirr'd it more, —'t was but the beam That checker'd o'er the living stream: I gazed, till vanishing from view, Like lessening pebble it withdrew; Still less and less, a speck of white That gemm'd the tide, then mock'd the sight; And all its hidden secrets sleep, Known but to Genii of the deep, Which, trembling in their coral caves, They dare not whisper to the waves.
As rising on its purple wing
Woe waits the insect and the maid;
With wounded wing, or bleeding breast,
Or Beauty, blighted in an hour,
The Mind, that broods o'er guilty woes,
In circle narrowing as it glows, 4
The blue-winged butterfly of Kashmeer, the most rare and beautiful of the species.
[If caught, to fate alike betrayed.” — MS.]
Mr. Dallas says, that Lord Byron assured him that the paragraph containing the simile of the scorpion was imagined in his sleep. It forms, therefore, a pendant to the " psychological curiosity," beginning with those exquisitely musical
"A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw ;
It was an Abyssinian maid," &c.
The whole of which, Mr. Coleridge says, was composed by him during a siesta.]
Till inly search'd by thousand throes,
And maddening in her ire,
The sting she nourish'd for her foes,
Or live like Scorpion girt by fire; 5
Black Hassan from the Haram flies, Nor bends on woman's form his eyes; The unwonted chase each hour employs, Yet shares he not the hunter's joys. Not thus was Hassan wont to fly When Leila dwelt in his Serai. Doth Leila there no longer dwell? That tale can only Hassan tell : Strange rumours in our city say Upon that eve she fled away When Rhamazan's 7 last sun was set, And flashing from each minaret Millions of lamps proclaim'd the feast Of Bairam through the boundless East. "T was then she went as to the bath, Which Hassan vainly search'd in wrath; For she was flown her master's rage In likeness of a Georgian page, And far beyond the Moslem's power Had wrong'd him with the faithless Giaour. Somewhat of this had Hassan deem'd; But still so fond, so fair she seem'd, Too well he trusted to the slave Whose treachery deserved a grave: And on that eve had gone to mosque, And thence to feast in his kiosk.
Such is the tale his Nubians tell,
But others say, that on that night,
By pale Phingari's 8 trembling light,
Her eye's dark charm 't were vain to tell, But gaze on that of the Gazelle,. It will assist thy fancy well;
As large, as languishingly dark,
["The gathering flames around her close."- MS.]
Alluding to the dubious suicide of the scorpion, so placed for experiment by gentle philosophers. Some maintain that the position of the sting, when turned towards the head, is merely a convulsive movement; but others have actually brought in the verdict "Felo de se." The scorpions are surely interested in a speedy decision of the question; as, if once fairly established as insect Catos, they will probably be allowed to live as long as they think proper, without being martyred for the sake of an hypothesis.
["So writhes the mind by Conscience riven."- MS.]
7 The cannon at sunset close the Rhamazan. See antè, p. 65. note. 8 Phingari, the moon.
That darted from beneath the lid,
The young pomegranate's blossoms strew
When left to roll its folds below,
And spurns the wave with wings of pride, When pass the steps of stranger man
Along the banks that bound her tide; Thus rose fair Leila's whiter neck: Thus arm'd with beauty would she check Intrusion's glance, till Folly's gaze Shrunk from the charms it meant to praise : Thus high and graceful was her gait; Her heart as tender to her mate; Her mate-stern Hassan, who was he? Alas! that name was not for thee!
Stern Hassan hath a journey ta'en With twenty vassals in his train, Each arm'd, as best becomes a man, With arquebuss and ataghan; The chief before, as deck'd for war, Bears in his belt the scimitar
1 The celebrated fabulous ruby of Sultan Giamschid, the embellisher of Istakhar; from its splendour, named Schebgerag," the torch of night;" also "the cup of the sun," &c. In the first edition. "Giamschid " was written as a word of three syllables; so D'Herbelot has it; but I am told Richardson reduces it to a dissyllable, and writes "Jamshid." I have left in the text the orthography of the one with the pronunciation of the other.[In the first edition, Lord Byron had used this word as a trisyllable, -" Bright as the gem of Giamschid," but, on my remarking to him, upon the authority of Richardson's Persian Dictionary, that this was incorrect, he altered it to "Bright as the ruby of Giamschid." On seeing this, however, I wrote to him, "that, as the comparison of his heroine's eye to a ruby might unluckily call up the idea of its being bloodshot, he had better change the line to" Bright as the jewel of Giamschid, "which he accordingly did, in the following edition. - MOORE.]
2 Al-Sirat, the bridge of breadth, narrower than the thread of a famished spider, and sharper than the edge of a sword, over which the Mussulmans must skate into Paradise, to which it is the only entrance; but this is not the worst, the river beneath being hell itself, into which, as may be expected, the unskilful and tender of foot contrive to tumble with a "facilis descensus Averni," not very pleasing in prospect to
Stain'd with the best of Arnaut blood,
Which still, though gemm'd and boss'd with goid,
Even robbers tremble to behold.
"Tis said he goes to woo a bride
The faithless slave that broke her bower,
The sun's last rays are on the hill, And sparkle in the fountain rill, Whose welcome waters, cool and clear, Draw blessings from the mountaineer: Here may the loitering merchant Greek Find that repose 't were vain to seek In cities lodged too near his lord, And trembling for his secret hoardHere may he rest where none can see, In crowds a slave, in deserts free; And with forbidden wine may stain The bowl a Moslem must not drain.
The foremost Tartar's in the gap, Conspicuous by his yellow cap; The rest in lengthening line the while Wind slowly through the long defile: Above, the mountain rears a peak, Where vultures whet the thirsty beak, And theirs may be a feast to-night, Shall tempt them down ere morrow's light; Beneath, a river's wintry stream Has shrunk before the summer beam, And left a channel bleak and bare, Save shrubs that spring to perish there: Each side the midway path there lay Small broken crags of granite gray, By time, or mountain lightning, riven From summits clad in mists of heaven; For where is he that hath beheld The peak of Liakura unveil'd?
They reach the grove of pine et last: "Bismillah! now the peril's past; For yonder view the opening plain, And there we'll prick our steeds amain: " The Chiaus spake, and as he said, A bullet whistled o'er his head;
The foremost Tartar bites the ground!?
Half shelter'd by the steed; Some fly behind the nearest rock, And there await the coming shock,
Nor tamely stand to bleed Beneath the shaft of foes unseen, Who dare not quit their craggy screen. Stern Hassan only from his horse Disdains to light, and keeps his course, Till fiery flashes in the van Proclaim too sure the robber-clan Have well secured the only way Could now avail the promised prey; Then curl'd his very beard with ire, And glared his eye with fiercer fire: "Though far and near the bullets hiss, I've 'scaped a bloodier hour than this." And now the foe their covert quit, And call his vassals to submit; But Hassan's frown and furious word Are dreaded more than hostile sword, Nor of his little band a man Resign'd carbine or ataghan, Nor raised the craven cry, Amaun! 4 In fuller sight, more near and near, The lately ambush'd foes appear, And, issuing from the grove, advance Some who on battle-charger prance. Who leads them on with foreign brand, Far flashing in his red right hand? "Tis he! 'tis he! I know him now; I know him by his pallid brow; I know him by the evil eye 5 That aids his envious treachery; I know him by his jet-black barb: Though now array'd in Arnaut garb, Apostate from his own vile faith, It shall not save him from the death: "Tis he! well met in any hour, Lost Leila's love, accursed Giaour!"
While eddying whirl, and breaking wave,
And pealing wide or ringing near
Reverberate along that vale,
More suited to the shepherd's tale: Though few the numbers. - theirs the strife, That neither spares nor speaks for life!6 Ah! fondly youthful hearts can press, To seize and share the dear caress; But Love itself could never pant For all that Beauty sighs to grant With half the fervour Hate bestows Upon the last embrace of foes, When grappling in the fight they fold Those arms that ne'er shall lose their hold: Friends meet to part; Love laughs at faith; True foes, once met, are join'd till death!
With sabre shiver'd to the hilt,
His breast with wounds unnumber'd riven,
As if the hour that seal'd his fate
"Yes, Leila sleeps beneath the wave, But his shall be a redder grave; Her spirit pointed well the steel Which taught that felon heart to feel. He call'd the Prophet, but his power Was vain against the vengeful Giaour:
were expected every moment to change their colour, but at last condescended to subside, which, probably, saved more heads than they contained hairs.
4" Amaun," quarter, pardon.
The "evil eye," a common superstition in the Levant, and of which the imaginary effects are yet very singular on those who conceive themselves affected.
5 ["That neither gives nor asks for life."- - MS.]
? The flowered shawls generally worn by persons of rank.