« AnteriorContinuar »
The attempts on India by the reigning sovereign of Persia bring to our recollection the fate of the most memorable of Persian warriors. In the year 1739, exactly a century ago, the famous Kouli Khan, the Shah of Persia, invaded India, and, after defeating the Mogul army in a great battle, took possession of Delhi. He spared the lives of the leading people, a singular instance of lenity in Asiatic war, and so wholly opposite to his own reckless polity, that it was accounted for only by a mysterious influence. But his original habits soon returned; and, on his determination being known to put a large number of the inhabitants of the capital to the sword, his tent was attacked by five Indians, in the midst of his army ; and after a desperate defence, in which he killed two of them, he was struck to the heart. The Persians are coming,
• The Shah asks three questions :The Persians are come ;
If answer'd, ye stand; The banners are flying,
If unanswer'd, ye fall And thunders the drum ;
Each head and each hand And bright as a sunbeam
On the ramparts of Delhi Rides forth in the van,
Shall bleed to the sun ; The king of all kings,
This moment is yoursKouli Khan, Kouli Khan !
Now, be saved, or undone !" The hills and the valleys
All was silent as midnight, Of corpses are full;
Then out broke the words There lies the pale Tartar,
« Hear, princes of Cachmire! There lies the Mogul.
Hear, Delhi's proud lords ! There the elephant bleeds
The manes of your steeds From his forests afar;
Are like banners unfurl'd; For the arrows of Persia
But what hours would it cost you, Have finish'd the war.
To ride round the world? And now with his omrahs
6. Next, reckon the wealth He sits on his throne,
Of the king of all kings With kings for his captains,
His crowns and his sceptres, The East for his own.
His arms and his rings. The gems on his turban,
Last, tell the high thought, The gems on his shawl
That now beams in his eye. Flash fire-but his glance
Or your death-lot is drawn, Flashes brighter than all.
There your corpses shall lie." There, proud Aurungzebe!
Then the squadrons of archers Stand thy princes in chains,
Wheeld round, wing to wing, But, though fallen, they remember And a thousand keen arrows Thy blood in their veins :
Were laid on the string. With toil and with battle
Yet there stood the princes, Their faces are wan;
Though fetter'd and lone, But their frown is as haughty In their ranks still and stately, As thine, Kouli Khan.
Like statues of stone. Then gazed the dark Sultan,
• They must die.” But a yell His bosom heaved high,
Pierced thro' heart and thro' ear, For he ponder'd the thought And wild as a leopard
Shall they live ? shall they die ? In sprang a Faquier : « Let them die"_from its scabbard His visage was ebon, His dagger outsprang ;
His beard to the ground, « Let them live" in the scabbard Wrath burn'd in his glance 'Twas dash'd with a clang.
As it darted around. Then the herald came forth,
66 Kouli Khan, thou art conqu ror, He thrice bow'd to the throne:
Sheath thy red sword; Like a pillar of topaz
Kouli Khan ! take thy choice, He gloriously shone.
To be cursed or adored I" He thrice blew the trumpet,
All gazed in strange wonder, The heavens gave reply;
And dagger and spear Then proclaim'd to the captives,
Were aim'd at his breast, “ Thus live, or thus die :
But loud laugh'd the Faquier.
“ I will answer, dark Sultan,
Still brighter and brighter Thy questions of blood.”
He grew, while they gazed ; His staff swept a ring
Still loftier his stature, Round the spot where he stood. His
keener blazed. Then he pour'd out a goblet,
In his hand was the sword, And mutter'd a name;
On his brow was the plume. To the gold-sculptured roof
-Is he come from the skies, Sprang a column of flame.
Is he come from the tomb ? Then his voice spoke in thunder : “ I am Uriel,” he spake 6. What hours shall it take
From sultan to slave, To ride round the world?
All were bow'd to the dust, Dark Sultan, awake!
All was still as the gravem -Take the wings of the morning, “ I am sent from the heights And ride with the sun,
Of the star-studded throne, In a day and a night
The Angel of Mercy, Shall thy journey be done !
To save the undone. " Then,—what is thy wealth ? “ They are saved-Thou art saved ! Were it mountains of gold,
F® each drop of their gore 'Tis not worth one true heart
Would have burn'd on thy soul, Now, two questions are told.
Like the red molten ore, Hear the third. Is it evil,
Now, farewell, and be wise, Or good to forgive ?
Thou son of the worm!” Know that Hell gives us death, -He upsprang, and the sound But Heaven bids us live."
Was like ocean in storm, Then loud swell’d the trumpet, And the rolling of chariots, And high clash'd the spear,
And clanging of bows, And a purse fill’d with diamonds Of the warriors of heaven Was flung to the seer.
Were heard as he rose : And to hail him the omrahs
And voices of sweetness, And chieftains all ran,
And sweepings of strings ; And none look'd on the throne And the gleamings were seen Though there sat Kouli Khan.
Of tiaras and wings. But one, and the proudest,
And the perfumes of Paradise Dared pluck his white beard :
Fell in a stream; The Faquier shot a glance,
And their senses were steep'd Not a murmur was heard !
In delight, like a dream! But one grasp at his throat;
Then all woke.-For a year And the Omrah lay low ;
The dagger was sheathed, And the whole jewell'd circle
The hand of the bride, Recoil'd from the blow.
In the bridegroom's was wreathed. - Still the axe,” said the Sultan, And the yine hid the cottage, - Must smite the Vizier,
The sheep fill'd the fold, For the blood of my
And the merchant was safe Has reek'd on his spear.
With his silk and his gold. 66 What, tiger! rnore blood ?
And the infant was glad, Well, what prize shall be mine, And the man without fear, If he stand on this spot
And age met the tomb, Ere yon sun shall decline ?"
Like the corn in the ear. Take the half of my throne!" But then came dark Eblis,
“ Mighty Shah, he is here!" The tempter of kings, - The beard was cast off,
And the Sultan was wrapt But there stood no Faquier.
In the shade of his wings; For the form bow'd to earth,
Wine madden'd his soul, And the forehead so pale,
The fiend fill'd the man-There stood in his beauty
Thou’rt a corpse in thy tent, A youth sheathed in mail.
Kouli Khan, Kouli Khan!
* In the final suppression of the Janissaries in 1823, it is computed that 20,000 of those insolent mercenaries were put to the sword or sent into exile.
† The Victorious Sultan-one of his many titles. See Sir Grenville Temple's Travels.
I Among the many reforms effected by the vigorous and grasping intellect of Mahmoud, not the least important was his proscription of the old cumbrous military costume, and adoption of the European uniform, the wearing of which he rigidly enforced.
7. Sound the trump for the Mighty ! Where sickles were swords ! He died ere the tramp
And the Lords of the Spears' Of the terror-horsed Tartar
Haughty kingdom has past Who dash'd from the camp,
To the Rebel and Hun! Stay'd his soul with the tale
And the death-song is done: That his dastardly hordes
But thy praise shall not perish, Lay reap'd upon Nekshib,
Lost Mahmoud the Last !
INSCRIPTION IN THE NEW EDITION OF MRS HEMANS'S WORKS.
BY B. SIMMONS.
High be their meed who here, at last, have heap'd
The flowers long scatter'd from the gleaming crown-
In lovelier hues than purpling eve brings down;
Tears, whilst we shed them, into triumph died-
From separate founts of sorrowing and pride.
The exulting music of whose choral lays
When rose thy pæans in Jehovah's praise :-
Stunn'd with each tale, in sickly fiction cloak’d,
Babbles of sufferings which herself provoked
By thy meek life that Virtue's not a name,
Can hymn of holiness yet feel its flame!
To test their truth who mock the minstrel art,
Bright heartless hypocrites affecting heart !
FRENCH LITERATURE OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
We have traced, in a former article, the eighteenth century was the period the outline of French literature du- of original and independent producring the first or creative portion of the tion, when France, instead of receive eighteenth century, when it was illus- ing the rules of taste or the models trated in different departments by the of composition from other countries, eloquence of Buffon, the ingenuity of imposed her own laws on them, im. Montesquieu, the fervid enthusiasm pressed the stamp of her habits of of Rousseau, and the universal talent thought upon all Europe, and enjoyed of Voltaire. Of these, the three last a literary supremacy more absolute impressed the deepest and most du- and universal than any which had rable traces on the literature and the existed since the age of Augustus. mind of Europe : Montesquieu, by the The unhesitating and enthusiastic re. novelty and occasional sagacity which ception at first accorded to the French he mingled with much false taste in philosophy of the eighteenth century style, rash assumption of facts, and by the rest of Europe, now appears to hasty generalisation in reasoning ; us matter of astonishment. Under all Rousseau, by that semblance of con. the disguises of humanity, literature, viction, that passionate exaggeration zeal for improvement, removal of preof sentiments and principles, derived judices, and banishment of supersti, from his own morbid propensities, tion, with which the aim of the which gave to his studied essays the French philosophers was studiously inappearance, and something of the in- vested, the principle of determined hosfluence, of unpremeditated popular tility to monarchy, to the privileged orations, in which all Europe was his classes, and to that religion by which forum; and Voltaire, by his power of the existing state of things was cepopularizing the most abstract dis- mented and upheld, now appears so cussions, insinuating philosophy into palpable, that we wonder how it could the fugitive literature of the day, ma- have been overlooked by those whose king wit subservient to argument, and interests were so deeply involved in lending to every thing he touched the the change. To us it appears evident charm of a style conspicuous for its that the doctrines thus eagerly emfinish and simplicity. This portion of braced by princes and nobles,
Were silently engendering of the day
And blight their blossoms into barrenness. This handwriting on the wall, warn- be opened, exciting curiosity, inviting ing kings and princes that their do- experiment, holding out golden hopes minion was departing from them, of social amelioration, universal disinwhich presented to them but unintel- terestedness and philanthropy, poliligible characters, has become abun- tical equality and primitive simpli. dantly significant when read by the city; pregnant, in short, with all collected light of the past. For the those delusive visions of improveFrench Revolution has furnished the ment which are found to recur at intercommentary of reality upon all the vals in the progress of society; and delusive doctrines of human perfecti- of which, it would seem, man can hardbility, and taught us the folly of ex- ly be cured even by the lessons of a pecting the regeneration of mankind sad and often recurring experience. by means of an infidel philosophy, Long accustomed to contemplate huwbich, while it flatters the vanity, man nature as its selfish and savage overlooks entirely the inherent depra- character had been tamed and mouldvity, of man. But to the eighteenth ed by the salutary restraints of a longcentury a new El Dorado appeared to established faith and settled govern
NO. CCLXXXVII, VOL, XLVI.