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With sabre keen, or blunt jereed.
The Kislar only and his Moors
Watch well the Haram's massy doors.
His head was leant upon his hand, His eye look'd o'er the dark blue water That swiftly glides and gently swells Between the winding Dardanelles ; But yet he saw nor sea nor strand Nor even his Pacha's turban'd band Mix in the game of mimic slaughter, Careering cleave the folded felt With sabre-stroke right sharply dealt; Nor mark'd the javelin-darting crowd, Nor heard their Ollahs wild and loudHe thought but of old Giaffir's daughter!
No word from Selim's bosom broke;
One sigh Zuleika's thought bespoke:
Still gazed he through the lattice grate,
Pale, mute, and mournfully sedate.
To him Zuleika's eye was turn'd,
But little from his aspect learn'd:
Equal her grief, yet not the same;
Her heart confess'd a gentler flame:
But yet that heart alarm'd or weak,
She knew not why, forbade to speak.
Yet speak she must-but when essay?
"How strange he thus should turn away!
Not thus we e'er before have met;
Not thus shall be our parting yet.'
Thrice paced she slowly through the room,
And watch'd his eye-it still was fix'd:
She snatch'd the urn wherein was mix'd
The Persian Atar-gul's perfume,
And sprinkled all its odours o'er
The pictured roof and marble floor:
The drops, that through his glittering vest
The playful girl's appeal addrest,
Unheeded o'er his bosom flew,
As if that breast were marble too.
"What, sullen yet? it must not be--
Oh! gentle Selim, this from thee!"
She saw in curious order set
The fairest flowers of Eastern land-
“He loved them once; may touch them yet,
If offer'd by Zuleika's hand.”
The childish thought was hardly breathed
Before the rose was pluck'd and wreathed;
The next fond moment saw her seat
Her fairy form at Selim's feet:
"This rose to calm my brother's cares
A message from the Bulbul bears;
It says to-night he will prolong
For Selim's ear his sweetest song;
And though his note is somewhat sad,
He'll try for once a strain more glad,
With some faint hope his alter'd lay
May sing these gloomy thoughts away.
"What! not receive my foolish flower? Nay then I am indeed unblest : On me can thus thy forehead lower?
And knowst thou not who loves thee best?
Oh, Selim dear! Oh, more than dearest!
Say, is it me thou hat'st or fearest?
Come, lay thy head upon my breast,
And I will kiss thee into rest,
Since words of mine, and songs must fail
Even from my fabled nightingale.
I knew our sire at times was stern,
But this from thee had yet to learn:
Too well I know he loves thee not;
But is Zuleika's love forgot?
Ah! deem I right? the Pacha's plan-
This kinsman Bey of Carasman
Perhaps may prove some foe of thine.
If so, I swear by Mecca's shrine,
If shrines that ne'er approach allow
To woman's step admit her vow,
Without thy free consent, command,
The Sultan should not have my hand!
Think'st thou that I could bear to part
With thee, and learn to halve my heart?
Ah! were I sever'd from thy side,
Where were thy friend-and who my guide?
Years have not seen, Time shall not see
The hour that tears my soul from thee:
Even Azrael, from his deadly quiver
When flies that shaft, and fly it must,
That parts all else, shall doom for ever
Our hearts to undivided dust!"
He lived he breathed-he moved-he
His trance was gone-his keen eye shone
With thoughts that long in darkness dwelt;
With thoughts that burn-in rays that melt.
As the stream late conceal'd
By the fringe of its willows,
When it rushes reveal'd
In the light of its billows;
As the bolt bursts on high
From the black cloud that bound it,
Flash'd the soul of that eye
Through the long lashes round it.
A warhorse at the trumpet's sound,
A lion roused by heedless hound
By graze of ill-directed knife,
A tyrant waked to sudden strife
Starts not to more convulsive life
And all, before repress'd, betray'd:
Than he, who heard that vow, display'd,
He raised the maid from where she knelt:
"Now thou art mine, for ever mine,
With life to keep, and scarce with life resign
Now thou art mine, that sacred oath.
Though sworn by one, hath bound us both.
Yes, fondly, wisely hast thou done;
That vow hath saved more heads than one:
But blench not thou-thy simplest tress
Claims more from me than tenderness;
I would not wrong the slenderest hair
That clusters round thy forehead fair,
For all the treasures buried far
Within the caves of Istakar.
This morning clouds upon me lower'd,
Reproaches on my head were shower'd,
And Giaffir almost call'd me coward!
Now I have motive to be brave;
The son of his neglected slave,
Nay, start not, 'twas the term he gave,
May show, though little apt to vaunt,
A heart his words nor deeds can daunt.
His son, indeed!—yet, thanks to thee,
Perchance I am, at least shall be;
But let our plighted secret vow
Be only known to us as now.
I know the wretch who dares demand
From Giaffir thy reluctant hand;
More ill-got wealth, a meaner soul
Holds not a Musselim's control:
Was he not bred in Egripo?
A viler race let Israel show!
But let that pass-to none be told
Our oath; the rest shall time unfold.
To me and mine leave Osman Bey;
I've partizans for peril's day:
Think not I am what I appear;
I've arms, and friends, and vengeance near."
"Think not thou art what thou appearest!
My Selim, thou art sadly changed:
This morn I saw thee gentlest, dearest;
But now thou'rt from thyself estranged.
My love thou surely knewst before,
It ne'er was less, nor can be more.
To see thee, hear thee, near thee stay,
And hate the night I know not why,
Save that we meet not but by day;
With thee to live, with thee to die,
I dare not to my hope deny:
Thy cheek, thine eyes, thy lips to kiss,
Like this and this-no more than this;
For, Alla! sure thy lips are flame:
What fever in thy veins is flushing?
My own have nearly caught the same,
At least I feel my cheek too blushing.
To soothe thy sickness, watch thy health,
Partake, but never waste thy wealth,
Or stand with smiles unmurmuring by,
And lighten half thy poverty;
Do all but close thy dying eye,
For that I could not live to try;
To these alone my thoughts aspire:
More can I do? or thou require?
But, Selim, thou must answer why
We need so much of mystery?
The cause I cannot dream nor tell,
But be it, since thou say'st 'tis well;
Yet what thou meanst by arms and
Beyond my weaker sense extends.
I meant that Giaffir should have heard
The very vow I plighted thee;
His wrath would not revoke my word:
But surely he would leave me free.
Can this fond wish seem strange in me,
To be what I have ever been?
What other hath Zuleika seen
From simple childhood's earliest hour?
What other can she seek to see
Than thee, companion of her bower,
The partner of her infancy?
These cherish'd thoughts with life begun,
Say, why must I no more avow?
What change is wrought to make me shun
The truth; my pride, and thine till now?
To meet the gaze of stranger's eyes
Our law, our creed, our God denies;
Nor shall one wandering thought of mine
At such, our Prophet's will, repine:
No! happier made by that decree!
He left me all in leaving thee.
Deep were my anguish, thus compell'd
To wed with one I ne'er beheld:
This wherefore should I not reveal?
Why wilt thou urge me to conceal?
I know the Pacha's haughty mood
To thee hath never boded good;
And he so often storms at nought,
Allah! forbid that e'er he ought!
And why I know not, but within
My heart concealment weighs like sin.
If then such secrecy be crime,
And such it feels while lurking here,
Oh, Selim! tell me yet in time,
Nor leave me thus to thoughts of fear.
Ah! yonder see the Tchocadar,
My father leaves the mimic war;
I tremble now to meet his eye-
Say, Selim, canst thou tell me why?"
"Zuleika! to thy tower's retreat Betake thee-Giaffir I can greet: And now with him I fain must prate Of firmans, imposts, levies, state. There's fearful news from Danube's banks; Our Vizier nobly thins his ranks, For which the Giaour may give him thanks! Our Sultan hath a shorter way Such costly triumph to repay. Hath warn'd the troops to food and sleep, But, mark me, when the twilight-drum Unto thy cell will Selim come: Then softly from the Haram creep Where we may wander by the deep: Our garden-battlements are steep, Nor these will rash intruder climb To list our words, or stint our time, And if he doth, I want not steel Which some have felt, and more may feel. Then shalt thou learn of Selim more Than thou hast heard or thought before; Trust me, Zuleika-fear not me! Thou knowst I hold a Haram-key."
"Fear thee, my Selim! ne'er till now Did word like this-"
"Delay not thou,
I keep the key-and Haroun's guard
Have some, and hope of more reward.
To-night, Zuleika, thou shalt hear
My tale, my purpose, and my fear:
I am not, love! what I appear."
THE winds are high on Helle's wave, As on that night of stormy water When Love, who sent, forgot to save The young, the beautiful, the brave, The lonely hope of Sestos' daughter. Oh! when alone along the sky Her turret-torch was blazing high, Though rising gale, and breaking foam, And shrieking sea-birds warn'd him home, And clouds aloft and tides below, With signs and sounds forbade to go, He could not see, he would not hear Or sound or sign foreboding fear; His eye but saw that light of love, The only star it hail'd above, His ear but rang with Hero's song, "Ye waves, divide not lovers long!"That tale is old, but love anew
May nerve young hearts to prove as true.
Oh! yet-for there my steps have been; These feet have press'd the sacred shore,
Till then-no beacon on the cliff
May shape the course of struggling skiff;
The scatter'd lights that skirt the bay,
All, one by one, have died away;
The only lamp of this lone hour
Is glimmering in Zuleika's tower.
Yes! there is light in that lone chamber,
And o'er her silken Ottoman
Are thrown the fragrant beads of amber,
O'er which her fairy fingers ran;
Near these, with emerald-rays beset,
(How could she thus that gem forget?)
Her mother's sainted amulet,
Whereon engraved the Koorsee text,
Could smooth this life, and win the next;
And by her Comboloio lies
A Koran of illumined dyes;
And many a bright emblazon'd rhyme
By Persian scribes redeem'd from time;
And o'er those scrolls, not oft so mute,
Reclines her now neglected lute;
And round her lamp of fretted gold
Bloom flowers in urns of China's mould;
The richest work of Iran's loom,
And Sheeraz' tribute of perfume;
All that can eye or sense delight
Are gather'd in that gorgeous room:
But yet it hath an air of gloom.
She, of this Peri-cell the sprite,
What doth she hence, and on so rude a night?
Wrapt in the darkest sable vest, Which none save noblest Moslem wear,
These limbs that buoyant wave hath borne-To guard from winds of heaven the breast
Minstrel! with thee to muse, to mourn,
To trace again those fields of yore,
Believing every hillock green
Contains no fabled hero's ashes,
And that around the undoubted scene
Thine own "broad Hellespont " still dashes,
Be long my lot! and cold were he
Who there could gaze denying thee!
The night hath closed on Helle's stream, Nor yet hath risen on Ida's hill That moon, which shone on his high theme No warrior chides her peaceful beam, But conscious shepherds bless it still. Their flocks are grazing on the mound Of him who felt the Dardan's arrow: That mighty heap of gather'd ground Which Ammon's son ran proudly round, By nations raised, by monarchs crown'd, Is now a lone and nameless barrow! Within-thy dwelling-place how narrow! Without-can only strangers breathe The name of him that was beneath: Dust long outlasts the storied stone; But Thou-thy very dust is gone!
Late, late to-night will Dian cheer The swain, and chase the boatman's fear;
As heaven itself to Selim dear,
With cautious steps the thicket threading,
And starting oft, as through the glade
The gust its hollow moanings made,
Till on the smoother pathway treading,
More free her timid bosom beat,
The maid pursued her silent guide;
And though her terror urged retreat
How could she quit her Selim's side?
How teach her tender lips to chide?
They reach'd at length a grotto, hewn By nature, but enlarged by art, Where oft her lute she wont to tune And oft her Koran conn'd apart; And oft in youthful reverie She dream'd what Paradise might be: Where woman's parted soul shall go Her Prophet had disdain'd to show; But Selim's mansion was secure, Nor deem'd she, could he long endure His bower in other worlds of bliss, Without her, most beloved in this! Oh! who so dear with him could dwell? What Houri soothe him half so well?
Since last she visited the spot Some change seem'd wrought within the grot:
It might be only that the night
Disguised things seen by better light:
That brazen lamp but dimly threw
A ray of no celestial hue;
But in a nook within the cell
Her eye on stranger objects fell.
There arms were piled, not such as wield
The turban'd Delis in the field;
But brands of foreign blade and hilt,
And one was red-perchance with guilt!
Ah! how without can blood he spilt?
A cup too on the board was set
That did not seem to hold sherbet.
What may this mean? she turn'd to see
Her Selim-“Oh! can this be he?"
His robe of pride was thrown aside, His brow no high-crown'd turban bore, But in its stead a shawl of red, Wreathed lightly round, his temples wore That dagger, on whose hilt the gem Were worthy of a diadem, No longer glitter'd at his waist, Where pistols unadorn'd were braced; And from his belt a sabre swung, And from his shoulder loosely hung The cloak of white, the thin capote That decks the wandering Candiote: Beneath his golden plated vest Clung like a cuirass to his breast; The greaves below his knee that wound With silvery scales were sheathed and bound. But were it not that high command Spake in his eye, and tone, and hand, All that a careless eye could see In him was some young Galiongée.
"I said I was not what I seem'd; And now thou seest my words were true: I have a tale thou hast not dream'd, If sooth-its truth must others rue. My story now 'twere vain to hide, I must not see thee Osman's bride : But had not thine own lips declared How much of that young heart I shared, I could not, must not, yet have shown The darker secret of my own. In this I speak not now of love; That, let time, truth, and peril prove: But first-Oh! never wed anotherZuleika! I am not thy brother!"
"Oh! not my brother!-yet unsay— God! am I left alone on earth To mourn-I dare not curse-the day That saw my solitary birth? Oh! thou wilt love me now no more! My sinking heart foreboded ill; But know me all I was before, Thy sister,-friend-Zuleika still. Thou ledst me here perchance to kill; If thou hast cause for vengeance, see! My breast is offer'd-take thy fill! Far better with the dead to be
Than live thus nothing now to thee;
Perhaps far worse, for now I know
Why Giaffir always seem'd thy foe;
And I, alas! am Giaffir's child,
For whom thou wert contemn'd, reviled.
If not thy sister-wouldst thou save
My life, oh! bid me be thy slave!"
“My slave Zuleika!-nay, I'm thine:
But, gentle love, this transport calm,
Thy lot shall yet be link'd with mine;
I swear it by our Prophet's shrine,
| And be that thought thy sorrow's balm.
So may the Koran-verse display'd
Upon its steel direct my blade,
In danger's hour to guard us both,
As I preserve that awful oath!
The name in which thy heart hath prided
Must change; but, my Zuleika, know,
That tie is widen'd, not divided,
Although thy Sire's my deadliest foe.
My Father was to Giaffir all
That Selim late was deem'd to thee;
That brother wrought a brother's fall,
But spared, at least, my infancy;
And lull'd me with a vain deceit
That yet a like return may meet.
He rear'd me, not with tender help,
But like the nephew of a Cain;
He watch'd me like a lion's whelp,
That gnaws and yet may break his chain.
My father's blood in every vein
Is boiling; but for thy dear sake
No present vengeance will I take;
Though here I must no more remain.
But first, beloved Zuleika! hear
How Giaffir wrought this deed of fear.
"How first their strife to rancour grew,
If love or envy made them foes,
It matters little if I knew;
In fiery spirits, slights, though few
And thoughtless, will disturb repose.
In war Abdallah's arm was strong,
Remember'd yet in Bosniac song,
And Paswan's rebel-hordes attest
How little love they bore such guest:
His death is all I need relate,
The stern effect of Giaffir's hate;
And how my birth disclosed to me,
Whate'er beside it makes, hath made me free.
“When Paswan, after years of strife, At last for power, but first for life, In Widin's walls too proudly sate, Our Pachas rallied round the state; Nor last nor least in high command Each brother led a separate band; They gave their horsetails to the wind, And mustering in Sophia's plain Their tents were pitch'd, their post assign'd ; To one, alas! assign'd in vain! What need of words? the deadly bowl, By Giaffir's order drugg'd and given, With venom subtle as his soul,
Dismiss'd Abdallah's hence to heaven.
Reclined and feverish in the bath,
He, when the hunter's sport was up,
But little deem'd a brother's wrath
To quench his thirst had such a cup:
The bowl a bribed attendant bore;
He drank one draught, nor needed more!
If thou my tale, Zuleika, doubt,
Call Haroun-he can tell it out.
The deed once done, and Paswan's feud
In part suppress'd though ne'er subdued,
Abdallah's Pachalick was gain'd :-
Thou know'st not what in our Divan
Can wealth procure for worse than man-
Abdallah's honours were obtain'd
By him a brother's murder stain'd;
Tis true, the purchase nearly drain'd
His ill got treasure, soon replaced,
Wouldst question whence?Survey the waste,
And ask the squalid peasant how
His gains repay his broiling brow!—
Why me the stern usurper spared,
Why thus with me his palace shared,
I know not. Shame, regret, remorse,
And little fear from infant's force;
Besides, adoption as a son
By him whom Heaven accorded none,
Or some unknown cabal, caprice,
Preserved me thus ;--but not in peace:
He cannot curb his haughty mood,
Nor I forgive a father's blood.
"Within thy father's house are foes;
Not all who break his bread are true:
To these should I my birth disclose,
His days, his very hours were few.
They only want a heart to lead,
A hand to point them to the deed.
But Haroun only knows, or knew
This tale, whose close is almost nigh:
He in Abdallah's palace grew,
And held that post in his Serai
Which holds he here-he saw him die:
But what could single slavery do?
Avenge his lord! alas! too late :
Or save his son from such a fate?
He chose the last, and when elate
With foes subdued, or friends betray'd,
Proud Giaffir in high triumph sate,
He led me helpless to his gate,
And not in vain it seems essay'd
To save the life for which he pray'd.
The knowledge of my birth secured
From all and each, but most from me;
Thus Giaffir's safety was ensured.
Removed he too from Roumelie
To this our Asiatic side,
Far from our seats by Danube's tide,
With none but Haroun, who retains
Such knowledge-and that Nubian feels
A tyrant's secrets are but chains
From which the captive gladly steals,
And this and more to me reveals:
Such still to guilt just Alla sends
Slaves, tools, accomplices-no friends!
“All this, Zuleika, harshly sounds; But harsher still my tale must be: Howe'er my tongue thy softness wounds, Yet I must prove all truth to thee. I saw thee start this garb to see, Yet it is one I oft have worn, And long must wear: this Galiongee, To whom thy plighted vow is sworn, Is leader of those pirate-hordes, Whose laws and lives are on their swords; To hear whose desolating tale
Would make thy waning cheek more pale: Those arms thou seest my band have brought,
The hands that wield are not remote;
This cup too for the rugged knaves
Is fill'd once quaff'd, they ne'er repine:
Our Prophet might forgive the slaves;
They're only infidels in wine.
"What could I be? Proscribed at home, And taunted to a wish to roam; And listless left-for Giaffir's fear Denied the courser and the spear--Though oft-Oh, Mahomet! how oft!-In full Divan the despot scoff'd, As if my weak unwilling hand Refused the bridle or the brand: He ever went to war alone, And pent me here untried, unknown; To Haroun's care with women left, By hope unblest, of fame bereft. While thou-whose softness long endear'd, Though it unmann'd me, still had cheer'd To Brusa's walls for safety sent, Awaitedst there the field's event. Haroun, who saw my spirit pining Beneath inaction's sluggish yoke, His captive, though with dread, resigning, My thraldom for a season broke, On promise to return before The day when Giaffir's charge was o'er. 'Tis vain-my tongue can not impart My almost drunkenness of heart, When first this liberated eye Survey'd Earth, Ocean, Sun and Sky, As if my spirit pierced them through, And all their inmost wonders knew! One word alone can paint to thee That more than feeling-I was Free! E'en for thy presence ceased to pine; The World Heaven itself was mine!
"The shallop of a trusty Moor
Convey'd me from this idle shore;
I long'd to see the isles that gem
Old Ocean's purple diadem:
I sought by turns, and saw them all;
But when and where I join'd the crew,
With whom I'm pledged to rise or fall,
When all that we design to do
Is done, 'twill then be time more meet
To tell thee, when the tale's complete.