‘WHEN VIOLENCE deforms a SULTAN’s sway,
As faithless VIZIERS* misdirect his will;
A MOSLEM’s duty is not to obey,
For ’tis no DUTY to oppress and kill.
‘I am A MAN—HUMANITY is mine!
And what I claim from others—they from me:
To keep the precepts of thy LAW divine,
O GOD MOST MERCIFUL! I owe to thee.
‘Oft for my country have I fought and bled:
To shield my SOVEREIGN’s life would risk my own:
Yet more than his resentment—CRIME I dread.
INJUSTICE never long sustain’d a throne.
‘Should I (more liegeful deem’d) with hasty hand,
E’er to thy HATRED sacrifice thy FAME;
Not rank, nor riches;—favor, nor command,
Could from my bosom banish GRIEF or SHAME.
‘The holy SHEIKH HEIDER* was wont to say:
Those who in secret smite the man they hate,
Will, thro’ the course of each succeeding day,
Dread, from a Hand unseen, the stroke of FATE.”
Such were the daring movements of his soul,
And such th’ uncourtly words that ACHMED spoke:
Tho’ born where tyrant power ne’er felt controul,
He spurn’d the fetters and disdain’d the yoke:
Dared when SHAH SEFFI urged him to deceit,
And deeds of deadly guilt his heart abhorr’d:
Dared FAITH and HONOR’s dictates to repeat,
Nor fear’d the vengeance ev’n of PERSIA’s lord.
HONOR prevail’d, and CONSCIENCE gave applause:
Yet such the baseness of a traitor’s blood,
Ev’n HE for whom I pleaded MERCY’s cause,
For whom the royal mandate I withstood:
Ev’n HE with arts of demon-darkness strove
To blast my rising FORTUNE and my FAME;
Obtain’d the dire decree that bade me rove,
A naked vagabond without a name.
Plant thou A TREE, it will not fail to yield
A friendly shelter, or delicious fruit;
But plant ungrateful MAN in FORTUNE’s field,
The miscreant shall uptear thee by the root.
Those flatt’ring hopes that warm’d my ardent breast
At once o’er-shadow’d by a cloud of CARE,
And the deep conflicts of a mind distrest,
Urged me to some mad action of DESPAIR.
As all unshelter’d from the nightly dew,
Fearless I laid me on the desert sand,
‘The third bright morn,’ I cried ‘a deed shall view,
That JUSTICE claims from injur’d ACHMED’s hand.’
‘Back will I turn o’er interdicted ground,
And openly avenge the wrongs I feel;
But—should I fail, this Shemshere yet can wound,
My heart will leap to meet the friendly steel!
‘For—ah! what charm of life can ACHMED know,
What food, what solace will these wilds afford?
Bereft of all I valued here below,
Save conscious Honor, courage, and my sword.’
At length the guardian SPIRIT of REPOSE
Breathed o’er each wearied sense his opiate power,
And bade OBLIVION spread o’er all my woes,
Her magic mantle thro’ the midnight hour.
When clad in glimmering light, a form divine,
A form like her’s who taught my soul to love,
Smiled heavenly PEACE, and with a look benign
Spoke, as she pointed to the stars above.
‘Has FAITH’s pure volume then permission given
To thee, frail man! the reptile of a day,
To murmur at the wise decree of heaven,
Or yield thy soul to DESPERATION’s sway?
‘Taught thee—REVENGE and all her fury train
Inspire the bosoms of the wise and good?
Told thee—yon skies where happy spirits reign,
Were form’d for those who rashly shed their blood?
‘The VICE in others thy own words condemn,
Can never as a VIRTUE warm thy breast?
The crime that would affix itself to them,
Thou in thyself more strongly shouldst detest.
‘O’er this wild desert, ACHMED—point thy way,
Till thy tired feet a resting-place shall find;
Heaven thro’ deep forests can direct its ray,
And yield thee more than all thou leav’st behind.
‘Tho’ dark the page of unaccomplish’d FATE,
Submit, and bless thy GOD—all else is vain.
Know this:—the present, past, and future state,
Are links that form one great eternal chain!’
Here awfully she ceased!—Could man reply?
A more than mortal tremor shook my frame:
And as I startling waked, the eastern sky
Caught from the rising sun* auspicious flame.
So, gracious ALLAH! may thy purer LIGHT,
(SUN of the intellectual world,) arise,
Dispel the shades of mental—moral NIGHT,
Illume my heart—accept its sacrifice!
Its faith—its humble hopes, henceforth resign’d,
Shall rest on thee alone, GREAT GUARDIAN of mankind!