’TWAS ACHMED’s prayer, ere Fate should seal his doom,
A friend, a parent’s last kind words to hear,
Where pilgrims seek SHEIKH HEIDER’s hallow’d tomb,
Where SEFI-EDDIN* closed his blest career.
That friend alas! that parent is no more,
And ARDEBEIL, my birth-place, far away,
Far the wild scenery of the CASPIAN shore,*
Or GHILAN’s vales, where oft I wont to stray,
To stray, from morn’s bright dawn, till blushful eve
Conceal’d her modest charms in twilight’s veil,
Where no false shews of wealth, of power deceive,
Where ART ne’er strove o’er NATURE to prevail.
For NATURE there, with ever liberal hand,
The fig-tree—and the empurpled vine bestows;
There—almonds, olives, citrons clustering stand,
And cool, thro’ mulberry groves the rivulet flows.
The peach, the nectarine, and the fruitful palm,
Fence the ripe wheat field, and the mrilet ground:
A thousand odorous herbs the breeze embalm,
And birds wild warbling chear the woodlands round.
Shadowing the COTTAGE door, pomegranates spread
Their branches, laden with delicious fruits;
And when the roseate blooms of SPRING are fled,
Still humbler flow’rets smile around their roots.
There (in contentment rich) has ACHMED seen
Young INNOCENCE with holy FAITH combined,
And every VIRTUE dwell with AGE serene,
And gentlest LOVE inspire the manly mind.
Memory’s blest hours! ah! when shall I renew
Your sweet delights? When ARA’s stream behold;
Or on romantic KOURA’s margin view,
Thro’ aged woods his rapid waters roll’d?
Roll’d on, united with his kindred flood,
Impetuous as the LESGUIES* scour the plain,
Fierce as the OUSBEK squadrons prowl for blood,
Swift as the south wind sweeps th’ ARABIAN main.*
Streams famed in many a song of ancient days,
And sadly famed, alas! in later years,
When VICTORY sung a fierce invader’s praise,
Who triumph’d, impious! in a nation’s tears.
Sprites of the brave, defenders of those fields
Torn by barbarians from your peaceful hands;
In vain each warrior chief assistance yields,
More fierce, more numerous rush the savage bands.
Yet there your bones have found a tranquil grave,
Hallowing their native shades—whilst driv’n afar,
No sociate of the kind, the just, the brave,
My course is mark’d by a malignant star.
Beneath yon sullen cloud, portentous hangs
The pale-orb’d PLANET of my natal hour,
Horrid to me as the relentless fangs
Of hungry lions, eager to devour.
Wide o’er the arid plain, night’s murky shades
Fast gathering, bid me prize this rugged mound
Of difficult access; here nought invades
My place of rest, with wild shrubs mantled round.
Not ev’n, ill-omen’d STAR! thy hateful beam,
Thro’ the dark-foliaged fence, can reach me here;
Nor shall thy presence drive my nightly DREAM
From AZARBIJIAN’s* bowers—to caverns drear,
Where squats the NIGHT-HAG, ’midst her bloated brood,
List’ning the death-bird’s scream; or fever’d moan
Of some gorged WOLF, distent with gazal’s blood,
Sleeping in mock pomp on HULAGO’s* throne.
No! sportive FANCY haply shall restore
The scenes, the loved friends, the delights of youth,
Illusions fair, whose flight can I deplore
When morn awakes to NATURE and to TRUTH?
Inhospitable DESERTS—wide as waste,
May raise in rude array their rocks, their hills;
Patient tho’ wearied, onward will I haste,
And chaunt with joy my flight from other ills.