WITH moss hung shaggy, stands the shatter’d pine,
While waves the willow o’er the falling stream;
With vines embower’d, th’ arching rock is mine,
Where zephyr flies, to shun the sultry beam.
And sooth’d by wild notes floating on the breeze,
From hence, I view the broken prospects round;
Here opening fair—there half obscured by trees,
Whose long and bending branches meet the ground.
The ARJVAN* blushful, and the JASMIN* sweet,
That owe their stations here to ACHMED’s hand;
With many a flow’ret blooming at their feet,
The wild heath mingling as tho’ NATURE plann’d.
Yes, ACHMED! she, the fair instructress, claims
O’er all this rude domain a fostering care:
She forms thy fancy, she improves thy aims,
And when false ART prevails, she cries ‘forbear.’
Then, sure, to violate her high behest,
Were to profane the love of BEAUTY’s charms;
Were to repel, ungrateful! from thy breast,
Each hope that animates, each joy that warms.
The joys of sweet simplicity and truth,
That like th’ etherial Heavens, will ne’er decay:
But ever blooming—in eternal youth
Survive the frailty of this frame of clay.
Now sinks the SUN: yet glows the welkin clear,
Tho’ wide spread clouds hang hovering on high:
Clad in grey haze the distant wilds appear,
Till in faint azure they elude the eye.
How widely different from the sullen gloom,
That scowling ushers in the wintry night:
Dark, dismal, as the caverns of the tomb,
Compar’d with youth’s gay spring of warm delight.
Yet, tho’ full many of those long nights drear,
Have closed poor ACHMED in his lone retreat;
While haply brooding o’er his lot severe,
TEMPTATION spoke the language of deceit:
Bade him with morn arise, and smile farewel,
To cheerless solitude—the world regain,
And nothing fearing of old foes, dispel
Seclusive principles, with all their train.
As oft, methought, a voice that spoke within,
Cried sternly, ‘ACHMED learn thy soul to prize:
FATE led thee hither, from a world of SIN,
‘Thy Vows forget not, lest the guardian power
That heard the solemn pledge, abandon thee;
For know if thou return to MAN, that hour
Shall blast thy HEALTH, thy PEACE, thy LIBERTY.
Long strove calm REASON, ere the stubborn heart
Could well resign its loves, its hopes, its fears;
Ere habitudes of LUXURY would depart;
Ere sad EXPERIENCE was matured by years.
Ere simple NATURE had obtain’d her sway,
And heav’nly PROVIDENCE in all appear’d;
Ere sheltering groves had risen from the spray,
By ACHMED’s long-continued care uprear’d.
And as they rose, AFFECTION with them grew,
As for a babe long nurtured on the knee;
AFFECTION follow’d, for the region too,
Where Freedom dwells with sweet Tranquillity.
For mental conflicts now no more obtain
Discordant power, amid these peaceful seats;
ASTEKHER’s fallen domes shall rise again,
Ere ACHMED freely quit these loved retreats.
All potent TIME, whose widely wasting hand,
Has laid ASTEKHER’s* loftiest turrets low;
Tho’ still her palaces thy might withstand,
Their massy columns dread th’ impending blow.
Unnumber’d SPIRITS, as tradition tells,
Ceaseless defend the old PEHLEVIAN wall;
Where DEVASTATION, bound by magic spells,
Shall ne’er prevail till AYRAN’s empire fall.
If yet one wand’ring wish could tempt to stray
From these dear shades, it were to rove awhile
’Mid those stupendous RUINS, and survey
The deep recesses of each antique pile:
With ghosts of ancient bards and heroes mourn
The lapse of ages never to return.