A SHÁH there was who ruled the realm of Yún,

* Or “YAVAN,” Son of Japhet, from whom the country was called “YÚNAN”—IONIA, meant by the Persians to express Greece generally. Sikander is of course, Alexander the Great.

And wore the Ring of Empire of Sikander;
And in his reign A SAGE, of such report
For Insight reaching quite beyond the Veil,
That Wise men from all quarters of the World,
To catch the jewel falling from his lips
Out of the secret treasure as he went,
Went in a girdle round him.—Which THE SHÁH
Observing, took him to his secresy;
Stirr'd not a step, nor set design afoot,
Without the Prophet's sanction; till, so counsell'd,
From Káf to Káf

The Fabulous Mountain supposed by Asiatics to surround the World, binding the Horizon on all sides.

reach'd his Dominion:
No People, and no Prince that over them
The ring of Empire wore, but under his
Bow'd down in Battle; rising then in Peace
Under his Justice grew, secure from wrong,
And in their strength was his Dominion strong.
The SHÁH that has not Wisdom in himself,
Nor has a Wise one for his Counsellor,
The wand of his Authority falls short,
And his Dominion crumbles at the base.
For he, discerning not the characters
Of Tyranny and Justice, confounds both,
Making the World a desert, and Redress
A fantom-water of the Wilderness.

God said to the Prophet David
David, whom I have exalted
From the sheep to be my People's
Shepherd, by your Justice my
Revelations justify.
Lest the misbelievingyea,
The Fire-adoring Princes rather
Be my Prophets, who fulfil,
Knowing not my WORD, my WILL.”

ONE night THE SHÁH of Yúman as he sate
Contemplating his measureless extent
Of Empire, and the glory wherewithal,
As with a garment robed, he ruled alone;
Then found he nothing wanted to his heart
Unless a Son, who, while he lived, might share,
And, after him, his robe of Empire wear.
And then he turned him to THE SAGE, and said:
“O Darling of the soul of IFLATÚN;

* Iflatún, Plato: Aristo, Aristotle: both renowned in the East to this Day. For the Ten Intelligences, see Appendix.

“To whom with all his school ARISTO bows;
“Yea, thou that an ELEVENTH to the TEN
“INTELLIGENCES addest: Thou hast read
“The yet unutter'd secret of my Heart;
“Answer—Of all that man desires of God
“Is any blessing greater than a Son?
“Man's prime Desire; by whom his name and he
“Shall live beyond himself; by whom his eyes
“Shine living, and his dust with roses blows.
“A Foot for thee to stand on, and an Arm
“To lean by; sharp in battle as a sword;
“Salt of the banquet-table; and a tower
“Of salutary counsel in Diván;
“One in whose youth a Father shall prolong
“His years, and in his strength continue strong.”

When the shrewd SAGE had heard THE SHÁH's dis­course
In commendation of a Son, he said:
“Thus much of a Good Son, whose wholesome growth
“Approves the root he grew from. But for one
“Kneaded of Evil—well, could one revoke
“His generation, and as early pull
“Him and his vices from the string of Time.
“Like Noah's, puff'd with insolence and pride,
“Who, reckless of his Father's warning call,
“Was by the voice of ALLAH from the door
“Of refuge in his Father's Ark debarr'd,
“And perish'd in the Deluge.

* See Note in Appendix I.

And as none
“Who long for children may their children choose,
“Beware of teazing Allah for a Son,
“Whom having, you may have to pray to lose.”

Sick at heart for want of Children,
Ran before the Saint a Fellow,
Catching at his garment, crying,
Master, hear and help me! Pray
That ALLAH from the barren clay
Raise me up a fresh young Cypress,
Who my longing eyes may lighten,
And not let me like a vapour
Unremembered pass away.
But the Dervish said—“Consider;
Wisely let the matter rest
In the hands of ALLAH wholly,
Who, whatever we are after,
Understands our business best.
Still the man persisted—“Master,
I shall perish in my longing:
Help, and set my prayer a-going!
Then the Dervish raised his hand
From the mystic Hunting-land
Of Darkness to the Father's arms
A musky Fawn of China drew
A Boy—who, when the shoot of Passion
In his Nature planted grew,
Took to drinking, dicing, drabbing.
From a corner of the house-top
Ill-insulting honest women,
Dagger-drawing on the husband;
And for many a city-brawl
Still before the Cadi summon'd,
Still the Father pays for all.
Day and night the youngster's doings
Such—the city's talk and scandal;
Neither counsel, threat, entreaty,
Moved him—till the desperate Father
Once more to the Dervish running,
Catches at his garment—crying
Oh my only Hope and Helper!
One more Prayer! That God, who laid,
Would take this trouble from my head!
But the Saint repliedRemember
How that very Day I warn'd you
Not with blind petition ALLAH
Trouble to your own confusion;
Unto whom remains no more
To pray for, save that He may pardon
What so rashly prayed before.

“So much for the result; and for the means—
“Oh SHÁH, who would not be himself a slave,
“Which SHÁH least should, and of an appetite
“Among the basest of his slaves enslaved—
“Better let Azrael find him on his throne
“Of Empire sitting childless and alone,
“Than his untainted Majesty resign
“To that seditious drink, of which one draught
“Still for another and another craves,
“Till it become a noose to draw the Crown
“From off thy brows—about thy lips a ring,
“Of which the rope is in a Woman's hand,
“To lead thyself the road of Nothing down.
“For what is She? A foolish, faithless thing—
“A very Káfir in rapacity;
“Robe her in all the rainbow-tinted woof
“Of Susa, shot with rays of sunny Gold;
“Deck her with jewel thick as Night with star;
“Pamper her appetite with Houri fruit
“Of Paradise, and fill her jewell'd cup
“From the green-mantled Prophet's Well of Life—
“One little twist of temper—all your cost
“Goes all for nothing: and, as for yourself—
“Look! On your bosom she may lie for years;
“But, get you gone a moment out of sight,
“And she forgets you—worse, if, as you turn,
“Her eyes on any younger Lover light.”

Once upon the Throne together
Telling one another Secrets,

* Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, who, it appears, is no worse in one way than Solomon in another, unless in Ori­ental Eyes.

The Hearts of both were turn'd to Truth
Unsullied by Deception.
First the King of Faith SULAYMÁN
Spoke—“However just and wise
Reported, none of all the many
Suitors to my palace thronging
But afar I scrutinize;
And He who comes not empty-handed
Grows to Honour in mine Eyes.
After this, BALKÍS a Secret
From her hidden bosom utter'd,
Saying—“Never night or morning
Comely Youth before me passes
Whom I look not after, longing”—

“If this, as wise Firdausí says, the curse
“Of better women, what then of the worse?”
THE SAGE his satire ended; and THE SHÁH,
Determined on his purpose, but the means
Resigning to Supreme Intelligence,
With Magic-mighty Wisdom his own WILL
Colleagued, and wrought his own accomplishment.
For Lo! from Darkness came to Light A CHILD,
Of carnal composition unattaint;
A Perfume from the realm of Wisdom wafted;
A Rosebud blowing on the Royal stem;
The crowning Jewel of the Crown; a Star
Under whose augury triumph'd the Throne.
For whom dividing, and again in one
Whole perfect Jewel re-uniting, those
Twin Jewel-words, SALÁMAT and ASMÁN,

* SALÁMAT, Security from evil; ASMÁN, Heaven.

They hail'd him by the title of SALÁMÁN.
And whereas from no Mother milk he drew,
They chose for him a Nurse—her name ABSÁL—
So young, the opening roses of her breast
But just had budded to an infant's lip;
So beautiful, as from the silver line
Dividing the musk-harvest of her hair
Down to her foot that trampled crowns of Kings,
A Moon of beauty full; who thus elect
Should in the garment of her bounty fold
SALÁMÁN of auspicious augury,
Should feed him with the flowing of her breast.
And, once her eyes had open'd upon Him,
They closed to all the world beside, and fed
For ever doating on her Royal jewel
Close in his golden cradle casketed:

Opening and closing which her day's delight,
To gaze upon his heart-inflaming cheek,—
Upon the Babe whom, if she could, she would
Have cradled as the Baby of her eye.

* Literally, Mardumak—the Mannikin, or Pupil, of the Eye, corresponding to the Image so frequently used by our old Poets.

In rose and musk she wash'd him—to his lip
Press'd the pure sugar from the honey-comb;
And when, day over, she withdrew her milk,
She made, and having laid him in, his bed,
Burn'd all night like a taper o'er his head.

And still as Morning came, and as he grew
Finer than any bridal-puppet, which
To prove another's love a woman sends,

* See Appendix.

She trick'd him up—with fresh Collyrium dew
Touch'd his narcissus eyes—the musky locks
Divided from his forehead—and embraced
With gold and ruby girdle his fine waist.

So for seven years she rear'd and tended him:
Nay, when his still-increasing moon of Youth
Into the further Sign of Manhood pass'd,
Pursued him yet, till full fourteen his years,
Fourteen-day full the beauty of his face,
That rode high in a hundred thousand hearts
For, when SALÁMÁN was but half-lance high,
Lance-like he struck a wound in every one,
And shook down splendour round him like a Sun.

SOON as the Lord of Heav'n had sprung his horse
Over horizon into the blue field,
SALÁMÁN kindled with the wine of sleep,
Mounted a barb of fire for the Maidán;
He and a troop of Princes—Kings in blood,
Kings in the kingdom-troubling trible of beauty,
All young in years and courage,

* The same Persian Word signifying Youth and Courage.

bat in hand
Gallop'd a-field, toss'd down the golden ball
And chased, so many crescent Moons a full;

See Appendix.

And, all alike intent upon the Game,
SALÁMÁN still would carry from them all
The prize, and shouting “Hál!” drive home the ball.
This done, SALÁMÁN bent him as a bow
To Archery—from Masters of the craft
Call'd for an unstrung bow—himself the cord
Fitted unhelpt,

Bows being so gradually stiffened, according to the age and strength of the Archer, as at last to need five Hun­dred-weight of pressure to bend, says an old Translation of Chardin, who describes all the process up to bringing up the string to the ear, “as if to hang it there” before shoot­ing. Then the first trial was, who could shoot highest: then, the mark, &c.

and nimbly with his hand
Twanging made cry, and drew it to his ear:
Then, fixing the three-feather'd fowl, discharged:
And whether aiming at the fawn a-foot,
Or bird on wing, direct his arrow flew,
Like the true Soul that cannot but go true.

WHEN night came, that releases man from toil,
He play'd the chess of social intercourse;
Prepared his banquet-hall like Paradise,
Summon'd his Houri-faced musicians,
And, when his brain grew warm with wine, the veil
Flung off him of reserve: taking a harp,
Between its dry string and his finger quick
Struck fire: or catching up a lute, as if
A child for chastisement, would pinch its ear
To wailing that should agéd eyes make weep.
Now like the Nightingale he sang alone;
Now with another lip to lip; and now
Together blending voice and instrument;
And thus with his associates night he spent.

His Soul rejoiced in knowledge of all kind;
The fine edge of his Wit would split a hair,
And in the noose of apprehension catch
A meaning ere articulate in word;
Close as the knitted jewel of Parwín
His jewel Verse he strung; his Rhetoric
Enlarging like the Mourners of the Bier.

* The Pleiades and the Great Bear. This is otherwise prettily applied in the Anvári Soheili—“When one grows poor, his Friends, heretofore compact as THE PLEIADES, disperse wide asunder as THE MOURNERS.”

And when he took the nimble reed in hand
To run the errand of his Thought along
Its paper field—the character he traced,
Fine on the lip of Youth as the first hair,
Drove Penmen, as that Lovers, to despair.

His Bounty like a Sea was fathomless
That bubbled up with jewel, and flung pearl
Where'er it touch'd, but drew not back again;
It was a Heav'n that rain'd on all below
Dirhems for drops—

But here that inward Voice

Arrested and rebuked me—“Foolish Jámí!
“Wearing that indefatigable pen
“In celebration of an alien SHÁH
“Whose Throne, not grounded in the Eternal World,
“If YESTERDAY it were, TO-DAY is not,
“TO-MORROW cannot be.”

* The Hero of the Story being of YÚNAN—IONIA, or Greece generally (the Persian Geography not being very precise) —and so not of THE FAITH.

But I replied;
“Oh Fount of Light!—under an alien name
“I shadow One upon whose head the Crown
“WAS and yet Is, and SHALL BE; whose Firmán
“The Kingdoms Sev'n of this World, and the Seas,
“And the Sev'n Heavens, alike are subject to.
“Good luck to him who under other Name
“Instructed us that Glory to disguise
“To which the Initiate scarce dare lift his eyes.”

Sate a Lover in a garden
All alone, apostrophizing
Many a flower and shrub about him,
And the lights of Heav'n above.
Nightingaling thus, a Noodle
Heard him, and, completely puzzled,
What,quoth he,and you a Lover,
Raving, not about your Mistress,
But about the stars and roses
What have these to do with Love?
Answer'd he;Oh thou that aimest
Wide of Love, and Lovers' language
Wholly misinterpreting;
Sun and Moon are but my Lady's
Self, as any Lover knows;
Hyacinth I said, and meant her
Hairher cheek was in the rose
And I myself the wretched weed
That in her cypress shadow grows.

AND now the cypress stature of Salámán
Had reached his top, and now to blossom full
The garden of his Beauty: and Absál,
Fairest of hers, as of his fellows he
The fairest, long'd to gather from the tree.
But, for that flower upon the lofty stem
Of Glory grew to which her hand fell short,
She now with woman's sorcery began
To conjure as she might within her reach.
The darkness of her eyes she darken'd round
With surma, to benight him in mid day,
And over them adorn'd and arch'd the bows

* With dark Indigo-Paint, as the Archery Bow with a thin Papyrus-like Bark.

To wound him there when lost: her musky locks
Into so many snaky ringlets curl'd,
In which Temptation nestled o'er the cheek
Whose rose she kindled with vermilion dew,
And then one subtle grain of musk laid there,

* A Patch, sc.—“Noir comme le Musc.” De Sacy.

The bird of that belovéd heart to snare.
Sometimes in passing with a laugh would break
The pearl-enclosing ruby of her lips;
Or, busied in the room, as by mischance
Would let the lifted sleeve disclose awhile
The vein of silver running up within:
Or, rising as in haste, her golden anklets
Clash, at whose sudden summons to bring down
Under her silver feet the golden Crown.
Thus, by innumerable witcheries,
She went about soliciting his eyes,
Through which she knew the robber unaware
Steals in, and takes the bosom by surprise.

Burning with her love ZULAIKHÁ
Built a chamber, wall and ceiling
Blank as an untarnisht mirror,
Spotless as the heart of YÚSUF.
Then she made a cunning painter
Multiply her image round it;
Not an inch of wall or ceiling
But re-echoing her beauty.
Then amid them all in all her
Glory sat she down, and sent for
YÚSUF—she began a tale
Of Love—and lifted up her veil.
Bashfully beneath her burning
Eyes he turn'd away; but turning
Wheresoever, still about him
Still, without a veil, ZULAIKHÁ.
But a voice as if from Canaan
Call'd him; and a Hand from Darkness
Touch'd; and ere a living Lip
Through the mirage of bewilder'd
Eyes seduced him, he recoil'd,
And let the skirt of danger slip.