The gloomy veil of night withdrawn,
How sweetly looks the silver dawn;
Rich blossoms laugh on every tree,
Like men of fortunate destiny,
Or the shining face of revelry.
The crimson tulip and golden rose
Their sweets to all the world disclose.
I mark the glittering pearly wave
The fountain's banks of emerald lave;
The birds in every arbor sing,
The very raven hails the spring;
The partridge and the ring-dove raise
Their joyous notes in songs of praise;
But bulbuls, through the mountain-vale,
Like Majnûn, chant a mournful tale.
The season of the rose has led
Lailî to her own favorite bower;
Her cheeks the softest vermil-red,
Her eyes the modest sumbul flower.
She has left her father's painted hall,
She has left the terrace where she kept
Her secret watch till evening fall,
And where she oft till midnight wept.
A golden fillet sparkling round
Her brow, her raven tresses bound;
And as she o'er the greensward tripp'd,
A train of damsels ruby-lipp'd,
Blooming like flowers of Samarkand,
Obedient bow'd to her command.
She glitter'd like a moon among
The beauties of the starry throng,
With lovely forms as Houris bright,
Or Peris glancing in the light;
And now they reach an emerald spot,
Beside a cool sequester'd grot,
And soft recline beneath the shade,
By a delicious rose-bower made:
There, in soft converse, sport, and play,
The hours unnoted glide away;
But Lailî to the Bulbul tells
What secret grief her bosom swells,
And fancies, through the rustling leaves,
She from the garden-breeze receives
The breathings of her own true love,
Fond as the cooings of the dove.
In that romantic neighbourhood
A grove of palms majestic stood;
Never in Arab desert wild
A more enchanting prospect smiled;
So fragrant, of so bright a hue,
Not Irem richer verdure knew;
Nor fountain half so clear, so sweet,
As that which flow'd at Lailî's feet.
The Grove of Palms her steps invites;
She strolls amid its varied scenes,
Its pleasant copses, evergreens,
In which her waken'd heart delights.
Where'er the genial zephyr sighs,
Lilies and roses near her rise:
A while the prospect charms her sight,
A while she feels her bosom light,
Her eyes with pleasure beaming bright:
But sadness o'er her spirit steals,
And thoughts, too deep to hide, reveals:
Beneath a cypress-tree reclined,
In secret thus she breathes her mind:—
“O faithful friend, and lover true,
Still distant from thy Lailî's view;
Still absent, still beyond her power
To bring thee to her fragrant bower;
O noble youth, still thou art mine,
And Lailî, Lailî still is thine!”
As thus she almost dreaming spoke,
A voice reproachful her attention woke,
“What! hast thou banish'd prudence from thy mind?
And shall success be given to one unkind?
Majnûn on billows of despair is toss'd,
Lailî has nothing of her pleasures lost;
Majnûn has sorrow gnawing at his heart,
Lailî's blithe looks far other thoughts impart;
Majnûn the poison-thorn of grief endures,
Lailî, all wiles and softness, still allures;
Majnûn her victim in a thousand ways,
Lailî in mirth and pastime spends her days;
Majnûn's unnumber'd wounds his rest destroy,
Lailî exists but in the bowers of joy;
Majnûn is bound by love's my sterious spell,
Lailî's bright cheeks of cheerful feelings tell;
Majnûn his Lailî's absence ever mourns,
Lail'îs light mind to other objects turns.”
At this reproof tears flow'd apace
Down Lailî's pale, dejected face;
But soon to her glad heart was known
The trick, thus practised by her own
Gay, watchful, ever-sportive train,
Who long had watch'd, nor watch'd in vain;
And mark'd, in her love's voice and look,
Which never woman's glance mistook.
Her mother, too, with kneer eye,
Saw deeper through the mystery,
Which Lailî thought her story veil'd,
And oft that fatal choice bewail'd;
But Lailî still loved on; the root
Sprang up, and bore both bud and fruit;
And she believed her secret flower
As safe as treasure in a guarded tower.