No. XXI—p. 96.

FALCONER remarks, in a note on this passage of our text: “The advantages of travel are a favourite topic with Eastern poets. On this subject the reader will find, in the Asiatic Journal for September, 1839, some verses extracted from the Sikandar Nāma [Alexander-Book] of Nizāmī; and in the No. for November, 1839, a gazal by Jalālu-'d-Dīn Rūmī; and an Arabian poet has panegyrised travel in some verses which may be thus rendered:

Rise! flee the dull monotony of home;
Nor fear a friend will fail where'er you roam.
Go, wend from clime to clime your joyous way,
And Nature's lore will every toil repay;
Each shifting scene enkindling new delight,
While languor dulls the home-devoted wight.

Change—mid the starry host, or earth below—
Works every good created beings know.
Mark the glad streamlet, fresh'ning as it flows;
The joyless marsh, stagnant in dead repose!
Shone the blest Sun one long, eternal day,
Men of each clime would loathe his garish ray;
And yon pale Moon, to pensive lovers dear,
Would tire even them, for ever in the sphere!

If ne'er the arrow left the twanging string,
Say, would it reach the mark, or thread the ring?
If still the lion slumbered in his lair,
Would self-doomed victims to his feet repair?
Even gold is worthless, while the mine inurns,
And aloe yields no incense till it burns.
For change—in heaven above and earth below—
Works every good created beings know.”

The verses from the Sikandar Nāma are accompanied in the Asiatic Journal by the following beautiful paraphrase, signed F, and doubtless by Falconer himself:

'Tis blithe to wander earth's fair face
With wayward footsteps over,
And, as each varied scene we trace,
New beauties to discover.
Sweet, too, at busy daylight's close,
The halting-place, with its repose.

'Tis blithe, our track as we pursue,
To mark with curious wonder,
Each step fresh marvels bring to view
Concealment's veil from under;
While all that meets the observant eye
Some thoughtful lesson shall supply.

And yet, for aye, it were unwise
On distant shores to linger,
When busy Memory homeward hies,
And becks with restless finger;
And joys—she hints—our coming wait,
Denied us in our alien state.

And what though, far from home, we share
Earth's hollow pomps that perish?
The friends, the loves, of youth are there,
And these the heart will cherish:
Its strings will twine around the home
Where we were nursed, howe'er we roam.

Of the gazal of Jalālu-'d-Dīn Rūmī referred to by Falconer, as above, my obliging friend Mr. E. J. W. Gibb has made the following close translation, in which he has very ingeniously reproduced the original rhyme-movement:

1 A-foot or a-wing had the tree to wander able been,
Ne'er had it known the wound of the saw or the hatchet keen.

2 If the sun fared not on his way a-foot and a-wing each night,
How were the world illumed at the dawn of the morning-sheen?

3 Or again, if the bitter water rose not from the sea to the sky,
Where from the flood of the rain were the life of the flowery green?

4 The drop that has gone from its home, when next it appeareth to view,
Having companied long with the shell, as a lustrous pearl is seen.

5 Did not Joseph set forth in tears from his father to journey afar?
And won he not thereby weal and honour and kingship to glean?

6 And Mustafa, journeyed he not to the region where Yathrib lay?
And found he not empire there, and a sovereign's glorious mien?

7 If to travel thou canst not avail, then journey to thine own heart,
And e'en as the ruby-mine, be fired by the ray serene.

8 O master, journey thou forth, away from thyself to Thyself;
For the ore of the mine turns gold by a journey like this, I ween.

9 From sourness and bitterness hence, to the region of sweetness fare;
For that every moon from the light of the sun is with grace beseen.

Jalālu-'d-Dīn, author of the above gazal, was the founder of the sūfī sect of mystics, known in Europe as the Dancing Dervishes, from their gyrations in performing acts of worship. He died at Qonya (Iconium) A. H. 672 (A. D. 1273).—In the fourth couplet of this beautiful gazal is an allusion to the notion, common to Asiatics, that a pearl is a condensed drop of water, which had fallen into the oyster, when its shell was open. Sa'dī has finely versified this in his Bustān.—In the sixth couplet, Mustafa is one of the names of Muhammad, and Yathrib is the old name of Madīna (the city, emphatically)—the reference is to the Prophet's Flight, El Hijra.—In the eighth couplet, the second “Thyself” seems to mean God, as Mr. Gibb supposes, the only truly existent being in the universe, and, therefore, every man's true self.—The English reader will observe that, in this gazal, as faithfully rendered by Mr. Gibb, the opening couplet rhymes, and the second line of each succeeding couplet (or bayt) rhymes with the first couplet.—Let me take the opportunity of adding, that the whole of the Dervish-doctrine (sūfīism, or Eastern mysticism) is amply set forth in the grand poem of Jalālu-'d-Dīn, entitled, par excellence, “The Masnavī,” of which the First Book has been translated into English verse by Mr. J. W. Redhouse, and published by Messrs. Trübner & Co.