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What if beneath no lamp-illumined dome, Its marble walls, bedeck'd with flourish'd truth, Azure and gold adornment ? Sinks the word With deeper influence from the Imam's voice, Where, in the day of congregation, crowds

Perform the duty-task ?

Their Father is their Priest,
The Stars of Heaven their point of prayer,

And the blue Firmament
The glorious Temple, where they feel

The present Deity.

(XXIII.)
Yet through the purple glow of eve

Shines dimly the white moon.
The slacken'd bow, the quiver, the long lance,

Rest on the pillar of the Tent. Knitting light palm-leaves for her brother's brow,

The dark-eyed damsel sits;

The Old Man tranquilly
Up his curl'd pipe inhales

The tranquillising herb.
So listen they the reed of Thalaba,

While his skill'd fingers modulate
The low, sweet, soothing, melancholy tones.

(xxiv.)
Or if he strung the pearls of Poesy,

Singing with agitated face
And eloquent arms, and sobs that reach the heart,

A tale of love and woe ; Then, if the bright'ning Moon that lit his face,

In darkness favour'd hers,

Oh! even with such a look, as fables say,
The Mother Ostrich fixes on her egg,

Till that intense affection

Kindle its light of life, Even in such deep and breathless tenderness

Oneiza's soul is centred on the youth,
So motionless, with such an ardent gaze,

Save when from her full eyes
She wipes away the swelling tears

That dim his image there.

(xxv.) She call'd him Brother; was it sister-love

For which the silver rings Round her smooth ankles and her tawny arms Shone daily brighten'd ? for a brother's eye

Were her long fingers tinged,

As when she trimm'd the lamp, And through the veins and delicate skin The light shone rosy? that the darken'd lids

Gave yet a softer lustre to her eye ?

That with such pride she trick'd
Her glossy tresses, and on holy-day
Wreathed the red flower-crown round

Their waves of glossy jet ?

How happily the days

Of Thalaba went by!
Years of his youth, how rapidly ye fled !

THE CURSE OF KEHAMA.

1809–10.

ROBERT SOUTHEY.

I.

THE FUNERAL OF ARVALAN,

From Book I.

(1.) MIDNIGHT, and yet no eye Through all the Imperial City closed in sleep!

Behold her streets a-blaze With light that seems to kindle the red sky, Her myriads swarming through the crowded ways! Master and slave, old age and infancy,

All, all abroad to gaze;

House-top and balcony
Clustered with women, who throw back their veils

With unimpeded and insatiate sight
To view the funeral pomp which passes by,

As if the mournful rite
Were but to them a scene of joyance and delight.

(11.)
Vainly, ye blessed twinklers of the night,

Your feeble beams ye shed,
Quench'd in the unnatural light which might out-stare

Even the broad eye of day;
And thou from thy celestial way

Pourest, O Moon, an ineffectual ray!
For lo! ten thousand torches flame and flare

Upon the midnight air,

Blotting the lights of heaven

With one portentous glare.
Behold the fragrant smoke in many a fold
Ascending, floats along the fiery sky,

And hangeth visible on high,
A dark and waving canopy.

(11.)
Hark! 'tis the funeral trumpet's breath!

'Tis the dirge of death!
At onçe ten thousand drums begin,
With one long thunder-peal the ear assailing;

'Ten thousand voices then join in,
And with one deep and general din

Pour their wild wailing.
The song of praise is drown'd

Amid the deafening sound;
You hear no more the trumpet's tone,

You hear no more the mourner's moan, Though the trumpet's breath, and the dirge of death, Swell with commingled force the funeral yell.

But rising over all in one acclaim
Is heard the echoed and the re-echoed name,
From all that countless rout:

Arvalan! Arvalan!

Arvalan! Arvalan!
Ten times ten thousand voices in one shout

Call Arvalan! The overpowering sound,
From house to house repeated rings about,

From tower to tower rolls round.

(iv.)
The death-procession moves along;
Their bald heads shining in the torches' ray,

The Bramins lead the way,

Chanting the funeral song.
And now at once they shout,

Arvalan! Arvalan!
With quick rebound of sound,

All in accordant cry,

Arvalan! Arvalan!
The universal multitude reply.
In vain ye thunder in his ear the name;

Would ye awake the dead ?
Borne upright in his palankeen,

There Arvalan is seen.
A glow is on his face-a lively red;

It is the crimson canopy
Which o'er his cheek a reddening shade hath shed;

He moves--he nods his head
But the motion comes from the bearers' tread,

As the body, borne aloft in state,
Sways with the impulse of its own dead weight.

(v.)

Close following his dead son Kehama came,

Nor joining in the ritual song,

Nor calling the dear name;
With head deprest and funeral vest,

And arms enfolded on his breast,
Silent and lost in thought he moves along.
King of the World, his slaves unenvying now
Behold their wretched Lord ; rejoiced they see

The mighty Rajah's misery;
That Nature in his pride hath dealt the blow,

And taught the Master of Mankind to know Even he himself is man, and not exempt from woe.

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