Page images

So that the philosophical beholder
Sigh'd for their sakes—that they should e'er grow


The dinner made about a hundred dishes;

Lamb and pistachio nuts-in short, all meats, And saffron soups, and sweetbreads; and the

fishes Were of the finest that e'er flounced in nets; Drest to a Sybarite's most pamper'd wishes ;

The beverage was of various sherbets Of raisin, orange, and pomegranate juice, Squeezed through the rind, which makes it best

for use.

These were ranged round, each in its crystal ewer, And fruits and date-bread loaves closed the re

past, And Mocha's berry, from Arabia pure,

In small fine China cups, came in at last; Gold cups of filagree made to secure The hand from burning underneath them

placed, Cloves, cinnamon, and saffron too were boil'd Up with the coffee, which (I think) they spoil'd.

The hangings of the room were tapestry, made

Of velvet pannels, each of different hue, And thick with damask flowers of silk inlaid ;

And round them ran a yellow border too ; The upper border, richly wrought display'd,

Embroider'd delicately o'er with blue, Soft Persian sentences, in lilac letters, From poets, or the moralists their betters,

These oriental writings on the wall,

Quite common in those countries, are a kind Of monitors adapted to recall,

Like skulls at Memphian banquets, to the mind The words which shook Belshazzar in his hall, And took his kingdom from him; you will

find, Though sages may pour out their wisdom's trea.

sure, There is no sterner moralist than pleasure.

Haidee and Juan carpeted their feet

On crimson satin, border'd with pale blue ; Their sofa occupied three parts complete

Of the apartment—and appear'd quite new; The velvet cushions—(for a throne more meet)

Were scarlet, from whose glowing centre grew A sun emboss'd in gold, whose rays of tissue, Meridian-like, were seen all light to issue.

Crystal and marble, plate and porcelain,

Had done their work of splendour ; Indian mats And Persian carpets, which the heart bled to stain,

Over the floors were spread ; gazelles and cats, And dwarfs and blacks, and such like things, that

gain Their bread as ministers and favourites (that's To say, by degradation)-mingled there As plentiful as in a court or fair.

There was no want of lofty mirrors, and

The tables, most of ebony inlaid
With mother-of-pearl or ivory, stood at hand,

Or were of tortoise-shell or rare woods made,

Fretted with gold or silver-by command,

The greater part of these were ready spread With viands and sherbets in ice-and wine Kept for all comers, at all hours to dine.

Of all the dresses I select Haidee's :

She wore two jelicks-one was of pale yellow; Of azure, pink, and white, was her chemise 'Neath which her breast heaved like a little

billow; With buttons form’d of pearls as large as pease,

All gold and crimson shone her jelick’s fellow, And the striped white gauze baracan that bound her, Like fleecy clouds about the moon, flow'd round


One large gold bracelet clasp'd each lovely arm,

Lockless—so pliable from the pure gold That the hand stretch'd and shut it without harm,

The limb which it adorn'd its only mould ; So beautiful-its very shape would charm,

And clinging as if loath to lose its hold : The purest ore enclosed the whitest skin That e'er by precious metal was held in.

Around, as princess of her father's land,

A light gold bar above her instep roll'd Announced her rank; twelve rings were on her

hand ; Her hair was starr'd with gems ; her veil's fine

fold Below her breast was fasten'd with a band Of lavish pearls, whose worth could scarce be

told ;


Her orange-silk full Turkish trowsers furl'd
About the prettiest ankle in the world.

Her hair's long auburn waves down to her heel

Flow'd like an Alpine torrent, which the sun Dyes with his morning light, and would conceal

Her person if allow'd at large to run, And still they seem'd resentfully to feel

The silken fillet's curb, and sought to shun Their bonds whene'er some Zephyr caught began To offer his young pinion as her fan.

Round her she made an atmosphere of life,

The very air seem'd lighter from her eyes, They were so soft, and beautiful, and rife,

With all we can imagine of the skies,
And pure as Psyche ere she grew a wife-

Too pure even for the purest human ties;
Her overpowering presence made you feel
It would not be idolatry to kneel.

Her eyelashes, though dark as night, were tinged

(It is the country's custom,) but in vain ; For those large black eyes were so blackly fringed,

The glossy rebels mock'd the jetty stain, And in her native beauty stood avenged:

Her nails were touch'd with henna ; but again The power of art was turn’d to nothing, for They could not look more rosy than before.

The henna should be deeply dyed to make

The skin relieved appear more fairly fair ; She had no need of this, day ne'er will break On mountain-tops more heavenly white than

her ;

The eye might doubt if it were well awake,

She was so like a vision ; I might err, But Shakspeare also says, 'tis very silly “ To gild refined gold, or paint the lily.”

Juan had on a shawl of black and gold,

But a white baracan, and so transparent The sparkling gems beneath you might behold, Like small stars through the milky-way ap.

parent ; His turban, furl'd in many a graceful fold,

An emerald aigrette with Haidee's hair in't Surmounted as its clasp a glowing crescent, Whose rays shone ever trembling, but incessant.

And now they were diverted by their suite, Dwarfs, dancing-girls, black eunuchs, and a

poet ; Which made their new establishment complete ;

The last was of great fame and liked to show it: His verses rarely wanted their due feet

And for his theme-he seldom sung below it, He being paid to satirize or flatter, As the psalms say, “ inditing a good matter."


'Tis sweet to hear At midnight, on the blue and moonlit deep, The song and oar of Adria's gondolier,

By distance mellow'd, o'er the waters sweep;

« PreviousContinue »