Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AMIR KHAN, by LUCRETIA MARIA DAVIDSON

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AMIR KHAN, by                
First Line: Brightly o'er spire, and dome, and tower
Last Line: Too full to weep -- too blest to sigh!
Subject(s): Kashmir, India; Plane Trees; Cashmere, India; Sycamores


BRIGHTLY o'er spire, and dome, and tower,
The pale moon shone at midnight hour,
While all beneath her smile of light
Was resting there in calm delight;
Evening with robe of stars appears,
Bright as repentant Peri's tears,
And o'er her turban's fleecy fold
Night's crescent stream'd with rays of gold,
While every crystal cloud of Heaven
Bowed as it passed the queen of even.
Beneath -- calm Cashmere's lovely vale
Breathed perfumes to the sighing gale;
The amaranth and tuberose,
Convolvulus in deep repose,
Bent to each breeze which swept their bed,
Or scarcely kissed the dew, and fled
The bulbul, with his lay of love;
Sang, 'mid the stillness of the grove;
The gulnare blushed a deeper hue,
And trembling shed a shower of dew,
Which perfumed ere it kiss'd the ground,
Each zephyr's pinion hovering round.
The lofty plane-tree's haughty brow
Glitter'd beneath the moon's pale glow;
And wide the plantain's arms were spread,
The guardian of its native bed.
Where was Amreta at this hour?
Say! was she slumb'ring in her bower?
Or gazing on this scene of rest,
Less calm, less peaceful than her breast?
Or was she resting in the dream
Of brighter days, on Fortune's stream?
Or was she weeping Friendship broken,
Or sighing o'er Love's wither'd token?
No! -- she was calmly resting there,
Her eye ne'er spoke of hope nor fear,
But 'mid the blaze of splendour round,
For ever bent upon the ground,
Their long, dark lashes hid from view,
The brilliant glances which they threw.
Her cheek was neither pale nor red;
The rose, upon its summer bed,
Could never boast so faint a hue;
So faint, and yet so brilliant too!
Though round her, Cashmere's incense streamed;
Though Persia's gems around her beamed;
Though diamonds of Golconda shed
Their warmest lustre o'er her head
Though music lulled each fear to sleep,
Or like the night-wind o'er the deep;
Just waking love and calm delight,
Kindling Hope's watch-fire clear and bright;
For her, though Cashmere's roses twine
Together round the parent vine;
And though to her, as Cashmere's star,
Knelt the once haughty Subahdar;
Still, still, Amreta gazed unmoved,
Nor sighed, nor smiled, nor owned she loved!
But, like the Parian marble there,
So bright, so exquisitely fair,
She seemed by Nature famed to bless,
Rich in surpassing loveliness.
But never from those lips of red
A single syllable had fled,
Since Amir Khan first blessed the hour
That placed Amreta in his bower;
Within that bower, 'mid twining roses,
Upon whose leaves the breeze reposes,
She sits unmoved, while round her flow,
Strains of sweet music, sad and low;
Or now, in softer numbers breathing,
A song of love and sorrow wreathing,
Such strains as in wild sweetness ran
Through the sad breast of Amir Khan!
He loved, -- and oh! -- he loved so well
That sorrow scarce dared break the spell;
Though oft Suspicion whispered near
One vague, one sadly boding fear,
A fear that Heaven in wrath had made
That face with seraph-charms array'd,
And then denied in mockery there,
To breathe upon a face so fair!
Without that spark of heav'nly flame,
Which burns unchanging, still the same,
Without that bright ethereal charm,
Oh! what were beauty's angel form?
The breeze as it sweeps o'er the poisonous flow'r,
Dripping with night's damp blistering show'r,
Laden with woe, disease, and death,
Fading youth's bloom with its passing breath,
Blighting each flower of various hue,
Ne'er o'er its fated victim threw
So dark a shade, a cloud so drear,
As hovered o'er the Subahdar.
Cool and refreshing sighs the breeze
Through the long walk of tzinnar-trees,
And cool upon the water's breast
The pale moon rocks herself to rest, --
Yes! calmer, brighter, cooler far
Than the fever'd brow of the Subahdar!
Amreta was fair as the morning beam,
As it glides o'er the wave of the Wuller's stream,
But oh! she was cold as the marble floor
That glitters beneath the nightly shower.
Where was that eye which none could scan,
Which once belonged to Amir Khan?
Where was that voice that mocked the storm?
Where was that tall, majestic form?
That eye was turn'd in love and woe
Upon Amreta's changeless brow,
That haughty form was bending low,
That voice was utt'ring vow on vow,
Beneath the lofty plane-tree's shade,
Before that cold Circassian maid!
"Oh speak, Amreta! -- but one word!
Let one soft sigh confess I'm heard!
Those eyes (than those of yon gazelle
More bright) a tale of love might tell!
Then speak, Amreta! raise thine eye,
Blush, smile, or answer with a sigh."
But'twas in vain -- no sigh -- no word
Told that his humble suit was heard;
Veiled 'neath their silken lashes there,
Her dark eyes glanc'd no answered pray'r,
Upon her cheek no blush was straying,
Around her lip no smile was playing,
And calm despair reigned darkly now,
O'er Amir Khan's deep-clouded brow.
What pity that so fair a form
Should want a heart with feeling warm
What pity that an eye so bright
Should beam o'er Reason's clouded night!
And like a star on Mahmoud's wave,
Should glitter o'er a dreary grave:
A dark abyss -- a sunless day,
An endless night without one ray.
'T was at that day, that silent hour,
When the tall poppy sheds its show'r,
When all on earth, and all on high
Seemed breathing slumber's sweetest sigh;
At that calm hour when Peris love
To gaze upon the Heaven above,
Whose portals, bright with many a gem,
Are closed -- for ever closed on them;
'T was at this silent, solemn hour,
That, gliding from his summer bower,
The Subahdar with noiseless step
Steals like the night-breeze o'er the deep.
Where glides the haughty Subahdar?
Onward he glides to where afar
Proud Hirney-Purvet rears his head
High above Cashmere's blooming bed,
And twines his turban's fleecy fold
With many a brilliant ray of gold,
Or places on his brow of blue
The crescent with its silver hue;
There 'neath a plantain's sacred shade,
Which deep, and dark, and widely spread,
Al Shinar's high prophetic form
Held secret counsel with the storm;
His hand had grasped, with fearless might,
The mantle of descending night;
Such matchless skill the prophet knew,
Such wond'rous feats his hand could do,
That Persia's realm astonished saw,
And Cashmere's valley gazed with awe!
Low bowed the lofty Amir Khan,
Before the high and mighty man,
And bending o'er the Naptha's stream,
Which onward rolled its fiery gleam,
The Subahdar in murmurs told
Of beauteous form, of bosom cold,
Of rayless eye, of changeless cheek,
Of tongue which could or would not speak.
At length the mourner's tale had ceased,
He crossed his hands upon his breast,
He spoke no word, he breathed no sigh,
But keenly fixed his piercing eye
Upon AI Shinar's gloomy brow,
In all the deep despair of woe;
The Prophet paused; -- his eye he raised,
And stern and earnestly he gazed,
As if to pierce the sable veil
Which would conceal the mournful tale; --
When, starting with a sudden blow,
He op'd a portal dark and low,
Which shrouded from each mortal eye
Al Shinar's cavern broad and high;
'T was bright, 't was exquisitely bright,
For founts of rich and living light
There poured their burning treasures forth,
Which sought again their parent earth.
Rich vases, with sweet incense streaming,
Mirrors a flood of brilliance beaming,
Fountain, and bath, and curling stream,
At every turn before them beam;
And marble pillars, pure and cold,
And glitt'ring roof, inlaid with gold,
And gems, and diamonds met his view
In wild and rich profusion too;
And had Amreta's smiles been given,
This place had been the Moslem heaven!
The Prophet paused; -- while Amir Khan
Gazed, awe-struck, on the wond'rous man;
Al Shinar plucked a pale blue flow'r,
Which bent beneath the fountain's show'r,
Then slowly turned towards Amir Khan,
And placed the treasure in his hand.
"Mark me!" he cried; -- " this pensive flower,
Gathered at midnight's magic hour,
Will charm each passion of the breast,
And calm each throbbing nerve to rest;
'T will leave thy hounding bosom warm,
Yet set death's seal upon thy form;
'T will leave thee stiff, and cold, and pale,
A slumberer 'neath an icy veil,
But still shall Reason's conscious reign
Unbroken, undisturbed remain,
And thou shalt hear, and feel, and know
Each sigh, each touch, each throb of woe!"
Go, thou! and if Amreta be
Worthy of love, and worthy thee,
When she beholds thee pale and cold,
Wrapped in the damp sepulchral fold; --
When her eye wanders for that glow
Once burning on thy marble brow;
Then, if her bosom's icy frame
Hath ever warmed 'neath passion's flame,
'T will heave tumultuous as it glows
Like Baikal's everlasting throes;
And it, to-morrow eve, you press
This pale cold flow'ret to your breast,
Ere morning smiles, its spell will prove
If that cold heart BE WORTH thy love! --


THERE's silence in the princely halls,
And brightly blaze the lighted walls,
While clouds of musk and incense rise
From vases of a thousand dyes,
And roll their perfumed treasures wide,
In one luxuriant, fragrant tide;
And glittering chandeliers of gold,
Reflecting fire from every fold,
Hung o'er the shrouded body there,
Of Cashmere's once proud Subahdar!
The crystal's and the diamond's rays
Kindled a wide and brilliant blaze;
The ruby's blush, the coral's hue,
By Peris dipped in Henni's dew,
The topaz's rich and golden ray,
The opal's flame -- the agate grey,
The amethyst of violet hue,
The sapphire with its heav'nly blue,
The snow-white jasper sparkling there
Near the carbuncle's deep'ning glare;
The warm cornelian's blushing glow
Reflected back the brilliant flow
Of light, which in refulgent streams,
O'er hall, o'er bower, and fountain beams.
O'er beds of roses, bright with dew,
Unfolding modestly to view,
Each trembling leaf, each blushing breast,
In Cashmere's wildest sweetness dressed;
Through vistas long, through myrtle bowers,
Where Amir Khan once passed his hours
In gazing on Amreta's face,
So full of beauty, full of grace,
Through veils of silver bright and clear,
It poured its softened radiance far;
Or beamed in pure and milky brightness,
O'er urns of alabaster whiteness;
Through Persian screens of glittering gold,
O'er many an altar's sacred fold,
Where to Eternity will blaze
The naphtha's never-fading rays,
The Gheber's fire which dieth never,
But burns, and beams, and glows for ever!
'T was silent -- not a voice was heard --
No sigh, no murmur, not one word,
Was echoed through that brilliant hall,
The spell of silence hung o'er all;
For there had paused the wing of death,
The midnight spirit's withering breath.
At that still hour no sound arose
To break the charm of deep repose;
The lake was glittering, and the breeze
Sighed softly through the the tzinnar trees,
And kissed the Wuller's wave of blue,
Or sipped the gull's light trembling dew;
But not a murmur, not a sigh
Was wafted by the night-breeze by,
Through that wide hall and princely bower,
At midnight's calm and solemn hour!
Oh! where was Love, his night-watch keeping?
Or was the truant sweetly sleeping?
Where was he at that hour of rest,
By him created, claimed, and blessed?
Where were the tears of Love, and Sorrow,
The sigh which sympathy can borrow?
Where were regret, and chill despair?
Where was Amreta? -- where, Oh where?
Hark! 't is the night-breeze softly playing,
Through veils of glittering silver straying --
No!'t is a step -- so quick, so light,
That the wild flower which weeps at night,
Would raise again its drooping head,
To greet the footstep which had fled.
'Tis not the breeze which floats around,
Lifting the light veil from the ground:
No! 't is a form of heav'nly mien
Hath dared to draw the curtain's screen.
Dimly, behind the fluttering veil,
Which trembles in the breathing gale,
A form appears of seraph mould
As 'neath a light cloud's fleecy fold;
The veil is drawn with hasty hand,
Loosed is the rich embroidered band --
'Tis solemn solitude around,
There's not a murmur, not a sound --
Again a snowy hand is seen,
Again is raised the silken screen,
And lo! with light and noiseless tread,
Amreta glided from its shade!
Her veil was fluttering in the air,
Her brow, as Parian marble fair,
Was glittering bright with many a gem
Set in a brilliant diadem;
Her long dark hair was floating far,
Braided with many a diamond star;
Her eye was raised, and Oh! that eye
Seemed only formed to gaze on high!
For Oh, more piercing bright its beam
Than diamonds 'neath Golconda's stream;
That angel-eye was only given
To look upon its native heaven!
The glow upon her cheek was bright,
But it came, and it fled like a meteor's light;
A brilliant tear was still lingering there,
And Oh, it was shed for the Subahdar!
O'er ev'ry tear the maiden shed,
The heart of Amir Khan had bled;
Now Amir Khan, she weeps for thee,
Oh! what must be thy ecstasy?
For Amir Khan Amreta weeps,
Yet Amir Khan unheeding sleeps!
Like crystal dew-drops purely glowing,
O'er his pale brow her tears are flowing;
She wipes them with her veil away,
Less sacred far -- less sweet than they!
Where was that eye whose ardent gaze
Had warmed her bosom with its rays?
Where was that glance of love and woe?
Where was that proud heart's throbbing glow?
All, all was cold and silent there,
And all was death, and dark despair!
She hid her face, now cold and pale,
Within her sweetly scented veil;
Then seized her lute, and a strain so clear,
So soft, so mournful arose on the air,
That Oh! it was sweet as the music of heaven,
O'er a lost one returning, a sinner forgiven!
Such notes as repentance in sorrow might sing,
Notes wafted to heaven by Israfil's wing: --


Star of the morning! -- this bosom was cold,
When forced from my native shade,
And I wrapp'd me around in my mantle's fold,
A mournful Circassian maid!

I vowed that rapture should never move
This changeless cheek, this rayless eye,
I vowed to feel neither bliss, nor love' --
In silence to meet thee, and then to die!
Each burning sigh thy bosom hath breathed,
Has been melting that chain away;
The galling chain which around me I wreath'd,
On the morn of that fatal day!
Tis done! and this night I have broken the vow
Which bound me in silence for ever!
And thy spirit hath fled from a world of woe,
To return again, never! Oh never!
My soul is sad! and my heart is weary!
For thy bosom is cold to me;
Without thy smile the world is dreary,
And I will fly with thee!
Together we'll float down eternity's stream,
Twin stars on the breast of the billow,
The splendours of Paradise round us shall beam,
And thy bosom shall be my pillow!
Then open thine arms bright star of the morning!
My grave in thy bosom shall be,
The glories of Paradise'round us are dawning,
My Heaven is only with thee!
Hushed were the words, and hush'd the song,
Which sadly, sweetly flow'd along,
But Amir Khan's warm heart beat high,
Though closed and rayless was his eye;
And every note which struck his ear,
Whisper'd a hovering angel near;
And each warm tear that wet his cheek,
Her long-concealed regard bespeak;
His bosom bounded to be free,
And fluttered, -- wild with ecstasy!
Oh! would the magic charm had passed!
Would that the morn would break at last!
But no -- it will not, may not be!
He is not, nor can yet be free!
But hark! Amreta's murmurs rise,
Sweet as the bird of Paradise;
She bowed her head, and deeply sighed,
"Yes, Amir Khan, I am thy Bride!
And here the crimson hand of death
Shall wed us with a rosy wreath!
My blood shall join us as it flows,
And bind us in a deep repose!" --
Beneath her veil a light is beaming,
A dagger in her hand is gleaming,
And livid was the light it threw,
A pale, cold, death-like stream of blue,
Around her form of angel brightness,
And o'er her brow of marble whiteness!
Awake! Oh! Amir Khan, awake! --
Canst thou not rouse thee for her sake?
Beside thee can Amreta stand,
The fatal dagger in her hand,
And canst thou still regardless lie,
And let thy loved Amreta die?
Awake! oh, Amir Khan! awake,
And rouse thee for Amreta's sake!
-- Like lightning from a midnight cloud,
The Subahdar, from 'neath his shroud,
Burst the cold, magic, death-like band,
And snatched the dagger from her hand!
The maiden sunk upon his breast,
And deep, and lengthened was her rest!
There was no sigh, no murmur there,
And scarcely breathed the Subahdar,
While almost fearing to be blest,
He clasped Amreta to his breast!
Deep buried in his mantle's fold,
He felt not that her cheek was cold;
His own heart throbbed with pleasure's thrill,
But whispered not that hers was still! --
-- Yes! -- the wild flow of blissful joy,
Which, bursting, threatened to destroy,
Gave to her soul a rest from feeling;
A transient torpor gently stealing
O'er beating pulse, and throbbing breast,
Had calmed her ev'ry nerve to rest;
-- But see! the tide of life returns,
Once more her cheek with rapture burns,
Once more her dark eye's heav'nly beam
Pours forth its full and piercing gleam,
Once more her heart is bounding high,
Too full to weep -- too blest to sigh!

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