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if his antagonist were Rustem, and hearing his disavowal of that name, was the conqueror, but spared the vanquished hero, on his assurance that such was the Persian custom on the first fall. They both retired from the field, and met the next day to decide the combat.

“ Again they met. A glow of youthful grace
Diffus'd its radiance o'er the stripling's face,
And scoffing thus, “ Again in arms ? he cried,
• Dost thou, presumptuous, Scythian power deride ?
Or dost thou, wearied, draw thy vital breath,
And seek from me the crimson shaft of death ?'
Then mild the champion: 'Youth is proud and vain! !
The idle threat a warrior would disdain.
This aged arm, perhaps, may yet controul
The wanton fury that inflames thy soul.?

Again dismounting, each the other view'd
With sullen glance, and swift the fight renew'd :
Clench'd front to front, again they tug and bend,
Twist their broad limbs, as every nerve would rend.
With rage convulsive, Rustem grasp'd him round,
Bends his strong back, and hurls him to the ground;
Like lightning quick, he gives the deadly thrust,
And spurns the stripling, weltering in the dust.
• Thus, as my blood the shining steel pursues,
Thine too shall flow, for Destiny pursues ;
And when she marks the victims of her power,
A thousand daggers speed the dying hour.
Groaning with pain, he then in murmurs sigh’d,
• O had I seen, what Fate has now denied,
My glorious father! Life will soon be o'er,
And his great deeds enchant my

soul no more.
But hope not to elude his piercing sight,
In vain for thee the deepest glooms of night:
Couldst thou through ocean's depths for refuge fly,
Or, midst the star-beams, track the upper sky,
His kindled rage would persecute thee there,
For Rustem's soul will burn with anguish and despair.'

An icy horror chills the champion's heart,
His brain whirls round with agonizing smart;
O’er his wan cheek no pearly sorrows flow,
Senseless he sinks beneath the weight of woe;
Reliev'd, at length, with frenzied look he cries,
* Prove thou art mine, confirm my doubting eyes,
For I am RUSTEM! Dire amazement shook
The dying youth, and mournful thus he spoke;

• How oft my heart has throbb’d with strong desire,
And fondly claim'd thee for my valiant siré.'.'

Atkinson's Sohrúb, a Poem, fc.

The simplicity of Ferdusi's style is entirely lost in these pompous lines; but we have wished, by this and the former example from the rival translator, to let the reader judge for himself of the respective merits of these versions of the early part of the Shah-námeh. We will now proceed to lay before him a slight sketch, accompanied with extracts, of 'the remaining portion of this extraordinary poem, which have not hitherto been presented to the public. Let us begin with the conclusion of the story we have just quoted, which Mr. Atkinson has unaccountably omitted. After the death of Sohrab, and the due performance of the funeral rites by his afflicted father, the poet introduces the mother as lamenting, in passionate strains, over the untimely fate of her son, embracing his armour, and exhibiting all the signs of frantic grief. In the midst of this description, the translator's edition breaks off abruptly, possibly because he thought that a tragedy (and Sir William Jones had planned a tragedy on this story) should conclude before the interest is gone by, and that the mother's despair made a good' final scene. But Ferdusi, who was not writing a play, though there is great dramatic effect in this tale, thought otherwise, and brought it down to a regular conclusion. In the following passage, the history is taken up where Mr. Atkinson left off; and we may observe, from the mode in which this and other poems in the Shah-námeh begin and end, that the poet did not consider his work as an uninterrupted poem, which would deprive him of all right to be considered, according to the cri-" tics, as an epic poet, but as a series of poems on different events in the history of Persia.

“ Then the fond mother, shunning light and air,
In secret wept, and tore her golden hair;
Fled the dear scenes where Sohrab's youth had past,
The house of feasting whence he parted last,
With sable trappings, hung the lofty walls,
And mourn'd him day and night within her halls.

A year she mourn’d; then, swift as wishes spring,
Her soul to meet her Sohrab's soul took iwing.; VDE
Reader, prepare thy soul, nor doubt this truth,
('Tis Bahrám tells it) that the giddy youth is st:

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Who roams to day, with heart as light as air,
Will feel to-morrow all a father's care. 6. 31
Make not thy resting-place with feeble man,' *. lete's
Nor dare Futurity's dark deeds to scan; 46

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But know, whatever good or ill betides,
The rolling wheel of Fate, 'tis God who guides ;
Fix not thy wishes on this house of clay,
But seek a mansion in eternal day.
Here cease my song :—but first, the prophet's name
A thousand blessings from my voice shall claim.”

These lines are an instance of that perpetual disposition to moralize, which is a characteristic of the oriental poets, and which would lead us to suppose the eastern nations to be remarkable for their strict attention to morality, if we did not know their failing in this

respect, from other and more certain sources. The death of Sohrab, by the hands of his father, forms the most interesting episode in the poem, but there is, as in the Iliad, a continual variety of adventures attributed, by turns, to the several heroes of the wars between the Tartars and Persians. One of these heroes is Pajan, who has been called the Paris of Ferdusi. In one of his excursions on the borders of the hostile territory, he espied, at a distance; Manízheh, the daughter of Afrasiab, whose beauty tempted him to brave all dangers, and possess himself of so lovely an object. He had, however, reason to repent of the adventure, for he was made prisoner by the Turks, and confined in a dismal prison, till released by the valour of Rustem. His first view of the damsel, who caused him to suffer this perilous misfortune, is described with all the enthusiasm of a youthful lover, in his address to the companions of his excursion, when they come in sight of the spot where the princess sported in the midst of her attendant maidens.

“See, where yon plain, in various colours bright,
Tempts the young hero to the foray-fight,
Where many a grove, and many a garden, grace
The wide domain of Tourán's ancient race,
In waves of silk the glossy corn-fields flow,
Musk scents the air, and waters roll below;
The lily droops beneath its ample flower,
The rose breathes incense through her native bower;
Proud stalks the pheasant through the leafy glade,
The dove coos softly from the cypress' shade;
Long may this earthly paradise remain
To glad our vision-long as Time shall reign.
Now

up the hills, and now along the vales,
Stray the fair damsels of the Tartar dales;
Manízheh there, first daughter of the throne,
Bright as the sun, with radiance all her own:

VOL. IV. PART II.

1

Sitarah here, Afrasiab's second pride,
Circled by blooming maids on every side,
O'er the bright flowers a brighter glory sheds,
The rose and lily hide their vanquish'd heads.
See there, the wandering nymphs among the trees,
With cypress forms, and locks that scent the breeze ;
Lips bathed in wine, and eyes in balmy sleep,
And cheeks where roses endless vigils keep.
Oh! could we venture, for a single day,
To dare all dangers where those damsels stray,
We'd bear away some maid, of peerless charms,
A glorious prize for royal Khosru's arms."

It has struck us, that there is a strong resemblance to Ferdusi's style, in the works of one of the most delightful of the European masters of the lyre, Ariosto : it is most remarkable, in the romantic and solitary adventures of the knights and heroes of these two poets, and, as in the instance just mentioned, in the perilous expeditions in which they engage in pursuit of the fair dames of the enemy's camp. Ariosto's oriental imagination made him choose a subject in which he might give full play to his native genius; and, at the time he wrote, the eastern muse, after travelling through Spain, was making the tour of southern Europe in disguise. There is in the Orlando a description of the " terrestrial paradise," more warm and Asiaticin its colouring than what we have extracted from Ferdusi. We will give the reader that part of the painting which includes the same objects that Ferdusi drew.

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“ Cantan fra i rami gli angeletti vaghi
Azzurri e bianchi e verdi e rossi e gialli,
Murmuranti ruscelli, e cheti laghi
Di limpidezza vincono i cristalli.
Una dolce aura che ti par che vaghi
A un modo sempre, e dal suo stil non falli,
Facea si l'aria tremolar d'intorno,
Che non potea nojar calor del giorno.

E quella ai fiori ai pomi e a la verzura
Gli odor' diversi depredando giva;
E di tutti faceva una mistura,
Che di soavità l'alma nutriva.”

Orl. Fur. xxxiv, 50, 51.

We have already seen, that Ferdusi gloried in being a disciple of Mahomet, but the religion of his poem is that of the

as

Fire Worshippers, which was the faith of the Persians at the time of the invasion of the Arabs. There is a simplicity and sublimity about it, which make it peculiarly suitable to poetry; and though it can form no part of what is called the machinery of an epic poem, yet there is a wild grandeur in the adoration of God in his glorious emblem, the rising Sun, the dispenser of light and life, as consonant to the majesty of Ferdusi’s vast subject, as it is to the fine climate and country where it was adopted. It was in the reign of Kishtasp, whom the Greeks called Darius Hystaspes, that Zerdusht, or Zeratusht, whom we know by the name of Zoroaster, published his works, which inculcated, we are told," the doctrine of two Principles, and recommended the worship of the good Principle under the allegory of Light, which he opposed to the bad, whose emblem was Darkness “ The king," it is added, “was much inclined to this doctrine, and raised a number of temples to the Sun, the fountain of Light; which the people, as usual, conceiving in a gross and literal sense, began to adore the effect instead of the cause, and the figure instead of the archetype. The priests took the hint, and the Sun, or Mithra, became really to them,

our alchemists absurdly consider it, a powerful elixir, which transformed their base' metals into gold." The Mussulman bigots cursed the Persian idolaters; but Ferdusi saw the advantage of introducing into his work the genuine religion of his forefathers, which was still secretly professed by many of his contemporaries, and was sufficiently obsolete to create a romantic interest in its former flourishing state.

Ferdusi describes the arrival of Zoroaster at the court of King Kishtasp, and the favour which his religion found in that monarch's eyes, under the figure of the rapid growth of a vast tree before the royal palace. We have preserved in the translation the singular transition that there is, in the original, from the allegorical representative of the prophet, to the prophet himself. “ As years on years successive roll

away,
A mighty tree springs up to meet the day;
In the king's court it rears its stately head,
Deep is its root, and wide its branches spread ;
Wisdom from every leaf its balm distils,
That balm, the healer of all human ills :
Its name is Zeratusht. He comes to quell,
With steps auspicious, all the powers of hell;
From Ahriman to wrest his iron rod,
And win the world's dominion back to God.
* I come, O king! a legate from the sky,
To point the road that leads to God most High.

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