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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
Again dismounting, each the other view'd
soul no more.
An icy horror chills the champion's heart,
• How oft my heart has throbb’d with strong desire,
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,
A year she mourn’d; then, swift as wishes spring,
But know, whatever good or ill betides,
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,
up the hills, and now along the vales,
VOL. IV. PART II.
Sitarah here, Afrasiab's second pride,
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.
“ Cantan fra i rami gli angeletti vaghi
E quella ai fiori ai pomi e a la verzura
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
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