The lover from his mistress parted,
Lingering, oppress’d, and broken-hearted,
Sank, like the sun all rayless, down—
Khosru, without his throne or crown. 180
With matted locks and bosom bare,
Unshielded from the scorching air,
This hapless youth, absorb’d in grief,
Hoped with his friends to find relief;
The few, by strong affection bound,
And, ‘midst his woes, still faithful found.
But vain the refuge—friendship’s smile
Could not his love-lorn heart beguile :
Again he hasten’d to that place remote,
Where all he loved in life had gone : 190
He call’d her magic name, but she was not,
Nor of her kindred, one, not one,
In that sequester’d lonely spot:
He call’d a thousand times, but call’d in vain ;
None heeded, for none heard the strain ;
And thence no fond reply that hapless youth could gain.
Laili had, with her kindred, been removed
Among the Nijid mountains, where
She cherish’d still the thoughts of him she loved,
And her affection thus more deeply proved ‘200
Amid that wild retreat. Kais sought her there ;
Sought her in rosy bower and silent glade,
Where the tall palm-trees flung refreshing shade.
He call’d upon her name again ;
Again he call’d, alas ! in vain ;
His voice unheard, though raised on every side ;
Echo alone to his lament replied ;
And Laili! Laili! rang around,
As if enamour’d of that magic sound.
Dejected and forlorn, fast-falling dew 210
Glisten’d upon his cheeks of pallid hue ;
Through grove and frowning glen he lonely stray’d,
And with his griefs the rocks were vocal made.
Beautiful Laili! had she gone for ever ?—
Could he that thought support ? oh, never, never !
Whilst deep emotion agonised his breast,
He to the morning-breeze these words address’d :—
” Breeze of the morn ! so fresh and sweet,
Wilt thou my blooming mistress greet;
And, nestling in her glossy hair, 220
My tenderest thoughts, my love, declare ?
Wilt thou, while ‘mid her tresses sporting,
Their odorous balm, their perfume courting,
Say to that soul-seducing maid,
In grief how prostrate I am laid !
And gently whisper in her ear
This message, with an accent clear :—
‘ Thy form is ever in my sight,
In thought by day, in dreams by night;
For one, in spirits sad and broken, 230
That mole would be the happiest token ;
That mole which adds to every look
A magic spell I cannot brook ;
For he who sees thy melting charms,
And does not feel his soul in arms,
Bursting with passion, rapture, all
That speak love’s deepest, wildest thrall,
Must be, as Kaf ‘s ice-summit, cold,
And, haply, scarce of human mould.
Let him, unmoved by charms like thine, 240
His worthless life at once resign—
Those lips are sugar, heavenly sweet;
O let but mine their pouting meet!
The balsam of delight they shed ;
Their radiant colour ruby-red.
The Evil eye has struck my heart,
But thine in beauty sped the dart :
Thus many a flower, of richest hue,
Hath fall’n and perish’d where it grew;
Thy beauty is the sun in brightness, 250
Thy form a Peri’s self in lightness ;
A treasure thou, which, poets say,
The heavens would gladly steal away—
Too good, too pure, on earth to stay !’ ”