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Hast thou no echo, like the ocean shell, Thy vague, dim history to tell, Or in faint mystic murmurs to impart That of the soul invisible Whose form is flown?
A ruin amid ruins still thou art, Silent and alone.
Was it a hero whose proud dust
Was once thy treasure, mournful urn? A fool of battle's gloried lust, Death's puppet in a world where death Allows of life so brief a breath?
Or maiden fair, whose gentle breast Love filled, and sorrow laid at rest? Or poet-brain, whose thoughts would burn In reverie, like the golden west?
Or wise, bright-thoughted sage? Or little child from tearful mother torn? Love's, life's last heritage.
Yon star-world shining o'er the sea,
In yonder unimagined vast,
Where suns and spheres, the bright abodes
Of spirits, ranging up to gods,
Awhile in life's eternal storm
(FROM 'THE LAST SIBYL.")
In sense-life lags the sunny sultaned East,
As from a sun-born, light-diffusing soul,
(FROM "SONGS AND ROMANCES.")
Lo! down the smoothes of water now
From the valley's harvest lands;
Lie in tumbles :-faint behind
Back to its level calm of glass;
The veined water-lights waver and gleam
In lisping plashes into the stream.
Around the stalk of the hollyhock,
And vicious, intermittent hum;
In my soul's temple, sacredly enshrined
Richard Francis Burton was born in Tuam, county Galway, in 1821, and is the son of Colonel Joseph Netterville Burton. In 1842 he entered the Indian army, and continued in that service till 1861. He applied himself early to the study of eastern languages and customs; and having persisted in this labour of love during his entire life, he is now master of twenty-nine languages, European and Oriental. His first expedition was a singu
The passing hours, synthetic search may find;
RICHARD FRANCIS BURTON.
The singing pictures of sweet poetry;
To guard; or, seek them through the terrorless
When the earth melts beneath the touch of death.
[Captain Burton has written some thirty | lar proof of his knowledge of eastern ways volumes in description of his various wander- and of his bold and enterprising spirit. He ings throughout the globe. Other travellers went to Mecca and Medina in the disguise have become better known, and been more of a pilgrim, and so was able to see sacred highly rewarded; but there can be no doubt spots which had never before been beheld by that the man who has never attained higher the eye of the infidel. It is from his interestrank than a captaincy, or a more splendid ing work describing this expedition that our office than a consulship, has more greatly quotation is taken. He subsequently went dared, and won more knowledge, than any on two exploring expeditions to Central Africa, explorer of his time. his companion in both cases being the lamented Captain Speke. He had been employed by the government during the Crimean war on military service; in 1861 he was appointed to a consulship at Fernando Po, and he occupied his time in exploring the interior of Africa, paying a visit, among other persons, to the redoubtable and sanguinary King of Dahomey. He has held office in succession at São Paulo (Brazil), Damascus, and Trieste; and in each place he has found time to devote
himself to his favourite occupation of surveying many men and various cities. He has been through North and South America, knows Syria and Iceland; has lived in almost every part of India; and in recent years has made several visits to the famous land of Midian. In the lengthy list of Captain Burton's books we may notice: Narrative of Mission to Dahomey (1864); Vikram and the Vampire, or Tales of Hindu Devilry (1869); Two Trips to Gorilla Land (1875); Ultima Thule, or a Summer in Iceland (1875); The Gold Mines of Midian and the Ruined Midianite Cities (1878). He is a good narrator of his adventures, and has many wondrous tales to tell. His style is not very polished, but it is usually graphic, and shows keen and humourous observation. Its chief fault is, perhaps, that Captain Burton, out of the fulness of his knowledge, enters too much into detail.]
FEMALE INFLUENCE AND POETRY AMONG THE ARABS.
There are two things which tend to soften the ferocity of Bedouin life. These are, in the first place, intercourse with citizens, who frequently visit and intrust their children to the people of the Black tents; and, secondly, the social position of the women.
The author of certain "Lectures on Poetry, addressed to Working Men," asserts that Passion became Love under the influence of Christianity, and that the idea of a virgin mother spread over the sex a sanctity unknown to the poetry or the philosophy of Greece and Rome. Passing over the objections of deified Eros and Immortal Psyche and of the virgin mother, symbol of moral purity,-being common to all old and material faiths, I believe that all the noble tribes of savages display the principle. Thus we might expect to find, wherever the fancy, the imagination, and the ideality are strong, some traces of a sentiment innate in the human organization. It exists, says Mr. Catlin, amongst the North American Indians, and even the Gallas and the Somal of Africa are not wholly destitute of it. But when the barbarian becomes a semi-barbarian, as are the most polished Orientals, or as were the classical authors of Greece and Rome, then women fall from their proper place in society, become mere articles of luxury, and sink into the lowest moral condition. In the next state, “civiliza
tion," they rise again to be "highly accomplished," and not a little frivolous.
Were it not evident that the spiritualising of sexuality by imagination is universal among the highest orders of mankind, I should attribute the origin of love to the influence of the Arabs' poetry and chivalry upon European ideas rather than to medieval Christianity.
In pastoral life, tribes often meet for a time, live together whilst pasturage lasts, and then separate perhaps for a generation. Under such circumstances youths, who hold with the Italian that
"Perduto e tutto il tempo Che in amor non si spende,"
will lose heart to maidens, whom possibly, by the laws of the clan, they may not marry, and the light o' love will fly her home. The fugitives must brave every danger, for revenge, at all times the Bedouin's idol, now becomes the lode-star of his existence. But the Arab lover will dare all consequences. "Men have died and the worms have eaten them, but not for love," may be true in the West; it is false in the East. This is attested in every tale where love, and not ambition, is the groundwork of the narrative. And nothing can be more tender, more pathetic than the use made of these separations and the long absences by the old Arab poets. Whoever peruses the "Suspended Poem " of Lebid will find thoughts at once so plaintive and so noble, that even Dr. Carlyle's learned verse cannot wholly deface their charm. The author returns from afar. He looks upon the traces of hearth and home still furrowing the desert ground. In bitterness of spirit he checks himself from calling aloud upon his lovers and his friends. He melts at the remembrance of their departure, and long indulges in the absorbing theme. Then he strengthens himself by the thought of Nawara's inconstancy, how she left him and never thought of him again. He impatiently dwells upon the charms of the places which detain her, advocates flight from the changing lover and the false friend, and, in the exultation with which he feels his swift dromedary start under him upon her rapid course, he seems to find some consolation for woman's perfidy and forgetfulness. Yet he cannot abandon Nawara's name or memory. Again he dwells with yearning upon scenes of past felicity, and he boasts of his prowess,-a fresh reproach to her, of his gentle birth, and of his hospitality. He ends with an encomium upon his clan, to which he attributes, as a
noble Arab should, all the virtues of man. This is Goldsmith's deserted village in El Hejaz. But the Arab, with equal simplicity and pathos, has a fire, a force of language, and a depth of feeling, which the Irishman, admirable as his verse is, could never rival.
As the author of the Peninsular War well remarks, women in troublesome times, throwing off their accustomed feebleness and frivolity, become helpmates meet for man. same is true of pastoral life. Here, between the extremes of fierceness and sensibility, the weaker sex, remedying its great want, power, raises itself by courage, physical as well as moral. In the early days of El Islam, if history be credible, Arabia had a race of heroines. Within the last century, Ghaliyah, the wife of a Wahhabi chief, opposed Mohammed Ali himself in many a bloody field. A few years ago, when Ibn Asm, popularly called Ibn Rumi, chief of the Zubayd clan about Rabigh, was treacherously slain by the Turkish general, Kurdi Usman, his sister, a fair young girl, determined to revenge him. She fixed upon the "Arafat-day" of pilgrimage for the accomplishment of her designs, disguised herself in male attire, drew her handkerchief in the form of "lisam" over the lower part of her face, and with lighted match awaited her enemy. The Turk, however, was not present, and the girl was arrested, to win for herself a local reputation equal to the maid of Salamanca. Thus it is that the Arab has learned to swear that great oath "by the honour of my women."
The Bedouins are not without a certain Platonic affection, which they call "Hawa (or Ishk) uzri,"-pardonable love. They draw the fine line between amant and amoreux: this is derided by the townspeople, little suspecting how much such a custom says in favour of the wild men. In the cities, however, it could not prevail. Arabs, like other Orientals, hold that, in such matters, man is saved, not by faith, but by want of faith. They have also a saying not unlike ours—
"She partly is to blame who has been tried, He comes too near who comes to be denied."
show that we think better of them than they deserve-disapprobation and suspicion draw forth the worst traits of character and conduct. From ancient periods of the Arab's history we find him practising "knight-errantry," the wildest form of chivalry. "The Songs of Antar,'" says the author of the Crescent and the Cross, "show little of the true chivalric spirit." What thinks the reader of sentiments like these? "This valiant man," remarks Antar, (who was "ever interested for the weaker sex,") "hath defended the honour of women." We read in another place, "Mercy, my lord, is the noblest quality of the noble." Again, "It is the most ignominious of deeds to take free-born women prisoners." "Bear not malice, O Shibub!" quoth the hero, "for of malice good never came." Is there no true greatness in this sentiment?" Birth is the boast of the fainéant; noble is the youth who beareth every ill, who clotheth himself in mail during the noon-tide heat, and who wandereth through the outer darkness of night." And why does the "knight of knights" love Ibla? Because "she is blooming as the sun at dawn, with hair black as the midnight shades, with Paradise in her eye, her bosom an enchantment, and a form waving like the tamarisk when the soft winds blow from the hills of Nejd?" Yes, but his chest expands also with the thoughts of her " faith, purity, and affection,”-it is her moral as well as her material excellence that makes her the hero's "hope, and hearing, and sight." Briefly, in Antar I discern
The evil of this system is that they, like certain southerns, pensano sempre al malealways suspect, which may be worldly wise, and also always show their suspicions, which is assuredly foolish. For thus they demoralize their women, who might be kept in the way of right by self-respect and a sense of duty. To raise our fellow-creatures we have only to
66 -A love exalted high By all the glow of chivalry;"
and I lament to see so many intelligent travellers misjudging the Arab after a superficial experience of a few debased Syrians or Sinaites. The true children of Antar have not "ceased to be gentlemen."
In the days of ignorance, it was the custom for Bedouins, when tormented by the tender passion, which seems to have attached them in the form of "possession," for long years to sigh and wail and wander, doing the most truculent deeds to melt the obdurate fair. When Arabia islamized, the practice changed its element for proselytism. The Fourth Caliph is fabled to have travelled far, redressing the injured, punishing the injurer, preaching to the infidel, and especially protecting women-the chief end and aim of knighthood. The Caliph El Mutasem heard in the assembly of his courtiers that a woman of Sayyid
family had been taken prisoner by a "Greek | excels. Travellers complain that the wild barbarian" of Ammoria. The man on one occasion struck her, when she cried "Help me, O Mutasem!" and the clown said derisively, "Wait till he cometh upon his pied steed!" The chivalrous prince arose, sealed up the wine-cup which he held in his hand, took oath to do his knightly devoir, and on the morrow started for Ammoria with 70,000 men, each mounted on a piebald charger. Having taken the place, he entered it, exclaiming, "Labbayki, Labbayki!-Here am I at thy call." He struck off the caitiff's head, released the lady with his own hands, ordered the cupbearer to bring the sealed bowl, and drank from it, exclaiming, "Now, indeed, wine is good!" To conclude this part of the subject with another far-famed instance. When El Mutanabbi, the poet, prophet, and warrior of Hams (A. H. 354), started together with his son on their last journey, the father proposed to seek a place of safety for the night. "Art thou the Mutanabbi," exclaimed his slave, "who wrote these lines,
men have ceased to sing. This is true if "poet" be limited to a few authors whose existence everywhere depends upon the accidents of patronage or political occurrences. A far stronger evidence of poetic feeling is afforded by the phraseology of the Arab, and the highly imaginative turn of his commonest expressions. Destitute of the poetic taste, as we define it, he certainly is: as in the Milesian, wit and fancy, vivacity and passion, are too strong for reason and judgment, the reins which guide Apollo's car. And although the Bedouins no longer boast a Lebid or a Maisunah, yet they are passionately fond of their ancient bards. A man skilful in reading "El Mutanabbi" and the "Suspended Poems" would be received by them with the honours paid by civilization to the travelling millionnaire. And their elders have a goodly store of ancient and modern war songs, legends, and love ditties, which all enjoy.
I cannot well explain the effect of Arab poetry to one who has not visited the desert. of the sound, there is a dreaminess of idea Apart from the pomp of words, and the music and a haze thrown over the object, infinitely attractive, but indescribable. Description, indeed, would rob the song of indistinctness, its essence. To borrow a simile from a sister art. The Arab poet sets before the mental eye the dim grand outlines of a picture,— which must be filled up by the reader, guided only by a few glorious touches, powerfully standing out, and the sentiment which the scene is intended to express;—whereas, we Europeans and moderns, stippling and minute touches, produce a miniature on a large scale so objective as to exhaust rather than to arouse reflection. As the poet is a creator, the Arab's is poetry, the European's versical description. The language, "like a faithful wife, following the mind and giving birth to its offspring," and, free from that luggage of particles" which clogs our modern tongues, leaves a mysterious vagueness between the elation of word to word, which materially assists the sentiment, not the sense, of the poem. When verbs and nouns have-each one-many different significations, only the radical or general idea suggests itself. Rich and varied synonymes, illustrating the finest shades of meaning, are artfully used; now scattered to startle us by distinctness, now to form as it were a star about which dimly seen satellites revolve. And, to cut short a disquisition which might be prolonged indefin
"I am known to the night, and the wild, and the To the guest, and the sword, to the paper and reed?""
The poet, in reply, lay down to sleep on Tigris' bank, in a place haunted by thieves, and, disdaining flight, lost his life during the hours of darkness.
It is the existence of this chivalry among the "Children of Antar" which makes the society of Bedouins ("damned saints," perchance, and "honourable villains,") so delightful to the traveller who, like the late Haji Wali (Dr. Wallin), understands and is understood by them. Nothing more naïve than his lamentations at finding himself in the "loathsome company of Persians," or among Arab townpeople, whose "filthy and cowardly minds" he contrasts with the "high and chivalrous spirit of the true Sons of the Desert." Your guide will protect you with blade and spear, even against his kindred, and he expects you to do the same for him. You may give a man the lie, but you must lose no time in baring your sword. If, involved in dispute with overwhelming numbers, you address some elder, Dakhilak ya Shaykh!"—(I am) thy protected, O Sir,—and he will espouse your quarrel, and, indeed, with greater heat and energy than if it were his own. But why multiply instances?
The language of love and war and all excitement is poetry, and here, again, the Bedouin