English Writers Little Known Here.

Milnes . . . . Landor . . . . Julius Hare.

  The office of Literature is two-fold. It preserves through ages the flowers of life which came to perfect bloom in minds of genius. What bloomed but for a day, in the highest epochs of thought or of love, becomes an amaranth, if translated into literature. A small part of literature has a permanent value.

  But the office of the larger part is temporary, as affording the means of interpreting contemporary minds to each other on a larger scale than actual conversation in words or deeds furnishes. And the requisites for success in this class are very different from, in some respects opposite to, those for the other.

  Excellence in this kind is not to be held lightly. It is no small matter to live a full life in the day; it is what those who live for the ages rarely do.—Those who are most geniuses are, very commonly, least men, and, take the total growth of a man, we may well doubt whether an equable expansion and harmonious growth of the nature is to be sacrificed to a partial, though exquisite result. What is said fully and pertinently now does its office and cheers the heart of the world, though it may not pass to posterity with the name of the speaker.—We confess our partiality for those noble men who lived too full and vigorous a life to have time to set apart portions of it. Those men whose soul was in their eyes, and whose tongue or pen did justice to the occasion as it came. The mistletoe is a sacred plant, but we must have oaks before mistletoes. It is well when we have both, when he who fulfils the life of the day has such a superfluity beside, as to scatter its seed through a wide future. But let the oaks grow first, though their fruit be no larger than the acorn. The common and daily purposes of literature are the most important. It cannot, and will not, dispense with the prophecies of genius, but the healthy discharge of its functions must not be disparaged to exalt these.

  Thus, whatever is truly said and forcibly said, is valuable in literature as in life, though its pretensions be not the highest as to originality of thought or form. Individuality is sufficient: for every fact is worth knowing and stating. Only we must not dwell too long on what is temporary, nor give to what is but relatively good, absolute praise.

  There is a class of writers, mid-way between geniuses and men of healthy energy merely, who are very valuable also. They are audience to the genius, interpreter to the multitude, cultivated friends for those who need such.

  The writers of this class do not enjoy extensive fame. They are not poets nor merely active men, they may be called in distinction gentle-men and scholars. They have not, perhaps, the deep glow of experience that makes the universal heart thrill at their slight magnetic tokens; they have not the magician’s wand to evoke from the realm of shadows forms that in life they have never seen.

  Yet they are delightful private companions.—We are not their lovers nor their worshipers, but their familiar friendship we prize. We would introduce them to others that they may find and be found by their own. They need to be thus introduced, for they do not command fame, nor make the earth shake with their tread so that all may know where to find them.

  Several English writers of this class are little known in this country. Their writings are not republished here, because the demand for them would be limited. Yet it would increase if their works would begin to circulate. There are, here and there, persons who need just this deeper refinement of common gifts, and find not enough of such sympathy and instruction. To the persons of this class may be recommended first—Richard Monckton Milnes who has published volumes entitled


all of which may be obtained from England, in beautiful type, that would well nigh restore sight to the blind and give it to the purblind.

  Mr. Milnes is an Englishman of fortune, of fashion, and therefore he deserves the more praise for being what he is, in heart and head, a liberal gentleman. He is no poet—not an atom of “vivida via” urges his pulse. That miracle, described in the dramatic phrase of our own land as “setting the river on fire,” a miracle which the poet is really able to work, will never disturb the peace of society through him. Nay! an at all vehement river would catch and drown him in the attempt. He wisely makes none such. He attempts not to pour forth tides of song. His poems are poems of many years. They are the higher and gentler moods of a lively, elegant, susceptible person, who is none the less sensible to poetic impressions that he has little power of transmitting them. We have all met, in every-day life, persons who had little power of describing what they had seen, yet could make us see it from the signs of genuine emotion the sight had caused in themselves. So it is with Mr. Milnes. He points out to us the best books, the best pictures, and the best landscapes he has seen in his extensive travels and conversations with men and books, and we take pleasure in seeing them in his atmosphere. It is a mild atmosphere, pervaded by a pale golden mist.

  If many persons culled the best from the hours as they pass, with any thing like the same care and judgement, the world would be an agreeable world, and each puddle would be overarched with a rainbow more or less bright.

  Mr. Milnes has been wittily described as “really a cheerful little robin-redbreast of a man.”—The portraits we have seen of him correspond with this description, and so does his song, for it is song, if not poetry; a fond, familiar, exhilarating song.—We love the cheerful, tender note, and we are pleased, while listening to the native warble of his mind, to be brought into connexion also with so many interesting scenes and subjects, where the main causes of interest are sure to be noted, and, if not adequately treated, yet are so with so much discrimination as never to displease.

  Thus, opening to the introduction to Memorials of Many Scenes, we find a favorite theme, the marriage of Pieto della Valle, thus gracefully touched upon:

Hast thou not read the wild but all-true story
  Of the brave Pilgrim and his Georgian bride,
Pietro and Maani, who in glory
  And countless joy went wandering side by side?

Now by the Turcoman’s ferocious hordes
  Guarded and tended with religious care,
Now proudly feasted at the imperial boards
  Of Ispahan and Shiras, peerless pair!

What was to them the peril and the toil,
  The shifting troubles of that novel way?
They were together—and no power could soil
  The pure love-calm that on their spirits lay:

Till the envious death forbade the farther sight
  Of that rare interchange of bliss and pain,
And nations lost a wonder and delight,
  Which never might refresh their souls again.

But though thus late, why should not thou and I,
  Before our lives’ short season downward tend,
Renew that long-extinguished memory;
  My falcon-eyed, my falcon-hearted friend?

It is a high vocation, to go out
  Upon the dædal Earth, and watch the sun
Rise above unknown hills, and wide about
  Strange plains extend our sight’s dominion:

Through scenes, which to the habitants of each
  Are worlds distinct, as if they planets were,
And ever-varying moods of garb and speech,
  To pass light-winged, and free as birds of air:

To live whole years in some short span of days—
  To feel new wisdom falling, like a dew,
Upon our passive temples, and the maze
  Of life unravel with a ready clue:

When close before us spreads some famous land!
  How well we think! how faithfully we know,
Imagination lays her regal hand
  On Memory’s shoulder, and she dare not go!

For then the soul can best its ear apply,
  Piercing our daily path’s discordant sound,
To that low-paced, low-echoing melody,
  To which the Earth, in its pure prime, went round

Such generous ends will surely energize
  Thy flower-frail form, till it becomes so strong,
That in dark ways and under sternest skies,
  Serene and fearless thou wilt move along;

And Nature’s shapes and each historic place
  Fresh current of their inner life will find,
Taking the mould of thy supernal grace,
  And lucid with the light of thy clear mind.

  It would not, we think, be easy to refuse such an invitation to travel. Does any one ask, who is Pietro della Valle? We answer, that is one merit of Milnes, that he will oblige you, if you wish to understand him, to find out what is not placarded on the corner of every street, and he offers these inducements in a manner so pleasing, that almost all who read will be induced to seek; yet many of his shows, though they are really worth showing, may not be seen by the many, even when close to them, for want of sufficient delicacy of vision. We ourselves have lent the travels of della Valle to those of whose sympathy we felt secure, and found them utterly dull to the charm that leads such a thrilling tone to the song of our robin-redbreast,

“The pure love-calm that on those spirits lay.”

  “The Lay of the Humble” is best known among Milnes’s poems, and it deserves to be so, as in that he touches the best chords of his peculiar lute. The two poems of Myrrha may also be mentioned for their delicate yet strong stamp of individuality; and this is to the man what fragrance is to the flower: it may not be the best of all perfumes, but, according to its degree of freshness and intensity in its proper kind, is our sense of the secret life of the plant. We regret not having before us the ‘Poems, Historical and Legendary,’ as we wished to quote one of the Northern legends, which is related with admirable expression. It is the tale of a poor servant girl who has committed the crime of infanticide to save herself from shame. Years after, she is attended by a Brownie, or domestic sprite, which, with most sedulous care, mitigates her toils and divines her wishes. Life becomes a new thing to her in this presence of sustaining and unwearied love. Her whole heart is bent in gratitude toward her unseen friend; and as it is ever our way to grasp at something palpable, at the risk of losing the spirit that pervaded us, she is importunate to see her comforter in bodily form. It long resists her importunities, but when it can no longer refuse, appears to her in the moonlight of her chamber window, as her own child, still bleeding from her hand, though grown to such size as the interval of years would have permitted had it been left in life. The story is told by Milnes with a force and pathos worthy of its moral beauty.

  ‘Palm Leaves’ is his latest publication. It is the record of his travels in the levant and in Egypt in the winter of 1842-43, and, as on former occasions, he has given the form of poems to his observations, adding by note or preface whatever is needed for full illustration, and as before, he has been highly successful in this attractive form of journal.

  As specimens we insert

A SIMPLE unpartitioned room,—
Surmounted by an ample dome,
Or, in some lands that favored lie,
With centre open to the sky,
But roofed with arched cloisters round,
That mark the consecrated bound,
And shade the niche to Mekkeh turned,
By which two massive lights are burned;
With pulpit whence the sacred word
Expounded on great days is heard;
With fountain fresh, where, ere they pray,
Men wash the soil of earth away;
With shining minaret, thin and high,
From whose fine-trellised balcony
Announcement of the hours of prayer
Is uttered to the silent air;
Such is the Mosque—the holy place,
Where faithful men of every race,
Meet at their ease, and face to face.

Not that the power is here
More manifest, or more to fear;
Not that the glory of his face
Is circumscribed by any space;
But that, as men are wont to meet
In court or chamber, mart or street,
For purposes of gain or pleasure,
For friendliness or social leisure—
So, for the greatest of all ends
To which worship extends,
The worship of the Lord, whose will
Created and sustains us still,
And honor of the Prophet’s name,
By whom the saving message came,
Believers meet together here,
And hold these precincts very dear.

The floor is spread with matting neat,
Unstained by touch of shodden feet—
A decent and delightful seat!
Where, after due devotions paid,
And legal ordinance obeyed,
Men may in happy parlance join,
And gay with serious thought combine;
May ask the news from lands away,
May fix the business of to-day;
Or, with ‘God willing,’ at the close,
To-morrow’s hopes and deeds dispose.

Children are running in and out
With silver-sounding laugh and shout,
No more disturbed in their sweet play,
No more disturbing those that pray,
Than the poor birds, that fluttering fly
Among the rafters there on high,
Or seek at times, with grateful hop,
The corn fresh-sprinkled on the top.*

So, lest the stranger’s scornful eye
Should hurt this sacred family—
Lest inconsiderate words should wound
Devout adorers with their sound—
Lest careless feet should stain the floor
With dirt and dust from out the door—
’T is well that custom should protect
The place with prudent circumspect,
And let no unbeliever pass
The threshold of the faithful mass;
That as each Muslim his Hareem
Guards even from a jealous dream,
So should no alien feeling scathe
This common home of public faith,
So should its very name dispel
The presence of the infidel.

Yet, though such reverence may demand
A building raised by human hand,
Most honor to the men of prayer,
Whose mosque is in them everywhere!
Who, amid revel’s wildest din,
In war’s severest discipline,
On rolling deck, in thronged bazaar,
In stranger lands, however far,
However different in their reach
In thought, in manners, dress or speech—
Will quietly their carpet spread,
To Mekkeh turn the humble head,
And, as if blind to all around,
And deaf to each distracting sound,
In ritual language God adore,
In spirit to his presence soar,
And, in the pauses of prayer,
Rest, as if rapt in glory there!

* Many of the mosques possess funds dedicated to the support of birds and other animals; one at Cairo has a large boat at the top filled with corn as fast as it is consumed, and another possessed an estate bequeathed to it to give food to the homeless cats of the city. Most of these funds have, however, now passed, with those of higher charities, into Mehemet Ali’s own pocket.

  To us the pictures of innocent familiar life associated with the customs of worship are very charming.

  The following legend is in Milnes’s best manner:


  THIS legend does not seem to me to be orthodox, but rather to a later invention arising from a desire to assimilate the nature of Mohammed to that of Christ. The humility of Mohammed in all that concerns his personality is conspicuous throughout the Koran. “I do not say unto you, that in my possession are the treasure of God, nor that I know what is unseen; nor do I say unto you, Verily I am an angel—I only follow what is revealed to me.” Chap. vi. v. 50. “Mohammed is nought but an Apostle: other Apostles have passed away before him.” Chap. iii. v. 130. Nor does Mohammed even attribute to himself any specialty of nature such as he gives to Christ, whom he declares to have been born of Virgin by the spirit of God.—“She said, O my Lord, how shall I have a son, when a man hath not touched me? He answered—Thus: God will create what he pleaseth. When he determineth a thing—he only saith unto it, Be, and it is.”


AN Arab nurse, that held in arms a sleeping Arab child,
Had wandered from the parents’ tents some way into the wild.

She knew that all was friendly round, she had no cause to fear,
Although the rocks strange figures made and night was threatening near.

Yet something kin to dread she felt, when, sudden met her sight
Two forms of noble maintenance and beautifully bright.

Their robes were dipt in sunset hues—their faces shone on high,
As Sirius or Canopus shine in purest summer sky.

Straight up to her without a word they walked, yet in their gaze
Was greeting, that with subtle charm might temper her amaze.

One, with a mother’s gentleness, then took the slumbering child
That breathed as in a happy dream, and delicately smiled:

Passed a gold knife across its breast, that opened without pain,
Took out its little beating Heart—all pure but one black

Amid the ruddy founts of life in foul stagnation lay
That thick black stain like cancerous ill that eats the flesh away.

The other Form then placed the heart on his white open hand,
And poured on it a magic flood, no evil could withstand:

And by degrees the deep disease beneath the wondrous cure
Vanished, and that one mortal Heart became entirely pure.

With earnest care they laid it back within the infant’s breast,
Closed up the gaping wound, and gave the blessing of the blest:

Imprinting each a burning kiss upon its even brow,
And placed it in the nurse’s arms, and passed she knew not how.

Thus was Mohammed’s fresh-born Heart made clean from Adam’s sin,
Thus in the Prophet’s life did God his works of grace begin.

  The two that follow are also excellent, both in perception and style. Here is the first:


  Referred to in chap. 80 of the Kuran. Abdallah Ebn Omm Maktoum seems to have been a man of no rank or importance, but was treated with great respect by the Prophet ever after this adventure. It is interesting that Mohammed should make his own faults and the divine reproofs he received a matter of revelation, and stronger proof of his sincerity and earnestness could hardly be given:


THE blind Abdallah sought the tent
Where, ’mid the eager listening crowd,
Mohammed gave his wisdom vent,
And, entering fast, he cried aloud—
“O Father, full of love and ruth!
My soul and body are blind;
Pour on me then some rays of truth
From thine illuminated mind.”

Perchance the prophet heard him not,
Or busied well, seemed not to hear,
Or, interrupted, then forgot
How all mankind to God are dear:
Disputing with the great and strong,
He frowned in momentary pride,
While through the jeering outer throng
Th’ unnoticed suppliant crept aside.

But, in the calm of that midnight,
The Voice that seldom kept aloof
From his blest pillow spoke the right,
And uttered words of stern reproof:—
“How dost thou know that poor man’s soul
Did not on thy regard depend?
The rich and proud of thy moods control;—
I meant thee for the mourner’s friend.”

Deep in the profits contrite heart
Thy holy reprimand remained,
And blind Abdullah for his part
Kindness and reverence thence obtained
Twice, after years of sacred strife,
Within Medeenah’s walls he ruled,
The man through whom Mohammed’s life
Into its perfect grace was schooled.

And, from the warning of that night,
No one, however humble, passed
Without salute the Prophet’s sight,
Or felt his hand not held the last:
And every one was free to hear
His high discourse, and in his breast
Unburden theirs without a fear
Of troubling his majestic rest.

Thus too, when Muslim Muslim meets,
Though new the face and strange the road,
His “Peace be on you” sweetly greets
The ear, and lightens many a load:
Proclaiming that in Allah’s plan
True men of every rank and race
Form but one family of man,
One Paradise their resting-place.*

* Salutation in the East seems almost a religious ordinance, and good manners part of the duty of a good Muslim.

  The following should be read by all who believe that Heaven leaves any land or nation without a witness:


  RABIA was a holy woman, who lived in the second century of the Hegira. Her sayings and thoughts are collected by many devotional Arabic writers; they are a remarkable development of a purely Christian mystical spirit so early in the history of Islam; the pantheistic mysticism of Sufism and obtained a signal victory over the bare positive theism of the Prophet, clothing the heartless doctrine with a radiant venture of imagination.

A pious friend one day of Rabia asked,
How she had learnt the truth of Allah wholly?
By what instructions was her memory tasked—
How was her heart estranged from this world’s folly?

She answered—“Thou, who knowest God in parts,
Thy spirit’s moods and processes can tell;
I only know that in my heart of hearts
I have despised myself and loved Him well.”

Some evil upon Rabia fell,
And one who loved and knew her well
Murmured that God with pain undue
Should strike a child so fond and true:
But she replied—“Believe and trust
That all I suffer is most just;
I had in contemplation striven
To realize the joys of heaven;
I had extended fancy’s flights
Through all that region of delights—
Had counted, till the numbers failed,
The pleasure of the blest entailed—
Had sounded the ecstatic rest
I should enjoy on Allah’s breast;
And for those thoughts I now atone
That were of something of my own,
And were not thoughts of Him alone.”

When Rabia unto Mekkeh came,
She stood awhile apart—alone,
Nor joined the crowd with hearts on flame
Collected round the sacred stone.

She, like the rest, with toil had crossed
The waves of water, rock, and sand,
And now, as one long tempest-tossed,
Beheld the Kaabeh’s promised land.

Yet in her eyes no transport glistened;
She seemed with shame and sorrow bowed;
The shouts of prayer she hardly listened,
But beat her heart and cried aloud:—

“O heart! weak follower of the weak,
That thou scould’st traverse land and sea,
In this far place that God to seek
Who long ago had come to thee!”

Round holy Rabia’s suffering bed
The wise men gathered, gazing gravely—
“Daughter of God!” the youngest said,
Endure thy Father’s chastening bravely;
They who have steeped their souls in prayer
Can every anguish calmly bear.”

She answered not, and turned aside,
Though not reproachfully nor sadly;
“Daughter of God!” the eldest cried,
“Sustain thy Father’s chastening gladly,
They who have learnt to pray aright,
From pain’s dark well draw up delight.”

Then she spoke out—“Your words are fair.
But, oh! the truth lies deeper still;
I know not, when absorbed in prayer,
Pleasure or pain, or good or ill;
They who God’s face can understand
Feel not the motions of His hand.”

  The Kiosk is one of the best poems in the book. We quote the description of it; and two of the stories told there are, as descriptive of the best and worst in Moslem life, to say nothing of the beautiful picture, so lightly sketched, of friendship and married love.

BENEATH the shadow of a large-leaved plane,
Above the ripple of a shallow stream,
Beside a cypress-planted cemetery,
In a gay-painted trellis-worked kiosk,
A company of easy Muslims sat,
Enjoying the calm measure of delight
God grants the faithful here even on earth.
Most pleasantly the bitter berry tastes,
Handed by that bright-eyed and neat-limbed boy;
Most daintily the long chibouk is filled
And almost before emptied, filled again:
Or, with a free good-will, from mouth to mouth
Passes the cool Nargheelec† serpentine.
So sit they, with some low occasional word
Breaking the silence in itself so sweet,
While o’er the neighboring bridge the caravan
Winds slowly in one line interminable
Of camel after camel, each with neck
Jerked up, as sniffling the far desert air.
Then one serene old Turk, with snow-white beard
Hanging amid his pistol-hilts profuse,
Spoke out—“Till the sunset all the time is ours,
And we should take advantage of the chance
That brings us here together. This my friend
Tells by his shape of dress and peaked cap
Where his home lies; he comes from farthest off,
So let the round of tales begin with him.”
Thus challenged, in his thoughts the Persian dived
And, with no waste of faint apologies,
Related a plain story of his life,
Nothing adventurous, terrible, or strange,
But, as he said, a simple incident,
That any one there present might have known.

“Wakedi, and the Heshemite, and I,
Called each the other friend, and what was meant
By all the meaning of that common word,
One tale among a hundred—one round pearl
Dropped off the chain of daily circumstance
Into the Poet’s hand—one luscious fruit
Scarce noticed in the summer of the tree,
Is here preserved, that you may do the like.
“The Ramadhan’s long days (where’er they fall
Certain to seem the longest of the year)
Were nearly over, and the populous streets
Were silent as if haunted by the plague;
For all the town was crowding over the bazaar,
To buy new garments, as beseemed the time,
In honor of the Prophet and themselves.
But in our house my wife and I still sat,
And looked with sorrow in each other’s faces.
It was not for ourselves—we well could let
Our present clothes serve out another year,
And meet the neighbor’s scoffs with quiet minds;
But for our children we were grieved and shamed;
That they should have to hide their little heads,
And take no share of pleasure in the Feast,
Or else contrast their torn and squalid vests
With the gay freshness of their playmates’ garb.
At last my wife spoke out—‘Where are your friends?
Where is Wakedi? where the Hemshemite?
That you are worn and pale with want of gold,
And they perchance with coin laid idly by
In some closed casket, or in some vain sport
Wasted, for want of honest purposes?’
My heart leapt light within me at these words,
And I, rejoicing at my pain as past,
Sent one I trusted to the Heshemite,
Hold him my need in few plain written words,
And, ere an hour had passed, received from him
A purse of gold tied up, sealed with his name:
And in a moment I was down the street,
And, in my mind’s eye, chose the children’s clothes.
—But between will and deed, however near,
There often lies a gulf impassable.
So, ere I reached the gate of the Bazaar,
Wakedi’s slave accosted me—his breath
Cut short with haste; and from his choking throat
His master’s message issued word by word.
The sum was this:—a cruel creditor,
Taking the ’vantage of the season’s use,
Pressed on Wakedi for a debt, and swore
That, unless paid ere evening prayer, the law
Should wring by force the last of his demand.
Wakedi had no money in the house,
And I was prayed, in this his sudden strait,
To aid him, in my duty as a friend.
Of course I took the Heshemite’s sealed purse
Out of my breast, and gave it to the slave;
Yet I must own, oppressed with foolish fear
Of my wife’s tears, and, might be, bitter words,
If empty-handed I had home returned,
I sat all night, half-sleeping, in the mosque,
Beneath the glimmering feathers, eggs, and lamps,
And only in the morning nerved my heart
To tell her of our disappointed pride.
She, when I stammered out my best excuse,
Abashed me with her kind, approving calm,
Saying—‘The parents’ honor clothes the child.’
Thus I grew cheerful in her cheerfulness,
And we began to sort the children’s vests,
And found them not so sordid after all.
‘This might be turned—that stain might well be hid—
This remnant might be used.’ So we went on
Almost contented, till surprised we saw
The Heshemite approach, and with quick steps
Enter the house, and in his hand he showed
The very purse tied up, sealed with his name,
Which I had given to help Wakedi’s need!
At once he asked us mingling words and smiles,
‘What means this secret you? sent yester morn
Asking for gold, and I, without delay,
Returned the purse containing all I had.
But I too found myself that afternoon
Wanting to buy a sash to grace the feast;
And sending to Wakedi, from my slave
Received this purse I sent you the same morn
Unopened.’ ‘Easy riddle,’ I replied,
‘And, as I hope, no miracle for me—
That what you gave me for my pleasure’s fee
Should serve Wakedi in his deep distress.’
And then I told him of Wakedi’s fate:
And we were both o’ercome with anxious care
Lest he, obeying his pure friendships’s call,
Had periled his own precious liberty,
Or suffered some hard judgment of the law.
But to our great delight and inward peace,
Wakedi a few moments after stood
Laughing behind us, ready to recount,
How Allah, loving the unshrinking faith
With which he had supplied his friend’s desire
Regardless of his own necessity,
Assuaged the creditor’s strong rage, and made
His heart accessible to gentle thoughts,
Granting Wakedi time to pay the debt.
—Thus our three tales were gathered into one,
Just as I give them you, and with the purse
Then opened in the presence of the three—
We gave my children unpretending vests,
Applied a portion to Wakedi’s debts,
And bought the Heshemite the richest sash
The best silk merchant owned in the Bazaar.”

Soon as he ceased, a pleasant murmur rose,
Not only of applause, but of good words,
Dwelling upon the subject of the tale;
Each to his neighbor in low utterance spoke
Of Friendship and its blessings, and God’s grace,
By which man in not left alone to fight
His daily battle through a cruel world.
*    *    *    *    *
*    *    *    *    *

To an Egyptian soldier, scarred and bronzed,
The duty of narration came the next:
Who said, “That soldiers’ tales were out of place
Told in calm places and at evening hours.
His songs required the music of the gun:
He could recount a thousand desperate feats,
Hair-breadth escapes and miracles of war,
Were, he but cowering round a low watch-fire
Almost in hearing of the enemy;
But now his blood was cold, and he was dull,
And even had forgot his own wild past.
They had all heard—had East and West not heard
Of Mehemet Ali and of Ibrahim?
It might be that the Great Pasha was great,
But he was fond of trade—of getting gold,
Not by fair onslaught and courageous strength,
But by mean interchange with other lands
Of produce better in his own consumed;
This was like treason to a soldier’s heart;
And all he hoped was that when Ibrahim
Sat in his father’s seat, he would destroy
The flight of locusts—Jew, Greek, and Frank,
Who had corrupted Egypt and her power,
By all their mercenary thoughts and acts,
And sent him there, brave soldier as he was,
To go beg service at the Sultan’s hand:
Yet Ibrahim’s heart was still a noble one;
No man could contradict him and not fear
Some awful vengeance;—was this story known?”

* Story-telling is, now as ever, the delight of the East: in the coffee and summer houses, at the corners of the streets, in the courts of the mosque, sit the gave and attentive crowd, hearing with childly pleasure the same stories over and over again, applauding every new turn of expression or incident, but not requiring them any more than the hearers of a European sermon.
† The hookah of the Levant.

Once, when in Syria he had let war loose,
And, was reducing, under one strong sway,
Druses, and Christians, and Mohammedans,
He heard that his lost child, the favorite
Born of a favorite wife, had been let fall
By a young careless Nubian nurse, and hurt,
So as to cripple it through all its days.
No word of anger passed the warrior’s lips—
No one would think the story on his mind
Rested a single moment. But due time
Brought round his glad return, and he once more
Entered his hall, within which, on each side,
Long marble stairs curved towards the balcony,
Where right and left the women’s chambers spread;
Upon the land stood the glad Hareem
To welcome him with music, shouts, and songs;
Yet he would not ascend a single step,
But cried—“Where is the careless Nubian girl
That let my child fall on the stony ground?”
Trembling and shrieking down one marble flight
She was pushed forward, till she reached the floor:
The Ibrahim caught her in one giant grasp,
Dragged her towards him, and one brawny hand
Tight-twisting in her long and glossy hair,
And with the other drawing the sharp sword
Well known at Nezib and at Koniah,
Sheer from her shoulders severed the young head,
And casting it behind him, at few bounds
Cleared the high stair and to his bosom pressed
The darling wife his deed had just revenged.
Oh! he is god-like in his hour of rage!
His wrath is like the plague that falls on man
With indiscriminate fury, and for this
His name is honored through the spacious East,
Where all things powerful meet their just reward.”
The Soldier paused; and surely some one else
Had taken up the burden of a tale;
But at that moment through the cypress stems
Shot the declining crimson of the sun
Full on the faces of that company,
Who for some instants in deep silence watched
The last appearance of the ruddy rim,
And, little needing the clear warning voice
Which issued round the neighboring minaret—
Bidding all earthly thoughts and interests
Sink in their breasts as sunk that fiery-sun—
Bowed, old and young, their heads in blest accord,
Believers in one Prophet and one God!

  The tent too is full of the spirit of these scenes. It rises in the open air.

WHY should a man raise stone and wood
Between him and the sky?
Why should he fear the brotherhood
Of all things from on high?
Why should a man not raise his form
As shelterless and free
As stands in sunshine or in storm
The mountain and the tree?
Or if we thus, as creatures frail
Before our time should die,
And courage and endurance fail
Weak Nature to supply:—
Let us at least a dwelling choose,
The simplest that can keep
From parching heat and noxious dews
Our pleasure and our sleep.
The Fathers of our mortal race,
While still remembrance nursed
Traditions of the glorious place
Whence Adam fled accursed
Rested in tents, as best became
Children, whose mother earth
Had overspread with sinful shame
The beauty of her birth.
In cold they sought the sheltered nook,
In heat the airy shade,
And oft their casual home forsook
The morrow it was made;
Diverging many separate roads,
They wandered, fancy-driven,
Nor thought of other fixed abodes
Than Paradise or Heaven.
And while this holy sense remained,
’Mid easy shepherd cares,
In tents they often entertained
The Angels unawares:
And to their spirits’ fervid gaze
The mystery was revealed,
How the world’s wound in future days
Should by God’s love be healed.
Thus we, so late and far a link
Of generation’s chain,
Delight to dwell in tents, and think
The old world young again;
With Faith as wide and Thought as narrow
As theirs who little more
From life demanded than the sparrow
Gay-chirping by the door.
The Tent! how easily it stands,
Almost as if it rose
Spontaneous from the green or sand,
Express for our repose:
Or, rather, it is we who plant
This root, where’er we roam,
And hold, and can to others grant,
The comforts of a home.
Make the Divan—the carpets spread,
The ready cushions pile:
Rest, weary heart! rest, weary head!
From pain and pride awhile:
And all your happiest memories woo,
And mingle with your dreams
The yellow desert glimmering through
The subtle veil of beams.
We all have much we would forget—
Be that forgotten now!
And placid Hope, instead, shall set
Her seal upon your brow:
Imagination’s prophet eye
By her shall view unfurled
The future greatnesses that lie
Hid in the Eastern world.
To slavish tyrannies their term
Of terror she foretells;
She brings to bloom the faith whose germ
An Islam deeply dwells;
Accomplishing each mighty birth
That shall one day be born
From marriage of the western earth
With nations of the morn!
Then fold the Tent—then on again:
One spot of ashen black,
The only sign that here has lain
The traveler’s recent track:
And gladly forward, safe to find
At noon and eve a home,
Till we have left our Tent behind,
The homeless ocean-foam!

  A few copies of Palm Leaves may be obtained in New-York.

  We have devoted so much space to abstracts from Milnes that we must postpone sketches of the other gentlemen and scholars we had chosen for his companions to another day.*

“English Writers Little Known Here.” New-York Daily Tribune, 4 March 1845, p. 1.