« НазадПродовжити »
LALLA ROOK I.
In the eleventh year of the reign of Aurungzebe, Abdalla, King of the Lesser Bucharia, a lineal descendant from the Great Zingis, having abdicated the throne in favor of his son, set out on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Prophet; and, passing into India through the delightful valley of Cashmere, rested for a short time at Delhi on his way. He was entertained by Aurungzebe in a style of magnificent hospitality, worthy alike of the visitor and the host, and was afterwards escorted with the same splendor to Surat, where he embarked for Arabia. During the stay of the Royal Pilgrim at Delhi, a marriage was agreed upon between the Prince, his son, and the youngest daughter of the Emperor, LALLA Rookh; 2 a Princess described by the poets of her time as more beautiful than Leila, 3 Shirine, 4 Dewildé,5 or any of those heroines whose names and loves embellish the songs of Persia and Hindostan. It was intended that the nuptials should be celebrated at Cashmere; where the young King, as soon as the cares of empire would permit, was to meet, for the first time, his lovely bride, and, after a few months' repose in that enchanting valley, conduct her over the snowy hills into Bucharia.
I These particulars of the visit of the King of Bucharia to Aurungzebc are found in Dow's History of Hindostan, vol. iii. p. 392.
2 Tulip cheek.
3 The mistress of Mejnoun, upon whose story so many Romances in all the languages of the East are founded. - 4 For the loves of this celebrated beauty with Khosrou and with Ferhad, see D'Herbelot, Gibbon, Oriental Collections, &c.
6“ The history of the loves of Dewilde and Chizer, the son of the Emperor Alla, is written in an elegant poem, by the noble Chusero." _Ferishta.
The day of Lalla Rooka's departure from Delhi was as splendid as sunshine and pageantry could make it. The bazaars and baths were all covered with the richest tapestry ; hundreds of gilded barges upon the Jumna floated with their banners shining in the water; while through the streets groups of beautiful childrení went strewing the most delicious flowers around, as in that Persian festival called the Scattering of the Roses ; 1 till every part of the city was as fragrant as if a caravan of musk from Khoten had passed through it. The Princess, having taken leave of her kind father, who at parting hung a cornelian of Yemen round her neck, on which was inscribed a verse from the Koran, and having sent a considerable present to the Fakirs, who kept up the Perpetual Lamp in her sister's tomb, meekly ascended the palankeen prepared for her; and, while Aurungzebe stood to take a last look from his balcony, the procession moved slowly on the road to Lahore.
Seldom had the Eastern world seen a cavalcade so superb. From the gardens in the suburbs to the Imperial palace, it was one unbroken line of splendor. The gallant appearance of the Rajahs and Mogul lords, distinguished by those insignia of the Emperor's favor,” the feathers of the egret of Cashmere, in their turbans, and the small silver-rimmed kettle-drums at the bows of their saddles ; – the costly armor of their cavaliers, who vied, on this occasion, with the guards of the great Keder Khan,' in the brightness of their silver battle-axes and the massiness of their maces of gold ; — the glittering of the gilt pine-apples 2 on the tops of the palankeens; — the embroidered trappings of the elephants, bearing on their backs small turrets, in the shape of little antique temples, within which the Ladies of LALLA Rookh lay as it were enshrined; — the rose-colored veils of the Princess's own sumptuous litter,3 at the front of which a fair young female slave sat fanning her through the curtains, with feathers of the Argus pheasant's wing ;4 — and the lovely troop of Tartarian and Cashmerian maids of honor, whom the young King had sent to accompany his bride, and who rode on each side of the litter, upon small Arabian horses ;
i Gul Reazee.
2 « One mark of honor or knighthood bestowed by the Emperor is the permission to wear a small kettle-drum at the bows of their saddles, which at first was invented for the training of hawks, and to call them to the
lure, and is worn in the field by all sportsmen to that end.” — Fryer's Travels.
“ Those on whom the King has conferred the privilege must wear an ornament of jewels on the right side of the turban, surmounted by a high plume of the feathers of a kind of egret. This bird is found only in Cashmere, and the feathers are carefully collected for the King, who bestows them on his nobles.” – Elphinstone's Account of Caubul.
I "Khedar Khan, the Khakan, or King of Turquestan beyond the Gihon, (at the end of the eleventh century,) whenever he appeared abroad, was preceded by seven hundred horsemen with silver battle-axes, and was followed by an equal number bearing maces of gold. He was a great patron of poetry, and it was he who used to preside at public exercises of genius, with four basins of gold and silver by him to distribute among the poets who excelled.” — Richardson's Dissertation prefixed to his Dictionary.
2 “The kubdeh, a large golden knob, generally in the shape of a pineapple, on the top of the canopy over the litter or palanquin." - Scott's Notes on the Bahardanush.
3 In the Poem of Zohair, in the Moallakat, there is the following lively description of "a company of maidens seated on camels."
“ They are mounted in carriages covered with costly awnings, and with rose-colored veils, the linings of which have the hue of crimson Andemwood.
“When they ascend from the bosom of the vale, they sit forward on the saddle-cloth, with every mark of a voluptuous gayety.
“Now, when they have reached the brink of yon blue-gushing rivulet, they fix the poles of their tents like the Arab with a settled mansjon.”
• See Bernier's description of the attendants on Rauchanara-Begum, in her progress to Cashmere.
all was brilliant, tasteful, and magnificent, and pleased even the critical and fastidious FADLADEEN, Great Nazir or Chamberlain of the Haram, who was borne in his palankeen immediately after the Princess, and considered himself not the least important personage of the pageant.
FADLADEEN was a judge of every thing, — from the pencilling of a Circassian's eyelids to the deepest questions of science and literature ; from the mixture of a conserve of rose-leaves to the composition of an epic poein: and such influence had his opinion upon the various tastes of the day, that all the cooks and poets of Delhi stood in awe of him. His political conduct and opinions were founded upon that line of Sadi, — “Should the Prince at noon-day say, It is night, declare that you behold the moon and stars.”And his zeal for religion, of which Aurungzebe was a munificent protector,' was about as disinterested as that of the goldsmith who fell in love with the diamond eyes of the idol of Jaghernaut.2
During the first days of their journey, LALLA Rook, who had passed all her life within the shadow of the Royal Gardens of Delhi,3 found enough in the beauty
I This hypocritical Emperor would have made a worthy associate of certain Holy Leagues. — “He held the cloak of religion (says Dow) between his actions and the vulgar; and impiously thanked the Divinity for a success which he owed to his own wickedness. When he was murdering and persecuti
prothers and their families, he was building a magnificent mosque at Delhi, as an offering to God for his assistance to him in the civil wars. He acted as high priest at the consecration of this temple; and made a practice of attending divine service there, in the humble dress of a Fakeer. But when he lifted one hand to the Divinity, he, with the other. signed warrants for the assassination of his relations." - History of Hindostan, vol. iii. p. 335. See also the curious letter of Aurungzebe, given in the Oriental Collections, vol. i. p. 320.
2 “ The idol at Jaghernat has two fine diamonds for eyes. No goldsmith is suffered to enter the Pagoda, one having stole one of these eyes, being locked up all night with the Idol." - Tavernier.
3 See a description of these royal Gardens in “ An Account of the present State of Delhi, by Lieut. W. Franklin." — Asiat. Research. vol. iv p. 417.