These, says Maracci, are miracula perseverantia,
permanent miracles ; and it cannot be said, as of the
Mahommedan ones, that they are tricks of the devil.
From the birth-day of the world, iyc. â€” P. 221.
The birth-day of the world was logically ascer-
tained in a provincial council held at Jerusalem,
against the Quartodecimans, by command of Pope
Victor, about the year 200. Venerable Bede (Comm.
de Mquinoct. Vern.) supplies the mode of proof.
" When the multitude of priests were assembled
tog-ether, then Theophylus, the bishop, produced
the authority sent unto him by Pope Victor, and
explained what had been enjoined him. Then all
the bishops made answer, Unless it be first examin-
ed how the world was at the beginning-, nothing*
salutary can be ordained respecting the observations
of Easter. And they said, what day can we believe
to have been the first, except Sunday ? And Theo-
phylus said, prove this which ye say. Then the bi-
shop said, According to the authority of the scrip-
tures, the evening and the morning were the first
day ; and, in like manner, they were the second and
the third, and the fourth and the fifth, and the
sixth and the seventh ; and on the seventh day,
which was called the Sabbath, the Lord rested from
all his works : therefore, since Saturday, which is
the Sabbath, was the last day, which but Sunday
can have been the first ? Then said Theophylus, Lo,
ye have proved that Sunday was the first day ; what
say ye now concerning the seasons â€” for there are
four tim$s or seasons in the year, Spring, Summer.
Autumn, and Winter ; which of these was the first ?â€¢
The bishops answered, Spring. And Theophylus
said, Prove this which ye say. Then the bishops
said, It is written, the earth brought forth grass,
and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree
yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his
kind; but this is in the spring. Then said Theo-
phylus, When do you believe the beginning of the
world to have been, in the beginning of the season,
or in the middle, or in the end ? And the bishops
answered, at the Equinox, on the eighth of the ka-
lends of April. And Theophylus said, Prove this
which ye say. Then they answered, It is written,
God made the light, and called the light day, and
he made the darkness, and called the darkness nighty
and he divided the light and the darkness into equal
parts. Then said Theophylus, Lo, ye have proved
the day and the season â€” What think ye now con-
cerning the Moon ; was it created when increasing,
or when full, or on the wane ? And the bishops an-
swered, At the full. And he said, Prove this which
ye say. Then they answered, God made two great
luminaries, and placed them in the firmament of
the Heavens, that they might give light upon the
earth ; the greater luminary in the beginning of the
day, the lesser one in the beginning of the night.
It could not have been thus unless the moon were
at the full. Now, therefore, let us see when the
world was created : it was made upon a Sunday, in
VOL. II. 21
the spring, at the Equinox, which is on the eighth
of the kalends of April, and at the full of the moon."
According to the form of a Border-oath, the
work of creation began by night. " You ,shall swear
by Heaven above you, Hell beneath you, by your
part of Paradise, by all that God made in six days
and seven flights, and by God himself, you are whart
out sackles of art, part, way, witting, ridd, kenning,
having or recetting of any of the goods and chat-
tells named in this bill. So help you God." (Ni-
colson and Burn, 1. xxv.) This, however, is asser-
tion without proof, and would not have been admit-
ted by Theophylus and his bishops.
That old and only Bird.â€” P. 221.
Simorg Anka, says my friend Mr. Fox, in a note
to his Achraed Ardebeili, is a bird or griffon of ex-
traordinary strength and size, (as its name imports,
signifying as large as thirty eagles,) which, accord-
ing to the Eastern writers, was sent by the Supreme
Being to subdue and chastise the rebellious Dives.
It was supposed to possess rational faculties, and
the gift of speech. The Caherman Nameh relates,
that Sirnorg Anka being asked his age, replied, this
world is very ancient, for it has already been seven
times replenished with beings different from man,
and as often depopulated. That the age of Adam^
in which w r e now are, is to endure seven thousand
years, making a great cycle ; that himself had seen
twelve of these revolutions, and knew not how ma-
ny more he had to see.
I am afraid that Mr. Fox and myself have fallen
into a grievous heresy, both respecting the unity
and the sex of the Simorg. For this great bird is
a hen ; there is indeed a cock also, but he seems
to be of some inferior species, a sort of Prince
George of Denmark, the Simorg's consort, not the
In that portion of the Shah-Nameh which has
been put into English rhyme by Mr. Champion,
some anecdotes may be found concerning this all-
knowing bird, who is there represented as possess-
ing one species of knowledge, of which she would
not be readily suspected. Zalzer, the father of Kus-
tam, is exposed in his infancy by his own father,
Saum, who takes him for a young deviling, because
his body is black, and his hair white. The infant
is laid at the foot of Mount Elburs, where the Si-
morg has her nest, and she takes him up, and
breeds him with her young, who are very desirous
of eating him, but she preserves him. When Zal-
zer is grown up, and leaves the nest, the Simorg
gives him one of her feathers, telling him, when-
ever he is in great distress, to burn it, and she will
immediately come to his assistance. Zalzer mar-
ries Rodahver, who is likely to die in childing ; he
then burns the feather, and the Simorg appears and
orders the Cesarean operation to be performed. As
these stories are not Ferdusi's invention, but the
old traditions of the Persians, collected and arrange
ed by him, this is, perhaps, the earliest fact con-
cerning- that operation which is to be met with,
earlier probably than the Table of Semele. Zalzer
was ordered first to give her wine, which acis as
a powerful opiate, and after sewing up the incision,
to anoint it with a mixture of milk, musk, and grass,
pounded together, and dried in the shade, and then
to rub it with a Simorg's feather.
In Mr. Fox's collection of Persic books, is an illu-
minated copy of Ferdusi, containing' a picture of
the Simorg, who is there represented as an ugly
dragon-looking sort of bird. I should be loath to
believe that she has so bad a physiognomy ; and as,
in the same volume, there are blue and yellow hor-
ses, there is good reason to conclude that this is
not a genuine portrait.
When the Genius of the Lamp is ordered by
Aladin to bring a roc's egg 1 , and hang it up in the
hall, he is violently enraged, and exclaims, Wretch,
wouldst thou have me hang up my master ! From
the manner in which rocs are usually mention-
ed in the Arabian Tales, the reader feels as much
surprised at this indignation as Aladin was himself.
Perhaps the original may have Simorg instead of
roc. To think, indeed, of robbing the 5 morg's nest,
either for the sake of drilling the eggs, or of poach-
ing them, would, in a believer, whether Shiah or
Sunni, be the height of human impiety.
Since this note was written, the eighth volume
of the Asiatic Researches has appeared, in which
Captain Wilford identifies the roc with the Simorg,
" Sinbad," he says, " was exposed to many dangers
from the birds called Rocs or Simorgs, the Garu-
das of the Pauranics, whom Persian Romancers re-
present as living in Madagascar, according to Mar-
co Polo." But the Roc of the Arabian Tales has
none of the characteristics of the Simorg ; and it
is only in the instance which I have noticed, that
any mistake of one for the other can be suspected.
The spring was clear, the water deep.â€”?. 231.
Some travellers may perhaps be glad to know,
that the spring from which this description was ta-
ken, is near Bristol, about a mile from Stokes-Croft
turnpike, and known by the name of the Boiling-
Well. Other, and larger springs, of the same kind,
called the Lady Pools, are near Shobdon, in Here-
It ran a river deep and wide. â€” P. 234.
A similar picture occurs in Miss Baillie's Come-
dy, "The second Marriage." " By Heaven, there
is nothing so interesting to me as to trace the course
of a prosperous man through this varied world.
First, he is seen like a little stream, wearing its
YOL. II. 21
shallow bed through the grass, circling" and wind-.
ing\ and gleaning tip its treasures from every twink-
ling rill, as it passes ; further on, the brown sand
fences its margin, the dark rushes thicken on its
side ; farther on still, the broad flags shake their
green ranks, the willows bend their wide boughs
o'er its course ; and yonder, at last, the fair river
appears, spreading his bright waves to the light."
THALABA THE DESTROYER.
TIIJS TWELFTH BOOK.
Why should he that loves me, sorry be
For my deliverance, or at all complain
My good to hear, and toward joys to see ?
lgo, and long desired have to go,
I go with gladness to my wished rest.
Then Thalaba drew off Abdalclar's ring-,
And cast it in the sea, and cried aloud,
** Thou art my shield, my trust, my hope, O God !
Behold and guard me now,
Thou who alone canst save.
If, from my childhood up, I have look'd on
With exultation to rcy destiny ;
If, in the hour of anguish, I have felt
The justice of the hand that chasten'd me ;
If, of all selfish passions purified,
I go to work thy will, and from the world
Root up the ill-doing- race,
Lord ! let not thou the weakness of my arm
Make vain the enterprise !"
The Sun was rising all magnificent,
Ocean and heaven rejoicing in his beams.
And now had Tlialaba
Perform'd his last ablutions, and he stood
And gaz'd upon the little boat
Hiding the billows near,
Where, like a sea-bird breasting the broad waves,
It rose and fell upon the surge :
Till, from the glitterance of the sunny main,
He turn'd his aching eyes,
And then upon the beach he laid him down,
And watch'd the rising tide.
He did not pray, he was not calm for prayer ;
His spirit, troubled with tumultuous hope,
Toil'd with futurity ;
His brain, with busier workings, felt
The roar and raving of the restless sea,
The boundless waves that rose and roll'd and
The everlasting sound
Opprest him, and the heaving infinite,
He clos'd his lids for rest.
Meantime, with fuller reach, and stronger swell,
Wave after wave advanced ;
Each following billow lifted the last foam
That trembled on the sand with rainbow hues ;
The living- flower, that, rooted to the rock,
Late from the thinner element.
Shrunk down within its purple stem to sleep,
Now feels the water, and again
Awakening*, blossoms out
All its green anther-necks.
Was there a Spirit in the gale
That fluttered o'er his cheek ?
For it came on him like the gentle sun
Which plays and dallies o'er the night-clos'd flower,
And woos it to unfold anew to joy ;
For it came- on him as the dews of eve
Descend with healing and with life
Upon the summer mead ;
Or liker the first sound of seraph song
And Angel hail, to him
Whose latest sense had shuddered at the groan
Of anguish, kneeling by his death-bed side.
He starts, and gazes pound to Seek
The certain presence. * Thalaba !" exclaim'd
The Voice of the Unseen ;â€”
*Â« Father of my Oneiza !" he replied,
" And have thy years been numbered ? art thou toe
Among the Angels ?"â€” " Thalaba !"
A second and a dearer voice repeats,
" Go in the favour of the Lord,
My Thalaba, go on !
My husband, I have drest our bower of bliss.
Go, and perform the work,
Let me not longer suffer hope in Heaven !"
He turn'd an eager glance toward the sea,
" Come !" quoth the Damsel, and she drove
Her little boat to land.
Impatient through the rising wave.
He rush'd to meet its way,
His eye was bright, his cheek was flush'd with joy.
" Hast thou had comfort in thy prayers ?" she cried,
w Yea," answer'd Thalaba,
" A heavenly visitation." " God be prais'd !"
She uttered, " then I do not hope in vain !"
And her voice trembled, and her lips
Quivered, and tears ran down.
u Stranger," quoth she, f * in years long past
Was one who vow'd himself
The Champion of the Lord, like thee,
Against the race of Hell.
Young was he, as thyself,
Gentle, and yet so brave !
A lion-hearted man.
Shame on me, Stranger ! in the arms of love
I held him from his calling, till the hour
Was past ; and then the Angel who should else
Have crown'd him with his glory- wreath,
Smote him in anger â€” Years and years are gone â€”
And in his place of penance he awaits
Thee, the Deliverer, â€” surely thou art he !
It was my righteous punishment,
In the same youth unchang'd,
And love unchangeable,
And grief for ever fresh,
And bitter penitence,
That gives no respite night nor day to wo,
To abide the written hour, when I should waft
The doom'd Destroyer and Deliverer here.
Remember thou, that thy success involves
No single fate, no common misery."
As thus she spake, the entrance of the cave
Darken'd the boat below.
Around them, from their nests,
The screaming' sea-birds fled,
Wondering at that strange shape,
Yet, urialarm'd at sight of living man,
Unknowing of his s\\ ay and power misus'd :
The clamours of their young
Echoed in shriller yells,
Which rung in wild discordance round the rock.
And farther, as they now advanced,
The dim reflection of the darken'd day
Grew fainter, and the dash ,
Of the out-breakers deaden'd ; farther yet,
And yet more faint the gleam,
And there the waters, at their utmost bound,
Silently rippled on the rising rock.
They landed and advanced, and deeper in,
Two adamantine doors
Clos'd up the cavern pass.
Reclining on the rock beside,
Sate a grey-headed man,
Watching an hour-glass by.
To him the Damsel spake,
Â« Is it the hour appointed P The old man
Nor answered her awhile,
Nor lifted he his downward eye,
For now the glass ran low,
And like the days of age,
With speed perceivable,
The latter sands descend ;
And now the last are gone.
Then he look'd up, and rais'd his arm, and smote
The adamantine gates.
The gates of adamant "
Unfolding at the stroke,
Open'd and gave the entrance. Then she turn'd
To Thalaba and said,
" Go, in the name of God !
I cannot enter, â€” I must wait the end
In hope and agony.
God and Mahommed prosper thee,
For thy sake and for ours !"
He tarried not,â€” he past
The threshold, over which was no return.
All earthly thoughts, all human hopÂ«#
And passions now put off,
YOL. II. 22
He cast no backward glance
Towards the gleam of day.
There was a light within,
A yellow light, as when the autumnal Sun,
Through travelling rain and mist
Shines on the evening hills.
Whether, from central fires effus'd,
Or if the sunbeams, day by day,
From earliest generations, there absorb'd,
Were gathering for the wrath-flame. Shade was
In those portentous vaults ;
Crag overhanging, nor columnal rock
Cast its dark outline there ;
For, with the hot and heavy atmosphere,
The light incorporate, permeating all,
Spread over all its equal yellowness.
There was no motion in the lifeless air,
He felt no stirring as he past
Adown the long descent,
He heard not his own footsteps on the rock
That through the thick stagnation sent no sound.
How sweet it were, he thought,
To feel the flowing wind !
With what a thirst of joy-
He should breathe in the open gales of heaven I
Downward, and downward still, and still the way,
The long, long, way is safe.
Is there no secret wile,
No larking enemy ?
His watchful eye is on the wall of rock,*â€”
And warily he marks the roof,
And warily survey'd
The path that lay before.
Downward, and downward still, and still the way,
The long, long, way is safe ;
Rock only, the same light,
The same dead atmosphere,
And solitude, and silence like the grave.
At length, the long descent
Ends on a precipice ;
No feeble ray entered its dreadful gulf,
For, in the pit profound,
Black Darkness, utter Night,
RepelFd the hostile gleam,
And, o'er the surface, the light atmosphere
Floated, and mingled not.
vol. ii. 23
Above the depth, four over-awning wings,
Unplum'd, and huge and strong,
Bore up a little car ;
Four living pinions, headless, bodyless,
Sprung from one stem that branch'd below
In four down-arching limbs,
And clench'd the car-rings endlong and athwart
With claws of griffin grasp.
But not on these, the depths so terrible,
The wonderous wings, fix'd Thalaba his eye ;
For there, upon the brink,
With fiery fetters fasten'd to the rock,
A man, a living man, tormented lay,
The young Othatha ; in the arms of love,
He who had lingered out the auspicious hour,
Forgetful of his call.
In shuddering pity, Thalaba exclaim'd,
" Servant of God, can I not succour thee ?"
He groan'd, and answered, " Son of Man,
1 sinn'd, and am tormented ; I endure
In patience and in hope.
The hour that shall destroy the Race of Hell,
That hour shall set me free."
" Is it not come ?" quoth Thalaba,
" Yea ! by this omen !" â€” and with fearless hand
He grasp'd the burning fetters, " in the name
Of God '."â€”and from the rock
Rooted the rivets, and adown the gulf
Hurl'd them. The rush of flames roar'd up,
For they had kindled in their fall
The deadly vapours of the pit profound,
And Thalaba bent on, and look'd below.
But vainly he explor'd
The deep abyss of flame,
That sunk beyond the plunge of mortal eye,
Now all ablaze, as if infernal fires
Illum'd the world beneath.
Soon was the poison-fuel spent,
The flame grew pale and dim,
And dimmer now it fades, and now is quench'd,
And all again is dark,
Save where the yellow air
Enters a little in, and mingles slow.
Meantime, the freed Othatha claspt his knees,
And cried, " Deliverer !" struggling then
With joyful hope, " and where is she," he cried,
u Whose promis'd coming for so many a yearâ€”"
TOL. II. 24
u Go !* answered Thalaba,
" She waits thee at the gates."
" And in thy triumph," he replied,
u There thou wilt join us ?" â€” The Deliverer's eye
Glanced on the abyss, way else was none â€”
The depth was unascendable.
" Await not me," he cried,
Â«* My path hath been appointed ! goâ€” embark!
Return to life, â€” live happy !"
But thy name, â€”
That through the nations we may blazon it, â€”
That we may bless thee !
Bless the merciful !
Then Thalaba pronounced the name of God,
And leapt into the car.
Down, down, it sunk, â€” down, down â€”
He neither breathes nor sees ;
His eyes are clos'd for giddiness,
His breath is sinking with the fall.
The air that yields beneath the car,
Inflates the wings above.
Downâ€” downâ€” a mighty depth !â€”
Was then the Simorgh, with the Powers of ill,
Associate to destroy ?
And was that lovely Mariner
A fiend as false as fair ?
For still he sinks down â€” down â€”
But ever the uprushing wind
Inflates the wings above,
And still the struggling wings
Repel the rushing wind.
Down â€” down â€” and now it strikes.
He stands and totters giddily,
All objects round, awhile,
Float dizzy on his sight ;
Collected soon, he gazes for the way.
There was a distant light that led his search;
The torch a broader blaze,
The unprun'd taper flares a longer flame,
But this was fierce, as is the noon-tide sun,
So, in the glory of its rays intense,
It quivered with green glow.
Beyond was all unseen,
No eye could penetrate
That unendurable excess of light.
VOL. II. 25
It veil'd no friendly form, thought Thalaba,
And wisely did he deem ;
For, at the threshold of the rocky door,
Hugest and fiercest of his kind accurst,
Fit warden of the sorcery gate,
A rebel Afreet lay.
H e scented the approach of human food,
And hungry hope kindled his eye of fire.
Raising his hand to save the dazzled sense,
Onward held Thalaba,
And lifted still at times a rapid glance ;
Till, the due distance gain'd,
With head abas'd, he laid
The arrow in its rest.
With steady effort, and knit forehead then,
Full on the painful light,
He fix'd his aching eye, and loos'd the bow.
An anguish-yell ensued;
And sure, no human voice had scope or power,
For that prodigious shriek,
Whose pealing echoes thundered up the rock.
Dim grew the dying light,
But Thalaba leapt onward to the doors
Now visible beyond,
Aid while the Afreet warden of the way-
Was writhing with his death-pangs, over him
Sprung" and smote the stony doors,
And bade them, in the name of God, give way !
The dying Fiend, beneath him, at that name
Tost in worse agony,
And the rocks shuddered, and the rocky doors
Rent at the voice asunder. Lo ! within â€”
The Teraph and the Fire,
And Khawla, and in mail complete
Mohareb for the strife.
But Thalaba, with numbing force,
Smites his rais'd arm, and rushes by ;
For now he sees the fire, amid whose flames,
On the white ashes of Hodeirah, lies
Hodeirah's holy Sword.
He rushes to the fire ;
Then Khawla met the youth,
And leapt upon him, and, with clinging arms,
Clasps him, and calls Mohareb now to aim
The effectual vengeance. Ofool! fool! he sees
His Father's Sword, and who shall bar his way ?
Who stand against the fury of that arm
vol. II. 20
That spurns her to the earth ? â€”
She rises half, she twists around his knees,â€”
A moment â€” and he vainly strives
To shake her from her hold ;
Impatient, then into her cursed breast
He stamps his crushing heel,
And from her body, heaving 1 now in death,
Springs forward to the Sword.
The co-existent Flame
Knew the Destroyer ; it encircled him,
Roll'd up his robe, and gathered round his head,
Condensing to intenser splendour there,
His Crown of Glory, and his Light of Life,
Hovered the irradiate wreath.
The moment Thalaba had laid his hand
Upon his Father's Sword,
The Living Image in the inner cave
Smote the Round Altar. The Domdaniel rock'd
Through all its thundering vaults j
Over the surface of the reeling Earth,
The alarum shock was felt ;
The Sorcerer brood, all, all, where'er dispers'd,
Perforce obey'd the summons ; all, â€” they came
Compell'd by Hell and Heaven ;
By Hell compell'd to keep
And, with the union of their strength,
Oppose the common danger ; forced by Heaven
To share the common doom.
Vain are all spells ! the Destroyer
Treads the Domdaniel floor !
They crowd with human arms, and human force,
To crush the single foe ;
Vain is all human force !
He wields his Father's Sword,
The vengeance of awaken'd Deity !
But chief on Thalaba, Mohareb prest.
The language of the inspired Witch
Announced one fatal blow for both,
And, desperate of self-safely, yet he hop'd
To serve the cause of Eblis, and uphold
His empire, true in death.
Who shall withstand the Destroyer?
Scattered before the sword of Thalaba
The sorcerer throng recede,
And leave him space for combat. Wretched man,
What shall the helmet or the shield avail
Against Almighty anger ! â€” wretched man,
Too late Mohareb finds that he hath chosen
The evil part ! â€” He rears his shield
To meet the Arabian's sword, â€”
Under the edge of that fire-harden'd steel,
The shield falls severed ; his cold arm
Rings with the jarring blow : â€”
He lifts his scymetar,
A second stroke, and lo ! the broken hilt
Hangs from his palsied hand !
And now he bleeds ! and now he flies !
And fain would hide himself amid the throng,
But they feel the sword of Hodeirah,
But they also fly from the ruin !
And hasten to the inner cave,
And fall all fearfully
Around the Giant Idol's feet,
Seeking salvation from the Power they serv'd.
It was a Living Image, by the art
Of magic hands, of flesh and bones compos'd,
And human blood, through veins and arteries
That flow'd with vital action. In the shape
Of Eblis it was made ;
Its stature such, and such its strength,
As when among the Sons of God
Pre-eminent, he rais'd his radiant head,
Prince of the Morning*. On his brow
A coronet of meteor flames,
Flowing in points of light.
Self-pois'd in air before him,
Hung the Round Altar, rolling like the World
On its diurnal axis ; like the World
Checquer'd with sea and shore,
The work of Demon art.
For where the sceptre in the Idol's hand
Touch'd the Round Altar, in its answering realm,
Earth felt the stroke, and Ocean rose in storms,