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THE QUEST OF SULTAUN SOLIMAUN.
O, for a glance of that
That lighten'd on Bandello's laughing tale,
And twinkled with a lustre shrewd and sly
When Giam Battista bade her vision hail!*
Yet fear not, ladies, the naïve detail
Given by the natives of that land canorous ;
Italian license loves to leap the pale,
We Britons have the fear of shame before us,
And, if not wise in mirth, at least must be decorous.
In the far eastern clime, no great while since,
Lived Sultaun Solimaun, a mighty prince,
Whose eyes, as oft as they perform’d their round,
Beheld all others' fix'd upon the ground;
Whose ears received the same unvaried phrase,
“ Sultaun ! thy vassal hears, and he obeys!”.
All have their tastes--this may the fancy strike
Of such grave folks as pomp and grandeur like ;
For me, I love the honest heart and warm
Of Monarch who can amble round his farm,
Or, when the toil of state no more annoys,
In chimney corner seek domestic joys
I love a Prince will bid the botue pass,
Exchanging with his subjects glance and glass;
In fitting time, can, gayest of the gay,
Keep up the jest and mingle in the lay-
Such Monarchs best our free-born humours sait,
But Despots must be stately, stern, and mute. • The hint of the following tale is taken from La Camiscia Magica, a novél of Gian Battista Casti.
This Solimaun, Serendib had in sway-
And where's Serendib? may some critic say.
Good lack, mine honest friend, consult the chart,
Scare not my. Pegasus before I start!
If Rennell has it not, you'll find, mayhap,
The isle laid down in Captain Sindbad's map,
Famed mariner! whose merciless narrations
Drove every friend and kinsman out of patience,
Till, fain to find a guest who thought them shorter,
He deign'd to tell them over to a porter
The last edition see by Long: and Co.,
Rees, Hurst, and Orme, our fathers in the Row.
Serendib found,-deem not my tale a fiction
This Sultaun, whether lacking contradiction-
(A sort of stimulant which hath its uses,
To raise the spirits and reform the juices,
Sovereign specific for all sort of cures
In my wife's practice, and perhaps in yours,)
The Sultaun lacking this same wholesome bitter,
Or cordial smooth for princes' palate fitter-
Or if some Mollah had hag-rid his dreams
With Degial, Ginnistan, and such wild themes
Belonging to the Mollah's subtle craft,
I wot not--but the Sultaun never laugh’d,
Scarce ate or drank, and took a melancholy
That scorn'd all remedy profane or holy;
In his long list of melancholies, mad,
Or mazed, or dumb, hath Burton none so bad.
Physicians soon arrived, sage, ware, and tried,
As e'er scrawlid jargon in a darken'd room;
With heedful glance the Sultaun's tongue they eyed,
Peep'd in his bath, and God knows where beside,
And then in solemn accents spoke their doom,
“ His Majesty is very far from well.”
Then each to work with his specific fell:
The Hakim Ibrahim instanter brought
His unguent Mahazzim al Zerdukkaut ;*
While Roompot, a practitioner more wily,
Relied on his Munaskiff al fillfily. *
More and yet more in deep array appear,
And some the front assail and some the rear ;,
For these hard words see D'Herbelot, or the learned editor of the Receipts of Avicenna.
Their remedies to reinforce and vary,
Came surgeon eke, and eke apothecary :
Till the tired Monarch, though of words grown chary,
Yet dropt, to recompense their fruitless labour,
Some hint about a bowstring or a sabre.
There lack'd, I promise you, no longer speeches,
To rid the palace of those learned leeches.
VI. Then was the council call’d-by their advice, (They deem'd the matter ticklish all, and nice,
And sought to shift it off from their own shoulders) Tatārs and couriers in all speed were sent, To call a sort of Eastern parliament
Of feudatory chieftains and freeholdersSuch have the Persians at this very day, My learned Malcolm calls them couroultai ; I'm not prepared to show in this slight song That to Serendib the same forms belong, E'en let the learn'd go search, and tell me if I'm wrong.
The Omrahs, each with hand on scymitar,
Gave, like Sempronius, still their voice for war-
“ The sabre of the Sultaun in its sheath
Too long has slept, nor own’d the work of death;
Let the Tambourgi bid his signal rattle,
Bang the loud gong and raise the shout of battle!
This dreary cloud that dims our sovereign's day,
Shall from his kindled bosom flit away,
When the bold Lootie wheels his courser round,
And the arm'd elephant shall shake the ground.
Each Noble pants to own the glorious summons-
And for the charges-Lo! your
faithful Commons !" The Riots who attended in their places
(Serendib-language calls a farmer Riot) Look'd ruefully in one another's faces,
From this oration auguring much disquiet, Double assessment, forage, and free quarters; And fearing these as China-men the Tartars, Or as the whisker'd vermin fear the mousers, Each fumbled in the pocket of his trowsers.
And next came forth the reverend Convocation,
Bald heads, white beards, and mauy a turban green; Imaum and Mollah there of every station,
Santon, Fakir, and Calendar were scen.
Their votes were various—some advised a Mosque
With fitting revenues should be erected, With seemly gardens and with gay Kiosque,
To recreate a band of priests selected; Others opined that through the realm a dole
Be made to holy men, whose prayers might profit The Sultan's weal in body and in soul;
But their long-headed chief, the Sheik Ul-Sofit, More closely touch'd the point ;-" Thy studious mood," Quoth he, “O Prince! bath thicken'd all thy blood, And dulld thy brain with labour beyond measure ; Wherefore relax a space and take thy pleasure, And toy with beauty or tell o'er thy treasure; From all the cares of state, my liege, enlarge thee, And leave the burthen to thy faithful clergy,"
These councils sage availed not a whit,
And so the patient (as is not uncommon
Where grave physicians lose their time and wit)
Resolved to take advice of an old woman;
His mother she, a dame who once was beauteous,
And still was call'd so by each subject duteous.
Now, whether Fatima was witch in earnest,
Or only made believe, I cannot say,
But she profess'd to cure disease the sternest,
By dint of magic amulet or lay;
And, when all other skill in vain was shown,
She deem'd it fitting time to use her own.
“ Sympathia magica hath wonders done,”
(Thus did old Fatima bespeak her son,)
di It works upon the fibres and the pores,
And thus, insensibly, our health restores,
And it must help us here.-Thou must endure
The ill, my son, or travel for the cure.
Search land and sea, and get, where'er you can,
The inmost vesture of a happy man,
I mean his shirt, my son, which, if worn warm
And fresh from off his back, shall chase your harm,
Bid every current of your veins rejoice,
And your dull heart leap light as shepherd boy's."-
Such was the counsel from his mother came.
I know not if she had some under-game,
As Doctors have, who bid their patients roam
And live abroad, when sure to die at home;
Or if she thought, that somehow or another,
Queen Regent sounded better than Queen Mother ;
But, says the Chronicle, (who will go look it,)
That such was her advice-the Sultaun took it.
All are on board the Sultaun and his train,
In gilded galley prompt to plough the main :
The old Rais* was the first who question'd, “ Whither ?"
They paused_“Arabia," thought the pensive Prince,
“ Was called The Happy many ages since
For Mokha, Rais.” And they came safely thither.
But not in Araby with all her balm,
Not where Judæa wetps beneath her palm,
Not in rich Egypt, not in Nubian waste,
Could there the step of Happiness be traced.
One Copt alone profess'd to have seen her smile,
When Bruce his goblet fill’d at infant Nile;
She bless'd the dauntless traveller as he quaff'd,
But vanish'd from him with the ended draught.
“ Enough of turbans,” said the weary King,
“ These dolimans of ours are not the thing;
Try we the Giaours, these men of coat and cap, I
Incline to think some of them must be happy ;
At least they have as fair a cause as any can,
They drink good wine and keep no Ramazan.
Then northward, ho!" The vessel cuts the sea,
And fair Italia lies upon her lee.
But fair Italia, she who once unfurl'd
Her eagle-banners o'er a conquer'd world,
Long from her throne of domination tumbled,
Lay, by her quondam vassals, sorely humbled ;
The Pope himself look'd pensive, pale, and lean,
And was not half the man he once had been.
“ While these the priest and those the noble fleeces,
Our poor old boot," they said, " is torn to pieces.
Its copħ the vengeful claws of Austria feel,
And the Great Devil is rending toe and heel.
If happiness you seek, to tell you truly,
We think she dwells with one Giovanni Bulli;
A tramontane, a heretic, the buck,
Poffaredio! still has all the luck ;
By land or ocean never strikes his flag-
And then a perfect walking money-bag."
# Master of the vessel.
The well-known resemblance of Italy in the map.
The Calabrias, infested by bands of assassins. One of the leaders was called Fra Diavolo, i. e. Brother Devil.