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As her graceful arm she throws,
Of an envied favourite's neck,
And jewels rare, which sparkling deck
Twain, engaged in grand duello,
Launch the purple globes and mellow
Or, continuous to and fro,
Opposing Surdas deftly throw;
Honied sweet-meats various hued
O'er trim lawn adorning strewed.
Banded neath the rule of joy !
-proud Caubul's boast,
And ward of Aminullah Khan !
Night came on, as it ever will in Kabul as in other places, and the “ damsel band" were compelled to betake themselves home again to their lordly halls." Their horses were brought to convey them homewards; and so, encasing themselves in the all-concealing Burka cover," for which Mr. Mackenzie, like other men of taste, has no toleration, they started for the town of Kabul. On the road, however, Zeila's palfrey runs away, and, making a desperate leap over the trunk of a tree, “stumbles, struggles, scrambles on,” and presently comes fairly down with his lovely burden. Just at this critical moment, the hero of the tale makes his appearance:
With one unearthly giant bound,
He clears the space-now rescuing weaves
From scaith, perchance from death receives
We are greatly relieved by this assurance; for, as the lady had fainted, and the horse had "rolled prostrate upon the grass," we confess that we had jumped to the conclusion, that the lady had reached the ground.
For sometime we are left in doubt as to the nature of the form," which,“ with lightning rush, burst through the dense and neighbouring bush." It might be an Afghan-perhaps, Aminullah Khan himself; or an Englishman, Sir William McNaghten, General Elphinstone, Sir Alexander Burnes, or any other distinguished character. Whoever it might be, we soon learn that, determined to prove that it is something more than a bundle of clothes which he has rescued, he "unclasps the jewel band," and the “unfettered folds reluctantly”–
From the veiled features slowly glide,
Reveal the lovely mystery. We have then an animated account of the beatific vision, that burst upon his enamoured sight; and, in the following stanza, we learn that the gentleman, who is so enraptured and amazed," is "young Evelyn." The effect of so much beauty was quite bewildering. It was too much for his weak intellect to withstand :
So wild the visionary trance,
Which steeped his being with delight,
And float amid a sea of light ;
With pinion jubilant and benign,
With hymns unearthly and divine ;
All that the world most values ever,
Might that fond vision vanish never,
Oh ! Heaven ! she finds her unveiled charms
Gaz'd o'er, and clasped by stranger arms. And, soon after she has made this alarming discovery, there is a noise of men and horses, and a party appear, who have come in search of the missing Zeila. The lady upon this discreetly desires the stranger, whoever he may be, to depart as quickly as possible. Whilst he is making up his mind on the subject, she gives him a love-token; and it is very evident that love at first sight has taken possession of them both. Young Evelyn hurries off, "deer-like, o'er the ground;" and, a flood of desolation falling over poor Zeila, she sinks
- the lovely and ill-starred,
Weeping and desolate on the sward ! Evelyn gets safely home; but does not sleep comfortably that night. So he leaves his sleepless couch, and begins wandering about in the open air, thinking of the fair Zeila. After a little time, he begins to ascend the Jeban-numah. Having climbed the rock, he looks down, just as morning dawns upon the scene below, of which we have a very animated and picturesque des. cription. Evelyn, looking down upon the landscape beneath him, falls into a brown study, from which he is awakened by
sounds of war
That rises on the passing breeze :
Amid the hill declivities ! In short, the rebellion has commenced ; and young Evelyn has nothing to do but to make the best of his way to cautonments.
That bugle's summons, loud and shrill,
And claims his martial energies. The poet then gives us a description of his hero, from which we gather that he is a Scotchman, and that his name is not Evelyn, but Bruce, or rather that he is called Evelyn Bruce, and is a descendant of the hero :
The Bruce, the Bruce ! Yes ! his to claim
The glorious blood, now throbbing wild
Speaks him old Scotia's reverent child.
From childhood mid his mountain's nurst,
Which, second to none, must needs be first
“Such Evelyn Bruce”-in outer semblance. The characteristics of his mind are next set forth-his gallantry, his loyo alty, and his other high qualities : and then we are told that, hearing the shrill bugle-notes,
With zealous haste he onward flies,
To join the distant, deathful fray. It appears that the Bruce was at this time attired in the Afghan costume (though we are not quite sure that Scotia would have approved of his thus denationalisiog himself) and that he therefore managed to escape, "unharmed, unquestioned, unobserved.” The rebellion has broken out. It is the fatal 2nd of November. The whole city is in a blaze :
In vain, O Burnes ! are watch and ward ;
Unshaken defiance, and proud to the last. We have then an animated stanza, devoted to a record of the murder of Burnes :
Vainly they fought, as vainly fell ::
Of savage triumph peals around.
A nobler victim they have found !
Whom drag they, thus denuded, forth
So glowing with the sacred flame,
Its noblest victim and its first ! Evelyn makes his way through the city; and, as he is going, somewhat doubting what course to take, he is arrested by a strange object, which "smites the ground close by his feet;" it turns out to be “a slender arrow curiously wrought, with amber barb and shaft of gold," and attached to it is “ a scroll with some fair legend fraught." This is, of course, a letter from Zeila, warning him to escape from the city, and telling him that two steeds are waiting him, “or at the Shor's, or Chandoul's gate," and that he had better fly as far as he can. But how the fair Zeila was so well acquainted with the accidental movements of the Bruce, does not very plainly appear.
Of course the Bruce rejects this unbecoming advice, and journeys on his perilous way through the city. Our apprehensions for his safety are here somewhat mitigated by the discovery, that he has both a sword and a pistol under his chogah, which, having been previously assured that he was “ weaponless,” we had not by any means suspected. A party of rebels discover him to be a Kaffir, in spite of his disguise, and incontinently attack him. He stands at bay for a little time, but his “better angel" discretion "prompts him well ;" and he “ springs aside,” turning up a narrow lane, and speeding on, until a "half-ruined dwelling meets his view," and seems to invite him to enter. He plunges in, ascends the staircase, finds himself on the roof, and
-thence on he strains