Canto 3


Love! O what matchless power thou dost own!
And undisputed e'er that pow'r shall be,
And thou wilt reign for ever on thy throne—
In but one moment thou canst bind the force
And fearless fancies of a youthful breast
O Love! divinest love, for e'er shall be
Of ev'ry minstrel theme the purest, best
Thy hallowing influences make each bosom blest!


'Twas noon when Mehir Muneer his eyes
Did ope. “Alas! alas!” he cries
As he did view the hermit's cell
And bitter tears from him they fell.
“Oh! where is now her lovely bower?
Where is her lute of magic power?
And where am I? Oh! where am I?
Far from the influence of her eye?
Oh! where is she the one so dear,
The one adored without peer,
Badar Muneer, Badar Muneer.”


And thus he raved in fever high;
And sat the sage his pallet nigh.
“Badar Muneer!”—so wild did rave,
And sought her hand his brow to have
“Badar Muneer!”—he sought the bliss
Would be imparted by one kiss
Of her loved lips, upon his form
To still the raging of the storm.
The burning fever within him burned,
Restless upon his bed he turned;
He sought the one so passing dear,
“Badar Muneer! Badar Muneer!”


At length as thus the Prince, he cried,
The watchful hermit, he espied
A gallant party who drew near
The dwelling where did live the seer.
“What seek ye here!” the hermit said
As low salutes to him they made.
“O holy man! but yester morn
Did we set out with hounds and horn
With our loved prince to join the chase.
A young gazelle of matchless grace
His fancy caught; he bade us stay
Behind him, and so fearless, gay
After her rode, nor found we him,
Nor traces of his Fancy's whim.
Benighted were we in the wood
Without e'er tasting any food,
And seeking for him wended here—
Knowest thou aught of Mehir Muneer?”


The sage them bore into his cell.
Their bosoms with surprise did swell
As they did gaze on Mehir Muneer.
Then quest'ning turned upon the seer
Who did relate all he did know
In accents hurried, soft and low.
Prince Mehir Muneer then oped his eyes,
And heaved profound and baleful sighs.
“O Royal prince! O Iran's heir!
Of warriors the flow'r most fair!
O what is this? O tell us now,
Why thus beside thy self art thou?”


“Badar Muneer! Badar Muneer!”—
Was all he spoke. In trembling fear
His courtiers stood beside their lord,
Their idol-prince whose ev'ry word
To them was law. By Iran's heir
They silent stood—by him most fair.
How now? With what sad tidings now
Were they before the king to bow?
Had they like trusted courtiers true
Performed their duties—they were few?
Toward their idolised prince,
Did they aught loyalty evince?


Back through the woodland him they bore
Nature the self-same aspect wore
As yester morn; but for the grace
And beauties of fair Nature's face
No eyes had they; on Mehir Muneer
Their thoughts and glance in anxious fear
Were fixed, for he did wildly rave.
“Badar Muneer,” was all did crave
This love-born Prince—'twas but her name
Unto his burning lips it came;
In high delirium he tost
And his young life was all but lost!


They reached His Majesty's proud halls
And entered in the golden walls,
And laid the burning fevered head
Of Mehir Muneer upon his bed;
In haste did seek the Persian King
And to his son's loved side did bring
The sorrowing father; did relate
All that thus far had been his fate—
Told of that fawn of matchless eye
And how unattended he did hie
To seize her; and the hermit's tale
To tell to him they did not fail.
And standing by they did bewail.


Ah! who could understand the grief
That filled his heart without relief!
He wept, he wept; like drops of blood
Wrenched from his inmost heart in flood
Seemed the large tear-drops of the youth
Ah! who could view them without ruth?
Who but a poet knows full well
The joys and sorrows that do dwell
Within a poet's heart? Ah! who
Can interpret, can read more true?
A poet he, Prince Mehir Muneer,
To him was beauty ever dear.
O brother bards! but ye do know
If this dire grief be common woe!
A poet, 'fore his eyes did beam—
Ah! realized 'fore him did gleam
A form more beauteous and more rare
Than seraph's e'en, surpassing fair,
Before him smiled; that face did seem
Far fairer than the poet's theme—
Ideal of his wildest dream!
And she did bear for him pure love
That fire divine seat from above;
And soft upon his manly breast
Her peerless head in sleep did rest;
And he had prest a glowing kiss
Upon her lips to find it bliss;
And now was wrenched from her loved side
From her, his own dear, lovely bride!
And in a moment all was gone!
Reason had well nigh left her throne—
His youthful hopes all blasted were
His glorious future, passing rare,
Would be as naught; his proud career,
Illustrious, did close Mehir Muneer.
What cared he now? But for a while
Fortune had shed on him a smile
Of wondrous lustre. He had seen
But for an hour his heart's sole queen
What cared he now for life apart
From her, the idol of his heart,
That form ideal, without peer,
Transcending fair, Badar Muneer?


The king, his loving arms, did wreathe
Around his son, and soft did breathe:
“Loved boy, tell us of this, thy woe;
Of this, thy grief let us but know.
Look up, my son, for I am near.”—
His sole reply: “Badar Muneer!”
The royal father sorrowed o'er,
O'er his loved son he did adore;
The queen,—who knows a mother's love,
Divinest flame, from God above?—
Her mother heart did bleed full sore,
For he was her fond bosom's core.
They wrung their hands, they smote their breast;
And fled from them was ev'ry rest.
They watched in tender, anxious fear
O'er the loved form of Mehir Muneer!
The Vizier of the Shah-in-Shah,
A wise man, he discreetly saw
That all affairs to ruin ran;
And summoned courage like a man,
And to the grief-filled king did go
And lowly 'fore his seat did bow.
“O king of kings! Shrine of all climes!
For ever live thou thro' all times!
Be not distressed! I am thy slave.
Sent couriers all o'er, I have.
She, whose proud name he doth repeat
To him must be thrice loved and sweet—
The name of one he loves full well,
The one that in his heart doth dwell—
If we but find where she doth stay,
O! royal king, the self same day,
Will wed her to thy noble heir—
And happiness be their glad share!
Now gain affairs, take them in hand,
Else ruin waits for Iran's land!”


'Twas long before the men arrived
Where Badar Muneer's sire lived
A mighty king was he and great
Of vast domains and splendid state.
The couriers did his presence seek,
And in respectful tones and meek,
Did the proud king fully acquaint
With real facts. Nor did they paint
In livelier colours what befell,
And told their story passing well.
The spoke of Mehir Muneer's state
Unto the mighty monarch great
And sought for him without e'er peer,
The hand of loved Badar Muneer.


The king did hark unto the tale,
In rapt attention ne'er did fail;
And at its conclusion he did sigh—
'Twas in relief. And his proud eye
Did light with pleasure, and he spoke:
“Take her, my child, take her, O take!
These weary days naught but the name
Of Mehir Muneer unto her came.
The lustre of her cheek doth pale,
Her matchless form's becoming frail
'Tis him she longs for, Mehir Muneer,
Take her my daughter without peer!
No preparations must be made”—
'Twas thus the royal king, he said—
“No rich brocade, no priceless gem,
No radiant, brilliant diadem.
But haste ye to your sov'reign great,
Nor for a moment must ye wait;
But bid him hie with Mehir Muneer,
To take my daughter without peer.”


It was a bright, resplendent day—
The sun did shine all laughing, gay;
And strains of music filled the air,
And pealed thro' heav'n in notes most rare;
And gorgeous flags and penoncels
Did gaily flutter; tinkling bells
Did blithely chime with merry ring,
And thousand voices glad did sing;
And rich caparisoned steeds did prance
E'en elephants, sedate, did dance;
And myriad rockets in gold showers
Did fall on earth like starry flowers.
And countless voices did proclaim,
“It was a marriage of fame,
It was an hour of dear delight
Each bosom did with joy excite.”
In matchless pomp and splendour great,
Magnificence and full in state,
With charming harmony and song
The proud procession moved along
This day did see Prince Mehir Muneer
United to his bride whose peer
Nor flow'ry earth, nor starry heaven
In any hour birth had given—
It was the one so passing dear
To him, his own Badar Muneer!”


Prince Mehir Muneer's poet heart
Had found its lovelier, better part.
The true ideal of his dream
Now realized by him did beam,
His own to love, revere, adore
Each day to love her more and more.
His own, the idol of his breast
Upon his bosom now did rest.
Their meeting—it was pure romance
That steepeth one into a trance,
But more romantic still their love
Shed on their hearts by Him above.
May Heaven grant pure joys most rare!
May happiness e'er be their share!
And blessings on the loving pair!
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