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Exploring the WestThree Travel Narratives$

Mushirul Hasan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780198063117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198063117.001.0001

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(p.292) Appendix B

(p.292) Appendix B

Exploring the West
Oxford University Press

Translation Of An Elegy On Tufuzzul Hussein Khan*

  • Ouniverse! in primeval order
  • Still holds thy form compact, extinct the life
  • That seemʼd the centre of thy orb, and poisʼd
  • In balance intellectual thy laws.
  • Alas! no more shall the enrapturʼd ear
  • Stay on that tongue, delighted; whose sweet sound
  • Of eloquent philosophy, sweeter
  • Than note of nightingale thoʼ sweet, would charm
  • Coy Nature to disclose her hidden reign,
  • As we together through the garden fair
  • Of knowledge studious walkʼd, in search of truth,
  • That amaranthine flower so rarely cullʼd.
  • That sound so sweet, alas! no more is heard:
  • through all the groves of science, silent now,
  • Devious I wander, and alone, nor cheerʼd
  • With Nature's secret lore, celestial song.
  • Alas! he's fled; who the heaven's expanse,
  • With truer ken than the Pelusian Sage
  • Surveyʼd; or than that other, Grecian born,
  • Thoʼ Egypt's boast. Unopenʼd, unexplainʼd,
  • Again obscure, the Almagestum** lies,
  • (p.293) Alas! the zest of Learning's cup is gone;
  • Whose taste neʼer cloyʼd, thoʼ deep the draughts;
  • Whose flavour yet upon the palate hangs
  • Nectareous, nor Reason's thirst assuagʼd.
  • But yes!—rent is the garment of the morn;
  • And all dishevellʼd floats the hair of night;
  • All bathʼd in tears of dew the stars look down
  • With mournful eyes, in lamentation deep:
  • For he, their sage belovʼd, is dead; who first
  • To Islam's followers explainʼd their laws,
  • Their distances, their orbits, and their times,
  • As great Copernicus once half divinʼd,
  • And greater Newton proved: but, useless now,
  • Their works we turn with idle hand, and scan
  • With vacant eye, our own first master gone.
  • Alas! that tongue, defence of Jaffier's faith,
  • Potent as the sword of God to cut short
  • All opposition vain, forsakes the world.
  • And thou, O earth! dost moisture still supply
  • To feed the lily's freshness; when that tongue,
  • Parchʼd as the lips of thirsty traveller
  • When southern blasts low oʼer the desert sweep,
  • Now stiff, no more shall eloquence distil.
  • But still some joy, CANOPUS*! still is thine:
  • If fainter, yet it's joy: if set the sun,
  • Whose excellence through heaven short far its beams;
  • Fitting thy pensive walk, at solemn hour,
  • Reflecting soft, fraternal light,
  • The morn shall guide thy melancholy way.
  • But ah! faded now is that lively face,
  • Where wisdom bloomʼd superior, and outshone
  • All faces in intelligence divine,
  • Where friends congenial learned converse joinʼd;
  • As all flowers besides, the rose excels,
  • Thoʼ bright they spread their colours to the sun.
  • Ah! faded is the rose-bud's elegance,
  • Unrivallʼd in its bloom: ah! closʼd the eye,
  • That awʼd presumption mute: but mild the ray
  • It shed on humble merit, as it watchʼd
  • The fire of genius playing in its beam.
  • O heart! Melancholy alone fills up
  • Thy dreary waste of life. Ah! Throb no more.
  • Exulting at blithe pleasure's call, to thee
  • Jocund no more, since he, belovʼd, whom
  • Thy warmest pulse was wont so oft to beat
  • (p.294) In concord of sweet friendship, from three torn,
  • Is fled,—and with him flies from thee all joy.
  • Behold that corse, how fallʼn! that body, robʼd
  • But yesterday in silks of richest dye,
  • And furs the hunter's rarest prize, now wrappʼd
  • In coarse sepulchral weeds, all beauty gone,
  • In kindred dust deep coverʼd, mouldering lies:
  • Prostrate the date tree now, whose stately crown,
  • At once the garden's glory, and defence
  • From high noon's sultry ray, low fallen, lies
  • Cumbering the ground.—In pensive mood,
  • At foot of cypress or of yew outstretchʼd,
  • We weeping lie, and court funereal shade.
  • Thoʼ long the way, and arduous, old age
  • Forgot its stiffness; with new vigour bracʼd,
  • Agile it moved its limbs, and urged their speed,
  • On anxious thoughts intent, to view his form,
  • And hear new wisdom falling from his tongue.
  • But now, how sad the change! our youth weighʼd down
  • With grief0027s oppressive load, or helpless sit,
  • Or feeble grown, as feeble worm that creeps,
  • Their limbs drag slowly on their care-worn frame.
  • Behold that head, for whose far-stretching thought
  • The universe appearʼd too small a bound,
  • In close and narrow grave finds room enough!
  • If thou, O rose! when drooping Nature mourns,
  • Thoughtless, in pride of beauty laughʼst, pluckʼd off
  • By some rude hand, thy blushing honours torn,
  • The sport of winds Unheeded may they fly!
  • Ah! seeʼst thou not, that eʼen the vaulted sphere,
  • Hard hearted as she is, unwont to melt
  • At other's woe, at this distressful hour,
  • In sign of grief, her deepest azure spreads?
  • O TALEB! learn from this a dear-bought truth;—
  • Nor dignity, nor form, nor talents rare,
  • Nor rarer knowledge, oʼer the fated hour
  • Man's short abode on earth prolong, nor keep their
  • Frail possessor from the destinʼd tomb.


(*) Envoy from the Nabob of Oude to the Governor General of India. Written by MIRZA ABU TALEB KHAN (2nd May 1802) in the Persian language, and presented by him to LADY ELFORD. For a further account of Tufuzzul Hussein Khan, see Character, No. 1, in the Asiatic Annual Register of 1803.

(**) The title of the Arabic version of the works of Ptolemy.

(*) Brother of the deceased.