Twopenny Post-Bag, Intercepted Letters, Etc. Letter VI.

A poem by Thomas Moore

FROM ABDALLAH,[1] IN LONDON, TO MOHASSAN, IN ISPAHAN.


Whilst thou, Mohassan, (happy thou!)
Dost daily bend thy loyal brow
Before our King--our Asia's treasure!
Nutmeg of Comfort: Rose of Pleasure!--
And bearest as many kicks and bruises
As the said Rose and Nutmeg chooses;
Thy head still near the bowstring's borders.
And but left on till further orders--
Thro' London streets with turban fair,
And caftan floating to the air,
I saunter on, the admiration
Of this short-coated population--
This sewed-up race--this buttoned nation--
Who while they boast their laws so free
Leave not one limb at liberty,
But live with all their lordly speeches
The slaves of buttons and tight breeches.

Yet tho' they thus their knee-pans fetter
(They're Christians and they know no better)
In some things they're a thinking nation;
And on Religious Toleration.
I own I like their notions quite,
They are so Persian and so right!
You know our Sunnites,[2] hateful dogs!
Whom every pious Shiite flogs
Or longs to flog--'tis true, they pray
To God, but in an ill-bred way;
With neither arms nor legs nor faces
Stuck in their right, canonic places.[3]
'Tis true, they worship Ali's name--
Their heaven and ours are just the same--
(A Persian's Heaven is easily made,
'Tis but black eyes and lemonade.)
Yet tho' we've tried for centuries back--
We can't persuade this stubborn pack,
By bastinadoes, screws or nippers,
To wear the establisht pea-green slippers.[4]
Then, only think, the libertines!
They wash their toes--they comb their chins,
With many more such deadly sins;
And what's the worst, (tho' last I rank it)
Believe the Chapter of the Blanket!

Yet spite of tenets so flagitious,
(Which must at bottom be seditious;
Since no man living would refuse
Green slippers but from treasonous views;
Nor wash his toes but with intent
To overturn the government,)--
Such is our mild and tolerant way,
We only curse them twice a day
(According to a Form that's set),
And, far from torturing, only let
All orthodox believers beat 'em,
And twitch their beards where'er they meet 'em.

As to the rest, they're free to do
Whate'er their fancy prompts them to,
Provided they make nothing of it
Towards rank or honor, power or profit;
Which things we naturally expect,
Belong to US, the Establisht sect,
Who disbelieve (the Lord be thanked!)
The aforesaid Chapter of the Blanket.
The same mild views of Toleration
Inspire, I find, this buttoned nation,
Whose Papists (full as given to rogue,
And only Sunnites with a brogue)
Fare just as well, with all their fuss,
As rascal Sunnites do with us.

The tender Gazel I enclose
Is for my love, my Syrian Rose--
Take it when night begins to fall,
And throw it o'er her mother's wall.

GAZEL.

Rememberest thou the hour we past,--
That hour the happiest and the last?
Oh! not so sweet the Siha thorn
To summer bees at break of morn,
Not half so sweet, thro' dale and dell,
To Camels' ears the tinkling bell,
As is the soothing memory
Of that one precious hour to me.

How can we live, so far apart?
Oh! why not rather, heart to heart,
United live and die--
Like those sweet birds, that fly together,
With feather always touching feather,
Linkt by a hook and eye![5]

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