Collected Poems of Henry Derozio: Preface by Manu Samriti Chander; Edited by Amardeep Singh

Author's Notes (Poems, 1827)

(A) Oh! Chuhulmenar is far from me. 

Chuhulmenar is the modern name of Istakhar. It signifies "forty pillars", so called (as Mrs. Ramsbottom would say) because forty pillars were built in it by Soliman Ben Daoud. It was known to the Greeks by the name of Persepolis, so famous in the history of "Macedonia's Madman." Here, it is said, are deposited the treasures of the seventy-two pre-adamite Sultans, (about whom Mussulmans only pretend to know anything,) and the diadem of Gian Ben Gian, the chief of the Genii, to whom the building of the pyramids of Egypt, as well as the temple of Soliman, has been ascribed. Gian Ben Gian is said to have reigned two thousand years over the Peris. 

(B) There wilt thou find great Jemshid's gem. 

Jemshid's gem has given birth to many oriental similes, and most of the Hindoostanee poets have made allusions to it I hope to be forgiven for having made mention of it here, as I have nowhere read of the gem of Jemshid being in Istakhar, although that sultan built that city. The story of this gem, like that of many wonderful things, seems enveloped in a cloud of mystery, so that it may be all a fable, or I may be right. 

(C) The Seal of the fifth king can cor, trout 
Genius and Giant, and Ogre and Ghoul. 

The most famous talisman of the east was the seal of Soliman Jared, fifth monarch of the world, after Adam, It not only controuled 
Genii and demons of all kinds, but the possessor of it had the entire command of the elements. — Vathek, Richardson, O' Herbelot 

(D) The friendly Simurgh 

“Rara avis in terris," and wonderful stories are told concern'ng it For a more particular account of it I beg to refer the reader to Calif Vathek. 

(E) Till all from Kaf to Kaf was before him. 

This mountain, which is no other than Caucasus, was supposed to surround the world like a wall , and the sun, it was believed, rose from one of Its eminences, and set on the opposite — hence "from Kaf to Kaf signified from one extremity of the earth to the other. It was to this mountain that the Simurgh bore Tahamurath through the air, and over the desert. From the breast of this bird he took the plumes for his helmet, and they have been since worn by the most renowned warriors of the east, who consequently have never wanted success. — Vathek 

(F) — to the Mountain that stands. 
On the stone that ne'er moves but when Alla commands 

This stone is called Sukhrat, and resembles, or is thought to be, an emerald. On it stands mount Kaf; and when Alla commands it, or any of its fibres to move an earthquake is produced. 

(G) And ruthless hands have reft away 
The marble that might mock decay

Lord Elgin robbed Greece of her ruins, and none but those of "gentle blood" have had opportunities of following his example  

   "But every carle can lord it o'er this “Land." 

   The Sona Musjid has been plundered of its marble slabs, with which the walls appear to have been once covered ; but to say how the spoiler has spoiled this "abode of Kings", would require more time and paper than I can bestow at present.

(H) The stranger, though no child of fame, 
upon thy walls hath writ his name 

The names of many who now "sleep the sleep that knows no breaking," are inscribed upon the walls of the Singhee Dulan, and Sona Musjid. In a few years these names may be effaced, and forgotten, but there is one which shall live, when not one stone of these ruins shall remain upon another — the name of the late Mr Augustus Cleavland, whose memory is still dear to the natives throughout the districts of Bhagulpoor, Rajmahal, and Monghir. The Gentleman kept the Singhee Dulan and the Sona Musjid in good order, about fifty years ago, but from total neglect, these buildings, in less than fifty years more, may be in the Ganges. At present the Jackal makes them his den. 

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