Tâj Mahal, — Agra. Engraved by Robert Wallis from a drawing by Samuel Prout based on a sketch by Captain R. N. Elliot, R.N. From the 1832 Fisher’s Drawing Room Scrapbook edited by Letitia E. Landon. 20. Click on image to enlarge it.

“Aye, build it on these banks,” the monarch said,
“That when the autumn winds have swept the sea,
They may come hither with their falling rains,
A voice of mighty weeping o'er her grave.”

They brought the purest marble that the earth
E'er treasured from the sun, and ivory
Was never yet more delicately carved:
Then cupolas were raised, and minarets,
And flights of lofty steps, and one vast dome
Rose till it met the clouds: richly inlaid
With red and black, this palace of the dead
Exhausted wealth and skill. Around its walls
The cypresses like funeral columns stood,
And lamps perpetual burnt beside the tomb.
And yet the emperor felt it was in vain,
A desolate magnificence that mocked
The lost one, and the loved, which it enshrined.

Muntáza Zemāni was the wife of Shah Jehan, emperor of Hindostan. The magnificent mausoleum, which it was some consolation to erect, was one of the many human vanities that mock their founders. Shah Jehan past from a prison to his gorgeous tomb. For the last eight years of his life he was confined in the fort of Agra, by his son, Aurungzebe. An Italian artist, who saw this most exquisite specimen of Mahommedan archi tecture, regretted there was not a glass-case to cover it. The pure whiteness of the marble is powerfully con trasted to the dark green of its avenue of cypresses.


Fisher’s Drawing Room Scrapbook. Ed. L.E.L. [Letitia E. Landown]. London: Fisher, Son, & Jackson, 1831. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the New York Public Library. Web. 21 July 2020.

Last modified 20 July 2020