The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-fourth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif saw her spouse summon the camels and knew that the march needs must be, she waxt clean distraught. Presently it chanced that the Jew went out on some business so she fared forth to the first door and wrote thereon these couplets,

“Bear our salams, O Dove, from this our stead

From lover to beloved far severèd!

Bid him fro’ me ne’er cease to yearn and mourn

O’er happy days and hours for ever fled:

Eke I in grief shall ever mourn and yearn,

Dwelling on days of love and lustihead;

Long was our joyance, seeming aye to last,

When night and morning to reunion led;

Till croaked the Raven1 of the Wold one day

His cursed croak and did our union dead.

We sped and left the homestead dark and void

Its gates unpeopled and its dwellers sped.”

Then she went to the second door and wrote thereon these couplets,

“O who passest this doorway, by Allah, see

The charms of my fere in the glooms and make plea

For me, saying, ‘I think of the Past and weep

Yet boot me no tears flowing full and free.’

Say, ‘An fail thee patience for what befel

Scatter earth and dust on the head of thee!

And o’er travel lands East and West, and deem

God sufficeth thy case, so bear patiently!’”

Then she went to the third door and wept sore and thereon wrote these couplets,

“Fare softly, Masrúr! an her sanctuary

Thou seek, and read what a-door writ she.

Ne’er forget Love-plight, if true man; how oft

Hast savoured Nights’ bitter and sweetest gree!

O Masrúr! forget not her neighbourhood

For wi’ thee must her gladness and joyance flee!

But beweep those dearest united days

When thou camest veilèd in secresy;

Wend for sake of us over farthest wone;

Span the wold for us, for us dive in sea;

Allah bless the past days! Ah, how glad they were

When in Gardens of Fancy the flowers pluckt we!

The nights of Union from us are fled

And parting-glooms dim their radiancy;

Ah! had this lasted as hopèd we, but

He left only our breasts and the rosery.

Will revolving days on Re-union dawn?

Then our vow to the Lord shall accomplisht be.

Learn thou our lots are in hand of Him

Who on lines of skull2 writes our destiny!”

Then she wept with sore weeping and returned to the house, wailing and remembering what had passed and saying, “Glory be to God who hath decreed to us this!” And her affliction redoubled for severance from her beloved and her departure from her mother-land, and she recited these couplets,

“Allah’s peace on thee, House of Vacancy!

Ceased in thee all our joys, all our jubilee.

O thou Dove of the homestead, ne’er cease to bemoan

Whose moons and full moons3 sorest severance dree:

Masrúr, fare softly and mourn our loss;

Loving thee our eyes lose their brilliancy:

Would thy sight had seen, on our marching day,

Tears shed by a heart in Hell’s flagrancy!

Forget not the plight in the garth-shade pledged

When we sat enveiléd in privacy:”

Then she presented herself before her husband, who lifted her into the litter he had let make for her; and, when she found herself on the camel’s back, she recited these couplets,

“The Lord, empty House! to thee peace decree

Long we bore therein growth of misery:

Would my life-thread were shorn in that safe abode

And o’ night

I had died in mine ecstasy!

Home-sickness I mourn, and my strangerhood

Irks my soul, nor the riddle of future I ree.

Would I wot shall I ever that house resee

And find it, as erst, home of joy and glee!”

Said her husband, “O Zayn al-Mawasif grieve not for thy departure from thy dwelling; for thou shalt return to it ere long Inshallah!” And he went on to comfort her heart and soothe her sorrow. Then all set out and fared on till they came without the town and struck into the high road, whereupon she knew that separation was certain and this was very grievous to her. And while such things happened Masrur sat in his quarters, pondering his case and that of his mistress, and his heart forewarned him of severance. So he rose without stay and delay and repairing to her house, found the outer door padlocked and read the couplets she had written thereon; upon which he fell down in a fainting fit. When he came to himself, he opened the first door and entering, read what was written upon the second and likewise upon the third doors; wherefore passion and love-longing and distraction grew on him. So he went forth and hastened in her track, till he came up with the light caravan4 and found her at the rear, whilst her husband rode in the van, because of his merchandise. When he saw her, he clung to the litter, weeping and wailing for the anguish of parting, and recited these couplets,

“Would I wot for what crime shot and pierced are we

Thro’ the days with Estrangement’s archery!

O my heart’s desire, to thy door I came

One day, when high waxt mine expectancy:

But I found the home waste as the wold and void

And I ‘plained my pine and groaned wretchedly:

And I asked the walls of my friends who fared

With my heart in pawn and in pendency;

And they said, ‘All marched from the camp and left

An ambushed sorrow on hill and lea;’

And a writ on the walls did they write, as write

Folk who keep their faith while the Worlds are three.”

Now when Zayn al-Mawasif heard these lines, she knew that it was Masrur. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 See note, vol. vii. 267. So Dryden (Virgil):—

“And the hoarse raven on the blasted bough

By croaking to the left presaged the coming blow.”

And Gay (Fable xxxvii.),

“That raven on the left-hand oak,

Curse on his ill-betiding croak!”

In some Persian tales two crows seen together are a good omen.

2 Vulgar Moslems hold that each man’s fate is written in the sutures of his skull but none can read the lines. See vol. iii. 123.

3 i.e. cease not to bemoan her lot whose moon-faced beloved ones are gone.

4 Arab. “Rukb” used of a return caravan; and also meaning travellers on camels. The vulgar however apply “Rákib” (a camel-rider) to a man on horseback who is properly Fáris plur. “Khayyálah,” while “Khayyál” is a good rider. Other names are “Fayyál” (elephant-rider), Baghghál (mule-rider) and Hammár (donkeyrider).

When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif heard these lines she knew that it was Masrur and wept, she and her handmaids, and said to him, “O Masrur, I conjure thee by Allah, turn back, lest my husband see us twain together!” At her words he swooned away; and when he revived, they took leave each of other and he recited the following couplets,

“The Caravan-chief calleth loud o’ night

Ere the Breeze bear his cry in the morninglight:

They girded their loads and prepared to fare,

And hurried while murmured the leader-wight.

They scent the scene on its every side,

As their march through the valley they expedite.

After winning my heart by their love they went

O’ morn when their track could deceive my sight.

O my neighbour fair, I reckt ne’er to part,

Or the ground bedewed with my tears to sight!

Woe betide my heart, now hath Severance hand

To heart and vitals dealt bane and blight.”

Then he clung to the litter, weeping and wailing, whilst she besought him to turn back ere morn for fear of scorn. So he came up to her Haudaj and farewelling her a second time, fell down in a swoon. He lay an hour or so without life, and when he revived he found the caravan had fared forth of sight. So he turned in the direction of their wayfare and scenting the breeze which blew from their quarter, chanted these improvised lines,

“No breeze of Union to the lover blows

But moan he maketh burnt with fiery woes:

The Zephyr fans him at the dawn o’ day;

But when he wakes the horizon lonely shows:

On bed of sickness strewn in pain he lies,

And weeps he bloody tears in burning throes,

For the fair neighbour with my heart they bore

’Mid travellers urging beasts with cries and blows.

By Allah from their stead no Zephyr blew

But sniffed I as the wight on eyeballs goes;1

And snuff the sweetest South as musk it breathes

And on the longing lover scent bestows.”

Then Masrur returned, mad with love-longing, to her house, and finding it lone from end to end2 and forlorn of friend, wept till he wet his clothes; after which he swooned away and his soul was like to leave his body. When he revived, he recited these two couplets,

“O Spring-camp have ruth on mine overthrowing

My abjection, my leanness, my tears aye flowing,

Waft the scented powder3 of breezes they breathe

In hope it cure heart of a grief e’er growing.”

Then he returned to his own lodging confounded and tearful-eyed, and abode there for the space of ten days. Such was his case; but as regards the Jew, he journeyed on with Zayn al-Mawasif half a score days, at the end of which he halted at a certain city and she, being by that time assured that her husband had played her false, wrote to Masrur a letter and gave it to Hubub, saying, “Send this to Masrur, so he may know how foully and fully we have been tricked and how the Jew hath cheated us.” So Hubub took it and despatched it to Masrur, and when it reached, its news was grievous to him and he wept till he watered the ground. Then he wrote a reply and sent it to his mistress, subscribing it with these two couplets,

“Where is the way to Consolation’s door

How shall console him flames burn evermore?

How pleasant were the days of yore all gone:

Would we had somewhat of those days of yore!”

When the missive reached Zayn al-Mawasif, she read it and again gave it to her handmaid Hubub, saying to her, “Keep it secret!” However, the husband came to know of their correspondence and removed with her and her two women to another city, at a distance of twenty days’ march. Thus it befel Zayn al-Mawasif; but as regards Masrur, sleep was not sweet to him nor was peace peaceful to him or patience left to him, and he ceased not to be thus till, one night, his eyes closed for weariness and he dreamt that he saw Zayn al-Mawasif come to him in the garden and embrace him; but presently he awoke and found her not: whereupon his reason fled and his wits wandered and his eyes ran over with tears; love-longing to the utterest gat hold of his heart and he recited these couplets,

“Peace be to her, who visits me in sleeping phantasy

Stirring desire and growing love to uttermost degree:

Verily from that dream I rose with passion maddenèd

For sight of fairest phantom come in peace to visit me:

Say me, can dreams declare the truth anent the maid I love,

And quench the fires of thirst and heal my love-sick malady?

Anon to me she is liberal and she strains me to her breast;

Anon she soothes mine anxious heart with sweetest pleasantry:

From off her dark-red damask lips the dew I wont to sip

The fine old wine that seemed to reek of musk’s perfumery.

I wondered at the wondrous things between us done in dreams,

And won my wish and all my will of things I hoped to see;

And from that dreamery I rose, yet ne’er could hope to find

Trace of my phantom save my pain and fiery misery:

And when I looked on her a-morn, ’twas as a lover mad

And every eve was drunken yet no wine brought jollity.

O breathings of the northern breeze, by Allah fro’ me bear

Them-wards the greetings of my love and best salams that be:

Say them, ‘The wight with whom ye made that plight of fealty

Time with his changes made him drain Death’s cup and slain is he!’”

Then he went out and ceased not to weep till he came to her house and looking on it, saw it empty and void. Presently, it seemed to him he beheld her form before him, whereupon fires flamed in him and his griefs redoubled and he fell down aswoon; — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 A popular exaggeration. See vol. i. 117

2 Lit. Empty of tent-ropes (Atnáb).

3 Arab. “‘Abír,” a fragrant powder sprinkled on face, body and clothes. In India it is composed of rice flower or powdered bark of the mango, Deodar (uvaria longifolia), Sandalwood, lign-aloes or curcuma (zerumbat or zedoaria) with rose-flowers, camphor, civet and anise-seed. There are many of these powders: see in Herklots Chiksá, Phul, Ood, Sundul, Uggur, and Urgujja.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Masrur saw the vision of Zayn al-Mawasif and felt her embrace, he joyed with passing joy. As soon as he awoke he sought her house, but finding it empty and void he fell down a-swoon; and when he came to himself, he recited these couplets,

“Fro’ them inhale I scent of Ottar and of Bán;

So fare with heart which ecstasies of love unman:

I’d heal thy longings (love-sick lover!) by return

To site of beauty void sans friend or mate to scan:

But still it sickeneth me with parting’s ban and bane

Minding mine olden plight with friend and partisan.”

When he had made an end of these verses, he heard a raven croak beside the house and wept, saying, “Glory be to God! The raven croaketh not save over a ruined homestead.” Then he moaned and groaned and recited these couplets,

“What ails the Raven that he croaks my lover’s house hard by,

And in my vitals lights a fire that flameth fierce and high?

For times now past and gone I spent in joyance of their love

With love my heart hath gone to waste and I sore pain aby:

I die of longing love and lowe still in my liver raging

And wrote to her but none there is who with the writ may hie:

Ah well-away for wasted frame! Hath farèd forth my friend

And if she will o’ nights return Oh would that thing wot I!

Then, Ho thou Breeze of East, and thou by morn e’er visit her;

Greet her from me and stand where doth her tribe encampèd lie!”

Now Zayn al-Mawasif had a sister, by name Nasím — the Zephyr — who stood espying him from a high place; and when she saw him in this plight, she wept and sighed and recited these couplets,

“How oft bewailing the place shall be this coming and going,

While the House bemoaneth its builder with tear-flood ever a-flowing?

Here was bestest joy ere fared my friend with the caravan hieing

And its dwellers and brightest-suns1 ne’er ceased in its walls a-glowing:

Where be those fullest moons that here were always arising?

Bedimmed them the Shafts of Days their charms of spirit unknowing:

Leave then what is past of the Fair thou wast ever with love espying

And look; for haply the days may restore them without foreshowing:

For hadst thou not been, its dwellers had never departed flying

Nor haddest thou seen the Crow with ill-omened croak a-crying.”

Masrur wept sore hearing these verses and apprehending their significance. Now Nasim knew that which was between him and her sister of love and longing, ecstasy and passion; so she said to him, “Allah upon thee, O Masrur, away from this house, lest any see thee and deem thou comest on my account! Indeed thou hast caused my sister quit it and now thou wouldst drive me also away. Thou knowest that, but for thee, the house would not now be void of its dwellers: so be consoled for her loss and leave her: what is past is past.” When he heard this, he wept bitterly and said to her, “O Nasim, if I could, I should fly for longing after her; so how can I be comforted for her?” Quoth she, “Thou hast no device save patience;” and quoth he, “I beseech thee, for Allah’s sake, write me a writ to her, as from thyself, and get me an answer from her, to comfort my heart and quench the fire in my vitals.” She replied, “With love and gladness,” and took inkcase and paper, whilst Masrur began to set out to her the violence of his longing and what tortures he suffered for the anguish of severance, saying,

“This letter is from the lover despairing and sorrowful

the bereaved, the woeful

with whom no peace can stay

nor by night nor by day

but he weepeth copious tears alway.

Indeed, tears his eyelids have ulcerated

and his sorrows have kindled in his liver a fire unsated.

His lamentation is lengthened

and restlessness is strengthened

and he is as he were

a bird unmated

While for sudden death he awaiteth

Alas, my desolation for the loss of thee

and alas, my yearning affliction for the companionship of thee!

Indeed, emaciation hath wasted my frame

and my tears a torrent became

mountains and plains are straitened upon me for grame

and of the excess of my distress, I go saying,

“Still cleaves to this homestead mine ecstasy,

And redoubled pine for its dwellers I dree;

And I send to your quarters the tale of my love

And the cup of your love gave the Cup-boy to me.

And for faring of you and your farness from home

My wounded lids are from tears ne’er free:

O thou leader of litters, turn back with my love

For my heart redoubleth its ardency:

Greet my love and say him that naught except

Those brown-red lips deals me remedy:

They bore him away and our union rent

And my vitals with Severance-shaft shot he:

My love, my lowe and my longing to him

Convey, for of parting no cure I see:

I swear an oath by your love that I

Will keep pact and covenant faithfully,

To none I’ll incline or forget your love

How shall love-sick lover forgetful be?

So with you be the peace and my greeting fair

In letters that perfume of musk-pod bear.”

Her sister Nasim admired his eloquence of tongue and the goodliness of his speech and the elegance of the verses he sang, and was moved to ruth for him. So she sealed the letter with virgin musk and incensed it with Nadd-scent and ambergris, after which she committed it to a certain of the merchants saying, “Deliver it not to any save to Zayn al-Mawasif or to her handmaid Hubub.” Now when the letter reached her sister, she knew it for Masrur’s dictation and recognised himself in the grace of its expression. So she kissed it and laid it on her eyes, whilst the tears streamed from her lids and she gave not over weeping, till she fainted. As soon as she came to herself, she called for pencase and paper and wrote him the following answer; complaining the while of her desire and love-longing and ecstasy and what was hers to endure of pining for her lover and yearning to him and the passion she had conceived for him. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 i.e. fair faced boys and women. These lines are from the Bresl. Edit. x. 160.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zayn al-Mawasif wrote the following reply to Masrur’s missive:

“This letter to my lord and master I indite

the king of my heart and my secret sprite

Indeed, wakefulness agitateth me

and melancholy increaseth on me

and I have no patience to endure the absence of thee

O thou who excellest sun and moon in brilliancy

Desire of repose despoileth me

and passion destroyeth me

and how should it be otherwise with me,

seeing that I am of the number of the dying?

O glory of the world and Ornament of life,

she whose vital spirits are cut off

shall her cup be sweet to quaff?

For that she is neither with the quick nor with the dead.”

And she improvised these couplets and said,

“Thy writ, O Masrúr, stirred my sprite to pine

For by Allah, all patience and solace I tyne:

When I read thy scripture, my vitals yearned

And watered the herbs of the wold these eyne.

On Night’s wings I’d fly an a bird

And sans thee I weet not the sweets of wine:

Life’s unlawful to me since thou faredst far

To bear parting- lowe is no force of mine.”

Then she sprinkled the letter with powder of musk and ambergris and, having sealed it with her signet, committed it to a merchant, saying, “Deliver it to none save to my sister.” When it reached Nasim she sent it to Masrur, who kissed it and laid it on his eyes and wept till he fell into a trance. Such was their case; but as regards the Jew, he presently heard of their correspondence and began again to travel from place to place with Zayn al-Mawasif and her damsels, till she said to him, “Glory to God! How long wilt thou fare with us and bear us afar from our homes?” Quoth he, “I will fare on with you a year’s journey, so no more letters may reach you from Masrur. I see how you take all my monies and give them to him; so all that I miss I shall recover from you: and I shall see if Masrur will profit you or have power to deliver you from my hand.” Then he repaired to a blacksmith, after stripping her and her damsels of their silken apparel and clothing them in raiment of hair-cloth, and bade him make three pairs of iron shackles. When they were ready, he brought the smith in to his wife, having said to him, “Put the shackles on the legs of these three slave-girls.” The first that came forward was Zayn al-Mawasif, and when the blacksmith saw her, his sense forsook him and he bit his finger tips and his wit fled forth his head and his transport grew sore upon him. So he said to the Jew, “What is the crime of these damsels?” Replied the other, “They are my slave-girls, and have stolen my good and fled from me.” Cried the smith, “Allah disappoint thy jealous whims! By the Almighty, were this girl before the Kazi of Kazis,1 he would not even reprove her, though she committed a thousand crimes a day. Indeed, she showeth not thief’s favour and she cannot brook the laying of irons on her legs.” And he asked him as a boon not to fetter her, interceding with him to forbear the shackles. When she saw the blacksmith taking her part in this wise she said to her husband, “I conjure thee, by Allah, bring me not forth before yonder strange man!” Said he, “Why then camest thou forth before Masrur?”; and she made him no reply. Then he accepted the smith’s intercession, so far as to allow him to put a light pair of irons on her legs, for that she had a delicate body, which might not brook harsh usage, whilst he laid her handmaids in heavy bilboes, and they ceased not, all three, to wear hair-cloth night and day till their bodies became wasted and their colour changed. As for the blacksmith, exceeding love had fallen on his heart for Zayn al-Mawasif; so he returned home in great concern and he fell to reciting extempore these couplets,

“Wither thy right, O smith, which made her bear

Those iron chains her hands and feet to wear!

Thou hast ensoiled a lady soft and bright,

Marvel of marvels, fairest of the fair:

Hadst thou been just, those anklets ne’er had been

Of iron: nay of purest gold they were:

By Allah! did the Kázis’ Kázi sight

Her charms, he’d seat her in the highest chair.”

Now it chanced that the Kazi of Kazis passed by the smith’s house and heard him improvise these lines; so he sent for him and as soon as he saw him said to him, “O blacksmith, who is she on whom thou callest so instantly and eloquently and with whose love thy heart is full filled?” The smith sprang to his feet and kissing the Judge’s hand, answered, “Allah prolong the days of our lord the Kazi and ample his life!” Then he described to him Zayn al-Mawasif’s beauty and loveliness, brilliancy and perfection, and symmetry and grace and how she was lovely faced and had a slender waist and heavily based; and acquainted him with the sorry plight wherein she was for abasement and durance vile and lack of victual. When the Kazi heard this, he said, “O blacksmith, send her to us and show her that we may do her justice, for thou art become accountable for the damsel and unless thou guide her to us, Allah will punish thee at the Day of Doom.” “I hear and obey,” replied the smith and betook himself without stay and delay to Zayn al-Mawasif’s lodging, but found the door barred and heard a voice of plaintive tone that came from heart forlorn and lone; and it was Zayn al-Mawasif reciting these couplets,

“I and my love in union were unite;

And filled my friend to me cups clearly bright

Between us reigned high mirth and jollity,

Nor Eve nor Morn brought ‘noyance or affright

Indeed we spent most joyous time, with cup

And lute and dulcimer to add delight,

Till Time estranged our fair companionship;

My lover went and blessing turned to blight.

Ah would the Severance-raven’s croak were stilled

And Union-dawn of Love show blessèd light!”

When the blacksmith heard this, he wept like the weeping of the clouds. Then he knocked at the door and the women said, “Who is at the door?” Answered he, “’Tis I, the blacksmith,” and told them what the Kazi had said and how he would have them appear before him and make their complaint to him, that he might do them justice on their adversary. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

1 i.e. the Chief Kazi. For the origin of the Office and title see vol. ii. 90, and for the Kazi al-Arab who administers justice among the Badawin see Pilgrimage iii. 45.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-eighth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the blacksmith told Zayn al-Mawasif what the Kazi had said, and how he summoned them that he might apply the Lex Talionis to their adversary, she rejoined, “How can we go to him, seeing the door is locked on us and our feet shackled and the Jew hath the keys?” The smith replied, “I will make the keys for the padlocks and therewith open door and shackles.” Asked she, “But who will show us the Kazi’s house?”; and he answered, “I will describe it to you.” She enquired, “But how can we appear before him, clad as we are in haircloth reeking with sulphur?” And the smith rejoined, “The Kazi will not reproach this to you, considering your case.” So saying, he went forthright and made keys for the padlocks, wherewith he opened the door and the shackles, and loosing the irons from their legs, carried them forth and guided them to the Kazi’s mansion. Then Hubub did off the hair-cloth garments from her lady’s body and carried her to the Hammam, where she bathed her and attired her in silken raiment, and her colour returned to her. Now it happened, by exceeding good fortune, that her husband was abroad at a bride-feast in the house of one of the merchants; so Zayn al-Mawasif, the Adornment of Qualities, adorned herself with the fairest ornaments and repaired to the Kazi, who at once on espying her rose to receive her. She saluted him with softest speech and winsomest words, shooting him through the vitals the while with the shafts of her glances, and said, “May Allah prolong the life of our lord the Kazi and strengthen him to judge between man and man!” Then she acquainted him with the affair of the blacksmith and how he had done nobly by them, whenas the Jew had inflicted on her and her women heart-confounding torments; and how his victims deathwards he drave, nor was there any found to save. “O damsel,” quoth the Kazi, “what is thy name?” “My name is Zayn al Mawasif — Adomment of Qualities — and this my handmaid’s name is Hubub.” “Thy name accordeth with the named and its sound conformeth with its sense.” Whereupon she smiled and veiled her face, and he said to her, “O Zayn al-Mawasif, hast thou a husband or not?” “I have no husband”; “And what Is thy Faith?” “That of Al–Islam, and the religion of the Best Of Men.” “Swear to me by Holy Law replete with signs and instances that thou ownest the creed of the Best of Mankind.” So she swore to him and pronounced the profession of the Faith. Then asked the Kazi, “How cometh it that thou wastest thy youth with this Jew?” And she answered, “Know, O Kazi (may Allah prolong thy days in contentment and bring thee to thy will and thine acts with benefits seal!), that my father left me, after his death, fifteen thousand dinars, which he placed in the hands of this Jew, that he might trade therewith and share his gains with me, the head of the property1 being secured by legal acknowledgment. When my father died, the Jew coveted me and sought me in marriage of my mother, who said, ‘How shall I drive her from her Faith and cause to become a Jewess? By Allah, I will denounce thee to the rulers!’ He was affrighted at her words and taking the money, fled to the town of Adan.2 When we heard where he was, we came to Adan in search of him, and when we foregathered with him there, he told us that he was trading in stuffs with the monies and buying goods upon goods. So we believed him and he ceased not to cozen us till he cast us into jail and fettered us and tortured us with exceeding sore torments; and we are strangers in the land and have no helper save Almighty Allah and our lord the Kazi.” When the judge heard this tale he asked Hubub the nurse, “Is this indeed thy lady and are ye strangers and is she unmarried?”, and she answered, “Yes.” Quoth he, “Marry her to me and on me be incumbent manumission of my slaves and fasting and pilgrimage and almsgiving of all my good an I do you not justice on this dog and punish him for that he hath done!” And quoth she, “I hear and obey.” Then said the Kazi, “Go, hearten thy heart and that of thy lady; and to-morrow, Inshallah, I will send for this miscreant and do you justice on him and ye shall see prodigies of his punishment.” So Hubub called down blessings upon him and went forth from him with her mistress, leaving him with passion and love-longing fraught and with distress and desire distraught. Then they enquired for the house of the second Kazi and presenting themselves before him, told him the same tale. On like wise did the twain, mistress and maid with the third and the fourth, till Zayn al-Mawasif had made her complaint to all the four Kazis, each of whom fell in love with her and besought her to wed him, to which she consented with a “Yes”; nor wist any one of the four that which had happened to the others. All this passed without the knowledge of the Jew, who spent the night in the house of the bridefeast. And when morning morrowed, Hubub arose and gat ready her lady’s richest raiment; then she clad her therewith and presented herself with her before the four Kazis in the court of justice. As soon as she entered, she veiled her face and saluted the judges, who returned her salam and each and every of them recognised her. One was writing, and the reed-pen dropped from his hand, another was talking, and his tongue became tied, and a third was reckoning and blundered in his reckoning; and they said to her, “O admirable of attributes and singular among beauties! be not thy heart other than hearty, for we will assuredly do thee justice and bring thee to thy desire.” So she called down blessings on them and farewelled them and went her ways. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Raas al-Mál”=capital, as opposed to Ribá or Ribh=interest. This legal expression has been adopted by all Moslem races.

2 Our Aden which is thus noticed by Abulfeda (A.D. 1331):

“Aden in the lowlands of Tehámah also called Abyana from a man (who found it?), built upon the seashore, a station (for land travellers) and a sailing-place for merchant ships India-bound, is dry and sunparcht (Kashifah, squalid, scorbutic) and sweet water must be imported. It lies 86 parasangs from San’á but Ibn Haukal following the travellers makes it three stages. The city, built on the skirt of a wall-like mountain, has a watergate and a landgate known as Bab al-Sákayn. But ‘Adan Lá‘ah (the modest, the timid, the less known as opposed to Abyan, the better known?) is a city in the mountains of Sabir, Al–Yaman, whence issued the supporters of the Fatimite Caliphs of Egypt.”

‘Adan etymologically means in Arab. and Heb. pleasure ( ), Eden (the garden), the Heaven in which spirits will see Allah and our “Coal-hole of the East,” which we can hardly believe ever to have been an Eden. Mr. Badger who supplied me with this note described the two Adens in a paper in Ocean Highways, which he cannot now find. In the ‘Ajáib al-Makhlúkát, Al–Kazwíni (ob. A.D. 1275) derives the name from Ibn Sinán bin Ibrahím; and is inclined there to place the Bír al-Mu’attal (abandoned well) and the Kasr alMashíd (lofty palace) of Koran xxii. 44; and he adds “Kasr al-Misyad” to those mentioned in the tale of Sayf al-Mulúk and Badí‘a al-Jamál.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-ninth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kazis said to Zayn al-Mawasif, “O admirable of attributes and singular among beauties! Be not thy heart other than hearty for our doing thy desire and thy winning to thy will.” So she called down blessings on them and farewelled them and went her ways, the while her husband abode with his friends at the marriage-banquet and knew naught of her doings. Then she proceeded to beseech the notaries and scribes and the notables and the Chiefs of Police to succour her against that unbelieving miscreant and deliver her from the torment she suffered from him. Then she wept with sore weeping and improvised these couplets,

“Rain showers of torrent tears, O Eyne and see

An they will quench the fires that flame in me:

After my robes of gold-embroidered silk

I wake to wear the frieze of monkery:

And all my raiment reeks of sulphur-fumes

When erst my shift shed musky fragrancy:

And hadst thou, O Masrúr, my case descried,

Ne’er hadst thou borne my shame and ignomy.

And eke Hubúb in iron chains is laid

By Miscreant who unknows God’s Unity.

The creed of Jewry I renounce and home,

The Moslem’s Faith accepting faithfully

Eastwards1 I prostrate self in fairest guise

Holding the only True Belief that be:

Masrúr! forget not love between us twain

And keep our vows and troth with goodly gree:

I’ve changed my faith for sake of thee, and I

For stress of love will cleave to secrecy:

So haste to us, an us in heart thou bear,

As noble spirit, nor as laggard fare.”

After this she wrote a letter to Masrur, describing to him all that the Jew had done with her from first to last and enclosed the verses aforesaid. Then she folded the scroll and gave it to her maid Hubub, saying, “Keep this in thy pocket, till we send it to Masrur.” Upon these doings lo and behold! in came the Jew and seeing them joyous, said to them, “How cometh it that I find you merry? Say me, hath a letter reached you from your bosom friend Masrur?” Replied Zayn al-Mawasif, “We have no helper against thee save Allah, extolled and exalted be He! He will deliver us from thy tyranny, and except thou restore us to our birth-place and homestead, we will complain of thee tomorrow to the Governor of this town and to the Kazi.” Quoth he, “Who struck off the shackles from your legs? But needs must I let make for each of you fetters ten pounds in weight and go round about the city with you.” Replied Hubub, “All that thou purposest against us thou shall fall into thyself, so it please Allah the Most High, by token that thou hast exiled us from our homes, and to-morrow we shall stand, we and thou, before the Governor of the city.” They nighted on this wise and next morning the Jew rose up in haste and went out to order new shackles, whereupon Zayn al-Mawasif arose and repaired with her women to the court-house, where she found the four Kazis and saluted them. They all returned her salutation and the Kazi of Kazis said to those about him, “Verily this damsel is lovely as the Venus-star2 and all who see her love her and bow before her beauty and loveliness.” Then he despatched four sergeants, who were Sharífs,3 saying, “Bring ye the criminal after abjectest fashion.” So, when the Jew returned with the shackles and found none in the house, he was confounded; but, as he abode in perplexity, suddenly up came the officers and laying hold of him beat him with a sore beating and dragged him face downwards before the Kazi. When the judge saw him, he cried out in his face and said to him, “Woe to thee, O foe of God, is it come to such a pass with thee that thou doest the deed thou hast done and bringest these women far from their country and stealest their monies and wouldst make them Jews? How durst thou seek to make miscreants of Moslems?” Answered the Jew, “O my lord this woman is my wife.” Now when the Kazis heard this, they all cried out, saying, “Throw this hound on the ground and come down on his face with your sandals and beat him with sore blows, for his offence is unpardonable.” So they pulled off his silken gear and clad him in his wife’s raiment of hair-cloth, after which they threw him down and plucked out his beard and belaboured him about the face with sandals. Then they sat him on an ass, face to crupper, arsi-versy, and making him take its tail in his hand, paraded him round about the city, ringing the bell before him in every street; after which they brought him back to the judges in sorriest plight; and the four Kazis with one voice condemned him to have his feet and hands cut off and lastly to be crucified. When the accursed heard this sentence his sense forsook him and he was confounded and said, “O my lords the Kazis, what would ye of me?” They replied, “Say thou, ‘This damsel is not my wife and the monies are her monies, and I have transgressed against her and brought her far from her country.’” So he confessed to this and the Kazis recorded his confession in legal form and taking the money from him, gave it to Zayn al-Mawasif, together with the document. Then she went away and all who saw her were confounded at her beauty and loveliness, whilst each of the Kazis looked for her committing herself to him. But, when she came to her lodging, she made ready all matters she needed and waited till night. Then she took what was light of load and weighty of worth, and setting out with her maids under cover of the murks three days with their nights fared on without stopping. Thus it was with her; but as regards the Kazis they ordered the Jew to prison. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Meaning that she had been carried to the Westward of Meccah.

2 Arab. “Zahrawíyah” which contains a kind of double entendre. Fátimah the Prophet’s only daughter is entitled Al–Zahrá the “bright-blooming”; and this is also an epithet of Zohrah the planet Venus. For Fatimah see vol. vi. 145. Of her Mohammed said, “Love your daughters, for I too am a father of daughters” and, “Love them, they are the comforters, the dearlings.” The Lady appears in Moslem history a dreary young woman (died æt. 28) who made this world, like Honorius, a hell in order to win a next-world heaven. Her titles are Zahrá and Batúl (Pilgrimage ii. 90) both signifying virgin. Burckhardt translates Zahrá by “bright blooming” (the etymological sense): it denotes literally a girl who has not menstruated, in which state of purity the Prophet’s daughter is said to have lived and died. “Batúl” has the sense of a “clean maid” and is the title given by Eastern Christians to the Virgin Mary. The perpetual virginity of Fatimah even after motherhood (Hasan and Husayn) is a point of orthodoxy in Al–Islam as Juno’s with the Romans and Umá‘s with the Hindú worshippers of Shiva. During her life Mohammed would not allow Ali a second wife, and he held her one of the four perfects, the other three being Asia wife of “Pharaoh,” the Virgin Mary and Khadijah his own wife. She caused much scandal after his death by declaring that he had left her the Fadak estate (Abulfeda I, 133, 273) a castle with a fine palmorchard near Khaybar. Abu Bakr dismissed the claim quoting the Apostle’s Hadis, “We prophets are folk who will away nothing: what we leave is alms-gift to the poor,” and Shí‘ahs greatly resent his decision. (See Dabistan iii. 51–52 for a different rendering of the words.) I have given the popular version of the Lady Fatimah’s death and burial (Pilgrimage ii. 315) and have remarked that Moslem historians delight in the obscurity which hangs over her last resting-place, as if it were an honour even for the receptacle of her ashes to be concealed from the eyes of men. Her repute is a curious comment on Tom Hood’s

“Where woman has never a soul to save.”

3 For Sharif and Sayyid, descendants of Mohammed, see vol. iv. 170.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kazis ordered the Jew to prison and on the morrow they looked for Zayn al-Mawasif coming to them, they and their assessors; but she presented herself not to any of them. Then said the Chief Kazi, “I wish to-day to make an excursion without the town on business there.” So he mounted his she-mule and taking his page with him, went winding about the streets of the town, searching its length and width for Zayn al-Mawasif, but never finding her. On this errand he came upon the other three Kazis, going about on the same, each deeming himself the only one to whom she had given tryst. He asked them whither they were riding and why they were going about the streets; when they told him their business, whereby he saw that their plight was as his plight and their quest as his quest. So they all four rode throughout the city, seeking her, but could hit on no trace of her and returned to their houses, sick for love, and lay down on the bed of langour. Presently the Chief Kazi bethought himself of the blacksmith; so he sent for him and said to him, “O blacksmith, knowest thou aught of the damsel whom thou didst direct to me? By Allah, an thou discover her not to me, I will whack thee with whips.” Now when the smith heard this, he recited these couplets1,

“She who my all of love by love of her hath won

Owns every Beauty and for others leaves she none:

She gazes, a gazelle; she breathes, fresh ambergris

She waves, a lake; she sways, a bough; she shines, a Sun.”

Then said the blacksmith, “By Allah, O my lord, since she fared forth from thy worshipful presence,2 I have not set eyes on her; no, not once. Indeed she took possession of my heart and wits and all my talk and thoughts are of her. I went to her lodging but found her not, nor found I any who could give me news of her, and it is as if she had dived into the depths of the sea or had ascended to the sky.” Now when the Kazi heard this, he groaned a groan, that his soul was like to depart therefor, and he said, “By Allah, well it were had we never seen her!” Then the smith went away, whilst the Kazi fell down on his bed and became sick of langour for her sake, and on like wise fared it with the other three Kazis and assessors. The mediciners paid them frequent calls, but found in them no ailment requiring a leach: so the city-notables went in to the Chief Kazi and saluting him, questioned him of his case; whereupon he sighed and showed them that was in his heart, reciting these couplets,

“Stint ye this blame; enough I suffer from Love’s malady

Nor chide the Kazi frail who fain must deal to folk decree!

Who doth accuse my love let him for me find some excuse:

Nor blame; for lovers blameless are in lover-slavery!

I was a Kázi whom my Fate deigned aid with choicest aid

By writ and reed and raisèd me to wealth and high degree;

Till I was shot by sharpest shaft that knows nor leach nor cure

By Damsel’s glance who came to spill my blood and murther me.

To me came she, a Moslemah and of her wrongs she ‘plained

With lips that oped on Orient-pearls ranged fair and orderly:

I looked beneath her veil and saw a wending moon at full

Rising below the wings of Night engloomed with blackest blee:

A brightest favour and a mouth bedight with wondrous smiles;

Beauty had brought the loveliest garb and robed her cap-à-pie.

By Allah, ne’er beheld my eyes a face so ferly fair

Amid mankind whoever are, Arab or Ajamí.

My Fair! What promise didst thou make what time to me thou said’st

‘Whenas I promise I perform, O Kazi, faithfully.’

Such is my stead and such my case calamitous and dire

And ask me not, ye men of spunk, what dreadful teen I dree.”

When he ended his verse he wept with sore weeping and sobbed one sob and his spirit departed his body, which seeing they washed him and shrouded him and prayed over him and buried him graving on his tomb these couplets,

“Perfect were lover’s qualities in him was brought a-morn,

Slain by his love and his beloved, to this untimely grave:

Kázi was he amid the folk, and aye ’twas his delight

To foster all the folk and keep a-sheath the Justice-glaive:

Love caused his doom and ne’er we saw among mankind before

The lord and master louting low before his thrallèd slave.”

Then they committed him to the mercy of Allah and went away to the second Kazi, in company with the physician, but found in him nor injury nor ailment needing a leach. Accordingly they questioned him of his case and what preoccupied him; so he told them what ailed him, whereupon they blamed him and chid him for his predicament and he answered them with these couplets,

“Blighted by her yet am I not to blame;

Struck by the dart at me her fair hand threw.

Unto me came a woman called Hubúb

Chiding the world from year to year anew:

And brought a damsel showing face that shamed

Full moon that sails through Night-tide’s blackest hue,

She showed her beauties and she ‘plained her plain

Which tears in torrents from her eyelids drew:

I to her words gave ear and gazed on her

Whenas with smiling lips she made me rue.

Then with my heart she fared where’er she fared

And left me pledged to sorrows soul subdue.

Such is my tale! So pity ye my case

And this my page with Kazi’s gear indue.”

Then he sobbed one sob and his soul fled his flesh; whereupon they gat ready his funeral and buried him commending him to the mercy of Allah; after which they repaired to the third Kazi and the fourth, and there befel them the like of what befel their brethren.3 Furthermore, they found the Assessors also sick for love of her, and indeed all who saw her died of her love or, an they died not, lived on tortured with the lowe of passion. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 These lines have occurred with variants in vol. iii. 257, and iv. 50.

2 Arab. “Hazrat,” esp. used in India and corresponding with our mediæval “præsentia vostra.”

3 This wholesale slaughter by the tale-teller of worshipful and reverend men would bring down the gallery like a Spanish tragedy in which all the actors are killed.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixty-first Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the city folk found all the Kazis and the Assessors sick for love of her, and all who saw her died lovesick or, an they died not, lived on tortured with the lowe of passion for stress of pining to no purpose — Allah have mercy on them one and all! Meanwhile Zayn al-Mawasif and her women drave on with all diligence till they were far distant from the city and it so fortuned that they came to a convent by the way, wherein dwelt a Prior called Danis and forty monks.1 When the Prior saw her beauty, he went out to her and invited her to alight, saying, “Rest with us ten days and after wend your ways.” So she and her damsels alighted and entered the convent; and when Danis saw her beauty and loveliness, she debauched his belief and he was seduced by her: wherefore he fell to sending the monks, one after other with love-messages; but each who saw her fell in love with her and sought her favours for himself, whilst she excused and denied herself to them. But Danis ceased not his importunities till he had dispatched all the forty, each one of whom fell love-sick at first sight and plied her with blandishments never even naming Danis; whilst she refused and rebuffed them with harsh replies. At last when Danis’s patience was at an end and his passion was sore on him, he said in himself, “Verily, the sooth-sayer saith, ‘Naught scratcheth my skin but my own nail and naught like my own feet for mine errand may avail.’” So up he rose and made ready rich meats, and it was the ninth day of her sojourn in the convent where she had purposed only to rest. Then he carried them in to her and set them before her, saying, “Bismillah, favour us by tasting the best of the food at our command.” So she put forth her hand, saying, “For the name of Allah the Compassionating, the Compassionate!” and ate, she and her handmaidens. When she had made an end of eating, he said to her, “O my lady, I wish to recite to thee some verses.” Quoth she, “Say on,” and he recited these couplets,

“Thou hast won my heart by cheek and eye of thee,

I’ll praise for love in prose and poesy.

Wilt fly a lover, love-sick, love-distraught

Who strives in dreams some cure of love to see?

Leave me not fallen, passion-fooled, since I

For pine have left uncared the Monast’ry:

O Fairest, ’tis thy right to shed my blood,

So rue my case and hear the cry of me!”

When Zayn al-Mawasif heard his verses, she answered him with these two couplets,

“O who suest Union, ne’er hope such delight

Nor solicit my favours, O hapless wight!

Cease to hanker for what thou canst never have:

Next door are the greedy to sore despight.”

Hearing this he returned to his place, pondering in himself and knowing not how he should do in her affair, and passed the night in the sorriest plight. But, as soon as the darkness was darkest Zayn al-Mawasif arose and said to her handmaids, “Come, let us away, for we cannot avail against forty men, monks, each of whom requireth me for himself.” Quoth they, “Right willingly!” So they mounted their beasts and issued forth the convent gate — Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 They are called indifferently “Ruhbán”=monks or “Batárikah”=patriarchs. See vol. ii. 89.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixty-second Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zayn al-Mawasif and her handmaids issued forth the convent gate and, under favour of the night, rode on till they overtook a caravan, with which they mingled and found it came from the city of ‘Adan wherein the lady had dwelt. Presently, Zayn al-Mawasif heard the people of the caravan discoursing of her own case and telling how the Kazis and Assessors were dead of love for her and how the townsfolk had appointed in their stead others who released her husband from prison. Whereupon she turned to her maids and asked them, “Heard ye that?”; and Hubub answered, “If the monks were ravished with love of thee, whose belief it is that shunning women is worship, how should it be with the Kazis, who hold that there is no monkery in Al–Islam? But let us make our way to our own country, whilst our affair is yet hidden.” So they drave on with all diligence. Such was their case; but as regards the monks, on the morrow, as soon as it was day they repaired to Zayn al-Mawasif’s lodging, to salute her, but found the place empty, and their hearts sickened within them. So the first monk rent his raiment and improvised these couplets,

“Ho ye, my friends, draw near, for I forthright

From you depart, since parting is my lot:

My vitals suffer pangs o’ fiery love;

Flames of desire in heart burn high and hot,

For sake of fairest girl who sought our land

Whose charms th’ horizon’s full moon evens not.

She fared and left me victimed by her love

And slain by shaft those lids death-dealing shot.”

Then another monk recited the following couplets,

“O ye who with my vitals fled, have ruth

On this unhappy: haste ye homeward-bound:

They fared, and fared fair Peace on farthest track

Yet lingers in mine ear that sweetest sound:

Fared far, and far their fane; would Heaven I saw

Their shade in vision float my couch around:

And when they went wi’ them they bore my heart

And in my tear-floods all of me left drowned.”

A third monk followed with these extempore lines,

“Throne you on highmost stead, heart, ears and sight

Your wone’s my heart; mine all’s your dwelling-site:

Sweeter than honey is your name a-lip,

Running, as ‘neath my ribs runs vital sprite:

For Love hath made me as a tooth-pick1 lean

And drowned in tears of sorrow and despight:

Let me but see you in my sleep, belike

Shall clear my cheeks of tears that lovely sight.”

Then a fourth recited the following couplets,

“Dumb is my tongue and scant my speech for thee

And Love the direst torture gars me dree:

O thou full Moon, whose place is highest Heaven,

For thee but double pine and pain in me.”

And a fifth these,2

“I love a moon of comely shapely form

Whose slender waist hath title to complain:

Whose lip-dews rival must and long-kept wine;

Whose heavy haunches haunt the minds of men:

My heart each morning burns with pain and pine

And the night-talkers note I’m passion-slain;

While down my cheeks carnelian-like the tears

Of rosy red shower down like railing rain.”

And a sixth the following,

“O thou who shunnest him thy love misled!

O Branch of Bán, O star of highmost stead!

To thee of pine and passion I complain,

O thou who fired me with cheeks rosyred.

Did e’er such lover lose his soul for thee,

Or from prostration and from prayers fled?”

And a seventh these,

“He seized my heart and freed my tears to flow

Brought strength to Love and bade my Patience go.

His charms are sweet as bitter his disdain;

And shafts of love his suitors overthrow.

Stint blame, O blamer, and for past repent

None will believe thee who dost Love unknow!”

And on like wise all the rest of the monks shed tears and repeated verses. As for Danis, the Prior, weeping and wailing redoubled on him, for that he found no way to her enjoyment, and he chanted the following couplets3,

“My patience failed me when my lover went

And fled that day mine aim and best intent.

O Guide o’ litters lead their camels fair,

Haply some day they’ll deign with me to tent!

On parting-day Sleep parted from my lids

And grew my grieving and my joy was shent.

I moan to Allah what for Love I dree’d

My wasted body and my forces spent.”

Then, despairing of her, they took counsel together and with one mind agreed to fashion her image and set it up with them, and applied themselves to this till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and Severer of societies. Meanwhile, Zayn al-Mawasif fared on, without ceasing, to find her lover Masrur, till she reached her own house. She opened the doors, and entered; then she sent to her sister Nasim, who rejoiced with exceeding joy at the news of her return and brought her the furniture and precious stuffs left in her charge. So she furnished the house and dressed it, hanging the curtains over the doors and burning aloes-wood and musk and ambergris and other essences till the whole place recked with the most delightful perfumes: after which the Adornment of Qualities donned her finest dress and decorations and sat talking with her maids, whom she had left behind when journeying, and related to them all that had befallen her first and last. Then she turned to Hubub and giving her dirhams, bade her fetch them something to eat. So she brought meat and drink and when they had made an end of eating and drinking,4 Zayn al-Mawasif bade Hubub go and see where Masrur was and how it fared with him. Now he knew not of her return; but abode with concern overcast and sorrow might not be overpast; — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Khilál.” The toothpick, more esteemed by the Arabs than by us, is, I have said, often used by the poets as an emblem of attenuation without offending good taste. Nizami (Layla u Majnún) describes a lover as “thin as a toothpick.” The “elegant” Hariri (Ass. of Barkaid) describes a toothpick with feminine attributes, “shapely of shape, attractive, provocative of appetite, delicate as the leanest of lovers, polished as a poinard and bending as a green bough.”

2 From Bresl. Edit. x. 194.

3 Trébutien (vol. ii. 344 et seq.) makes the seven monks sing as many anthems, viz. (1) Congregamini; (2) Vias tuas demonstra mihi; (3) Dominus illuminatis; (4) Custodi linguam; (5) Unam petii a Domino; (6) Nec adspiciat me visus, and (7) Turbatus est a furore oculus meus. Dánis the Abbot chaunts Anima mea turbata est valdè.

4 A neat and characteristic touch: the wilful beauty eats and drinks before she thinks of her lover. Alas for Masrur married.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif entered her house she was met by her sister Nasim who brought her the furniture and stuffs wherewith she furnished the place; and then she donned her finest dress. But Masrur knew naught of her return and abode with concern overcast and sorrow might not be overpast; no peace prevailed with him nor was patience possible to him. Whenas pine and passion, desire and distraction waxed on him, he would solace himself by reciting verse and go to the house and set him its walls to buss. It chanced that he went out that day to the place where he had parted from his mistress and repeated this rare song,

“My wrongs hide I, withal they show to sight;

And now mine eyes from sleep to wake are dight.

I cry when melancholy tries my sprite

Last not, O world nor work more despight;

Lo hangs my soul ‘twixt hardship and affright.

Were the Sultan hight Love but fair to me,

Slumber mine eyes’ companion were to me,

My Lords, some little mercy spare to me,

Chief of my tribe: be debonnair to me,

Whom Love cast down, erst rich now pauper-wight!

Censors may blame thee but I look beyond

Mine ears I stop and leave their lies unconned

And keep my pact wi’ those I love so fond:

They say, ‘Thou lov’st a runaway!’ I respond,

‘Whist! whenas Fate descends she blinds the sight!’”

Then he returned to his lodging and sat there weeping, till sleep overcame him, when he saw in a dream as if Zayn al-Mawasif were come to the house, and awoke in tears. So he set off to go thither, improvising these couplets,

“Shall I be consoled when Love hath mastered the secret of me

And my heart is aglow with more than the charcoal’s ardency?

I love her whose absence I plain before Allah for parting-stower

And the shifts of the days and doom which allotted me Destiny:

When shall our meeting be, O wish O’ my heart and will?

O favour of fullest Moon, when shall we Re-union see?”

As he made an end of his recitation, he found himself walking adown in Zayn al-Mawasif’s street and smelt the sweet savour of the pastiles wherewithal she had incensed the house; wherefore his vitals fluttered and his heart was like to leave his breast and desire flamed up in him and distraction redoubled upon him; when lo, and behold! Hubub, on her way to do her lady’s errand suddenly appeared at the head of the street and he rejoiced with joy exceeding. When she saw him, she went up to him and saluting him, gave him the glad news of her mistress’s return, saying, “She hath sent me to bid thee to her.” Whereat he was glad indeed, with gladness naught could exceed; and she took him and returned with him to the house. When Zayn al-Mawasif saw him, she came down to him from the couch and kissed him and he kissed her and she embraced him and he embraced her; nor did they leave kissing and embracing till both swooned away for stress of affection and separation. They lay a long while senseless, and when they revived, Zayn al-Mawasif bade Hubub fetch her a gugglet of sherbet of sugar and another of sherbet of lemons. So she brought what she desired and they sat eating and drinking nor ceased before nightfall, when they fell to recalling all that had befallen them from commencement to conclusion. Then she acquainted him with her return to Al–Islam, whereat he rejoiced and he also became a Moslem. On like wise did her women, and they ail repented to Allah Almighty of their infidelity. On the morrow she made send for the Kazi and the witnesses and told them that she was a widow and had completed the purification period and was minded to marry Masrur. So they drew up the wedding-contract between them and they abode in all delight of life. Meanwhile, the Jew, when the people of Adan released him from prison, set out homewards and fared on nor ceased faring till he came within three days’ journey of the city. Now as soon as Zayn al-Mawasif heard of his coming she called for her handmaid Hubub and said to her, “Go to the Jews’ burial-place and there dig a grave and plant on it sweet basil and jessamine and sprinkle water thereabout. If the Jew come and ask thee of me, answer, ‘My mistress died twenty days ago of chagrin on thine account.’ If he say, show me her tomb, take him to the grave and after weeping over it and making moan and lament before him, contrive to cast him therein and bury him alive.”1 And Hubub answered, “I hear and I obey.” Then they laid up the furniture in the store closets, and Zayn al-Mawasif removed to Masrur’s lodging, where he and she abode eating and drinking, till the three days were past; at the end of which the Jew arrived and knocked at the door of his house. Quoth Hubub, “Who’s at the door?”; and quoth he, “Thy master.” So she opened to him and he saw the tears railing down her cheeks and said, “What aileth thee to weep and where is thy mistress?” She replied, “My mistress is dead of chagrin on thine account.” When he heard this, he was perplexed and wept with sore weeping and presently said, “O Hubub, where is her tomb?” So she carried him to the Jews’ burial-ground and showed him the grave she had dug; whereupon he shed bitter tears and recited this pair of couplets,2

“Two things there are, for which if eyes wept tear on tear

Of blood, till they were like indeed to disappear,

They never could fulfil the Tithe of all their due:

And these are prime of youth and loss of loveling dear.”

Then he wept again with bitter tears and recited these also,

“Alack and Alas! Patience taketh flight:

And from parting of friend to sore death I’m dight:

O how woeful this farness from dear one, and oh

How my heart is rent by mine own unright!

Would Heaven my secret I erst had kept

Nor had told the pangs and my liverblight:

I lived in all solace and joyance of life

Till she left and left me in piteous plight:

O Zayn al-Mawasif, I would there were

No parting departing my frame and sprite:

I repent me for troth-breach and blame my guilt

Of unruth to her whereon hopes I built.”

When he had made an end of this verse, he wept and groaned and lamented till he fell down a-swoon, whereupon Hubub made haste to drag him to the grave and throw him in, whilst he was insensible yet quick withal. Then she stopped up the grave on him and returning to her mistress acquainted her with what had passed, whereat she rejoiced with exceeding joy and recited these two couplets,

“The world sware that for ever ‘twould gar me grieve:

Tis false, O world, so thine oath retrieve3!

The blamer is dead and my love’s in my arms:

Rise to herald of joys and tuck high thy sleeve4!”

Then she and Masrur abode each with other in eating and drinking and sport and pleasure and good cheer, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and Sunderer of societies and Slayer of sons and daughters. And I have also heard tell the following tale of

1 The unfortunate Jew, who seems to have been a model husband (Orientally speaking), would find no pity with a coffee-house audience because he had been guilty of marrying a Moslemah. The union was null and void therefore the deliberate murder was neither high nor petty treason. But, The Nights, though their object is to adorn a tale, never deliberately attempt to point a moral and this is one of their many charms.

2 These lines have repeatedly occurred. I quote Mr. Payne.

3 i.e. by the usual expiation. See vol. iii. 136.

4 Arab. “Shammirí”=up and ready!

Ali Nur Al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl1

There was once in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before in the parts of Cairo, a merchant named Táj al-Dín who was of the most considerable of the merchants and of the chiefs of the freeborn. But he was given to travelling everywhere and loved to fare over wild and wold, waterless lowland and stony waste, and to journey to the isles of the seas, in quest of dirhams and dinars: wherefore he had in his time encountered dangers and suffered duresse of the way such as would grizzle little children and turn their black hair grey. He was possessed of black slaves and Mamelukes, eunuchs and concubines, and was the wealthiest of the merchants of his time and the goodliest of them in speech, owning horses and mules and Bactrian camels and dromedaries; sacks great and small of size; goods and merchandise and stuffs such as muslins of Hums, silks and brocades of Ba’allak, cotton of Mery, stuffs of India, gauzes of Baghdad, burnouses of Moorland and Turkish white slaves and Abyssinian castratos and Grecian girls and Egyptian boys; and the coverings of his bales were silk with gold purfled fair, for he was wealthy beyond compare. Furthermore he was rare of comeliness, accomplished in goodliness, and gracious in his kindliness, even as one of his describers doth thus express,

“A merchant I spied whose lovers

Were fighting in furious guise:

Quoth he, ‘Why this turmoil of people?’

Quoth I, ‘Trader, for those fine eyes!’”

And saith another in his praise and saith well enough to accomplish the wish of him,

“Came a merchant to pay us a visit

Whose glance did my heart surprise:

Quoth he, ‘What surprised thee so?’

Quoth I, ‘Trader, ’twas those fine eyes.’”

Now that merchant had a son called Ali Nur al-Din, as he were the full moon whenas it meeteth the sight on its fourteenth night, a marvel of beauty and loveliness, a model of form and symmetrical grace, who was sitting one day as was his wont, in his father’s shop, selling and buying, giving and taking, when the sons of the merchants girt him around and he was amongst them as moon among stars, with brow flower-white and cheeks of rosy light in down the tenderest dight, and body like alabaster-bright even as saith of him the poet,

“‘Describe me!’ a fair one said.

Said I, ‘Thou art Beauty’s queen.’

And, speaking briefest speech,

‘All charms in thee are seen.’”

And as saith of him one of his describers,

“His mole upon plain of cheek is like

Ambergrís-crumb on marble plate,

And his glances likest the sword proclaim

To all Love’s rebels

‘The Lord is Great!’”2

The young merchants invited him saying, “O my lord Nur al-Din, we wish thee to go this day a-pleasuring with us in such a garden.” And he answered, “Wait till I consult my parent, for I cannot go without his consent.” As they were talking, behold, up came Taj al-Din, and his son looked at him and said, “O father mine, the sons of the merchants have invited me to wend a-pleasuring with them in such a garden. Dost thou grant me leave to go?” His father replied, “Yes, O my son, fare with them;” and gave him somewhat of money. So the young men mounted their mules and asses and Nur al-Din mounted a she-mule and rode with them to a garden, wherein was all that sould desireth and that eye charmeth. It was high of walls which from broad base were seen to rise; and it had a gateway vault-wise with a portico like a saloon and a door azure as the skies, as it were one of the gates of Paradise: the name of the door-keeper was Rizwán,3 and over the gate were trained an hundred trellises which grapes overran; and these were of various dyes, the red like coralline, the black like the snouts of Súdán4-men and the white like egg of the pigeon-hen. And in it peach and pomegranate were shown and pear, apricot and pomegranate were grown and fruits with and without stone hanging in clusters or alone — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 I borrow the title from the Bresl. Edit. x. 204. Mr. Payne prefers “Ali Noureddin and the Frank King’s Daughter.” Lane omits also this tale because it resembles Ali Shar and Zumurrud (vol. iv. 187) and Alá al-Din Abu al-Shámát (vol. iv. 29), “neither of which is among the text of the collection.” But he has unconsciously omitted one of the highest interest. Dr. Bacher (Germ. Orient. Soc.) finds the original in Charlemagne’s daughter Emma and his secretary Eginhardt as given in Grimm’s Deutsche Sagen. I shall note the points of resemblance as the tale proceeds. The correspondence with the King of France may be a garbled account of the letters which passed between Harun al-Rashid and Nicephorus, “the Roman dog.”

2 Arab. “Allaho Akbar,” the Moslem slogan or war-cry. See vol. ii. 89.

3 The gate-keeper of Paradise. See vol. iii. 15, 20.

4 Negroes. Vol. iii. 75.

When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixty-fourth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the sons of the merchants entered the vergier, they found therein all that soul desireth or eye charmeth, grapes of many hues grown, hanging in bunches or alone, even as saith of them the poet,

“Grapes tasting with the taste of wine

Whose coats like blackest Raven’s shine:

Their sheen, amid the leafage shows,

Like women’s fingers henna’d fine.”

And as saith another on the same theme,

“Grape-bunches likest as they sway

A-stalk, my body frail and snell:

Honey and water thus in jar,

When sourness past, make Hydromel.”

Then they entered the arbour of the garden and say there Rizwan the gate-keeper sitting, as he were Rizwan the Paradise-guardian, and on the door were written these lines,

“Garth Heaven-watered wherein clusters waved

On boughs which full of sap to bend were fain:

And, when the branches danced on Zephyr’s palm,

The Pleiads shower’d as gifts1 fresh pearls for rain.”

And within the arbour were written these two couplets,

“Come with us, friend, and enter thou

This garth that cleanses rust of grief:

Over their skits the Zephyrs trip2

And flowers in sleeve to laugh are lief.”3

So they entered and found all manner fruits in view and birds of every kind and hue, such as ringdove, nightingale and curlew; and the turtle and the cushat sang their love lays on the sprays. Therein were rills that ran with limpid wave and flowers suave; and bloom for whose perfume we crave and it was even as saith of it the poet in these two couplets,

“The Zephyr breatheth o’er its branches, like

Fair girls that trip as in fair skirts they pace:

Its rills resemble swords in hands of knights

Drawn from the scabbard and containing-case.”4

And again as singeth the songster,

“The streamlet swings by branchy wood and aye

Joys in its breast those beauties to display;

And Zephyr noting this, for jealousy

Hastens and bends the branches other way.”

On the trees of the garden were all manner fruits, each in two sorts, amongst them the pomegranate, as it were a ball of silver-dross,5 whereof saith the poet and saith right well,

“Granados of finest skin, like the breasts

Of maid firm-standing in sight of male;

When I strip the skin, they at once display

The rubies compelling all sense to quail.”

And even as quoth another bard,

“Close prest appear to him who views th’ inside

Red rubies in brocaded skirts bedight:

Granado I compare with marble dome

Or virgin’s breasts delighting every sight:

Therein is cure for every ill as e’en

Left an Hadís the Prophet pure of sprite;

And Allah (glorify His name) eke deigned

A noble say in Holy Book indite.6

The apples were the sugared and the musky and the Dámáni, amazing the beholder, whereof saith Hassan the poet,

“Apple which joins hues twain, and brings to mind

The cheek of lover and beloved combined:

Two wondrous opposites on branch they show

This dark7 and that with hue incarnadined

The twain embraced when spied the spy and turned

This red, that yellow for the shame designed.”8

There also were apricots of various kinds, almond and camphor and Jíláni and ‘Antábi,9 wereof saith the poet,

“And Almond-apricot suggesting swain

Whose lover’s visit all his wits hath ta’en.

Enough of love-sick lovers’ plight it shows

Of face deep yellow and heart torn in twain.”10

And saith another and saith well,

“Look at that Apricot whose bloom contains

Gardens with brightness gladding all men’s eyne:

Like stars the blossoms sparkle when the boughs

Are clad in foliage dight with sheen and shine.”

There likewise were plums and cherries and grapes, that the sick of all diseases assain and do away giddiness and yellow choler from the brain; and figs the branches between, varicoloured red and green, amazing sight and sense, even as saith the poet,

“’Tis as the Figs with clear white skins outthrown

By foliaged trees, athwart whose green they peep,

Were sons of Roum that guard the palace-roof

When shades close in and night-long ward they keep.”11

And saith another and saith well,

“Welcome12 the Fig! To us it comes

Ordered in handsome plates they bring:

Likest a Surfah13-cloth we draw

To shape of bag without a ring.”

And how well saith a third,

“Give me the Fig sweet-flavoured, beauty-clad,

Whose inner beauties rival outer sheen:

And when it fruits thou tastest it to find

Chamomile’s scent and Sugar’s saccharine:

And eke it favoureth on platters poured

Puff-balls of silken thread and sendal green.”

And how excellent is the saying of one of them,

“Quoth they (and I had trained my taste thereto

Nor cared for other fruits whereby they swore),

‘Why lovest so the Fig?’ whereto quoth I

‘Some men love Fig and others Sycamore.14’”

And are yet goodlier those of another,

“Pleaseth me more the fig than every fruit

When ripe and hanging from the sheeny bough;

Like Devotee who, when the clouds pour rain,

Sheds tears and Allah’s power doth avow.”

And in that garth were also pears of various kinds Sinaïtic,15 Aleppine and Grecian growing in clusters and alone, parcel green and parcel golden. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Nakat,” with the double meaning of to spot and to handsel especially dancing and singing women; and, as Mr. Payne notes in this acceptation it is practically equivalent to the English phrase “to mark (or cross) the palm with silver.” I have translated “Anwá” by Pleiads; but it means the setting of one star and simultaneous rising of another foreshowing rain. There are seven Anwá (plur. of nawa) in the Solar year viz. Al–Badri (Sept.-Oct.); Al–Wasmiyy (late autumn and December); Al–Waliyy (to April); Al–Ghamír (June); Al–Busriyy (July); Bárih al-Kayz (August) and Ahrák al-Hawá extending to September 8. These are tokens of approaching rain, metaphorically used by the poets to express “bounty”. See Preston’s Hariri (p. 43) and Chenery upon the Ass. of the Banu Haram.

2 i.e. They trip and stumble in their hurry to get there.

3 Arab. “Kumm” = sleeve or petal. See vol. v. 32.

4 Arab. “Kiráb” = sword-case of wood, the sheath being of leather.

5 Arab. “Akr kayrawán,” both rare words.

6 A doubtful tradition in the Mishkát al-Masábih declares that every pomegranate contains a grain from Paradise. See vol. i. 134. The Koranic reference is to vi. 99.

7 Arab. “Aswad,” lit. black but used for any dark colour, here green as opposed to the lighter yellow.

8 The idea has occurred in vol. i. 158.

9 So called from the places where they grow.

10 See vol. vii. for the almond-apricot whose stone is cracked to get at the kernel.

11 For Roum see vol. iv. 100: in Morocco “Roumi” means simply a European. The tetrastich alludes to the beauty of the Greek slaves.

12 Arab. “Ahlan” in adverb form lit. = “as one of the household”: so in the greeting “Ahlan wa Sahlan” (and at thine ease), wa Marhabá (having a wide free place).

13 For the Sufrah table-cloth see vol. i. 178.

14 See vol. iii. 302, for the unclean allusion in fig and sycamore.

15 In the text “of Tor”: see vol. ii. 242. The pear is mentioned by Homer and grows wild in South Europe. Dr. Victor Hehn (The Wanderings of Plants, etc.) comparing the Gr. with the Lat. Pyrus, suggests that the latter passed over to the Kelts and Germans amongst whom the fruit was not indigenous. Our fine pears are mostly from the East. e.g. the “bergamot” is the Beg Armud, Prince of Pears, from Angora.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31