The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

The Translator’s Foreword.

This volume has been entitled “THE NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS,” a name now hackneyed because applied to its contents as far back as 1819 in Henry Weber’s “Tales of the East” (Edinburgh, Ballantyne).

The original MS. was brought to France by Al-Káhin Diyánisiás Sháwísh, a Syrian priest of the Congregation of St. Basil, whose name has been Frenchified to Dom Dennis (or Denys) Chavis. He was a student at the European College of Al-Kadís Ithanásiús (St. Athanasius) in Rúmiyah the Grand (Constantinople) and was summoned by the Minister of State, Baron de Breteuil, to Paris, where he presently became “Teacher of the Arabic Tongue at the College of the Sultán, King of Fransá in Bárís (Paris) the Great.” He undertook (probably to supply the loss of Galland’s ivth MS. volume) a continuation of The Nights (proper), and wrote with his own hand the last two leaves of the third tome, which ends with three instead of four couplets: thus he completed Kamar al-Zamán (Night cclxxxi.- cccxxix.) and the following tales:—

The History of the Sleeper and the Waker (Nights cccxxx.-ccclxxix.).
The History of Warlock and the Cook (ccclxxx.-cd.).
The History of the Prisoner in the Bímáristán or Madhouse (cd.-cdxxvii.).
The History of Ghánim the Thrall o’ Love (cdxxviii.-cdlxxiv.).
The History of Zayn al-Asnám and the King of the Jánn (cdlxxv.-cdxci.).
The History of Alaeddin (cdxcii.-dlxix.), and
The History of Ten Wazirs (dlxx.).

The copy breaks off at folio 320, rº in the middle of Night dcxxxi., and the date (given at the end of Night cdxxvii., folio 139) is Shubát (February), A.D. 1787. This is the MS. numbered Supplément Arabe, No. 1716.

In Paris, Dom Chavis forgathered with M. Cazotte, a littérateur of the category “light,” an ingénieux écrivain, distinguished for “gaiety, delicacy, wit and Attic elegance,” and favorably known for (inter alia) his poem “Olivier,” his “Diable Amoureux,” “The Lord Impromptu,” and a travesty of The Nights called “The Thousand and One Fopperies.” The two agreed to collaborate, the Syrian translating the Arabic into French, and the Parisian metamorphosing the manner and matter to “the style and taste of the day”; that is to say, working up an exaggerated imitation, a caricature, of Galland. The work appeared, according to Mr. A. G. Ellis, of the British Museum, who kindly sent me these notes, in Le Cabinet | des Fées, | ou | Collection choisie | des Contes des Fées, | et autres contes merveilleux, | ornés de figures. | Tome trente-huitiéme —(quarante-unième). | A Genève, | chez Bárde, Manget et Compagnie, | Imprimeurs-Libraires. | Et se trouve à Paris | Rue et Hôtel Serpente. | 1788-89, 8º 1. The half-title is Les Veilliées Persanes, and on the second title-page is Les Veilliées | du | Sultan Schahriar, avec | la Sultane Scheherazade; | Histoires incroyables, amusantes, et morales, | traduites de l’Arabe par M. Cazotte et | D. Chavis. Faisant suite aux mille et une Nuits. | Ornées de I2 belles gravures. | Tome premier (— quatrième) | à Genève, | chez Barde, Manget et Comp’ | 1793. This 8vo2 bears the abridged title, La Suite des mille et une Nuits, Contes Arabes, traduits par Dom Chavis et M. Cazotte. The work was printed with illustrations at Geneva and in Paris, MDCCLXXXVIII., and formed the last four volumes (xxxviii.-xli.) of the great Recueil, the Cabinet des Fées, published at Geneva from A.D. 1788 to 1793.

The following is a complete list of the histories, as it appears in the English translation, lengthily entitled, “Arabian Tales; | or, | a Continuation | of the | Arabian Nights Entertainments. | Consisting of | Stories | Related by the | Sultana of the Indies | to divert her Husband from the Performance of a rash vow; | Exhibiting | A most interesting view of the Religion, Laws, | Manners, Customs, Arts, and Literature | of the | Nations of the East, | And | Affording a rich Fund of the most pleasing Amusement, | which fictitious writings can supply. | In Four Volumes | newly translated from the original Arabic into French | By Dom Chavis | a native Arab and M. Cazotte, Member | of the Academy of Dijon. | And translated from the French into English | By Robert Heron. | Edinburgh: | Printed for Bell and Bradfute, J. Dickson, E. Balfour, | and P. Hill, Edinburgh, | and G. G. J. and J. Robinson, London | MDCCXCIl.”

1. The Robber-Caliph; or, adventures of Haroun-Alraschid, with the Princess of Persia and the fair Zutulbe.3

2. The Power of Destiny, or, Story of the Journey of Giafar to Damascus comprehending the Adventures of Chebib (Habíb) and his family.

3. The Story of Halechalbé (Ali Chelebí) and the Unknown Lady; or, the Bimaristan.

4. The Idiot; or, Story of Xailoun.4

5. The Adventures of Simustafa (=“Sí” for Sídí “Mustafa”) and the Princess Ilsatilsone (Lizzat al-Lusún = Delight of Tongues?).

6. Adventures of Alibengiad, Sultan of Herat, and of the False Birds of Paradise.

7. History of Sankarib and his two Viziers.

8. History of the Family of the Schebandad (Shah-bander = Consul) of Surat.

9. The Lover of the Stars: or, Abil Hasan’s Story.

10. History of Captain Tranchemont and his Brave Companions: Debil Hasen’s Story.

11. The Dream of Valid Hasan.

12-23. Story of Bohetzad and his Ten Viziers (with eleven subsidiary tales).5

24. Story of Habib and Dorathal-Goase (=Durrat al-Ghawwás the Pearl of the Diver); or, the Arabian Knight.

25. Story of Illabousatrous (?) of Schal-Goase, and of Camarilzaman.

26. Story of the Lady of the Beautiful Tresses.

27. The History of Habib and Dorathal-Goase; or, the Arabian Knight continued.

28. History of Maugraby (Al Magnrabi=the Moor); or, the Magician.

29. History of Halaiaddin (‘Alá al-Din, Alaeddin, Aladdin), Prince of Persia.

30. History of Yemaladdin (Jamál al-Dín), Prince of Great Katay.

31. History of Baha-Ildur, Prince of Cinigae.

32. History of Badrildinn (Badr al-Dín), Prince of Tartary.

33. History of the Amours of Maugraby with Auhata al-Kawakik ( = Ukht al-Kawákib, Sister of the Planets), daughter of the King of Egypt.

34. History of the Birth of Maugraby.

Of these thirty four only five (MS. iv., vi., vii., xxvii. and xxxii.) have not been found in the original Arabic.

Public opinion was highly favourable to the “Suite” when first issued. Orientalism was at that time new to Europe, and the general was startled by its novelties, e.g. by “Women wearing drawers and trousers like their husbands, and men arrayed in loose robes like their wives, yet at the same time cherishing, as so many goats, each a venerable length of beard.” (Heron’s Preface.) They found its “phænomena so remote from the customs and manners of Europe, that, when exhibited as entering into the ordinary system of human affairs, they could not fail to confer a considerable share of amusive novelty on the characters and events with which they were connected.” (Ditto, Preface.) Jonathan Scott roundly pronounced the continuation a forgery. Dr. Patrick Russell (History of Aleppo, vol. i. 385) had no good opinion of it, and Caussin de Perceval (père, vol. viii., p. 40-46) declared the version éloignée du goût Orientale; yet he re-translated the tales from the original Arabic (Continués, Paris, 1806), and in this he was followed by Gauttier, while Southey borrowed the idea of his beautiful romance, “Thalaba the Destroyer,” now in Lethe from the “History of Maughraby.” Mr. A. G. Ellis considers these tales as good as the old “Arabian Nights,” and my friend Mr. W. F. Kirby (Appendix to The Nights, vol. x. p. 418), quite agrees with him that Chavis and Cazotte’s Continuation is well worthy of republication in its entirety. It remained for the Edinburgh Review, in one of those ignorant and scurrilous articles with which it periodically outrages truth and good taste (No. 535, July, 1886), to state, “Cazotte published his Suite des Mille et une Nuits, a barefaced forgery, in 1785.” A barefaced forgery! when the original of twenty eight tales out of thirty four are perfectly well known, and when sundry of these appear in MSS. of “The Thousand Nights and a Night.”

The following is a list of the Tales (widely differing from those of Chavis and Cazotte) which appeared in the version of Caussin de Perceval.

Volume viii.

Les | Mille et une Nuits | Contes Arabes, | Traduits en Francais | Par M. Galland, | Membre de l’Académie des Inscriptions et | Belles-Lettres, Professeur de Langue Arabe | au Collége Royal, | Continués | Par M. Caussin de Perceval, | Professeur de Langue Arabe au Collége Impérial. | Tome huitiéme. | à Paris, | chez Le Normant, Imp.-Libraire, | Rue des Prêtres Saint-Germain-l ‘Auxerrois. | 1806.

1. Nouvelles aventures du calife Haroun Alraschid; ou histoire de la petite fille de Chosroès Anouschirvan.
(Gauttier, Histoire du Khalyfe de Baghdad: vol. vii. II7.)

2. Le Bimaristan, ou histoire du jeune Marchand de Bagdad et de la dame inconnue.

3. Le médécin et le jeune traiteur de Bagdad

4. Histoire du Sage Hicar.
(Gauttier, Histoire du Sage Heycar, vii. 313.)

5. Histoire du roi Azadbakht, ou des dix Visirs.

6. Histoire du marchand devenu malheureux.

7. Histoire du imprudent et de ses deux enfants.

8. Histoire du d’ Abousaber, ou de l’homme patient.

9. Histoire du du prince Behezad.

10. Histoire du roi Dadbin, ou de la vertueuse Aroua.

11. Histoire du Bakhtzeman.

12. Histoire du Khadidan.

13. Histoire du Beherkerd.

14. Histoire du Ilanschah et d’Abouteman.

15. Histoire du Ibrahim et de son fils.

16. Histoire du Soleïman-schah.

17. Histoire du de l’esclave sauve du supplice.

Volume ix.

18. Attaf ou l’homme généreux.
(Gauttier, Histoire de l’habitant de Damas, vii. 234.)

19. Histoire du Prince Habib et de Dorrat Algoase.

20. Histoire du roi Sapor, souverain des îles Bellour; de Camar Alzemann, fille du genie Alatrous, et Dorrat Algoase.
(Gauttier, vii. 64.)

21. Histoire de Naama et de Naam.

22. Histoire du d’Alaeddin.

23. Histoire du d’Abou Mohammed Alkeslan.

24. Histoire du d’Aly Mohammed le joaillier, ou du faux calife.

I need hardly offer any observations upon these tales, as they have been discussed in the preceding pages.

By an error of the late M. Reinaud (for which see p. 39 His toire d’ ‘Alâ al-Din by M. H. Zotenberg, Paris, Imprimerie Na tionale, MDCCCLXXXVIII.) the MS. Supplément Arabe, No. I7I6, in the writing of Dom Chavis has been confounded with No. 1723, which is not written by the Syrian priest but which contains the originals of the Cazotte Continuation as noted by M. C. de Perceval (Les Mille et une Nuits, etc., vol. viii. Préf. p. I7, et seqq.) It is labelled Histoires tirées la plupart des Mille et une Nuits | Supplément Arabe | Volume de 742 pages. The thick quarto measures centimètres 20 ½ long by I6 wide; the binding is apparently Italian and the paper is European, but the filegrane or water-mark, which is of three varieties, a coronet, a lozenge-shaped bunch of circles and a nondescript, may be Venetian or French. It contains 765 pages, paginated after European fashion, but the last eleven leaves are left blank reducing the number written to 742; and the terminal note, containing the date, is on the last leaf. Each page numbers IS lines and each leaf has its catchword (mot de rappel). It is not ordered by “karrás” or quires; but is written upon 48 sets of 4 double leaves. The text is in a fair Syrian hand, but not so flowing as that of No. 1716, by Sháwísh himself, which the well-known Arabist, Baron de Slane, described as Bonne écriture orientale de la fin du XVIII Siècle. The colophon conceals or omits the name of the scribe, but records the dates of incept Kánún IId. (the Syrian winter month January) A.D. 1772; and of conclusion Naysán (April) of the same year. It has head-lines disposed recto and verve, e.g.,

Haykár —————————— Al-Hakím,

and parentheses in the text after European fashion with an imperfect list at the beginning. A complete index is furnished at the end. The following are the order and pagination of the fourteen stories:—

1. The King of Persia and his Ten Wazirs pp. 1 to 62 2. Say of the Sage Haykár 140 3. History of King Sabúr and the Three Wise Men 183 4. The Daughter of Kisrà the King (Al Bundukâni) 217 5. The Caliph and the Three Kalandars 266 6. Julnár the Sea born 396 7. The Duenna, the Linguist-dame and the King’s Son 476 8. The Tale of the Warlock and the young Cook of Baghdad 505 9. The Man in the Bímárístan or Madhouse 538 10. The Tale of Attáf the Syrian 588 11. The History of Sultan Habíb and Durrat al-Ghawwás 628 12. The Caliph and the Fisherman 686 13. The Cock and the Fox 718 14. The Fowl-let and the Fowler 725 to 739 (finis)

Upon these tales I would be permitted to offer a few observetions. No. i. begins with a Christian formula:—“In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost” (Rúhu’l-Kudus); and it is not translated, because it is a mere replica of the Ten Wazirs (Suppl. vol. i. 55-151). The second, containing “The Sage Haykár,” which is famous in folk-lore throughout the East, begins with the orthodox Moslem “Bismillah,” etc. “King Sapor” is prefaced by a Christian form which to the Trinitarian formula adds, “Allah being One”; this, again, is not translated, because it repeats the “Ebony Horse” (vol. v. 1). No iv., which opens with the Bismillah, is found in the Sabbágh MS. of The Nights (see Suppl. vol. iii.) as the Histoire de Haroun al-Raschid et de la descendante de Chosroès. Albondoqani (Nights lxx.-lxxvii.). No. v., which also has the Moslem invocation, is followed by the “Caliph and the Three Kalandars,” where, after the fashion of this our MS., the episodes (vol. i., 104-130) are taken bodily from “The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad” (i. 82), and are converted into a separate History. No. vi. has no title to be translated, being a replica of the long sea-tale in vol. vii., 264. Nos. vii., viii., ix., x. and xi. lack initiatory invocation betraying Christian or Moslem provenance. No. viii. is the History of Sí Mustafá and of Shaykh Shaháb al-Dín in the Turkish Tales: it also occurs in the Sabbágh MS. (Nights ccclxxxvi.-cdviii.). The Bímáristán (No. ix.), alias Ali Chalabi (Halechalbé), has already appeared in my Suppl. vol. iv. 35. No. xii., “The Caliph and the Fisherman,” makes Harun al-Rashid the hero of the tale in “The Fisherman and the Jinni” (vol. i. 38); it calls the ensorcelled King of the Black Islands Mahmúd, and his witch of a wife Sitt al-Mulúk, and it also introduces into the Court of the Great Caliph Hasan Shumán and Ahmad al-Danaf, the prominent personages in “The Rogueries of Dalílah” (vol. vii. 144) and its sister tale (vii. 172). The two last Histories, which are ingenious enough, also lack initial formulæ.
Dr. Russell (the historian of Aleppo) brought back with him a miscellaneous collection comprising —

Al-Bundukani, or the Robber Caliph;
The Power of Destiny (Attaf the Syrian);
Ali Chelebi, or the Bimaristan;
King Sankharib and the Sage Haykar;
Bohetzad (Azádbakht) and the Ten Wazirs; and, lastly,
Habib, or the Arabian Knight.

The Encyclopedia Britannica (ixth edit. of MDCCCLXXVI.), which omits the name of Professor Galland, one of the marking Orientalists in his own day, has not ignored Jacques Cazotte, remarkable for chequered life and noble death. Born in 1720, at Dijon, where his father was Chancellor for the Province of Burgundy, he studied with the Jesuits at home; and, having passed through the finishing process in Paris, he was introduced to public life by the Administration de la Marine. He showed early taste for poetry as well as prose, and composed songs, tales, and an opera —“The Thousand and One Fopperies.” His physique is described as a tall figure, with regular features, expressive blue eyes, and fine hair, which he wore long. At twenty seven he became a commissary in the office and was presently sent as Comptroller to the Windward Islands, including the French Colony Martinique, which then as now was famous for successful woman-kind. At these head-quarters he became intimate with Père Lavalette, Superior of the S. J. Mission, and he passed some years of a pleasant and not unintellectual career. Returning to Paris on leave of absence he fell in with a country-woman and an old family friend, Madame La Poissonnier, who had been appointed head nurse to the Duke of Burgundy; and, as the child in her charge required lulling to sleep, Cazotte composed the favourite romances (ballads), Tout au beau milieu des Ardennes, and Commere II faut chauffer le lit. These scherzi, however, brought him more note than profit, and soon afterwards he returned to Martinique.

During his second term of service Cazotte wrote his heroic comic-poem, the Roman d’Olivier, in twelve cantos, afterwards printed in Paris (2 vols. 8vo, 1765); and it was held a novel and singular composition. When the English first attacked (in 1759) Saint Pierre of Martinique, afterwards captured by Rodney in 1762, the sprightly littérateur showed abundant courage and conduct, but over-exertion injured his health, and he was again driven from his post by sickness. He learned, on landing in France, that his brother, whilome Vicar-General to M. de Choiseul, Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, had died and left him a fair estate, Pierry, near Epernay; he therefore resigned his appointment and retired with the title “Commissary General to the Marine.” But presently he lost 50,000 écus — the whole fruit of his economies — by the speculations of Père Lavalette, to whose hands he had entrusted his estates, negroes, and effects at Martinique. These had been sold and the cheques had been forwarded to the owner: the S. J., however, refused to honour them. Hence the scandal of a law-suit in which Cazotte showed much delicacy and regard for the feelings of his former tutors.

Meanwhile Cazotte had married Elizabeth Roignon, daughter to the Chief Justice of Martinique; he returned to the Parisian world with some éclat and he became an universal favourite on account of his happy wit and humour, his bonhomie, his perfect frankness, and his hearty amiability. The vogue of “Olivier” induced him to follow it up with Le Diable Amoureux, a continuation or rather parody of Voltaire’s Guerre civile de Genève: this work was so skilfully carried out that it completely deceived the world; and it was followed by sundry minor pieces which were greedily read. Unlike the esprits forts of his age, he became after a gay youth-tide an ardent Christian; he made the Gospel his rule of life; and he sturdily defended his religious opinions; he had also the moral courage to enter the lists with M. de Voltaire, then the idol-in-chief of the classes and the masses.

In later life Cazotte met Dom Chavis, who was translating into a curious jargon (Arabo-Franco-Italian) certain Oriental tales; and, although he was nearing the Psalmist’s age-term of man, he agreed to “collaborate.” The Frenchman used to take the pen at midnight when returning from “social pleasures,” and work till 4-5 a.m. As he had prodigious facility and spontaneity he finished his part of the task in two winters. Some of the tales in the suite, especially that of “Maugraby,” are attributed wholly to his invention; and, as a rule, his aim and object were to diffuse his spiritual ideas and to write treatises on moral perfection under the form of novelle.

Cazotte, after a well-spent and honourable life, had reason to expect with calmness “the evening and ending of a fine day.” But this was not to be; the Great Revolution had burst like a hurricane over the land, and he was doomed to die a hero’s death. His character was too candid, and his disposition too honest, for times which suggested concealment. He had become one of the Illuminati, and La Harpe ascribed to him the celebrated prophecy which described the minutest events of the Great Revolution. A Royalist pur sang, he freely expressed his sentiments to his old friend Ponteau, then Secretary of the Civil List. His letters came to light shortly after the terrible day, August IO, 1792: he was summarily arrested at Pierry and brought to Paris, where he was thrown into prison. On Sept. 3, when violence again waxed rampant, he was attacked by the patriot-assassins, and was saved only by the devotion of his daughter Elizabeth, who threw herself upon the old man crying, “You shall not reach my father’s heart before piercing mine.” The courage of the noble pair commanded the admiration of the ruffians, and they were carried home in triumph.

For a few weeks the family remained unmolested, but in those days “Providence” slept and Fortune did not favour the brave. The Municipality presently decreed a second arrest, and the venerable littérateur, aged seventy two, was sent before the revolutionary tribunal appointed to deal with the pretended offences of August 10. He was subjected to an interrogatory of thirty-six hours, during which his serenity and presence of mind never abandoned him and impressed even his accusers. But he was condemned to die for the all-sufficient reason:—“It is not enough to be a good son, a good husband, a good father, one must also prove oneself a good citizen.” He spent his last hours wit’. his confessor, wrote to his wife and children, praying his family not to beweep him, not to forget him, and never to offend against their God; and this missive, with a lock of his hair for his beloved daughter, he finally entrusted to the ghostly father. Upon the scaffold he turned to the crowd and cried, “I die as I have lived, truthful and faithful to my God and my King.” His venerable head, crowned with the white honours of age, fell on Sept. 25, 1792.

Cazotte printed many works, some of great length, as the OEuvres Morales, which filled 7 vols. 8vo in the complete edition of 1817; and the biographers give a long list of publications, besides those above-mentioned, romantic, ethical, and spiritual, in verse and in prose. But he wrote mainly for his own pleasure, he never sought fame, and consequently his reputation never equalled his merit. His name, however, still smells sweet, passing sweet, amid the corruption and the frantic fury of his day, and the memory of the witty, genial, and virtuous littérateur still blossoms in the dust.

During my visit to Paris in early 1887, M. Hermann Zotenberg was kind enough to show me the MS., No. 1723, containing the original tales of the “New Arabian Nights.” As my health did not allow me sufficient length of stay to complete my translation, Professor Houdas kindly consented to copy the excerpts required, and to explain the words and phrases which a deficiency of dictionaries and vocabularies at an outlandish port-town rendered unintelligible to me.

In translating a MS., which has never been collated or corrected and which abounds in errors of omission and commission, I have been guided by one consideration only, which is, that my first and chiefest duty to the reader is to make my book readable at the same time that it lays before him the whole matter which the text offered or ought to have offered. Hence I have not hesitated when necessary to change the order of the sentences, to delete tautological words and phrases, to suppress descriptions which are needlessly reiterated, and in places to supply the connecting links without which the chain of narrative is weakened or broken. These are liberties which must be allowed, unless the translator’s object be to produce a mutilated version of a mutilation.

Here also I must express my cordial gratitude to Mr. Alexander J. Cotheal, Consul-General for Nicaragua, in New York. This distinguished Arabist not only sent to me across the seas his MS. containing, inter alia, “The Tale of Attaf,” he also under took to translate it for my collection upon my distinct assurance that its many novelties of treatment deserved an especial version. Mr. W. F. Kirby has again conferred upon my readers an important service by his storiological notes. Lastly, Dr. Steingass has lent me, as before, his valuable aid in concluding as he did in commencing this series, and on putting the colophon to

The Sixteenth Volume
of
The Thousand Nights and a Night.

RICHARD F. BURTON

United Service Club, August 1st, 1888.

1 Tome xii. is dated 1789, the other three, 1788, to include them in the “Cabinet.”

2 The titles of all the vols. are dated alike, 1793, the actual date of printing.

3 This name is not in the Arabic text, and I have vainly puzzled my brains about its derivation or meaning.

4 This P.N. is, I presume, a corruption of “Shawalán”=one falling short. The wife “Oitba” is evidently “Otbá” or “Utbá.”

5 See my Supplemental volume i. pp. 37-116, “The Ten Wazirs; or, the History of King Azádbakht and his Son.”

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/burton/richard/b97b/v16foreword.html

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