The Perfumed Garden, by Richard Burton

The Perfumed Garden
of the
Sheikh Nefzaoui


General Remarks about Coition

Praise be given to God, who has placed man’s greatest pleasure in the natural parts of woman, and has destined the natural parts of man to afford the greatest enjoyment to woman.

He has not endowed the parts of woman with any pleasurable or satisfactory feeling until the same have been penetrated by the instrument of the male; and likewise the sexual organs of man know neither rest nor quietness until they have entered those of the female.

Hence the mutual operation. There takes place between the two actors wrestling, intertwining6, a kind of animated conflict. Owing to the contact of the lower parts parts of the two bellies7 the enjoyment soon comes to pass. The man is at work as with a pestle, while the woman seconds him by lascivious movements;8 finally comes the ejaculation.

The kiss on the mouth, on the two cheeks, upon the neck, as well as the sucking up of fresh lips, are gifts of God, destined to provoke erection at the favourable moment. God also was it who has embellished the chest of the woman with breasts, has furnished her with a double chin,9 and has given brilliant colours to her cheeks.

He has also gifted her with eyes that inspire love, and with eyelashes like polished blades.

He has furnished her with a rounded belly and a beautiful navel, and with a majestic crupper; and all these wonders are borne up by the thighs. It is between these latter that God has placed the arena of combat; when the same is provided with ample flesh, it resembles the head of a lion. It is called vulva. Oh! how many men’s deaths lie at her door? Amongst them how many heroes!

God has furnished this object with a mouth, a tongue10 two lips; it is like the impression of the hoof of the gazelle in the sands of the desert.

The whole is supported by two marvellous columns, testifying to the might and the wisdom of God; they are not too long nor too short; and they are graced with knees, calves, ankles, and heels, upon which rest precious rings.

Then the Almighty has plunged woman into a sea of splendours, of voluptuousness, and of delights, and covered her with precious vestments, with brilliant girdles and provoking smiles.

So let us praise and exalt him who has created woman and her beauties, with her appetising flesh; who has given her hairs, a beautiful figure, a bosom with breasts which are swelling, and amorous ways, which awaken desires.

The master of the Universe has bestowed upon them the empire of seduction; all men, weak or strong, are subjected to the weakness for the love of woman. Through woman we have society or dispersion, sojourn or emigration.

The state of humility in which are the hearts of those who love and are separated from the object of their love, makes their hearts burn with love’s fire; they are oppressed with a feeling of servitude, contempt and misery; they suffer under the vicissitudes of their passion: and all this as a consequence of their burning desire of contact.

I, the servant of God, am thankful to Him that no one can help falling in love with beautiful women, and that no one can escape the desire to possess them, neither by change, nor flight, nor separation.

I testify that there is only one God, and that he has no associate. I shall adhere to his precious testimony to the days of the last judgment.

I likewise testify as to our lord and master, Mohammed, the servant and ambassador of God, the greatest of the prophets (the benediction and pity of God be with him and with his family and disciples!).11 I keep prayers and benedictions for the day of retribution, that terrible moment.

The Origin Of This Work.

I have written this magnificent work after a small book, called “The Torch of the World,” which treats of the mysteries of generation.

This latter work came to the knowledge of the Vizir of our master Abd-el-Aziz, the ruler of Tunis.

This illustrious Vizir was his poet, his companion, his friend and private secretary. He was good in council, true, sagacious and wise, the best learned man of his time, and well acquainted with all things. He called himself Mohammed ben Ouana ez Zonaoui, and traced his origin from Zonaoua.12 He had been brought up at Algiers, and in that town our master Abd-el-Aziz el Hafsi had made his acquaintance.13

On the day when Algiers was taken, that ruler took flight with him to Tunis (which land may God preserve in his power till the day of resurrection), and named him his Grand Vizir.

When the above mentioned book came into his hands, he sent for me and invited me pressingly to come and see him. I went forthwith to his house, and he received me most honorably.

Three days after he came to me, and showing me my book, said, “This is your work.” Seeing me blush, he added, “You need not be ashamed; everything you have said in it is true; no one need be shocked at your words. Moreover, you are not the first who has treated of this matter; and I swear by God that it is necessary to know this book. It is only the shameless boor and the enemy of all science who will not read it, or make fun of it. But there are sundry things which you will have to treat about yet.” I asked him what these things were, and he answered, “I wish that you would add to the work a supplement, treating of the remedies of which you have said nothing, and adding all the facts appertaining thereto, omitting nothing. You will describe in the same the motives of the act of generation, as well as the matters that prevent it. You will mention the means for undoing spelle (aiguillette), and the way to increase the size of the verile member, when too small, and to make it resplendent. You will further cite those means which remove the unpleasant smells from the armpits and the natural parts of women, and those which will contract those parts. You will further speak of pregnancy, so as to make your book perfect and wanting in nothing. And, finally, you will have done your work, if your book satisfy all wishes.”

I replied to the Vizir: “O, my master, all you have said is not difficult to do, if it is the pleasure of God on high.”14

I forthwith went to work with the composition of this book, imploring the assistance of God (may He pour His blessing on His prophet, and may happiness and pity be with Him).

I have called this work “The Perfumed Garden for the Soul’s Recreation” (Er Roud el Aater p’nezaha el Khater).

And we pray to God, who directs everything for the best (and there is no other God than He, and there is nothing good that does not come from Him), to lend us His help, and lead us in good ways; for there is no power nor joy but in the high and mighty God.

I have divided this book into twenty-one chapters, in order to make it easier reading for the taleb (student) who wishes to learn, and to facilitate his search for what he wants. Each chapter relates to a particular subject, be it physical, or anecdotical, or treating of the wiles and deceits of women.

Table (list) Of Chapters.
  1. Concerning praiseworthy men.
  2. Concerning praiseworthy women.
  3. Concerning despicable men.
  4. Concerning despicable women.
  5. Concerning the act of generation.
  6. Concerning circumstances favourable to the act of generation.
  7. Concerning circumstances detrimental to the act of generation.
  8. About the different names given to the sexual organs of man.
  9. About the different names given to the sexual parts of women. The act of generation with sundry animals.
  10. Concerning the wiles and deceptions of women.
  11. Concerning sundry useful questions for men and women.
  12. The reason for the pleasure felt in the act of generation.
  13. Description of the womb of women who are sterile, and treatment of the same.
  14. About the means of producing miscarriage.
  15. Causes of impotence in man.
  16. Undoing sinister spells (aiguillettes).
  17. About means to enlarge the dimensions of small virile members, and to make them imposing.
  18. How to remove the bad odour of the armpits and genitalia of women, and how to contract the parts.
  19. Instructions about the pregnancy, and how to know of what sex the child will be.
  20. Containing the conclusion of the work, and showing how the deglutition of eggs is favourable to the venerial act.

I have made the above table to facilitate the research for readers as they may desire.

6 The word “nitah” used by the author, signifies the mutual attack of two horned animals, first knocking their heads together, and then stepping back, after having tried to interlace their horns; it is a quick interchange of blows between two combatants. The expression of the Arabic author is a simile which I could not easily reproduce.

7 The Arabic word “ana” designates the lower parts of the belly, where the hairs grow, which are near to the generating organs.

8 In order to express the movement which takes place in the act of coition, the author uses the word “dok” with reference to the man, and “hez” for the woman. The first of these words means to concuss, to stamp, to pound; it is the action of the pestle in the mortar; the second word signifies a swinging movement, at once exciting, exhilarating, and lascivious.

9 The word “gheba” means a double chin. The Arabs have a decided preference for fat women, consequently everything pointing to that coition is with them a beauty. Thus, the ridges forming upon the stomach of a woman by the development of their stoutness are a very seductive sight in the eyes of Arabs.

10 Meaning of the clitoris.

11 Mohammed, in verse 56, chap, xxxiii., with the heading “The Confederates,” asks the believers to pray for him to God, and salute his name. It is in pursuance of this precept that the Mussulmans neither pronounce nor write the name of their prophet, without adding the sacramental formula, which runs: “Upon whom be benedictions and blessings of God.”

12 The Zonaoua were an independent Kabyl tribe, occupying the high peaks of Djurjura. The land of Kon-kon, represented by the Spanish writers as a kingdom, is simply the district belonging to the Zonaoua tribe, who had frequent conflicts with the Turks on their first arrival in Tunis.

13 The period spoken of here can only be that of the submission of Algiers to Spain, when that city in 1510 (916 of the Hegira) acknowledged the supremacy of Spain and promised to pay her tribute, or that of the establishment of the Turkish domination in 1515 (921 of the Hegira). These are the only two cases of submission related by the old historians; and at neither of these periods was an Abd-el-Aziz reigning in Tunis. It is, however, very probable that the Author speaks of the Turkish occupation, when Barbarossa, having been invited by the Emir of Algiers to help him with his Turks in the war with the Spaniards, arrived at the city, put the Emir to death, and caused himself to be proclaimed King of Algiers instead. The ruler of Tunis was then Abou Omar Amane Mohammed. The Bey of the name Abd-el-ziz, who, according to the period of his reign, came nearest to the events named by the author, was Abou Omar Abd-el-Aziz;, who died in 893, and was one of the best Khelifar of the dynasty of the Beni Hafs. This error or difference will not surprise those who know how inaccurate the Arabs are in their quotations.

14 The Arabs never say they will do a thing, without adding “If it please God.” The prescriptions of the Koran (verse 23, chap, xviii) run: “Never say, I shall do so and so tomorrow,” without “If it please God.” The origin of this verse is ascribed to the momentary trouble in which Mohammed was, when answering questions put to him by Jews. He had promised to answer them the next day, forgetting to add, “If it please God.” As punishment the revelations did not come till some days after. Their verse runs as follows: “Never say, ‘I shall do a thing tomorrow,’ without adding ‘If it be the will of God.’ Remember God, if you should forget this, and say: ‘Perhaps God will help me to the true knowledge of things.’ ”

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51