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Burton: Tale of Taj al-Muluk and the Princess Dunya (The Lover and the Loved)

[Go back to Tale of King Omar Bin Al-Nu'uman and His Sons Sharrkan and Zau Al-Makan]

There stood in times long gone by behind the Mountains of Ispahan, a city highs the Green City, wherein dwelt a King named Sulayman Shah. Now he was a man of liberality and beneficence, of justice and integrity, of generosity and sincerity, to whom travellers repaired from every country, and his name was noised abroad in all regions and cities and he reigned many a year in high worship and prosperity, save that he owned neither wives nor children. He had a Minister who rivalled him in goodness and generosity and it so happened that one day, he sent for him and when he came into the presence said to him, "O my Wazir, my heart is heavy and my patience is past and my force faileth me, for that I have neither wife nor child. This is not the way of Kings who rule over all men, princes. and paupers; for they rejoice in leaving behind them children and successors whereby are doubled their number and their strength. Quoth the Prophet (whom Allah bless and keep!); 'Marry ye, increase ye, and multiply ye, that I may boast me of your superiority over the nations on the Day of Resurrection.' So what is thy rede, O Wazir? Advise me of what course and contrivance be advisable!" When the Minister heard these words, the tears sprang from his eyes in streams, and he replied, "Far be it from me, O King of the Age, that I debate on that which appertaineth to the Compassionate One! Wilt thou have me cast into the fire by the All powerful King's wrath and ire? Buy thee a concubine." Rejoined the King, "Know, O Wazir, that when a sovereign buyeth a female slave, he knoweth neither her rank nor her lineage and thus he cannot tell if she be of simple origin that he may abstain from her, or of gentle strain that he may be intimate in her companionship. So, if he have commerce with her, haply she will conceive by him and her son be a hypocrite, a man of wrath and a shedder of blood. Indeed the like of such woman may be instanced by a salt and marshy soil, which if one till for ever it yieldeth only worthless growth and no endurance show eth; for it may be that her son will be obnoxious to his Lord's anger, doing not what He biddeth him or abstaining from what He for biddeth him. Wherefore will I never become the cause of this through the purchase of a concubine; and it is my desire that thou demand for me in marriage the daughter of some one of the Kings, whose lineage is known and whose loveliness hath renown. If thou can direct me to some maiden of birth and piety of the daughters of Moslem Sovranty, I will ask her in marriage and wed her in presence of witnesses, so may accrue to me the favour of the Lord of all Creatures." Said the Wazir, "O King, verily Allah hath fulfilled thy wish and hath brought thee to thy desire;" presently adding, "Know, O King, it hath come to my knowledge that King Zahr Shah, Lord of the White Land, hath a daughter of surpassing loveliness whose charms talk and tale fail to express: she hath not her equal in this age, for she is perfect in proportion and symmetry, black eyed as if Kohl dyed and long locked, wee of waist and heavy of hip. When she draweth nigh she seduceth and when she turneth her back she slayeth; she ravisheth heart and view and she looketh even as saith of her the poet,

'A thin waist maid who shames the willow wand; * Nor sun nor moon can like her rising shine:
'Tis as her honey dew of lips were blent * With wine, and pearls of teeth were bathed in wine:
Her form, like heavenly Houri's, graceful slim; * Fair face; and ruin dealt by glancing eyne:
How many a dead done man her eyes have slain * Upon her way of love in ruin li'en:
An live I she's my death! I'll say no more * But dying without her vain were life of mine.' "

Now when the Wazir had made an end of describing that maiden, he said to Sulayman Shah, "It is my counsel, O King, that thou despatch to her father an ambassador, sagacious, experienced and trained in the ways of the world, who shall courteously demand her in marriage for thee of her sire; for in good sooth she hath not her equal in the far parts of the world nor in the near. So shalt thou enjoy her lovely face in the way of grace, and the Lord of Glory be content with thy case; for it is reported of the Prophet (whom Allah bless and preserve!) that he said, 'There be no monkery in Al-Islam."' At this the King was transported to perfect joy; his breast was broadened and lightened; care and cark ceased from him and he turned to the Wazir and said, "Know thou, O Minister, that none shall fare about this affair save thou, by reason of thy consummate intelligence and good breeding; wherefore hie thee home and do all thou hast to do and get thee ready by the morrow and depart and demand me in marriage this maiden, with whom thou hast occupied my heart and thought; and return not to me but with her." Replied the Wazir, "I hear and I obey." Then he tried to his own house and bade make ready presents befitting Kings, of precious stones and things of price and other matters light of load but weighty of worth, besides Rabite steeds and coats of mail, such as David made and chests of treasure for which speech hath no measure. And the Wazir loaded the whole on camels and mules, and set out attended by an hundred slave girls with flags and banners flaunting over his head. The King charged him to return to him after a few days; and, when he was gone, Sulayman Shah lay on coals of fire, engrossed night and day with desire; while the envoy fared on without ceasing through gloom and light, spanning fertile field and desert site, till but a day's march remained between him and the city whereto he was bound. Here he sat him down on the banks of a river and, summoning one of his confidants, bade him wend his way to King Zahr Shah and announce his approach without delay. Quoth the messenger, "I hear and I obey!" And he rode on in haste to that city and, as he was about to enter therein, it so chanced that the King, who was sitting in one of his pleasaunces before the city gate, espied him as he was passing the doors, and knowing him for a stranger, bade bring him before the presence. So the messenger coming forward informed him of the approach of the Wazir of the mighty King Sulayman Shah, Lord of the Green Land and of the Mountains of Ispahan: whereat King Zahr Shah rejoiced and welcomed him. Then he carried him to his palace and asked him, "Where leavedst thou the Wazir?"; and he answered, "I left him in early day on the banks of such a river and tomorrow he will reach thee, Allah continue his favours to thee and have mercy upon thy parents!" Thereupon King Zahr Shah commanded one of his Wazirs to take the better part of his Grandees and Chamberlains and Lieutenants and Lords of the land, and go out to meet the ambassador in honour of King Sulayman Shah; for that his dominion extended over the country. Such was the case with Zahr Shah; but as regards the Wazir he abode in his stead till night was half spent and then set out for the city; but when morning shone and the sun rose upon hill and down, of a sudden he saw King Zahr Shah's Wazir approaching him, with his Chamberlains and high Lords and Chief Officers of the kingdom; and the two parties joined company at some parasangs' distance from the city. Thereat the Wazir made sure of the success of his errand and saluted the escort, which ceased not preceding him till they reached the King's palace and passed in before him through the gate to the seventh vestibule, a place where none might enter on horseback, for it was near to where the King sat. So the Minister alighted and fared on a foot till he came to a lofty saloon, at whose upper end stood a marble couch, set with pearls and stones of price, and having for legs four elephant's tusks. Upon it was a coverlet of green satin purfled with red gold, and above it hung a canopy adorned with pearls and gems, whereon sat King Zahr Shah, whilst his officers of state stood in attendance before him. When the Wazir went in to him, he composed his mind and, unbinding his tongue, displayed the oratory of Wazirs and saluted the King in the language of eloquence.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Wazir of King Sulayman Shah entered the presence of King Zahr Shah he composed his mind and, unbinding his tongue, displayed the oratory of Wazirs and saluted the King in the language of eloquence and improvised these couplets,

"He cometh robed and bending gracefully: * O'er crop and cropper dews of grace sheds he:
He charms; nor characts, spells nor gramarye * May fend the glances of those eyne from thee:
Say to the blamer, "Blame me not, for I * From love of him will never turn to flee":
My heart hath played me false while true to him, * And Sleep, in love with him, abhorreth me:
O heart! th'art not the sole who loveth him, * So bide with him while I desertion dree:
There's nought to joy mine ears with joyous sound * Save praise of King Zahr Shah in jubilee:
A King albeit thou leave thy life to win * One look, that look were all sufficiency:
And if a pious prayer thou breathe for him, * Shall join all Faithfuls in such pious gree:
Folk of his realm! If any shirk his right * For other hoping, gross Unfaith I see."

When the Wazir had ended his poetry, King Zahr Shah bade him draw near and honoured him with the highmost honours; then, seating him by his own side, smiled in his face and favoured him with a gracious reply. They ceased not on this wise till the time of the under meal when the attendants brought forward the tables of food in that saloon and all ate till they were sated; after which the tables were removed and those who were in the assembly withdrew, leaving only the chief officers. Now when the Minister saw this, he rose to his feet and, after complimenting the King a second time and kissing the ground before him, spake as follows, "O mighty King and dread Lord! I have travelled hither and have visited thee upon a matter which shall bring thee peace, profit and prosperity: and it is this, that I come as ambassador to thee, seeking in marriage thy daughter, the noble and illustrious maid, from Sulayman Shah, a Prince famed for justice and integrity, sincerity and generosity, Lord of the Green Land and of the Mountains of Ispahan, who sendeth thee of presents a store, and gifts of price galore, ardently desiring to become thy son in law. But art thou inclined to him as he to thee?" He then kept silence, awaiting a reply. When King Zahr Shah heard these words, he sprang to his feet and kissed the ground respectfully before the Wazir, while the bystanders were confounded at his condescension to the ambassador and their minds were amazed. Then he praised Him who is the Lord of Honour and Glory and replied (and he still standing), "O mighty Wazir and illustrious Chief; hear thou what I say! Of a truth we are to King Sulayman Shah of the number of his subjects, and we shall be ennobled by his alliance and we covet it ardently; for my daughter is a handmaid of his handmaidens, and it is my dearest desire that he may become my stay and my reliable support." Then he summoned the Kazis and the witnesses, who should bear testimony that King Sulayman Shah had despatched his Wazir as proxy to conclude the marriage, and that King Zahr Shah joyfully acted and officiated for his daughter. So the Kazis concluded the wedding contract and offered up prayers for the happiness and prosperity of the wedded feres; after which the Wazir arose and, fetching the gifts and rarities and precious things, laid them all before the King. Then Zahr Shah occupied himself anent the fitting out of his daughter and honourably entertained the Wazir and feasted his subjects all, great and small; and for two months they held high festival, omitting naught that could rejoice heart and eye. Now when all things needful for the bride were ready, the King caused the tents to be carried out and they pitched the camp within sight of the city, where they packed the bride's stuffs in chests and get ready the Greek handmaids and Turkish slave girls, and provided the Princess with great store of precious treasures and costly jewels. Then he had made for her a litter of red gold, inlaid with pearls and stones of price, and set apart two mules to carry it; a litter which was like one of the chambers of a palace, and within which she seemed as she were of the loveliest Houris and it became as one of the pavilions of Paradise. And after they had made bales of the treasures and monies, and had loaded them upon the mules and camels, King Zahr Shah went forth with her for a distance of three parasangs; after which he bade farewell to her and the Wazir and those with him, and returned to his home in gladness and safety. Thereupon the Wazir, faring with the King's daughter, pushed on and ceased not his stages over desert ways,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir fared on with the King's daughter and ceased not forcing his stages over desert ways and hastened his best through nights and days, till there remained between him and his city but three marches. Thereupon he sent forward to King Sulayman Shah one who should announce the coming of the bride. The King rejoiced thereat and bestowed on the messenger a dress of honour; and bade his troops march forth in grand procession to meet the Princess and her company for due worship and honour, and don their richest apparel with banners flying over their heads. And his orders were obeyed. He also commanded to cry throughout the city that neither curtained damsel nor honoured lady nor time-ruptured crone should fail to fare forth and meet the bride. So they all went out to greet her and the grandest of them vied in doing her service and they agreed to bring her to the King's palace by night. More over, the chief officers decided to decorate the road and to stand in espalier of double line, whilst the bride should pass by preceded by her eunuchs and serving women and clad in the gear her father had given her. So when she made her appearance, the troops surrounded her, these of the right wing and those of the left, and the litter ceased not advancing with her till she approached the palace; nor remained any but came forth to gaze upon the Princess. Drums were beaten and spears were brandished and horns blared and flags fluttered and steeds pranced for precedence and scents shed fragrance till they reached the Palace gate and the pages entered with the litter through the Harim wicket. The place shone with its splendours and the walls glittered for the glamour of its gear. Now when night came, the eunuchs threw open the doors of the bridal chamber and stood surrounding the chief entrance whereupon the bride came forward and amid her damsels she was like the moon among stars or an union shining on a string of lesser pearls, and she passed into the bridal closet where they had set for her a couch of alabaster inlaid with unions and jewels. As soon as she had taken seat there, the King came in to her and Allah filled his heart with her love so he abated her maidenhead and ceased from him his trouble and disquiet. He abode with her well nigh a month but she had conceived by him the first night; and, when the month was ended, he went forth and sat on his sofa of state, and dispensed justice to his subjects, till the months of her pregnancy were accomplished. On the last day of the ninth month, towards day break, the Queen was seized with the pangs of labour; so she sat down on the stool of delivery and Allah made the travail easy to her and she gave birth to a boy child, on whom appeared auspicious signs. When the King heard of this, he joyed with exceeding joy and rewarded the bearer of the good tidings with much treasure; and of his gladness he went in to the child and kissed him between the eyes and wondered at his brilliant loveliness; for in him was approved the saying of the poet,

"In the towering forts Allah throned him King, * A lion, a star in the skies of reign:
At his rising the spear and the throne rejoiced, * The gazelle, the ostrich, The men of main:
Mount him not on the paps, for right soon he'll show * That to throne on the war steed's loins he's fain:
And wean him from sucking of milk, for soon * A sweeter drink, the foe's blood, he'll drain."

Then the midwives took the newborn child and cut the navel cord and darkened his eyelids with Kohl powder and named him Taj al-Muluk Kharan. He was suckled at the breast of fond indulgence and was reared in the lap of happy fortune; and thus his days ceased not running and the years passing by till he reached the age of seven. Thereupon Sulayman Shah summoned the doctors and learned men and bade them teach his son writing and science and belle-lettres. This they continued to do for some years, till he had learnt what was needful; and, when the King saw that he was well grounded in whatso he desired, he took him out of the teachers' and professors' hands and engaged for him a skilful master, who taught him cavalarice and knightly exercises till the boy attained the age of fourteen; and when he fared abroad on any occasion, all who saw him were ravished by his beauty and made him the subject of verse; and even pious men were seduced by his brilliant loveliness.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Tenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, That when Taj al-Muluk Kharan, son of Sulayman Shah, became perfect in riding craft and excelled all those of his time, his excessive beauty, when he fared abroad on any occasion, caused all who saw him to be ravished and to make him the subject of verse; and even pious men were seduced by his brilliant loveliness. Quoth the poet of him,

"I clipt his form and wax'd drunk with his scent, * Fair branch to whom Zephyr gave nutriment:
Nor drunken as one who drinks wine, but drunk * With night draught his lips of the honey dew lent:
All beauty is shown in the all of him, * Hence all human hearts he in hand hath hens:
My mind, by Allah! shall ne'er unmind * His love, while I wear life's chains till spent:
If I live, in his love I'll live; if I die * For pine and longing, 'O blest!' I'll cry

When he reached the eighteenth year of his age, tender down sprouted, on his side face fresh with youth, from a mole upon one rosy cheek and a second beauty spot, like a grain of ambergris adorned the other; and he won the wits and eyes of every wight who looked on him, even as saith the poet,

"He is Caliph of Beauty in Yusufs lieu, * And all lovers fear when they sight his grace:
Pause and gaze with me; on his cheek thou'lt sight * The Caliphate's banner of sable hue."

And as saith another,

"Thy sight hath never seen a fairer sight, * Of all things men can in the world espy,
Than yon brown mole, that studs his bonny cheek * Of rosy red beneath that jet black eye."

And as saith another,

"I marvel seeing yon mole that serves his cheeks' bright flame * Yet burneth not in fire albeit Infidel
I wonder eke to see that apostolic glance, * Miracle working, though it work by magic spell:
How fresh and bright the down that decks his cheek, and yet * Bursten gall bladders feed which e'en as waters well."

And as saith another,

"I marvel hearing people questioning of * The Fount of Life and in what land 'tis found:
I see it sprung from lips of dainty fawn, * Sweet rosy mouth with green mustachio down'd:
And wondrous wonder 'tis when Moses viewed * That Fount, he rested not from weary round."

Now having developed such beauty, when he came to man's estate his loveliness increased, and it won for him many comrades and intimates; while every one who drew near to him wished that Taj al-Muluk Kharan might become Sultan after his father's death, and that he himself might be one of his Emirs. Then took he passionately to chasing and hunting which he would hardly leave for a single hour. His father, King Sulayman Shah, would have forbidden him the pursuit fearing for him the perils of the waste and the wild beasts; but he paid no heed to his warning voice. And it so chanced that once upon a time he said to his attendants "Take ye ten days food and forage;" and, when they obeyed his bidding, he set out with his suite for sport and disport. They rode on into the desert and ceased not riding four days, till they came to a place where the ground was green, and they saw in it wild beasts grazing and trees with ripe fruit growing and springs flowing. Quoth Taj al-Muluk to his followers, "Set up the nets here and peg them in a wide ring and let our trysting place be at the mouth of the fence, in such a spot." So they obeyed his words and staked out a wide circle with toils; and there gathered together a mighty matter of all kinds of wild beasts and gazelles, which cried out for fear of the men and threw themselves for fright in the face of the horses. Then they loosed on to them the hounds and lynxes and hawks; and they shot the quarry down with shafts which pierced their vitals; and, by the time they came to the further end of the net ring, they had taken a great number of the wild beasts, and the rest fled. Then Taj al-Muluk dismounted by the water side and bade the game be brought before himself, and divided it, after he had set apart the best of the beasts for his father, King Sulayman Shah, and despatched the game to him; and some he distributed among the officers of his court. He passed the night in that place, and when morning dawned there came up a caravan of merchants conveying negro slaves and white servants, and halted by the water and the green ground. When Taj al-Muluk saw them, he said to one of his companions, "Bring me news of yonder men and question them why they have halted in this place." So the messenger went up to them and addressed them, "Tell me who ye be, and answer me an answer without delay." Replied they, "We are merchants and have halted to rest, for that the next station is distant and we abide here because we have confidence in King Sulayman Shah and his son, Taj al-Muluk, and we know that all who alight in his dominions are in peace and safety; more over we have with us precious stuffs which we have brought for the Prince." So the messenger returned and told these news to the King's son who, hearing the state of the case and what the merchants had replied, said, "If they have brought stuff on my account I will not enter the city nor depart hence till I see it shown to me." Then he mounted horse and rode to the caravan and his Mamelukes followed him till he reached it. Thereupon the merchants rose to receive him and invoked on him Divine aid and favour with continuance of glory and virtues; after which they pitched him a pavilion of red satin, embroidered with pearls and jewels, wherein they spread him a kingly divan upon a silken carpet worked at the upper end with emeralds set in gold. There Taj al-Muluk seated himself whilst his white servants stood in attendance upon him, and sent to bid the merchants bring out all that they had with them. Accordingly, they produced their merchandise, and displayed the whole and he viewed it and took of it what liked him, paying them the price. Then he looked about him at the caravan, and remounted and was about to ride onwards, when his glance fell on a handsome youth in fair attire, and a comely and shapely make, with flower white brow and moon like face, save that his beauty was wasted and that yellow hues had overspread his cheeks by reason of parting from those he loved;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Eleventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Taj Al- Muluk, when he looked about him at the caravan, saw a handsome youth in neat attire and of shapely make, with flower like forehead and moon like face, save that his beauty was wasted and yellow hues had overspread his cheeks by reason of parting from those he loved; and great was his groaning and moaning, and the tears streamed from his eyelids as he repeated these couplets,

"Longsome is Absence; Care and Fear are sore, * And ceaseless tears, O friend, mine eyes outpour:
Yea, I farewelled my heart on parting day * And heartless, hopeless, now I bide forlore:
Pause, O my friend, with me farewelling one * Whose words my cure can work, my health restore!"

Now when the youth ended his poetry he wept awhile and fell down in a fainting fit, whilst Taj al-Muluk looked at him and wondered at his case. Then, coming to himself, he stared with distracted air, and versified in these couplets,

"Beware her glance I rede thee, 'tis like wizard wight, * None can escape unscathed those eye shafts' glancing flight:
In very sooth black eyes, with languorous sleepy look, * Pierce deeper than white swords however these may bite.
Be not thy senses by her sweets of speech beguiled, * Whose brooding fever shall ferment in thought and sprite:
Soft sided Fair did silk but press upon her skin, * 'Twould draw red blood from it, as thou thyself canst sight.
Chary is she of charms twixt neck and anklets dwell, * And ah! what other scent shall cause me such delight?"

Then he sobbed a loud sob and swooned away. But when Taj al- Muluk saw him in this case, he was perplexed about his state and went up to him; and, as the youth came to his senses and saw the King's son standing at his head, he sprang to his feet and kissed the ground between his hands. Taj al-Muluk asked him, 'Why didst thou not show us thy merchandise?" end he answered, O my lord, there is naught among my stock worthy of thine august highness." Quoth the Prince, "Needs must thou show me what thou hast and acquaint me with thy circumstance; for I see thee weeping eyed and heavyhearted. If thou have been oppressed, we will end thine oppression, and if thou be in debt, we will pay thy debt; for of a truth my heart burneth to see thee, since I first set eyes on thee." Then Taj al-Muluk bade the seats be set, and they brought him a chair of ivory and ebony with a net work of gold and silk, and spread him a silken rug for his feet. So he sat down on the chair and bidding the youth seat himself on the rug said to him, "Show me thy stock in trade!" The young merchant replied, "O my Lord, do not name this to me, for my goods be unworthy of thee." Rejoined Taj al-Muluk "It needs must be thus!"; and bade some of the pages fetch the goods. So they brought them in despite of him; and, when he saw them, the tears streamed from his eyes and he wept and sighed and lamented: sobs rose in his throat and he repeated these couplets,

"By what thine eyelids show of Kohl and coquetry! * By what thy shape displays of lissome symmetry!
By what thy liplets store of honey dew and wine! * By what thy mind adorns of gracious kindly gree!
To me thy sight dream-visioned, O my hope! exceeds * The happiest escape from horriblest injury."

Then the youth opened his bales and displayed his merchandise to Taj Al-Muluk in detail, piece by piece, and amongst them he brought out a gown of satin brocaded with gold, worth two thousand dinars. When he opened the gown there fell a piece of linen from its folds. As soon as the young merchant saw this he caught up the piece of linen in haste and hid it under his thigh; and his reason wandered, and he began versifying,

"When shall be healed of thee this heart that ever bides in woe? * Than thee the Pleiad-stars more chance of happy meeting show
Parting and banishment and longing pain and lowe of love, * Procrastinating and delay these ills my life lay low:
Nor union bids me live in joy, nor parting kills by grief, * Nor travel draws me nearer thee nor nearer comest thou:
Of thee no justice may be had, in thee dwells naught of rush, * Nor gain of grace by side of thee, nor flight from thee I know:
For love of thee all goings forth and comings back are strait * On me, and I am puzzled sore to know where I shall go."

Taj al-Muluk wondered with great wonder at his verse, and could not comprehend the cause. But when the youth snatched up the bit of linen and placed it under thigh, he asked him, "What is that piece of linen?" "O my Lord," answered the merchant, "thou hast no concern with this piece." Quoth the King's son, "Show it me;" and quoth the merchant, "O my lord, I refused to show thee my goods on account of this piece of linen; for I cannot let thee look upon it."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Twelfth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant said to Taj al-Muluk, "I did not refuse to show thee my goods save on this account, for I cannot let thee look upon it." Whereupon Taj al Muluk retorted, "Perforce I must and will see it;" and insisted and became angry. So the youth drew it out from under his thigh, and wept and moaned and redoubled his sighs and groans, and repeated these verses,

"Now blame him not; for blame brings only irk and pain! * Indeed, I spake him sooth but ne'er his ear could gain:
May Allah guard my moon which riseth in the vale * Beside our camp, from loosed robe like skyey plain:
I left him but had Love vouchsafed to leave for me * Some peace in life such leave of him I ne'er had ta'en:
How long he pleaded for my sake on parting morn, * While down his cheeks and mine tears ran in railing rain:
Allah belie me not: the garb of mine excuse * This parting rent, but I will Mend that garb again!
No couch is easy to my side, nor on such wise * Aught easeth him, when all alone without me lain:
Time with ill omened hand hath wrought between us two, * And made my waxing joys to wane and his to wane,
And poured mere grief and woe, what time Time fain had crowned * The bowl he made me drink and gave for him to drain."

When he ended his recitation, quoth Taj al-Muluk, "I see thy conduct without consequence; tell me then why weepest thou at the sight of this rag!" When the young merchant heard speak of the piece of linen, he sighed and answered, "O my lord, my story is a strange and my case out of range, with regard to this piece of linen and to her from whom I brought it and to her who wrought on it these figures and emblems." Hereupon, he spread out the piece of linen, and behold, thereon was the figure of a gazelle wrought in silk and worked with red gold, and facing it was another gazelle traced in silver with a neck ring of red gold and three bugles of chrysolite upon the ring. When Taj al-Muluk saw the beauty of these figures, he exclaimed, "Glory be to Allah who teacheth man that which he knoweth not!" And his heart yearned to hear the youth's story; so he said to him, "Tell me thy story with her who owned these gazelles." Replied the young man: "Hear, O my Lord, the...

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Burton, Richard (1821-1890). The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. London. 1885-1888. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. VII. Gutenberg Vol. VIII. Gutenberg Vol. IX. Gutenberg Vol. X. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version.


1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM


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