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TURKISH
LITERATURE



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COMPRISING

FABLES, BELLES-LETTRES

AND

SACRED TRADITIONS

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH FOR THE FIRST TIME



WITH A SPECIAL INTRODUCTION BY

EPIPHANIUS WILSON, A.M.




REVISED EDITION




V^







' FIFTH AV^ X!^ir &NEW-YORKT



^^^^




Copyright, 1901,
By the colonial PRESS.






SPECIAL INTRODUCTION

THE national literature of Turkey is something with which
the European and American mind is by no means
familiar, and, indeed, it has only recently become a dis-
tinctive feature in the world's intellectual activity. Turkey is
really an oriental country transplanted into a European en-
vironment, and the truest affinities of Turkey are with the far
East, with Arabia and Persia. There are at least twenty-five
written languages used in the Ottoman Empire, and Turkish is
sometimes written in Arabian, sometimes in Persian characters,
yet in spite of the babel of tongues which is found at Con-
stantinople, the strong individuality of the Turk has manifested
itself in literature as it has in politics and government, and
there exists a considerable amount of epic and lyric poetry,
drama, romance and apologue which is neither Arabian nor
Persian, but is racy of the soil, the soil being principally that
of Constantinople, where the Sultans, up to the present time,
have been eminent patrons of the literary craft ; some of them.
Sultan Mustapha, for instance, in the sixteenth century, being
writers of no mean accomplishments.

It is usual to divide the history of Turkish literature into
three periods. The primitive literature of Turkey flourished
between the years 1301 and 1520, during which time the Persian
influence was paramount in the romantic and mystic pro-
ductions of the Ottoman poets. The Shah-Nameh furnished
many of the heroes to these Ottoman romances, and the forms of
versification are all borrowed from Iran. " The Divan " and
" History of the Forty Vezirs " belong to this period.

The middle period of Ottoman literature extends from 1520
to 1730. This is sometimes called the classic period, because in
it the capabilities of the genuine Turkish language were tested,
developed, and fixed. It opened with the reign of Suleyman I,
whose splendid achievements, as a warrior by land and sea, won

iii



iv SPECIAL INTRODUCTION

him the name of the Brilliant. The general history of literature
teaches us that national triumph in war always gives a stimulus
to national literature, and accordingly this era is adorned by the
works of Fasli, and of a host of other poets, whose productions
will be found represented in the translations contained in the
present volume.

The third period of Ottoman literature shows the Turkish
writers under the influence of European models, but ending at
last in Drama, essentially the comedy of manners, and not of
European, but of Turkish manners. The plays of Mirza Feth-
Ali Akhoud-Zaide, of one of which we publish a translation in
this volume, reflect domestic, forensic, and official life at Con-
stantinople during the last century as truly as those of Moliere
reflect the speech and manners of Parisian society as they ex-
isted in the reign of le grand monarque. The last development
of Hterary activity at Constantinople is shown not only by the
developments of the drama, but by the vigor displayed in the
domain of journalism.

The Ottoman poems, of which we give the only English
translation extant, that by E. J. W. Gibb, reveal the high rank
taken by Turkish verse in the poesy of the East. The Turkish
metres were many and varied, and the flexibility of the language
lent itself to intricate forms of composition. In imagination
and passion these Ottoman poems will hold their own in any
company.

" The Rose and the Nightingale " of Fasli, which has been for
the first time translated into English in the present volume, is
the elaboration of an ancient Persian myth with regard to the
loves of Gul and Bulbul. There are numberless allusions to
this beautiful fable in such works as " The Divan " of Hafiz, as
for instance where he says :

In blossom is the crimson rose, and the rapt Bulbul trills his song,
A summons that to revel calls you, Sufis, wine-adoring throng.

The author of this Turkish poem, Mohammed Fasli, " Black
Fasli," as he was called from his swarthy complexion, was the
son of a saddler of Constantinople, and early became a pupil of
the poet Sati. He soon attracted the attention of the Court, and
was made secretary to the Divan by Prince Mustapha, who, as
we have seen, was himself a poet. Fasli wrote several poems of



SPECIAL INTRODUCTION V

the same character as the present one, which is, however, his
best and ripest production. He died in 1563.

" The Rose and the Nightingale " is a brilHant and gorgeous
example of oriental poetry, whose charm is rather increased
than diminished by the repetition and prolixity which charac-
terize it. The poet gives it in his closing passages a profoundly
mystical meaning, which has been so far developed by other
writers that an Armenian Christian author says that the Spring-
time of Fasli means the Creation, the Rose is Christ, the Rose-
garden the Church, the Brook is Baptism, the South Wind is
the Inspiration of the Gospel, the Nightingale, the Soul full of
ardent faith, and so on. This reminds one of Pico Mirandola
reconciling Moses and Homer.

The drama, " The Magistrates," which is here for the first
time translated into English, is the work of Mirza Feth-Ali
Akhoud-Zaide. He is the most original native dramatist whose
works have appeared in Constantinople. Up to a comparatively
recent period the theatres of Turkey were dependent for their
comedies on translations from French, sometimes even from
German or English comedies and farces. The Turk is fond of
witnessing the exertions, the excitements and perturbations of
others, while he himself remains indolent and imperturbable;
hence his passion for story-telling and for the representations of
the stage. In the dramas of Feth-Ali he sees the life of Turkey
vividly reproduced. Love rules the scene, Eastern cruelty
comes in with the bastinado, Eastern duplicity and fraud are
vividly portrayed in the law-court scene. The arrangement
and development of the play are good, and the denouement is
natural and satisfactory.

This will appear from the following analysis of " The Magis-
trates." In the first place, the modern playwright will be
astonished by the lung list of personages in the play. There are
twenty-seven in a short drama, consisting of a series of scenes,
brief, even to jerkiness.

At the opening of the play we learn that Hadji-Ghafour, a
rich merchant, has lately died and left no will ; his property is
therefore claimed by Sekine-Khanoum, his only daughter, a
girl of eighteen, who is engaged to marry Aziz-Bey. The sum
of money in which the legacy consists has been placed in the
hands of the President of the Council, but before he can pay it



vi SPECIAL INTRODUCTION

over to the legatee, claims have been set up in favor of an alleged
child of the late Hadji-Ghafour, borne him by his mistress
Zeneib. A conspiracy is formed, with the aid of certain soldiers
who are suborned to say that they saw the child in Hadji-
Ghafour's arms, and that he acknowledged the paternity. The
complications are increased by the fact that Zobeide, paternal
aunt of Sekine-Khanoun, has promised the hand of her niece
to a richer man than Aziz-Bey, namely, Aga-Hassan, a mer-
chant. The young lady so enrages Hassan by the terms in
which she repudiates him, that he joins the ranks of the con-
spirators, among whom the chief is Aga-Selman, who neverthe-
less has undertaken to be the advocate of Sekine-Khanoun in
the coming lawsuit. The suit at last is opened, the witnesses
corae ready primed to the bar, but, instead of telling their per-
jured tale, relate how they were induced to promise their sup-
port to a fabrication. The tortuous diplomacy of Aga-Selman,
the corruption of the judges, the despair of Sekine and Aziz are
depicted in the liveliest manner, and the revelations of the sol-
diers, who are called by the false advocate as witnesses for
Sekine-Khanoun, but bribed to testify against her, form a
double climax which is a skilful stroke of dramatic art. The
play will be interesting to the Teutonic reader, and seems even
capable of adaptation to the American or English stage.

" The History of the Forty Vezirs " is evidently a collection
of very old stories. Its compilation is attributed to Sheik-Zada,
who lived in the reign of Murad H, 1421-1451. To this Sultan
the tales are dedicated. They are like all oriental tales, barely
tinged with any ethical significance; they aim principally at
amusing and distracting the mind by a series of quickly chang-
ing incidents ; there is no attempt at character-drawing, and an
amazing element of the improbable spices the whole series.
They form, however, the most notable work in prose produced in
that period which saw the dawn of a Turkish literature, and are
only inferior to the tales of Pilpay and the Hitopadesa in
their frivolity, exaggeration and evident lack of all those
features which would indicate an earnest and conscientious
study of real life. They are none the less entertaining, and
their genuine Turkish characteristics render them valuable to
the student of Ottoman literature as well as to the general
reader who may take them up merely pour passer le temps.



SPECIAL INTRODUCTION vii

The fables by unknown authors, which we include in this
volume, and which have never before been translated into
English, are much later productions of Turkish genius. In
Europe the fable has always been, in its original form, one of
the most effective and pungent vehicles of appeal to public
opinion. Witness " The Belly and the Members " of Menenius
Agrippa, so nobly rendered in Shakespeare's " Coriolanus." It
well illustrates La Fontaine's excuse for his own fables, namely,
that under some circumstances a man must be silent or " strike
from afar." From the vantage ground of the fable Menenius
could rebuke a raging mob, and Le Fontaine score the ingrati-
tude of kings, as in more recent times Krilof has satirized the
despotic abuses of the Russian government.

The Turkish fables also " hit from afar." The tyranny of
Turkish rulers is pointed out in "The Farmer and His Hounds."
The corruption that surrounds access to the great is vividly
suggested in " The Sailors in Distress." But the weaknesses of
the Turkish character are also reflected in fables which contain
but little wisdom ; the apathy which puts up with everything is
expressed in the moral of "The Candle"; the want of enter-
prise and energy which is characteristic of the Turk, in " The
Shark " and " The Clown Turned First Soldier, then Mer-
chant."

In the teachings of all these apologues there may be seen
the same features of languid and unresisting acquiescence in
things as they are, with a skit here and there on the oppression
and ingratitude of those in power. Yet they bear a reality about
them which is lacking in the artificial productions of Gay
and Lessing. They come from the heart and go to the heart
of the people, and some of them are neat and pointed, if
not beautiful, in structure and expression. A collection of ex-
amples from Turkish literature would be quite incomplete with-
out these specimens of the Turkish apologues, which reflect so
plainly the ethical standard and general opinions of those to
whom they were addressed.



CONTENTS

Turkish Fables: page

The Gardener and His Wife 3

The Fly 4

The Widow and Her Friend 4

The Two Young Men and the Cook 5

The Buffaloes and the Log 5

The Old Man and His Son 5

The Bird-catcher and the Blackbird 6

The Hens and the Eagles 6

The Pigeon and the Painting 7

The Lion and the Man 7

The Compliment to the Vezir 7

The Ass and the Frogs 8

The Tortoise and the King of Animals 8

The Fox and the Lion 8

The Farmer and His Hounds 9

The Bear and His Mate 9

The Eel and the Serpent 9

The Sailors in Distress 10

The Father and Son 10

The Poet and the Clown 10

The Shark 11

The Wolf, the Nurse, and the Child 11

The Candle 12

The Clown, Turned First Soldier, Then Merchant 12

The Two Kings at War 13

The River and Its Source 13

The Hunter and His Hounds 14

The Fool Who Sells Wisdom 14

The Dicer 15

The Lamb and the Wolf 15

The Insects, the Bee, and the Ant 15

The Two Cocks 16

The Assembly of the Birds 16

The Fox and the Crab 16

The Goats and the Wolves 17

ix



X CONTENTS

Turkish FABLKS—Con/znued pagb

The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox i8

The Wolf and the Ass i8

The Fox and the Partridge 19

The Fox and the Sparrow 19

The Syrian Priest and the Young Man 20

The Converted Cat 20

The Fox and the Wolf 21

The Horse and His Rider 21

The Rose and the Butterfly 22

The Archer and the Trumpeter 23

The Wolf, the Fox, and the Shepherd's Dog 23

The Magistrates 25

Ottoman Poems :

From the Asheq Pasha Diwani 69

From the Iskender Nama 69

From the Iskender Nama 70

From Khusrev and Shirin 71

From Khusrev and Shirin 72

Yaziji Oglu 73

Ruba'i 75

Gazel 75

Fragment of Gazel 76

Gazel 76

Gazel 77

Fragment of Gazel yy

Gazel 78

Gazel 78

Gazel 79

Fragment 79

Gazel 80

From the Winter Qasida 80

From the Spring Qasida 81

From the Qasida on Sultan Bayezid H 82

Gazel 82

Ruba'is 83

From the Spring Qasida 83

Murebba' 84

Fragment 86

Gazel 87

Gazel 87

Gazel 88



CONTENTS xi

Ottoman Vo'EU%— Continued pagb

Gazel 88

Gazel 89

On Autumn 90

On Spring 90

Rose Time 91

From an Elegy on Sultan Selim 1 92

From an Elegy on Iskender Chelebi 93

Fragment 94

Gazel 94

On the Prophet Muhammed 95

Gazel 95

Gazel 96

Gazel 96

Gazel 97

Gazel 97

Gazel 98

Gazel 98

Gazel 99

Museddes 100

Mukhammes 102

From Leyli and Mejnun 103

Mejnun Addresses Nevfil 104

Mejnun's Gazel 104

Zeyd's Vision 105

Gazel 106

Gazel 106

Gazel 107

Gazel 107

Gazel 108

From the King and the Beggar 108

Gazel 109

QaTsda 109

Gazel 112

Gazel 113

Gazel 113

Gazel 114

Gazel 114

Gazel 115

On Autumn 115

Gazel 1 16

Gazel 116

Gazel 116

Gazel 117



xii CONTENTS

Ottoman ^o^eus— Continued page

Elegy on Sultan Suleyman I ii8

Gazel 122

Gazel 122

Gazel 123

Museddes 123

Gazel 125

To Sultan Murad IV 125

In Reply to the Preceding 126

Lugaz 127

Sachli Zeman 127

Jihan Banu 127

La'l Para 128

Aq-Alem 128

Museddes 128

Gazel 130

Munajat 130

Mukhammes 131

Gazel 133

Munajat 133

Gazel 134

Farewell Poem 135

Gazel 136

Gazel 137

Gazel 1 37

On a Dancing-Girl 138

Gazel 139

Fragment , 139

Gazel 140

Gazel , 140

The Song of Love's Nurse 141

Love's Song 142

Gazel 143

Museddes 144

Gazel 145

Gazel 146

Gazel 146

Description of Circassian Women 147

Description of Greek Women 147

Defeat of the French in Egypt 149

Sharql 152

Sharqi 153

Gazel 1 54

Gazel 154



CONTENTS xiii

Ottoman Poems — Continued page

Gazel 155

On the Death of 'Andelib Khanim 156

Takhmis I57

Sharqi 158

Gazel 159

On a Beyt of Mahmud Nedim Pacha 160

Counsels of Nabi Efendi :

Introduction 165

Prologue 167

Details of Nabi's Station 169

Of Nabi's Motives in Writing the Book 170

Of the Ranks of Islam 171

First Duty of True Religion 172

The Excellence of Prayer 172

The Excellence of Fasting i74

Of Pilgrimage I74

The Excellence of Almsgiving 176

The Desirability of Knowledge 179

The Know^ledge of God 181

Eulogy of Constantinople 182

On Flight from Avidity and Avarice 185

Bad Effects of Pleasantry and Jocularity 186

Nobility of Generosity 187

Eulogy of Good Nature 1 88

Of Lying and Hypocrisy 191

Forbidding the Practice of Astrology 192

The Defilement of Drunkenness 193

The Vanity of Adornment 194

The Ascension of Mahomet 201

The Rose and the Nightingale:

Prelude 231

The Praise of God 232

An Address to God's Munificence 234

Hymn of Praise 237

Ascension of the Master 240

A Blessing on the Prophets 243

The Occasion of the Poem 244

Praise of the Pearl of Lordship 248

Beginning of the Narrative 251

Description of the Rose 253

The Shah Provides a Teacher 257



xiv CONTENTS

The Rose and the Nightingale — Continued page

Morning and Evening in the Rose Garden 257

The Attendants of the Pure Rose 258

Praise of the Rose in Her Beauty 261

The East Wind Finds the Nightingale 264

The East Wind Counsels the Nightingale 271

The Nightingale Comes to the Rose 273

The Nightingale Enters the Rose Garden 276

The Nightingale Alone in the Night 277

The Nightingale Sleepless 279

The Nightingale Addresses the Moon 281

The Nightingale Talks to the Dawn 282

The Nightingale Addresses the Sun 283

The Nightingale Turns to God 285

The Rose Hears the Nightingale 287

The Narcissus Remonstrates 289

The East Wind Meets the Nightingale 291

The East Wind Encourages the Nightingale 293

The Colloquy of the Rose 295

The Nightingale Writes to the Rose 298

The Jasmine Bears the Letter 300

The Rose Answers 301

The Hyacinth and the Nightingale 303

The Treachery of the Hyacinth 306

The Thorn Advises the Rose 308

The Thorn Slanders the Nightingale 310

Captivity of the Nightingale 311

King August Appears 314

King August Sends the Hot Wind 316

Samum Arrives 318

King August Sends His Son 319

Flight of Spring 321

Autumn Comes 323

Autumn Conquers the Rose Garden 325

Winter Appears 327

Winter Devastates the Rose Garden 328

Spring Seeks Help from the Equinox 331

Spring Vanquishes Winter 333

Spring Resides in the Rose Garden 335

The Rose Sends to the Nightingale 336

The Nightingale Hears the East Wind 337

The Nightingale Answers the East Wind 339

The Rose Visits the Nightingale 341

The Rose Seeks the Release of the Nightingale , 343



CONTENTS XV

The Rose and the Nightingale — Continued pagb

The Rose Hears of the Nightingale's Release 346

The Feast Given by the Rose 347

Description of the Revel 350

Short-lived Happiness 352

Meaning of the Tale 353

Close of the Book 356

History of the Forty Vezirs :

Introduction 361

Trial of the Three Sons 366

Stratagem Greater than Strength 374

The Wiles of Woman 379

The Search for Khizr 381

The Vezir and Khizr 384

The Sherbet-seller and the Moor 385

The Tailor and the Woman 388

Story of the Adopted Son 391

The King and the Vezir 394

The Sparrow and His Mate , 396

The Crafty Vezir 398

The Three Princes and the Cadi 401

The Caliph and the Slave Girl 404

The Foolish Princes 405

Story of the Egyptian Prince 409

The Merchant's Bequest 414

The King and the Vezir's Son 415

The King and the Weaver 418

The Vicissitudes of Life 420

The King and the Sheykh 426

The King's Remorse 428

Luqman's Device 430

The King and the Dervish 432

Mahmud and Hasan 436

Story of Sultan Mahmud 438

Story of the Merchant's Son 440

Hasan of Basra 446

The Gardener and His Son 449

The Dervish's Advice 450

The Turkman Children 452

A Queen's Deceit 453

The Abdal and the King 455

The Sultan and His Traitorous Son 456

Conclusion 460



ILLUSTRATIONS



FACING PAGE



SwORD-DaNCE in a Cafe Fro»tisJ>iece

Photogravure from the original painting by Jean Leon
Gerome

Terpsichore ......... 66

Photogravure from the original painting by Paul Baudry

From a Firman of Sultan Solomon . . . .164

Fac-simile manuscript of the Sixteenth Century

The Spirit of Music 228

Photo-engraving from the original group by M. Guillaume

Page from the Pandects of Justinian . . . 358

Fac-simile manuscript of the Sixth Century



TURKISH FABLES



[Translated by Epiphanius Wilson, A.M.]



TURKISH FABLES



The Gardener and His Wife

A CERTAIN Gardener had a young and pretty woman for
his Wife. One day, when, according to her habit, she
had gone to wash her Hnen in the river, the Gardener,
entering his house, said to himself:

" I do not know, really, whether my Wife loves me. I
must put it to the test."

On saying this, he stretched himself full length upon the
ground, in the middle of the room, as if dead. Soon, his Wife
returned, carrying her linen, and perceived her husband's con-
dition.

" Tired and hungry as I am," she said to herself, " is it
necessary that I should begin at once to mourn and lament?
Would it not be better to begin by eating a morsel of some-
thing?"

She accordingly cut off a piece of pastcnna (dried smoked
meat), and set it to roast on the coals ; then she hurriedly
went upstairs to the garret, took a pot of milk, drank some of
it, and put the rest on the fire. At this moment, an old woman,
her neighbor, entered, with an earthen vessel in her hand, and
asked for some burning coals.

" Keep your eye on this pot," she said to the old woman,
rising to her feet. Then she burst into sobs and lamentations.

" Alas ! " she cried, " my poor husband is dead ! "

The neighbors, who heard her voice, rushed in, and the de-
ceitful hussy kept on repeating :

" Alas ! What a wretched fate has my husband met with ! "
and tears flowed afresh.

At that instant the dead man opened his eyes.

" What are you doing? " he said to her, " Finish first the

3



4 TURKISH FABLES

roasting of the pastcrma, quenching your throat in milk, and
boiHng the remainder of it ; afterward you will find time to
weep for me."

First myself, and then those I love, says a proverb.

The Fly

A Fly who had carelessly fallen into a pot full of food was
at the point of death.

" What does it matter ? " she said, " so long as hereafter I
shall feel no more hunger, and for the present have eaten and
drunk my fill, and have received a good bath."

Patiently to accept the misfortunes which can neither be
hindered nor avoided is a proof of wisdom.

The Widow and Her Friend

A Widow, tired of single blessedness, was desirous of marry-
ing again, but feared to draw down upon herself the remarks of
the public.

A Friend of hers, to show her how the tongues of neighbors
discussed everything, took in hand to paint the Widow's ass
green ; then leading the beast, she traversed all the streets of
the town.

At first not only the children, but also their elders, who had
never seen anything like it before, came to see the sight, and
followed behind the ass.

At the end of a few days, when the Widow's ass went
forth people simply remarked : " What a very singular ani-
mal ! "

Soon, however, the people ceased to pay any more attention
to the spectacle.

The Friend of the Widow who wished to marry again re-
turned to her and said :

" You have seen what has just happened. It will be the
same in your case. For some days you will be on the tongues
of the people and have to endure the gossip and remarks ;
but at last they will leave ofif talking about you."

There is nothing so extraordinary in the world as not to
become familiar in time.



THE OLD MAN AND HIS SON



The Two Young Men and the Cook

Two Young Men entered a cook-shop for the purpose of buy-
ing some meat.

While the Cook was engaged in serving one of them the
other seized a huge piece of meat and popped it into his com-
panion's pocket.

The Cook began looking about for his meat, but in vain.
Then he addressed the two friends,

" I have not seen it," said one.

" As for me," added the other, " I am sure I have not
taken it."

Then each one confirmed his statement with an oath.

" Really, gentlemen," said the owner of the shop, who well
understood their rascality, " although I do not know who has



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