Richard Francis Burton.

The book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 16) online

. (page 15 of 40)
Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonThe book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 16) → online text (page 15 of 40)
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between them after she had hidden the Mameluke Hilal in a
closet and she had disposed of the pages about the Palace-sides.
Then they fell to drinking wine. Such was the case with these ;

1 Doggerel fit only for the coffee-house.



The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf. 165

but as regards Yusuf, he took patience until the dark hours drew
near, when he swam the stream and he came forth it to the Palace-
door, at which he knocked a light knock. Hereupon the porter-
handmaiden opened to him and he accosted her and questioned
her concerning her lady, and was told that she was sitting with
her cousin and the prime favourite and cup-companion of her
sire. So quoth he to the girl, " Say me, canst thou place me in
some commanding place that I may look upon them?" and she
did accordingly, choosing a site whence he might spy them
without being espied. He gazed at them as one distraught,
while Al-Hayfa engaged them in converse and improvised verse
to them ; and this was so distressful to him that at last he asked
the slave-girl, " Say me, hast thou by thee ink-case and paper ? "

And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell

silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her
sister Dunyazad, " How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister
mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And
where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the
coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive ? " Now when
it was the next night and that was

f)e gbii f^untrrrtr anU 15tgf)tp=sixti) Nig])t,

DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale, that we may cut

short the watching of this our latter night ! " She replied :

With love and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious
King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is
benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating,
that Prince Yusuf took from the handmaid the pen case and
paper, and waxing void of sense through jealousy, fell to writing
the following couplets :

" Indeed I deemed you of memory true a And our hearts as one that had once
been two ;



1 66 Supplemen tal Nights.

But I found to my sorrow you kept no pact : This much and you fain of
unfaith I view.

Ill eye ne'er looketh on aught but Icve o Save when the lover is hater too.

You now to another than us incline o And leave us and homeward path
pursue ;

And if such doings you dare gainsay, o I can summon witness convicting you ;

To the Lion, wild dogs from the fount shall drive o And shall drink them-
selves, is none honour due.

That I'm not of those who a portion take o In love, O Moslems, I know
ye knew."

This done, he folded the paper and gave it to the slave-girl
crying, "Say me, dost thou know where be Hilal?" and as she
replied " Yes," he told her to fetch him. So she went and brought
him, and when he came his lord dismissed the girl on some
pretext ; then he opened the Castle-door and turband'd himself
with his gear and that of his Mameluke, and the twain went
down to the river and swam the stream until they reached the
other side. When they stood on terra firm a, the Prince found
his horse and saddled and mounted him, taking Hilal upon the
crupper, and rode forth to his own country. Such was the case
with Yusuf ; but as regards Al-Hayfa, when she awoke a-morn,
she asked of her lover and her handmaid handed to her the
letter ; so she took it and read it and mastered its meaning and
significance, after which she wept with excessive weeping until
she fainted and the blood issued from her eyes. Presently she
came to herself and dismissed Sahlub and his companions ; then
she said to Ibn Ibrahim, "Rise thou and depart our presence;
haply some wight may come to us and swim the stream and pass
into the Palace." But Ibn Ibrahim remained behind while
Sahlub departed with those about him ; and when they had left
the company, Al-Hayfa asked, "O Ibn Ibrahim, say me, canst
thou keep my secret and my being fascinate * by love ? " and he
answered, "Yea, verily, O my lady, how should I not conceal

1 In text "Ta'ayyun" = influence, especially by the " "Ayn," or (Evil} Eye.



The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf. 167

it for thee, when thou art my mistress and princess and the
daughter of my master, even though I keep it inside mine eyes ? "
So she continued, " O Ibn Ibrahim, there came to me a youth
named the Veiled Yusuf of Beauty, son of King Sahl, Sovran
of Sind ; and I waxed enamoured of him and he waxed enamoured
of me, and he abode with me two score of days. One day of
the days, quoth I to him : Come up with me to the Palace-roof
that we may gaze upon the view, when we saw from its height
a herd of gazelles, and I cried : Ah that I had one of these !
Hereat said he, By Allah, and by the life of thine eyes and by
the blackness of their pupils, I will in very deed fill thy Palace
therewith ; and with such words he went forth and saddled his
steed and swam the river to the further side, where he rode down
three roes within sight of me. Then I looked city-ward up stream
and saw a batel cleaving the waters, whereby I knew that my
father had sent me somewhat therein ; so I wrote to the Prince
and shot the paper bound to a shaft and bade him hide away
from your faces until ye should have departed. So he concealed
himself within a cave where he tethered his horse, then he sought
tidings of me, and seeing my cousin Sahlub, he was seized by
jealousy. So he lingered till yesternight, when he again swam
the stream and came to the Palace where I had posted Radih,
the handmaid, bidding her take seat beside the door lest haply
he should enter ; and presently she opened to him and he sought
a place commanding a sight of us, and he saw me sitting with
you twain, and both of you were carousing over your wine. Now
this was sore to him ; so he wrote to me yonder note, and taking
his Mameluke with him, fared forth to his own folk ; and my
desire is that you hie to him." 1 And Shahrazad was surprised



1 I have somewhat abridged the confession of the Princess, who carefully repeats
every word known to the reader. This iteration is no objection in the case of a coffee-
house audience to whom the tale is told bit by bit, but it is evidently unsuited for
reading.



1 68 Supplemental Nights.

by the dawn of day, and fell silent and ceased to say her per-
mitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, " How sweet is thy
story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable ! " Quoth
she, " And where is this compared with that I would relate to
you on the coming night, an the King suffer me to survive?"
Now when it was the next night and that was



anfc Sigfttg - scbentf) Nig!)t,

DUNYAZAD said to her " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied: - With
love and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and
of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that quoth Al-Hayfa
to Ibn Ibrahim, " I devise that thou hie to Yusuf with this letter ; "
whereto quoth he, " Hearkening is obedience : I will, however,
take this thy writ and wend with it first to my own folk, after
which I will mount my horse and fare to find him." So she
largessed him with an hundred gold pieces and entrusted to him
the paper which contained the following purport in these
couplets :

"What state of heart be this no ruth can hoard ? o And harm a wretch to

whom none aid accord,
But sobs and singulfs, clouds that rain with tears o And seas aye flowing and

with gore outpour'd ;
And flames that rage in vitals sickness-burnt o-The while in heart-core I enfold

them stor"d.
Yet will I hearten heart with thee, O aim ! o O Ravisher, O Moslems' bane

ador'd' :
Ne'er did I look for parting but 'twas doomed o By God Almighty of all the

lords the Lord."

Then Mohammed Ibn Ibrahim took the paper and Al-Hayfa said
to him, " Ho thou ! Inform none that thou wast sitting beside me
on that night." Then he went forth until he drew near his folk



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 169

and there he mounted a she-dromedary and pushed her pace until
he arrived at the capital of Sind. He asked for the son of the
King; and when they had directed him thereto he entered and
found the Prince in privacy ; so he kissed hands and gave him the
writ which he took and opened and read. But when he had
comprehended its object and purport, he turned and returned it
with stern regards until he had well nigh torn it to tatters. Then
he threw it to Ibn Ibrahim who said to him, " O lord of the Time
and the Tide, 'tis not on this wise that the sons of the Kings cast
away an address without returning aught of reply." Quoth he,
" There is no response from me," and quoth Ibn Ibrahim, " O
King of the Age, pity that thou mayest be pitied ! "* Hereupon
the Prince called for pen-case and paper of note and pen of
brass wrought 2 and wrote in reply to her poetry the following
couplets :

{ 'AI-Hayfd with verses a-tip of tongue Comes suing mercy for love so
strong :

She hath no mercy fro' me, but still o She pleadeth a plea that our love was
long:

She falsed, turned face, doubted, recked her naught o And her hard false
heart wrought me traitor's wrong :

Were my heart now changed her love to woo o She with quick despisal my
heart had stung :

Were my eyne to eye her, she'd pluck them out o With tip of fingers before
the throng :

Soft and tranquil life for her term she seeks * While with hardness and harsh-
ness our souls are wrung."

Then Yusuf folded the paper and handed it to Ibn Ibrahim and
ordered him a robe of honour and an hundred dinars. So he
took them and rode forth until he drew near the Palace of Al-
Hayfa, when he tethered his dromedary and hid her in a cave
whose mouth he walled with stones. Then he went down to the



1 In text " Irham turhara : " this is one of the few passive verbs still used in
popular parlance.

2 This formula will be in future suppressed.



Supplemental Nights.

river and swam it till he reached the other side ; and entering
into the presence of Al-Hayfa he drew forth the paper and com-
mitted it to her. But she, after perusing it, wept with, sore
weeping and groaned until she swooned away for excess of tears
and for the stress of what had befallen her. Such was the effect
of what she had read in the letter, and she knew not what might
be the issue of all this affair and she was perplext as one drunken
without wine. But when she recovered she called for pen-case and
paper, and she wrote these improvised couplets :

" O Lord of folk, in our age alone o And O Raper of hearts from the bonny

and boon :
I have sent to thee 'plaining of Love's hard works * And my plaint had

softened the hardest stone :
Thou art silent all of my need in love * And with shafts of contempt left me

prone and strown."

And after she had ended writing she folded her note and gave it
to Ibn IbYahim who took it, and cried to his slaves, " Saddle my
she-dromedary," after which he mounted and fared until he had
made the city of Sind. Then he repaired to Yusuf and after
greetings handed the letter to him, but the Prince after perusing
it * threw it in his face, and presently rose and would have left
him. But Ibn Ibrahim followed him and heard him say to his
pages, " Send him back without beating him," and they did
accordingly, after forbidding him the place. So he again bestrode
his she-camel and ceased not pushing on till he arrived at the
Palace of Al-Hayfa where he presented himself in her presence. 2



1 I spare my readers the full formula : " Yiisuf took it and brake the seal (fazza-hu)
and read it and comprehended its contents and purport and significance : and, after
perusing it," etc. These forms, decies repetittz, may go down with an Eastern alidience,
but would be intolerable in a Western volume. The absence of padding, however,
reduces the story almost toa patchwork of doggerel rhymes, for neither I nor any man
can " make a silk purse from a suille ear."

2 Here again in full we have : "He mounted the she-camel and fared and ceased
not faring until he drew near to the Palace of Al-Hayfa, where he dismounted and con-
cealed his dromedary within the same cave. Then he swam the stream until he had
reached the Castle and here he landed and appeared before Al-Hayfa," etc.



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 171

But when he handed to her the writ she found it was that very
same she had sent to the Prince, so she wept and sorrow was sore
upon her and presently she cried, " O Ibn Ibrahim ! what's to
do ? " He replied, " When I delivered thy writ to him, he brake
its seal and read it and threw it in my face : then he rose in wrath
from beside me, and as I followed he bade his slaves and pages
drive me away, adding: I have for her nor answer nor address ;
and this was all he did." When the Princess heard his words,
she felt the matter to be grievous, and she wept unknowing how
she should act, and fainted for awhile, and when she recovered
she said, <; O Ibn Ibrahim, what is this affair and on what wise
shall I behave ? Do thou advise me in my case ; and haply joy
shall come to me from thy hand, for that thou be a Counsellor of
the Kings and their boon-companion." " O my lady," he replied,
"do thou not cut off thy tidings from him and haply shall
Almighty Allah change his heart from case to case and per-
adventure insistance overcometh hindrance." * Quoth she, " Had
he sent me a reply I had been rightly directed as to what
I should write, but now I wot not what to indite, and if
this condition long endure I shall die." " Address him again,"
answered he, " and I will fare back once more and fain would
I ransom thee with my life, nor will I return without a

reply." And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and

fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her
sister Dunyazad, " How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister
mine, and how enjoyable and delectable ! " Quoth she, " And
where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the
coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive ? Now when it
was the next night and that was



1 " 'Tis dogged as does it" was the equivalent expression of our British Aristotle, the
late Charles Darwin.



1 72 Supplemental Nights.



DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short

the watching of this our latter night ! " She replied : With love

and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and
of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that Ibn Ibrahim
said to Al-Hayfa, " Do thou write to him and there is no help but
that I return to thee with a reply, albe life depart from me."
Then she asked for pen-case and paper and thereon indited the
following couplets :

" Ah would thou knew what I of parting dree o When all my hiddens show for

man to see ;
Passion and longing, pine and lowe o' love o Descend surcharged on the head

of me :
God help the days that sped as branches lopt o I spent in Garden of

Eternity. 1
And I of you make much and of your love o By rights of you, while dearest

dear be ye : a
May Allah save you, parted though we be, o While bide I parted all

un willingly :
Then, O my lord, an come thou not right soon o The tomb shall home me for

the love of thee."

And when she had written her reply, she largessed Ibn Ibrahim
with an hundred dinars, after which he returned 3 to the capital of
Sind, where he found Yusuf issuing forth to hunt ; so he handed
to him the letter, and the Prince returning citywards set apart for



1 Arab. " Jannat al-Khuld "= the Eternal Garden : vol. ix. 214.

5 [I read : Wa inni la-ar'akum wa ar'a widada-kum, wa-hakki-kumu antum a'azzu
'1-Wara 'andi = And I make much of you and of your love ; by your rights (upon me,
formula of swearing), you are to me the dearest of mankind. ST.]

3 In text : " He swam the stream and bestrode his she-camel."



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 173

him a fair apartrrfent and spent the livelong night asking anent
Al-Hayfa. And when it was morning he called for pen-case and
paper whereupon he wrote these improvised couplets :

" You dealt to us a slender dole our love mote satisfy, o Yet nor my gratitude

therefor nor laud of me shall gain :
I'm none of those console their hearts by couplets or by verse o For breach of

inner faith by one who liefly breaks the chain :
When so it fortunes she I love a partner gives to me o I wone in single bliss

and let my lover love again :
Take, then, what youth your soul desires ; with him forgather, for o I aim not

at your inner gifts nor woo your charms I deign :
You set for me a mighty check of parting and ill-will o In public fashion and

a-morn you dealt me bale and bane :
Such deed is yours and ne'er shall it, by Allah satisfy o A boy, a slave of

Allah's slaves who still to slave is fain."

Then Prince Yusuf robed Ibn Ibrahim in a robe of green ; and
giving him an hundred gold pieces, entrusted him with the letter
which he carried to Al-Hayfa and handed it to her. She brake
the seal and read it and considered its contents, whereupon she
wept with sore weeping which ended in her shrieking aloud ; and
after she abode perplext as to her affair and for a time she found
no sweetness in meat and drink nor was sleep pleasant to her for
the stress of her love-longing to Yusuf. Also her nature tempted
her to cast herself headlong from the terrace of the Palace ; but
Ibn Ibrahim forbade her saying, u Do thou write to him replies,
time after time ; haply shall his heart be turned and he will return
unto thee." So she again called for writing materials and indited
these couplets, which came from the very core of her heart :

" Thou art homed in a heart nothing else shall invade ; a Save thy love and

thyself naught shall stay in such stead ;
O thou, whose brilliancy lights his brow, o Shaped like sandhill-tree with his

locks for shade,
Forbid Heaven my like to aught else incline o Save you whose beauties none

like display 'd :
Art thou no amongst mortals a starless moon o O beauty the dazzle of day

hath array'd ? "



174 Supplemental Nights.

These she committed * to Ibn Ibrahim who rode again on his route
and forgathered with Prince Yusuf and gave him the letter, whose
contents were grievous to him ; so he took writing materials and
returned a reply in the following verses :

" Cease then to carry missives others write, o O Son of Ibrahim, shun silly

plight :
I'm healed of longing for your land and I o Those days forget and daysters

lost to sight :
Let then Al-Hayfd learn from me I love o Distance from her and furthest

earthly site.
No good in loving when a rival shows o E'en tho' 'twere victual shared by

other wight ;
These modes and fashions never mind arride o Save him unknowing of his

requisite."

Then he entrusted the writ to Ibn Ibrahim, after giving him an
hundred dinars, and he fared forth and ceased not faring till he
had reached the palace of the Princess. Presently he went in and
handed to her the writ, and as soon as she had read it, the contents
seemed to her sore and she wept until her vitals were torn with
sobs. After this she raised her hand 2 heavenwards and invoked
Allah and humbled herself before him and said, " My God, O my
Lord, do Thou soften the heart of Yusuf ibn Sahl and turn 'him
mewards and afflict him with love of me even 'as thou hast
afflicted me with his love ; for Thou to whatso Thou wishest canst
avail, O bestest of Rulers and O forcefullest of Aiders." Anon
she fell to writing and indited these verses :

" Love rules my bosom and a-morn doth moan The Voice, ah Love, who

shows strength weakness grown !
His lashes' rapier-blade hath rent my heart ; * That keen curved brand my me

hath overthrown :
That freshest cheek-rose fills me with, desire ; o Fair fall who plucketh yonder

bloom new-blown !



1 In text ' Then she folded the letter and after sealing it," etc.
8 Not "her hands" after Christian fashion.



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 175

Since love befel me for that youth did I o Begin for charms of him my pride
to own :

thou my hope, I swear by Him did share o Love and decreed thou shouldst

in longing wone,

In so exceeding grief why sight I thee c Jacob made Joseph by the loss
of me ? "

She then handed the letter to Ibn Ibrahim, after giving him an
"hundred dinars ; and he returned forthright to the city of Sind
and, repairing to Yusuf, gave him the writ which he took and read.
Hereupon the Prince waxed sore sorrowful and said to himself, ' By

Allah, indeed Al-Hayfa cleaveth to love." And Shahrazad was

surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her
permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is
thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable ! "
Quoth she, " And where is this compared with that I would relate
to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive? "
Now when it was the next night and that was

&& ix ^unfcrrti anti J=tmetg - first J=ttgf)t,

DUNYAZAD said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short

the watching of this our latter night ! " She replied : With love

and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and
of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that Prince Yusuf
said, " By Allah, had Al-Hayfa any save myself she had not sent
me these letters ; but the outgoings of the heart conciliate lovers
and correspond each with other." Then he took writing materials
and after thinking awhile he improvised these couplets :

" O thou of stature fair with waist full slight l o Surpassing sandhill-branch
and reedlet light ;

1 deal in words and gems of speech that melt, o By none 'mid all of mortal

kind indite ;

In text, " Ahyaf," alluding to Al-Hayfa.



-

- - - ; .-j - - ::-; ;; - '.-;- ::' ?;-:;:::-;





;
-;.: - :: - : '. : : ~ : ? :~ '"-'. ~5 * H..T:: r-i-ifrel. -r~ ?






?;-; ?.



.- -. . -. .- ' : - : . :"-;:.

- ::";: ~ ; - ~ - :i = . . '. ~ : .



I



A -d when Yosnf had ended his poet: . preser: :. an hundred
dirir5 : Ira Ibrahim, who took the letter and fell to cut: ,

t " " ~ _ _r .". ". - if .- -i " - - - "-. .- - -" " ."..,.".". .". j - j ' " .:". " ." t .". J
; -:. - ;-.;-; ;:" . . r. -'-. :. :. ^ :. ;.-.;::: r..ff ; S/.:

led and cried. * O I - I rrahim, this letter is softer than

}-.. :;; ;r.: .: ir.i ;.f ih:_ hif-: r:;_c'\: .: :: ~-:. ^ I'r " I-m/...-."..
'. .-fll laigesse Aee with two honourable robes ;:" c:Iden brocade
:-.- L . ' 51 - i ^ -. -.- ' 5: - . _:-:;.:'.; i :";:/;-.
7-.:;: /.-:._:;- ; ;... :/.,: :ruclers :-

I-I: ^:-j :- ; :::_;: : i.- .- . r.i:; : " :'r. ;\r: -:~e
- :: - :_ -:



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~ - ~ - ~- -. - - \ :. - :: r^ - 7 :; - : . . ': .



. . _ : ; N. : ;

-



The Loves of Al- Hay fa and Yusuf. 177

She then handed the paper to Ibn Ibrahim who again set out and
sought the Prince and kissed his hand and gave him the letter ;
whereupon said he, "O Ibn Ibrahim, come not thou again bringing
me aught of missive ever or any more after this one." Quoth Ibn
Ibrahim, "Wherefore, O my lord, shall I not do on such wise ?"
and quoth Yusuf, " Suffer her to learn the fates of menkind."
Said the other, " I conjure thee, by Allah Almighty, ho thou
the King, inasmuch as thou art of the seed of mighty monarchs,
disappoint her not of her question ; and Allah upon thee, unless
thou show pity to her heart it haply will melt away with melan-
choly and love and madness for thy sake ; and all of this is for
the truth of her affection." Hereupon Yusuf smiled and taking
up his pen wrote these couplets :

" Stay thy tears ; for hindrance and parting hie, * And the endless of Empire

aye glorify :
From my core of heart fly all cark and care o After parting that seemed all

Time defy.
A Lion am I for the love of him o Whom the slanderer's part ne'er can

satisfy :
My mind and soul be this day with you o But my heart and thought are at

enmity :
Thought and mind delight in Love's cruelty o While heart and soul for reunion

cry:
And if mind and thought e'er can overcome o Soul and heart, Re-union thou

ne'er shall "spy."

And when Yusuf had finished his writing, he gifted Ibrahim with
an hundred dinars and sent him again to Al-Hayfa with the letter,



Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonThe book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 16) → online text (page 15 of 40)