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 16 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 16 of 40)
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and she on receiving it shed tears and said, " O Ibn Ibrahim,
seeing that his soul and heart be with us, Allah Almighty availeth
to turn his thoughts and his fancy and the mind of him." Here-
upon she took writing materials and wrote :

" Calm, O my lord, thy vitals' painful plight, o O thou whose semblance lighteth

sooty night :
O gladding heart, O sweet of union, Oh o Whose charms the tribe in festal

hours delight :

VOL. V. M



178 Supplemental Nights.

O high in honour passing height of Kings, o O thou with purest blood 'mid

Kings bedight,
Fear'st not the Throne 1 of God (O hope of me !) o When harming heart whereon

all pains alight ?
Then deign thou grant me union, for such wise o Shall rest my heartstrings

and dark care wax bright :
From none, except that Lion o' men Ali 2 c Comes pardon proving to mankind

his might."

Then she passed her missive to Ibn Ibrahim giving him an hundred
gold pieces and he pushed his pace till he reached the city of Sind,
where he went in to Yusuf and kissed his hands and feet. The
Prince taking the letter smiled and laughed and said, "O Ibn
Ibrahim, when Allah (be He extolled and exalted !) shall decree
my faring I will fare to them 3 within a short while ; but do thou
return and let know that I intend forgathering with them." Quoth
the other, " Ah ! O my lord, do thou indite her a reply, otherwise
she will have no trust in me ; " so the Prince fell to penning these
lines :

" My vitals restless bide for very jealousy The while my heart must ever

show unfriendly gree :
Yet I obeyed my heart and tore it out for him o Albe man ever holds his

heart in amity ;
And I have heard my lover drives me forth from him o But Allah grant my

prayer of benedicite.
In anxious care I came and sought your side this day o Naught shall the

youth exalt save generosity."

Then Prince Yusuf passed the letter to Ibn Ibrahim who, after
receiving his hundred dinars, repaired to Al-Hayfa and greeted
her 4 informing her the while that her lover was about to make

act of presence. And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of

day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then

1 In text " 'Arsh" = the Ninth Heaven ; vol. v. 167.

2 'The Shi'ah doctrine is here somewhat exaggerated.

3 " Them " for "her," as has often occurred.

4 In the original " entrusted to her the missive : " whereas the letter is delivered
afterwards.



The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf. 179

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



anfc

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 f 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, " Verily Yusuf purposeth to visit thee after a
little while." But when the Princess heard his words she would
not believe him albeit her heart palpitated with pleasure ; where-
upon Ibn Ibrahim improvised to her as follows :

" O thou world-seducer and full moon bright, o Stay thy speech and with boon

of good news requite.
Love pledged me his word he would see thee and said, o Hie thee home and

order the house aright.
I awoke this morning in cark and care, o In tears distraught and in dire

despite ;
For the wrongs and farness thou doom'st me dree * Have forced my forces to

fright-full flight."

And when Ibn Ibrahim had ended his verse, Al-Hayfa joyed with
increased and exceeding joy, and in her delight she answered him
according to the rhyme and rhythm of his verse :

" O who spreadest clouds, 1 Son of Ibrahim hight ; * By the Lord who ruleth in
'Arshhis height,

1 The cloud (which contains rain) is always typical of liberality and generous dealing.



1 80 Supplemental Nights.

By Mohammed the bestest of men and by * Th' adorers of yore and the

Ta-Ha's l might,
By Zemzem, Safa and wall Hatfm 2 * And Ka'abah and glories of Ka'abah's

site,
An this speech be sooth and my dearling come * One thousand, two thousand

dinars are thy right ;
And I'll give thee a courser, O Ibrahim's son, * Selle, stirrups and bridle

with gold bedight ;
Six turbands and robes that shall honour show # With that courser the colour

of blackest night.
So hold me not like the most of mankind, * Who joy the fair ones to twit and

flyte."

And when Al-Hayfa had finished her verses, Ibn Ibrahim brought
out to her the letter of the Prince, and as soon as she read it her
heart was comforted and she waxed glad with exceeding gladness
and she bade them present him with largesse of value great and at
thousand dinars upon a china plate. After this she took him by
the hand and led him into a closet and said, " O Ibn Ibrahim, all
that be in this cabinet is a free gift to thee when thou shalt have
brought to me that lover of mine." Such was the case with them ;
but as regards Prince Yusuf, when Ibn Ibrahim left him, he felt
love-lowe aflaming in his heart, and he summoned his Mameluke
Hilal and said to him, " Go saddle for us the steed known by the
name of The Bull-aye-ready-and-for-Battle-day-steady." Here-
upon the slave arose and enselled the courser and Yusuf mounted ;
and, taking his Mameluke on the crupper, pushed his pace (and he
madly in love with Al-Hayfa), ' and he ceased not faring till he
reached her Palace. He then swam the stream with his Mameluke
hanging on, as before, to the tail, and knocked at the door which
was opened by a damsel hight Nuzhat al-Zaman 3 and she
on recognising him kissed his hands and hurrying to her lady
informed her of his coming. Al-Hayfa hearing of the arrival fell

1 The Koranic chapt. No. xx., revealed at Meccah and recounting the (apocryphal)
history of Moses.

2 The "broken " (wall) to the North of the Ka'abah : Pilgrimage iii. 165.
8 i.e. " Delight of the Age : " see vol. ii. 81.



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 181

fainting to the ground and when she recovered she found Yusuf
standing beside her head ; so she arose and embraced him for a
long while, after which she improvised and said :

" O thou Pilgrim of Love, after parting far c From us driven by malice of jealous

foe!
My life for the friend in affection comes ; o Naught dearer to me than such

boon can show ;

Full many a writ have I written thee o Nor union nor grace of return I know.
In this world I see him with single heart o O my wish ! and Allah ne'er part

us two.' 1

And when she had ended her verses she bade the slave-girls convey
Ibn Ibrahim and Hilal to the gardens, after which she led Yusuf
to the saloon of session and the twain passed the night together
he and she, in joyance and enjoyment, for that night was indeed a
night of delight. But when Allah bade the morn to morrow,
Al-Hayfa arose and cried, " How short it is for a night : Ah that
it had been longer for us ! but 'tis for me to say even as said Imc
al-Kays 1 in sundry of his verses upon a similar theme :

"On me Night waxeth long nor would I shorten Night ; Yet hasteth Morn

when I for longer Nights would sue :
It brings me union till 'My lover's mine' I cry * Yet when with him unite

disunion comes to view."

Now when it was the second day, Al-Hayfa took seat in the

assembly of converse. 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

1 In the text written " Imriyyu M-Kays " : for this pre-Islamitic poet see Term. Essay,
p. 258. "The Man of Al-Kays" or worshipper of the Priapus-idol was a marking
figure in Arabian History. The word occurs, with those of Aera, Dusares (Theos Ares),
Martabu, Allat and Manat in the Nabathaean (Arabian) epigraphs brought by Mr. Doughty
from Arabia Deserta (vol. i. pp. 180-184).



IQ2. . Supplemental Nights*



anto Nt



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 Al-Hayfa repaired to
the saloon of seance, she and Yusuf, and summoned Ibn Ibrahim
and bade the handmaids bring everything that was in the closet.
They obeyed her bidding and fetched her all the contents, amongst
which were ten robes of honour and three coffers of silk and fine
linen and a packet of musk and a parcel of rubies and pearls and
jacinths and corals and similar objects of high price. And she
conferred the whole of this upon Mohammed ibn Ibrahim, the
while improvising these verses :

" We are noblest of lords amongst men of might ; o What we give and

largesse bring the most delight :
And when we strive with our hearts and souls o We strive in public nor rue

our plight.
With me the pact no regret shall breed o Save in head of suspecting

envying wight.
I am none who riseth sans bounteous deed ; o I am none who giveth with

felon sprite.''

And when Al-Hayfa had ended her poetry, Prince Yusuf largessed 1
Ibn Ibrahim and said to him, " Thou shalt have on my part one
thousand dinars and twenty robes of brocade and an hundred
she-camels and eighty horses (whereof the meanest is worth five
hundred gold pieces and each is saddled with a golden selle), and
lastly forty handmaids." After which he began to improvise
these couplets :

1 In text -" Zakka," which means primarily a bird feeding her young.



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 183

" Good signeth man to sight and all men see o Sahl's son is lord of liberality :
Time and the world and mortals one and all o Witness my goodness and for

aye agree :
Who comes for purpose him I gratify With bobns, though 'twere with eyen-

light of me :
I back my neighbour whenas harmed by o Dolour of debt and foeman's

tyranny :
Whoso hath moneys lacking liberal mind e Though he snatch Fortune 'mid

the vile is he."

And when Yusuf had finished his verse, Ibn Ibrahim arose and
bussed his hands and feet and cried, " Allah dole to thee all thou
desirest." The other replied, " When thou shalt return to our
city, do thou go to my quarters and therefrom take thee whatso I
have promised." Then the Prince and Princess waxed assiduous
in the eating of meat and the drinking of wine ; and this continued
for many successive months 1 until Ibn Ibrahim craved leave to
visit his folk ; and, when he received permission, he took with him
that was light in weight and weighty of worth. And as he set
forth, Al-Hayfa said to him, " When thou shalt return to thy
people in safety, do thou salute for me my sire and name to him a
certain stallion which same he shall largesse to thee and likewise
its saddle and bridle." Hereupon he farewelled them and went
forth and stemmed the stream and withdrawing his she-dromedary
from the cave harnessed her and mounted her and set forth upon
his desert way, and as soon as he reached the capital of Sind he
went to his folk who greeted him kindly. Now when King Al-
Mihrjan heard of Mohammed ibn Ibrahim's coming he sent to
summon him and as soon as he appeared between his hands he
asked concerning his absence. " O King of the Time and the
Tide," quoth he, " I have been in Yathrib 2 city ;" and indeed he
was one of the cup-companions of Al-Hayfa's father and by the
decree of Destiny he had been ever in high favour with the King.
So the twain sat down to drink wine and as Fortune willed it Ibn

~ J-r-.- - - - - - - - -

1 In the text "months and years," the latter seeming de trap-

2 Or "Yathrib" = Al-Madinah ; vol. iv. 114.



184 Supplemental Nights.

Ibrahim bore about him a letter containing poetry, part of the
correspondence between the Prince and Princess, wherein were
written the names of all three. Now when he was at the height
of his joy he wagged his head and shook off his turband and the
paper fell therefrom into Al-Mihrjan's lap. 1 The King took it and
read it and understood its contents but he kept the case secret
for a while ; presently, however, he dismissed his Courtiers and
Equerries who were around him and forthright bade smite
Mohammed ibn Ibrahim with stripes until his sides were torn.
Then quoth he, "Acquaint me concerning this youth who corre-
spondeth with my daughter, making thee the goer between them
twain, otherwise I will cut off thy head." Quoth Ibn Ibrahim,
" Ho thou the King ; verily this be only poetry which I found in

one of the histories of old." 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

erije bfx Kuntartr antr jBfatfi*ixt& J^igfn,

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

1 S.ott (vi. 358 et seqq.) who makes Ali bin Ibrahim, "a faithful eunuch," renders
the passage, " by some accident the eunuch's turban unfortunately falling off, the precious
stones (N.B. the lovers' gift) which, with a summary of the adventures (!) of Eusuff and
Aleefa, and his own embassy to Sind, were wrapped in the folds, tumbled upon the
flo"."



The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf. 185

Al-Mihrjan, " Verily I found this poetry in a tale of the olden
time." So the King issued orders to smite his neck, when inter-
cession was made for him by a Courtier hight Ta'il al-Wasf, 1
whereupon the King commanded him to jail, whither he was taken
forthright. But as Ibn Ibrahim was being locked up, he said to
the gaoler, " Say me, canst thou bring for me a pen-case and paper
and pen ?" and the other assented, fetching for him whatso he
wanted. So he wrote to Prince Yusuf the following couplets :

i' O Yusuf, master mine, for safety fly ; In sorest danger Ibrahim's son doth

lie:
When from thy side for house and home he sped o Forthright bade Al-Mihrjan

to bring him nigh,
And 'mid th' Assembly highest stead assigned o A seat in public with a sleight

full sly.
A writ thou wrotest bore he on his head o Which fell and picked it up the

King to 'spy :
Tis thus discovered he thy state and raged c With wrath and fain all guidance

would defy.
Then bade he Ibrahim's son on face be thrown o And painful beating to the

bare apply ;
With stripes he welted and he tare his sides o Till force waxed feeble, strength

debility.
So rise and haste thee to thine own and fetch o Thy power, and instant for the

tribe-lands hie ;
Meanwhile I'll busy to seduce his men o Who hear me, O thou princely born

and high ;
For of the painful stress he made me bear o The fire of bane I've sworn him

even I.''

Now when Ibn Ibrahim had finished his verse, he said to the gaoler,
"Do thou summon for me the son of my brother hight Mannd' 2
and thou shalt have from me one hundred gold pieces." The man
did his bidding, and when the youth came the uncle gave him
the letter and bespake him as follows : " O son of my brother,
take thou this paper and fare with it to the Castle of Al-Hayfa



1 i.e. " Drawer-out of Descriptions."

2 i.e. a Refuser, a Forbidder.



1 86 Supplemental Nights.

and swim the stream, and go up to the building and enter
therein and commit this missive unto a youth whom thou shalt
see sitting beside the Princess. Then do thou greet him with the
salam from me, and inform him of all that I am in and what I
have seen and what thou hast witnessed, and for this service I will
give thee an hundred gold pieces." The nephew took the uncle's
letter and set forth from the first of the night until he drew nigh
the Castle. Such was the case with Ibn Ibrahim and his sending
his nephew Manna' on a mission to the Princess ; but as regards
King Al-Mihrjan, when the morning morrowed and showed its
sheen and shone and the sun uprose with rays a-lowland strown,
he sent to summon Ibn Ibrahim ; and, when they set him between
his hands, he adjured him saying, " O thou ! by the rights of the
God unique in his rule for Unity ; by Him who set up the skies
without prop and stay and dispread the Earths firmly upon the
watery way, unless thou inform me and apprise me rightly and
truly I will order thy head to be struck off this very moment."
So the cup-companion related to the King the whole affair of
Princess Al-Hayfa and Prince Yusuf, and all that had passed
between the twain ; whereupon Al-Mihrjan asked, " And this
Yusuf from what land may he be ? " " He is son to the Sovran
of Sind, King Sahl," quoth the other, and quoth Al-Mihrjan,
" And is he still in the Palace, or hath he gone to his own
country?" "He was therein," replied Ibn Ibrahim, "but I
know not whether he be yet there, or he be gone thence." Here-
upon Al-Mihrjan commanded his host at once to mount, and all
took horse and rode forth making for the Castle of Al-Hayfa.
Now, between Manna' and King Al-Mihrjan was a march of only
a single night, when the youth went up to the Palace of the
Princess, where he knocked at the door and they opened and
admitted him to the presence of Prince Yusuf. There he handed
to him the letter, which the Prince opened and read ; then he
suddenly rose up crying upon Hilal, whom when he was fetched



The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf. 187

he bade forthwith bring out his steed. Hereat cried Al-Hayfa,
" I ask thee by Allah, O my lord, what may be the news ? " and he
answered her, " Verily when Ibn Ibrahim fared from us to his folk
he was summoned on his arrival by thy sire, and he went to
him and informed him of all that hath befallen us, first and last."
So saying he put the letter into her hands, and she having read it
exclaimed, " O my lord, do thou take me with thee lest haply he
slay me." Answered the Prince, " O end and aim of mine every
wish, we have naught with us save this one steed who availeth
not to carry three ; therefore will thy father overtake us upon the
road and will put us to death one and all. Now the rede that is
right be this, that thou conceal thyself somewhere in the Palace
and charge the slave-girls when thy sire shall come hither, to tell
him that I have carried thee off to mine own country, and for the
rest be thou assured that I will tarry away from thee but a few
days." So saying Yusuf took his horse with him and Hilal his
page a-crupper and swam the river and made for his own land
pushing his pace, and presently he drew within sight of the capital.
Such was the case of Prince Yusuf, son to King Sahl ; but as
regards the matter of King Al-Mihrjan and his host, he ceased not
marching them till such time as he came within sight of the Castle
of his daughter Al-Hayfa ; and this was soon after the departure
of Yusuf. And when he had led hither his host, which was like
unto a dashing sea, he dismounted upon the river-bank that all
might free themselves of their fatigue, after which he summoned
Sahlub and bade him swim the stream and walk up to the Castle
and knock at the door. The youth did as he was bidden, and the
handmaids opened to him and greeted him as he asked for Al-
Hayfa 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



1 8 8 Supplemental Nights.

the King suffer me to survive ? " Now when it was the next
night and that was



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 when Sahlub
went up to the Palace, he asked of Al-Hayfa, and the slave-girls
told him that a youth had come thither and had taken her away
and had carried her off to his own country. So he returned to
Al-Mihrjan and informed him thereof, when the King took horse
with all his host and pursued Yusuf with uttermost haste and
hurry until there was between the twain less than a day's march.
But as the Prince drew near his capital on the tenth day he went
in to his sire and told him whatso had befallen him from incept to
conclusion, nor did he hide from him aught ; whereupon King
Sahl mustered his many (all who received from him royal solde
and allowances), and bade them take horse with his son Yusuf.
The troops did accordingly and the Prince rode a-van, and after a
little while the two armies met. Now Ibn Ibrahim had made a
compact with five of the nobles wno were the chiefest men of King
AI-Mihrjan's reign and had promised them five hundred thousand
dinars. So when the two hosts were about to engage, an Emir of
the Emirs came forth (and he was one of those whom Ibn Ibrahim
had appointed to watch over Yusuf) and said to the Prince, " O Son
of the King, verily Ibn Ibrahim hath promised five of the nobles
as many hundred thousand dinars of gold the which we may take
and receive from thee." Replied he, "The like sum shall be
thine from me with all thou canst ask of us." Presently the Emir



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 189

returned from him to Al-Mihrjan and said to him, " Verily I have
asked this youth that he make vain and void the battle between
us twain, but he assented not and sware an oath that he would
never return from affray until the enemies should meet and fight
it out, and that he had with him a mighty host and a conquering
whose van was not known from its rear. 1 Now 'tis my rede that
thou strive to take him prisoner 2 and then do whatso he may
please., especially he being son to thee, King of the mighty Kings
and with him a thousand thousand knights all mailed cap-a-pie
and clothed in steel not one of whom hath any fear of fight."
King Al-Mihrjan waxed wroth at the Emir's speech and cried,
" What words be these ? Shall the Kings of the Age remain
saying of me that a man hath debauched the daughter of Al-
Mihrjan and hath carried her away perforce despite the nose of
her father ? Never shall such thing be spoken of me ; no, never !
But do thou know, ho thou the Amir, that an ye have no taste
for fray nor avail for fight and ye have no training save for bibbing
of wine and ease a f home, I have sworn and swear by Him who
lighted the lucident fires of the Sun and the Moon, none shall
sally forth to do single combat with this youth save I myself."
But when so saying he knew not that was hidden from him in the
World of Secrets. Presently he rushed into the field of fight with
reins floating upon his courser's neck and he renowned it, showing
himself between the foremost files, and he played with the edge of
glaive and spit of spear until men's wits were bewildered and he
improvised the while and cried out the following couplets :

u Ibn Sahl, ho scion of tree abhorr'd ! o Rise, meet me in mellay and prove thee

lord :
My daughter ru st snatched, O thou foul of deed, o And approaches! me fearing

the Lion of the horde.

1 i.e. both could not be seen at the same time.

2 [The MS. has T Kh D H, which the translator reads " takhuz-hu." I suspect that
either the second or eighth form of " ahad " is meant, in the sense that thou comest to
an agreement (Ittihad) with him. ST.]



1 90 Supplemen tal Nights.

Hadst come in honour and fairly sued o I had made her thine own with the

best accord ;
But this rape hath o'erwhelmed in dishonour foul o Her sire, and all bounds



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 16 of 40)