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 17 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 17 of 40)
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thou hast overscor'd."

Now when King Al-Mihrjan finished his verse, Yusuf rushed out
to him, and cried at him with a terrible cry and a terrifying, and
garred his own steed bound upon the battle-plain, where he played
with brand and lance until he cast into oblivion every knight,
reciting in the meantime the following verses :

" I am son to Al-Sahl, O of forbears vile ! o Come forth and fight me sans guile

or wile ;
Thou hast hurt my heart ; O of deed misdone, o So thou com'st to contend with

this rank and file." '

King Al-Mihrjan re-echoed his war-cry, but hardly had he erided
when Yusuf drawing near him answered it with a shout which
enquaked his heart and ravished his reason with sore terror, and
repeated in reply these couplets :

" I am not to be titled of forbears vile o O whose ape-like face doth the tribe

defile !
Nay, I'm rending lion amid mankind, o A hero in wilds where the murks

beguile.
Al-Hayfd befitteth me, only me ; o Ho thou whom men for an ape- revile."

When Yusuf had ended these words, Al-Mihrjan rushed forth and
charged down upon him, and the two drawing nigh each of the
foemen set on the other with a mighty onset and a prodigious.
They fought in duello and lanced out with lance and smote with
sword, and dashed together as they were two ships or two moun-
tains clashing ; and they approached and retired, and the dust-cloud

1 In the MS. v. 327, we find four hemistichs which evidently belong to Al-Mihrjan ;
these are :

Hadst come to court her in fairer guise o I had given Al-Hayfa in bestest style ;
But in mode like this hast thou wrought me wrong o And made Envy gibe me with
jeering smile."

Also I have been compelled to change the next sentence, which in the original is, " And
hardly had King Al-Mihrjan ended his words," etc.

2 In this doggerel, " Kurud " (apes) occurs as a rhyme twice in three couplets.



The Loves of Al- Hay fa and Yusuf. 191

arose over them and they disappeared from men's sight. But
hardly had an hour passed by when Yusuf made a final attack
upon his enemy and narrowed his course and barred his way and
pressed him hard ; and, hanging upon his flank, smote him with the
scymitar upon the nape of the neck * and caused his head to fall
between his feet, when he slipt from his steed upon the ground,
and he lay stone dead and in his gore drowned. Now as soon as
the folk looked upon Yusuf and what he had dealt to their King
and how he had made his head fly his body and had done him
dead, they turned to take flight. Thereupon Yusuf recognised
Sahlub the cousin of Al-Hayfa, he who had been the cause of
their separation and had roused her wrath against him ; so he
drew near to him and smote him with the bright shining blade on
the right flank, and it came forth gleaming between his left ribs ;
so he fell to the ground drenched with blood, and he was left
prostrate in the dust. And when Yusuf had slain King Al-Mihrjan
and Sahlub, his nephew, the Grandees of the realm came around
him and greeted him with the salam. - 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
rne 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 1 It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the

1 " Upon the poll of bis head " ('ala hamati-hi) says the Arabian author, and instantly
stultifies the words.



192 Supplemental Nights.

director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that when the
Grandees of King Al-Mihrjan's reign saw their Sovran slain, they
flocked to Prince Yusuf and greeted him, marvelling at his beauty
and valour and excellence : then they all agreed to salute him
as their Sultan and they raised him to the rank of King
and sole ruler over them. Presently they led him with them,
and fared seeking the city of Al-Mihrjan until they reached it,
when they adorned the streets on the occasion of his coming.
And King Yusuf having entered his capital took seat on the throne
of his kingship and bade and forbade and deposed and appointed ;
and lastly freed Mohammed ibn Ibrahim from gaol, and established
him his Wa2ir. Hereupon the new Minister displayed to him the
four wives and the hundred concubines oT King Al-Mihrjan, also
his negro slaves, male and female, whom he found to number two
hundred and four hundred. Moreover, he showed his riches and
rarities and treasuries wherein were found an hundred boxes full
of silk and fine linen, and parcels of pearls and rubies and jacinths
and jewels and precious minerals and other wealth in abundance.
So he distributed the whole amongst his nobles, and largessed
them with excessive largesses ; and his partisans of his subjects
and his guards flocked to him with presents and offerings ; and all
the city-folk gave him joy and rejoiced in him. Then he com-
missioned Ibn Ibrahim to Al-Hayfa, daughter of King Al-Mihrjan,
saying, " Do thou bring her hither to me, her and her handmaids
and all that be in her palace." Accordingly he went forth to Al-
Hayfa's Castle, and ceased not wending till he came to its entrance
where he discovered that King Yusuf had appointed a craft for
the river transport. And when he arrived there and found the
vessel afloat he went in to Al-Hayfa and he greeted her. Then
he related to her what had betided her sire from Yusuf and how
the Prince had slain him after the fashion of what befel ; so she
cried, " There is no Majesty and no Might save in Allah, the



The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf. 193

Glorious, the Great ; and this was writ in the Book of Life ! "
Then she asked Ibn Ibrahim touching her mother, and he answered
that she was sound and safe in her own home which she had
never left nor did any one go in to her ; and, (added he) " she
expecteth thy coming to her." Then he bade carry down her
impediments and her bondmaids and all the good that was in her
Castle until nothing remained, and embarked them upon the craft ;
and presently, mounting her in a litter of sandal-wood plated with
ruddy gold, he set her women in Howdahs ; * and, taking horse
himself, he rode until they drew near the city. And when they
arrived there he went up to King Yusuf whom he informed of
their coming and was told, " Suffer them to be till night shall set
in." Hereupon he took patience, and when came the appointed
term Al-Hayfa went up to the Palace. Now as Allah caused
the morn to morrow and to light the world with its shine and
sheen, King Yusuf sent to summon the Kazi and witnesses and
bade them write his writ of marriage with Al-Hayfa and was
wedded to her by Book and traditional Usage. 2 After this Al-
Hayfa sent to fetch her mother and bore her to her home and their
joy and enjoyment were great and lasting. Now by the decree
of the Decreer anon it befel that the Caliph Al-Maamun waxed
strait of breast one night of the nights : so he summoned a certain
of his courtiers whose name was Ibrahim the Cup-companion ; 3
but, as they found him not, he bade bring a man hight Al-Khadfa,
and when he came between his hands quoth he to him " 'Tis a
while since I have seen thee here." Quoth the other, " O Com-
mander of the Faithful, I have been wayfaring about the land of

1 Arab. "Haudaj"=a camel-litter: the word, often corrupted to Hadaj, is now
applied to a rude pack-saddle, a wooden frame of mimosa-timber set upon a "witr" or
pad of old tent-cloth, stuffed with grass and girt with a single cord. Vol. viii. 235.
Burckhardt gives " Maksar," and Doughty (i. 437) " Muksir" as the modern Badawi
term for the crates or litters in which are carried the Shaykhly housewives.

2 In text "Sunnah"= the practice, etc., of the Prophet : vol. v. 36, 167.

3 This, as the sequel shows, is the far-famed Musician, Ibrahim of Mosul : vo .
vii. 113.

VOL. v.



1 94 Supplemental Nights.

Syria," Continued the Prince of True Believers, " Do thou this
very night broaden the Caliph's heart with a delectable tale ; " and
the other rejoined, " O Viceregent of Allah upon Earth, know
thou an adventure befel me with a youth named the Veiled Yusuf
of Beauty, -son to King Sahl, the friendly ruler of Al-Sind, and with
Al-Hayfa the daughter of King Al-Mihrjan, and 'tis a tale whose
like hath never been heard ; no, never." Hereupon he related to
Al-Maamun the history of the two, first and last, adding, " Further-
more, O Commander of the Faithful, I have learnt that Al-Hayfa
owneth ten handmaidens whose peers are not to be found in thy
Palace, and they are mistresses of all manner instruments of mirth
and merriment and other matters ; and amongst things said of
them by their lady when they marvelled at her good fortune,
" Verily this day I have acquired half a score of slave-girls the like
of which Al-Maamun hath never collected." But when the
Prince of True Believers heard this he gave ear to the tale anent
them during the livelong night till Allah caused the morn to
morrow. Then he sent for Ibrahim the Cup-companion, and to
him coming into the presence the Viceregent of Allah exclaimed,
" Mount without stay and delay taking with thee one thousand
Mamelukes and make thy way to this youth who is King of Al-
Sind * and named 'The Veiled Yusuf of Beauty,' and bring me his
ten handmaidens. After which do thou ask concerning his case and
anent his subjects, whether he be just or unjust to the lieges, and
if he be righteous I will robe him in honourable robes and if
otherwise do thou bring him to my presence." Hereupon Ibrahim
took leave of the Caliph and went forth at that very time and tide
intending for Al-Sind, and he ceased not wending till he arrived
there and found Yusuf setting out for the chase. But when the youth

saw the host approaching him And Shahrazad was surprised

by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted

1 In the text King of Al-Sin = China, and in p. 360 of MS. Yusuf is made " King of
China and Sind," which would be much like " King of Germany and Brentford."



The Loves of Al- Hay fa and Yusuf. 195

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

!je &eben f^imfcrefc anti &econfc Ni'sbt,

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 Yusuf
beheld Ibrahim the Cup-companion, and those in his company, he
returned to the city and took them with him ; yet he knew not
Ibrahim nor did Ibrahim know him. But on entering the capital
he was met by his guards and his soldiers who blessed him and
prayed for him length of days and permanence of rule wherefor
the courtier knew him to be a just King. Yusuf led them to and
lodged them in the House of Hospitality ; after which returning
to his own Palace he sent for Ibrahim and assembled for him a
session and received him with the highmost honour that could be,
and rose to him and greeted him and embraced him and accom-
panied him to the sitting-saloon where the twain took their places.
Then Yusuf bade summon the ten handmaidens with as many
instruments of music ; and, sitting down begirt ' by them, he
ordered wine be brought. So they set before him flagons and
beakers of chrystal and jewelled cups ; and presently pointing to
the first of the slave-girls whose name is not recorded, bade her
recite somewhat of her pleasantest poetry. So she hent the lute
in hand and set it upon her lap and swept it with a light touch
and caressed it with her finger-tips and smote it after eleven



196 Supplemental Nights.

modes ; then she returned to the first 1 and recited these
couplets :

" My heart for parting ever burns with lowe ; o My lids fiery with tear-floods

ever flow :
Ho thou in lover's loving ferly fair, e> Cut is the road for those Love gars to

glow.
How many a youth has felt his vitals torn o By slender forms and glances

forceful prow ?
Alas for lover slain by might of Love ; * Nor friend avails nor brother true, I

trow ! "

When the first handmaiden had finished, Yusuf rejoiced (as did
Ibrahim the Cup-companion) with excessive joy and the King
bade robe her in a sumptuous robe. Hereupon she drained her
cup and passed it to her compeer whose name was Taknd, and
this second handmaiden taking beaker in hand placed it afore
her and hending the lute smote on it with many a mode ; then,
returning to the first 2 while the wits of all were bewildered, she
improvised the following verses :

" Look on the lute that 'minds of Mangonel ; * Whose strings are ropes that

make each shot to tell :
And note the pipes that sound with shriek and cry, o The pipes that cast a

fearful joyful spell ;
Espy the flagons ranged in serried rank o And crops becrowned with wine

that longs to well."

But when Takna had finished her poetry Yusuf and Ibrahim were
gladdened and the King bade largesse her with a sumptuous robe
and a thousand dinars and she tossed off her cup and passed it to
her successor the third handmaiden Mubdi' 3 hight. She accepted
it and setting it before her took the lute and smote it after
manifold fashions and presently she spake these couplets :



1 This is the full formula repeated in the case of all the ten blessed damsels. I have
spared the patience of my readers.

2 This formula of the cup and lute is decies repetita^ justifying abbreviation .

3 i.e. The Beginner, the Originator.



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 197

" Love with his painful pine doth rack this frame of me ; o Melts heart and

maims my vitals cruel agony ;
And rail my tears like cloud that rains the largest drops ; o And fails my

hand to find what seek I fain to see :
Thee I conjure, O Yusuf, by Him made thee King o O Sahl-son, Oh our dearest

prop, our dignity,
This man methinks hath come to part us lovers twain o For in his eyes I see

the flame of jealousy."

And when Mubdi'had sung her song, Ibrahim the Cup-companion
and King Yusuf smiled and rejoiced and anon there befel them
what there befel and the two slipt down aswoon ; - And
Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and
ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dun-
yazad, " 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 Sovran
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and
that was



anti

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 King
Yusuf and Ibrahim the Cup-companion hearing the song sung by
Mubdi', the third handmaiden, both fell to the floor aswoon ; and
when they revived after an hour or so, Ibrahim largessed to her
one thousand dinars and a robe purfled with glistening gold.
Then she drained her cup and crowning it again passed it to her
compeer whose name was Nasfm 1 and who took it and set it in

1 The Zephyr, or rather the cool north breeze of upper Arabia, vol. viii. 62.



Supplemental Nights.

front of her. Then hending in hand the lute she played upon it
with manifold modes and lastly spake these couplets :

" O Blamer, blaming me for draining lonely wine, o Stint carping, I this day

to Holy War incline :
Oh fair reflection she within her wine-cup shows o Her sight makes spirit

dullest earthly flesh refine :
How mention her ? By Allah 'tis forbid in writ o To note the meaner charms

in Eden-garth divine."

When the fourth handmaiden had ended her verse, Ibrahim
gifted her with one thousand dinars and presented a sumptuous
robe to her owner, then she drank off her cup and passed it to
her compeer hight Al-Badr 1 and she sang the following lines :

" One robbed of heart amid song and wine c And Love that smiteth with babe

of eyne :
His voice to the lute shall make vitals pain o And the wine shall heal all his

pangs and pine :
Hast e'er seen the vile drawing near such draught o Or miser close-fisted

thereto incline ?
The wine is set free in the two-handed jar" o Like sun of summer in Aries'

sign."

When she had finished Ibrahim bade reward her like the rest
with gold and gear and she passed her cup to her compeer whose
name was Radah. 3 The sixth handmaiden drained it and per-
formed in four-and-twenty modes after which she sang these
couplets :

" O thou wine-comrade languor cease to show ; o Hand me the morning

draught and ne'er foreslovv ;
And prize fair poesy and sweet musick hear o And shun the 'say' and naught

of ' said ' beknow :
The wine of day-dawn drunk with joyous throng o From house of Reason

garreth Grief to go :



1 The " Full Moon"; plu r . Budiir : vols. iii., 228, iv., 249.

2 " Dann " = amphora, Gr d/i</>opa;s short for a/A<i<jk>pei}<; = having two handles.

3 = "The large-hipped," a form of Radih.



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 199

The man of Kays aye loved his wine right well o And from his lips made
honey'd verse to flow ;

And in like guise 1 came Isa singing sweet * For such was custom of the long-
ago."

When Radah ended her verse and her improvising of mysterious
significance, and secret, King Yusuf and Ibrahim the Cup-com-
panion tore their robes from their bodies until naught remained
upon them save only the bag-breeches about their waists. Then
the twain shrieked aloud and at one moment and they fell fainting
to the floor, unheeding the world and their own selves from the
excess of that was in their heads of wine and hearing of poetry
spoken by the slave-girl. They remained in such condition for a
while of time, after which they recovered though still amazed,
a-drunken. Then they donned other dresses and sat down to
listen as before, when Radah drained her goblet and filled and
passed it to her compeer whose name was Na'i'm ; 2 and she taking
her lute, improvised the following verses :

" My poesy-gem showeth clear of shine, * When appears that pearl with cheek

coralline :
'Tis marvel the cloud cannot quench the blaze * That fire in the heart and this

water of eyne !
Then alas for Love who hath made me woe! * Pine that rends and racks limbs

and vitals o' mine :
O thou Well of Poetry well forth thy gems * O'er our drink when our cups

overbrim with wine :
And sing in her presence, for Envy hath fled * And flies jealous spite and all

joys combine.
Oh the charms of wine which enthral the mind, * Clear and clearing sprites

by its sprite refined ! "

When the seventh handmaiden had ended her verses, King Yusuf
and Ibrahim rejoiced with exceeding joy and each of them bade
gift her with a thousand gold pieces and quoth the courtier, " By
Allah Almighty, none of the Emirs or of the Wazirs or of the



1 In text " Minba'ada-hu " making Jesus of later date than Imr al-Kays.

2 i.e. " The Delight " : also a P.N. of one of the Heavens: vols. iii. 19; iv. 143.



2oo Supplemental Nights.

Kings or of the Caliphs hath attained excellence like unto this
handmaid. Hereupon Na'im passed her goblet to her compeer
and she, whose name was Suriir, 1 tossed it off and taking in hand
her lute, sang these couplets :

" How is't with heart of me all cares waylay * As drowned in surging , tears of

Deluge-day ?
I weep for Time endured not to us twain * As though Time's honour did not

oft betray.

my lord Yusuf, O my ending hope, * By Him who made thee lone on

Beauty's way,

1 dread lest glorious days us twain depart * And youth's bright world be

dimmed to old and grey ;

O Lord ! be Parting's palm for us undyed 2 * Ere death, nor carry this my lord
away."

When the eighth handmaiden had ended her song, the twain
marvelled at her eloquence and were like to rend that was upon
them of raiment - 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



antr Jpfft& Kigfjt,



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
goodwill ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director,



1 i.e. Joy, Contentment.

2 In text " La khuzibat Ayday al-Firak," meaning, " may separation never ornament
herself in sign of gladness at the prospect of our parting." For the Khazib-dye see vol.
iii. 105.



The Loves of Al- Hay fa and Yusuf. 201

the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds
fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that King Yusuf and Ibrahim
the Cup-companion were like to rend that was upon them of
raiment and they joyed with extreme joy after hearing what

.- ' \

Surur had sang to them. Hereupon she passed her cup to her
fellow., hight Zahrat al-Hayy, 1 who took it and recited as follows :

" O cup-boy, I crave thee cup-comrade to be * And hearten my heart of its
malady ;

Nor pass me the bowls for I sorely dread o When drunken all dolours of
Love-lowe to dree,

To be vilely reviled in the sittings of men, o To be frowardly treated where
zephyrs play free.

God-blest is the Lute for her melodies * Which pain me with painfullest
penalty,

With the jewels of speech whose transcendent charms * Like fires of Jahim 2
burn the vitals of me.

By Allah, show ruth, be compassionate, * For Allah deals pardon com-
passionately."

Vusuf and Ibrahim, hearing her words, were gladdened with

> t -

excessive gladness and cried to the ninth handmaid, " May the
lord be copious to thee like the fruitful years ! ' : Then the Cup-
companion bade gift her with one thousand gold pieces as like-
wise did her lord. Hereupon she passed her cup to the tenth
handmaiden known as Muhjat al-Kulub 3 who fell to improvising
these couplets :

" O Blamer, who canst not my case explain ; o Cease, for who blame friends

shall of blame complain ;
And whoso unknoweth the workings of Love * Mankind shall reckon him

mean and vain :
Alas for Love, O ye tribe-landers, I * Am weaned that wont nipples of union

to drain.



1 i.e. "Bloom of the Tribe." " Zahrat "= a blossom especially yellow and com-
monly applied to orange- flower. In line 10 of the same page the careless scribe calls the
girl " Jauharat (Gem) of the Tribe."

2 For this Hell, see vol. viii. in.

3 " Core" or " Life-blood of Hearts."



2O2 Supplemental Nights.

I have learnt the whole of Love's governance * Since my baby days amid

cradles lain.
Forbear by Allah to ask of my state * How shall morn one banned with debtor

bane ?
O thou jewel of speech, O thou Yusuf, laud * To the Lord who robed thee with

charms amain !
Deign the God of 'Arsh make thy days endure * In wealth and honour sans

pause or wane ;
E'en as Ishdk's son T every gift conjoined Amid men, making rulers to serve!

him fain."

When Muhjat al-Kulub ended her song, Yusuf gifted her with a
splendid robe and a thousand gold pieces as eke did Ibrahim, and
presently the courtier said to the handmaiden, " Who is Ibrahim
that thou shouldst sing of him in song ? " She replied, " Wallahi,
O my lord, he is son of Ishak, amongst the pleasant ones sans peer
and a cup-companion to the Caliphs dear and the pearl concealed
and the boon friend of our lord the Commander of the Faithful'
Al-Maamiin and his familiar who to him joy and enjoyment
maketh known. Ah ! happy the man who can look upon him



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 17 of 40)