Terminal Essay



 Preliminary



The reader who has reached this terminal stage will hardly require my assurance that he has seen the mediaeval Arab at his best and, perhaps, at his worst. In glancing over the myriad pictures of this panorama, those who can discern the soul of goodness in things evil will note the true nobility of the Moslem’s mind in the Moyen Age, and the cleanliness of his life from cradle to grave. As a child he is devoted to his parents, fond of his comrades and respectful to his “pastors and masters,” even schoolmasters. As a lad he prepares for manhood with a will and this training occupies him throughout youthtide: he is a gentleman in manners without awkwardness, vulgar astonishment or mauvaise-honte. As a man he is high-spirited and energetic, always ready to fight for his Sultan, his country and, especially, his Faith: courteous and affable, rarely failing in temperance of mind and self-respect, self-control and self-command: hospitable to the stranger, attached to his fellow citizens, submissive to superiors and kindly to inferiors--if such classes exist: Eastern despotisms have arrived nearer the idea of equality and fraternity than any republic yet invented. As a friend he proves a model to the Damons and Pythiases: as a lover an exemplar to Don Quijote without the noble old Caballero’s touch of eccentricity. As a knight he is the mirror of chivalry, doing battle for the weak and debelling the strong, while ever “defending the honour of women.” As a husband his patriarchal position causes him to be loved and fondly loved by more than one wife: as a father affection for his children rules his life: he is domestic in the highest degree and he finds few pleasures beyond the bosom of his family. Lastly, his death is simple, pathetic end edifying as the life which led to it.

Considered in a higher phase, the mediaeval Moslem mind displays, like the ancient Egyptian, a most exalted moral idea, the deepest reverence for all things connected with his religion and a sublime conception of the Unity and Omnipotence of the Deity. Noteworthy too is a proud resignation to the decrees of Fate and Fortune (Kazá wa Kadar), of Destiny and Predestination--a feature which ennobles the low aspect of Al-Islam even in these her days of comparative degeneration and local decay. Hence his moderation in prosperity, his fortitude in adversity, his dignity, his perfect self-dominance and, lastly, his lofty quietism which sounds the true heroic ring. This again is softened and tempered by a simple faith in the supremacy of Love over Fear, an unbounded humanity and charity for the poor and helpless: an unconditional forgiveness of the direst injuries (“which is the note of the noble”); a generosity and liberality which at times seem impossible and an enthusiasm for universal benevolence and beneficence which, exalting kindly deeds done to man above every form of holiness, constitute the root and base of Oriental, nay, of all, courtesy. And the whole is crowned by pure trust and natural confidence in the progress and perfectability of human nature, which he exalts instead of degrading; this he holds to be the foundation stone of society and indeed the very purpose of its existence. His Pessimism resembles far more the optimism which the so-called Books of Moses borrowed from the Ancient Copt than the mournful and melancholy creed of the true Pessimist, as Solomon the Hebrew, the Indian Buddhist and the esoteric European imitators of Buddhism. He cannot but sigh when contemplating the sin and sorrow, the pathos and bathos of the world; and feel the pity of it, with its shifts and changes ending in nothingness, its scanty happiness and its copious misery. But his melancholy is expressed in--


         “A voice divinely sweet, a voice no less
           Divinely sad.”

Nor does he mourn as they mourn who have no hope: he has an absolute conviction in future compensation; and, meanwhile, his lively poetic impulse, the poetry of ideas, not of formal verse, and his radiant innate idealism breathe a soul into the merest matter of squalid work-a-day life and awaken the sweetest harmonies of Nature epitomised in Humanity.

Such was the Moslem at a time when “the dark clouds of ignorance and superstition hung so thick on the intellectual horizon of Europe as to exclude every ray of learning that darted from the East and when all that was polite or elegant in literature was classed among the Studia Arabum [FN#126]

Nor is the shady side of the picture less notable. Our Arab at his worst is a mere barbarian who has not forgotten the savage. He is a model mixture of childishness and astuteness, of simplicity and cunning, concealing levity of mind under solemnity of aspect. His stolid instinctive conservatism grovels before the tyrant rule of routine, despite that turbulent and licentious independence which ever suggests revolt against the ruler: his mental torpidity, founded upon physical indolence, renders immediate action and all manner of exertion distasteful: his conscious weakness shows itself in overweening arrogance and intolerance. His crass and self-satisfied ignorance makes him glorify the most ignoble superstitions, while acts of revolting savagery are the natural results of a malignant fanaticism and a furious hatred of every creed beyond the pale of Al-Islam.

It must be confessed that these contrasts make a curious and interesting tout ensemble.





§ I
 THE ORIGIN OF THE NIGHTS.



 A.--The Birth place.



Here occur the questions, Where and When was written and to Whom do we owe a prose-poem which, like the dramatic epos of Herodotus, has no equal?

I proceed to lay before the reader a procès-verbal of the sundry pleadings already in court as concisely as is compatible with intelligibility, furnishing him with references to original authorities and warning him that a fully-detailed account would fill a volume. Even my own reasons for decidedly taking one side and rejecting the other must be stated briefly. And before entering upon this subject I would distribute the prose-matter of our Recueil of Folk-lore under three heads

1. The Apologue or Beast-fable proper, a theme which may be of any age, as it is found in the hieroglyphs and in the cuneiforms.

2. The Fairy-tale, as for brevity we may term the stories based upon supernatural agency: this was a favourite with olden Persia; and Mohammed, most austere and puritanical of the “Prophets,” strongly objected to it because preferred by the more sensible of his converts to the dry legends of the Talmud and the Koran, quite as fabulous without the halo and glamour of fancy.

3. The Histories and historical anecdotes, analects, and acroamata, in which the names, when not used achronistically by the editor or copier, give unerring data for the earliest date à quo and which, by the mode of treatment, suggest the latest.

Each of these constituents will require further notice when the subject-matter of the book is discussed. The metrical portion of The Nights may also be divided into three categories, viz.:--

1. The oldest and classical poetry of the Arabs, e.g. the various quotations from the “Suspended Poems.”

2. The mediaeval, beginning with the laureates of Al-Rashid’s court, such as Al-Asma’í and Abú Nowás, and ending with Al-Harírí A.H. 446-516 = 1030-1100.

3. The modern quotations and the pièces de circonstance by the editors or copyists of the Compilation. [FN#127]

Upon the metrical portion also further notices must be offered at the end of this Essay.

In considering the uncle derivatur of The Nights we must carefully separate subject-matter from language-manner. The neglect of such essential difference has caused the remark, “It is not a little curious that the origin of a work which has been known to Europe and has been studied by many during nearly two centuries, should still be so mysterious, and that students have failed in all attempts to detect the secret.” Hence also the chief authorities at once branched off into two directions. One held the work to be practically Persian: the other as persistently declared it to be purely Arab.
Professor Galland, in his Epistle Dedicatory to the Marquise d’O, daughter of his patron M. de Guillerague, showed his literary acumen and unfailing sagacity by deriving The Nights from India via Persia; and held that they had been reduced to their present shape by an Auteur Arabe inconnu. This reference to India, also learnedly advocated by M. Langlès, was inevitable in those days: it had not then been proved that India owed all her literature to far older civilisations and even that her alphabet the Nágari, erroneously called Devanágari, was derived through Phoenicia and Himyar-land from Ancient Egypt. So Europe was contented to compare The Nights with the Fables of Pilpay for upwards of a century. At last the Pehlevi or old Iranian origin of the work found an able and strenuous advocate in Baron von Hammer–Purgstall  [FN#128] who worthily continued what Galland had begun: although a most inexact writer, he was extensively read in Oriental history and poetry. His contention was that the book is an Arabisation of the Persian Hazár Afsánah or Thousand Tales and he proved his point.

Von Hammer began by summoning into Court the “Herodotus of the Arabs, (Ali Abú al-Hasan) Al-Mas’údi who, in A.H. 333 (=944) about one generation before the founding of Cairo, published at Bassorah the first edition of his far-famed Murúj al-Dahab wa Ma’ádin al-Jauhar, Meads of Gold and Mines of Gems. The Styrian Orientalist [FN#129] quotes with sundry misprints [FN#130] an ampler version of a passage in Chapter lxviii., which is abbreviated in the French translation of M. C. Barbier de Meynard. [FN#131]

“And, indeed, many men well acquainted with their (Arab) histories [FN#132] opine that the stories above mentioned and other trifles were strung together by men who commended themselves to the Kings by relating them, and who found favour with their contemporaries by committing them to memory and by reciting them. Of such fashion [FN#133] is the fashion of the books which have come down to us translated from the Persian (Fárasiyah), the Indian (Hindíyah), [FN#134] and the Græco-Roman (Rúmíyah) [FN#135]: we have noted the judgment which should be passed upon compositions of this nature. Such is the book entituled Hazár Afsánah or The Thousand Tales, which word in Arabic signifies Khuráfah (Facetioe): it is known to the public under the name of ‘The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night, (Kitab Alf Laylah wa Laylah). [FN#136] This is an history of a King and his Wazir, the minister’s daughter and a slave-girl (járiyah) who are named Shírzád (lion-born) and Dínár-zád (ducat-born). [FN#137] Such also is the Tale of Farzah, [FN#138] (alii Firza), and Simás, containing details concerning the Kings and Wazirs of Hind: the Book of Al-Sindibád [FN#139] and others of a similar stamp.”

Von Hammer adds, quoting chaps. cxvi. of Al-Mas’údi that Al-Mansúr (second Abbaside A.H. 136-158 = 754-775, and grandfather of Al-Rashíd) caused many translations of Greek and Latin, Syriac and Persian (Pehlevi) works to be made into Arabic, specifying the “Kalílah wa Damnah,” [FN#140] the Fables of Bidpái (Pilpay), the Logic of Aristotle, the Geography of Ptolemy and the Elements of Euclid. Hence he concludes “L’original des Mille et une Nuits * * * selon toute vraisemblance, a été traduit au temps du Khalife Mansur, c’est-á-dire trente ans avant le règne du Khalife Haroun al-Raschid, qui, par la suite, devait lui-meme jouer un si grand rôle dans ces histoires.” He also notes that, about a century after Al-Mas’udi had mentioned the Hazár Afsánah, it was versified and probably remodelled by one “Rásti,” the Takhallus or nom de plume of a bard at the Court of Mahmúd, the Ghaznevite Sultan who, after a reign of thirty-three years, ob. A.D. 1030. [FN#141]

Von Hammer some twelve years afterwards (Journ. Asiat August, 1839) brought forward, in his “Note sur l’origine Persane des Mille et une Nuits,” a second and an even more important witness: this was the famous Kitab al-Fihrist, [FN#142] or Index List of (Arabic) works, written (in A.H. 387 = 987) by Mohammed bin Is’hák al-Nadím (cup-companion or equerry), “popularly known as Ebou Yacoub el-Werrek.” [FN#143] The following is an extract (p. 304) from the Eighth Discourse which consists of three arts (funún). [FN#144] “The first section on the history of the confabulatores nocturni (tellers of night tales) and the relaters of fanciful adventures, together with the names of books treating upon such subjects. Mohammed ibn Is’hak saith: The first who indited themes of imagination and made books of them, consigning these works to the libraries, and who ordered some of them as though related by the tongues of brute beasts, were the palæo-Persians (and the Kings of the First Dynasty). The Ashkanian Kings of the Third Dynasty appended others to them and they were augmented and amplified in the days of the Sassanides (the fourth and last royal house). The Arabs also translated them into Arabic, and the loquent and eloquent polished and embellished them and wrote others resembling them. The first work of such kind was entituled ‘The Book of Hazar Afsán,’ signifying Alf Khuráfah, the argument whereof was as follows. A King of their Kings was wont, when he wedded a woman and had lain one night with her, to slay her on the next morning. Presently he espoused a damsel of the daughters of the Kings, Shahrázád [FN#145] hight, one endowed with intellect and erudition and, whenas she lay with him, she fell to telling him tales of fancy; moreover she used to connect the story at the end of the night with that which might induce the King to preserve her alive and to ask her of its ending on the next night until a thousand nights had passed over her. Meanwhile he cohabited with her till she was blest by boon of child of him, when she acquainted him with the device she had wrought upon him; wherefore he admired her intelligence and inclined to her and preserved her life. That King had also a Kahramánah (nurse and duenna, not entremetteuse), hight Dínárzád (Dunyázád?), who aided the wife in this (artifice). It is also said that this book was composed for (or, by) Humái daughter of Bahman [FN#146] and in it were included other matters. Mohammed bin Is’hak adds: -And the truth is, Inshallah, [FN#147] that the first who solaced himself with hearing night-tales was Al-Iskandar (he of Macedon) and he had a number of men who used to relate to him imaginary stories and provoke him to laughter: he, however, designed not therein merely to please himself, but that he might thereby become the more cautious and alert. After him the Kings in like fashion made use of the book entitled ‘Hazár Afsán.’ It containeth a thousand nights, but less than two hundred night-stories, for a single history often occupied several nights. I have seen it complete sundry times; and it is, in truth, a corrupted book of cold tales.” [FN#148]

A writer in The Athenoeum, [FN#149] objecting to Lane’s modern date for The Nights, adduces evidence to prove the greater antiquity of the work. (Abu al-Hasan) Ibn Sa’id (bin Musa al-Gharnati = of Granada) born in A.H. 615 = 1218 and ob. Tunis A.H. 685 = 1286, left his native city and arrived at Cairo in A.H. 639 = 1241. This Spanish poet and historian wrote Al-Muhallá bi al-Ash’ár (The Adorned with Verses), a Topography of Egypt and Africa, which is apparently now lost. In this he quotes from Al-Kurtubi, the Cordovan; [FN#150] and he in his turn is quoted by the Arab historian of Spain, Abú al-Abbás Ahmad bin Mohammed al Makkári, in the “Windwafts of Perfume from the Branches of Andalusia the Blooming” [FN#151] (A.D. 1628-29). Mr. Payne (x. 301) thus translates from Dr. Dozy’s published text.

“Ibn Said (may God have mercy upon him!) sets forth in his book, El Muhella bi-s-Shaar, quoting from El Curtubi the story of the building of the Houdej in the Garden of Cairo, the which was of the magnificent pleasaunces of the Fatimite Khalifs, the rare of ordinance and surpassing, to wit that the Khalif El Aamir bi-ahkam-illah [FN#152] let build it for a Bedouin woman, the love of whom had gotten the mastery of him, in the neighbourhood of the ‘Chosen Garden’ [FN#153] and used to resort often thereto and was slain as he went thither; and it ceased not to be a pleasuring-place for the Khalifs after him. The folk abound in stories of the Bedouin girl and Ibn Meyyah [FN#154] of the sons of her uncle (cousin?) and what hangs thereby of the mention of El-Aamir, so that the tales told of them on this account became like unto the story of El Bettál [FN#155] and the Thousand Nights and a Night and what resembleth them.”

The same passage from Ibn Sa’id, corresponding in three MSS., occurs in the famous Khitat [FN#156] attributed to Al-Makrizi (ob. A.D. 1444) and was thus translated from a MS. in the British Museum by Mr. John Payne (ix. 303)

“The Khalif El-Aamir bi-ahkam-illah set apart, in the neighbourhood of the Chosen Garden, a place for his beloved the Bedouin maid (Aaliyah) [FN#157] which he named El Houdej. Quoth Ibn Said, in the book El-Muhella bi-l-ashar, from the History of El Curtubi, concerning the traditions of the folk of the story of the Bedouin maid and Ibn Menah (Meyyah) of the sons of her uncle and what hangs thereby of the mention of the Khalif El Aamír bi-ahkam-illah, so that their traditions (or tales) upon the garden became like unto El Bettál [FN#158] and the Thousand Nights and what resembleth them.”

This evidently means either that The Nights existed in the days of Al-’Ámir (xiith cent.) or that the author compared them with a work popular in his own age. Mr. Payne attaches much importance to the discrepancy of titles, which appears to me a minor detail. The change of names is easily explained. Amongst the Arabs, as amongst the wild Irish, there is divinity (the proverb says luck) in odd numbers and consequently the others are inauspicious. Hence as Sir Wm. Ouseley says (Travels ii. 21), the number Thousand and One is a favourite in the East (Olivier, Voyages vi. 385, Paris 1807), and quotes the Cistern of the “Thousand and One Columns” at Constantinople. Kaempfer (Amoen, Exot. p. 38) notes of the Takiyahs or Dervishes’ convents and the Mazárs or Santons’ tombs near Koniah (Iconium), “Multa seges sepulchralium quæ virorum ex omni ævo doctissimorum exuvias condunt, mille et unum recenset auctor Libri qui inscribitur Hassaaer we jek mesaar (Hazár ve yek Mezár), i.e., mille et unum mausolea.” A book, The Hazar o yek Ruz ( = 1001 Days), was composed in the mid-xviith century by the famous Dervaysh Mukhlis, Chief Sofi of Isfahan: it was translated into French by Petis de la Croix, with a preface by Cazotte, and was englished by Ambrose Phillips. Lastly, in India and throughout Asia where Indian influence  extends, the number of cyphers not followed by a significant number is indefinite: for instance, to determine hundreds the Hindus affix the required figure to the end and for 100 write 101; for 1000, 1001. But the grand fact of the Hazár Afsánah is its being the archetype of The Nights, unquestionably proving that the Arab work borrows from the Persian bodily its cadre or frame-work, the principal characteristic; its exordium and its dénoæement, whilst the two heroines still bear the old Persic names.

Baron Silvestre de Sacy [FN#159]--clarum et venerabile nomen--is the chief authority for the Arab provenance of The Nights. Apparently founding his observations upon Galland, [FN#160] he is of opinion that the work, as now known, was originally composed in Syria [FN#161] and written in the vulgar dialect; that it was never completed by the author, whether he was prevented by death or by other cause; and that imitators endeavoured to finish the work by inserting romances which were already known but which formed no part of the original recueil, such as the Travels of Sindbad the Seaman, the Book of the Seven Wazirs and others. He accepts the Persian scheme and cadre of the work, but no more. He contends that no considerable body of præ-Mohammedan or non-Arabic fiction appears in the actual texts [FN#162]; and that all the tales, even those dealing with events localised in Persia, India, China and other infidel lands and dated from ante-islamitic ages mostly with the naïvest anachronism, confine themselves to depicting the people, manners and customs of Baghdad and Mosul, Damascus and Cairo, during the Abbaside epoch, and he makes a point of the whole being impregnated with the strongest and most zealous spirit of Mohammedanism. He points out that the language is the popular or vulgar dialect, differing widely from the classical and literary; that it contains many words in common modern use and that generally it suggests the decadence of Arabian literature. Of one tale he remarks:--The History of the loves of Camaralzaman and Budour, Princess of China, is no more Indian or Persian than the others. The prince’s father has Moslems for subjects, his mother is named Fatimah and when imprisoned he solaces himself with reading the Koran. The Genii who interpose in these adventures are, again, those who had dealings with Solomon. In fine, all that we here find of the City of the Magians, as well as of the fire-worshippers, suffices to show that one should not expect to discover in it anything save the production of a Moslem writer.

All this, with due deference to so high an authority, is very superficial. Granted, which nobody denies, that the archetypal Hazár Afsánah was translated from Persic into Arabic nearly a thousand years ago, it had ample time and verge enough to assume another and a foreign dress, the corpus however remaining untouched. Under the hands of a host of editors, scribes and copyists, who have no scruples anent changing words, names and dates, abridging descriptions and attaching their own decorations, the florid and rhetorical Persian would readily be converted into the straight-forward, business-like, matter of fact Arabic. And what easier than to islamise the old Zoroasterism, to transform Ahrimán into Iblís the Shaytan, Ján bin Ján into Father Adam, and the Divs and Peris of Kayomars and the olden Guebre Kings into the Jinns and Jinniyahs of Sulayman? Volumes are spoken by the fact that the Arab adapter did not venture to change the Persic names of the two heroines and of the royal brothers or to transfer the mise-en-scène any whither from Khorasan or outer Persia. Where the story has not been too much worked by the literato’s pen, for instance the “Ten Wazirs” (in the Bresl. Edit. vi. I9I-343) which is the Guebre Bakhtiyár-námah, the names and incidents are old Iranian and with few exceptions distinctly Persian. And at times we can detect the process of transition, e.g. when the Mázin of Khorásán [FN#163] of the Wortley Montagu MS. becomes the Hasan of Bassorah of the Turner Macan MS. (Mac. Edit.).

Evidently the learned Baron had not studied such works as the Totá-kaháni or Parrot-chat which, notably translated by Nakhshabi from the Sanskrit Suka-Saptati, [FN#164] has now become as orthodoxically Moslem as The Nights. The old Hindu Rajah becomes Ahmad Sultan of Balkh, the Prince is Maymún and his wife Khujisteh. Another instance of such radical change is the later Syriac version of Kaliliah wa Dimnah, [FN#165] old “Pilpay” converted to Christianity. We find precisely the same process in European folk-lore; for instance the Gesta Romanorum in which, after five hundred years, the life, manners and customs of the Romans lapse into the knightly and chivalrous, the Christian and ecclesiastical developments of mediaeval Europe. Here, therefore, I hold that the Austrian Arabist has proved his point whilst the Frenchman has failed.

Mr. Lane, during his three years’ labour of translation, first accepted Von Hammer’s view and then came round to that of De Sacy; differing, however, in minor details, especially in the native country of The Nights. Syria had been chosen because then the most familiar to Europeans: the “Wife of Bath” had made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem; but few cared to visit the barbarous and dangerous Nile-Valley. Mr. Lane, however, was an enthusiast for Egypt or rather for Cairo, the only part of it he knew; and, when he pronounces The Nights to be of purely “Arab,” that is, of Nilotic origin, his opinion is entitled to no more deference than his deriving the sub-African and negroid Fellah from Arabia, the land per excellentiam of pure and noble blood. Other authors have wandered still further afield. Some finding Mosul idioms in the Recueil, propose “Middlegates” for its birth-place and Mr. W. G. P. Palgrave boldly says “The original of this entertaining work appears to have been composed in Baghdad about the eleventh century; another less popular but very spirited version is probably of Tunisian authorship and somewhat later.” [FN#166]





 B.--The Date.



The next point to consider is the date of The Nights in its present form; and here opinions range between the tenth and the sixteenth centuries. Professor Galland began by placing it arbitrarily in the middle of the thirteenth. De Sacy, who abstained from detailing reasons and who, forgetting the number of editors and scribes through whose hands it must have passed, argued only from the nature of the language and the peculiarities of style, proposed le milieu du neuvième siècle de l’hégire ( = A.D. 1445-6) as its latest date. Mr. Hole, who knew The Nights only through Galland’s version, had already advocated in his “Remarks” the close of the fifteenth century; and M. Caussin (de Perceval), upon the authority of a supposed note in Galland’s MS. [FN#167] (vol. iii. fol. 20, verso), declares the compiler to have been living in A.D. 1548 and 1565. Mr. Lane says “Not begun earlier than the last fourth of the fifteenth century nor ended before the first fourth of the sixteenth,” i.e. soon after Egypt was conquered by Selim, Sultan of the Osmanli Turks in A.D. 1517. Lastly the learned Dr. Weil says in his far too scanty Vorwort (p. ix. 2nd Edit.):-“Das wahrscheinlichste dürfte also sein, das im 15. Jahrhundert ein Egyptier nach altern Vorbilde Erzählungen für 1001 Nächte theils erdichtete, theils nach mündlichen Sagen, oder frühern schriftlichen Aufzeichnungen, bearbeitete, dass er aber entweder sein Werk nicht vollendete, oder dass ein Theil desselben verloren ging, so dass das Fehlende von Andern bis ins 16. Jahrhundert hinein durch neue Erzählungen ergänzt wurde.”

But, as justly observed by Mr. Payne, the first step when enquiring into the original date of The Nights is to determine the nucleus of the Repertory by a comparison of the four printed texts and the dozen MSS. which have been collated by scholars. [FN#168] This process makes it evident that the tales common to all are the following thirteen:--

         1. The Introduction (with a single incidental story “The Bull and the Ass”).
         2. The Trader and the Jinni (with three incidentals).
         3. The Fisherman and the Jinni (with four).
         4. The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad (with six).
         5. The Tale of the Three Apples.
         6. The Tale of Núr-al-Dín Ali and his son Badr al-Dín Hasan.
         7. The Hunchback’s Tale (with eleven incidentals).
         8. Nur al-Dín and Anís al-Jalís.
         9. Tale of Ghánim bin ’Ayyúb (with two incidentals).
       10. Alí bin Bakkár and Shams al-Nahár (with two).
       11. Tale of Kamar al-Zamán.
       12. The Ebony Horse; and
       13. Julnár the Seaborn.

These forty-two tales, occupying one hundred and twenty Nights, form less than a fifth part of the whole collection which in the Mac. Edit. [FN#169] contains a total of two hundred and sixty-four Hence Dr. Patrick Russell, [FN#170] the Natural Historian of Aleppo, [FN#171] whose valuable monograph amply deserves study even in this our day, believed that the original Nights did not outnumber two hundred, to which subsequent writers added till the total of a thousand and one was made up. Dr. Jonathan Scott, [FN#172] who quotes Russell, “held it highly probable that the tales of the original Arabian Nights did not run through more than two hundred and eighty Nights, if so many.” So this suggestion I may subjoin, “habent sue fate libelli.” Galland, who preserves in his Mille et une Nuits only about one fourth of The Nights, ends them in No. cclxiv [FN#173] with the seventh voyage of Sindbad: after that he intentionally omits the dialogue between the sisters and the reckoning of time, to proceed uninterruptedly with the tales. And so his imitator, Petis de la Croix, [FN#174] in his Mille et un Jours, reduces the thousand to two hundred and thirty-two.

The internal chronological evidence offered by the Collection is useful only in enabling us to determine that the tales were not written after a certain epoch: the actual dates and, consequently, all deductions from them, are vitiated by the habits of the scribes. For instance we find the Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni (vol. i. 41) placed in A.H. I69 = A.D. 785, [FN#175] which is hardly possible. The immortal Barber in the “Tailor’s Tale” (vol. i. 304) places his adventure with the unfortunate lover on Safar 10, A.H. 653 ( = March 25th, 1255) and 7,320 years of the era of Alexander. [FN#176] This is supported in his Tale of Himself (vol. i. pp. 317-348), where he dates his banishment from Baghdad during the reign of the penultimate Abbaside, Al-Mustansir bi ’llah [FN#177] (A.H. 623-640 = 1225-1242), and his return to Baghdad after the accession of another Caliph who can be no other but Al-Muntasim bi ’llah (A.H. 640-656 = A.D. 1242-1258). Again at the end of the tale (vol. i. 350) he is described as “an ancient man, past his ninetieth year” and “a very old man” in the days of Al-Mustansir (vol. i. 318); SO that the Hunchback’s adventure can hardly be placed earlier than A.D. 1265 or seven years after the storming of Baghdad by Huláku Khan, successor of Janghíz Khan, a terrible catastrophe which resounded throughout the civilised world. Yet there is no allusion to this crucial epoch and the total silence suffices to invalidate the date. [FN#178] Could we assume it as true, by adding to A.D. 1265 half a century for the composition of the Hunchback’s story and its incidentals, we should place the earliest date in A.D. 1315.

As little can we learn from inferences which have been drawn from the body of the book: at most they point to its several editions or redactions. In the Tale of the “Ensorcelled Prince” (vol. i. 77) Mr. Lane (i. 135) conjectured that the four colours of the fishes were suggested by the sumptuary laws of the Mameluke Soldan, Mohammed ibn Kala’un, “subsequently to the commencement of the eighth century of the Flight, or fourteenth of our era.” But he forgets that the same distinction of dress was enforced by the Caliph Omar after the capture of Jerusalem in A.D. 636; that it was revived by Harun al-Rashid, a contemporary of Carolus Magnus and that it was noticed as a long standing grievance by the so-called Mandeville in A.D. 1322. In the Tale of the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdad the “Sultáni oranges” (vol. i. 83) have been connected with Sultáníyah city in Persian Irák, which was founded about the middle of the thirteenth century: but “Sultáni” may simply mean “royal,” a superior growth. The same story makes mention (vol. i. 94) of Kalandars or religious mendicants, a term popularly corrupted, even in writing, to Karandal. [FN#179] Here again “Kalandar” may be due only to the scribes as the Bresl. Edit. reads Sa’alúk = asker, beggar. The Khan al-Masrúr in the Nazarene Broker’s story (i. 265) was a ruin during the early ninth century A.H. = A.D. 1420; but the Báb Zuwaylah (i. 269) dates from A.D. 1087. In the same tale occurs the Darb al-Munkari (or Munakkari) which is probably the Darb al-Munkadi of Al-Makrizi’s careful topography, the Khitat (ii. 40). Here we learn that in his time (about A.D. 1430) the name had become obsolete, and the highway was known as Darb al-Amír Baktamír al-Ustaddar from one of two high officials who both died in the fourteenth century (circ. A.D. 1350). And lastly we have the Khan al-Jáwali built about A.D. 1320. In Badr al-Din Hasan (vol. i. 237) “Sáhib” is given as a Wazirial title and it dates only from the end of the fourteenth century. [FN#180] In Sindbad the Seaman, there is an allusion (vol. vi. 67) to the great Hindu Kingdom, Vijayanagar of the Narasimha, [FN#181] the great power of the Deccan; but this may be due to editors or scribes as the despotism was founded only in the fourteenth century(A.D. 1320). The Ebony Horse (vol. v. 1) apparently dates before Chaucer; and “The Sleeper and The Waker” (Bresl. Edit. iv. 134-189) may precede Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”: no stress, however, can be laid upon such resemblances, the nouvelles being world-wide. But when we come to the last stories, especially to Kamar al-Zaman II. and the tale of Ma’arúf, we are apparently in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The first contains (Night cmlxxvii.) the word Láwandiyah = Levantine, the mention of a watch = Sá’ah in the next Night [FN#182]; and, further on (cmlxxvi.), the “Shaykh Al-Islam,” an officer invented by Mohammed II. after the capture of Stambul in A.D. 1453. In Ma’arúf the ’Ádiliyah is named; the mosque founded outside the Bab al-Nasr by Al-Malik al-’Ádil, Túmán Bey in A.H. 906 = A.D. 1501. But, I repeat, all these names may be mere interpolations.

On the other hand, a study of the vie intime in Al-Islam and of the manners and customs of the people proves that the body of the work, as it now stands, must have been written before A.D. 1400. The Arabs use wines, ciders and barley-beer, not distilled spirits; they have no coffee or tobacco and, while familiar with small-pox (judrí), they ignore syphilis. The battles in The Nights are fought with bows and javelins, swords, spears (for infantry) and lances (for cavalry); and, whenever fire-arms are mentioned, we must suspect the scribe. Such is the case with the Madfa’ or cannon by means of which Badr Al-Din Hasan breaches the bulwarks of the Lady of Beauty’s virginity (i. 223). This consideration would determine the work to have been written before the fourteenth century. We ignore the invention-date and the inventor of gunpowder, as of all old discoveries which have affected mankind at large: all we know is that the popular ideas betray great ignorance and we are led to suspect that an explosive compound, having been discovered in the earliest ages of human society, was utilised by steps so gradual that history has neglected to trace the series. According to Demmin [FN#183], bullets for stuffing with some incendiary composition, in fact bombs, were discovered by Dr. Keller in the Palafites or Crannogs of Switzerland; and the Hindu’s Agni-Astar (“fire-weapon”), Agni-bán (“fire-arrow”) and Shatagni (“hundred-killer”), like the Roman Phalarica, and the Greek fire of Byzantium, suggest explosives. Indeed, Dr. Oppert [FN#184] accepts the statement of Flavius Philostratus that when Appolonius of Tyana, that grand semi-mythical figure, was travelling in India, he learned the reason why Alexander of Macedon desisted from attacking the Oxydracæ who live between the Ganges and the Hyphasis (Satadru or Sutledge):- “These holy men, beloved by the gods, overthrow their enemies with tempests and thunderbolts shot from their walls.” Passing over the Arab sieges of Constantinople (A.D. 668) and Meccah (A.D. 690) and the disputed passage in Firishtah touching the Tufang or musket during the reign of Mahmúd the Ghaznevite [FN#185] (ob. A.D. 1030), we come to the days of Alphonso the Valiant, whose long and short guns, used at the Siege of Madrid in A.D. 1084, are preserved in the Armeria Real. Viardot has noted that the African Arabs first employed cannon in A.D. 1200, and that the Maghribis defended Algeciras near Gibraltar with great guns in A. D. 1247, and utilised them to besiege Seville in A.D. 1342. This last feat of arms introduced the cannon into barbarous Northern Europe, and it must have been known to civilised Asia for many a decade before that date.

The mention of wine in The Nights, especially the Nabíz or fermented infusion of raisins well known to the præ-Mohammeden Badawis, perpetually recurs. As a rule, except only in the case of holy personages and mostly of the Caliph Al-Rashid, the “service of wine” appears immediately after the hands are washed; and women, as well as men, drink, like true Orientals, for the honest purpose of getting drunk-la recherche de l’ideal, as the process has been called. Yet distillation became well known in the fourteenth century. Amongst the Greeks and Romans it was confined to manufacturing aromatic waters, and Nicander the poet (B.C. 140) used for a still the term Üìâéî, like the Irish “pot” and its produce “poteen.” The simple art of converting salt water into fresh, by boiling the former and passing the steam through a cooled pipe into a recipient, would not have escaped the students of the Philosopher’s “stone;” and thus we find throughout Europe the Arabic modifications of Greek terms Alchemy, Alembic (Al-{Greek letters}), Chemistry and Elixir; while “Alcohol” (Al-Kohl), originally meaning “extreme tenuity or impalpable state of pulverulent substances,” clearly shows the origin of the article. Avicenna, who died in A.H. 428 = 1036, nearly two hundred years before we read of distillation in Europe, compared the human body with an alembic, the belly being the cucurbit and the head the capital:-he forgot one important difference but n’importe. Spirits of wine were first noticed in the xiiith century, when the Arabs had overrun the Western Mediterranean, by Arnaldus de Villa Nova, who dubs the new invention a universal panacea; and his pupil, Raymond Lully (nat. Majorca A.D. 1236), declared this essence of wine to be a boon from the Deity. Now The Nights, even in the latest adjuncts, never allude to the “white coffee” of the “respectable” Moslem, the Ráki (raisin-brandy) or Ma-hayát (aqua-vitæ) of the modern Mohametan: the drinkers confine themselves to wine like our contemporary Dalmatians, one of the healthiest and the most vigorous of seafaring races in Europe.

Syphilis also, which at the end of the xvth century began to infect Europe, is ignored by The Nights. I do not say it actually began: diseases do not begin except with the dawn of humanity; and their history, as far as we know, is simple enough. They are at first sporadic and comparatively non-lethal: at certain epochs which we can determine, and for reasons which as yet we cannot, they break out into epidemics raging with frightful violence: they then subside into the endemic state and lastly they return to the milder sporadic form. For instance, “English cholera” was known of old: in 1831 (Oct. 26) the Asiatic type took its place and now, after sundry violent epidemics, the disease is becoming endemic on the Northern seaboard of the Mediterranean, notably in Spain and Italy. So small-pox (Al-judrí, vol. i. 256) passed over from Central Africa to Arabia in the year of Mohammed’s birth (A.D. 570) and thence overspread the civilised world, as an epidemic, an endemic and a sporadic successively. The “Greater Pox” has appeared in human bones of pre historic graves and Moses seems to mention gonorrhoea (Levit. xv. 12). Passing over allusions in Juvenal and Martial, [FN#186] we find Eusebius relating that Galerius died (A.D. 302) of ulcers on the genitals and other parts of his body; and, about a century afterwards, Bishop Palladius records that one Hero, after conversation with a prostitute, fell a victim to an abscess on the penis (phagedænic shanker?). In 1347 the famous Joanna of Naples founded (æt. 23), in her town of Avignon, a bordel whose in-mates were to be medically inspected a measure to which England (proh pudor!) still objects. In her Statuts du Lieu-publiqued’Avignon, No. iv. she expressly mentions the Malvengut de paillardise. Such houses, says Ricord who studied the subject since 1832, were common in France after A.D. 1200; and sporadic venereals were known there. But in A.D. 1493-94 an epidemic broke out with alarming intensity at Barcelona, as we learn from the “Tractado llamado fructo de todos los Sanctos contra el mal serpentino, venido de la Isla espanola,” of Rodrigo Ruiz Días, the specialist. In Santo Domingo the disease was common under the names Hipas, Guaynaras and Taynastizas: hence the opinion in Europe that it arose from the mixture of European and “Indian” blood. [FN#187] Some attributed it to the Gypsies who migrated to Western Europe in the xvth century: [FN#188] others to the Moriscos expelled from Spain. But the pest got its popular name after the violent outbreak at Naples in A.D. 1493-4, when Charles VIII. of Anjou with a large army of mercenaries, Frenchmen, Spaniards, and Germans, attacked Ferdinand II. Thence it became known as the Mal de Naples and Morbus Gallicus-una gallica being still the popular term in neo Latin lands-and the “French disease” in England. As early as July 1496 Marin Sanuto (Journal i. 171) describes with details the “Mal Franzoso.” The scientific “syphilis” dates from Fracastori’s poem (A.D. 1521) in which Syphilus the Shepherd is struck like Job, for abusing the sun. After crippling a Pope (Sixtus IV. [FN#189]) and killing a King (Francis I.) the Grosse Vérole began to abate its violence, under the effects of mercury it is said; and became endemic, a stage still shown at Scherlievo near Fiume, where legend says it was implanted by the Napoleonic soldiery. The Aleppo and other “buttons” also belong apparently to the same grade. Elsewhere it settled as a sporadic and now it appears to be dying out while gonorrhoea is on the increase. [FN#190]

The Nights, I have said, belongs to the days before coffee (A.D. 1550) and tobacco (A.D. 1650) had overspread the East. The former, which derives its name from the Káfá or Káffá province, lying south of Abyssinia proper and peopled by the Sidáma Gallas, was introduced to Mokha of Al-Yaman in A.D. 1429-30 by the Shaykh al-Sházili who lies buried there, and found a congenial name in the Arabic Kahwah=old wine. [FN#191] In The Nights (Mac. Edit.) it is mentioned twelve times [FN#192]; but never in the earlier tales: except in the case of Kamar al-Zaman II. it evidently does not belong to the epoch and we may fairly suspect the scribe. In the xvith century coffee began to take the place of wine in the nearer East; and it gradually ousted the classical drink from daily life and from folk-tales.

It is the same with tobacco, which is mentioned only once by The Nights (cmxxxi.), in conjunction with meat, vegetables and fruit and where it is called “Tábah.” Lane (iii. 615) holds it to be the work of a copyist; but in the same tale of Abu Kir and Abu Sir, sherbet and coffee appear to have become en vogue, in fact to have gained the ground they now hold. The result of Lord Macartney’s Mission to China was a suggestion that smoking might have originated spontaneously in the Old World. [FN#193] This is un-doubtedly true. The Bushmen and other wild tribes of Southern Africa threw their Dakhá (cannabis indica) on the fire and sat round it inhaling the intoxicating fumes. Smoking without tobacco was easy enough. The North American Indians of the Great Red Pipe Stone Quarry and those who lived above the line where nicotiana grew, used the kinni-kinik or bark of the red willow and some seven other succedanea. [FN#194] But tobacco proper, which soon superseded all materials except hemp and opium, was first adopted by the Spaniards of Santo Domingo in A.D. 1496 and reached England in 1565. Hence the word, which, amongst the so-called Red Men, denoted the pipe, the container, not the contained, spread over the Old World as a generic term with additions, like ‘‘Tutun,’’ [FN#195] for special varieties. The change in English manners brought about by the cigar after dinner has already been noticed; and much of the modified sobriety of the present day may be attributed to the influence of the Holy Herb en cigarette. Such, we know from history was its effect amongst Moslems; and the normal wine-parties of The Nights suggest that the pipe was unknown even when the latest tales were written.





C.



We know absolutely nothing of the author or authors who produced our marvellous Recueil. Galland justly observes (Epist. Dedic.), “probably this great work is not by a single hand; for how can we suppose that one man alone could own a fancy fertile enough to invent so many ingenious fictions?” Mr. Lane, and Mr. Lane alone, opined that the work was written in Egypt by one person or at most by two, one ending what the other had begun, and that he or they had re-written the tales and completed the collection by new matter composed or arranged for the purpose. It is hard to see how the distinguished Arabist came to such a conclusion: at most it can be true only of the editors and scribes of MSS. evidently copied from each other, such as the Mac. and the Bul. texts. As the Reviewer (Forbes Falconer?) in the “Asiatic Journal” (vol. xxx., 1839) says, “Every step we have taken in the collation of these agreeable fictions has confirmed us in the belief that the work called the Arabian Nights is rather a vehicle for stories, partly fixed and partly arbitrary, than a collection fairly deserving, from its constant identity with itself, the name of a distinct work, and the reputation of having wholly emanated from the same inventive mind. To say nothing of the improbability of supposing that one individual, with every license to build upon the foundation of popular stories, a work which had once received a definite form from a single writer, would have been multiplied by the copyist with some regard at least to his arrangement of words as well as matter. But the various copies we have seen bear about as much mutual resemblance as if they had passed through the famous process recommended for disguising a plagiarism: ‘Translate your English author into French and again into English’.”

Moreover, the style of the several Tales, which will be considered in a future page (§ iii.), so far from being homogeneous is heterogeneous in the extreme. Different nationalities show them selves; West Africa, Egypt and Syria are all represented and, while some authors are intimately familiar with Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, others are equally ignorant. All copies, written and printed, absolutely differ in the last tales and a measure of the divergence can be obtained by comparing the Bresl. Edit. with the Mac. text: indeed it is my conviction that the MSS. preserved in Europe would add sundry volumes full of tales to those hitherto translated; and here the Wortley Montagu copy can be taken as a test. We may, I believe, safely compare the history of The Nights with the so-called Homeric poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, a collection of immortal ballads and old Epic formulæ and verses traditionally handed down from rhapsode to rhapsode, incorporated in a slowly-increasing body of poetry and finally welded together about the age of Pericles.

To conclude. From the data above given I hold myself justified in drawing the following deductions:--

       1.  The framework of the book is purely Persian perfunctorily arabised; the archetype being the Hazár Afsánah. [FN#196]

      2.  The oldest tales, such as Sindibad (the Seven Wazirs) and King Jili’ád, may date from the reign of Al-Mansur, eighth century A.D.

     3. The thirteen tales mentioned above (p. 78) as the nucleus of the Repertory, together with “Dalilah the Crafty,” [FN#197] may be placed in our tenth century.

       4. The latest tales, notably Kamar al-Zaman the Second and Ma’aruf the Cobbler, are as late as the sixteenth century.

      5.  The work assumed its present form in the thirteenth century.

       6. The author is unknown for the best reason; there never was one: for information touching the editors and copyists we must await the fortunate discovery of some MSS.





§ II.
 THE NIGHTS IN EUROPE.



The history of The Nights in Europe is one of slow and gradual development.  The process was begun (1704-17) by Galland, a Frenchman, continued (1823) by Von Hammer an Austro-German, and finished by Mr. John Payne (1882-84) an Englishman.  But we must not forget that it is wholly and solely to the genius of the Gaul that Europe owes "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments" over which Western childhood and youth have spent so many spelling hours. Antoine Galland was the first to discover the marvellous fund of material for the story-teller buried in the Oriental mine; and he had in a high degree that art of telling a tale which is far more captivating than culture or scholarship.  Hence his delightful version (or perversion) became one of the world's classics and at once made Sheherazade and Dinarzarde, Haroun Alraschid, the Calendars and a host of other personages as familiar to the home reader as Prospero, Robinson Crusoe, Lemuel Gulliver and Dr. Primrose.  Without the name and fame won for the work by the brilliant paraphrase of the learned and single-minded Frenchman, Lane's curious hash and latinized English, at once turgid and emasculated, would have found few readers.  Mr. Payne's admirable version appeals to the Orientalist and the "stylist," not to the many-headed; and mine to the anthropologist and student of Eastern manners and customs.  Galland did it and alone he did it: his fine literary flaire, his pleasing style, his polished taste and perfect tact at once made his work take high rank in the republic of letters nor will the immortal fragment ever be superseded in the infallible judgment of childhood.  As the Encyclopædia Britannica has been pleased to ignore this excellent man and admirable Orientalist, numismatologist and littérateur, the reader may not be unwilling to see a short sketch of his biography. [FN#198]

Antoine Galland was born in A.D. 1646 of peasant parents "poor and honest" at Rollot, a little bourg in Picardy some two leagues from Montdidier.  He was a seventh child and his mother, left a widow in early life and compelled to earn her livelihood, saw scant chance of educating him when the kindly assistance of a Canon of the Cathedral and President of the Collége de Noyon relieved her difficulties.  In this establishment Galland studied Greek and Hebrew for ten years, after which the "strait thing at home" apprenticed him to a trade.  But he was made for letters; he hated manual labour and he presently removed en cachette to Paris, where he knew only an ancient kinswoman.  She introduced him to a priestly relative of the Canon of Noyon, who in turn recommended him to the "Sous-principal" of the Collége Du Plessis.  Here he made such notable progress in Oriental studies, that M. Petitpied, a Doctor of the Sorbonne, struck by his abilities, enabled him to study at the Collége Royal and eventually to catalogue the Eastern MSS. in the great ecclesiastical Society. Thence he passed to the Collége Mazarin, where a Professor, M. Godouin, was making an experiment which might be revived to advantage in our present schools.  He collected a class of boys, aged about four, and proposed to teach them Latin speedily and easily by making them converse in the classical language as well as read and write it. [FN#199] Galland, his assistant, had not time to register success or failure before he was appointed attaché-secretary to M. de Nointel named in 1660 Ambassadeur de France for Constantinople.  His special province was to study the dogmas and doctrines and to obtain official attestations concerning the articles of the Orthodox (or Greek) Christianity which had then been a subject of lively discussion amongst certain Catholics, especially Arnauld (Antoine) and Claude the Minister, and which even in our day occasionally crops up amongst "Protestants." [FN#200] Galland, by frequenting the cafés and listening to the tale-teller, soon mastered Romaic and grappled with the religious question, under the tuition of a deposed Patriarch and of sundry Matráns or Metropolitans, whom the persecutions of the Pashas had driven for refuge to the Palais de France.  M. de Nointel, after settling certain knotty points in the Capitulations, visited the harbour-towns of the Levant and the "Holy Places," including Jerusalem, where Galland copied epigraphs, sketched monuments and collected antiques, such as the marbles in the Baudelot Gallery of which Père Dom Bernard de Montfaucon presently published specimens in his ''Palæographia Græca," etc. (Parisiis, 1708).

In Syria Galland was unable to buy a copy of The Nights: as he expressly states in his Epistle Dedicatory, il a fallu le faire venir de Syrie.  But he prepared himself for translating it by studying the manners and customs, the religion and superstitions of the people; and in 1675, leaving his chief, who was ordered back to Stambul, he returned to France.  In Paris his numismatic fame recommended him to MM. Vaillant, Carcary and Giraud who strongly urged a second visit to the Levant, for the purpose of collecting, and he set out without delay.  In 1691 he made a third journey, travelling at the expense of the Compagnie des Indes-Orientales, with the main object of making purchases for the Library and Museum of Colbert the magnificent.  The commission ended eighteen months afterwards with the changes of the Company, when Colbert and the Marquis de Louvois caused him to be created "Antiquary to the King," Louis le Grand, and charged him with collecting coins and medals for the royal cabinet.  As he was about to leave Smyrna, he had a narrow escape from the earthquake and subsequent fire which destroyed some fifteen thousand of the inhabitants: he was buried in the ruins; but, his kitchen being cold as becomes a philosopher's, he was dug out unburnt. [FN#201]

Galland again returned to Paris where his familiarity with Arabic and Hebrew, Persian and Turkish recommended him to MM. Thevenot and Bignon: this first President of the Grand Council acknowledged his services by a pension.  He also became a favourite with D'Herbelot whose Bibliothèque Orientale, left unfinished at his death, he had the honour of completing and prefacing. [FN#202] President Bignon died within the twelvemonth, which made Galland attach himself in 1697 to M. Foucault, Councillor of State and Intendant (governor) of Caen in Lower Normandy, then famous for its academy: in his new patron's fine library and numismatic collection he found materials for a long succession of works, including a translation of the Koran. [FN#203] They recommended him strongly to the literary world and in 1701 he was made a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.

At Caen Galland issued in 1704, [FN#204] the first part of his Mille et une Nuits, Contes Arabes traduits en François which at once became famous as "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments." Mutilated, fragmentary and paraphrastic though the tales were, the glamour of imagination, the marvel of the miracles and the gorgeousness and magnificence of the scenery at once secured an exceptional success; it was a revelation in romance, and the public recognised that it stood in presence of a monumental literary work.  France was a-fire with delight at a something so new, so unconventional, so entirely without purpose, religious, moral or philosophical: the Oriental wanderer in his stately robes was a startling surprise to the easy-going and utterly corrupt Europe of the ancien régime with its indecently tight garments and perfectly loose morals.  "Ils produisirent," said Charles Nodier, a genius in his way, "dès le moment de leur publication, cet effet qui assure aux productions de l'esprit une vogue populaire, quoiqu'ils appartinssent à une littérature peu connue en France; et que ce genre de composition admit ou plutôt exigeât des détails de moeurs, de caractère, de costume et de localités absolument étrangers à toutes les idées établies dans nos contes et nos romans.  On fut étonné du charme que résultait du leur lecture.  C'est que la vérité des sentimens, la nouveauté des tableaux, une imagination féconde en prodiges, un coloris plein de chaleur, l'attrait d'une sensibilité sans prétention, et le sel d'un comique sans caricature, c'est que l'esprit et le naturel enfin plaisent partout, et plaisent à tout le monde." [FN#205]

The Contes Arabes at once made Galland's name and a popular tale is told of them and him known to all reviewers who, however, mostly mangle it.  In the Biographie Universelle of Michaud [FN#206] we find:--Dans les deux premiers volumes de ces contes l'exorde était toujours, "Ma chère soeur, si vous ne dormez pas, faites-nous un de ces contes que vous savez."  Quelques jeunes gens, ennuyés de cette plate uniformité, allèrent une nuit qu'il faisait très-grand froid, frapper à la porte de l'auteur, qui courut en chemise à sa fenetre.  Après l'avoir fait morfondre quelque temps par diverses questions insignificantes, ils terminèrent en lui disant, "Ah, Monsieur Galland, si vous ne dormez pas, faites-nous un de ces beaux contes que vous savez si bien."  Galland profita de la lecon, et supprima dans les volumes suivants le préambule qui lui avait attiré la plaisanterie.  This legend has the merit of explaining why the Professor so soon gave up the Arab framework which he had deliberately adopted.

The Nights was at once translated from the French [FN#207] though when, where and by whom no authority seems to know.  In Lowndes' "Bibliographer's Manual" the English Editio Princeps is thus noticed, "Arabian Nights' Entertainments translated from the French, London, 1724, 12mo, 6 vols." and a footnote states that this translation, very inaccurate and vulgar in its diction, was often reprinted.  In 1712 Addison introduced into the Spectator (No. 535, Nov. 13) the Story of Alnaschar ( = Al-Nashshár, the Sawyer) and says that his remarks on Hope "may serve as a moral to an Arabian tale which I find translated into French by Monsieur Galland." His version appears, from the tone and style, to have been made by himself, and yet in that year a second English edition had appeared.  The nearest approach to the Edit. Princeps in the British Museum [FN#208] is a set of six volumes bound in three and corresponding with Galland's first half dozen.  Tomes i. and ii. are from the fourth edition of 1713, Nos. iii. and iv. are from the second of 1712 and v. and vi. are from the third of 1715.  It is conjectured that the two first volumes were reprinted several times apart from their subsequents, as was the fashion of the day; but all is mystery.  We (my friends and I) have turned over scores of books in the British Museum, the University Library and the Advocates' Libraries of Edinburgh and Glasgow: I have been permitted to put the question in "Notes and Queries" and in the "Antiquary"; but all our researches hitherto have been in vain.

The popularity of The Nights in England must have rivalled their vogue in France, judging from the fact that in 1713, or nine years after Galland's Edit. Prin. appeared, they had already reached a fourth issue.  Even the ignoble national jealousy which prompted Sir William Jones grossly to abuse that valiant scholar, Auquetil du Perron, could not mar their popularity.  But as there are men who cannot read Pickwick, so they were not wanting who spoke of "Dreams of the distempered fancy of the East." [FN#209] "When the work was first published in England," says Henry Webber, [FN#210] "it seems to have made a considerable impression upon the public."  Pope in 1720 sent two volumes (French? or English?) to Bishop Atterbury, without making any remark on the work; but, from his very silence, it may be presumed that he was not displeased with the perusal.  The bishop, who does not appear to have joined a relish for the flights of imagination to his other estimable qualities, expressed his dislike of these tales pretty strongly and stated it to be his opinion, formed on the frequent descriptions of female dress, that they were the work of some Frenchman (Petis de la Croix, a mistake afterwards corrected by Warburton).  The Arabian Nights, however, quickly made their way to public favour. "We have been informed of a singular instance of the effect they produced soon after their first appearance.  Sir James Stewart, Lord Advocate for Scotland, having one Saturday evening found his daughters employed in reading these volumes, seized them with a rebuke for spending the evening before the 'Sawbbath' in such worldly amusement; but the grave advocate himself became a prey to the fascination of the tales, being found on the morning of the Sabbath itself employed in their perusal, from which he had not risen the whole night."  As late as 1780 Dr. Beattie professed himself uncertain whether they were translated or fabricated by M. Galland; and, while Dr. Pusey wrote of them "Noctes Mille et Una dictæ, quæ in omnium firmè populorum cultiorum linguas conversæ, in deliciis omnium habentur, manibusque omnium terentur," [FN#211] the amiable Carlyle, in the gospel according to Saint Froude, characteristically termed them "downright lies" and forbade the house to such "unwholesome literature."  What a sketch of character in two words!

The only fault found in France with the Contes Arabes was that their style is peu correcte; in fact they want classicism.  Yet all Gallic imitators, Trébutien included, have carefully copied their leader and Charles Nodier remarks:--"Il me semble que l'on n'a pas rendu assez de justice au style de Galland. Abondant sans etre prolixe, naturel et familier sans etre lâche ni trivial, il ne manque jamais de cette elegance qui résulte de la facilité, et qui présente je ne sais quel mélange de la naïveté de Perrault et de la bonhomie de La Fontaine."

Our Professor, with a name now thoroughly established, returned in 1706 to Paris, where he was an assiduous and efficient member of the Société Numismatique and corresponded largely with foreign Orientalists.  Three years afterwards he was made Professor of Arabic at the Collége de France, succeeding Pierre Dippy; and, during the next half decade, he devoted himself to publishing his valuable studies. Then the end came.  In his last illness, an attack of asthma complicated with pectoral mischief, he sent to Noyon for his nephew Julien Galland [FN#212] to assist him in ordering his MSS. and in making his will after the simplest military fashion: he bequeathed his writings to the Bibliothèque du Roi, his Numismatic Dictionary to the Academy and his Alcoran to the Abbé Bignon.  He died, aged sixty-nine on February 17, 1715, leaving his second part of The Nights unpublished. [FN#213]

Professor Galland was a French littérateur of the good old school which is rapidly becoming extinct.  Homme vrai dans les moindres choses (as his Éloge stated); simple in life and manners and single-hearted in his devotion to letters, he was almost childish in worldly matters, while notable for penetration and acumen in his studies.  He would have been as happy, one of his biographers remarks, in teaching children the elements of education as he was in acquiring his immense erudition.  Briefly, truth and honesty, exactitude and indefatigable industry characterised his most honourable career.

Galland informs us (Epist. Ded.) that his MS. consisted of four volumes, only three of which are extant, [FN#214] bringing the work down to Night cclxxxii., or about the beginning of "Camaralzaman."  The missing portion, if it contained like the other volumes 140 pages, would end that tale together with the Stories of Ghánim and the Enchanted (Ebony) Horse; and such is the disposition in the Bresl. Edit. which mostly favours in its ordinance the text used by the first translator. But this would hardly have filled more than two-thirds of his volumes; for the other third he interpolated, or is supposed to have interpolated, the ten [FN#215] following tales.

1.  Histoire du prince Zeyn Al-asnam et du Roi des Génies. [FN#216]
2.  Histoire de Codadad et de ses frères.
3.  Histoire de la Lampe merveilleuse (Aladdin).
4.  Histoire de l'aveugle Baba Abdalla.
5.  Histoire de Sidi Nouman.
6.  Histoire de Cogia Hassan Alhabbal.
7.  Histoire d'Ali Baba, et de Quarante Voleurs exterminés par une Esclave.
8.  Histoire d'Ali Cogia, marchand de Bagdad.
9.  Histoire du prince Ahmed et de la fée Peri-Banou.
10. Histoire de deux Soeurs jalouses de leur Cadette. [FN#217]

Concerning these interpolations which contain two of the best and most widely known stories in the work, Aladdin and the Forty Thieves, conjectures have been manifold but they mostly run upon three lines.  De Sacy held that they were found by Galland in the public libraries of Paris.  Mr. Chenery, whose acquaintance with Arabic grammar was ample, suggested that the Professor had borrowed them from the recitations of the Rawis, rhapsodists or professional story-tellers in the bazars of Smyrna and other ports of the Levant.  The late Mr. Henry Charles Coote (in the "Folk-Lore Record," vol. iii. Part ii. p. 178 et seq.), "On the source of some of M. Galland's Tales," quotes from popular Italian, Sicilian and Romaic stories incidents identical with those in Prince Ahmad, Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Envious Sisters, suggesting that the Frenchman had heard these paramythia in Levantine coffee-houses and had inserted them into his unequalled corpus fabularum.  Mr. Payne (ix. 268) conjectures the probability "of their having been composed at a comparatively recent period by an inhabitant of Baghdad, in imitation of the legends of Haroun er Rashid and other well-known tales of the original work;" and adds, "It is possible that an exhaustive examination of the various MS. copies of the Thousand and One Nights known to exist in the public libraries of Europe might yet cast some light upon the question of the origin of the interpolated Tales."  I quite agree with him, taking "The Sleeper and the Waker'' and "Zeyn Al-asnam" as cases in point; but I should expect, for reasons before given, to find the stories in a Persic rather than an Arabic MS.  And I feel convinced that all will be recovered: Galland was not the man to commit a literary forgery.

As regards Aladdin, the most popular tale of the whole work, I am convinced that it is genuine, although my unfortunate friend, the late Professor Palmer, doubted its being an Eastern story.  It is laid down upon all the lines of Oriental fiction.  The mise-en-scène is China, "where they drink a certain warm liquor" (tea); the hero's father is a poor tailor; and, as in "Judar and his Brethren," the Maghribi Magician presently makes his appearance, introducing the Wonderful Lamp and the Magical Ring.  Even the Sorcerer's cry, "New lamps for old lamps !"--a prime point--is paralleled in the Tale of the Fisherman's Son, [FN#218] where the Jew asks in exchange only old rings and the Princess, recollecting that her husband kept a shabby, well-worn ring in his writing-stand, and he being asleep, took it out and sent it to the man. In either tale the palace is transported to a distance and both end with the death of the wicked magician and the hero and heroine living happily together ever after.

All Arabists have remarked the sins of omission and commission, of abridgment, amplification and substitution, and the audacious distortion of fact and phrase in which Galland freely indulged, whilst his knowledge of Eastern languages proves that he knew better.  But literary license was the order of his day and at that time French, always the most begueule of European languages, was bound by a rigorisme of the narrowest and the straightest of lines from which the least ecart condemned a man as a barbarian and a tudesque.  If we consider Galland fairly we shall find that he errs mostly for a purpose, that of popularising his work; and his success indeed justified his means.  He has been derided (by scholars) for "Hé Monsieur!" and "Ah Madame!"; but he could not write "O mon sieur" and "O ma dame;" although we can borrow from biblical and Shakespearean English, "O my lord!" and "O my lady!" "Bon Dieu! ma soeur" (which our translators English by "O heavens," Night xx.) is good French for Wa'lláhi--by Allah; and "cinquante cavaliers bien faits" ("fifty handsome gentlemen on horseback") is a more familiar picture than fifty knights.  "L'officieuse Dinarzade" (Night lxi.), and "Cette plaisante querelle des deux frères" (Night 1xxii.) become ridiculous only in translation--"the officious Dinarzade" and "this pleasant quarrel;" while "ce qu'il y de remarquable" (Night 1xxiii.) would relieve the Gallic mind from the mortification of "Destiny decreed."  "Plusieurs sortes de fruits et de bouteilles de vin" (Night ccxxxi. etc.) Europeanises flasks and flaggons; and the violent convulsions in which the girl dies (Night cliv., her head having been cut off by her sister) is mere Gallic squeamishness: France laughs at "le shoking" in England but she has only to look at home especially during the reign of Galland's contemporary--Roi Soleil.  The terrible "Old man" (Shaykh) "of the Sea" (-board) is badly described by "l'incommode vieillard" ("the ill-natured old fellow"): "Brave Maimune" and "Agréable Maimune" are hardly what a Jinni would say to a Jinniyah (ccxiii.); but they are good Gallic.  The same may be noted of "Plier les voiles pour marque qu'il se rendait" (Night ccxxxv.), a European practice; and of the false note struck in two passages. "Je m'estimais heureuse d'avoir fait une si belle conquete" (Night 1xvii.) gives a Parisian turn; and, "Je ne puis voir sans horreur cet abominable barbier que voilà: quoiqu'il soit né dans un pays où tout le monde est blanc, il ne laisse pas à resembler a un Éthiopien; mais il a l'âme encore plus noire et horrible que le visage" (Night clvii.), is a mere affectation of Orientalism.  Lastly, "Une vieille dame de leur connaissance" (Night clviii.) puts French polish upon the matter of fact Arab's "an old woman."

The list of absolute mistakes, not including violent liberties, can hardly be held excessive.  Professor Weil and Mr. Payne (ix. 271) justly charge Galland with making the Trader (Night i.) throw away the shells (écorces) of the date which has only a pellicle, as Galland certainly knew; but dates were not seen every day in France, while almonds and walnuts were of the quatre mendiants.  He preserves the écorces, which later issues have changed to noyaux, probably in allusion to the jerking practice called Inwá.  Again in the "First Shaykh's Story" (vol. i. 27) the "maillet" is mentioned as the means of slaughtering cattle, because familiar to European readers: at the end of the tale it becomes "le couteaufuneste."  In Badral Din a "tarte à la creme," so well known to the West, displaces, naturally enough, the outlandish "mess of pomegranate-seeds."  Though the text especially tells us the hero removed his bag-trousers (not only "son habit") and placed them under the pillow, a crucial fact in the history, our Professor sends him to bed fully dressed, apparently for the purpose of informing his readers in a foot-note that Easterns "se couchent en caleçon" (Night lxxx.).  It was mere ignorance to confound the arbalète or cross-bow with the stone-bow (Night xxxviii.), but this has universally been done, even by Lane who ought to have known better; and it was an unpardonable carelessness or something worse to turn Nár (fire) and Dún (in lieu of) into "le faux dieu Nardoun" (Night lxv.): as this has been untouched by De Sacy, I cannot but conclude that he never read the text with the translation.  Nearly as bad also to make the Jewish physician remark, when the youth gave him the left wrist (Night cl.), "voilà une grande ignorance de ne savoir pas que l'on presente la main droite à un médecin et non pas la gauche"--whose exclusive use all travellers in the East must know.  I have noticed the incuriousness which translates "along the Nile-shore" by "up towards Ethiopia" (Night cli.), and the "Islands of the Children of Khaledan" (Night ccxi.) instead of the Khálidatáni or Khálidát, the Fortunate Islands.  It was by no means "des petite soufflets" ("some taps from time to time with her fingers") which the sprightly dame administered to the Barber's second brother (Night clxxi.), but sound and heavy "cuffs" on the nape; and the sixth brother (Night clxxx.) was not "aux lèvres fendues" ("he of the hair-lips"), for they had been cut off by the Badawi jealous of his fair wife. Abu al-Hasan would not greet his beloved by saluting "le tapis à ses pieds:" he would kiss her hands and feet.  Haïatalnefous (Hayat al-Nufús, Night ccxxvi.) would not "throw cold water in the Princess's face:" she would sprinkle it with eau-de-rose. "Camaralzaman" I. addresses his two abominable wives in language purely European (ccxxx.), "et de la vie il ne s'approcha d'elles," missing one of the fine touches of the tale which shows its hero a weak and violent man, hasty and lacking the pundonor.  "La belle Persienne," in the Tale of Nur al-Din, was no Persian; nor would her master address her, "Venez çà, impertinente!" ("come hither, impertinence").  In the story of Badr, one of the Comoro Islands becomes "L'île de la Lune."  "Dog" and "dog-son" are not "injures atroces et indignes d'un grand roi:" the greatest Eastern kings allow themselves far more energetic and significant language.

Fitnah [FN#219] is by no means "Force de coeurs."  Lastly the dénouement of The Nights is widely different in French and in Arabic; but that is probably not Galland's fault, as he never saw the original, and indeed he deserves high praise for having invented so pleasant and sympathetic a close, inferior only to the Oriental device. [FN#220]

Galland's fragment has a strange effect upon the Orientalist and those who take the scholastic view, be it wide or narrow.  De Sacy does not hesitate to say that the work owes much to his fellow-countryman's hand; but I judge otherwise: it is necessary to dissociate the two works and to regard Galland's paraphrase, which contains only a quarter of The Thousand Nights and a Night, as a wholly different book.  Its attempts to amplify beauties and to correct or conceal the defects and the grotesqueness of the original, absolutely suppress much of the local colour, clothing the bare body in the best of Parisian suits.  It ignores the rhymed prose and excludes the verse, rarely and very rarely rendering a few lines in a balanced style.  It generally rejects the proverbs, epigrams and moral reflections which form the pith and marrow of the book; and, worse still, it disdains those finer touches of character which are often Shakespearean in their depth and delicacy, and which, applied to a race of familiar ways and thoughts, manners and customs, would have been the wonder and delight of Europe.  It shows only a single side of the gem that has so many facets.  By deference to public taste it was compelled to expunge the often repulsive simplicity, the childish indecencies and the wild orgies of the original, contrasting with the gorgeous tints, the elevated morality and the religious tone of passages which crowd upon them.  We miss the odeur du sang which taints the parfums du harem; also the humouristic tale and the Rabelaisian outbreak which relieve and throw out into strong relief the splendour of Empire and the havoc of Time.  Considered in this light it is a caput mortuum, a magnificent texture seen on the wrong side; and it speaks volumes for the genius of the man who could recommend it in such blurred and caricatured condition to readers throughout the civilised world.  But those who look only at Galland's picture, his effort to "transplant into European gardens the magic flowers of Eastern fancy," still compare his tales with the sudden prospect of magnificent mountains seen after a long desert-march: they arouse strange longings and indescribable desires; their marvellous imaginativeness produces an insensible brightening of mind and an increase of fancy-power, making one dream that behind them lies the new and unseen, the strange and unexpected--in fact, all the glamour of the unknown.

The Nights has been translated into every far-extending Eastern tongue, Persian, Turkish and Hindostani.  The latter entitles them Hikáyát al-Jalílah or Noble Tales, and the translation was made by Munshi Shams al-Din Ahmad for the use of the College of Fort George in A.H. 1252 = 1836. [FN#221] All these versions are direct from the Arabic: my search for a translation of Galland into any Eastern tongue has hitherto been fruitless.

I was assured by the late Bertholdy Seemann that the "language of Hoffmann and Heine" contained a literal and complete translation of The Nights; but personal enquiries at Leipzig and elsewhere convinced me that the work still remains to be done.  The first attempt to improve upon Galland and to show the world what the work really is was made by Dr. Max Habicht and was printed at Breslau (1824-25), in fifteen small square volumes. [FN#222] Thus it appeared before the "Tunis Manuscript" [FN#223] of which it purports to be a translation.  The German version is, if possible, more condemnable than the Arabic original.  It lacks every charm of style; it conscientiously shirks every difficulty; it abounds in the most extraordinary blunders and it is utterly useless as a picture of manners or a book of reference.  We can explain its lâches only by the theory that the eminent Professor left the labour to his collaborateurs and did not take the trouble to revise their careless work.

The next German translation was by Aulic Councillor J. von Hammer-Purgstallt who, during his short stay at Cairo and Constantinople, turned into French the tales neglected by Galland. After some difference with M. Caussin (de Perceval) in 1810, the Styrian Orientalist entrusted his MS. to Herr Cotta the publisher of Tubingen.  Thus a German version appeared, the translation of a translation, at the hand of Professor Zinserling, [FN#224] while the French version was unaccountably lost en route to London.  Finally the "Contes inédits," etc., appeared in a French translation by G. S. Trébutien (Paris, mdcccxxviii.).  Von Hammer took liberties with the text which can compare only with those of Lane: he abridged and retrenched till the likeness in places entirely disappeared; he shirked some difficult passages and he misexplained others.  In fact the work did no honour to the amiable and laborious historian of the Turks.

The only good German translation of The Nights is due to Dr. Gustav Weil who, born on April 24, 1808, is still (1886) professing at Heidelburg. [FN#225] His originals (he tells us) were the Breslau Edition, the Bulak text of Abd al-Rahman al-Safati and a MS. in the library of Saxe Gotha.  The venerable savant, who has rendered such service to Arabism, informs me that Aug. Lewald's "Vorhalle" (pp. i.-xv.) [FN#226] was written without his knowledge.  Dr. Weil neglects the division of days which enables him to introduce any number of tales: for instance, Galland's eleven occupy a large part of vol. iii.  The Vorwort wants development, the notes, confined to a few words, are inadequate and verse is everywhere rendered by prose, the Saj'a or assonance being wholly ignored.  On the other hand the scholar shows himself by a correct translation, contrasting strongly with those which preceded him, and by a strictly literal version, save where the treatment required to be modified in a book intended for the public.  Under such circumstances it cannot well be other than longsome and monotonous reading.

Although Spain and Italy have produced many and remarkable Orientalists, I cannot find that they have taken the trouble to translate The Nights for themselves: cheap and gaudy versions of Galland seem to have satisfied the public. [FN#227] Notes on the Romaic, Icelandic, Russian (?) and other versions, will be found in a future page.

Professor Galland has never been forgotten in France where, amongst a host of editions, four have claims to distinction; [FN#228] and his success did not fail to create a host of imitators and to attract what De Sacy justly terms "une prodigieuse importation de marchandise de contrabande."  As early as 1823 Von Hammer numbered seven in France (Trébutien, Préface xviii.) and during later years they have grown prodigiously.  Mr. William F. Kirby, who has made a special study of the subject, has favoured me with detailed bibliographical notes on Galland's imitators which are printed in Appendix No. II.







§ III.
 THE MATTER AND THE MANNER OF THE NIGHTS.


   
 A.--The Matter.



Returning to my threefold distribution of this Prose Poem (Section § I) into Fable, Fairy Tale
and historical Anecdote [FN#229], let me proceed to consider these sections more carefully.
   
The Apologue or Beast-fable, which apparently antedates all other subjects in The Nights, has
been called "One of the earliest creations of the awakening consciousness of mankind."  I should
regard it, despite a monumental antiquity, as the offspring of a comparatively civilised age,  when
a jealous despotism or a powerful oligarchy threw difficulties and dangers in the way of speaking
"plain truths."  A hint can be given and a friend or foe can be lauded or abused as Belins the sheep
or Isengrim the wolf when the Author is debarred the higher enjoyment of praising them or
dispraising them by name.  And, as the purposes of fables  are twofold--

         Duplex libelli dos est: quod risum movet,
         Et quod prudenti vitam consilio monet--

The speaking of brute beasts would give a piquancy and a pleasantry to moral design as well as
to social and political satire.

The literary origin of the fable is not Buddhistic: we must especially shun that "Indo-Germanic" school which goes to India for its origins, when Pythagoras, Solon, Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle and possibly Homer sat for instruction at the feet of the Hir-seshtha, the learned grammarians of the pharaohnic court.  Nor was it Æsopic, evidently Æsop inherited the hoarded wealth of ages.  As Professor Lepsius taught us, "In the olden times within the memory of man, we know only of one advanced culture; of only one mode of writing, and of only one literary development, viz.   those of Egypt."  The invention of an alphabet, as opposed to a syllabary, unknown to Babylonia, to Assyria and to that extreme bourne of their civilising influence, China, would for ever fix their literature--poetry, history and criticism, [FN#230] the apologue and the anecdote.  To mention no others The Lion and the Mouse appears in a Leyden papyrus dating from B.C 1200-1166 the days of Rameses III. (Rhampsinitus) or Hak On, not as a rude and early attempt, but in a finished form, postulating an ancient origin and illustrious ancestry.  The dialogue also is brought to perfection in the discourse between the Jackal Koufi and the Ethiopian Cat (Revue Égyptologique ivme. année Part i.).  Africa therefore was the home of the Beast-fable not as Professor Mahaffy thinks, because it was the chosen land of animal worship, where

Oppida tote canem venerantur nemo Dianam; [FN#231]

but simply because the Nile-land originated every form of literature between Fabliau and Epos.

From Kemi the Black-land it was but a step to Phoenicia, Judæa, [FN#232] Phrygia and Asia Minor, whence a ferry led over to Greece.  Here the Apologue found its populariser in ÁÀóùðïò, Æsop, whose name, involved in myth, possibly connects  with Áéèßïø:-- "Æsopus et Aithiops idem sonant" says the sage.  This would show that the Hellenes preserved a legend of the land whence the Beast-fable arose, and we may accept the fabulist's æra as contemporary with Croesus and Solon (B.C. 570,) about a century after Psammeticus (Psamethik 1st) threw Egypt open to the restless Greek. [FN#233] From Africa too the Fable would in early ages migrate eastwards and make for itself a new home in the second great focus of civilisation formed by the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.  The late Mr. George Smith found amongst the cuneiforms fragmentary Beast-fables, such as dialogues between the Ox and the Horse, the Eagle and the Sun.  In after centuries, when the conquests of Macedonian Alexander completed what Sesostris and Semiramis had begun, and mingled the manifold families of mankind by joining the eastern to the western world, the Orient became formally hellenised.  Under the Seleucidæ and during the life of the independent Bactrian Kingdom (B.C. 255-125), Grecian art and science, literature and even language overran the old Iranic reign and extended eastwards throughout northern India.  Porus sent two embassies to Augustus in B.C. 19 and in one of them the herald Zarmanochagas (Shramanáchárya) of Bargosa, the modern Baroch in Guzerat, bore an epistle upon vellum written in Greek (Strabo xv. I section 78).  "Videtis gentes populosque mutasse sedes" says Seneca (De Cons. ad Helv. c. vi.).  Quid sibi volunt in mediis barbarorum regionibus Græcæ artes? Quid inter Indos Persasque Macedonicus sermo? Atheniensis in Asia turba est."  Upper India, in the Macedonian days would have been mainly Buddhistic, possessing a rude alphabet borrowed from Egypt through Arabia and Phoenicia, but still in a low and barbarous condition: her buildings were wooden and she lacked, as far as we know, stone-architecture--the main test of social development.  But the Bactrian Kingdom gave an impulse to her civilisation and the result was classical opposed to vedic Sanskrit.  From Persia Greek letters, extending southwards to Arabia, would find indigenous imitators and there Æsop would be represented by the sundry sages who share the name Lokman. [FN#234] One of these was of servile condition, tailor, carpenter or shepherd; and a "Habashi" (Æthiopian) meaning a negro slave with blubber lips and splay feet, so far showing a superficial likeness to the Æsop of history.

The Æsopic fable, carried by the Hellenes to India, might have fallen in with some rude and fantastic barbarian of Buddhistic "persuasion" and indigenous origin: so Reynard the Fox has its analogue amongst the Kafirs and the Vái tribe of Mandengan negroes in Liberia [FN#235] amongst whom one Doalu invented or rather borrowed a syllabarium.  The modern Gypsies are said also to have beast-fables which have never been traced to a foreign source (Leland).  But I cannot accept the refinement of difference which Professor Benfey, followed by Mr. Keith-Falconer, discovers between the Æsopic and the Hindu apologue:--"In the former animals are allowed to act as animals: the latter makes them act as men in the form of animals."  The essence of the beast-fable is a reminiscence of Homo primigenius with erected ears and hairy hide, and its expression is to make the brother brute behave, think and talk like him with the superadded experience of ages.  To early man the "lower animals," which are born, live and die like himself, showing all the same affects and disaffects, loves and hates, passions, prepossessions and prejudices, must have seemed quite human enough and on an equal level to become his substitutes.  The savage, when he began to reflect, would regard the carnivor and the serpent with awe, wonder and dread; and would soon suspect the same mysterious potency in the brute as in himself: so the Malays still look upon the Uran-utan, or Wood-man, as the possessor of superhuman wisdom.  The hunter and the herdsman, who had few other companions, would presently explain the peculiar relations of animals to themselves by material metamorphosis, the bodily transformation of man to brute giving increased powers of working him weal and woe.  A more advanced stage would find the step easy to metempsychosis, the beast containing the Ego (alias soul) of the human: such instinctive belief explains much in Hindu literature, but it was not wanted at first by the Apologue.

This blending of blood, this racial baptism would produce a fine robust progeny; and, after our second century, Ægypto-Græco-Indian stories overran the civilised globe between Rome and China.  Tales have wings and fly farther than the jade hatchets of proto-historic days.  And the result was a book which has had more readers than any other except the Bible.  Its original is unknown. [FN#236] The volume, which in Pehlevi became the Jávidán Khirad ("Wisdom of Ages") or the Testament of Hoshang, that ancient guebre King, and in Sanskrit the Panchatantra ("Five Chapters"), is a recueil of apologues and anecdotes related by the learned Brahman, Vishnu Sharmá for the benefit of his pupils the sons of an Indian Rajah.  The Hindu original has been adapted and translated into a number of languages; Arabic, Hebrew and Syriac, Greek and Latin, Persian and Turkish, under a host of names. [FN#237] Voltaire [FN#238] wisely remarks of this venerable production:--Quand on fait réflexion que presque toute la terre a été enfatuée de pareils contes, et qu'ils ont fait l'education du genre humain, on trouve les fables de Pilpay, de Lokman, [FN#239] d'Ésope, bien raisonables.  But methinks the sage of Ferney might have said far more.  These fables speak with the large utterance of early man; they have also their own especial beauty--the charms of well-preserved and time-honoured old age.  There is in their wisdom a perfume of the past, homely and ancient-fashioned like a whiff of pot pourri, wondrous soothing withal to olfactories agitated by the patchoulis and jockey clubs of modern pretenders and petit-maîtres, with their grey young heads and pert intelligence, the motto of whose ignorance is "Connu!" Were a dose of its antique, mature experience adhibited to the Western before he visits the East, those few who could digest it might escape the normal lot of being twisted round the fingers of every rogue they meet from Dragoman to Rajah.  And a quotation from them tells at once: it shows the quoter to be man of education, not a "Jangalí," a sylvan or savage, as the Anglo-Indian official is habitually termed by his more civilised "fellow-subject."

The main difference between the classical apologue and the fable in The Nights is that while Æsop and Gabrias write laconic tales with a single event and a simple moral, the Arabian fables are often "long-continued novelle involving a variety of events, each characterised by some social or political aspect, forming a narrative highly interesting in itself, often exhibiting the most exquisite moral, and yet preserving, with rare ingenuity, the peculiar characteristics of the actors." [FN#240] And the distinction between the ancient and the mediæval apologue, including the modern which, since "Reineke Fuchs," is mainly German, appears equally pronounced.  The latter is humorous enough and rich in the wit which results from superficial incongruity: but it ignores the deep underlying bond which connects man with beast.  Again, the main secret of its success is the strain of pungent satire, especially in the Renardine Cycle, which the people could apply to all unpopular "lordes and prelates, gostly and worldly."

Our Recueil contains two distinct sets of apologues.  [FN#241] The first (vol. iii.) consists of eleven, alternating with five anecdotes (Nights cxlvi.--cliii.), following the lengthy and knightly romance of King Omar bin al Nu'man and followed by the melancholy love tale of Ali bin Bakkár.  The second series in vol. ix., consisting of eight fables, not including ten anecdotes (Nights cmi.--cmxxiv.), is injected into the romance of King Jali'ad and Shimas mentioned by Al-Mas'udi as independent of The Nights.  In both places the Beast-fables are introduced with some art and add variety to the subject-matter, obviating monotony--the deadly sin of such works--and giving repose to the hearer or reader after a climax of excitement such as the murder of the Wazirs.  And even these are not allowed to pall upon the mental palate, being mingled with anecdotes and short tales, such as the Hermits (iii. 125), with biographical or literary episodes, acroamata, table-talk and analects where humorous Rabelaisian anecdote finds a place; in fact the fabliau or novella.  This style of composition may be as ancient as the apologues.  We know that it dates as far back as Rameses III., from the history of the Two Brothers in the Orbigny papyrus, [FN#242] the prototype of Yusuf and Zulaykha, the Koranic Joseph and Potiphar's wife.  It is told with a charming naïveté and such sharp touches of local colour as, "Come, let us make merry an hour and lie together! Let down thy hair!"

Some of the apologues in The Nights are pointless enough, rien moins qu'amusants; but in the best specimens, such as the Wolf and the Fox [FN#243] (the wicked man and the wily man), both characters are carefully kept distinct and neither action nor dialogue ever flags.  Again The Flea and the Mouse (iii. 151), of a type familiar to students of the Pilpay cycle, must strike the home-reader as peculiarly quaint.

Next in date to the Apologue comes the Fairy Tale proper, where the natural universe is supplemented by one of purely imaginative existence.  "As the active world is inferior to the rational soul," says Bacon with his normal sound sense, "so Fiction gives to Mankind what History denies and in some measure satisfies the Mind with Shadows when it cannot enjoy the Substance.  And as real History gives us not the success of things according to the deserts of vice and virtue, Fiction corrects it and presents us with the fates and fortunes of persons rewarded and punished according to merit."  But I would say still more.  History paints or attempts to paint life as it is, a mighty maze with or without a plan: Fiction shows or would show us life as it should be, wisely ordered and laid down on fixed lines.  Thus Fiction is not the mere handmaid of History: she has a household of her own and she claims to be the triumph of Art which, as Göethe remarked, is "Art because it is not Nature."  Fancy, la folle du logis, is "that kind and gentle portress who holds the gate of Hope wide open, in opposition to Reason, the surly and scrupulous guard." [FN#244] As Palmerin of England says and says well, "For that the report of noble deeds doth urge the courageous mind to equal those who bear most commendation of their approved valiancy; this is the fair fruit of Imagination and of ancient histories."  And, last but not least, the faculty of Fancy takes count of the cravings of man's nature for the marvellous, the impossible, and of his higher aspirations for the Ideal, the Perfect: she realises the wild dreams and visions of his generous youth and portrays for him a portion of that "other and better world," with whose expectation he would console his age.

The imaginative varnish of The Nights serves admirably as a foil to the absolute realism of the picture in general.  We enjoy being carried away from trivial and commonplace characters, scenes and incidents; from the matter of fact surroundings of a work-a-day world, a life of eating and drinking, sleeping and waking, fighting and loving, into a society and a mise-en-scène which we suspect can exist and which we know does not.  Every man at some turn or term of his life has longed for supernatural powers and a glimpse of Wonderland.  Here he is in the midst of it.  Here he sees mighty spirits summoned to work the human mite's will, however whimsical, who can transport him in an eye-twinkling whithersoever he wishes; who can ruin cities and build palaces of gold and silver, gems and jacinths; who can serve up delicate viands and delicious drinks in priceless chargers and impossible cups and bring the choicest fruits from farthest Orient: here he finds magas and magicians who can make kings of his friends, slay armies of his foes and bring any number of beloveds to his arms.  And from this outraging probability and out-stripping possibility arises not a little of that strange fascination exercised for nearly two centuries upon the life and literature of Europe by The Nights, even in their mutilated and garbled form.  The reader surrenders himself to the spell, feeling almost inclined to enquire "And why may it not be true?'' [FN#245] His brain is dazed and dazzled by the splendours which flash before it, by the sudden procession of Jinns and Jinniyahs, demons and fairies, some hideous, others preternaturally beautiful; by good wizards and evil sorcerers, whose powers are unlimited for weal and for woe; by mermen and mermaids, flying horses, talking animals, and reasoning elephants; by magic rings and their slaves and by talismanic couches which rival the carpet of Solomon.  Hence, as one remarks, these Fairy Tales have pleased and still continue to please almost all ages, all ranks and all different capacities.

Dr. Hawkesworth [FN#246] observes that these Fairy Tales find favour "because even their machinery, wild and wonderful as it is, has its laws; and the magicians and enchanters perform nothing but what was naturally to be expected from such beings, after we had once granted them existence."  Mr. Heron "rather supposes the very contrary is the truth of the fact.  It is surely the strangeness, the unknown nature, the anomalous character of the supernatural agents here employed, that makes them to operate so powerfully on our hopes, fears, curiosities, sympathies, and, in short, on all the feelings of our hearts.  We see men and women, who possess qualities to recommend them to our favour, subjected to the influence of beings, whose good or ill will, power or weakness, attention or neglect, are regulated by motives and circumstances which we cannot comprehend: and hence, we naturally tremble for their fate, with the same anxious concern, as we should for a friend wandering, in a dark night, amidst torrents and precipices; or preparing to land on a strange island, while he knew not whether he should be received, on the shore, by cannibals waiting to tear him piecemeal, and devour him, or by gentle beings, disposed to cherish him with fond hospitality."  Both writers have expressed themselves well, but meseems each has secured, as often happens, a fragment of the truth and holds it to be the whole Truth.  Granted that such spiritual creatures as Jinns walk the earth, we are pleased to find them so very human, as wise and as foolish in word and deed as ourselves: similarly we admire in a landscape natural forms like those of Staffa or the Palisades which favour the works of architecture.  Again, supposing such preternaturalisms to be around and amongst us, the wilder and more capricious they prove, the more our attention is excited and our forecasts are baffled to be set right in the end.  But this is not all.  The grand source of pleasure in Fairy Tales is the natural desire to learn more of the Wonderland which is known to many as a word and nothing more, like Central Africa before the last half century: thus the interest is that of the "Personal Narrative" of a grand exploration to one who delights in travels.  The pleasure must be greatest where faith is strongest; for instance amongst imaginative races like the Kelts and especially Orientals, who imbibe supernaturalism with their mother's milk.  "I am persuaded," writes Mr. Bayle St. John, [FN#247] "that the great scheme of preternatural energy, so fully developed in The Thousand and One Nights, is believed in by the majority of the inhabitants of all the religious professions both in Syria and Egypt."  He might have added "by every reasoning being from prince to peasant, from Mullah to Badawi, between Marocco and Outer Ind."

The Fairy Tale in The Nights is wholly and purely Persian.  The gifted Iranian race, physically the noblest and the most beautiful of all known to me, has exercised upon the world-history an amount of influence which has not yet been fully recognised.  It repeated for Babylonian art and literature what Greece had done for Egyptian, whose dominant idea was that of working for eternity a {Greek letters}.  Hellas and Iran instinctively chose as their characteristic the idea of Beauty, rejecting all that was exaggerated and grotesque; and they made the sphere of Art and Fancy as real as the world of Nature and Fact.  The innovation was hailed by the Hebrews.  The so-called Books of Moses deliberately and ostentatiously ignored the future state of rewards and punishments, the other world which ruled the life of the Egyptian in this world: the lawgiver, whoever he may have been, Osarsiph or Moshe, apparently held the tenet unworthy of a race whose career he was directing to conquest and isolation in dominion.  But the Jews, removed to Mesopotamia, the second cradle of the creeds, presently caught the infection of their Asiatic media; superadded Babylonian legend to Egyptian myth; stultified The Law by supplementing it with the "absurdities of foreign fable" and ended, as the Talmud proves, with becoming the most wildly superstitious and "other worldly'' of mankind.

The same change befel Al-Islam.  The whole of its supernaturalism is borrowed bodily from Persia, which had "imparadised Earth by making it the abode of angels."  Mohammed, a great and commanding genius, blighted and narrowed by surroundings and circumstances to something little higher than a Covenanter or a Puritan, declared to his followers,

"I am sent to 'stablish the manners and customs;"

and his deficiency of imagination made him dislike everything but "women, perfumes, and prayers," with an especial aversion to music and poetry, plastic art and fiction.  Yet his system, unlike that of Moses, demanded thaumaturgy and metaphysical entities, and these he perforce borrowed from the Jews who had borrowed them from the Babylonians: his soul and spirit, his angels and devils, his cosmogony, his heavens and hells, even the Bridge over the Great Depth are all either Talmudic or Iranian.  But there he stopped and would have stopped others.  His enemies among the Koraysh were in the habit of reciting certain Persian fabliaux and of extolling them as superior to the silly and equally fictitious stories of the "Glorious Koran."  The leader of these scoffers was one Nazr ibn Háris who, taken prisoner after the Battle of Bedr, was incontinently decapitated, by apostolic command, for what appears to be a natural and sensible preference.  It was the same furious fanaticism and one-idea'd intolerance which made Caliph Omar destroy all he could find of the Alexandrian Library and prescribe burning for the Holy Books of the Persian Guebres.  And the taint still lingers in Al-Islam: it will be said of a pious man, "He always studies the Koran, the Traditions and other books of Law and Religion; and he never reads poems nor listens to music or to stories."

Mohammed left a dispensation or rather a reformation so arid, jejune and material that it promised little more than the "Law of Moses," before this was vivified and racially baptised by Mesopotamian and Persic influences.  But human nature was stronger than the Prophet and, thus outraged, took speedy and absolute revenge.  Before the first century had elapsed, orthodox Al-Islam was startled by the rise of Tasawwuf or Sufyism [FN#248] a revival of classic Platonism and Christian Gnosticism, with a mingling of modern Hylozoism; which, quickened by the glowing imagination of the East, speedily formed itself into a creed the most poetical and impractical, the most spiritual and the most transcendental ever invented; satisfying all man's hunger for "belief" which, if placed upon a solid basis of fact and proof, would forthright cease to be belief.

I will take from The Nights, as a specimen of the true Persian romance, "The Queen of the Serpents" (vol. v. 298), the subject of Lane's Carlylean denunciation.  The first gorgeous picture is the Session of the Snakes which, like their Indian congeners the Nága kings and queens, have human heads and reptile bodies, an Egyptian myth that engendered the "old serpent" of Genesis.  The Sultánah welcomes Hásib Karím al-Dín, the hapless lad who had been left in a cavern to die by the greedy woodcutters; and, in order to tell him her tale, introduces the "Adventures of Bulúkiyá": the latter is an Israelite converted by editor and scribe to Mohammedanism; but we can detect under his assumed faith the older creed.  Solomon is not buried by authentic history "beyond the Seven (mystic) Seas," but at Jerusalem or Tiberias; and his seal-ring suggests the Jám-i-Jam, the crystal cup of the great King Jamshíd.  The descent of the Archangel Gabriel, so familiar to Al-Islam, is the manifestation of Bahman, the First Intelligence, the mightiest of the Angels who enabled Zarathustra-Zoroaster to walk like Bulukiya over the Dálatí or Caspian Sea.  [FN#249] Amongst the sights shown to Bulukiya, as he traverses the Seven Oceans, is a battle royal between the believing and the unbelieving Jinns, true Magian dualism, the eternal duello of the Two Roots or antagonistic Principles, Good and Evil, Hormuzd and Ahriman, which Milton has debased into a common-place modern combat fought also with cannon.  Sakhr the Jinni is Eshem chief of the Divs, and Kaf, the encircling mountain, is a later edition of Persian Alborz.  So in the Mantak al-Tayr (Colloquy of the Flyers) the Birds, emblems of souls, seeking the presence of the gigantic feathered biped Simurgh, their god, traverse seven Seas (according to others seven Wadys) of Search, of Love, of Knowledge, of Competence, of Unity, of Stupefaction, and of Altruism (i.e. annihilation of self), the several stages of contemplative life.  At last, standing upon the mysterious island of the Simurgh and "casting a clandestine glance at him they saw thirty birds [FN#250] in him; and when they turned their eyes to themselves the thirty birds seemed one Simurgh: they saw in themselves the entire Simurgh; they saw in the Simurgh the thirty birds entirely."  Therefore they arrived at the solution of the problem "We and Thou;" that is, the identity of God and Man; they were for ever annihilated in the Simurgh and the shade vanished in the sun (Ibid. iii. 250).  The wild ideas concerning Khalít and Malít (vol. v. 319) are again Guebre.  "From the seed of Kayomars (the androgyne, like pre-Adamite man) sprang a tree shaped like two human beings and thence proceeded Meshia and Meshianah, first man and woman, progenitors of mankind;" who, though created for "Shídistán, Light-land," were seduced by Ahriman.  This "two-man-tree" is evidently the duality of Physis and Anti-physis, Nature and her counterpart, the battle between Mihr, Izad or Mithra with his Surush and Feristeh (Seraphs and Angels) against the Divs who are the children of Time led by the arch demon-Eshem.  Thus when Hormuzd created the planets, the dog, and all useful animals and plants, Ahriman produced the comets, the wolf, noxious beasts and poisonous growths.  The Hindus represent the same metaphysical idea by Bramhá the Creator and Visva- karma, the Anti-creator, [FN#251] miscalled by Europeans Vulcan: the former fashions a horse and a bull and the latter caricatures them with an ass and a buffalo,--evolution turned topsy turvy.  After seeing nine angels and obtaining an explanation of the Seven Stages of Earth which is supported by the Gav-i-Zamín, the energy, symbolised by a bull, implanted by the Creator in the mundane sphere, Bulukiya meets the four Archangels, to wit Gabriel who is the Persian Rawánbakhsh or Life-giver; Michael or Beshter, Raphael or Israfil alias Ardibihisht, and Azazel or Azrail who is Dumá or Mordad, the Death-giver; and the four are about to attack the Dragon, that is, the demons hostile to mankind who were driven behind Alborz-Kaf by Tahmuras the ancient Persian king.  Bulukiya then recites an episode within an episode, the "Story of Jánsháh," itself a Persian name and accompanied by two others (vol. v. 329), the mise-en-scène being Kabul and the King of Khorasan appearing in the proem.  Janshah, the young Prince, no sooner comes to man's estate than he loses himself out hunting and falls in with cannibals whose bodies divide longitudinally, each moiety going its own way: these are the Shikk (split ones) which the Arabs borrowed from the Persian Ním- chihrah or Half-faces.  They escape to the Ape-island whose denizens are human in intelligence and speak articulately, as the universal East believes they can: these Simiads are at chronic war with the Ants, alluding to some obscure myth which gave rise to the gold-diggers of Herodotus and other classics, "emmets in size somewhat less than dogs but bigger than foxes." [FN#252] The episode then falls into the banalities of Oriental folk-lore.  Janshah, passing the Sabbation river and reaching the Jews' city, is persuaded to be sewn up in a skin and is carried in the normal way to the top of the Mountain of Gems where he makes acquaintance with Shaykh Nasr, Lord of the Birds: he enters the usual forbidden room; falls in love with the pattern Swan-maiden; wins her by the popular process; loses her and recovers her through the Monk Yaghmús, whose name, like that of King Teghmús, is a burlesque of the Greek; and, finally, when she is killed by a shark, determines to mourn her loss till the end of his days.  Having heard this story Bulukiya quits him; and, resolving to regain his natal land, falls in with Khizr; and the Green Prophet, who was Wazir to Kay Kobad (vith century B. C.) and was connected with Macedonian Alexander (!) enables him to win his wish.  The rest of the tale calls for no comment.

Thirdly and lastly we have the histories, historical stories and the "Ana" of great men in which Easterns as well as Westerns delight: the gravest writers do not disdain to relieve the dullness of chronicles and annals by means of such discussions, humorous or pathetic, moral or grossly indecent.  The dates must greatly vary: some of the anecdotes relating to the early Caliphs appear almost contemporary; others, like Ali of Cairo and Abu al-Shamat, may be as late as the Ottoman Conquest of Egypt (sixteenth century).  All are distinctly Sunnite and show fierce animus against the Shi'ah heretics, suggesting that they were written after the destruction of the Fatimite dynasty (twelfth century) by Salah al-Din (Saladin the Kurd) one of the latest historical personages and the last king named in The Nights.  [FN#253] These anecdotes are so often connected with what a learned Frenchman terms the "regne féerique de Haroun er-Réschid," [FN#254] that the Great Caliph becomes the hero of this portion of The Nights.  Aaron the Orthodox was the central figure of the most splendid empire the world had seen, the Viceregent of Allah combining the powers of Cæsar and Pope, and wielding them right worthily according to the general voice of historians.  To quote a few: Ali bin Talib al-Khorásáni described him, in A.D. 934, a century and-a-half after his death when flattery would be tongue-tied, as, "one devoted to war and pilgrimage, whose bounty embraced the folk at large."  Sa'adi (ob. A.D. 1291) tells a tale highly favourable to him in the "Gulistan" (lib. i. 36).  Fakhr al-Din [FN#255] (xivth century) lauds his merits, eloquence, science and generosity; and Al-Siyuti (nat. A.D. 1445) asserts "He was one of the most distinguished of Caliphs and the most illustrious of the Princes of the Earth" (p. 290).  The Shaykh al-Nafzáwi [FN#256] (sixteenth century) in his Rauz al-Átir fí Nazáh al-Khátir = Scented Garden-site for Heart-delight, calls Harun (chapt. vii.) the "Master of munificence and bounty, the best of the generous."  And even the latest writers have not ceased to praise him.  Says Alí Azíz Efendi the Cretan, in the Story of Jewád [FN#257] (p. 81), "Harun was the most bounteous, illustrious and upright of the Abbaside Caliphs."

The fifth Abbaside was fair and handsome, of noble and majestic presence, a sportsman and an athlete who delighted in polo and archery.  He showed sound sense and true wisdom in his speech to the grammarian-poet Al-Asma'î, who had undertaken to teach him:--"Ne m'enseignez jamais en public, et ne vous empressez pas trop de me donner des avis en particulier.  Attendez ordinairement que je vous interroge, et contentez vous de me donner une response précise à ce que je vous demanderai, sans y rien ajouter de superflu.  Gardez vous surtout de vouloir me préoccuper pour vous attirer ma creance, et pour vous donner de l'autorité.  Ne vous etendez jamais trop en long sur les histoires et les traditions que vous me raconterez, si je ne vous en donne la permission.  Lorsque vous verrai que je m'eloignerai de l'équité dans mes jugements, ramenez-moi avec douceur, sans user de paroles fâcheuses ni de réprimandes.  Enseignez-moi principalement les choses qui sont les plus necessaires pour les dis cours que je dois faire en public, dans les mosquées et ailleurs; et ne parlez point en termes obscurs, ou mystérieux, ni avec des paroles trop recherchées.'' [FN#258]

He became well read in science and letters, especially history and tradition, for "his understanding was as the understanding of the learned;" and, like all educated Arabs of his day, he was a connoisseur of poetry which at times he improvised with success.  [FN#259] He made the pilgrimage every alternate year and sometimes on foot, while "his military expeditions almost equalled his pilgrimages."  Day after day during his Caliphate he prayed a hundred "bows," never neglecting them, save for some especial reason, till his death; and he used to give from his privy purse alms to the extent of a hundred dirhams per diem.  He delighted in panegyry and liberally rewarded its experts, one of whom, Abd al-Sammák the Preacher, fairly said of him, "Thy humility in thy greatness is nobler than thy greatness.""No Caliph," says Al-Niftawayh, "had been so profusely liberal to poets, lawyers and divines, although as the years advanced he wept over his extravagance amongst other sins."  There was vigorous manliness in his answer to the Grecian Emperor who had sent him an insulting missive:--"In the name of Allah! From the Commander of the Faithful Harun al-Rashid, to Nicephorus the Roman dog.  I have read thy writ, O son of a miscreant mother! Thou shalt not hear, thou shalt see my reply."  Nor did he cease to make the Byzantine feel the weight of his arm till he "nakh'd" [FN#260] his camel in the imperial Court-yard; and this was only one instance of his indomitable energy and hatred of the Infidel.  Yet, if the West is to be believed, he forgot his fanaticism in his diplomatic dealings and courteous intercourse with Carolus Magnus. [FN#261] Finally, his civilised and well regulated rule contrasted as strongly with the barbarity and turbulence of occidental Christendom, as the splendid Court and the luxurious life of Baghdad and its carpets and hangings devanced the quasi-savagery of London and Paris whose palatial halls were spread with rushes.

The great Caliph ruled twenty-three years and a few months (A.H. 170-193 = A.D. 786-808); and, as his youth was chequered and his reign was glorious, so was his end obscure. [FN#262] After a vision foreshadowing his death, [FN#263] which happened, as becomes a good Moslem, during a military expedition to Khorasan, he ordered his grave to be dug and himself to be carried to it in a covered litter: when sighting the fosse he exclaimed, "O son of man thou art come to this!" Then he commanded himself to be set down and a perfection of the Koran to be made over him in the litter on the edge of the grave.  He was buried (æt. forty-five) at Sanábád, a village near Tús.

Aaron the Orthodox appears in The Nights as a headstrong and violent autocrat, a right royal figure according to the Moslem ideas of his day.  But his career shows that he was not more tyrannical or more sanguinary than the normal despot of the East, or the contemporary Kings of the West: in most points, indeed, he was far superior to the historic misrulers who have afflicted the world from Spain to furthest China.  But a single great crime, a tragedy whose details are almost incredibly horrible, marks his reign with the stain of infamy, with a blot of blood never to be washed away.  This tale, "full of the waters of the eye," as Firdausi sings, is the massacre of the Barmecides; a story which has often been told and which cannot here be passed over in silence.  The ancient and noble Iranian house, belonging to the "Ebná" or Arabised Persians, had long served the Ommiades till, early in our eighth century, Khálid bin Bermek, [FN#264] the chief, entered the service of the first Abbaside and became Wazir and Intendant of Finance to Al-Saffah.  The most remarkable and distinguished of the family, he was in office when Al-Mansur transferred the capital from Damascus, the headquarters of the hated Ommiades, to Baghdad, built ad hoc.  After securing the highest character in history by his personal gifts and public services, he was succeeded by his son and heir Yáhyá (John), a statesman famed from early youth for prudence and profound intelligence, liberality and nobility of soul. [FN#265] He was charged by the Caliph Al-Mahdi with the education of his son Harun, hence the latter was accustomed to call him father; and, until the assassination of the fantastic tyrant Al-Hádi, who proposed to make his own child Caliph, he had no little difficulty in preserving the youth from death in prison.  The Orthodox, once seated firmly on the throne, appointed Yáhyá his Grand Wazir.  This great administrator had four sons, Al-Fazl, Ja'afar, Mohammed, and Musa, [FN#266] in whose time the house of Bermek rose to that height from which decline and fall are, in the East, well nigh certain and immediate.  Al-Fazl was a foster-brother of Harun, an exchange of suckling infants having taken place between the two mothers for the usual object, a tightening of the ties of intimacy: he was a man of exceptional mind, but he lacked the charm of temper and manner which characterised Ja'afar.

The poets and rhetoricians have been profuse in their praises of the cadet who appears in The Nights as an adviser of calm sound sense, an intercessor and a peace-maker, and even more remarkable than the rest of his family for an almost incredible magnanimity and generosity--une générosité effrayante.  Mohammed was famed for exalted views and nobility of sentiment and Musa for bravery and energy: of both it was justly said, "They did good and harmed not." [FN#267]

For ten years (not including an interval of seven) from the time of Al-Rashid's accession (A.D. 786) to the date of their fall, (A.D. 803), Yahya and his sons, Al-Fazl and Ja'afar, were virtually rulers of the great heterogeneous empire, which extended from Mauritania to Tartary, and they did notable service in arresting its disruption.  Their downfall came sudden and terrible like "a thunderbolt from the blue."  As the Caliph and Ja'afar were halting in Al-'Umr (the convent) near Anbár-town on the Euphrates, after a convivial evening spent in different pavilions, Harun during the dead of the night called up his page Yásir al-Rikhlah [FN#268] and bade him bring Ja'afar's head.  The messenger found Ja'afar still carousing with the blind poet Abú Zakkár and the Christian physician Gabriel ibn Bakhtiashú, and was persuaded to return to the Caliph and report his death; the Wazir adding, "An he express regret I shall owe thee my life; and, if not, whatso Allah will be done."  Ja'afar followed to listen and heard only the Caliph exclaim "O sucker of thy mother's clitoris, if thou answer me another word, I will send thee before him!" whereupon he at once bandaged his own eyes and received the fatal blow.  Al-Asma'í, who was summoned to the presence shortly after, recounts that when the head was brought to Harun he gazed at it, and summoning two witnesses commanded them to decapitate Yasir, crying, "I cannot bear to look upon the slayer of Ja'afar!" His vengeance did not cease with the death: he ordered the head to be gibbetted at one end and the trunk at the other abutment of the Tigris bridge where the corpses of the vilest malefactors used to be exposed; and, some months afterwards, he insulted the remains by having them burned--the last and worst indignity which can be offered to a Moslem.  There are indeed pity and terror in the difference between two such items in the Treasury-accounts as these: "Four hundred thousand dinars (£200,000) to a robe of honour for the Wazir Ja'afar bin Yahya;" and, "Ten kírát, (5 shill.) to naphtha and reeds for burning the body of Ja'afar the Barmecide."

Meanwhile Yahya and Al-Fazl, seized by the Caliph Harun's command at Baghdad, were significantly cast into the prison "Habs al-Zanádikah"--of the Guebres--and their immense wealth which, some opine, hastened their downfall, was confiscated.  According to the historian, Al-Tabari, who, however, is not supported by all the annalists, the whole Barmecide family, men, women, and children, numbering over a thousand, were slaughtered with only three exceptions; Yahya, his brother Mohammed, and his son Al-Fazl.  The Caliph's foster-father, who lived to the age of seventy-four, was allowed to die in jail (A.H. 805) after two years' imprisonment at Rukkah.  Al-Fazl, after having been tortured with two hundred blows in order to make him produce concealed property, survived his father three years and died in Nov. A.H. 808, some four months before his terrible foster-brother.  A pathetic tale is told of the son warming water for the old man's use by pressing the copper ewer to his stomach.

The motives of this terrible massacre are variously recounted, but no sufficient explanation has yet been, or possibly ever will be, given.  The popular idea is embodied in The Nights.  [FN#269] Harun, wishing Ja'afar to be his companion even in the Harem, had wedded him, pro formâ, to his eldest sister Abbásah, "the loveliest woman of her day," and brilliant in mind as in body; but he had expressly said "I will marry thee to her, that it may be lawful for thee to look upon her but thou shalt not touch her."  Ja'afar bound himself by a solemn oath; but his mother Attábah was mad enough to deceive him in his cups and the result was a boy (Ibn Khallikan) or, according to others, twins.  The issue was sent under the charge of a confidential eunuch and a slave-girl to Meccah for concealment; but the secret was divulged to Zubaydah who had her own reasons for hating husband and wife and cherished an especial grievance against Yahya. [FN#270] Thence it soon found its way to head-quarters.  Harun's treatment of Abbásah supports the general conviction: according to the most credible accounts she and her child were buried alive in a pit under the floor of her apartment.

But, possibly, Ja'afar's perjury was only "the last straw."  Already Al-Fazl bin Rabî'a, the deadliest enemy of the Barmecides, had been entrusted (A.D. 786) with the Wazirate which he kept seven years.  Ja'afar had also acted generously but imprudently in abetting the escape of Yahya bin Abdillah, Sayyid and Alide, for whom the Caliph had commanded confinement in a close dark dungeon: when charged with disobedience the Wazir had made full confession and Harun had (they say) exclaimed, "Thou hast done well!" but was heard to mutter, "Allah slay me an I slay thee not." [FN#271] The great house seems at times to have abused its powers by being too peremptory with Harun and Zubaydah, especially in money matters; [FN#272] and its very greatness would have created for it many and powerful enemies and detractors who plied the Caliph with anonymous verse and prose.  Nor was it forgotten that, before the spread of Al-Islam, they had presided over the Naubehár or Pyræthrum of Balkh; and Harun is said to have remarked anent Yahya, "The zeal for magianism, rooted in his heart, induces him to save all the monuments connected with his faith." [FN#273] Hence the charge that they were "Zanádakah," a term properly applied to those who study the Zend scripture, but popularly meaning Mundanists, Positivists, Reprobates, Atheists; and it may be noted that, immediately after al-Rashid's death, violent religious troubles broke out in Baghdad.  Ibn Khallikan [FN#274] quotes Sa'id ibn Salim, a well-known grammarian and traditionist who philosophically remarked, "Of a truth the Barmecides did nothing to deserve Al-Rashid's severity, but the day (of their power and prosperity) had been long and whatso endureth long waxeth longsome."  Fakhr al-Din says (p. 27), "On attribue encore leur ruine aux manières fières et orgueilleuses de Djafar (Ja'afar) et de Fadhl (Al-Fazl), manières que les rois ne sauroient supporter."  According to Ibn Badrún, the poet, when the Caliph's sister 'Olayyah [FN#275] asked him, "O my lord, I have not seen thee enjoy one happy day since putting Ja'afar to death: wherefore didst thou slay him?" he answered, "My dear life, an I thought that my shirt knew the reason I would rend it in pieces!" I therefore hold with Al Mas'udi,

"As regards the intimate cause (of the catastrophe) it is unknown and Allah is Omniscient."

Aaron the Orthodox appears sincerely to have repented his enormous crime.  From that date he never enjoyed refreshing sleep: he would have given his whole realm to recall Ja'afar to life; and, if any spoke slightingly of the Barmecides in his presence, he would exclaim, "God damn your fathers! Cease to blame them or fill the void they have left."  And he had ample reason to mourn the loss.  After the extermination of the wise and enlightened family, the affairs of the Caliphate never prospered: Fazl bin Rabí'a, though a man of intelligence and devoted to letters, proved a poor substitute for Yahya and Ja'afar; and the Caliph is reported to have applied to him the couplet:--

No sire to your sire, [FN#276] I bid you spare * Your calumnies or their place replace.

His unwise elevation of his two rival sons filled him with fear of poison, and, lastly, the violence and recklessness of the popular mourning for the Barmecides, [FN#277] whose echo has not yet died away, must have added poignancy to his tardy penitence.  The crime still "sticks fiery off" from the rest of Harun's career: it stands out in ghastly prominence as one of the most terrible tragedies recorded by history, and its horrible details make men write passionately on the subject to this our day. [FN#278]

As of Harun so of Zubaydah it may be said that she was far superior in most things to contemporary royalties, and she was not worse at her worst than the normal despot-queen of the Morning-land.  We must not take seriously the tales of her jealousy in The Nights, which mostly end in her selling off or burying alive her rivals; but, even were all true, she acted after the recognised fashion of her exalted sisterhood.  The secret history of Cairo, during the last generation, tells of many a viceregal dame who committed all the crimes, without any of the virtues which characterised Harun's cousin-spouse.  And the difference between the manners of the Caliphate and the "respectability" of the nineteenth century may be measured by the Tale called "Al-Maamun and Zubaydah." [FN#279] The lady, having won a game of forfeits from her husband, and being vexed with him for imposing unseemly conditions when he had been the winner, condemned him to lie with the foulest and filthiest kitchen-wench in the palace; and thus was begotten the Caliph who succeeded and destroyed her son.

Zubaydah was the grand-daughter of the second Abbaside Al-Mansur, by his son Ja'afar whom The Nights persistently term Al-Kasim: her name was Amat al-Azíz or Handmaid of the Almighty; her cognomen was Umm Ja'afar as her husband's was Abú Ja'afar; and her popular name "Creamkin" derives from Zubdah, [FN#280] cream or fresh butter, on account of her plumpness and freshness.  She was as majestic and munificent as her husband; and the hum of prayer was never hushed in her palace.  Al-Mas'udi [FN#281] makes a historian say to the dangerous Caliph Al-Káhir, "The nobleness and generosity of this Princess, in serious matters as in her diversions, place her in the highest rank"; and he proceeds to give ample proof.  Al-Siyuti relates how she once filled a poet's mouth with jewels which he sold for twenty thousand dinars.  Ibn Khallikan (i. 523) affirms of her, "Her charity was ample, her conduct virtuous, and the history of her pilgrimage to Meccah and of what she undertook to execute on the way is so well-known that it were useless to repeat it."  I have noted (Pilgrimage iii. 2) how the Darb al-Sharki or Eastern road from Meccah to Al-Medinah was due to the piety of Zubaydah who dug wells from Baghdad to the Prophet's burial place and built not only cisterns and caravanserais, but even a wall to direct pilgrims over the shifting sands.  She also supplied Meccah, which suffered severely from want of water, with the chief requisite for public hygiene by connecting it, through levelled hills and hewn rocks, with the Ayn al-Mushásh in the Arafat subrange; and the fine aqueduct, some ten miles long, was erected at a cost of 1,700,000 to 2,000,000 of gold pieces.  [FN#282] We cannot wonder that her name is still famous among the Badawin and the "Sons of the Holy Cities."  She died at Baghdad, after a protracted widowhood, in A.H. 216 and her tomb, which still exists, was long visited by the friends and dependents who mourned the loss of a devout and most liberal woman.

The reader will bear with me while I run through the tales and add a few remarks to the notices given in the notes: the glance must necessarily be brief, however extensive be the theme.  The admirable introduction follows, in all the texts and MSS. known to me, the same main lines but differs greatly in minor details as will be seen by comparing Mr. Payne's translation with Lane's and mine.  In the Tale of the Sage Dúbán appears the speaking head which is found in the Kamil, in Mirkhond and in the Kitáb al-Uyún: M. C. Barbier de Meynard (v. 503) traces it back to an abbreviated text of Al-Mas'udi.  I would especially recommend to students The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad (i. 82), whose mighty orgie ends so innocently in general marriage.  Lane (iii. 746) blames it "because it represents Arab ladies as acting like Arab courtesans"; but he must have known that during his day the indecent frolic was quite possible in some of the highest circles of his beloved Cairo.  To judge by the style and changes of person, some of the most "archaic" expressions suggest the hand of the Ráwi or professional tale-teller; yet as they are in all the texts they cannot be omitted in a loyal translation.  The following story of The Three Apples perfectly justifies my notes concerning which certain carpers complain.  What Englishman would be jealous enough to kill his cousin-wife because a blackamoor in the streets boasted of her favours? But after reading what is annotated in vol. i. 6,  and purposely placed there to give the key-note of the book, he will understand the reasonable nature of the suspicion; and I may add that the same cause has commended these "skunks of the human race" to debauched women in England.

The next tale, sometimes called "The Two Wazírs," is notable for its regular and genuine drama-intrigue which, however, appears still more elaborate and perfected in other pieces.  The richness of this Oriental plot-invention contrasts strongly with all European literatures except the Spaniard's, whose taste for the theatre determined his direction, and the Italian, which in Boccaccio's day had borrowed freely through Sicily from the East.  And the remarkable deficiency lasted till the romantic movement dawned in France, when Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas showed their marvellous powers of faultless fancy, boundless imagination and scenic luxuriance, "raising French Poetry from the dead and not mortally wounding French prose.'' [FN#283] The Two Wazirs is followed by the gem of the volume, The Adventure of the Hunchback-jester (i. 225), also containing an admirable surprise and a fine development of character, while its "wild but natural simplicity" and its humour are so abounding that it has echoed through the world to the farthest West.  It gave to Addison the Story of Alnaschar [FN#284] and to Europe the term "Barmecide Feast," from the "Tale of Shacabac" (vol. i. 343).  The adventures of the corpse were known in Europe long before Galland as shown by three fabliaux in Barbazan.  I have noticed that the Barber's Tale of himself (i. 317) is historical and I may add that it is told in detail by Al-Mas'udi (chapt. cxiv).

Follows the tale of Núr al-Dín Alí, and what Galland miscalls "The Fair Persian," a brightly written historiette with not a few touches of true humour.  Noteworthy are the Slaver's address (vol. ii. 15), the fine description of the Baghdad garden (vol. ii. 21-24), the drinking-party (vol. ii. 25), the Caliph's frolic (vol. ii. 31-37) and the happy end of the hero's misfortunes (vol. ii. 44) Its brightness is tempered by the gloomy tone of the tale which succeeds, and which has variants in the Bagh o Bahar, a Hindustani versionof the Persian "Tale of the Four Darwayshes;" and in the Turkish Kirk Vezir or "Book of the Forty Vezirs."  Its dismal péripéties are relieved only by the witty indecency of Eunuch Bukhayt and the admirable humour of Eunuch Kafur, whose "half lie" is known throughout the East.  Here also the lover's agonies are piled upon him for the purpose of unpiling at last: the Oriental tale-teller knows by experience that, as a rule, doleful endings "don't pay."

The next is the long romance of chivalry, "King Omar bin al-Nu'man" etc., which occupies an eighth of the whole repertory and the best part of two volumes.  Mr. Lane omits it because "obscene and tedious," showing the license with which he translated; and he was set right by a learned reviewer, [FN#285] who truly declared that "the omission of half-a-dozen passages out of four hundred pages would fit it for printing in any language [FN#286] and the charge of tediousness could hardly have been applied more unhappily."  The tale is interesting as a picture of mediæval Arab chivalry and has many other notable points; for instance, the lines (iii. 86) beginning "Allah holds the kingship!" are a lesson to the manichæanism of Christian Europe.  It relates the doings of three royal generations and has all the characteristics of Eastern art: it is a phantasmagoria of Holy Places, palaces and Harems; convents, castles and caverns, here restful with gentle landscapes (ii. 240) and there bristling with furious battle-pictures (ii. 117, 221-8, 249) and tales of princely prowess and knightly derring-do.  The characters stand out well.  King Nu'man is an old lecher who deserves his death; the ancient Dame Zát al-Dawáhi merits her title Lady of Calamities (to her foes); Princess Abrizah appears as a charming Amazon, doomed to a miserable and pathetic end; Zau al-Makán is a wise and pious royalty; Nuzhat al-Zamán, though a longsome talker, is a model sister; the Wazir Dandán, a sage and sagacious counsellor, contrasts with the Chamberlain, an ambitious miscreant; Kánmakán is the typical Arab knight, gentle and brave:--

Now managing the mouthes of stubborne steedes
Now practising the proof of warlike deedes;

And the kind-hearted, simple-minded Stoker serves as a foil to the villains, the kidnapping Badawi and Ghazbán the detestable negro.  The fortunes of the family are interrupted by two episodes, both equally remarkable.  Taj al-Mulúk [FN#287] is the model lover whom no difficulties or dangers can daunt.  In Azíz and Azízah (ii. 291) we have the beau ideal of a loving woman: the writer's object was to represent a "softy" who had the luck to win the love of a beautiful and clever cousin and the mad folly to break her heart.  The poetical justice which he receives at the hands of women of quite another stamp leaves nothing to be desired.  Finally the plot of "King Omar" is well worked out; and the gathering of all the actors upon the stage before the curtain drops may be improbable but it is highly artistic.

The long Crusading Romance is relieved by a sequence of sixteen fabliaux, partly historiettes of men and beasts and partly apologues proper--a subject already noticed.  We have then (iii. 162) the saddening and dreary love-tale of Ali bin Bakkár, a Persian youth and the Caliph's concubine Shams al-Nahár.  Here the end is made doleful enough by the deaths of the "two martyrs," who are killed off, like Romeo and Juliet, [FN#288] a lesson that the course of true Love is sometimes troubled and that men as well as women can die of the so-called "tender passion."  It is followed (iii. 212) by the long tale of Kamar al-Zamán, or Moon of the Age, the first of that name, the "Camaralzaman" whom Galland introduced into the best European society.  Like "The Ebony Horse" it seems to have been derived from a common source with "Peter of Provence" and "Cleomades and Claremond"; and we can hardly wonder at its wide diffusion: the tale is brimful of life, change, movement, containing as much character and incident as would fill a modern three-volumer and the Supernatural pleasantly jostles the Natural; Dahnash the Jinn and Maymúnah daughter of Al-Dimiryát, [FN#289] a renowned King of the Jann, being as human in their jealousy about the virtue of their lovers as any children of Adam, and so their metamorphosis to fleas has all the effect of a surprise.  The troupe is again drawn with a broad firm touch.  Prince Charming, the hero, is weak and wilful, shifty and immoral, hasty and violent: his two spouses are rivals in abominations as his sons, Amjad and As'ad, are examples of a fraternal affection rarely found in half-brothers by sister-wives.  There is at least one fine melodramatic situation (iii. 228); and marvellous feats of indecency, a practical joke which would occur only to the canopic mind (iii. 300-305), emphasise the recovery of her husband by that remarkable "blackguard," the Lady Budúr.  The interpolated tale of Ni'amah and Naomi (iv. I), a simple and pleasing narrative of youthful amours, contrasts well with the boiling passions of the incestuous and murderous Queens and serves as a pause before the grand denouement when the parted meet, the lost are found, the unwedded are wedded and all ends merrily as a xixth century novel.

The long tale of Alá al-Din, our old friend "Aladdin," is wholly out of place in its present position (iv. 29): it is a counterpart of Ali Nær al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-girl (vol. ix. i); and the mention of the Shahbandar or Harbour-master (iv. 29), the Kunsul or Consul (p. 84), the Kaptan (Capitano), the use of cannon at sea and the choice of Genoa city (p. 85) prove that it belongs to the xvth or xvith century and should accompanyKamar al-Zamàn II. and Ma'aruf at the
end of The Nights.  Despite the lutist Zubaydah being carried off by the Jinn, the Magic Couch, a modification of Solomon's carpet, and the murder of the King who refused to islamize, it is evidently a European tale and I believe with Dr. Bacher that it is founded upon the legend of "Charlemagne's" daughter Emma and his secretary Eginhardt, as has been noted in the counterpart (vol. ix. 1).

This quasi-historical fiction is followed hy a succession of fabliaux, novelle and historiettes which fill the rest of the vol. iv. and the whole of vol. v. till we reach the terminal story, The Queen of the Serpents (vol. v. pp. 304-329).  It appears to me that most of them are historical and could easily be traced.  Not a few are in Al-Mas'udi; for instance the grim Tale of Hatim of Tayy (vol. iv. 94) is given bodily in "Meads of Gold" (iii. 327); and the two adventures of Ibrahim al-Mahdi with the barber-surgeon (vol. iv. 103) and the Merchant's sister (vol. iv. 176) are in his pages (vol. vii. 68 and 18).  The City of Lubtayt (vol. iv. 99) embodies the legend of Don Rodrigo, last of the Goths, and may have reached the ears of Washington Irving; Many-columned Iram (vol. iv. 113) is held by all Moslems to be factual and sundry writers have recorded the tricks played by Al-Maamun with the Pyramids of Jizah which still show his handiwork. [FN#290] The germ of Isaac of Mosul (vol. iv. 119) is found in Al-Mas'udi who (vii. 65) names "Burán" the poetess (Ibn Khall. i. 268); and Harun al-Rashid and the Slave-girl (vol. iv. 153) is told by a host of writers.  Ali the Persian is a rollicking tale of fun from some Iranian jest-book: Abu Mohammed hight Lazybones belongs to the cycle of "Sindbad the Seaman," with a touch of Whittington and his Cat; and Zumurrud ("Smaragdine") in Ali Shar (vol. iv. 187) shows at her sale the impudence of Miriam the Girdle-girl and in bed the fescennine device of the Lady Budur.  The "Ruined Man who became Rich," etc. (vol. iv. 289) is historical and Al-Mas'udi (vii. 281) relates the coquetry of Mahbúbah the concubine (vol. iv. 291): the historian also quotes four couplets, two identical with Nos. 1 and 2 in The Nights (vol. iv. 292) and adding:--

Then see the slave who lords it o'er her lord * In lover privacy and public site:
Behold these eyes that one like Ja'afar saw: * Allah on Ja'afar reign boons infinite!

Uns al-Wujúd (vol. v. 32) is a love-tale which has been translated into a host of Eastern languages; and The Lovers of the Banu Ozrah belong to Al-Mas'udi's "Martyrs of Love" (vii. 355), with the ozrite "Ozrite love" of Ibn Khallikan (iv. 537).  "Harun and the Three Poets" (vol.  v. 77) has given to Cairo a proverb which Burckhardt (No. 561) renders "The day obliterates the word or promise of the Night," for

The promise of night is effaced by day.

It suggests Congreve's Doris:--

For who o'er night obtain'd her grace,
She can next day disown, etc.

"Harun and the three Slave-girls" (vol. v. 81) smacks of Gargantua (lib. i. c. 11): "It belongs to me, said one: 'Tis mine, said another"; and so forth.  The Simpleton and the Sharper (vol. v. 83) like the Foolish Dominie (vol. v. 118) is an old Joe Miller in Hindu as well as Moslem folk-lore.  "Kisra Anushirwán" (vol. v. 87) is "The King, the Owl and the Villages of Al-Mas'udi" (iii. 171), who also notices the Persian monarch's four seals of office (ii. 204); and "Masrur the Eunuch and Ibn Al-Káribi" (vol. v. 109) is from the same source as Ibn al-Magházili the Reciter and a Eunuch belonging to the Caliph Al-Mu'tazad (vol. viii. 161).  In the Tale of Tawaddud (vol. v. 139) we have the fullest development of the disputations and displays of learning then so common in Europe, teste the "Admirable Crichton"; and these were affected not only by Eastern tale-tellers but even by sober historians.  To us it is much like "padding" when Nuzhat al-Zamán (vol. ii. 156 etc.) fags her hapless hearers with a discourse covering sixteen mortal pages; when the Wazir Dandan (vol. ii. 195, etc.) reports at length the cold speeches of the five high-bosomed maids and the Lady of Calamities and when Wird Khan, in presence of his papa (Nights cmxiv-xvi.) discharges his patristic exercitations and heterogeneous knowledge.  Yet Al-Mas'udi also relates, at dreary extension (vol. vi. 369) the disputation of the twelve sages in presence of Barmecide Yahya upon the origin, the essence, the accidents and the omnes res of Love; and in another place (vii.  181) shows Honayn, author of the Book of Natural Questions, undergoing a long examination before the Caliph Al-Wásik (Vathek) and describing, amongst other things, the human teeth.  See also the dialogue or catechism of Al-Hajjáj and Ibn Al-Kirríya in Ibn Khallikan (vol. i. 238-240).

These disjecta membra of tales and annals are pleasantly relieved by the seven voyages of Sindbad the Seaman (vol. vi. 1-83).  The "Arabian Odyssey" may, like its Greek brother, descend from a noble family, the "Shipwrecked Mariner" a Coptic travel-tale of the twelfth dynasty (B. C. 3500) preserved on a papyrus at St. Petersburg.  In its actual condition "Sindbad," is a fanciful compilation, like De Foe's "Captain Singleton," borrowed from travellers' tales of an immense variety and extracts from Al-Idrísi, Al-Kazwíni and Ibn al-Wardi.  Here we find the Polyphemus, the Pygmies and the cranes of Homer and Herodotus; the escape of Aristomenes; the Plinian monsters well known in Persia; the magnetic mountain of Saint Brennan (Brandanus); the aeronautics of "Duke Ernest of Bavaria'' [FN#291] and sundry cuttings from Moslem writers dating between our ninth and fourteenth centuries. [FN#292] The "Shayhk of the Seaboard" appears in the Persian romance of Kámaraupa translated by Francklin, all the particulars absolutely corresponding.  The "Odyssey" is valuable because it shows how far Eastward the mediaeval Arab had extended: already in The Ignorance he had reached China and had formed a centre of trade at Canton.  But the higher merit of the cento is to produce one of the most charming books of travel ever written, like Robinson Crusoe the delight of children and the admiration of all ages.

The hearty life and realism of Sindbad are made to stand out in strong relief by the deep melancholy which pervades "The City of Brass" (vol. vi. 83), a dreadful book for a dreary day.  It is curious to compare the doleful verses (pp. 103, 105) with those spoken to Caliph Al-Mutawakkil by Abu al-Hasan Ali (A1-Mas'udi, vii. 246).  We then enter upon the venerable Sindibad-nameh, the Malice of Women (vol. vi. 122), of which, according to the Kitab al-Fihrist (vol. i. 305), there were two editions, a Sinzibád al-Kabír and a Sinzibád al-Saghír, the latter being probably an epitome of the former.  This bundle of legends, I have shown, was incorporated with the Nights as an editor's addition; and as an independent work it has made the round of the world.

Space forbids any detailed notice of this choice collection of anecdotes for which a volume would be required.  I may, however, note that the "Wife's device" (vol. vi. 152) has its analogues in the Kathá (chapt. xiii.) in the Gesta Romanorum (No. xxviii.) and in Boccaccio (Day iii. 6 and Day vi. 8), modified by La Fontaine to Richard Minutolo (Contes lib. i. tale 2): it is quoted almost in the words of The Nights by the Shaykh al-Nafzáwi (p. 207).  That most witty and indecent tale The Three Wishes (vol. vi. 180) has forced its way disguised as a babe into our nurseries.  Another form of it is found in the Arab proverb "More luckless than Basús" (Kamus), a fair Israelite who persuaded her husband, also a Jew, to wish that she might become the loveliest of women.  Jehovah granted it, spitefully as Jupiter; the consequence was that her contumacious treatment of her mate made him pray that the beauty might be turned into a bitch; and the third wish restored her to her original state.

The Story of Júdar (vol. vi. 207) is Egyptian, to judge from its local knowledge (pp. 217 and 254) together with its ignorance of Marocco (p. 223).  It shows a contrast, in which Arabs delight, of an almost angelical goodness and forgiveness with a well-nigh diabolical malignity, and we find the same extremes in Abú Sír the noble-minded Barber and the hideously inhuman Abú Kír.  The excursion to Mauritania is artfully managed and gives a novelty to the mise-en-scène.  Gharíb and Ajíb (vi. 207, vii. 91) belongs to the cycle of Antar and King Omar bin Nu'man: its exaggerations make it a fine type of Oriental Chauvinism, pitting the superhuman virtues, valour, nobility and success of all that is Moslem, against the scum of the earth which is non-Moslem.  Like the exploits of Friar John of the Chopping-knives (Rabelais i. c. 27) it suggests ridicule cast on impossible battles and tales of giants, paynims and paladins.  The long romance is followed by thirteen historiettes all apparently historical: compare "Hind, daughter of Al-Nu'man" (vol. viii. 7-145) and "Isaac of Mosul and the Devil" (vol. vii. 136-139) with Al Mas'udi v. 365 and vi. 340.  They end in two long detective-tales like those which M. Gaboriau has popularised, the Rogueries of Dalilah and the Adventures of Mercury Ali, based upon the principle, "One thief wots another."  The former, who has appeared before (vol. ii. 329), seems to have been a noted character: Al-Mas'udi says (viii. 175) "in a word this Shaykh (Al-'Ukáb) outrivalled in his rogueries and the ingenuities of his wiles Dállah (Dalilah?) the Crafty and other tricksters and coney-catchers, ancient and modern."

The Tale of Ardashir (vol. vii. 209-264) lacks originality: we are now entering upon a series of pictures which are replicas of those preceding.  This is not the case with that charming Undine, Julnár the Sea-born (vol. vii. 264-308) which, like Abdullah of the Land and Abdullah of the Sea (vol. ix. Night cmxl.), describes the vie intime of mermen and merwomen.  Somewhat resembling Swift's inimitable creations, the Houyhnhnms for instance, they prove, amongst other things, that those who dwell in a denser element can justly blame and severely criticise the contradictory and unreasonable prejudices and predilections of mankind.  Sayf al-Mulúk (vol. viii. Night dcclviii.), the romantic tale of two lovers, shows by its introduction that it was originally an independent work and it is known to have existed in Persia during the eleventh century: this novella has found its way into every Moslem language of the East even into Sindi, which calls the hero "Sayfal."  Here we again meet the Old Man of the Sea or rather the Shaykh of the Seaboard and make acquaintance with a Jinn whose soul is outside his body: thus he resembles Hermotimos of Klazamunae in Apollonius, whose spirit left his mortal frame à discretion.  The author, philanthropically remarking (vol. viii. 4) "Knowest thou not that a single mortal is better, in Allah's sight than a thousand Jinn?" brings the wooing to a happy end which leaves a pleasant savour upon the mental palate.

Hasan of Bassorah (vol. viii. 7-145) is a Master Shoetie on a large scale like Sindbad, but his voyages and travels extend into the supernatural and fantastic rather than the natural world.  Though long the tale is by no means wearisome and the characters are drawn with a fine firm hand.  The hero with his hen-like persistency of purpose, his weeping, fainting and versifying is interesting enough and proves that "Love can find out the way."  The charming adopted sister, the model of what the feminine friend should be; the silly little wife who never knows that she is happy till she loses happiness; the violent and hard-hearted queen with all the cruelty of a good woman, and the manners and customs of Amazon land are outlined with a life-like vivacity.  Khalífah the next tale (vol. viii. 147-184) is valuable as a study of Eastern life, showing how the fisherman emerges from the squalor of his surroundings and becomes one of the Caliph's favourite cup-companions.  Ali Nur al-Din (vol. viii. 264) and King Jali'ad (vol. ix., Night dcccxciv) have been noticed elsewhere and there is little to say of the concluding stories which bear the evident impress of a more modern date.

Dr. Johnson thus sums up his notice of The Tempest.  "Whatever might have been the intention of their author, these tales are made instrumental to the production of many characters, diversified with boundless invention, and preserved with profound skill in nature; extensive knowledge of opinions, and accurate observation of life.  Here are exhibited princes, courtiers and sailors, all speaking in their real characters.  There is the agency of airy spirits and of earthy goblin, the operations of magic, the tumults of a storm, the adventures of a desert island, the native effusion of untaught affection, the punishment of guilt, and the final happiness of those for whom our passions and reason are equally interested."

We can fairly say this much and far more for our Tales.  Viewed as a tout ensemble in full and complete form, they are a drama of Eastern life, and a Dance of Death made sublime by faith and the highest emotions, by the certainty of expiation and the fulness of atoning equity, where virtue is victorious, vice is vanquished and the ways of Allah are justified to man.  They are a panorama which remains ken-speckle upon the mental retina.  They form a phantasmagoria in which archangels and angels, devils and goblins, men of air, of fire, of water, naturally mingle with men of earth; where flying horses and talking fishes are utterly realistic: where King and Prince meet fisherman and pauper, lamia and cannibal; where citizen jostles Badawi, eunuch meets knight; the Kazi hob-nobs with the thief; the pure and pious sit down to the same tray with the bawd and the pimp; where the professional religionist, the learned Koranist and the strictest moralist consort with the wicked magician, the scoffer and the debauchee-poet like Abu Nowas; where the courtier jests with the boor and where the sweep is bedded with the noble lady.  And the characters are "finished and quickened by a few touches swift and sure as the glance of sunbeams."  The work is a kaleidoscope where everything falls into picture; gorgeous palaces and pavilions; grisly underground caves and deadlywolds; gardens fairer than those of the Hesperid; seas dashing with clashing billows upon enchanted mountains; valleys of the Shadow of Death; air-voyages and promenades in the abysses of ocean; the duello, the battle and the siege; the wooing of maidens and the marriage-rite.  All the splendour and squalor, the beauty and baseness, the glamour and grotesqueness, the magic and the mournfulness, the bravery and the baseness of Oriental life are here: its pictures of the three great Arab passions, love, war and fancy, entitle it to be called "Blood, Musk and Hashish." [FN#293] And still more, the genius of the story-teller quickens the dry bones of history, and by adding Fiction to Pact revives the dead past: the Caliphs and the Caliphate return to Baghdad and Cairo, whilst Asmodeus kindly removes the terrace-roof of every tenement and allows our curious glances to take in the whole interior.  This is perhaps the best proof of their power.  Finally, the picture-gallery opens with a series of weird and striking adventures and shows as a tail-piece, an idyllic scene of love and wedlock in halls before reeking with lust and blood.

I have noticed in my Foreword that the two main characteristics of The Nights are Pathos and Humour, alternating with highly artistic contrast, and carefully calculated to provoke tears and smiles in the coffee-house audience which paid for them.  The sentimental portion mostly breathes a tender passion and a simple sadness: such are the Badawi's dying farewell (vol i. 75); the lady's broken heart on account of her lover's hand being cut off (vol. i. 277); the Wazir's death, the mourner's song and the "tongue of the case" (vol. ii. 10); the murder of Princess Abrízah with the babe sucking its dead mother's breast (vol. ii. 128); and, generally, the last moments of good Moslems (e. g. vol. 167), which are described with inimitable terseness and naïveté.  The sad and the gay mingle in the character of the good Hammam-stoker who becomes Roi Crotte and the melancholy deepens in the Tale of the Mad Lover (vol. v. 138); the Blacksmith who could handle fire without hurt (vol. v. 271); the Devotee Prince (vol. v. iii) and the whole Tale of Azízah (vol. ii. 298), whose angelic love is set off by the sensuality and selfishness of her more fortunate rivals.  A new note of absolutely tragic dignity seems to be struck in the Sweep and the Noble Lady (vol. iv. 125), showing the piquancy of sentiment which can be evolved from the common and the unclean.  The pretty conceit of the Lute (vol. v. 244) is afterwards carried out in the Song (vol. viii. 281), which is a masterpiece of originality [FN#294] and (in the Arabic) of exquisite tenderness and poetic melancholy, the wail over the past and the vain longing for reunion.  And the very depths of melancholy, of majestic pathos and of true sublimity are reached in Many-columned Iram (vol. iv. 113) and the City of Brass (vol. vi. 83): the metrical part of the latter shows a luxury of woe; it is one long wail of despair which echoes long and loud in the hearer's heart.

In my Foreword I have compared the humorous vein of the comic tales with our northern "wut," chiefly for the dryness and slyness which pervade it.  But it differs in degree as much as the pathos varies.  The staple article is Cairene "chaff," a peculiar banter possibly inherited from their pagan forefathers: instances of this are found in the Cock and Dog (vol. i. 22), the Eunuch's address to the Cook (vol. i. 244), the Wazir's exclamation, "Too little pepper!" (vol. i. 246), the self-communing of Judar (vol. vi. 219), the Hashish-eater in Ali Shár (vol. iv. 213), the scene between the brother-Wazirs (vol. i. 197), the treatment of the Gobbo (vol. i. 221, 228), the Water of Zemzem (vol. i. 284), and the Eunuchs Bukhayt and Kafur [FN#295] (vol. ii. 49, 51).  At times it becomes a masterpiece of fun, of rollicking Rabelaisian humour underlaid by the caustic mother-wit of Sancho Panza, as in the orgie of the Ladies of Baghdad (vol. i. 92, 93); the Holy Ointment applied to the beard of Luka the Knight-- "unxerunt regem Salomonem" (vol. ii. 222); and Ja'afar and the Old Badawi (vol. v. 98), with its reminiscence of "chaffy" King Amasis.  This reaches its acme in the description of ugly old age (vol. v. 3); in The Three Wishes, the wickedest of satires on the alter sexus (vi. 180); in Ali the Persian (vol. iv. 139); in the Lady and her Five Suitors (vol. vi. 172), which corresponds and contrasts with the dully told Story of Upakosa and her Four Lovers of the Kathá (p. 17); and in The Man of Al-Yaman (vol. iv. 245) where we find the true Falstaffian touch.  But there is sterling wit, sweet and bright, expressed without any artifice of words, in the immortal Barber's tales of his brothers, especially the second, the fifth and the sixth (vol. i. 324, 325 and 343).  Finally, wherever the honest and independent old debauchee Abu Nowas makes his appearance the fun becomes fescennine and milesian.





 B.--The Manner of the Nights.



And now, after considering the matter, I will glance at the language and style of The Nights.  The first point to remark is the peculiarly happy framework of the Recueil, which I cannot but suspect set an example to the Decamerone and its host of successors. [FN#296] The admirable Introduction, a perfect mise-en-scène, gives the amplest raison d'etre of the work, which thus has all the unity required for a great romantic recueil.  We perceive this when reading the contemporary Hindu work the Kathá Sarit Ságara, [FN#297] which is at once so like and so unlike The Nights: here the preamble is insufficient; the whole is clumsy for want of a thread upon which the many independent tales and fables should be strung [FN#298]; and the consequent disorder and confusion tell upon the reader, who cannot remember the sequence without taking notes.

As was said in my Foreword "without The Nights no Arabian Nights!" and now, so far from holding the pauses "an intolerable interruption to the narrative," I attach additional importance to these pleasant and restful breaks introduced into long and intricate stories.  Indeed beginning again I should adopt the plan of the Cal. Edit. opening and ending every division with a dialogue between the sisters.  Upon this point, however, opinions will differ and the critic will remind me that the consensus of the MSS. would be wanting: The Bresl. Edit. in many places merely interjects the number of the night without interrupting the tale; the MS. in the Bibliotheque Nationale used by Galland contains only cclxxxii and the Frenchman ceases to use the division after the ccxxxvith Night and in some editions after the cxcviith. [FN#299] A fragmentary MS. according to Scott whose friend J. Anderson found it in Bengal, breaks away after Night xxix; and in the Wortley Montagu, the Sultan relents at an early opportunity, the stories, as in Galland, continuing only as an amusement.  I have been careful to preserve the balanced sentences with which the tales open; the tautology and the prose-rhyme serving to attract attention, e. g., "In days of yore and in times long gone before there was a King," etc.; in England where we strive not to waste words this becomes "Once upon a time."  The closings also are artfully calculated, by striking a minor chord after the rush and hurry of the incidents, to suggest repose: "And they led the most pleasurable of lives and the most delectable, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies and they became as though they had never been."  Place this by the side of Boccaccio's favourite formulae:--Egli conquistà poi la Scozia, e funne re coronato (ii, 3); Et onorevolmente visse infino alla fine (ii, 4); Molte volte goderono del loro amore: Iddio faccia noi goder del nostro (iii, 6): E cosi nella sue grossezza si rimase e ancor vi si sta (vi, 8).  We have further docked this tail into: "And they lived happily ever after."

I cannot take up the Nights in their present condition, without feeling that the work has been written down from the Ráwi or Nakkál, [FN#300] the conteur or professional story-teller, also called Kassás and Maddáh, corresponding with the Hindu Bhat or Bard.  To these men my learned friend Baron A. von Kremer would attribute the Mu'allakat vulgarly called the Suspended Poems, as being "indited from the relation of the Ráwi."  Hence in our text the frequent interruption of the formula Kal' al-Rawi = quotes the reciter; dice Turpino.  Moreover, The Nights read in many places like a hand-book or guide for the professional, who would learn them by heart; here and there introducing his "gag" and "patter".  To this "business" possibly we may attribute much of the ribaldry which starts up in unexpected places: it was meant simply to provoke a laugh.  How old the custom is and how unchangeable is Eastern life is shown, a correspondent suggests, by the Book of Esther which might form part of The Alf Laylah.  "On that night (we read in Chap. vi. 1) could not the King sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the King."  The Ráwi would declaim the recitative somewhat in conversational style; he would intone the Saj'a or prose-rhyme and he would chant to the twanging of the Rabáb, a one-stringed viol, the poetical parts.  Dr. Scott [FN#301] borrows from the historian of Aleppo a life-like picture of the Story-teller.  "He recites walking to and fro in the middle of the coffee-room, stopping only now and then, when the expression requires some emphatical attitude.  He is commonly heard with great attention; and not unfrequently in the midst of some interesting adventure, when the expectation of his audience is raised to the highest pitch, he breaks off abruptly and makes his escape, leaving both his hero or heroine and his audience in the utmost embarrassment.  Those who happen to be near the door endeavour to detain him, insisting upon the story being finished before he departs; but he always makes his retreat good [FN#302]; and the auditors suspending their curiosity are induced to return at the same time next day to hear the sequel.  He has no sooner made his exit than the company in separate parties fall to disputing about the characters of the drama or the event of an unfinished adventure.  The controversy by degrees becomes serious and opposite opinions are maintained with no less warmth than if the fall of the city depended upon the decision."

At Tangier, where a murder in a "coffee-house" had closed these hovels, pending a sufficient payment to the Pasha; and where, during the hard winter of 1885-86, the poorer classes were compelled to puff their Kayf (Bhang, cannabis indica) and sip their black coffee in the muddy streets under a rainy sky, I found the Ráwi active on Sundays and Thursdays, the market days.  The favourite place was the "Soko de barra," or large bazar, outside the town whose condition is that of Suez and Bayrut half a century ago.  It is a foul slope; now slippery with viscous mud, then powdery with fetid dust, dotted with graves and decaying tombs, unclean booths, gargottes and tattered tents, and frequented by women, mere bundles of unclean rags, and by men wearing the haik or burnús, a Franciscan frock, tending their squatting camels and chaffering over cattle for Gibraltar beef-eaters.  Here the market-people form a ring about the reciter, a stalwart man affecting little raiment besides a broad waist-belt into which his lower chiffons are tucked, and noticeable only for his shock hair, wild eyes, broad grin and generally disreputable aspect.  He usually handles a short stick; and, when drummer and piper are absent, he carries a tiny tom-tom shaped like an hour-glass, upon which he taps the periods.  This Scealuidhe, as the Irish call him, opens the drama with extempore prayer, proving that he and the audience are good Moslems: he speaks slowly and with emphasis, varying the diction with breaks of animation, abundant action and the most comical grimace: he advances, retires and wheels about, illustrating every point with pantomime; and his features, voice and gestures are so expressive that even Europeans who cannot understand a word of Arabic divine the meaning of his tale.  The audience stands breathless and motionless surprising strangers [FN#303] by the ingenuousness and freshness of feeling hidden under their hard and savage exterior.  The performance usually ends with the embryo actor going round for alms and flourishing in air every silver bit, the usual honorarium being a few "f'lús," that marvellous money of Barbary, big coppers worth one-twelfth of a penny.  All the tales I heard were purely local, but Fakhri Bey, a young Osmanli domiciled for some time in Fez and Mequinez, assured me that The Nights are still recited there.

Many travellers, including Dr. Russell, have complained that they failed to find a complete MS. copy of The Nights.  Evidently they never heard of the popular superstition which declares that no one can read through them without dying--it is only fair that my patrons should know this.  Yacoub Artín Pasha declares that the superstition dates from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and he explains it in two ways.  Firstly, it is a facetious exaggeration, meaning that no one has leisure or patience to wade through the long repertory.  Secondly, the work is condemned as futile.  When Egypt produced savants and legists like Ibn al-Hajar, Al-'Ayni, and Al-Kastalláni, to mention no others, the taste of the country inclined to dry factual studies and positive science; nor, indeed, has this taste wholly died out: there are not a few who, like Khayri Pasha, contend that the mathematic is more useful even for legal studies than history and geography, and at Cairo the chief of the Educational Department has always been an engineer, i. e., a mathematician.  The Olema declared war against all "futilities," in which they included not only stories but also what is politely entitled Authentic History.  From this to the fatal effect of such lecture is only a step.  Society, however, cannot rest without light literature; so the novel-reading class was thrown back upon writings which had all the indelicacy and few of the merits of The Nights.

Turkey is the only Moslem country which has dared to produce a regular drama [FN#304] and to arouse the energies of such brilliant writers as Muníf Pasha, statesman and scholar; Ekrem Bey, literato and professor; Kemál Bey, held by some to be the greatest writer in modern Osmanli-land and Abd al-Hakk Hamíd Bey, first Secretary of the London Embassy.  The theatre began in its ruder form by taking subjects bodily from The Nights; then it annexed its plays as we do--the Novel having ousted the Drama--from the French; and lastly it took courage to be original.  Many years ago I saw Harun al-Rashid and the Three Kalandars, with deer-skins and all their properties de rigueur in the court-yard of Government House, Damascus, declaiming to the extreme astonishment and delight of the audience.  It requires only to glance at The Nights for seeing how much histrionic matter they contain.

In considering the style of The Nights we must bear in mind that the work has never been edited according to our ideas of the process.  Consequently there is no just reason for translating the whole verbatim et literatim, as has been done by Torrens, Lane and Payne in his "Tales from the Arabic." [FN#305] This conscientious treatment is required for versions of an author like Camoens, whose works were carefully corrected and arranged by a competent littérateur, but it is not merited by The Nights as they now are.  The Macnaghten, the Bulak and the Bayrut texts, though printed from MSS. identical in order, often differ in minor matters.  Many friends have asked me to undertake the work: but, even if lightened by the aid of Shaykhs, Munshis and copyists, the labour would be severe, tedious and thankless: better leave the holes open than patch them with fancy work or with heterogeneous matter.  The learned, indeed, as Lane tells us (i. 74; iii. 740), being thoroughly dissatisfied with the plain and popular, the ordinary and "vulgar" note of the language, have attempted to refine and improve it and have more than once threatened to remodel it, that is, to make it odious.  This would be to dress up Robert Burns in plumes borrowed from Dryden and Pope.

The first defect of the texts is in the distribution and arrangement of the matter, as I have noticed in the case of Sindbad the Seaman (vol. vi. 77).  Moreover, many of the earlier Nights are overlong and not a few of the others are overshort: this, however, has the prime recommendation of variety.  Even the vagaries of editor and scribe will not account for all the incoherences, disorder and inconsequence, and for the vain iterations which suggest that the author has forgotten what he said.  In places there are dead allusions to persons and tales which are left dark, e. g. vol. i. pp. 43, 57, 61, etc.  The digressions are abrupt and useless, leading nowhere, while sundry pages are wearisome for excess of prolixity or hardly intelligible for extreme conciseness.  The perpetual recurrence of mean colloquialisms and of words and idioms peculiar to Egypt and Syria [FN#306] also takes from the pleasure of the perusal.  Yet we cannot deny that it has its use: this unadorned language of familiar conversation, in its day adapted for the understanding of the people, is best fitted for the Rawi's craft in the camp and caravan, the Harem, the bazar and the coffee-house.  Moreover, as has been well said, The Nights is the only written half-way house between the literary and colloquial Arabic which is accessible to all, and thus it becomes necessary to the students who would qualify themselves for service in Moslem lands from Mauritania to Mesopotamia.  It freely uses Turkish words like "Khátún" and Persian terms as "Sháhbandar," thus requiring for translation not only a somewhat archaic touch, but also a vocabulary borrowed from various sources: otherwise the effect would not be reproduced.  In places, however, the style rises to the highly ornate approaching the pompous; e. g. the Wazirial addresses in the tale of King Jali'ad.  The battle-scenes, mostly admirable (vol. v. 365), are told with the conciseness of a despatch and the vividness of an artist; the two combining to form perfect "word-pictures."  Of the Badí'a or euphuistic style, "Parleying euphuism," and of AI Saj'a, the prose rhyme, I shall speak in a future page.

The characteristics of the whole are naïveté and simplicity, clearness and a singular concision.  The gorgeousness is in the imagery not in the language; the words are weak while the sense, as in the classical Scandinavian books, is strong; and here the Arabic differs diametrically from the florid exuberance and turgid amplifications of the Persian story-teller, which sound so hollow and unreal by the side of a chaster model.  It abounds in formulæ such as repetitions of religious phrases which are unchangeable.  There are certain stock comparisons, as Lokman's wisdom, Joseph's beauty, Jacob's grief, Job's patience, David's music, and Maryam the Virgin's chastity.  The eyebrow is a Nún; the eye a Sád, the mouth a Mím.  A hero is more prudent than the crow, a better guide than the Katá grouse, more generous than the cock, warier than the crane, braver than the lion, more aggressive than the panther, finer-sighted than the horse, craftier than the fox, greedier than the gazelle, more vigilant than the dog, and thriftier than the ant.  The cup-boy is a sun rising from the dark underworld symbolised by his collar; his cheek-mole is a crumb of ambergris, his nose is a scymitar grided at the curve; his lower lip is a jujube; his teeth are the Pleiades or hailstones; his browlocks are scorpions; his young hair on the upper lip is an emerald; his side beard is a swarm of ants or a Lám (Ç-letter) enclosing the roses or anemones of his cheek.  The cup-girl is a moon who rivals the sheen of the sun; her forehead is a pearl set off by the jet of her "idiot-fringe;" her eyelashes scorn the sharp sword; and her glances are arrows shot from the bow of the eyebrows.  A mistress necessarily belongs, though living in the next street, to the Wady Liwá and to a hostile clan of Badawin whose blades are ever thirsting for the lover's blood and whose malignant tongues aim only at the "defilement of separation."  Youth is upright as an Alif, or slender and bending as a branch of the Bán-tree which we should call a willow-wand, [FN#307] while Age, crabbed and crooked, bends groundwards vainly seeking in the dust his lost juvenility.  As Baron de Slane says of these stock comparisons (Ibn Khall. i. xxxvi.), "The figurative language of Moslem poets is often difficult to be understood.  The narcissus is the eye; the feeble stem of that plant bends languidly under its dower, and thus recalls to mind the languor of the eyes.  Pearls signify both tears and teeth; the latter are sometimes called hailstones, from their whiteness and moisture; the lips are cornelians or rubies; the gums, a pomegranate flower; the dark foliage of the myrtle is synonymous with the black hair of the beloved, or with the first down on the cheeks of puberty.  The down itself is called the izâr, or head-stall of the bridle, and the curve of the izar is compared to the letters lâm (á) and næn (ä). [FN#308] Ringlets trace on the cheek or neck the letter Waw (æ); they are called Scorpions (as the Greek {Greek letters}), either from their dark colour or their agitated movements; the eye is a sword; the eyelids scabbards; the whiteness of the complexion, camphor; and a mole or beauty-spot, musk, which term denotes also dark hair.  A mole is sometimes compared also to an ant creeping on the cheek towards the honey of the mouth; a handsome face is both a full moon and day; black hair is night; the waist is a willow-branch or a lance; the water of the face is self-respect: a poet sells the water of his face [FN#309] when he bestows mercenary praises on a rich patron."

This does not sound promising: yet, as has been said of Arab music, the persistent repetition of the same notes in the minor key is by no means monotonous and ends with haunting the ear, occupying the thought and touching the soul.  Like the distant frog-concert and chirp of the cicada, the creak of the water-wheel and the stroke of hammers upon the anvil from afar, the murmur of the fountain, the sough of the wind and the plash of the wavelet, they occupy the sensorium with a soothing effect, forming a barbaric music full of sweetness and peaceful pleasure.





§ IV.
 SOCIAL CONDITION.



I here propose to treat of the Social Condition which The Nights discloses, of Al-Islam at the earlier period of its development, concerning the position of women and about the pornology of the great Saga-book.

 A.--Al-Islam.



A splendid and glorious life was that of Baghdad in the days of the mighty Caliph, [FN#310] when the Capital had towered to the zenith of grandeur and was already trembling and tottering to the fall. The centre of human civilisation, which was then confined to Greece and Arabia, and the metropolis of an Empire exceeding in extent the widest limits of Rome, it was essentially a city of pleasure, a Paris of the ixth century. The "Palace of Peace" (Dár al-Salám), worthy successor of Babylon and Nineveh, which had outrivalled Damascus, the "Smile of the Prophet," and Kufah, the successor of Hira and the magnificent creation of Caliph Omar, possessed unrivalled advantages of site and climate. The Tigris-Euphrates Valley, where the fabled Garden of Eden has been placed, in early ages succeeded the Nile- Valley as a great centre of human development; and the prerogative of a central and commanding position still promises it, even in the present state of decay and desolation under the unspeakable Turk, a magnificent future, [FN#311] when railways and canals shall connect it with Europe. The city of palaces and government offices, hotels and pavilions, mosques and colleges, kiosks and squares, bazars and markets, pleasure grounds and orchards, adorned with all the graceful charms which Saracenic architecture had borrowed from the Byzantines, lay couched upon the banks of the Dijlah-Hiddekel under a sky of marvellous purity and in a climate which makes mere life a "Kayf"--the luxury of tranquil enjoyment. It was surrounded by far extending suburbs, like Rusafah on the Eastern side and villages like Baturanjah, dear to the votaries of pleasure; and with the roar of a gigantic capital mingled the hum of prayer, the trilling of birds, the thrilling of harp and lute, the shrilling of pipes, the witching strains of the professional Almah, and the minstrel's lay.

The population of Baghdad must have been enormous when the smallest number of her sons who fell victims to Huláku Khan in 1258 was estimated at eight hundred thousand, while other authorities more than double the terrible "butcher's bill." Her policy and polity were unique. A well regulated routine of tribute and taxation, personally inspected by the Caliph; a network of waterways, canaux d'arrosage; a noble system of highways, provided with viaducts, bridges and caravanserais, and a postal service of mounted Times New Romans enabled it to collect as in a reservoir the wealth of the outer world. The facilities for education were upon the most extended scale; large sums, from private as well as public sources, were allotted to Mosques, each of which, by the admirable rule of Al-Islam, was expected to contain a school: these establishments were richly endowed and stocked with professors collected from every land between Khorasan and Marocco; [FN#312] and immense libraries [FN#313] attracted the learned of all nations. It was a golden age for poets and panegyrists, koranists and literati, preachers and rhetoricians, physicians and scientists who, besides receiving high salaries and fabulous presents, were treated with all the honours of Chinese Mandarins; and, like these, the humblest Moslem--fisherman or artizan--could aspire through knowledge or savoir faire to the highest offices of the Empire. The effect was a grafting of Egyptian, and old Mesopotamian, of Persian and Græco-Latin fruits, by long Time deteriorated, upon the strong young stock of Arab genius; and the result, as usual after such imping, was a shoot of exceptional luxuriance and vitality. The educational establishments devoted themselves to the three main objects recognised by the Moslem world, Theology, Civil Law and Belles Lettres; and a multitude of trained Councillors enabled the ruling powers to establish and enlarge that complicated machinery of government, at once concentrated and decentralized, a despotism often fatal to the wealthy great but never neglecting the interests of the humbler lieges, which forms the beau idéal of Oriental administration. Under the Chancellors of the Empire the Kazis administered law and order, justice and equity; and from their decisions the poorest subject, Moslem or miscreant, could claim with the general approval of the lieges, access and appeal to the Caliph who, as Imám or Antistes of the Faith was High President of a Court of Cassation.

Under wise administration Agriculture and Commerce, the twin pillars of national prosperity, necessarily flourished. A scientific canalisation, with irrigation works inherited from the ancients, made the Mesopotamian Valley a rival of Kemi the Black Land, and rendered cultivation a certainty of profit, not a mere speculation, as it must ever be to those who perforce rely upon the fickle rains of Heaven. The remains of extensive mines prove that this source of public wealth was not neglected; navigation laws encouraged transit and traffic; and ordinances for the fisheries aimed at developing a branch of industry which is still backward even during the xixth century. Most substantial encouragement was given to trade and commerce, to manufactures and handicrafts, by the flood of gold which poured in from all parts of earth; by the presence of a splendid and luxurious court, and by the call for new arts and industries which such a civilisation would necessitate. The crafts were distributed into guilds and syndicates under their respective chiefs, whom the government did not "govern too much": these Shahbandars, Mukaddams and Nakíbs regulated the several trades, rewarded the industrious, punished the fraudulent and were personally answerable, as we still see at Cairo, for the conduct of their constituents. Public order, the sine quâ non of stability and progress, was preserved, first, by the satisfaction of the lieges who, despite their characteristic turbulence, had few if any grievances; and, secondly, by a well directed and efficient police, an engine of statecraft which in the West seems most difficult to perfect. In the East, however, the Wali or Chief Commissioner can reckon more or less upon the unsalaried assistance of society: the cities are divided into quarters shut off one from other by night, and every Moslem is expected, by his law and religion, to keep watch upon his neighbours, to report their delinquencies and, if necessary, himself to carry out the penal code. But in difficult cases the guardians of the peace were assisted by a body of private detectives, women as well as men: these were called Tawwábún = the Penitents, because like our Bow-street runners, they had given up an even less respectable calling. Their adventures still delight the vulgar, as did the Newgate Calendar of past generations; and to this class we owe the Tales of Calamity Ahmad, Dalilah the Wily One, Saladin with the Three Chiefs of Police (vol. iv. 271), and Al-Malik al-Záhir with the Sixteen Constables (Bresl. Edit. xi. pp. 321- 99). Here and in many other places we also see the origin of that "picaresque" literature which arose in Spain and overran Europe; and which begat Le Moyen de Parvenir.  [FN#314]

I need say no more on this heading, the civilisation of Baghdad contrasting with the barbarism of Europe then Germanic, The Nights itself being the best expositor. On the other hand the action of the state-religion upon the state, the condition of Al-Islam during the reign of Al-Rashid, its declension from the primitive creed and its relation to Christianity and Christendom, require a somewhat extended notice. In offering the following observations it is only fair to declare my standpoints.

1.  All forms of "faith," that is, belief in things unseen, not subject to the senses, and therefore unknown and (in our present stage of development) unknowable, are temporary and transitory: no religion hitherto promulgated amongst men shows any prospect of being final or otherwise than finite.

2.   Religious ideas, which are necessarily limited, may all be traced home to the old seat of science and art, creeds and polity in the Nile-Valley and to this day they retain the clearest signs of their origin.

3.   All so-called "revealed" religions consist mainly of three portions, a cosmogony more or less mythical, a history more or less falsified and a moral code more or less pure.

Al-Islam, it has been said, is essentially a fighting faith and never shows to full advantage save in the field. The faith and luxury of a wealthy capital, the debauchery and variety of vices which would spring up therein, naturally as weeds in a rich fallow, and the cosmopolitan views which suggest themselves in a meeting-place of nations, were sore trials to the primitive simplicity of the "Religion of Resignation"--the saving faith. Harun and his cousin-wife, as has been shown, were orthodox and even fanatical; but the Barmecides were strongly suspected of heretical leanings; and while the many- headed showed itself, as usual, violent, and ready to do battle about an Azan-call, the learned, who sooner or later leaven the masses, were profoundly dissatisfied with the dryness and barrenness of Mohammed's creed, so acceptable to the vulgar, and were devising a series of schisms and innovations.

In the Tale of Tawaddud (vol. v. 189) the reader has seen a fairly extended catechism of the Creed (Dín), the ceremonial observances (Mazhab) and the apostolic practices (Sunnat) of the Shafi'í school which, with minor modifications, applies to the other three orthodox. Europe has by this time clean forgotten some tricks of her former bigotry, such as "Mawmet" (an idol!) and "Mahommerie" (mummery [FN#315]), a place of Moslem worship: educated men no longer speak with Ockley of the "great impostor Mahomet," nor believe with the learned and violent Dr. Prideaux that he was foolish and wicked enough to dispossess "certain poor orphans, the sons of an inferior artificer" (the Banú Najjár!). A host of books has attempted, though hardly with success, to enlighten popular ignorance upon a crucial point; namely, that the Founder of Al-Islam, like the Founder of Christianity, never pretended to establish a new religion. His claims, indeed, were limited to purging the "School of Nazareth" of the dross of ages and of the manifold abuses with which long use had infected its early constitution: hence to the unprejudiced observer his reformation seems to have brought it nearer the primitive and original doctrine than any subsequent attempts, especially the Judaizing tendencies of the so-called "Protestant" churches. The Meccan Apostle preached that the Hanafiyyah or orthodox belief, which he subsequently named Al-Islam, was first taught by Allah, in all its purity and perfection, to Adam and consigned to certain inspired volumes now lost; and that this primal Holy Writ received additions in the days of his descendants Shís (Seth) and Idris (Enoch?), the founder of the Sabian (not "Sabæan") faith. Here, therefore, Al-Islam at once avoided the deplorable assumption of the Hebrews and the Christians,--an error which has been so injurious to their science and their progress,--of placing their "firstman" in circa B. C. 4000 or somewhat subsequent to the building of the Pyramids: the Pre-Adamite [FN#316] races and dynasties of the Moslems remove a great stumbling-block and square with the anthropological views of the present day. In process of time, when the Adamite religion demanded a restoration and a supplement, its pristine virtue was revived, restored and further developed by the books communicated to Abraham, whose dispensation thus takes the place of the Hebrew Noah and his Noachidæ. In due time the Torah, or Pentateuch, superseded and abrogated the Abrahamic dispensation; the "Zabúr" of David (a book not confined to the Psalms) reformed the Torah; the Injíl or Evangel reformed the Zabur and was itself purified, quickened and perfected by the Koran which means {Greek letters} the Reading or the Recital. Hence Locke, with many others, held Moslems to be unorthodox, that is, anti-Trinitarian Christians who believe in the Immaculate Conception, in the Ascension and in the divine mission of Jesus; and when Priestley affirmed that "Jesus was sent from God," all Moslems do the same. Thus they are, in the main point of doctrine connected with the Deity, simply Arians as opposed to Athanasians. History proves that the former was the earlier faith which, though formally condemned in A. D. 325 by Constantine's Council of Nice,  [FN#317] overspread the Orient beginning with Eastern Europe, where Ulphilas converted the Goths; which extended into Africa with the Vandals, claimed a victim or martyr as late as in the sixteenth century  [FN#318] and has by no means died out in this our day.

The Talmud had been completed a full century before Mohammed's time and the Evangel had been translated into Arabic; moreover travel and converse with his Jewish and Christian friends and companions must have convinced the Meccan Apostle that Christianity was calling as loudly for reform as Judaism had done.  [FN#319] An exaggerated Trinitarianism or rather Tritheism, a "Fourth Person" and Saint-worship had virtually dethroned the Deity; whilst Mariolatry had made the faith a religio muliebris, and superstition had drawn from its horrid fecundity an incredible number of heresies and monstrous absurdities. Even ecclesiastic writers draw the gloomiest pictures of the Christian Church in the fourth and seventh centuries, and one declares that the "Kingdom of Heaven had become a Hell." Egypt, distracted by the blood- thirsty religious wars of Copt and Greek, had been covered with hermitages by a yens aeterna of semi-maniacal superstition. Syria, ever "feracious of heresies," had allowed many of her finest tracts to be monopolised by monkeries and nunneries. [FN#320] After many a tentative measure Mohammed seems to have built his edifice upon two bases, the unity of the Godhead and the priesthood of the pater-familias. He abolished for ever the "sacerdos alter Christus" whose existence, as some one acutely said, is the best proof of Christianity, and whom all know to be its weakest point. The Moslem family, however humble, was to be the model in miniature of the State, and every father in Al-Islam was made priest and pontiff in his own house, able unaided to marry himself, to circumcise (to baptise as it were) his children, to instruct them in the law and canonically to bury himself (vol. viii. 22). Ritual, properly so called, there was none; congregational prayers were merely those of the individual en masse, and the only admitted approach to a sacerdotal order were the Olema or scholars learned in the legistic and the Mullah or schoolmaster. By thus abolishing the priesthood Mohammed reconciled ancient with modern wisdom. "Scito dominum," said Cato, "pro totâ familiâ rem divinam facere": "No priest at a birth, no priest at a marriage, no priest at a death," is the aspiration of the present Rationalistic School.

The Meccan Apostle wisely retained the compulsory sacrament of circumcision and the ceremonial ablutions of the Mosaic law; and the five daily prayers not only diverted man's thoughts from the world but tended to keep his body pure. These two institutions had been practiced throughout life by the Founder of Christianity; but the followers who had never seen him, abolished them for purposes evidently political and propagandist. By ignoring the truth that cleanliness is next to godliness they paved the way for such saints as Simon Stylites and Sabba who, like the lowest Hindu orders of ascetics, made filth a concominant and an evidence of piety: even now English Catholic girls are at times forbidden by Italian priests a frequent use of the bath as a sign post to the sin of "luxury." Mohammed would have accepted the morals contained in the Sermon on the Mount much more readily than did the Jews from whom its matter was borrowed. [FN#321] He did something to abolish the use of wine, which in the East means only its abuse; and he denounced games of chance, well knowing that the excitable races of sub-tropical climates cannot play with patience, fairness or moderation. He set aside certain sums for charity to be paid by every Believer and he was the first to establish a poor-rate (Zakát): thus he avoided the shame and scandal of mendicancy which, beginning in the Catholic countries of Southern Europe, extends to Syria and as far East as Christianity is found. By these and other measures of the same import he made the ideal Moslem's life physically clean, moderate and temperace.

But Mohammed, the "master mind of the age," had, we must own, a "genuine prophetic power, a sinking of self in the Divine not distinguishable in kind from the inspiration of the Hebrew prophets," especially in that puritanical and pharisaic narrowness which, with characteristic simplicity, can see no good outside its own petty pale. He had insight as well as outsight, and the two taught him that personal and external reformation were mean matters compared with elevating the inner man. In the "purer Faith," which he was commissioned to abrogate and to quicken, he found two vital defects equally fatal to its energy and to its longevity. These were (and are) its egoism and its degradation of humanity. Thus it cannot be a "pleroma": it needs a Higher Law. [FN#322] As Judaism promised the good Jew all manner of temporal blessings, issue, riches, wealth, honour, power, length of days, so Christianity offered the good Christian, as a bribe to lead a godly life, personal salvation and a future state of happiness, in fact the Kingdom of Heaven, with an alternative threat of Hell. It never rose to the height of the Hindu Brahmans and Lao-Tse (the "Ancient Teacher"); of Zeno the Stoic and his disciples the noble Pharisees [FN#323] who believed and preached that Virtue is its own reward. It never dared to say, "Do good for Good's sake;" [FN#324] even now it does not declare with Cicero, "The sum of all is that what is right should be sought for its own sake, because it is right, and not because it is enacted." It does not even now venture to say with Philo Judæus, "The good man seeks the day for the sake of the day, and the light for the light's sake; and he labours to acquire what is good for the sake of the good itself, and not of anything else." So far for the egotism, naive and unconscious, of Christianity, whose burden is, "Do good to escape Hell and gain Heaven."

A no less defect in the "School of Galilee" is its low view of human nature. Adopting as sober and authentic history an Osirian-Hebrew myth which Philo and a host of Rabbis explain away, each after his own fashion, Christianity dwells, lovingly as it were, upon the "Fall" of man [FN#325] and seems to revel in the contemptible condition to which "original sin" condemned him; thus grovelling before God ad majorem Dei gloriam. To such a point was and is this carried that the Synod of Dort declared, Infantes infidelium morientes in infantiâ reprobatos esse statui mus; nay, many of the orthodox still hold a Christian babe dying unbaptised to be unfit for a higher existence, and some have even created a "limbo" expressly to domicile the innocents "of whom is the kingdom of Heaven." Here, if any where, the cloven foot shows itself and teaches us that the only solid stratum underlying priestcraft is one composed of £ s. d.

And I never can now believe it, my Lord! (Bishop) we come to this earth Ready damned, with the seeds of evil sown quite so thick at our birth, sings Edwin Arnold. [FN#326] We ask, can infatuation or hypocrisy--for it must be the one or the other--go farther? But the Adamical myth is opposed to all our modern studies. The deeper we dig into the Earth's "crust," the lower are the specimens of human remains which occur; and hitherto not a single "find" has come to revive the faded glories of

         Adam the goodliest man of men since born (!)
         His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.

Thus Christianity, admitting, like Judaism, its own saints and santons, utterly ignores the progress of humanity, perhaps the only belief in which the wise man can take unmingled satisfaction. Both have proposed an originally perfect being with hyacinthine locks, from whose type all the subsequent humans are degradations physical and moral. We on the other hand hold, from the evidence of our senses, that early man was a savage very little superior to the brute; that during man's millions of years upon earth there has been a gradual advance towards perfection, at times irregular and even retrograde, but in the main progressive; and that a comparison of man in the xixth century with the caveman [FN#327] affords us the means of measuring past progress and of calculating the future of humanity.

Mahommed was far from rising to the moral heights of the ancient sages: he did nothing to abate the egotism of Christianity; he even exaggerated the pleasures of its Heaven and the horrors of its Hell. On the other hand he did much to exalt human nature. He passed over the "Fall" with a light hand; he made man superior to the angels; he encouraged his fellow creatures to be great and good by dwelling upon their nobler not their meaner side; he acknowledged, even in this world, the perfectability of mankind, including womankind, and in proposing the loftiest ideal he acted unconsciously upon the grand dictum of chivalry--Honneur oblige. [FN#328] His prophets were mostly faultless men; and, if the "Pure of Allah" sinned, he "sinned against himself." Lastly, he made Allah predetermine the career and fortunes, not only of empires, but of every created being; thus inculcating sympathy and tolerance of others, which is true humanity, and a proud resignation to evil as to good fortune. This is the doctrine which teaches the vulgar Moslem a dignity observed even by the "blind traveller," and which enables him to display a moderation, a fortitude, and a self-command rare enough amongst the followers of the "purer creed."

Christian historians explain variously the portentous rise of Al-Islam and its marvellous spread over vast regions, not only of pagans and idolators but of Christians. Prideaux disingenuously suggests that it "seems to have been purposely raised up by God, to be a scourge to the Christian Church for not living in accordance with their most holy religion." The popular excuse is by the free use of the sword; this, however, is mere ignorance: in Mohammed's day and early Al-Islam only actual fighters were slain: [FN#329] the rest were allowed to pay the Jizyah, or capitation-tax, and to become tributaries, enjoying almost all the privileges of Moslems. But even had forcible conversion been most systematically practiced, it would have afforded an insufficient explanation of the phenomenal rise of an empire which covered more ground in eighty years than Rome had gained in eight hundred. During so short a time the grand revival of Monotheism had consolidated into a mighty nation, despite their eternal blood-feuds, the scattered Arab tribes; a six-years' campaign had conquered Syria, and a lustre or two utterly overthrew Persia, humbled the Græco-Roman, subdued Egypt and extended the Faith along northern Africa as far as the Atlantic. Within three generations the Copts of Nile-land had formally cast out Christianity, and the same was the case with Syria, the cradle of the Nazarene, and Mesopotamia, one of his strongholds, although both were backed by all the remaining power of the Byzantine empire. Northwestern Africa, which had rejected the idolatro-philosophic system of pagan and imperial Rome, and had accepted, after lukewarm fashion, the Arian Christianity imported by the Vandals, and the "Nicene mystery of the Trinity," hailed with enthusiasm the doctrines of the Koran and has never ceased to be most zealous in its Islam. And while Mohammedanism speedily reduced the limits of Christendom by one-third, while through-out the Arabian, Saracenic and Turkish invasions whole Christian peoples embraced the monotheistic faith, there are hardly any instances of defection from the new creed and, with the exception of Spain and Sicily, it has never been suppressed in any land where once it took root. Even now, when Mohammedanism no longer wields the sword, it is spreading over wide regions in China, in the Indian Archipelago, and especially in Western and Central Africa, propagated only by self-educated individuals, trading travellers, while Christianity makes no progress and cannot exist on the Dark Continent without strong support from Government. Nor can we explain this honourable reception by the "licentiousness" ignorantly attributed to Al-Islam, one of the most severely moral of institutions; or by the allurements of polygamy and concubinage, slavery, [FN#330] and a "wholly sensual Paradise" devoted to eating, drinking [FN#331] and the pleasures of the sixth sense. The true and simple explanation is that this grand Reformation of Christianity was urgently wanted when it appeared, that it suited the people better than the creed which it superseded and that it has not ceased to be sufficient for their requirements, social, sexual and vital. As the practical Orientalist, Dr. Leitner, well observes from his own experience, "The Mohammedan religion can adapt itself better than any other and has adapted itself to circumstances and to the needs of the various races which profess it, in accordance with the spirit of the age." [FN#332] Hence, I add, its wide diffusion and its impregnable position. "The dead hand, stiff and motionless," is a forcible simile for the present condition of Al-Islam; but it results from limited and imperfect observation and it fails in the sine quâ non of similes and metaphors, a foundation of fact.

I cannot quit this subject without a passing reference to an admirably written passage in Mr. Palgrave's travels [FN#333] which is essentially unfair to Al-Islam. The author has had ample opportunities of comparing creeds: of Jewish blood and born a Protestant, he became a Catholic and a Jesuit (Père Michel Cohen) [FN#334] in a Syrian convent; he crossed Arabia as a good Moslem and he finally returned to his premier amour, Anglicanism. But his picturesque depreciation of Mohammedanism, which has found due appreciation in more than one popular volume,  [FN#335] is a notable specimen of special pleading, of the ad captandum in its modern and least honest form. The writer begins by assuming the arid and barren Wahhabi-ism, which he had personally studied, as a fair expression of the Saving Faith. What should we say to a Moslem traveller who would make the Calvinism of the sourest Covenanter, model, genuine and ancient Christianity? What would sensible Moslems say to these propositions of Professor Maccovius and the Synod of Dort:--Good works are an obstacle to salvation. God does by no means will the salvation of all men: he does will sin and he destines men to sin, as sin? What would they think of the Inadmissible Grace, the Perseverance of the Elect, the Supralapsarian and the Sublapsarian and, finally, of a Deity the author of man's existence, temptation and fall, who deliberately pre-ordains sin and ruin? "Father Cohen" carries out into the regions of the extreme his strictures on the one grand vitalising idea of Al-Islam, "There is no god but God;" [FN#336] and his deduction concerning the Pantheism of Force sounds unreal and unsound, compared with the sensible remarks upon the same subject by Dr. Badgers [FN#337] who sees the abstruseness of the doctrine and does not care to include it in hard and fast lines or to subject it to mere logical analysis. Upon the subject of "predestination" Mr. Palgrave quotes, not from the Koran, but from the Ahádís or Traditional Sayings of the Apostle; but what importance attaches to a legend in the Mischnah, or Oral Law, of the Hebrews utterly ignored by the Written Law? He joins the many in complaining that even the mention of "the love of God" is absent from Mohammed's theology, burking the fact that it never occurs in the Jewish scriptures and that the genius of Arabic, like Hebrew, does not admit the expression: worse still, he keeps from his reader such Koranic passages as, to quote no other, "Allah loveth you and will forgive your sins" (iii. 29). He pities Allah for having "no son, companion or counsellor" and, of course, he must equally commiserate Jehovah. Finally his views of the lifelessness of Al-Islam are directly opposed to the opinions of Dr. Leitner and the experience of all who have lived in Moslem lands. Such are the ingenious but not ingenuous distortions of fact, the fine instances of the pathetic fallacy, and the noteworthy illustrations of the falsehood of extremes, which have engendered "Mohammedanism a Relapse: the worst form of Monotheism," [FN#338] and which have been eagerly seized upon and further deformed by the authors of popular books, that is, volumes written by those who know little for those who know less.

In Al-Rashid's day a mighty change had passed over the primitive simplicity of Al-Islam, the change to which faiths and creeds, like races and empires and all things sublunary, are subject. The proximity of Persia and the close intercourse with the Græco-Romans had polished and greatly modified the physiognomy of the rugged old belief: all manner of metaphysical subtleties had cropped up, with the usual disintegrating effect, and some of these threatened even the unity of the Godhead. Musaylimah and Karmat had left traces of their handiwork: the Mutazilites (separatists or secessors) actively propagated their doctrine of a created and temporal Koran. The Khárijí or Ibázi, who rejects and reviles Abú Turáb (Caliph Ali), contended passionately with the Shí'ah who reviles and rejects the other three "Successors;" and these sectarians, favoured by the learned, and by the Abbasides in their jealous hatred of the Ommiades, went to the extreme length of the Ali-Iláhi--the God-makers of Ali--whilst the Dahrí and the Zindík, the Mundanist and the Agnoetic, proposed to sweep away the whole edifice. The neo-Platonism and Gnosticism which had not essentially affected Christendom, [FN#339] found in Al-Islam a rich fallow and gained strength and luxuriance by the solid materialism and conservatism of its basis. Such were a few of the distracting and resolving influences which Time had brought to bear upon the True Believer and which, after some half a dozen generations, had separated the several schisms by a wider breach than that which yawns between Orthodox, Romanist and Lutheran. Nor was this scandal in Al-Islam abated until the Tartar sword applied to it the sharpest remedy.





 B.--Woman.



The next point I propose to consider is the position of womanhood in The Nights, so curiously at variance with the stock ideas concerning the Moslem home and domestic policy still prevalent, not only in England, but throughout Europe. Many readers of these volumes have remarked to me with much astonishment that they find the female characters more remarkable for decision, action and manliness than the male; and are wonderstruck by their masterful attitude and by the supreme influence they exercise upon public and private life.

I have glanced at the subject of the sex in Al-Islam to such an extent throughout my notes that little remains here to be added. Women, all the world over are what men make them; and the main charm of Amazonian fiction is to see how they live and move and have their being without any masculine guidance. But it is the old ever-new fable

         "Who drew the Lion vanquished? 'Twas a man!''

The books of the Ancients, written in that stage of civilisation when the sexes are at civil war, make women even more than in real life the creatures of their masters: hence from the dawn of literature to the present day the sex has been the subject of disappointed abuse and eulogy almost as unmerited. Ecclesiastes, perhaps the strangest specimen of an "inspired volume" the world has yet produced, boldly declares "One (upright) man among a thousand I have found; but a woman among all have I not found" (vol. vii. 28), thus confirming the pessimism of Petronius:--
         Femina nulla bona est, et si bona contigit ulla
         Nescio quo fato res male facta bona est.

In the Psalms again (xxx. 15) we have the old sneer at the three insatiables, Hell, Earth and the Parts feminine (os vulvæ); and Rabbinical learning has embroidered these and other texts, producing a truly hideous caricature. A Hadis attributed to Mohammed runs, "They (women) lack wits and faith. When Eve was created Satan rejoiced saying:--Thou art half of my host, the trustee of my secret and my shaft wherewith I shoot and miss not!" Another tells us, "I stood at the gate of Heaven, and lo! most of its inmates were poor, and I stood at the gate of Hell, and lo! most of its inmates were women.'' [FN#340] "Take care of the glass-phials!" cried the Prophet to a camel-guide singing with a sweet voice. Yet the Meccan Apostle made, as has been seen, his own household produce two perfections. The blatant popular voice follows with such "dictes" as, "Women are made of nectar and poison"; "Women have long hair and short wits" and so forth. Nor are the Hindus behindhand. Woman has fickleness implanted in her by Nature like the flashings of lightning (Kathá s.s. i. 147); she is valueless as a straw to the heroic mind (169); she is hard as adamant in sin and soft as flour in fear (170) and, like the fly, she quits camphor to settle on compost (ii. I7). "What dependence is there in the crowing of a hen?" (women's opinions) says the Hindi proverb; also "A virgin with grey hairs!" (i.e. a monster) and, "Wherever wendeth a fairy face a devil wendeth with her." The same superficial view of holding woman to be lesser (and very inferior) man is taken generally by the classics; and Euripides distinguished himself by misogyny, although he drew the beautiful character of Alcestis. Simonides, more merciful than Ecclesiastes, after naming his swine-women, dog-women, cat-women, etc., ends the decade with the admirable bee-woman, thus making ten per cent. honest. In mediæval or Germanic Europe the doctrine of the Virgin mother gave the sex a status unknown to the Ancients except in Egypt, where Isis was the help-mate and completion of Osiris, in modern parlance "The Woman clothed with the Sun." The kindly and courtly Palmerin of England, in whose pages "gentlemen may find their choice of sweet inventions and gentlewomen be satisfied with courtly expectations," suddenly blurts out, "But in truth women are never satisfied by reason, being governed by accident or appetite" (chaps. xlix).

The Nights, as might be expected from the emotional East, exaggerate these views. Women are mostly "Sectaries of the god Wünsch"; beings of impulse, blown about by every gust of passion; stable only in instability; constant only in inconstancy. The false ascetic, the perfidious and murderous crone and the old hag-procuress who pimps like Umm Kulsum, [FN#341] for mere pleasure, in the luxury of sin, are drawn with an experienced and loving hand. Yet not the less do we meet with examples of the dutiful daughter, the model lover matronly in her affection, the devoted wife, the perfect mother, the saintly devotee, the learned preacher, Univira the chaste widow and the self-sacrificing heroic woman. If we find (vol. iii. 216) the sex described as:--

         An offal cast by kites where'er they list,

and the studied insults of vol. iii. 318, we also come upon an admirable sketch of conjugal happiness (vol. vii. ? 43); and, to mention no other, Shahryar's attestation to Shahrazad's excellence in the last charming pages of The Nights. [FN#342] It is the same with the Kathá whose praise and dispraise are equally enthusiastic; e.g., "Women of good family are guarded by their virtue, the sole efficient chamberlain; but the Lord himself can hardly guard the unchaste. Who can stem a furious stream and a frantic woman?" (i. 328). "Excessive love in woman is your only hero for daring" (i. 339). "Thus fair ones, naturally feeble, bring about a series of evil actions which engender discernment and aversion to the world; but here and there you will find a virtuous woman who adorneth a glorious house as the streak of the moon arrayeth the breadth of the Heavens" (i. 346). "So you see, King, honourable matrons are devoted to their husbands and 'tis not the case that women are always bad" (ii. 624). And there is true wisdom in that even balance of feminine qualities advocated by our Hindu-Hindi class-book the Toti-námeh or Parrot volume. The perfect woman has seven requisites. She must not always be merry (1) nor sad (2); she must not always be talking (3) nor silently musing (4); she must not always be adorning herself (5) nor neglecting her person (6); and, (7) at all times she must be moderate and self possessed.

The legal status of womankind in Al-Islam is exceptionally high, a fact of which Europe has often been assured, although the truth has not even yet penetrated into the popular brain. Nearly a century ago one Mirza Abú Tálib Khán, an Amildár or revenue collector, after living two years in London, wrote an "apology" for, or rather a vindication of, his countrywomen which is still worth reading and quoting. [FN#343] Nations are but superficial judges of one another: where customs differ they often remark only the salient distinctive points which, when examined, prove to be of minor importance. Europeans seeing and hearing that women in the East are "cloistered" as the Grecian matron was wont {Greek letters} and {Greek letters}; that wives may not walk out with their husbands and cannot accompany them to "balls and parties"; moreover, that they are always liable, like the ancient Hebrew, to the mortification of the "sister-wife," have most ignorantly determined that they are mere serviles and that their lives are not worth living. Indeed, a learned lady, Miss Martineau, once visiting a Harem went into ecstasies of pity and sorrow because the poor things knew nothing of--say trigonometry and the use of the globes. Sonnini thought otherwise, and my experience, like that of all old dwellers in the East, is directly opposed to this conclusion.

I have noted (Night cmlxii.) that Mohammed, in the fifth year of his reign, [FN#344] after his ill-advised and scandalous marriage [FN#345] with his foster-daughter Zaynab, established the Hijáb or veiling of women. It was probably an exaggeration of local usage: a modified separation of the sexes, which extended and still extends even to the Badawi, must long have been customary in Arabian cities, and its object was to deliver the sexes from temptation, as the Koran says (xxxii. 32), "purer will this (practice) be for your hearts and their hearts." [FN#346] The women, who delight in restrictions which tend to their honour, accepted it willingly and still affect it, they do not desire a liberty or rather a licence which they have learned to regard as inconsistent with their time-honoured notions of feminine decorum and delicacy, and they would think very meanly of a husband who permitted them to be exposed, like hetairæ, to the public gaze. [FN#347] As Zubayr Pasha, exiled to Gibraltar for another's treason, said to my friend, Colonel Buckle, after visiting quarters evidently laid out by a jealous husband, "We Arabs think that when a man has a precious jewel, 'tis wiser to lock it up in a box than to leave it about for anyone to take." The Eastern adopts the instinctive, the Western prefers the rational method. The former jealously guards his treasure, surrounds it with all precautions, fends off from it all risks and if the treasure go astray, kills it. The latter, after placing it en evidence upon an eminence in ball dress with back and bosom bared to the gaze of society, a bundle of charms exposed to every possible seduction, allows it to take its own way, and if it be misled, he kills or tries to kill the misleader. It is a fiery trial and the few who safely pass through it may claim a higher standpoint in the moral world than those who have never been sorely tried. But the crucial question is whether Christian Europe has done wisely in offering such temptations.

The second and main objection to Moslem custom is the marriage-system which begins with a girl being wedded to a man whom she knows only by hearsay. This was the habit of our forbears not many generations ago, and it still prevails amongst noble houses in Southern Europe, where a lengthened study of it leaves me doubtful whether the "love-marriage," as it is called, or wedlock with an utter stranger, evidently the two extremes, is likely to prove the happier. The "sister-wife" is or would be a sore trial to monogamic races like those of Northern Europe where Caia, all but the equal of Caius in most points mental and physical and superior in some, not unfrequently proves herself the "man of the family," the "only man in the boat." But in the East, where the sex is far more delicate, where a girl is brought up in polygamy, where religious reasons separate her from her husband, during pregnancy and lactation, for three successive years; and where often enough like the Mormon damsel she would hesitate to "nigger it with a one-wife-man," the case assumes a very different aspect and the load, if burden it be, falls comparatively light. Lastly, the "patriarchal household" is mostly confined to the grandee and the richard, whilst Holy Law and public opinion, neither of which can openly be disregarded, assign command of the household to the equal or first wife and jealously guard the rights and privileges of the others.

Mirza Abu Talib "the Persian Prince" [FN#348] offers six reasons why "the liberty of the Asiatic women appears less than that of the Europeans," ending with,

         I'll fondly place on either eye
         The man that can to this reply.

He then lays down eight points in which the Moslem wife has greatly the advantage over her Christian sisterhood; and we may take his first as a specimen. Custom, not contrary to law, invests the Mohammedan mother with despotic government of the homestead, slaves, servants and children, especially the latter: she alone directs their early education, their choice of faith, their marriage and their establishment in life; and in case of divorce she takes the daughters, the sons going to the sire. She has also liberty to leave her home, not only for one or two nights, but for a week or a fortnight, without consulting her husband; and whilst she visits a strange household, the master and all males above fifteen are forbidden the Harem. But the main point in favour of the Moslem wife is her being a "legal sharer": inheritance is secured to her by Koranic law; she must be dowered by the bridegroom to legalise marriage and all she gains is secured to her; whereas in England a "Married Woman's Property Act" was completed only in 1882 after many centuries of the grossest abuses.

Lastly, Moslems and Easterns in general study and intelligently study the art and mystery of satisfying the physical woman. In my Foreword I have noticed among barbarians the system of "making men," [FN#349] that is, of teaching lads first arrived at puberty the nice conduct of the instrumentum paratum plantandis avibus: a branch of the knowledge-tree which our modern education grossly neglects, thereby entailing untold miseries upon individuals, families and generations. The mock virtue, the most immodest modesty of England and of the United States in the xixth century, pronounces the subject foul and fulsome:"Society" sickens at all details; and hence it is said abroad that the English have the finest women in Europe and least know how to use them. Throughout the East such studies are aided by a long series of volumes, many of them written by learned physiologists, by men of social standing and by religious dignitaries high in office. The Egyptians especially delight in aphrodisiac literature treating, as the Turks say, de la partie au-dessous de la taille; and from fifteen hundred to two thousand copies of a new work, usually lithographed in cheap form, readily sell off. The pudibund Lane makes allusion to and quotes (A. N. i. 216) one of the most out spoken, a 4to of 464 pages, called the Halbat al-Kumayt or "Race-Course of the Bay Horse," a poetical and horsey term for grape-wine. Attributed by D'Herbelot to the Kazi Shams al-Din Mohammed, it is wholly upon the subject of wassail and women till the last few pages, when his reverence exclaims:--"This much, O reader, I have recounted, the better thou mayst know what to avoid;" and so forth, ending with condemning all he had praised. [FN#350] Even the divine and historian Jalál al-Dín al-Siyuti is credited with having written, though the authorship is much disputed, a work entitled, "Kitáb al-Ízáh fi 'ilm al-Nikáh" =The Book of Exposition in the Science of Coition: my copy, a lithograph of 33 pages, undated, but evidently Cairene, begins with exclaiming "Alhamdolillah--Laud to the Lord who adorned the virginal bosom with breasts and who made the thighs of women anvils for the spear handles of men!" To the same amiable theologian are also ascribed the "Kitáb Nawázir al-Ayk fi al-Nayk" = Green Splendours of the Copse in Copulation, an abstract of the "Kitáb al-Wisháh fí fawáid al-Nikáh" = Book of the Zone on Coition-boon. Of the abundance of pornographic literature we may judge from a list of the following seven works given in the second page of the "Kitáb Rujú'a al-Shaykh ila Sabáh fi 'l-Kuwwat al-Báh [FN#351]" = Book of Age-rejuvenescence in the power of Concupiscence: it is the work of Ahmad bin Sulayman, surnamed Ibn Kamál Pasha.

1.   Kitáb al-Báh by Al-Nahli.

2.   Kitáb al'-Ars wa al'-Aráis (Book of the Bridal and the Brides) by Al-Jáhiz.

3.   Kitáb al-Kiyán (Maiden's Book) by Ibn Hájib al-Nu'mán.

4.   Kitáb al-Ízáh fí asrár al-Nikáh (Book of the Exposition on the Mysteries of married Fruition).

5.   Kitáb Jámi' al-Lizzah (The Compendium of Pleasure) by Ibn Samsamáni.

6.   Kitáb Barján (Yarján?) wa Janáhib (? ?) [FN#352]

7.   Kitáb al-Munákahah wa al-Mufátahah fí Asnáf al-Jimá' wa Álátih (Book of Carnal Copulation and the Initiation into the modes of Coition and its Instrumentation) by Aziz al-Din al-Masíhí. [FN#353]

To these I may add the Lizzat al-Nisá (Pleasures of Women), a text-book in Arabic, Persian and Hindostani: it is a translation and a very poor attempt, omitting much from, and adding naught to, the famous Sanskrit work Ananga-Ranga (Stage of the Bodiless One i.e. Cupido) or Hindu Art of Love (Ars Amoris Indica). [FN#354] I have copies of it in Sanskrit and Maráthi,Guzrati and Hindostani: the latter is an unpaged 8vo of pp. 66, including eight pages of most grotesque illustrations showing the various Asan (the Figuræ Veneris or positions of copulation), which seem to be the triumphs of contortionists. These pamphlets lithographed in Bombay are broad cast over the land. [FN#355]

It must not be supposed that such literature is purely and simply aphrodisiacal. The learned Sprenger, a physician as well as an Arabist, says (Al-Mas'údi p. 384) of a tractate by the celebrated Rhazes in the Leyden Library, "The number of curious observations, the correct and practical ideas and the novelty of the notions of Eastern nations on these subjects, which are contained in this book, render it one of the most important productions of the medical literature of the Arabs." I can conscientiously recommend to the Anthropologist a study of the "Kutub al-Báh."





 C.--Pornography.



Here it will be advisable to supplement what was said in my Foreword (p. xiii.) concerning the turpiloquium of The Nights. Readers who have perused the ten volumes will probably agree with me that the naïve indecencies of the text are rather gaudis-serie than prurience; and, when delivered with mirth and humour, they are rather the "excrements of wit" than designed for debauching the mind. Crude and indelicate with infantile plainness; even gross and, at times, "nasty" in their terrible frankness, they cannot be accused of corrupting suggestiveness or subtle insinuation of vicious sentiment. Theirs is a coarseness of language, not of idea; they are indecent, not depraved; and the pure and perfect naturalness of their nudity seems almost to purify it, showing that the matter is rather of manners than of morals. Such throughout the East is the language of every man, woman and child, from prince to peasant, from matron to prostitute: all are as the naïve French traveller said of the Japanese: "si grossiers qu'ils ne sçavent nommer les choses que par leur nom." This primitive stage of language sufficed to draw from Lane and Burckhardt strictures upon the "most immodest freedom of conversation in Egypt," where, as all the world over, there are three several stages for names of things and acts sensual. First we have the mot cru, the popular term, soon followed by the technical and scientific, and, lastly, the literary or figurative nomenclature, which is often much more immoral because more attractive, suggestive and seductive than the "raw word." And let me observe that the highest civilisation is now returning to the language of nature. In La Glu of M. J. Richepin, a triumph of the realistic school, we find such "archaic" expressions as la petée, putain, foutue à la six-quatre-dix; un facétieuse pétarade; tu t'es foutue de, etc. Eh vilain bougre! and so forth. [FN#356] To those critics who complain of these raw vulgarisms and puerile indecencies in The Nights I can reply only by quoting the words said to have been said by Dr. Johnson to the lady who complained of the naughty words in his dictionary--"You must have been looking for them, Madam!"

But I repeat (p. xiv.) there is another element in The Nights and that is one of absolute obscenity utterly repugnant to English readers, even the least prudish. It is chiefly connected with what our neighbours call le vice contre nature--as if anything can be contrary to nature which includes all things. [FN#357] Upon this subject I must offer details, as it does not enter into my plan to ignore any theme which is interesting to the Orientalist and the Anthropologist. And they, methinks, do abundant harm who, for shame or disgust, would suppress the very mention of such matters: in order to combat a great and growing evil deadly to the birth-rate--the mainstay of national prosperity--the first requisite is careful study. As Albert Bollstoedt, Bishop of Ratisbon, rightly says.--Quia malum non evitatum nisi cognitum, ideo necesse est cognoscere immundiciem coitus et multa alla quæ docentur in isto libro. Equally true are Professor Mantegazza's words: [FN#358] Cacher les plates du coeur humain au nom de la pudeur, ce n'est au contraire qu'hypocrisie ou peur. The late Mr. Grote had reason to lament that when describing such institutions as the far-famed {Greek letters} of Thebes, the Sacred Band annihilated at Chaeroneia, he was compelled to a reticence which permitted him to touch only the surface of the subject. This was inevitable under the present rule of Cant [FN#359] in a book intended for the public: but the same does not apply to my version of The Nights, and now I proceed to discuss the matter sérieusement, honnetement, historiquement; to show it in decent nudity not in suggestive fig-leaf or feuille de vigne.





 D.--Pederasty.



The "execrabilis familia pathicorum" first came before me by a chance of earlier life. In 1845, when Sir Charles Napier had conquered and annexed Sind, despite a fraction (mostly venal) which sought favour with the now defunct "Court of Directors to the Honourable East India Company," the veteran began to consider his conquest with a curious eye. It was reported to him that Karáchi, a townlet of some two thousand souls and distant not more than a mile from camp, supported no less than three lupanars or borders, in which not women but boys and eunuchs, the former demanding nearly a double price, [FN#360] lay for hire. Being then the only British officer who could speak Sindi, I was asked indirectly to make enquiries and to report upon the subject; and I undertook the task on express condition that my report should not be forwarded to the Bombay Government, from whom supporters of the Conqueror's policy could expect scant favour, mercy or justice. Accompanied by a Munshi, Mirza Mohammed Hosayn of Shiraz, and habited as a merchant, Mirza Abdullah the Bushiri [FN#361] passed many an evening in the townlet, visited all the porneia and obtained the fullest details, which were duly despatched to Government House. But the "Devil's Brother" presently quitted Sind leaving in his office my unfortunate official: this found its way with sundry other reports [FN#362] to Bombay and produced the expected result. A friend in the Secretariat informed me that my summary dismissal from the service had been formally proposed by one of Sir Charles Napier's successors, whose decease compels me parcere sepulto. But this excess of outraged modesty was not allowed.

Subsequent enquiries in many and distant countries enabled me to arrive at the following conclusions:--

1.   There exists what I shall call a "Sotadic Zone," bounded westwards by the northern shores of the Mediterranean (N. Lat. 43º) and by the southern (N. Lat. 30º). Thus the depth would be 780 to 800 miles including meridional France, the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and Greece, with the coast-regions of Africa from Marocco to Egypt.

2.   Running eastward the Sotadic Zone narrows, embracing Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Chaldæa, Afghanistan, Sind, the Punjab and Kashmir.

3.   In Indo-China the belt begins to broaden, enfolding China, Japan and Turkistan.

4.   It then embraces the South Sea Islands and the New World where, at the time of its discovery, Sotadic love was, with some exceptions, an established racial institution.

5.   Within the Sotadic Zone the Vice is popular and endemic, held at the worst to be a mere peccadillo, whilst the races to the North and South of the limits here defined practice it only sporadically amid the opprobrium of their fellows who, as a rule, are physically incapable of performing the operation and look upon it with the liveliest disgust.

Before entering into topographical details concerning pederasty, which I hold to be geographical and climatic, not racial, I must offer a few considerations of its cause and origin. We must not forget that the love of boys has its noble, sentimental side. The Platonists and pupils of the Academy, followed by the Sufis or Moslem Gnostics, held such affection, pure as ardent, to be the beau idéal which united in man's soul the creature with the Creator. Professing to regard youths as the most cleanly and beautiful objects in this phenomenal world, they declared that by loving and extolling the chef-d'oeuvre, corporeal and intellectual, of the Demiurgus, disinterestedly and without any admixture of carnal sensuality, they are paying the most fervent adoration to the Causa causans. They add that such affection, passing as it does the love of women, is far less selfish than fondness for and admiration of the other sex which, however innocent, always suggest sexuality; [FN#363] and Easterns add that the devotion of the moth to the taper is purer and more fervent than the Bulbul's love for the Rose. Amongst the Greeks of the best ages the system of boy-favourites was advocated on considerations of morals and politics. The lover undertook the education of the beloved through precept and example, while the two were conjoined by a tie stricter than the fraternal. Hieronymus the Peripatetic strongly advocated it because the vigorous disposition of youths and the confidence engendered by their association often led to the overthrow of tyrannies. Socrates declared that "a most valiant army might be composed of boys and their lovers; for that of all men they would be most ashamed to desert one another." And even Virgil, despite the foul flavour of Formosum pastor Corydon, could write:--

         Nisus amore pio pueri.

The only physical cause for the practice which suggests itself to me and that must be owned to be purely conjectural, is that within the Sotadic Zone there is a blending of the masculine and feminine temperaments, a crasis which elsewhere occurs only sporadically. Hence the male féminisme whereby the man becomes patiens as well as agens, and the woman a tribade, a votary of mascula Sappho, [FN#364] Queen of Frictrices or Rubbers. [FN#365] Prof. Mantegazza claims to have discovered the cause of this pathological love, this perversion of the erotic sense, one of the marvellous list of amorous vagaries which deserve, not prosecution but the pitiful care of the physician and the study of the psychologist. According to him the nerves of the rectum and the genitalia, in all cases closely connected, are abnormally so in the pathic, who obtains, by intromission, the venereal orgasm which is usually sought through the sexual organs. So amongst women there are tribads who can procure no pleasure except by foreign objects introduced a posteriori. Hence his threefold distribution of sodomy; (1) Peripheric or anatomical, caused by an unusual distribution of the nerves and their hyperæsthesia; (2) Luxurious, when love a tergo is preferred on account of the narrowness of the passage; and (3) the Psychical. But this is evidently superficial: the question is what causes this neuropathy, this abnormal distribution and condition of the nerves. [FN#366]

As Prince Bismarck finds a moral difference between the male and female races of history, so I suspect a mixed physical temperament effected by the manifold subtle influences massed together in the word climate. Something of the kind is necessary to explain the fact of this pathological love extending over the greater portion of the habitable world, without any apparent connection of race or media, from the polished Greek to the cannibal Tupi of the Brazil. Walt Whitman speaks of the ashen grey faces of onanists: the faded colours, the puffy features and the unwholesome complexion of the professed pederast with his peculiar cachetic expression, indescribable but once seen never forgotten, stamp the breed, and Dr. G. Adolph is justified in declaring "Alle Gewohnneits-paederasten erkennen sich einander schnell, oft met einen Thick." This has nothing in common with the féminisme which betrays itself in the pathic by womanly gait, regard and gesture: it is a something sui generic; and the same may be said of the colour and look of the young priest who honestly refrains from women and their substitutes. Dr. Tardieu, in his well-known work, "Étude Medico-régale sur les Attentats aux Moeurs," and Dr. Adolph note a peculiar infundibuliform disposition of the "After" and a smoothness and want of folds even before any abuse has taken place, together with special forms of the male organs in confirmed pederasts. But these observations have been rejected by Caspar, Hoffman, Brouardel and Dr. J. H. Henry Coutagne (Notes sur la Sodomie, Lyon, 1880), and it is a medical question whose discussion would here be out of place.

The origin of pederasty is lost in the night of ages; but its historique has been carefully traced by many writers, especially Virey, [FN#367] Rosenbaum [FN#368] and M. H. E. Meier. [FN#369] The ancient Greeks who, like the modern Germans, invented nothing but were great improvers of what other races invented, attributed the formal apostolate of Sotadism to Orpheus, whose stigmata were worn by the Thracian women;

                                                      --Omnemque refugerat Orpheus
         Foemineam venerem;--
         Ille etiam Thracum populis fuit auctor, amorem
         In teneres transferre mares: citraque juventam
         Ætatis breve ver, et primos carpere flores.
                                                      Ovid Met. x. 79-85.

Euripides proposed Laïus father of Oedipus as the inaugurator, whereas Timæus declared that the fashion of making favourites of boys was introduced into Greece from Crete, for Malthusian reasons said Aristotle (Pol. ii. 10), attributing it to Minos. Herodotus, however, knew far better, having discovered (ii. c. 80) that the Orphic and Bacchic rites were originally Egyptian. But the Father of History was a traveller and an annalist rather than an archæologist and he tripped in the following passage (i. c. 135), "As soon as they (the Persians) hear of any luxury, they instantly make it their own, and hence, among other matters, they have learned from the Hellenes a passion for boys" ("unnatural lust," says modest Rawlinson). Plutarch (De Malig, Herod. xiii.) [FN#370] asserts with much more probability that the Persians used eunuch boys according to the Mos Græciæ, long before they had seen the Grecian main.

In the Holy Books of the Hellenes, Homer and Hesiod, dealing with the heroic ages, there is no trace of pederasty, although, in a long subsequent generation, Lucian suspected Achilles and Patroclus as he did Orestes and Pylades, Theseus and Pirithous. Homer's praises of beauty are reserved for the feminines, especially his favourite Helen. But the Dorians of Crete seem to have commended the abuse to Athens and Sparta and subsequently imported it into Tarentum, Agrigentum and other colonies. Ephorus in Strabo (x. 4 § 21) gives a curious account of the violent abduction of beloved boys (ðáñáóôáèÝíôïò) by the lover ({Greek letters}); of the obligations of the ravisher (öéëÞôùñ) to the favourite ({Greek letters}) [FN#371] and of the "marriage-ceremonies" which lasted two months. See also Plato, Laws i. c. 8. Servius (Ad Æneid. x. 325) informs us "De Cretensibus accepimus, quod in amore puerorum intemperantes fuerunt, quod postea in Lacones et in totam Græciam translatum est." The Cretans and afterwards their apt pupils the Chalcidians held it disreputable for a beautiful boy to lack a lover. Hence Zeus, the national Doric god of Crete, loved Ganymede; [FN#372] Apollo, another Dorian deity, loved Hyacinth, and Hercules, a Doric hero who grew to be a sun-god, loved Hylas and a host of others: thus Crete sanctified the practice by the examples of the gods and demigods. But when legislation came, the subject had qualified itself for legal limitation and as such was undertaken by Lycurgus and Solon, according to Xenophon (Lac. ii. 13), who draws a broad distinction between the honest love of boys and dishonest ({Greek letters}) lust. They both approved of pure pederastía, like that of Harmodius and Aristogiton; but forbade it with serviles because degrading to a free man. Hence the love of boys was spoken of like that of women (Plato: Phædrus; Repub. vi. c. I9 and Xenophon, Synop. iv. 10), e.g., "There was once a boy, or rather a youth, of exceeding beauty and he had very many lovers"--this is the language of Hafiz and Sa'adi. Æschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were allowed to introduce it upon the stage, for "many men were as fond of having boys for their favourites as women for their mistresses; and this was a frequent fashion in many well-regulated cities of Greece." Poets like Alcæus, Anacreon, Agathon and Pindar affected it and Theognis sang of a "beautiful boy in the flower of his youth." The statesmen Aristides and Themistocles quarrelled over Stesileus of Teos; and Pisistratus loved Charmus who first built an altar to Puerile Eros, while Charmus loved Hippias son of Pisistratus. Demosthenes the Orator took into keeping a youth called Cnosion greatly to the indignation of his wife. Xenophon loved Clinias and Autolycus; Aristotle, Hermeas, Theodectes [FN#373] and others; Empedocles, Pausanias; Epicurus, Pytocles; Aristippus, Eutichydes and Zeno with his Stoics had a philosophic disregard for women, affecting only pederastía. A man in Athenæus (iv. c. 40) left in his will that certain youths he had loved should fight like gladiators at his funeral; and Charicles in Lucian abuses Callicratidas for his love of "sterile pleasures." Lastly there was the notable affair of Alcibiades and Socrates, the "sanctus pæderasta" [FN#374] being violemment soupçonné when under the mantle:--non semper sine plagâ ab eo surrexit. Athenæus (v. c. I3) declares that Plato represents Socrates as absolutely intoxicated with his passion for Alcibiades. [FN#375] The Ancients seem to have held the connection impure, or Juvenal would not have written:--

         Inter Socraticos notissima fossa cinædos,


followed by Firmicus (vii. 14) who speaks of "Socratici pædicones." It is the modern fashion to doubt the pederasty of the master of Hellenic Sophrosyne, the "Christian before Christianity;" but such a world-wide term as Socratic love can hardly be explained by the lucus-a-non-lucendo theory. We are overapt to apply our nineteenth century prejudices and prepossessions to the morality of the ancient Greeks who would have specimen'd such squeamishness in Attic salt.

The Spartans, according to Agnon the Academic (confirmed by Plato, Plutarch and Cicero), treated boys and girls in the same way before marriage: hence Juvenal (xi. 173) uses ''Lacedæmonius" for a pathic and other writers apply it to a tribade. After the Peloponnesian War, which ended in B.C. 404, the use became merged in the abuse. Yet some purity must have survived, even amongst the Boeotians who produced the famous Narcissus, [FN#376] described by Ovid (Met. iii. 339);--

         Multi ilium juvenes, multæ cupiere puellæ;
         Nulli ilium juvenes, nullæ tetigere puellæ: [FN#377]

for Epaminondas, whose name is mentioned with three beloveds, established the Holy Regiment composed of mutual lovers, testifying the majesty of Eros and preferring to a discreditable life a glorious death. Philip's redactions on the fatal field of Chaeroneia form their fittest epitaph. At last the Athenians, according to Æschines, officially punished Sodomy with death; but the threat did not abolish bordels of boys, like those of Karáchi; the Porneia and Pornoboskeia, where slaves and pueri venales "stood," as the term was, near the Pnyx, the city walls and a certain tower, also about Lycabettus (Æsch. contra Tim.); and paid a fixed tax to the state. The pleasures of society in civilised Greece seem to have been sought chiefly in the heresies of love--Hetairesis [FN#378] and Sotadism.

It is calculated that the French of the sixteenth century had four hundred names for the parts genital and three hundred for their use in coition. The Greek vocabulary is not less copious, and some of its pederastic terms, of which Meier gives nearly a hundred, and its nomenclature of pathologic love are curious and picturesque enough to merit quotation.

To live the life of Abron (the Argive), i.e. that of a ðÜó÷ùí, pathic or passive lover.

The Agathonian song.

Aischrourgía = dishonest love, also called Akolasía, Akrasía, Arrenokoitía, etc.

Alcinoan youths, or "non conformists,"
         In cute curandâ plus æquo operate Juventus.

Alegomenos, the "unspeakable," as the pederast was termed by the Council of Ancyra: also the Agrios, Apolaustus and Akolastos.

Androgyne, of whom Ansonius wrote (Epig. lxviii. 15):--

         Ecce ego sum factus femina de puero.

Badas and badízein = clunes torquens: also Bátalos= a catamite.

Catapygos, Katapygosyne = puerarius and catadactylium from Dactylion, the ring, used in the sense of Nerissa's, but applied to the corollarium puerile.

Cinædus (Kínaidos), the active lover (ðïéþí) derived either from his kinetics or quasi {Greek letters} = dog modest. Also Spatalocinædus (lasciviâ fluens) = a fair Ganymede.

Chalcidissare (Khalkidizein), from Chalcis in Euboea, a city famed for love à posteriori; mostly applied to le léchement des testicules by children.

Clazomenae = the buttocks, also a sotadic disease, so called from the Ionian city devoted to Aversa Venus; also used of a pathic,

         --et tergo femina pube vir est.

Embasicoetas, prop. a link-boy at marriages, also a "night-cap" drunk before bed and lastly an effeminate; one who perambulavit omnium cubilia (Catullus). See Encolpius' pun upon the Embasicete in Satyricon, cap. iv.

Epipedesis, the carnal assault.

Geiton lit. "neighbour" the beloved of Encolpius, which has produced the Fr. Giton = Bardache, Ital. bardascia from the Arab. Baradaj, a captive, a slave; the augm. form is Polygeiton.

Hippias (tyranny of) when the patient (woman or boy) mounts the agent. Aristoph. Vesp. 502. So also Kelitizein = peccare superne or equum agitare supernum of Horace.

Mokhthería, depravity with boys.

Paidika, whence pædicare (act.) and pædicari (pass.): so in the Latin poet:--

         PEnelopes primam DIdonis prima sequatur,
         Et primam CAni, syllaba prima REmi.

Pathikos, Pathicus, a passive, like Malakos (malacus, mollis, facilis), Malchio, Trimalchio (Petronius), Malta, Maltha and in Hor. (Sat. ii. 25)
         Malthinus tunicis demissis ambulat.

Praxis = the malpractice.


Pygisma = buttockry, because most actives end within the nates, being too much excited for further intromission.

Phoenicissare ({Greek letters})= cunnilingere in tempore menstruum, quia hoc vitium in Phoenicia generate solebat (Thes. Erot. Ling. Latinæ); also irrumer en miel.

Phicidissare, denotat actum per canes commissum quando lambunt cunnos vel testiculos (Suetonius): also applied to pollution of childhood.

Samorium flores (Erasmus, Prov. xxiii ) alluding to the androgynic prostitutions of Samos.

Siphniassare ({Greek letters}, from Siphnos, hod. Sifanto Island) = digito podicem fodere ad pruriginem restinguendam, says Erasmus (see Mirabeau's Erotika Biblion, Anoscopie).

Thrypsis = the rubbing.

Pederastía had in Greece, I have shown, its noble and ideal side: Rome, however, borrowed her malpractices, like her religion and polity, from those ultra-material Etruscans and debauched with a brazen face. Even under the Republic Plautus (Casin. ii. 21) makes one of his characters exclaim, in the utmost sang-froid, "Ultro te, amator, apage te a dorso meo!" With increased luxury the evil grew and Livy notices (xxxix. 13), at the Bacchanalia, plura virorum inter sese quam foeminarum stupra. There were individual protests; for instance, S. Q. Fabius Maximus Servilianus (Consul U.C. 612) punished his son for dubia castitas; and a private soldier, C. Plotius, killed his military Tribune, Q. Luscius, for unchaste proposals. The Lex Scantinia (Scatinia?), popularly derived from Scantinius the Tribune and of doubtful date (B.C. 226?), attempted to abate the scandal by fine and the Lex Julia by death; but they were trifling obstacles to the flood of infamy which surged in with the Empire. No class seems then to have disdained these "sterile pleasures:" l'on n'attachoit point alors à cette espèce d'amour une note d'infamie, comme en païs de chrétienté, says Bayle under "Anacreon." The great Cæsar, the Cinaedus calvus of Catullus, was the husband of all the wives and the wife of all the husbands in Rome (Suetonius, cap. Iii.); and his soldiers sang in his praise, Gallias Cæsar, subegit, Nicomedes Cæsarem (Suet. cies. xlix.); whence his sobriquet "Fornix Birthynicus." Of Augustus the people chaunted

         Videsne ut Cinædus orbem digito temperet?

Tiberius, with his pisciculi and greges exoletorum, invented the Symplegma or nexus of Sellarii, agentes et patientes, in which the spinthriæ (lit. women's bracelets) were connected in a chain by the bond of flesh [FN#379] (Seneca Quaest. Nat.). Of this refinement which in the earlier part of the nineteenth century was renewed by sundry Englishmen at Naples, Ausonius wrote (Epig. cxix. I),
         Tres uno in lecto: stuprum duo perpetiuntur;

And Martial had said (xii. 43)


         Quo symplegmate quinque copulentur;
         Qua plures teneantur a catena; etc.

Ausonius recounts of Caligula he so lost patience that he forcibly entered the priest M. Lepidus, before the sacrifice was completed. The beautiful Nero was formally married to Pythagoras (or Doryphoros) and afterwards took to wife Sporus who was first subjected to castration of a peculiar fashion; he was then named Sabina after the deceased spouse and claimed queenly honours. The "Othonis et Trajani pathici" were famed; the great Hadrian openly loved Antinous,and the wild debaucheries of Heliogabalus seem only to have amused, instead of disgusting, the Romans.

Uranopolis allowed public lupanaria where adults and meritorii pueri, who began their career as early as seven years, stood for hire: the inmates of these cauponæ wore sleeved tunics and dalmatics like women. As in modern Egypt pathic boys, we learn from Catullus, haunted the public baths. Debauchées had signals like freemasons whereby they recognised one another. The Greek Skematízein was made by closing the hand to represent the scrotum and raising the middle finger as if to feel whether a hen had eggs, tâter si les poulettes ont l'oeuf: hence the Athenians called it Catapygon or sodomite and the Romans digitus impudicus or infamis, the "medical finger" [FN#380] of Rabelais and the Chiromantists. Another sign was to scratch the head with the minimus--digitulo caput scabere Juv. ix. 133). [FN#381] The prostitution of boys was first forbidden by Domitian; but Saint Paul, a Greek, had formally expressed his abomination of Le Vice (Rom. i. 26; i. Cor. vi. 8); and we may agree with Grotius (de Verit. ii. c. 13) that early Christianity did much to suppress it. At last the Emperor Theodosius punished it with fire as a profanation, because sacro-sanctum esse debetur hospitium virilis animæ.

In the pagan days of imperial Rome her literature makes no difference between boy and girl. Horace naïvely says (Sat. ii. 118):--

         Ancilla aut verna est praesto puer;

and with Hamlet, but in a dishonest sense:--

                   --Man delights me not
         Nor woman neither.

Similarly the Spaniard Martial, who is a mine of such pederastic allusions (xi. 46):--

         Sive puer arrisit, sive puella tibi.

That marvellous Satyricon which unites the wit of Molière [FN#382] with the debaucheries of Piron, whilst the writer has been described, like Rabelais, as purissimus in impuritate, is a kind of Triumph of Pederasty. Geiton the hero, a handsome, curly-pated hobbledehoy of seventeen, with his câlinerie and wheedling tongue, is courted like one of the sequor sexus: his lovers are inordinately jealous of him and his desertion leaves deep scars upon the heart. But no dialogue between man and wife in extremis could be more pathetic than that in the scene where shipwreck is imminent. Elsewhere every one seems to attempt his neighbour: a man alte succinctus assails Ascyltos; Lycus, the Tarentine skipper, would force Encolpius and so forth: yet we have the neat and finished touch (cap. vii.):--"The lamentation was very fine (the dying man having manumitted his slaves) albeit his wife wept not as though she loved him. How were it had he not behaved to her so well?"

Erotic Latin glossaries [FN#383] give some ninety words connected with pederasty and some, which "speak with Roman simplicity," are peculiarly expressive. "Averse Venus" alludes to women being treated as boys: hence Martial, translated by Piron, addresses Mistress Martial (x. 44):--

         Teque puta, cunnos, uxor, habere duos.

The capillatus or comatus is also called calamistratus, the darling curled with crisping-irons; and he is an Effeminatus, i.e., qui muliebria patitur; or a Delicatus, slave or eunuch for the use of the Draucus, Puerarius (boy-lover) or Dominus (Mart. xi. 7I). The Divisor is so called from his practice Hillas dividere or cædere, something like Martial's cacare mentulam or Juvenal's Hesternæ occurrere cænæ. Facere vicibus (Juv. vii. 238), incestare se invicem or mutuum facere (Plaut. Trin. ii. 437), is described as "a puerile vice," in which the two take turns to be active and passive: they are also called Gemelli and Fratres = compares in pædicatione. Illicita libido is = præpostera seu postica Venus, and is expressed by the picturesque phrase indicare (seu incurvare) aliquem. Depilatus, divellere pilos, glaber, laevis and nates pervellere are allusions to the Sotadic toilette. The fine distinction between demittere and dejicere caput are worthy of a glossary, while Pathica puella, puera, putus, pullipremo pusio, pygiaca sacra, quadrupes, scarabæus and smerdalius explain themselves.

From Rome the practice extended far and wide to her colonies, especially the Provincia now called Provence. Athenæus (xii. 26) charges the people of Massilia with "acting like women out of luxury"; and he cites the saying "May you sail to Massilia!" as if it were another Corinth. Indeed the whole Keltic race is charged with Le Vice by Aristotle (Pol. ii. 66), Strabo (iv. 199) and Diodorus Siculus (v. 32). Roman civilisation carried pederasty also to Northern Africa, where it took firm root, while the negro and negroid races to the South ignore the erotic perversion, except where imported by foreigners into such kingdoms as Bornu and Haussa. In old Mauritania, now Marocco, [FN#384] the Moors proper are notable sodomites; Moslems, even of saintly houses, are permitted openly to keep catamites, nor do their disciples think worse of their sanctity for such licence: in one case the English wife failed to banish from the home "that horrid boy."

Yet pederasty is forbidden by the Koran. In chapter iv. 20 we read: "And if two (men) among you commit the crime, then punish them both," the penalty being some hurt or damage by public reproach, insult or scourging. There are four distinct references to Lot and the Sodomites in chapters vii. 78; xi. 77-84; xxvi. I60-I74 and xxix. 28-35. In the first the prophet commissioned to the people says, "Proceed ye to a fulsome act wherein no creature hath foregone ye? Verily ye come to men in lieu of women lustfully." We have then an account of the rain which made an end of the wicked and this judgment on the Cities of the Plain is repeated with more detail in the second reference. Here the angels, generally supposed to be three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, appeared to Lot as beautiful youths, a sore temptation to the sinners and the godly man's arm was straitened concerning his visitors because he felt unable to protect them from the erotic vagaries of his fellow townsmen. He therefore shut his doors and from behind them argued the matter: presently the riotous assembly attempted to climb the wall when Gabriel, seeing the distress of his host, smote them on the face with one of his wings and blinded them so that all moved off crying for aid and saying that Lot had magicians in his house. Hereupon the "Cities" which, if they ever existed, must have been Fellah villages, were uplifted: Gabriel thrust his wing under them and raised them so high that the inhabitants of the lower heaven (the lunar sphere) could hear the dogs barking and the cocks crowing. Then came the rain of stones: these were clay pellets baked in hell-fire, streaked white and red, or having some mark to distinguish them from the ordinary and each bearing the name of its destination like the missiles which destroyed the host of Abrahat al-Ashram. [FN#385] Lastly the "Cities" were turned upside down and cast upon earth. These circumstantial unfacts are repeated at full length in the other two chapters; but rather as an instance of Allah's power than as a warning against pederasty, which Mohammed seems to have regarded with philosophic indifference. The general opinion of his followers is that it should be punished like fornication unless the offenders made a public act of penitence. But here, as in adultery, the law is somewhat too clement and will not convict unless four credible witnesses swear to have seen rem in re. I have noticed (vol. i. 211) the vicious opinion that the Ghilmán or Wuldán, the beautiful boys of Paradise, the counter parts of the Houris, will be lawful catamites to the True Believers in a future state of happiness: the idea is nowhere countenanced in Al-Islam; and, although I have often heard debauchées refer to it, the learned look upon the assertion as scandalous.

As in Marocco so the Vice prevails throughout the old regencies of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli and all the cities of the South Mediterranean seaboard, whilst it is unknown to the Nubians, the Berbers and the wilder tribes dwelling inland. Proceeding Eastward we reach Egypt, that classical region of all abominations which, marvellous to relate, flourished in closest contact with men leading the purest of lives, models of moderation and morality, of religion and virtue. Amongst the ancient Copts Le Vice was part and portion of the Ritual and was represented by two male partridges alternately copulating (Interp. in Priapi Carm. xvii). The evil would have gained strength by the invasion of Cambyses (B.C. 524), whose armies, after the victory over Psammenitus. settled in the Nile-Valley and held it, despite sundry revolts, for some hundred and ninety years. During these six generations the Iranians left their mark upon Lower Egypt and especially, as the late Rogers Bey proved, upon the Fayyum, the most ancient Delta of the Nile. [FN#386] Nor would the evil be diminished by the Hellenes who, under Alexander the Great, "liberator and saviour of Egypt" (B.C. 332), extinguished the native dynasties: the love of the Macedonian for Bagoas the Eunuch being a matter of history. From that time and under the rule of the Ptolemies the morality gradually decayed; the Canopic orgies extended into private life and the debauchery of the men was equalled only by the depravity of the women. Neither Christianity nor Al-Islam could effect a change for the better; and social morality seems to have been at its worst during the past century when Sonnini travelled (A.D. 1717). The French officer, who is thoroughly trustworthy, draws the darkest picture of the widely spread criminality, especially of the bestiality and the sodomy (chaps. xv.), which formed the "delight of the Egyptians." During the Napoleonic conquest Jaubert in his letter to General Bruix (p. I9) says, "Les Arabes et les Mamelouks ont traité quelques-uns de nos prisonniers comme Socrate traitait, dit-on, Alcibiade. Il fallait périr ou y passer." Old Anglo-Egyptians still chuckle over the tale of Sa'id Pasha and M. de Ruyssenaer, the high-dried and highly respectable Consul-General for the Netherlands, who was solemnly advised to make the experiment, active and passive, before offering his opinion upon the subject. In the present age extensive intercourse with Europeans has produced not a reformation but a certain reticence amongst the upper classes: they are as vicious as ever, but they do not care for displaying their vices to the eyes of mocking strangers.

Syria and Palestine, another ancient focus of abominations, borrowed from Egypt and exaggerated the worship of androgynic and hermaphroditic deities. Plutarch (De Iside) notes that the old Nilotes held the moon to be of "male-female sex," the men sacrificing to Luna and the women to Lunus. [FN#387] Isis also was a hermaphrodite, the idea being that Aether or Air (the lower heavens) was the menstruum of generative nature; and Damascius explained the tenet by the all-fruitful and prolific powers of the atmosphere. Hence the fragment attributed to Orpheus, the song of Jupiter (Air):--

              All things from Jove descend
         Jove was a male, Jove was a deathless bride;
         For men call Air, of two fold sex, the Jove.

Julius Pirmicus relates that "The Assyrians and part of the Africians" (along the Mediterranean seaboard?) "hold Air to be the chief element and adore its fanciful figure (imaginata figura), consecrated under the name of Juno or the Virgin Venus. * * * Their companies of priests cannot duly serve her unless they effeminate their faces, smooth their skins and disgrace their masculine sex by feminine ornaments. You may see men in their very temples amid general groans enduring miserable dalliance and becoming passives like women (viros muliebria pati), and they expose, with boasting and ostentation, the pollution of the impure and immodest body." Here we find the religious significance of eunuchry. It was practiced as a religious rite by the Tympanotribas or Gallus, [FN#388] the castrated votary of Rhea or Bona Mater, in Phrygia called Cybele, self mutilated but not in memory of Atys; and by a host of other creeds: even Christianity, as sundry texts show, [FN#389] could not altogether cast out the old possession. Here too we have an explanation of Sotadic love in its second stage, when it became, like cannibalism, a matter of superstition. Assuming a nature-implanted tendency, we see that like human sacrifice it was held to be the most acceptable offering to the God-goddess in the Orgia or sacred ceremonies, a something set apart for peculiar worship. Hence in Rome as in Egypt the temples of Isis (Inachidos limina, Isiacæ sacraria Lunæ) were centres of sodomy, and the religious practice was adopted by the grand priestly castes from Mesopotamia to Mexico and Peru.

We find the earliest written notices of the Vice in the mythical destruction of the Pentapolis (Gen. xix.), Sodom, Gomorrah (= 'Amirah, the cultivated country), Adama, Zeboïm and Zoar or Bela. The legend has been amply embroidered by the Rabbis who make the Sodomites do everything à l'envers: e.g., if a man were wounded he was fined for bloodshed and was compelled to fee the offender; and if one cut off the ear of a neighbour's ass he was condemned to keep the animal till the ear grew again. The Jewish doctors declare the people to have been a race of sharpers with rogues for magistrates, and thus they justify the judgment which they read literally. But the traveller cannot accept it. I have carefully examined the lands at the North and at the South of that most beautiful lake, the so-called Dead Sea, whose tranquil loveliness, backed by the grand plateau of Moab, is an object of admiration to all save patients suffering from the strange disease "Holy Land on the Brain." [FN#390] But I found no traces of craters in the neighbourhood, no signs of vulcanism, no remains of "meteoric stones": the asphalt which named the water is a mineralised vegetable washed out of the limestones, and the sulphur and salt are brought down by the Jordan into a lake without issue. I must therefore look upon the history as a myth which may have served a double purpose. The first would be to deter the Jew from the Malthusian practices of his pagan predecessors, upon whom obloquy was thus cast, so far resembring the scandalous and absurd legend which explained the names of the children of Lot by Pheiné and Thamma as "Moab" .(Mu-ab) the water or semen of the father, and "Ammon" as mother's son, that is, bastard. The fable would also account for the abnormal fissure containing the lower Jordan and the Dead Sea, which the late Sir R. I. Murchison used wrong-headedly to call a "Volcano of Depression": this geological feature, that cuts off the river-basin from its natural outlet, the Gulf of Eloth (Akabah), must date from myriads of years before there were "Cities of the Plains." But the main object of the ancient lawgiver, Osarsiph, Moses or the Moseidæ, was doubtless to discountenance a perversion prejudicial to the increase of population. And he speaks with no uncertain voice, Whoso lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death (Exod. xxii. I9): If a man lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them (Levit. xx. 13; where v.v. 15-16 threaten with death man and woman who lie with beasts). Again, There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel (Deut. xxii. 5).

The old commentators on the Sodom-myth are most unsatisfactory, e.g. Parkhurst, s.v. Kadesh. "From hence we may observe the peculiar propriety of this punishment of Sodom and of the neighbouring cities. By their sodomitical impurities they meant to acknowledge the Heavens as the cause of fruitfulness independently upon, and in opposition to, Jehovah; [FN#391] therefore Jehovah, by raining upon them not genial showers but brimstone from heaven, not only destroyed the inhabitants, but also changed all that country, which was before as the garden of God, into brimstone and salt that is not sown nor beareth, neither any grass groweth therein." It must be owned that to this Pentapolis was dealt very hard measure for religiously and diligently practicing a popular rite which a host of cities even in the present day, as Naples and Shiraz, to mention no others, affect for simple luxury and affect with impunity. The myth may probably reduce itself to very small proportions, a few Fellah villages destroyed by a storm, like that which drove Brennus from Delphi.

The Hebrews entering Syria found it religionised by Assyria and Babylonia, whence Accadian Ishtar had passed west and had become Ashtoreth, Ashtaroth or Ashirah, [FN#392] the Anaitis of Armenia, the Phoenician Astarte and the Greek Aphrodite, the great Moon-goddess, [FN#393] who is queen of Heaven and Love. In another phase she was Venus Mylitta = the Procreatrix, in Chaldaic Mauludatá and in Arabic Moawallidah, she who bringeth forth. She was worshipped by men habited as women and vice-versâ; for which reason in the Torah (Deut. xx. 5) the sexes are forbidden to change dress. The male prostitutes were called Kadesh the holy, the women being Kadeshah, and doubtless gave themselves up to great excesses. Eusebius (De bit. Const. iii. c. 55) describes a school of impurity at Aphac, where women and "men who were not men" practiced all manner of abominations in honour of the Demon (Venus). Here the Phrygian symbolism of Kybele and Attis (Atys) had become the Syrian Ba'al Tammuz and Astarte, and the Grecian Dionæa and Adonis, the anthropomorphic forms of the two greater lights. The site, Apheca, now Wady al-Afik on the route from Bayrut to the Cedars, is a glen of wild and wondrous beauty, fitting frame-work for the loves of goddess and demigod: and the ruins of the temple destroyed by Constantine contrast with Nature's work, the glorious fountain, splendidior vitro, which feeds the River Ibrahim and still at times Adonis runs purple to the sea. [FN#394]

The Phoenicians spread this androgynic worship over Greece. We find the consecrated servants and votaries of Corinthian Aphrodite called Hierodouli (Strabo viii. 6), who aided the ten thousand courtesans in gracing the Venus-temple: from this excessive luxury arose the proverb popularised by Horace. One of the headquarters of the cult was Cyprus where, as Servius relates (Ad Æn. ii. 632), stood the simulacre of a bearded Aphrodite with feminine body and costume, sceptered and mitred like a man. The sexes when worshipping it exchanged habits and here the virginity was offered in sacrifice: Herodotus (i. c. 199) describes this defloration at Babylon but sees only the shameful part of the custom which was a mere consecration of a tribal rite. Everywhere girls before marriage belong either to the father or to the clan and thus the maiden paid the debt due to the public before becoming private property as a wife. The same usage prevailed in ancient Armenia and in parts of Ethiopia; and Herodotus tells us that a practice very much like the Babylonian "is found also in certain parts of the Island of Cyprus:" it is noticed by Justin (xviii. c. 5) and probably it explains the "Succoth Benoth" or Damsels' booths which the Babylonians bans planted to the cities of Samaria. [FN#395] The Jews seem very successfully to have copied the abominations of their pagan neighbours, even in the matter of the "dog." [FN#396] In the reign of wicked Rehoboam (B.C. 975) "There were also sodomites in the land and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel" (I Kings xiv. 20). The scandal was abated by zealous King Asa (B.C. 958) whose grandmother [FN#397] was high-priestess of Priapus (princeps in sacris Priapi): he took away the sodomites out of the land" (I Kings XV. I2). Yet the prophets were loud in their complaints, especially the so-called Isaiah (B.C. 760), "except the Lord of Hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom (i. 9); and strong measures were required from good King Josiah (B.C. 641) who amongst other things, "brake down the houses of the sodomites that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove" (2 Kings xxiii. 7). The bordels of boys (pueris alienis adhæseverunt) appear to have been near the Temple.

Syria has not forgotten her old "praxis." At Damascus I found some noteworthy cases amongst the religious of the great Amawi Mosque. As for the Druses we have Burckhardt's authority (Travels in Syria, etc., p. 202), "unnatural propensities are very common amongst them."

The Sotadic Zone covers the whole of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia now occupied by the "unspeakable Turk," a race of born pederasts; and in the former region we first notice a peculiarity of the feminine figure, the mammæ inclinatæ, jacentes et pannosæ, which prevails over all this part of the belt. Whilst the women to the North and South have, with local exceptions, the mammæ stantes of the European virgin, [FN#398] those of Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan and Kashmir lose all the fine curves of the bosom, sometimes even before the first child; and after it the hemispheres take the form of bags. This cannot result from climate only; the women of Marathá-land, inhabiting a damper and hotter region than Kashmir, are noted for fine firm breasts even after parturition. Le Vice of course prevails more in the cities and towns of Asiatic Turkey than in the villages; yet even these are infected; while the nomad Turcomans contrast badly in this point with the Gypsies, those Badawin of India. The Kurd population is of Iranian origin, which means that the evil is deeply rooted: I have noted in The Nights that the great and glorious Saladin was a habitual pederast. The Armenians, as their national character is, will prostitute themselves for gain but prefer women to boys: Georgia supplied Turkey with catamites whilst Circassia sent concubines. In Mesopotamia the barbarous invader has almost obliterated the ancient civilisation which is ante-dated only by the Nilotic: the mysteries of old Babylon nowhere survive save in certain obscure tribes like the Mandæans, the Devil-worshippers and the Alí-iláhi. Entering Persia we find the reverse of Armenia; and, despite Herodotus, I believe that Iran borrowed her pathologic love from the peoples of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley and not from the then insignificant Greeks. But whatever may be its origin, the corruption is now bred in the bone. It begins in boyhood and many Persians account for it by paternal severity. Youths arrived at puberty find none of the facilities with which Europe supplies fornication. Onanism [FN#399] is to a certain extent discouraged by circumcision, and meddling with the father's slave-girls and concubines would be risking cruel punishment if not death. Hence they use each other by turns, a "puerile practice" known as Alish-Takish, the Lat. facere vicibus or mutuum facere. Temperament, media, and atavism recommend the custom to the general; and after marrying and begetting heirs, Paterfamilias returns to the Ganymede. Hence all the odes of Hafiz are addressed to youths, as proved by such Arabic exclamations as 'Afáka 'llah = Allah assain thee (masculine) [FN#400]: the object is often fanciful but it would be held coarse and immodest to address an imaginary girl. [FN#401] An illustration of the penchant is told at Shiraz concerning a certain Mujtahid, the head of the Shi'ah creed, corresponding with a prince-archbishop in Europe. A friend once said to him, "There is a question I would fain address to your Eminence but I lack the daring to do so." "Ask and fear not," replied the Divine. "It is this, O Mujtahid! Figure thee in a garden of roses and hyacinths with the evening breeze waving the cypress-heads, a fair youth of twenty sitting by thy side and the assurance of perfect privacy. What, prithee, would be the result?" The holy man bowed the chin of doubt upon the collar of meditation; and, too honest to lie, presently whispered, "Allah defend me from such temptation of Satan!" Yet even in Persia men have not been wanting who have done their utmost to uproot the Vice: in the same Shiraz they speak of a father who, finding his son in flagrant delict, put him to death like Brutus or Lynch of Galway. Such isolated cases, however, can effect nothing. Chardin tells us that houses of male prostitution were common in Persia whilst those of women were unknown: the same is the case in the present day and the boys are prepared with extreme care by diet, baths, depilation, unguents and a host of artists in cosmetics. [FN#402] Le Vice is looked upon at most as a peccadillo and its mention crops up in every jest-book. When the Isfahan man mocked Shaykh Sa'adi by comparing the bald pates of Shirazian elders to the bottom of a lotá, a brass cup with a wide-necked opening used in the Hammam, the witty poet turned its aperture upwards and thereto likened the well-abused podex of an Isfahani youth. Another favourite piece of Shirazian "chaff" is to declare that when an Isfahan father would set up his son in business he provides him with a pound of rice, meaning that he can sell the result as compost for the kitchen-garden, and with the price buy another meal: hence the saying Khakh-i-pái káhú = the soil at the lettuce-root. The Isfahanis retort with the name of a station or halting-place between the two cities where, under presence of making travellers stow away their riding-gear, many a Shirazi had been raped: hence "Zín o takaltú tú bi-bar" = carry within saddle and saddle-cloth! A favourite Persian punishment for strangers caught in the Harem or Gynæceum is to strip and throw them and expose them to the embraces of the grooms and negro-slaves. I once asked a Shirazi how penetration was possible if the patient resisted with all the force of the sphincter muscle: he smiled and said, "Ah, we Persians know a trick to get over that; we apply a sharpened tent peg to the crupper bone (os coccygis) and knock till he opens." A well known missionary to the East during the last generation was subjected to this gross insult by one of the Persian Prince-governors, whom he had infuriated by his conversion-mania: in his memoirs he alludes to it by mentioning his "dishonoured person;" but English readers cannot comprehend the full significance of the confession. About the same time Shaykh Nasr, Governor of Bushire, a man famed for facetious blackguardism, used to invite European youngsters serving in the Bombay Marine and ply them with liquor till they were insensible. Next morning the middies mostly complained that the champagne had caused a curious irritation and soreness in la parse-posse. The same Eastern "Scrogin" would ask his guests if they had ever seen a man-cannon (Adami-top); and, on their replying in the negative, a grey-beard slave was dragged in blaspheming and struggling with all his strength. He was presently placed on all fours and firmly held by the extremities; his bag-trousers were let down and a dozen peppercorns were inserted ano suo: the target was a sheet of paper held at a reasonable distance; the match was applied by a pinch of cayenne in the nostrils; the sneeze started the grapeshot and the number of hits on the butt decided the bets. We can hardly wonder at the loose conduct of Persian women perpetually mortified by marital pederasty. During the unhappy campaign of 1856-57 in which, with the exception of a few brilliant skirmishes, we gained no glory, Sir James Outram and the Bombay army showing how badly they could work, there was a formal outburst of the Harems; and even women of princely birth could not be kept out of the officers' quarters.

The cities of Afghanistan and Sind are thoroughly saturated with Persian vice, and the people sing

         Kadr-i-kus Aughán dánad, kadr-i-kunrá Kábuli:
         The worth of coynte the Afghan knows: Cabul prefers the other chose! [FN#403]

The Afghans are commercial travellers on a large scale and each caravan is accompanied by a number of boys and lads almost in woman's attire with kohl'd eyes and rouged cheeks, long tresses and henna'd fingers and toes, riding luxuriously in Kajáwas or camel-panniers: they are called Kúch-i safari, or travelling wives, and the husbands trudge patiently by their sides. In Afghanistan also a frantic debauchery broke out amongst the women when they found incubi who were not pederasts; and the scandal was not the most insignificant cause of the general rising at Cabul (Nov. 1841), and the slaughter of Macnaghten, Burnes and other British officers.

Resuming our way Eastward we find the Sikhs and the Moslems of the Panjab much addicted to Le Vice, although the Himalayan tribes to the north and those lying south, the Rájputs and Marathás, ignore it. The same may be said of the Kash mirians who add another Kappa to the tria Kakista, Kappado clans, Kretans, and Kilicians: the proverb says,

         Agar kaht-i-mardum uftad, az ín sih jins kam gírí;
         Eki Afghán, dovvum Sindí [FN#404] siyyum badjins-i-Kashmírí:

         Though of men there be famine yet shun these three–
         Afghan, Sindi and rascally Kashmírí.

M. Louis Daville describes the infamies of Lahore and Lakhnau where he found men dressed as women, with flowing locks under crowns of flowers, imitating the feminine walk and gestures, voice and fashion of speech, and ogling their admirers with all the coquetry of bayadères. Victor Jacquemont's Journal de Voyage describes the pederasty of Ranjít Singh, the "Lion of the Panjáb," and his pathic Guláb Singh whom the English inflicted upon Cashmir as ruler by way of paying for his treason. Yet the Hindus, I repeat, hold pederasty in abhorrence and are as much scandalised by being called Gánd-márá (anus-beater) or Gándú (anuser) as Englishmen would be. During the years 1843-44 my regiment, almost all Hindu Sepoys of the Bombay Presidency, was stationed at a purgatory called Bandar Ghárrá, [FN#405] a sandy flat with a scatter of verdigris-green milk-bush some forty miles north of Karáchi the headquarters. The dirty heap of mud-and-mat hovels, which represented the adjacent native village, could not supply a single woman; yet only one case of pederasty came to light and that after a tragical fashion some years afterwards. A young Brahman had connection with a soldier comrade of low caste and this had continued till, in an unhappy hour, the Pariah patient ventured to become the agent. The latter, in Arab. Al-Fá'il =the "doer," is not an object of contempt like Al-Mafúl = the "done"; and the high caste sepoy, stung by remorse and revenge, loaded his musket and deliberately shot his paramour. He was hanged by court martial at Hyderabad and, when his last wishes were asked, he begged in vain to be suspended by the feet; the idea being that his soul, polluted by exiting "below the waist," would be doomed to endless trans-migrations through the lowest forms of life.

Beyond India, I have stated, the Sotadic Zone begins to broaden out, embracing all China, Turkistan and Japan. The Chinese, as far as we know them in the great cities, are omnivorous and omnifutuentes: they are the chosen people of debauchery, and their systematic bestiality with ducks, goats, and other animals is equalled only by their pederasty. Kæmpfer and Orlof Torée (Voyage en Chine) notice the public houses for boys and youths in China and Japan. Mirabeau (L'Anandryne) describes the tribadism of their women in hammocks. When Pekin was plundered the Harems contained a number of balls a little larger than the old musket-bullet, made of thin silver with a loose pellet of brass inside somewhat like a grelot; [FN#406] these articles were placed by the women between the labia and an up-and-down movement on the bed gave a pleasant titillation when nothing better was to be procured. They have every artifice of luxury, aphrodisiacs, erotic perfumes and singular applications. Such are the pills which, dissolved in water and applied to the glans penis, cause it to throb and swell: so according to Amerigo Vespucci American women could artificially increase the size of their husbands' parts. [FN#407] The Chinese bracelet of caoutchouc studded with points now takes the place of the Herisson, or Annulus hirsutus, [FN#408] which was bound between the glans and prepuce. Of the penis succedaneus, that imitation of the Arbor vitæ or Soter Kosmou, which the Latins called phallus and fascinum, [FN#409] the French godemiché and the Italians passatempo and diletto (whence our "dildo"), every kind abounds, varying from a stuffed "French letter" to a cone of ribbed horn which looks like an instrument of torture. For the use of men they have the "merkin," [FN#410] a heart-shaped article of thin skin stuffed with cotton and slit with an artificial vagina: two tapes at the top and one below lash it to the back of a chair. The erotic literature of the Chinese and Japanese is highly developed and their illustrations are often facetious as well as obscene. All are familiar with that of the strong man who by a blow with his enormous phallus shivers a copper pot; and the ludicrous contrast of the huge-membered wights who land in the Isle of Women and presently escape from it, wrinkled and shrivelled, true Domine Dolittles. Of Turkistan we know little, but what we know confirms my statement. Mr. Schuyler in his Turkistan (i. 132) offers an illustration of a "Batchah" (Pers. bachcheh = catamite), "or singing-boy surrounded by his admirers." Of the Tartars Master Purchas laconically says (v. 419), "They are addicted to Sodomie or Buggerie." The learned casuist Dr. Thomas Sanchez the Spaniard had (says Mirabeau in Kadhésch) to decide a difficult question concerning the sinfulness of a peculiar erotic perversion. The Jesuits brought home from Manilla a tailed man whose moveable prolongation of the os coccygis measured from 7 to 10 inches: he had placed himself between two women, enjoying one naturally while the other used his tail as a penis succedaneus. The verdict was incomplete sodomy and simple fornication. For the islands north of Japan, the "Sodomitical Sea," and the "nayle of tynne" thrust through the prepuce to prevent sodomy, see Lib. ii. chap. 4 of Master Thomas Caudish's Circumnavigation, and vol. vi. of Pinkerton's Geography translated by Walckenaer.

Passing over to America we find that the Sotadic Zone contains the whole hemisphere from Behring's Straits to Magellan's. This prevalence of "mollities" astonishes the anthropologist, who is apt to consider pederasty the growth of luxury and the especial product of great and civilised cities, unnecessary and therefore unknown to simple savagery, where the births of both sexes are about equal and female infanticide is not practiced. In many parts of the New World this perversion was accompanied by another depravity of taste--confirmed cannibalism. [FN#411] The forests and campos abounded in game from the deer to the pheasant-like penelope, and the seas and rivers produced an unfailing supply of excellent fish and shell-fish; [FN#412] yet the Brazilian Tupis preferred the meat of man to every other food.

A glance at Mr. Bancroft [FN#413] proves the abnormal development of sodomy amongst the savages and barbarians of the New World. Even his half-frozen Hyperboreans "possess all the passions which are supposed to develop most freely under a milder temperature" (i. 58). "The voluptuousness and polygamy of the North American Indians, under a temperature of almost perpetual winter, is far greater than that of the most sensual tropical nations" (Martin's Brit. Colonies iii. 524). I can quote only a few of the most remarkable instances. Of the Koniagas of Kadiak Island and the Thinkleets we read (i. 81-82), "The most repugnant of all their practices is that of male concubinage. A Kadiak mother will select her handsomest and most promising boy, and dress and rear him as a girl, teaching him only domestic duties, keeping him at women s work, associating him with women and girls, in order to render his effeminacy complete. Arriving at the age of ten or fifteen years, he is married to some wealthy man who regards such a companion as a great acquisition. These male concubines are called Achnutschik or Schopans" (the authorities quoted being Holmberg, Langsdorff, Billing, Choris, Lisiansky and Marchand). The same is the case in Nutka Sound and the Aleutian Islands, where "male concubinage obtains throughout, but not to the same extent as amongst the Koniagas." The objects of "unnatural" affection have their beards carefully plucked out as soon as the face-hair begins to grow, and their chins are tattooed like those of the women. In California the first missionaries found the same practice, the youths being called Joya (Bancroft, i. 415 and authorities Palon, Crespi, Boscana, Mofras, Torquemada, Duflot and Fages). The Comanches unite incest with sodomy (i. 515). "In New Mexico, according to Arlegui, Ribas, and other authors, male concubinage prevails to a great extent; these loathsome semblances of humanity, whom to call beastly were a slander upon beasts, dress themselves in the clothes and perform the functions of women, the use of weapons being denied them" (i. 585). Pederasty was systematically practiced by the peoples of Cueba, Careta, and other parts of Central America. The Caciques and some of the headmen kept harems of youths who, as soon as destined for the unclean office, were dressed as women. They went by the name of Camayoas, and were hated and detested by the good wives (i. 733-74). Of the Nahua nations Father Pierre de Gand (alias de Musa) writes, "Un certain nombre de prâtres n'avaient point de femmes, sed eorum loco pueros quibus abutebantur. Ce péché était si commun dans ce pays que, jeunes ou vieux, tous étaient infectés; ils y étaient si adonnés que memes les enfants de six ens s'y livraient" (Ternaux,Campans, Voyages, Série i. Tom. x. p. 197). Among the Mayas of Yucatan Las Casas declares that the great prevalence of "unnatural" lust made parents anxious to see their progeny wedded as soon as possible (Kingsborough's Mex. Ant. viii. 135). In Vera Paz a god, called by some Chin and by others Cavial and Maran, taught it by committing the act with another god. Some fathers gave their sons a boy to use as a woman, and if any other approached this pathic he was treated as an adulterer. In Yucatan images were found by Bernal Diaz proving the sodomitical propensities of the people (Bancroft v. 198). De Pauw (Recherches Philosophiques sur les Americains, London, I77I) has much to say about the subject in Mexico generally: in the northern provinces men married youths who, dressed like women, were forbidden to carry arms. According to Gomara there were at Tamalpais houses of male prostitution; and from Diaz and others we gather that the pecado nefando was the rule. Both in Mexico and in Peru it might have caused, if it did not justify, the cruelties of the Conquistadores. Pederasty was also general throughout Nicaragua, and the early explorers found it amongst the indigenes of Panama.

We have authentic details concerning Le Vice in Peru and its adjacent lands, beginning with Cieza de Leon, who must be read in the original or in the translated extracts of Purchas (vol. v. 942, etc.), not in the cruelly castrated form preferred by the Council of the Hakluyt Society. Speaking of the New Granada Indians he tells us that "at Old Port (Porto Viejo) and Puna, the Deuill so farre prevayled in their beastly Deuotions that there were Boyes consecrated to serue in the Temple; and at the times of their Sacrifices and Solemne Feasts, the Lords and principall men abused them to that detestable filthinesse;" i.e. performed their peculiar worship. Generally in the hill-countries the Devil, under the show of holiness, had introduced the practice; for every temple or chief house of adoration kept one or two men or more which were attired like women, even from the time of their childhood, and spake like them, imitating them in everything; with these, under pretext of holiness and religion, principal men on principal days had commerce. Speaking of the arrival of the Giants [FN#414] at Point Santa Elena, Cieza says (chap. lii.), they were detested by the natives, because in using their women they killed them, and their men also in another way. All the natives declare that God brought upon them a punishment proportioned to the enormity of their offence. When they were engaged together in their accursed intercourse, a fearful and terrible fire came down from Heaven with a great noise, out of the midst of which there issued a shining Angel with a glittering sword, wherewith at one blow they were all killed and the fire consumed them. [FN#415] There remained a few bones and skulls which God allowed to bide unconsumed by the fire, as a memorial of this punishment. In the Hakluyt Society's bowdlerisation we read of the Tumbez Islanders being "very vicious, many of them committing the abominable offence" (p. 24); also, "If by the advice of the Devil any Indian commit the abominable crime, it is thought little of and they call him a woman." In chapters lii. and lviii. we find exceptions. The Indians of Huancabamba, "although so near the peoples of Puerto Viejo and Guayaquil, do not commit the abominable sin;" and the Serranos, or island mountaineers, as sorcerers and magiclans inferior to the coast peoples, were not so much addicted to sodomy.

The Royal Commentaries of the Yncas shows that the evil was of a comparatively modern growth. In the early period of Peruvian history the people considered the crime "unspeakable:" if a Cuzco Indian, not of Yncarial blood, angrily addressed the term pederast to another, he was held infamous for many days. One of the generals having reported to the Ynca Ccapacc Yupanqui that there were some sodomites, not in all the valleys, but one here and one there, "nor was it a habit of all the inhabitants but only of certain persons who practised it privately," the ruler ordered that the criminals should be publicly burnt alive and their houses, crops and trees destroyed: moreover, to show his abomination, he commanded that the whole village should so be treated if one man fell into this habit (Lib. iii. cap. 13). Elsewhere we learn, "There were sodomites in some provinces, though not openly nor universally, but some particular men and in secret. In some parts they had them in their temples, because the Devil persuaded them that the Gods took great delight in such people, and thus the Devil acted as a traitor to remove the veil of shame that the Gentiles felt for this crime and to accustom them to commit it in public and in common."

During the times of the Conquistadores male concubinage had become the rule throughout Peru. At Cuzco, we are told by Nuno de Guzman in 1530 "The last which was taken, and which fought most couragiously, was a man in the habite of a woman, which confessed that from a childe he had gotten his liuing by that filthinesse, for which I caused him to be burned." V. F. Lopez [FN#416] draws a frightful picture of pathologic love in Peru. Under the reigns which followed that of Inti-Kapak (Ccapacc) Amauri, the country was attacked by invaders of a giant race coming from the sea: they practiced pederasty after a fashion so shameless that the conquered tribes were compelled to fly(p. 271). Under the pre-Yncarial Amauta, or priestly dynasty, Peru had lapsed into savagery and the kings of Cuzco preserved only the name. "Toutes ces hontes et toutes ces misères provenaient de deux vices infâmes, la bestialité et la sodomie. Les femmes surtout étaient offensées de voir la nature frustrée de tous ses droits. Wiles pleuraient ensemble en leurs réunions sur le misérable état dans loquel elles étaient tombées, sur le mépris avec lequel elles étaient traitées. * * * * Le monde était renversé, les hommes s'aimaient et étaient jaloux les uns des autres. * * * Elles cherchaient, mais en vain, les moyens de remédier au mal; elles employaient des herbes et des recettes diaboliques qui leur ramenaient bien quelques individus, mais ne pouvaient arreter les progrès incessants du vice. Cet état de choses constitua un véritable moyen âge, qui aura jusqu'à l'établissement du gouvernement des Incas" (p. 277).


When Sinchi Roko (the xcvth of Montesinos and the xcist of Garcilazo) became Ynca, he found morals at the lowest ebb. "Ni la prudence de l'Inca, ni les lois sévères qu'il avait promulguées n'avaient pu extirper entièrement le péché contre nature. I1 reprit avec une nouvelle violence, et les femmes en furent si jalouses qu'un grand nombre d'elles tuerent leurs maris. Les devins et les sorciers passaient leurs journées à fabriquer, avec certaines herbes, des compositions magiques qui rendaient fous ceux qui en mangaient, et les femmes en faisaient prendre, soit dans les aliments, soit dans la chicha, à ceux dont elles étaient jalouses'' (p. 291).

I have remarked that the Tupi races of the Brazil were infamous for cannibalism and sodomy; nor could the latter be only racial as proved by the fact that colonists of pure Lusitanian blood followed in the path of the savages. Sr. Antonio Augusto da Costa Aguiar [FN#417] is outspoken upon this point. "A crime which in England leads to the gallows, and which is the very measure of abject depravity, passes with impunity amongst us by the participating in it of almost all or of many (de quasi todos, ou de muitos) Ah! if the wrath of Heaven were to fall by way of punishing such crimes (delictos), more than one city of this Empire, more than a dozen, would pass into the category of the Sodoms and Gomorrains" (p. 30). Till late years pederasty in the Brazil was looked upon as a peccadillo; the European immigrants following the practice of the wild men who were naked but not, as Columbus said, "clothed in innocence." One of Her Majesty's Consuls used to tell a tale of the hilarity provoked in a "fashionable" assembly by the open declaration of a young gentleman that his mulatto "patient" had suddenly turned upon him, insisting upon becoming agent. Now, however, under the influences of improved education and respect for the public opinion of Europe, pathologic love amongst the Luso-Brazilians has been reduced to the normal limits.

Outside the Sotadic Zone, I have said, Le Vice is sporadic, not endemic: yet the physical and moral effect of great cities where puberty, they say, is induced earlier than in country sites, has been the same in most lands, causing modesty to decay and pederasty to flourish. The Badawi Arab is wholly pure of Le Vice; yet San'á the capital of Al-Yaman and other centres of population have long been and still are thoroughly infected. History tells us of Zú Shanátir, tyrant of "Arabia Felix," in A.D. 478, who used to entice young men into his palace and cause them after use to be cast out of the windows: this unkindly ruler was at last poniarded by the youth Zerash, known from his long ringlets as "Zú Nowás." The negro race is mostly untainted by sodomy and tribadism. Yet Joan dos Sanctos [FN#418] found in Cacongo of West Africa certain "Chibudi, which are men attyred like women and behaue themselves womanly, ashamed to be called men; are also married to men, and esteem that vnnaturale damnation an honor." Madagascar also delighted in dancing and singing boys dressed as girls. In the Empire of Dahomey I noted a corps of prostitutes kept for the use of the Amazon-soldieresses.

North of the Sotadic Zone we find local but notable instances. Master Christopher Burrough [FN#419] describes on the western side of the Volga "a very fine stone castle, called by the name Oueak, and adioyning to the same a Towne called by the Russes, Sodom, * * * which was swallowed into the earth by the justice of God, for the wickednesse of the people." Again: although as a rule Christianity has steadily opposed pathologic love both in writing and preaching, there have been remarkable exceptions. Perhaps the most curious idea was that of certain medical writers in the middle ages: "Usus et amplexus pueri, bene temperatus, salutaris medicine" (Tardieu). Bayle notices (under "Vayer") the infamous book of Giovanni della Casa, Archbishop of Benevento, "De laudibus Sodomiæ,” [FN#420] vulgarly known as "Capitolo del Forno." The same writer refers (under "Sixte iv.") to the report that the Dominican Order, which systematically decried Le Vice, had presented a request to the Cardinal di Santa Lucia that sodomy might be lawful during three months per annum, June to August; and that the Cardinal had underwritten the petition "Be it done as they demand." Hence the Fæda Venus of Battista Mantovano. Bayle rejects the history for a curious reason, venery being colder in summer than in winter, and quotes the proverb "Aux mods qui n'ont pas d' R, peu embrasser et bien boire." But in the case of a celibate priesthood such scandals are inevitable: witness the famous Jesuit epitaph Ci-gît un Jesuite, etc.

In our modern capitals, London, Berlin and Paris for instance, the Vice seems subject to periodical outbreaks. For many years, also, England sent her pederasts to Italy, and especially to Naples, whence originated the term "Il vizio Inglese." It would be invicious to detail the scandals which of late years have startled the public in London and Dublin: for these the curious will consult the police reports. Berlin, despite her strong devour of Phariseeism, Puritanism and Chauvinism in religion, manners and morals, is not a whit better than her neighbours. Dr. Gaspar, [FN#421] a well-known authority on the subject, adduces many interesting cases, especially an old Count Cajus and his six accomplices. Amongst his many correspondents one suggested to him that not only Plato and Julius Cæsar but also Winckelmann and Platen(?) belonged to the Society; and he had found it flourishing in Palermo, the Louvre, the Scottish Highlands and St. Petersburg to name only a few places. Frederick the Great is said to have addressed these words to his nephew, "Je puis vous assurer, par mon expérience personelle, que ce plaisir est peu agréable à cultiver." This suggests the popular anecdote of Voltaire and the Englishman who agreed upon an "experience" and found it far from satisfactory. A few days afterwards the latter informed the Sage of Ferney that he had tried it again and provoked the exclamation, "Once a philosopher: twice a sodomite!" The last revival of the kind in Germany is a society at Frankfort and its neighbourhood, self-styled Les Cravates Noires, in opposition, I suppose, to Les Cravates Blanches of A. Belot.

Paris is by no means more depraved than Berlin and London; but, whilst the latter hushes up the scandal, Frenchmen do not: hence we see a more copious account of it submitted to the public. For France of the xviith century consult the "Histoire de la Prostitution chez tous les Peuples du Monde," and "La Prance devenue Italienne," a treatise which generally follows"L'Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules" by Bussy, Comte de Rabutin. [FN#422] The headquarters of male prostitution were then in the Champ Flory, i.e., Champ de Flore, the privileged rendezvous of low courtesans. In the xviiith century, "quand le Francais a tete folle," as Voltaire sings, invented the term "Péché philosophique," there was a temporary recrudescence; and, after the death of Pidauzet de Mairobert (March, 1779), his "Apologie de la Secte Anandryne" was published in L'Espion Anglais. In those days the Allée des Veuves in the Champs Elysees had a "fief reservé des Ebugors" [FN#423]--"veuve" in the language of Sodom being the maîtresse en titre, the favourite youth.

At the decisive moment of monarchical decomposition Mirabeau [FN#424] declares that pederasty was reglementée and adds, Le goæt des pédérastes, quoique moins en vogue que du temps de Henri III. (the French Heliogabalus), sous le règne desquel les hommes se provoquaient mutuellement [FN#425] sous les portiques du Louvre, fait des progrès considérables. On salt que cette ville (Paris) est un chef-d'oeuvre de police; en conséquence, il y a des lieux publics autorisés à cet effet. Les jeunes yens qui se destinent à la professign, vent soigneusement enclassés; car les systèmes réglementaires s'étendent jusques-là. On les examine; ceux qui peuvent etre agents et patients, qui vent beaux, vermeils, bien faits, potelés, sont réservés pour les grands seigneurs, ou se font payer très-cher par les éveques et les financiers. Ceux qui vent privés de leurs testicules, ou en termes de l'art (car notre langue est plus chaste qui nos moeurs), qui n'ont pas le poids du tisserand, mais qui donnent et reçoivent, forment la seconde classe; ils vent encore chers, parceque les femmes en usent tandis qu'ils servent aux hommes. Ceux qui ne sont plus susceptibles d'érection tant ils sont usés, quoiqu'ils aient tous ces organes nécessaires au plaisir, s'inscrivent comme patiens purs, et composent la troisième classe: mais celle qui prèside à ces plaisirs, vérifie leur impuissance. Pour cet effet, on les place tout nus sur un matelas ouvert par la moitié inférieure; deux filles les caressent de leur mieux, pendant qu'une troisieme frappe doucement avec desorties naissantes le siège des désire vénériens. Après un quart d'heure de cet essai, on leur introduit dans l'anus un poivre long rouge qui cause une irritation considérable; on pose sur les échauboulures produites par les orties, de la moutarde fine de Caudebec, et l'on passe le gland au camphre. Ceux qui résistent à ces épreuves et ne donnent aucun signe d'érection, servent comme patiens à un tiers de paie seulement. [FN#426]

The Restoration and the Empire made the police more vigilant in matters of politics than of morals. The favourite club, which had its mot de passe, was in the Rue Doyenne, old quarter St Thomas de Louvre; and the house was a hotel of the xviith century. Two street-doors, on the right for the male gynæceum and the left for the female, opened at 4 p.m. in winter and 8 p.m. in summer. A decoy-lad, charmingly dressed in women's clothes, with big haunches and small waist, promenaded outside; and this continued till 1826 when the police put down the house.

Under Louis Philippe, the conquest of Algiers had evil results, according to the Marquis de Boissy. He complained without ambages of moeurs Arabes in French regiments, and declared that the result of the African wars was an éffrayable débordement pédérastique, even as the vérole resulted from the Italian campaigns of that age of passion, the xvith century. From the military the fléau spread to civilian society and the Vice took such expansion and intensity that it may be said to have been democratised in cities and large towns; at least so we gather from the Dossier des Agissements des Pédérastes. A general gathering of "La Sainte Congregation des glorieux Pádárastes" was held in the old Petite Rue des Marais where, after the theatre, many resorted under pretext of making water. They ranged themselves along the walls of a vast garden and exposed their podices: bourgeois, richards and nobles came with full purses, touched the part which most attracted them and were duly followed by it. At the Allée des Veuves the crowd was dangerous from 7 to 8 p.m.: no policeman or ronde de nun' dared venture in it; cords were stretched from tree to tree and armed guards drove away strangers amongst whom, they say, was once Victor Hugo. This nuisance was at length suppressed by the municipal administration.

The Empire did not improve morals. Balls of sodomites were held at No. 8 Place de la Madeleine where, on Jan. 2, '64, some one hundred and fifty men met, all so well dressed as women that even the landlord did not recognise them. There was also a club for sotadic debauchery called the Cent Gardes and the Dragons de l'Impératrice. [FN#427] They copied the imperial toilette and kept it in the general wardrobe: hence "faire l'Impératrice" meant to be used carnally. The site, a splendid hotel in the Allée des Veuves, was discovered by the Procureur-Géneral, who registered all the names; but, as these belonged to not a few senators and dignitaries, the Emperor wisely quashed proceedings. The club was broken up on July 16, '64. During the same year La Petite Revue, edited by M. Loredan Larchy, son of the General, printed an article, "Les échappés de Sodome": it discusses the letter of M. Castagnary to the Progrès de Lyons and declares that the Vice had been adopted by plusieurs corps de troupes. For its latest developments as regards the chantage of the tantes (pathics), the reader will consult the last issues of Dr. Tardieu's well-known Études. [FN#428] He declares that the servant-class is most infected; and that the Vice is commonest between the ages of fifteen and twenty five.

The pederasty of The Nights may briefly be distributed into three categories. The first is the funny form, as the unseemly practical joke of masterful Queen Budúr (vol. iii. 300-306) and the not less hardi jest of the slave-princess Zumurrud (vol. iv. 226). The second is in the grimmest and most earnest phase of the perversion, for instance where Abu Nowas [FN#429] debauches the three youths (vol. v. 64 69); whilst in the third form it is wisely and learnedly discussed, to be severely blamed, by the Shaykhah or Reverend Woman (vol v. 154).

To conclude this part of my subject, the éclaircissement des obscánités. Many readers will regret the absence from The Nights of that modesty which distinguishes "Amadis de Gaul," whose author, when leaving a man and a maid together says, "And nothing shall be here related; for these and suchlike things which are conformable neither to good conscience nor nature, man ought in reason lightly to pass over, holding them in slight esteem as they deserve." Nor have we less respect for Palmerin of England who after a risqué scene declares, "Herein is no offence offered to the wise by wanton speeches, or encouragement to the loose by lascivious matter." But these are not oriental ideas, and we must e'en take the Eastern as we find him. He still holds "Naturalla non sunt turpia," together with "Mundis omnia munda"; and, as Bacon assures us the mixture of a lie cloth add to pleasure, so the Arab enjoys the startling and lively contrast of extreme virtue and horrible vice placed in juxtaposition.

Those who have read through these ten volumes will agree with me that the proportion of offensive matter bears a very small ratio to the mass of the work. In an age saturated with cant and hypocrisy, here and there a venal pen will mourn over the "Pornography" of The Nights, dwell upon the "Ethics of Dirt" and the "Garbage of the Brothel"; and will lament the "wanton dissemination (!) of ancient and filthy fiction." This self-constituted Censor morum reads Aristophanes and Plato, Horace and Virgil, perhaps even Martial and Petronius, because "veiled in the decent obscurity of a learned language"; he allows men Latinè loqui; but he is scandalised at stumbling-blocks much less important in plain English. To be consistent he must begin by bowdlerising not only the classics, with which boys' and youths' minds and memories are soaked and saturated at schools and colleges, but also Boccaccio and Chaucer, Shakespeare and Rabelais; Burton, Sterne, Swift, and a long list of works which are yearly reprinted and republished without a word of protest. Lastly, why does not this inconsistent puritan purge the Old Testament of its allusions to human ordure and the pudenda; to carnal copulation and impudent whoredom, to adultery and fornication, to onanism, sodomy and bestiality? But this he will not do, the whited sepulchre! To the interested critic of the Edinburgh Review (No. 335 of July, 1886), I return my warmest thanks for his direct and deliberate falsehoods:--lies are one-legged and short-lived, and venom evaporates. [FN#430] It appears to me that when I show to such men, so "respectable" and so impure, a landscape of magnificent prospects whose vistas are adorned with every charm of nature and art, they point their unclean noses at a little heap of muck here and there lying in a field-corner.




§ V
 ON THE PROSE-RHYME AND THE POETRY OF THE NIGHTS



 A.--The Saj’a.



According to promise in my Foreword (p. xiii.), I here proceed to offer a few observations concerning the Saj'a or rhymed prose and the Shi'r, or measured sentence, that is, the verse of The Nights. The former has in composition, metrical or unmetrical three distinct forms. Saj'a mutáwazi (parallel), the most common is when the ending words of sentences agree in measure, assonance and final letter, in fact our full rhyme; next is Saj'a mutarraf (the affluent), when the periods, hemistichs or couplets end in words whose terminal letters correspond, although differing in measure and number; and thirdly, Saj'a muwázanah (equilibrium) is applied to the balance which affects words corresponding in measure but differing in final letters. [FN#431]

Al-Saj'a, the fine style or style fleuri, also termed Al-Badí'a, or euphuism, is the basis of all Arabic euphony. The whole of the Koran is written in it; and the same is the case with the Makámát of Al-Hariri and the prime masterpieces of rhetorical composition: without it no translation of the Holy Book can be satisfactory or final, and where it is not the Assemblies become the prose of prose. Thus universally used the assonance has necessarily been abused, and its excess has given rise to the saying “Al-Saj's faj'a”--prose rhyme's a pest. English translators have, unwisely I think, agreed in rejecting it, while Germans have not. Mr Preston assures us that “rhyming prose is extremely ungraceful in English and introduces an air of flippancy”: this was certainly not the case with Friedrich Rückert's version of the great original and I see no reason why it should be so or become so in our tongue. Torrens (Pref. p. vii.) declares that “the effect of the irregular sentence with the iteration of a jingling rhyme is not pleasant in our language:” he therefore systematically neglects it and gives his style the semblance of being “scamped” with the object of saving study and trouble. Mr. Payne (ix. 379) deems it an “excrescence born of the excessive facilities for rhyme afforded by the language,” and of Eastern delight in antithesis of all kinds whether of sound or of thought; and, aiming elaborately at grace of style, he omits it wholly, even in the proverbs.

The weight of authority was against me but my plan compelled me to disregard it. The dilemma was simply either to use the Saj'a or to follow Mr. Payne's method and “arrange the disjecta membra of the original in their natural order”; that is, to remodel the text. Intending to produce a faithful copy of the Arabic, I was compelled to adopt the former, and still hold it to be the better alternative. Moreover I question Mr. Payne's dictum (ix. 383) that “the Seja-form is utterly foreign to the genius of English prose and that its preservation would be fatal to all vigour and harmony of style.” The English translator of Palmerin of England, Anthony Munday, attempted it in places with great success as I have before noted (vol. viii. 60); and my late friend Edward Eastwick made artistic use of it in his Gulistan. Had I rejected the “Cadence of the cooing dove” because un-English, I should have adopted the balanced periods of the Anglican marriage service [FN#432] or the essentially English system of alliteration, requiring some such artful aid to distinguish from the vulgar recitative style the elevated and classical tirades in The Nights. My attempt has found with reviewers more favour than I expected; and a kindly critic writes of it, “These melodious fray meets, these little eddies of song set like gems in the prose, have a charming effect on the ear. They come as dulcet surprises and mostly recur in highly-wrought situations, or they are used to convey a vivid sense of something exquisite in nature or art. Their introduction seems due to whim or caprice, but really it arises from a profound study of the situation, as if the Tale-teller felt suddenly compelled to break into the rhythmic strain.”




 B.--The Verse.



The Shi'r or metrical part of The Nights is considerable amounting to not less than ten thousand lines, and these I could not but render in rhyme or rather in monorhyme. This portion has been a bugbear to translators. De Sacy noticed the difficulty of the task (p. 283). Lane held the poetry untranslatable because abounding in the figure Tajnís, our paronomasia or paragram, of which there are seven distinct varieties, [FN#433] not to speak of other rhetorical flourishes. He therefore omitted the greater part of the verse as tedious and, through the loss of measure and rhyme, “generally intolerable to the reader.” He proved his position by the bald literalism of the passages which he rendered in truly prosaic prose and succeeded in changing the facies and presentment of the work. For the Shi'r, like the Saj'a, is not introduced arbitrarily; and its unequal distribution throughout The Nights may be accounted for by rule of art. Some tales, like Omar bin al-Nu’man and Tawaddud, contain very little because the theme is historical or realistic; whilst in stories of love and courtship as that of Rose-in-hood, the proportion may rise to one-fifth of the whole. And this is true to nature. Love, as Addison said, makes even the mechanic (the British mechanic!) poetical, and Joe Hume of material memory once fought a duel about a fair object of dispute.

Before discussing the verse of The Nights it may be advisable to enlarge a little upon the prosody of the Arabs. We know nothing of the origin of their poetry, which is lost in the depths of antiquity, and the oldest bards of whom we have any remains belong to the famous epoch of the war Al-Basús, which would place them about A.D. 500. Moreover, when the Muse of Arabia first shows she is not only fully developed and mature, she has lost all her first youth, her beauté du diable, and she is assuming the characteristics of an age beyond “middle age.” No one can study the earliest poetry without perceiving that it results from the cultivation of centuries and that it has already assumed that artificial type and conventional process of treatment which presages inevitable decay. Its noblest period is included in the century preceding the Apostolate of Mohammed, and the oldest of that epoch is the prince of Arab songsters, Imr al-Kays, “The Wandering King.” The Christian Fathers characteristically termed poetry Vinum Dæmonorum. The stricter Moslems called their bards “enemies of Allah”; and when the Prophet, who hated verse and could not even quote it correctly, was asked who was the best poet of the Peninsula he answered that the “Man of Al-Kays,” i.e. the worshipper of the Priapus-idol, would usher them all into Hell. Here he only echoed the general verdict of his countrymen who loved poetry and, as a rule, despised poets. The earliest complete pieces of any volume and substance saved from the wreck of old Arabic literature and familiar in our day are the seven Kasídahs (purpose-odes or tendence-elegies) which are popularly known as the Gilded or the Suspended Poems; and in all of these we find, with an elaboration of material and formal art which can go no further, a subject-matter of trite imagery and stock ideas which suggest a long ascending line of model ancestors and predecessors.

Scholars are agreed upon the fact that many of the earliest and best Arab poets were, as Mohammed boasted himself, unalphabetic [FN#434] or rather could neither read nor write. They addressed the ear and the mind, not the eye. They “spoke verse,” learning it by rote and dictating it to the Ráwi, and this reciter again transmitted it to the musician whose pipe or zither accompanied the minstrel's song. In fact the general practice of writing began only at the end of the first century after The Flight.

The rude and primitive measure of Arab song, upon which the most complicated system of metres subsequently arose, was called Al-Rajaz, literally “the trembling,” because it reminded the highly imaginative hearer of a pregnant she-camel's weak and tottering steps. This was the carol of the camel-driver, the lover's lay and the warrior's chaunt of the heroic ages; and its simple, unconstrained flow adapted it well for extempore effusions. Its merits and demerits have been extensively discussed amongst Arab grammarians, and many, noticing that it was not originally divided into hemistichs, make an essential difference between the Shá'ir who speaks poetry and the Rájiz who speaks Rajaz. It consisted, to describe it technically, of iambic dipodia (U–U–), the first three syllables being optionally long or short It can generally be read like our iambs and, being familiar, is pleasant to the English ear. The dipodia are repeated either twice or thrice; in the former case Rajaz is held by some authorities, as Al-Akhfash (Sa'íd ibn Másadah), to be mere prose. Although Labíd and Antar composed in iambics, the first Kásídah or regular poem in Rajaz was by Al-Aghlab al-Ajibi temp. Mohammed: the Alfíyah-grammar of Ibn Málik is in Rajaz Muzdawij, the hemistichs rhyming and the assonance being confined to the couplet. Al-Hariri also affects Rajaz in the third and fifth Assemblies. So far Arabic metre is true to Nature: in impassioned speech the movement of language is iambic: we say “I will, I will,” not “I will.”

For many generations the Sons of the Desert were satisfied with Nature's teaching; the fine perceptions and the nicely trained ear of the bard needing no aid from art. But in time came the inevitable prosodist under the formidable name of Abu Abd al-Rahmán al-Khalíl, i. Ahmad, i. Amrú, i. Tamím al-Faráhidi (of the Faráhid sept), al-Azdi (of the Azd clan), al Yahmadi (of the Yahmad tribe), popularly known as Al-Khalíl ibn Ahmad al-Basri, of Bassorah, where he died æt. 68, scanning verses they say, in A.H. 170 (= 786-87). Ibn Khallikán relates (i. 493) on the authority of Hamzah al-Isfaháni how this “father of Arabic grammar and discoverer of the rules of prosody” invented the science as he walked past a coppersmith's shop on hearing the strokes of a hammer upon a metal basin: “two objects devoid of any quality which could serve as a proof and an illustration of anything else than their own form and shape and incapable of leading to any other knowledge than that of their own nature.” [FN#435] According to others he was passing through the Fullers' Bazar at Basrah when his ear was struck by the Dak dak (Arabic letters) and the Dakak-dakak (Arabic letters) of the workmen. In these two onomapoetics we trace the expression which characterises the Arab tongue: all syllables are composed of consonant and vowel, the latter long or short as Ba and Bã; or of a vowelled consonant followed by a consonant as Bal, Bau (Arabic) .

The grammarian, true to the traditions of his craft which looks for all poetry to the Badawi, [FN#436] adopted for metrical details the language of the Desert. The distich, which amongst Arabs is looked upon as one line, he named “Bayt,” nighting-place, tent or house; and the hemistich Misrá'ah, the one leaf of a folding door. To this “scenic” simile all the parts of the verse were more or less adapted. The metres, our feet, were called “Arkán,” the stakes and stays of the tent; the syllables were “Usúl” or roots divided into three kinds: the first or “Sabab” (the tent-rope) is composed of two letters, a vowelled and a quiescent consonant as “Lam.” [FN#437] The “Watad” or tent peg of three letters is of two varieties; the Majmú’, or united, a foot in which the two first consonants are moved by vowels and the last is jazmated or made quiescent by apocope as “Lakad”; and the Mafrúk, or disunited, when the two moved consonants are separated by one jazmated, as “Kabla.” And lastly the “Fásilah” or intervening space, applied to the main pole of the tent, consists of four letters.

The metres were called Buhúr or “seas” (plur. of Bahr), also meaning the space within the tent-walls, the equivoque alluding to pearls and other treasures of the deep. Al-Khalil, the systematiser, found in general use only five Dáirah (circles, classes or groups of metre); and he characterised the harmonious and stately measures, all built upon the original Rajaz, as Al-Tawíl (the long), [FN#438] Al-Kámil (the complete), Al-Wáfir (the copious), Al-Basít (the extended) and Al-Khafíf (the light). [FN#439] These embrace all the Mu'allakát and the Hamásah, the great Anthology of Abú Tammám; but the crave for variety and the extension of foreign intercourse had multiplied wants and Al-Khalil deduced from the original five Dáirah, fifteen, to which Al-Akhfash (ob. A.D. 830) added a sixteenth, Al-Khabab. The Persians extended the number to nineteen: the first four were peculiarly Arab; the fourteenth, the fifteenth and seventeenth peculiarly Persian and all the rest were Arab and Persian. [FN#440]

Arabic metre so far resembles that of Greece and Rome that the value of syllables depends upon the “quantity” or position of their consonants, not upon accent as in English and the Neo-Latin tongues. Al-Khalil was doubtless familiar with the classic prosody of Europe, but he rejected it as unsuited to the genius of Arabic and like a true Eastern Gelehrte he adopted a process devised by himself. Instead of scansion by pyrrhics and spondees, iambs and trochees, anapæsts and similar simplifications he invented a system of weights (“wuzún”). Of these there are nine [FN#441] memorial words used as quantitive signs, all built upon the root “fa'l” which has rendered such notable service to Arabic and Hebrew [FN#442] grammar and varying from the simple “fa'ál,” in Persian “fa'úl” ( _), to the complicated “Mutafá'ilun”(U U – U –) , anapæst + iamb. Thus the prosodist would scan the Shahnámeh of Firdausi as

              Fa'úlun, fa'úlun, fa'úlun, fa'ál.
               U – –    U – –    U – –      –            

These weights also show another peculiarity of Arabic verse. In English we have few if any spondees: the Arabic contains about three longs to one short; hence its gravity, stateliness and dignity. But these longs again are peculiar, and sometimes strike the European ear as shorts, thus adding a difficulty for those who would represent Oriental metres by western feet, ictus and accent. German Arabists can register an occasional success in such attempts: Englishmen none. My late friend Professor Palmer of Cambridge tried the tour de force of dancing on one leg instead of two and notably failed: Mr. Lyall also strove to imitate Arabic metre and produced only prose bewitched. [FN#443] Mr. Payne appears to me to have wasted trouble in “observing the exterior form of the stanza, the movement of the rhyme and (as far as possible) the identity in number of the syllables composing the beits.” There is only one part of his admirable version concerning which I have heard competent readers complain; and that is the metrical, because here and there it sounds strange to their ears.

I have already stated my conviction that there are two and only two ways of translating Arabic poetry into English. One is to represent it by good heroic or lyric verse as did Sir William Jones; the other is to render it after French fashion, by measured and balanced Prose, the little sister of Poetry. It is thus and thus only that we can preserve the peculiar cachet of the original. This old world Oriental song is spirit-stirring as a “blast of that dread horn,” albeit the words be thin. It is heady as the “Golden Wine” of Libanus, to the tongue water and brandy to the brain--the clean contrary of our nineteenth century effusions. Technically speaking, it can be vehicled only by the verse of the old English ballad or by the prose of the Book of Job. And Badawi poetry is a perfect expositor of Badawi life, especially in the good and gladsome old Pagan days ere Al-Islam, like the creed which it abolished, overcast the minds of men with its dull grey pall of realistic superstition. They combined to form a marvellous picture--those contrasts of splendour and squalor amongst the sons of the sand. Under airs pure as æther, golden and ultramarine above and melting over the horizon into a diaphanous green which suggested a resection of Kaf, that unseen mountain-wall of emerald, the so-called Desert, changed face twice a year; now brown and dry as summer-dust; then green as Hope, beautified with infinite verdure and broad sheetings of rain-water. The vernal and autumnal shiftings of camp, disruptions of homesteads and partings of kith and kin, friends and lovers, made the life many-sided as it was vigorous and noble, the outcome of hardy frames, strong minds and spirits breathing the very essence of liberty and independence. The day began with the dawn-drink, “generous wine bought with shining ore,” poured into the crystal goblet from the leather bottle swinging before the cooling breeze. The rest was spent in the practice of weapons, in the favourite arrow game known as Al-Maysar, gambling which at least had the merit of feeding the poor; in racing for which the Badawin had a mania, and in the chase, the foray and the fray which formed the serious business of his life. And how picturesque the hunting scenes; the greyhound, like the mare, of purest blood; the falcon cast at francolin and coney; the gazelle standing at gaze; the desert ass scudding over the ground-waves; the wild cows or bovine antelopes browsing with their calves and the ostrich-chickens flocking round the parent bird! The Musámarah or night-talk round the camp-fire was enlivened by the lute-girl and the glee-man, whom the austere Prophet described as “roving distraught in every vale” and whose motto in Horatian vein was, “To day we shall drink, to-morrow be sober, wine this day, that day work.” Regularly once a year, during the three peaceful months when war and even blood revenge were held sacrilegious, the tribes met at Ukádh (Ocaz) and other fairsteads, where they held high festival and the bards strave in song and prided themselves upon doing honour to women and to the successful warriors of their tribe. Brief, the object of Arab life was to be--to be free, to be brave, to be wise; while the endeavours of other peoples was and is to have--to have wealth, to have knowledge, to have a name; and while moderns make their “epitome of life” to be, to do and to suffer. Lastly the Arab's end was honourable as his life was stirring: few Badawin had the crowning misfortune of dying “the straw-death.”

The poetical forms in The Nights are as follows:--The Misrá’ah or hemistich is half the “Bayt” which, for want of a better word, I have rendered couplet: this, however, though formally separated in MSS., is looked upon as one line, one verse; hence a word can be divided, the former part pertaining to the first and the latter to the second moiety of the distich. As the Arabs ignore blank verse, when we come upon a rhymeless couplet we know that it is an extract from a longer composition in monorhyme. The Kit'ah is a fragment, either an occasional piece or more frequently a portion of a Ghazal (ode) or Kasídah (elegy), other than the Matlá, the initial Bayt with rhyming distichs. The Ghazal and Kasídah differ mainly in length: the former is popularly limited to eighteen couplets: the latter begins at fifteen and is of indefinite number. Both are built upon monorhyme, which appears twice in the first couplet and ends all the others, e g., aa + ba + ca, etc.; nor may the same assonance be repeated, unless at least seven couplets intervene. In the best poets, as in the old classic verse of France, the sense must be completed in one couplet and not run on to a second; and, as the parts cohere very loosely, separate quotation can generally be made without injuring their proper effect. A favourite form is the Rubá'i or quatrain, made familiar to English ears by Mr. Fitzgerald's masterly adaptation of Omar-i-Khayyám: the movement is generally aa + ba, but it also appears as ab + cb, in which case it is a Kit'ah or fragment. The Murabbá, tetrastichs or four fold-song, occurs once only in The Nights (vol.i. 98); it is a succession of double Bayts or of four lined stanzas rhyming aa + bc + dc + ec: in strict form the first three hemistichs rhyme with one another only, independently of the rest of the poem, and the fourth with that of every other stanza, e.g., aa + ab + cb + db. The Mukhammas, cinquains or pentastichs (Night cmlxiv.), represents a stanza of two distichs and a hemistich in monorhyme, the fifth line being the “bob” or burden: each succeeding stanza affects a new rhyme, except in the fifth line, e.g., aaaab + ccccb + ddddb and so forth. The Muwwál is a simple popular song in four to six lines; specimens of it are given in the Egyptian grammar of my friend the late Dr. Wilhelm Spitta. [FN#444] The Muwashshah, or ornamented verse, has two main divisions: one applies to our acrostics in which the initials form a word or words; the other is a kind of Musaddas, or sextines, which occurs once only in The Nights (cmlxxxvii.). It consists of three couplets or six-line strophes: all the hemistichs of the first are in monorhyme; in the second and following stanzas the three first hemistichs take a new rhyme, but the fourth resumes the assonance of the first set and is followed by the third couplet of No. 1, serving as bob or refrain, e.g., aaaaaa + bbbaaa + cccaaa and so forth. It is the most complicated of all the measures and is held to be of Morisco or Hispano-Moorish origin.

Mr. Lane (Lex.) lays down, on the lines of Ibn Khallikan (i. 476, etc.) and other representative literati, as our sole authortties for pure Arabic, the precedence in following order. First of all ranks the Jáhili (Ignoramus) of The Ignorance, the {Greek letters}: these pagans left hemistichs, couplets, pieces and elegies which once composed a large corpus and which is now mostly forgotten. Hammád al-Ráwiyah, the Reciter, a man of Persian descent (ob. A.H. 160=777) who first collected the Mu’allakát, once recited by rote in a séance before Caliph Al-Walid two thousand poems of præ-Mohammedan bards. [FN#445] After the Jáhili stands the Mukhadram or Muhadrim, the “Spurious,” because half Pagan half Moslem, who flourished either immediately before or soon after the preaching of Mohammed. The Islámi or full-blooded Moslem at the end of the first century A.H ( = 720) began the process of corruption in language; and, lastly he was followed by the Muwallad of the second century who fused Arabic with non-Arabic and in whom purity of diction disappeared.

I have noticed (I § A.) that the versical portion of The Nights may be distributed into three categories. First are the olden poems which are held classical by all modern Arabs; then comes the mediæval poetry, the effusions of that brilliant throng which adorned the splendid Court of Harun al-Rashid and which ended with Al-Haríri (ob. A.H. 516); and, lastly, are the various pièces de circonstance suggested to editors or scribes by the occasion. It is not my object to enter upon the historical part of the subject: a mere sketch would have neither value not interest whilst a finished picture would lead too far: I must be contented to notice a few of the most famous names.

Of the præ-Islamites we have Ádi bin Zayd al-Ibádi the “celebrated poet” of Ibn Khallikán (i. 188); Nábighat (the full-grown) al-Zubyáni who flourished at the Court of Al-Nu'man in AD. 580-602, and whose poem is compared with the “Suspendeds,'' [FN#446] and Al-Mutalammis the “pertinacious” satirist, friend and intimate with Tarafah of the “Prize Poem.” About Mohammed's day we find Imr al-Kays “with whom poetry began,” to end with Zú al-Rummah; Amrú bin Mádi Karab al-Zubaydi, Labíd; Ka'b ibn Zuhayr, the father one of the Mu'al-lakah-poets, and the son author of the Burdah or Mantle-poem (see vol. iv. 115), and Abbás bin Mirdás who lampooned the Prophet and had “his tongue cut out” i.e. received a double share of booty from Ali. In the days of Caliph Omar we have Alkamah bin Olátha followed by Jamíl bin Ma'mar of the Banu Ozrah (ob. A.H. 82), who loved Azzá. Then came Al-Kuthayyir (the dwarf, ironicè), the lover of Buthaynah, “who was so lean that birds might be cut to bits with her bones :” the latter was also a poetess (Ibn Khall. i. 87), like Hind bint al-Nu'man who made herself so disagreeable to Al-Hajjáj (ob. A.H. 95) Jarír al-Khatafah, the noblest of the Islami poets in the first century, is noticed at full length by Ibn Khallikan (i. 294) together with his rival in poetry and debauchery, Abú Firás Hammám or Homaym bin Ghalib al-Farazdak, the Tamími, the Ommiade poet “without whose verse half Arabic would be lost:” [FN#447] he exchanged satires with Jarír and died forty days before him (A.H. 110). Another contemporary, forming the poetical triumvirate of the period, was the debauched Christian poet Al-Akhtal al-Taghlibi. They were followed by Al-Ahwas al-Ansári whose witty lampoons banished him to Dahlak Island in the Red Sea (ob. A.H. 179 = 795); by Bashshár ibn Burd and by Yúnus ibn Habib (ob. A.H. 182).

The well known names of the Harun-cycle are Al-Asma'i, rhetorician and poet, whose epic with Antar for hero is not forgotten (ob. A.H. 2I6); Isaac of Mosul (Ishak bin Ibrahim of Persian origin); Al-'Utbi “the Poet” (ob. A.H. 228); Abu al-Abbás al-Rakáshi; Abu al-Atahiyah, the lover of Otbah; Muslim bin al-Walíd al-Ansari; Abú Tammám of Tay, compiler of the Hamásah (ob. A.H. 230), “a Muwallad of the first class” (says Ibn Khallikan i. 392); the famous or infamous Abu Nowás, Abu Mus'ab (Ahmad ibn Ali) who died in A.H. 242; the satirist Dibil al-Khuzáí (ob. A.H. 246) and a host of others quos nunc perscribere longum est. They were followed by Al-Bohtori “the Poet” (ob. A.H. 286); the royal author Abdullah ibn al-Mu'tazz (ob. A.H. 315); Ibn Abbád the Sahib (ob. A.H. 334); Mansúr al-Halláj the martyred Sufi; the Sahib ibn Abbad, Abu Faras al-Hamdáni (ob. A.H. 357); Al-Námi (ob. A.H. 399) who had many encounters with that model Chauvinist Al-Mutanabbi, nicknamed Al-Mutanabbih (the “wide awake”), killed A.H. 354; Al-Manázi of Manazjird (ob. 427); Al-Tughrai author of the Lámiyat al-'Ajam (ob. A.H. 375); Al-Haríri the model rhetorician (ob. A.H. 516); Al-Hájiri al-Irbili, of Arbela (ob. A.H. 632); Bahá al-Din al-Sinjari (ob. A.H. 622); Al-Kátib or the Scribe (ob. A.H. 656); Abdun al-Andalúsi the Spaniard (our xiith century) and about the same time Al-Náwaji, author of the Halbat al-Kumayt or”Race course of the Bay horse”--poetical slang for wine. [FN#448]

Of the third category, the pièces d'occasion, little need be said: I may refer readers to my notes on the doggrels in vol. ii. 34, 35, 56, 179, 182, 186 and 261; in vol. v. 55 and in vol. viii. 50.

Having a mortal aversion to the details of Arabic prosody, I have persuaded my friend Dr. Steingass to undertake in the following pages the subject as far as concerns the poetry of The Nights. He has been kind enough to collaborate with me from the beginning, and to his minute lexicographical knowledge I am deeply indebted for discovering not a few blemishes which would have been “nuts to the critic.” The learned Arabist's notes will be highly interesting to students: mine ( §V.) are intended to give a superficial and popular idea of the Arab's verse mechanism.

“The principle of Arabic Prosody (called ’Arúz, pattern standard, or 'Ilm al-'Arúz, science of the 'Arúz), in so far resembles that of classical poetry, as it chiefly rests on metrical weight, not on accent, or in other words a verse is measured by short and long quantities, while the accent only regulates its rhythm. In Greek and Latin, however, the quantity of the syllables depends on their vowels, which may be either naturally short or long, or become long by position, i.e. if followed by two or more consonants. We all remember from our school-days what a fine string of rules had to be committed to and kept in memory, before we were able to scan a Latin or Greek verse without breaking its neck by tripping over false quantities. In Arabic, on the other hand, the answer to the question, what is metrically long or short, is exceedingly simple, and flows with stringent cogency from the nature of the Arabic Alphabet. This, strictly speaking, knows only consonants (Harf, pl. Hurúf). The vowels which are required, in order to articulate the consonants, were at first not represented in writing at all. They had to be supplied by the reader, and are not improperly called “motions” (Harakát), because they move or lead on, as it were, one letter to another. They are three in number, a (Fathah), i (Kasrah), u (Zammah), originally sounded as the corresponding English vowels in bat, bit and butt respectively, but in certain cases modifying their pronunciation under the influence of a neighbouring consonant. When the necessity made itself felt to represent them in writing, especially for the sake of fixing the correct reading of the Koran, they were rendered by additional signs, placed above or beneath the consonant, after which they are pronounced, in a similar way as it is done in some systems of English shorthand. A consonant followed by a short vowel is called a “moved letter” (Muharrakah); a consonant without such vowel is called “resting” or “quiescent” (Sákinah), and can stand only at the end of a syllable or word.

And now we are able to formulate the one simple rule, which determines the prosodical quantity in Arabic: any moved letter, as ta, li, mu, is counted short; any moved letter followed by a quiescent one, as taf, fun, mus, i.e. any closed syllable beginning and terminating with a consonant and having a short vowel between, forms a long quantity. This is certainly a relief in comparison with the numerous rules of classical Prosody, proved by not a few exceptions, which for instance in Dr. Smith's elementary Latin Grammar fill eight closely printed pages.

Before I proceed to show how from the prosodical unities, the moved and the quiescent letter, first the metrical elements, then the feet and lastly the metres are built up, it will be necessary to obviate a few misunderstandings, to which our mode of transliterating Arabic into the Roman
character might give rise.

The line::

    “Love in my heart they lit and went their ways,” (vol. i. 232)

runs in Arabic:


    “Akámú al-wajda fí kalbí wa sárú” (Mac. Ed. i. 179).

Here, according to our ideas, the word akamú would begin with a short vowel a, and contain two long vowels á and ú; according to Arabic views neither is the case. The word begins with “Alif,” and its second syllable ká closes in Alif after Fathah (a), in the same way, as the third syllable mú closes in the letter Wáw (w) after Zammah (u).

The question, therefore, arises, what is “Alif.” It is the first of the twenty-eight Arabic letters, and has through the medium of the Greek Alpha nominally entered into our alphabet, where it now plays rather a misleading part. Curiously enough, however, Greek itself has preserved for us the key to the real nature of the letter. In ‘{Greek letters} the initial a is preceded by the so called spiritus lends ('), a sign which must be placed in front or at the top of any vowel beginning a Greek word, and which represents that slight aspiration or soft breathing almost involuntarily uttered, when we try to pronounce a vowel by itself. We need not go far to find how deeply rooted this tendency is and to what exaggerations it will sometimes lead. Witness the gentleman who, after mentioning that he had been visiting his “favourite haunts” on the scenes of his early life, was sympathetically asked, how the dear old ladies were. This spiritus lends is the silent h of the French “homme” and the English “honour,” corresponding exactly to the Arabic Hamzah, whose mere prop the Alif is, when it stands at the beginning of a word: a native Arabic Dictionary does not begin with Báb al-Alif (Gate or Chapter of the Alif), but with Báb al-Hamzah. What the Greeks call Alpha and have transmitted to us as a name for the vowel a, is in fact nothing else but the Arabic Hamzah-Alif,(~)moved by Fathah, i.e. bearing the sign(~) for a at the top (~), just as it might have the sign Zammah (~) superscribed to express u (~), or the sign Kasrah (~) subjoined to represent i(~). In each case the Hamzah-Alif, although scarcely audible to our ear, is the real letter and might fitly be rendered in transliteration by the above mentioned silent h, wherever we make an Arabic word begin with a vowel not preceded by any other sign. This latter restriction refers to the sign ', which in Sir Richard Burton's translation of The Nights, as frequently in books published in this country, is used to represent the Arabic letter ~ in whose very name 'Ayn it occurs. The 'Ayn is “described as produced by a smart compression of the upper part of the windpipe and forcible emission of breath,” imparting a guttural tinge to a following or preceding vowel-sound; but it is by no means a mere guttural vowel, as Professor Palmer styles it. For Europeans, who do not belong to the Israelitic dispensation, as well as for Turks and Persians, its exact pronunciation is most difficult, if not impossible to acquire.

In reading Arabic from transliteration for the purpose of scanning poetry, we have therefore in the first instance to keep in mind that no Arabic word or syllable can begin with a vowel. Where our mode of rendering Arabic in the Roman character would make this appear to be the case, either Hamzah (silent h), or 'Ayn (represented by the sign ') is the real initial, and the only element to be taken in account as a letter. It follows as a self-evident corollary that wherever a single consonant stands between two vowels, it never closes the previous syllable, but always opens the next one. Our word “Akámu,” for instance, can only be divided into the syllables: A (properly Ha)-ká-mú, never into Ak-á-mú or Ak-ám-ú.

It has been stated above that the syllable ká is closed by the letter Alif after Fathah, in the same way as the syllable mú is closed by the letter Wáw, and I may add now, as the word fí is closed by the letter Yá (y). To make this perfectly clear, I must repeat that the Arabic Alphabet, as it was originally written, deals only with consonants. The signs for the short vowel-sounds were added later for a special purpose, and are generally not represented even in printed books, e.g. in the various editions of The Nights, where only quotations from the Koran or poetical passages are provided with the vowel-points. But among those consonants there are three, called weak letters (Hurúf al-‘illah), which have a particular organic affinity to these vowel sounds: the guttural Hamzah, which is akin to a, the palatal Yá, which is related to i, and the labial Wáw, which is homogeneous with u. Where any of the weak letters follows a vowel of its own class, either at the end of a word or being itself followed by another consonant, it draws out or lengthens the preceding vowel and is in this sense called a letter of prolongation (Harf al-Madd). Thus, bearing in mind that the Hamzah is in reality a silent h, the syllable ká might be written kah, similarly to the German word “sah,” where the h is not pronounced either, but imparts a lengthened sound to the a. In like manner mú and fí are written in Arabic muw and fiy respectively, and form long quantities not because they contain a vowel long by nature, but because their initial “Muharrakah” is followed by a “Sákinah,” exactly as in the previously mentioned syllables taf, fun, mus. [FN#449] In the Roman transliteration, Akámú forms a word of five letters, two of which are consonants, and three vowels; in Arabic it represents the combination H(a)k(a)hm(u)w, consisting also of five letters but all consonants, the intervening vowels being expressed in writing either merely by superadded external signs, or more frequently not at all. Metrically it represents one short and two long quantities (U – –), forming in Latin a trisyllable foot, called Bacchíus, and in Arabic a quinqueliteral “Rukn” (pillar) or “Juz” (part, portion), the technical designation for which we shall introduce presently.

There is one important remark more to be made with regard to the Hamzah: at the beginning of a word it is either conjunctive, Hamzat al-Wasl, or disjunctive, Hamzat al-Kat'. The difference is best illustrated by reference to the French so-called aspirated h, as compared with the above-mentioned silent h. If the latter, as initial of a noun, is preceded by the article, the article loses its vowel, and, ignoring the silent h altogether, is read with the following noun almost as one word: le homme becomes l'homme (pronounced lomme) as le ami becomes l'ami. This resembles very closely the Arabic Hamzah Wasl. If, on the other hand, a French word begins with an aspirated h, as for instance héros, the article does not drop its vowel before the noun, nor is the h sounded as in the English word “hero,” but the effect of the aspirate is simply to keep the two vowel sounds apart, so as to pronounce le éros with a slight hiatus between, and this is exactly what happens in the case of the Arabic Hamzah Kat'.

With regard to the Wasl, however, Arabic goes a step further than French. In the French example, quoted above, we have seen it is the silent h and the preceding vowel which are eliminated; in Arabic both the Hamzah and its own Harakah, i.e. the short vowel following it, are supplanted by their antecedent. Another example will make this clear. The most common instance of the Hamzah Wasl is the article al (for h(a)l=the Hebrew hal), where it is moved by Fathah. But it has this sound only at the beginning of a sentence or speech, as in “Al-Hamdu” at the head of the Fatihah, or in “Alláhu” at the beginning of the third Surah. If the two words stand in grammatical connection, as in the sentence “Praise be to God,” we cannot say “Al-Hamdu li-Alláhi,” but the junction (Wasl) between the dative particle li and the noun which it governs must take place. According to the French principle, this junction would be effected at the cost of the preceding element and li Alláhi would become l'Alláhí; in Arabic, on the contrary, the kasrated l of the particle takes the place of the following fathated Hamzah and we read li 'lláhi instead. Proceeding in the Fatihah we meet with the verse “Iyyáka na'budu wa iyyáka nasta'ínu,” Thee do we worship and of Thee do we ask aid. Here the Hamzah of iyyáka (properly hiyyáka with silent h) is disjunctive, and therefore its pronunciation remains the same at the beginning and in the middle of the sentence, or, to put it differently, instead of coalescing with the preceding wa into wa'yyáka, the two words are kept separate by the Hamzah, reading wa iyyáka, just as it was the case with the French Le héros.

If the conjunctive Hamzah is preceded by a quiescent letter, this takes generally Kasrah: “Tálat al-Laylah,” the night was longsome, would become Tálati 'l-Laylah. If, however, the quiescent letter is one of prolongation, it mostly drops out altogether, and the Harakah of the next preceding letter becomes {he connecting vowel between the two words, which in our parlance would mean that the end vowel of the first word is shortened before the elided initial of the second. Thus “fí al-bayti,” in the house, which in Arabic is written f(i)y h(a)l-b(a)yt(i) and which we transliterate fí 'l-bayti, is in poetry read fil-bayti, where we must remember that the syllable fil, in spite of its short vowel, represents a long quantity, because it consists of a moved letter followed by a quiescent one. Fíl would be overlong and could, according to Arabic prosody, stand only in certain cases at the end of a verse, i.e. in pause, where a natural tendency prevails to prolong a sound.

The attentive reader will now be able to fix the prosodical value of the line quoted above with unerring security. For metrical purposes it syllabifies into: A-ká-mul-vaj-da fí kal-bí wa sá-rú, containing three short and eight long quantities. The initial unaccented a is short, for the same reason why the syllables da and wa are so, that is, because it corresponds to an Arabic letter, the Hamzah or silent h, moved by Fathah. The syllables ká, fí, bí, sá, rú are long for the same reason why the syllables mul, waj, kal are so, that is, because the accent in the transliteration corresponds to a quiescent Arabic letter, following a moved one. The same simple criterion applies to the whole list, in which I give in alphabetical order the first lines and the metre of all the poetical pieces contained in the Mac. edition, and which will be found at the end of this volume. {This appendix is not included in the electronic text}

The prosodical unities, then, in Arabic are the moved and the quiescent letter, and we are now going to show how they combine into metrical elements, feet, and metres.

i.     The metrical elements (Usúl) are:
    1.     The Sabab, [FN#450] which consists of two letters and is either khafíf (light) or sakíl (heavy). A moved letter followed by a quiescent, i.e. a closed syllable, like the afore-mentioned taf, fun, mus, to which we may now add fá=fah, 'í='iy, 'ú='uw, form a Sabab khafíf, corresponding to the classical long quantity (–). Two moved letters in succession, like mute, 'ala, constitute a Sabab sakíl, for which the classical name would be Pyrrhic (U U). As in Latin and Greek, they are equal in weight and can frequently interchange, that is to say, the Sabab khafíf can be evolved into a sakíl by moving its second Harf, or the latter contracted into the former, by making its second letter quiescent.

    2.     The Watad, consisting of three letters, one of which is quiescent. If the quiescent follows the two moved ones, the Watad is called majmú' (collected or joined), as fa'ú (=fa'uw), mafá (=mafah), 'ilun, and it corresponds to the classical Iambus (U –). If, on the contrary, the quiescent intervenes or separates between the two moved letters, as in fá'i ( = fah'i), látu (=lahtu), taf'i, the Watad is called mafrúk (separated), and has its classical equivalent in the Trochee (– U)

    3.     The Fásilah, [FN#451] containing four letters, i.e. three moved ones followed by a quiescent, and which, in fact, is only a shorter name for a Sabab sakíl followed by a Sabab khafíf, as mute + fá, or 'ala + tun, both of the measure of the classical Anapaest (U U –)

ii.     These three elements, the Sabab, Watad and Fásilah, combine further into feet Arkáan, pl. of Rukn, or Ajzáa, pl. of Juz, two words explained supra p. 236. The technical terms by which the feet are named are derivatives of the root fa'l, to do, which, as the student will remember, serves in Arabic Grammar to form the Auzán or weights, in accordance with which words are derived from roots. It consists of the three letters Fá (f), 'Ayn ('), Lám (l), and, like any other Arabic root, cannot strictly speaking be pronounced, for the introduction of any vowel-sound would make it cease to be a root and change it into an individual word. The above fa'l, for instance, where the initial Fá is moved by Fathah (a), is the Infinitive or verbal noun, “to do,” “doing.” If the 'Ayn also is moved by Fathah, we obtain fa'al, meaning in colloquial Arabic “he did” (the classical or literary form would be fa'ala). Pronouncing the first letter with Zammah (u), the second with Kasrah (i), i.e., fu'il, we say “it was done” (classically fu'ila). Many more forms are derived by prefixing, inserting or subjoining certain additional letters called Hurúf al-Ziyádah (letters of increase) to the original radicals: fá'il, for instance, with an Alif of prolongation in the first syllable, means “doer”; maf'úl (=maf'uwl), where the quiescent Fá is preceded by a fathated Mím (m), and the zammated 'Ayn followed by a lengthening Waw, means “done”; Mufá'alah, where, in addition to a prefixed and inserted letter, the feminine termination ah is subjoined after the Lám, means “to do a thing reciprocally.” Since these and similar changes are with unvarying regularity applicable to all roots, the grammarians use the derivatives of Fa'l as model-forms for the corresponding derivations of any other root, whose letters are in this case called its Fá, 'Ayn and Lám. From a root, e.g., which has Káf (k) for its first letter or Fá, Tá (t) for its second letter or 'Aye, and Bá (b) for its third letter or Lám

         fa'l would be katb    =to write, writing;
         fa'al would be katab =he wrote;
         fu'il would be kutib  =it was written;
         fa'il would be katib  =writer, scribe;
         maf'úl would be maktúb=written, letter;
         mufá'alah would be mukátabah = to write reciprocally, correspondence.

The advantage of this system is evident. It enables the student, who has once grasped the original meaning of a root, to form scores of words himself, and in his readings, to understand hundreds, nay thousands, of words, without recourse to the Dictionary, as soon as he has learned to distinguish their radical letters from the letters of increase, and recognises in them a familiar root. We cannot wonder, therefore, that the inventor of Arabic Prosody readily availed himself of the same plan for his own ends. The Taf'íl, as it is here called, that is, the representation of the metrical feet by current derivatives of fa'l, has in this case, of course, nothing to do with the etymological meaning of those typical forms. But it proves none the less useful in another direction: in simply naming a particular foot it shows at the same time its prosodical measure and character, as will now be explained in detail.

We have seen supra p. 236 that the word Akámú consists of a short syllable followed by two long ones (U – –), and consequently forms a foot, which the classics would call Bacchíus. In Latin there is no connection between this name and the metrical value of the foot: we must learn both by heart. But if we are told that its Taf'íl in Arabic is Fa'úlun, we understand at once that it is composed of the Watad majmú' fa'ú (U –) and the Sabab khafíf lun (–), and as the Watad contains three, the Sabab two letters, it forms a quinqueliteral foot or Juz khamásí.

In combining into feet, the Watad has the precedence over the Sabab and the Fásilah, and again the Watad majmú' over the Watad mafrúk. Hence the Prosodists distinguish between Ajzá aslíyah or primary feet (from Asl, root), in which this precedence is observed, and Ájzá far'íyah or secondary feet (from Far'= branch), in which it is reversed. The former are four in number:--

1.     Fa'ú.lun, consisting,as we have just seen, of a Watad majmú' followed by a Sabab khafíf = the Latin Bacchíus (U – –).

2.     Mafá.'í.lun, i.e. Watad majmú' followed by two Sabab khafíf = the Latin Epitritus primus (U – – –).

3.     Mufá.'alatun, i.e. Watad majmú' followed by Fásilah = the Latin Iambus followed by Anapaest (U – U U –).

4.     Fá'i.lá.tun, i.e. Watad mafrúk followed by two Sabab khafíf = the Latin Epitritus secundus (–U– –).

The number of the secondary feet increases to six, for as Nos. 2 and 4 contain two Sabab, they “branch out” into two derived feet each, according to both Sabab or only one changing place with regard to the Watad. They are:

5.     Fá.'ilun, i.e. Sabab khafíf followed by Watad majmú'= the Latin Creticus (–U–). The primary Fa'ú.lun becomes by transposition Lun.fa'ú. To bring this into conformity with a current derivative of fa'l, the initial Sabab must be made to contain the first letter of the root, and the Watad the two remaining ones in their proper order. Fá is therefore substituted for lun, and 'ilun for fa'ú, forming together the above Fá.'ilun. By similar substitutions, which it would be tedious to specify in each separate case, Mafá.'í.lun becomes:

6.     Mus.taf.'ilun, for 'Í.lun.mafá, i.e. two Sabab khafíf, followed by Watad majmú' = the Latin Epitritus tertius (– –U–), or:

7.     Fá.'ilá.tun, for Lun.mafá.'í, i.e. Watad majmú' between two Sabab khafíf = the Latin Epitritus secundus (–U– –).

8.     Mutafá.'ilun (for 'Alatun.mufá, the reversed Mufá.'alatun), i.e. Fásilah followed by Watad majmú'=the Latin Anapaest succeeded by Iambus (U U –U–). The last two secondary feet are transpositions of No. 4, Fá'i.lá.tun, namely:

9.     Maf.'ú.látu, for Lá.tun.fá'i, i.e. two Sabab khafíf, followed by Watad mafrúk = the Latin Epitritus quartus (– – –U).

10.     Mus.taf’i.lun, for Tun.fá'i.lá, i.e. Watad mafrúk between two Sabab khafíf=the Latin Epitritus tertius (– –U–). [FN#452]

The “branch”-foot Fá.'ilun (No. 5), like its “root” Fa'ú.lun (No. 1), is quinqueliteral. All other feet, primary or secondary, consist necessarily of seven letters, as they contain a triliteral Watad (see supra i. 2) with either two biliteral Sabab khafíf (i. 1) or a quadriliteral Fásilah (i. 3). They are, therefore, called Sabá'í = seven lettered.

iii.     The same principle of the Watad taking precedence over Sabab and Fásilah, rules the arrangement of the Arabic metres, which are divided into five circles (Dawáir, pl. of Dáirah), so called for reasons presently to be explained. The first is named:

A.     Dáirat al-Mukhtalif, circle of “the varied” metre, because it is composed of feet of various length, the five-lettered Fa'úlun (supra ii. 1) and the seven-lettered Mafá'ílun (ii. 2) with their secondaries Fá'ilun, Mustaf.'ilun and Fá.'ilátun (ii. 5-7), and it comprises three Buhúr or metres (pi. of Bahr, sea), the Tawíl, Madíd and Basít.

  1.     Al-Tawil, consisting of twice

    Fa'ú.lun Mafá.'ílun Fa'ú.lun Mafá.'ílun,

the classical scheme for which would be

    U – – | U – – – | U – – | U – – – |

If we transfer the Watad Fa'ú from the beginning of the line to the end, it would read:

    Lun.mafá'í Lun.fa'ú Lun.mafá'í Lun.fa'ú which, after the substitutions indicated above (ii. 7 and 5), becomes:

  2.     Al-Madíd, consisting of twice

    Fá.'ilátun Fá.'ilun Fá.'ilátun Fá.'ilun.

which may be represented by the classical scheme

    – U – – | – U – | – U – – | – U – |

If again, returning to the Tawíl, we make the break after the Watad of the second foot we obtain the line:

    'Ílun.fa'ú. Lum.mafá 'Ílun.fa'u Lun.mafá, and as metrically

    'Ílun.fa'ú (two Sabab followed by Watad) and Lun.mafá (one Sabab followed by Watad) are='Ílun.mafá and Lun.fa'ú respectively, their Taf'il is effected by the same substitutions as in ii. 5 and 6, and they become:

  3.     Basít, consisting of twice

    Mustaf.'ilun Fá.'ilun Mustaf.'ilun Fá.'ilun,

in conformity with the classical scheme:

    – – U – | – U – | – – U – | – U – |

Thus one metre evolves from another by a kind of rotation, which suggested to the Prosodists an ingenious device of representing them by circles (hence the name Dáirah), round the circumference of which on the outside the complete Taf’íl of the original metre is written, while each moved letter is faced by a small loop, each quiescent by a small vertical stroke [FN#453]  inside the circle. Then, in the case of this present Dáirat al-Mukhtalif for instance, the loop corresponding to the initial f of the first Fa'úlun is marked as the beginning of the Tawíl, that corresponding to its l (of the Sabab fun) as the beginning of the Madid, and that corresponding to the 'Ayn of the next Mafá'ílun as the beginning of the Basít. The same process applies to all the following circles, but our limited space compels us simply to enumerate them, together with their Buhúr, without further reference to the mode of their evolution.

B.     Dáirat al-Mútalif, circle of “the agreeing” metre, so called because all its feet agree in length, consisting of seven letters each. It contains:

1.     Al-Wáfir, composed of twice

         Mufá.'alatun Mufá.'alatun Mufá.'alatun (ii. 3)

         = U – U U – | U – U U – | U – U U – |

where the Iambus in each foot precedes the Anapaest, and

its reversal:

2.     Al-Kámil, consisting of twice

         Mutafá.'ilun Mutafá.'ilun Mutafá.'ilun (ii. 8)


         = U U – U – | U U – U – | U U – U – |

where the Anapaest takes the first place in every foot.

C.     Dáirat al-Mujtalab, circle of “the brought on” metre, so called because its seven-lettered feet are brought on from the first circle.

1.     Al-Hazaj, consisting of twice

                   Mafá.'ílun Mafá.'ílun Mafá.'ílun (ii. 2)

                   = U – – – | U – – – | U – – – | U – – – |

2.     Al-Rajaz, consisting of twice

                   Mustaf.'ilun Mustaf.'ilun Mustaf.'ilun,

and, in this full form, almost identical with the Iambic Trimeter of the Greek Drama:

                   – – U – | – – U – | – – U – |

3.     Al-Ramal, consisting of twice

                   Fá.'ilátun Fá.'ilátun Fá.'ilátun,

the trochaic counterpart of the preceding metre

                   = – U – – | – U – – | – U – – |

D.     Dáirat al-Mushtabih, circle of “the intricate” metre, so called from its intricate nature, primary mingling with secondary feet, and one foot of the same verse containing a Watad majmú', another a Watad mafrúk, i.e. the iambic rhythm alternating with the trochaic and vice versa. Its Buhúr are:

1.     Al-Sarí', twice

                   Mustaf.'ilun Mustaf.'ilun Maf'ú.látu (ii. 6 and 9)

                             = – – U – | – – U – | – – – U |
2.     Al-Munsarih, twice

                   Mustaf.'ilun Mafú.látu Mustaf.'ilun (ii. 6. 9. 6)


                             = – – U – | – – – U | – – U – |

3.     Al-Khafíf, twice

                   Fá.'ílátun Mustaf'i.lun Fá.'ílátun (ii. 7.10.7)

                              = – U – – | – – U – | – U – – |

4.     Al-Muzári', twice

                   Mafá.'ílun Fá'í.látun Mafá.'ílun (ii. 2.4.2)

                             = U – – – | – U – – | U – – – |

5.     Al-Muktazib, twice

                   Maf'ú.látu Mustaf.'ilun Maf'ú.látu (ii. 9.6.9)

                             = – – – U | – – U – | – – – U |

6.     Al-Mujtass, twice

                   Mustaf'i.lun Fá.'ílátun Mustaf' i.lun (ii. 10.7.10)

                             = – – U – | – U – – | – – U – |

E.     Dáirat al-Muttafik, circle of “the concordant” metre, so called for the same reason why circle B is called “the agreeing,” i.e. because the feet all harmonise in length, being here, however, quinqueliteral, not seven-lettered as in the Mátalif. Al-Khalil the inventor of the ''Ilm al-'Arúz, assigns to it only one metre:

1.     Al-Mutakárib, twice

                   Fa'úlun Fa'úlun Fa'úlun Fa'úlun (ii. 1)

                             = U – – | U – – | U – – |

Later Prosodists added:

2.     Al-Mutadárak, twice

                   Fá'ilun Fá'ilun Fá'ilun Fá'ilun (ii. 5)

                             = – U – | – U – | – U – |


The feet and metres as given above are, however, to a certain extent merely theoretical; in practice the former admit of numerous licenses and the latter of variations brought about by modification or partial suppression of the feet final in a verse. An Arabic poem (Kasídah, or if numbering less than ten couplets, Kat'ah) consists of Bayts or couplets, bound together by a continuous rhyme, which connects the first two lines and is repeated at the end of every second line throughout the poem. The last foot of every odd line is called 'Arúz (fem. in contradistinction of Arúz in the sense of Prosody which is masc.), pl. A'áiriz, that of every even line is called Zarb, pl. Azrub, and the remaining feet may be termed Hashw (stuffing), although in stricter parlance a further distinction is made between the first foot of every odd and even line as well.

Now with regard to the Hashw on the one hand, and the 'Aruz and Zarb on the other, the changes which the normal feet undergo are of two kinds: Zuháf (deviation) and 'Illah (defect). Zuháf applies, as a rule, occasionally and optionally to the second letter of a Sabab in those feet which compose the Hashw or body-part of a verse, making a long syllable short by suppressing its quiescent final, or contracting two short quantities in a long one, by rendering quiescent a moved letter which stands second in a Sabab sakíl. In Mustaf'ilun (ii. 6. = – – U –), for instance, the s of the first syllable, or the f of the second, or both may be dropped and it will become accordingly Mutaf'ilun, by substitution Mafá'ilun (U – U –), or Musta'ilun, by substitution, Mufta'ilun (– U U –), or Muta'ilun, by substitution Fa'ilatun (U U U –). [FN#454] This means that wherever the foot Mustaf.'ilun occurs in the Hashw of a poem, we can represent it by the scheme U U U – i.e. the Epitritus tertius can, by poetical licence, change into Diiambus, Choriambus or Paeon quartus. In Mufá'alatun (ii. 3. = U – U U –) and Mutafá'ilun (ii. 8. = U U – U –), again, the Sabab 'ala and mute may become khafíf by suppression of their final Harakah and thus turn into Mufá'altun, by substitution Mafá'ílun (ii. 2. = U – – –), and Mutfá'ilun, by substitution Mustaf'ilun (ii 6.= – – U U as above). In other words the two feet correspond to the schemes U_U–U_ and U–U–U–, where a Spondee can take the place of the Anapaest after or before the Iambus respectively.

'Illah, the second way of modifying the primitive or normal feet, applies to both Sabab and Watad, but only in the 'Aruz and Zarb of a couplet, being at the same time constant and obligatory. Besides the changes already mentioned, it consists in adding one or two letters to a Sabab or Watad, or curtailing them more or less, even to cutting them off altogether. We cannot here exhaust this matter any more than those touched upon until now, but must be satisfied with an example or two, to show the proceeding in general and indicate its object.

We have seen that the metre Basít consists of the two lines:

                   Mustaf.'ilun Fá.'ilun Mustaf'ilun Fá'ilun
                   Mustaf'ilun Fá'ilun Mustaf'ilun Fá'ilun.

This complete form, however, is not in use amongst Arab poets. If by the Zuháf Khabn, here acting as 'Illah, the Alif in the final Fá'ilun is suppressed, changing it into Fa'ilun (U U –), it becomes the first 'Aruz, called makhbúnah, of the Basít, the first Zarb of which is obtained by submitting the final Fá'ilun of the second line to the same process. A second Zarb results, if in Fá'ilun the final n of the 'Watad 'ilun is cut off and the preceding l made quiescent by the 'Illah Kat' thus giving Fá'il and by substitution Fa'lun (– –). Thus the formula becomes:--

                   Mustaf'ilun Fá'ilun Mustaf’ilun Fa'ilun
                   Mustaf'ilun Fá'ilun Mustaf’ilun{Fa’ilun
                                                               {Fa’lun

As in the Hashw, i.e. the first three feet of each line, the Khabn can likewise be applied to the medial Fá'ilun, and for Mustaf'ilun the poetical licences, explained above, may be introduced, this first 'Arúz or Class of the Basít with its two Zarb or subdivisions will be represented by the scheme

         U U      | U       | U U      |
         – – U – | – U – | – – U U | U U –

                    U U      | U       { U U –
                    – – U – | – U – { – –

that is to say in the first subdivision of this form of the Basít both lines of each couplet end with an Anapaest and every second line of the other subdivision terminates in a Spondee.

The Basít has four more A'áriz, three called majzúah, because each line is shortened by a Juz or foot, one called mashtúrah (halved), because the number of feet is reduced from four to two, and we may here notice that the former kind of lessening the number of feet is frequent with the hexametrical circles (B. C. D.), while the latter kind can naturally only occur in those circles whose couplet forms an octameter (A. E.). Besides being majzúah, the second 'Aruz is sahíhah (perfect) consisting of the normal foot Mustaf'ilun. It has three Azrub: 1. Mustaf'ilán (– – U –‘,  with an overlong final syllable, see supra p. 238), produced by the 'Illah Tazyíl, i.e. addition of a quiescent letter at the end (Mustaf'ilunn, by substitution Mustaf'ilán); 2. Mustaf'ilun, like the 'Aruz; 3. Maf'úlun (– – –), produced by the 'Illah Kat' (see the preceding page; Mustaf'ilun, by dropping the final n and making the l quiescent becomes Mustaf'il and by substitution Maf'úlun). Hence the formula is:

                   Mustaf'ilun Fá'ilun Mustaf'ilun
                                               { Mustaf'ilan
                   Mustaf'ilun Fá'ilun{ Mustaf'ilun
                                               { Maf'úulun,

which, with its allowable licenses, may be represented by the scheme:

                   U U      | U      |
                   – – U – | – U – | – – U –

                                          { U U
                   U U     | U        { – – U –
                   – – U – | – U – { – – U –
                                          { U
                                          { – – –

The above will suffice to illustrate the general method of the Prosodists, and we must refer the reader for the remaining classes and subdivisions of the Basít as well as the other metres to more special treatises on the subject, to which this Essay is intended merely as an introduction, with a view to facilitate the first steps of the student in an important, but I fear somewhat neglected, field of Arabic learning.

If we now turn to the poetical pieces contained in The Nights, we find that out of the fifteen metres, known to al-Khalil, or the sixteen of later Prosodists, instances of thirteen occur in the Mac. N. edition, but in vastly different proportions. The total number amounts to 1,385 pieces (some, however, repeated several times), out of which 1,128 belong to the first two circles, leaving only 257 for the remaining three. The same disproportionality obtains with regard to the metres of each circle. The Mukhtalif is represented by 331 instances of Tawíl and 330 of Basít against 3 of Madíd; the Mutalif by 321 instances of Kámil against 143 of Wafír; the Mujtalab by 32 instances of Ramal and 30 of Rajaz against 1 of Hazaj; the Mushtabih by 72 instances of Khafíf and 52 of Sarí' against 18 of Munsarih and 15 of Mujtass; and lastly the Muttafik by 37 instances of Mutakárib. Neither the Mutadárak (E. 2), nor the Muzári' and Muktazib (D. 4.5) are met with.

Finally it remains for me to quote a couplet of each metre, showing how to scan them, and what relation they bear to the theoretical formulas exhibited on p. 242 to p. 247.

It is characteristic for the preponderance of the Tawíl over all the other metres, that the first four lines, with which my alphabetical list begins, are written in it. One of these belongs to a poem which has for its author Bahá al-Din Zuhayr (born A.D. 1186 at Mekkah or in its vicinity, ob. 1249 at Cairo), and is to be found in full in Professor Palmer's edition of his works, p. 164. Sir Richard Burton translates the first Bayt (vol. i. 290):

         An I quit Cairo and her pleasances * Where can I hope to find so gladsome ways?

Professor Palmer renders it:

         Must I leave Egypt where such joys abound?
         What place can ever charm me so again ?

In Arabic it scans:

         U – U | U – – – | U – U |  U – U – |
         A-arhalu'en Misrin wa tíbi na'ímihil [FN#455]
         U – U | U – – – | U – U |  U – U – |
         Fa-ayyu makánin ba'dahá li-ya sháiku.

In referring to iii. A. I. p. 242, it will be seen that in the Hashw Fa'úlun (U – –) has become Fa'úlu (U – U) by a Zuháf called Kabz (suppression of the fifth letter of a foot if it is quiescent) and that in the 'Arúz and Zarb Mafá'ílun (U – – –) has changed into Mafá'ilun (U – U –) by the same Zuháf acting as 'Illah. The latter alteration shows the couplet to be of the second Zarb of the first 'Arúz of the Tawíl. If the second line did terminate in Mafá'ílun, as in the original scheme, it would be the first Zarb of the same 'Arúz; if it did end in Fa'úlun (U – –) or Mafá'íl (U – –) it would represent the third or fourth subdivision of this first class respectively. The Tawíl has one other 'Arúz, Fa'úlun, with a twofold Zarb, either Fa'úlun also, or Mafá'ilun.

The first instance of the Basít occurring in The Nights are the lines translated vol. i. p. 25:

                   Containeth Time a twain of days, this of blessing, that of bane *
                   And holdeth Life a twain of halves, this of pleasure, that of pain.

In Arabic (Mac. N. i. II):

            – – U – | – U – | – – U – | U U – |
         Al-Dahru yaumáni zá amnun wa zá hazaru

            – – U – | – U – | – – U – | U U – |
         Wa'l-'Ayshu shatráni zá safwun wa zá kadaru.

Turning back to p. 243, where the A'áríz and Azrub of the Basít are shown, the student will have no difficulty to recognise the Bayt as one belonging to the first Zarb of the first 'Arúz.

As an example of the Madid we quote the original of the lines (vol. v. 131):--

    I had a heart, and with it lived my life * 'Twas seared with fire and burnt with loving-lowe.

They read in Arabic:--

                    – U – – | – U – | U U – |
                   Kána lí kalbun a'íshu bihi

                      – U – – | – U – | U – |
                   Fa'ktawá bi'l-nári wa'htarak.

If we compare this with the formula (iii. A. 2. p. 242), we find that either line of the couplet is shortened by a foot; it is, therefore, majzú. The first 'Arúz of this abbreviated metre is Fá'ilátun (– U – –), and is called sahíhah (perfect) because it consists of the normal third foot. In the second 'Arúz, Fá'ilátun loses its end syllable tun by the 'Illah Hafz (suppression of a final Sabab khafíf), and becomes Fá'ilá (– U –), for which Fá'ilun is substituted. Shortening the first syllable of Fá'ilun, i.e. eliminating the Alif by Khabn, we obtain the third 'Arúz Fa'ilun (U U –) as that of the present lines, which has two Azrub: Fa'ilun, like the 'Arúz, and Fa'lun (– –), here, again by Khabn, further reduced to Fa'al (U –).

Ishak of Mosul, who improvises the piece, calls it “so difficult and so rare, that it went nigh to deaden the quick and to quicken the dead”; indeed, the native poets consider the metre Madíd as the most difficult of all, and it is scarcely ever attempted by later writers. This accounts for its rare  occurrence in The Nights, where only two more instances are to be found, Mac. N. ii. 244 and iii.
404.


The second and third circle will best be spoken of together, as the Wáfir and Kámil have a natural affinity to the Hazaj and Rajaz. Let us revert to the line:--

                   U – – – | U – – – | U – – |
                 Akámú 'l-wajda fí kalbí wa sárú.

Translated, as it were, into the language of the Prosodists it will be:--

                   Mafá'ílun [FN#456] 'Mafá'ílun Fa'úlun,

and this, standing by itself, might prima facie be taken for a line of the Hazaj (iii. C. I), with the third Mafá'ílun shortened by Hafz (see above) into Mafá'í for which Fa'úlun would be substituted. We have seen (p. 247) that and how the foot Mufá'alatun can change into Mafá'ílun, and if in any poem which otherwise would belong to the metre Hazaj, the former measure appears even in one foot only along with the latter, it is considered to be the original measure, and the poem counts no longer as Hazaj but as Wáfir. In the piece now under consideration, it is the second Bayt where the characteristic foot of the Wáfir first appears:--

                   U – – – | U – U U | U – – |
                   Naat 'anní'l-rubú'u wa sákiníhá

                   U – U U – | U – U U – | U – – |
                   Wa kad ba'uda 'l-mazáru fa-lá mazáru.

Anglicè (vol. iii. 296):--

    Far lies the camp and those who camp therein; * Far is her tent shrine where I ne'er shall tent.

It must, however, be remarked that the Hazaj is not in use as a hexameter, but only with an 'Arúz majzúah or shortened by one foot. Hence it is only in the second 'Arúz of the Wafír, which is likewise majzúah, that the ambiguity as to the real nature of the metre can arise; [FN#457] and the isolated couplet:--

                   U – – – | U – – –  | U – – |
                   Yárídu 'l-mar-u an yu'tá munáhu

                   U – – – | U – – –  | U – – |
                   Wa yabá 'lláhu illá ma yurídu

Man wills his wish to him accorded be, * But Allah naught accords save what he wills (vol. iv. 157),

being hexametrical, forms undoubtedly part of a poem in Wafír although it does not contain the foot Mufá'alatun at all. Thus the solitary instance of Hazaj in The Nights is Abú Nuwás' abomination, beginning with:--

                   U – – –  | U – – – |

                   Fa-lá tas'au ilá ghayrí

                   U – – –  | U – – – |
                   Fa-'indi ma'dinu 'l-khayri (Mac. N. ii. 377).

    Steer ye your steps to none but me * Who have a mine of luxury (vol. v. 65).

If in the second 'Arúz of the Wáfir, Maf'áílun (U – – –) is further shortened to Mafá'ilun (U – U –), the metre resembles the second 'Arúz of Rajaz, where, as we have seen, the latter foot can, by licence, take the place of the normal Mustaf'ilun (– – U –).

The Kámil bears a similar relation to the Rajaz, as the Wáfir bears to the Hazaj. By way of illustration we quote from Mac. N. ii. 8 the first two Bayts of a little poem taken from the 23rd Assembly of Al Hariri:--

            – – U – | – – U – | U U – U – |
         Yá khátiba 'l-dunyá 'l-daniyyati innahá

            U U – U – | U U – U – | – – – |
         Sharaku 'l-radà wa karáratu 'l-akdári

             – – U – | – – U – | – – U – |
         Dárun matà má azhakat fí yaumiha

              – – U – | – – U – | – – – |
         Abkat ghadan bu'dan lahá min dári.

In Sir Richard Burton's translation (vol. iii. 319):--

O thou who woo'st a World unworthy, learn * 'Tis house of evils, 'tis Perdition's net:
A house where whoso laughs this day shall weep * The next; then perish house of fume and fret.

The 'Arúz of the first couplet is Mutafá'ilun, assigning the piece to the first or perfect (sahíhah) class of the Kámil. In the Hashw of the opening line and in that of the whole second Bayt this normal Mutafá'ilun has, by licence, become Mustaf'ilun, and the same change has taken place in the 'Arúz of the second couplet; for it is a peculiarity which this metre shares with a few others, to allow certain alterations of the kind Zuháf in the 'Arúz and Zarb as well as in the Hashw. This class has three subdivisions: the Zarb of the first is Mutafá'ilun, like the 'Arúz the Zarb of the second is Fa'alátun (U U – –), a substitution for Mutafá'il which latter is obtained from Mutafá'ilun by suppressing the final n and rendering the l quiescent; the Zarb of the third is Fa'lun (– – –) for Mútfá, derived from Mutafá'ilun by cutting off the Watad 'ilun and dropping the medial a of the remaining Mutafá.

If we make the 'Ayn of the second Zarb Fa'alátun also quiescent by the permitted Zuháf Izmár, it changes into Fa'látun, by substitution Maf 'úlun (– – –) which terminates the rhyming lines of the foregoing quotation. Consequently the two couplets taken together, belong to the second Zarb of the first 'Aruz of the Kámil, and the metre of the poem with its licences may be represensed by the scheme:


          –        | –        |  –        |
         U U – U – | U U – U – | U U – U – |

           –        | –        |  –      |
          U U – U – | U U – U – | U U – – |

Taken isolated, on the other hand, the second Bayt might be of the metre Rajaz, whose first 'Arúz Mustaf'ilun has two Azrub: one equal to the Arúz, the other Maf'úlun as above, but here substituted for Mustaf'il after applying the 'Illah Kat' (see p 247) to Mustaf'ilun. If this were the metre of the poem throughout the scheme with the licences peculiar to the Rajaz would be:

         U U     | U U     | U U     |
         – – U U | – – U – | – – U – |

         U U     | U U     | U     |
         – – U – | – – U – | – – – |

The pith of Al-Hariri's Assembly is that the knight errant not to say the arrant wight of the Romance, Abú Sayd of Sarúj accuses before the Walí of Baghdad his pretended pupil, in reality his son, to have appropriated a poem of his by lopping off two feet of every Bayt. If this is done in the quoted lines, they read:

             – – U – | – – U – |
         Yá khátiba 'l-dunyá 'l-dandy.

         U U – U | U U – U – |
         Yati innahá sharaku 'l-radá

            – – U – | – – U – |
         Dárun matà má azhakat,

            – – U – | – – U – |
         Fí yaumihá abkat ghadá,

with a different rhyme and of a different variation of metre. The amputated piece belongs to the fourth Zarb of the third 'Aruz of Kámil, and its second couplet tallies with the second subdivision of the second class of Rajaz.

The Rajaz, an iambic metre pure and simple, is the most popular, because the easiest, in which even the Prophet was caught napping sometimes, at the dangerous risk of following the perilous leadership of Imru 'l-Kays. It is the metre of improvisation, of ditties, and of numerous didactic poems. In the latter case, when the composition is called Urjúzah, the two lines of every Bayt rhyme, and each Bayt has a rhyme of its own. This is the form in which, for instance, Ibn Málik's Alfíyah is written, as well as the remarkable grammatical work of the modern native scholar, Nasíf al-Yazijí, of which a notice will be found in Chenery's Introduction to his Translation of Al-Hariri.

While the Hazaj and Rajaz connect the third circle with the first and second, the Ramal forms the link between the third and fourth Dáirah. Its measure Fá'ilátun (– U – –) and the reversal of it, Maf'úlátu (– – – U), affect the trochaic rhythm, as opposed to the iambic of the two first-named metres. The iambic movement has a ring of gladness about it, the trochaic a wail of sadness: the former resembles a nimble pedestrian, striding apace with an elastic step and a cheerful heart; the latter is like a man toiling along on the desert path, where his foot is ever and anon sliding back in the burning sand (Raml, whence probably the name of the metre). Both combined in regular alternation, impart an agitated character to the verse, admirably fit to express the conflicting emotions of a passion stirred mind.

Examples of these more or less plaintive and pathetic metres are numerous in the Tale of Uns al-Wujúd and the Wazir's Daughter, which, being throughout a story of love, as has been noted, vol. v. 33, abounds in verse, and, in particular, contains ten out of the thirty two instances of Ramal occurring in The Nights. We quote:

Ramal, first Zarb of the first 'Arúz (Mac. N. ii. 361):

            – U – – | U U – – | – U – |
         Inna li 'l-bulbuli sautan fí 'l-sahar

            – U – – | U U – – | – U – |
         Ashghala 'l-áshika 'an husni 'l-water

The Bulbul's note, whenas dawn is nigh * Tells the lover from strains of strings to fly (vol. v. 48).

Sarí', second Zarb of the first 'Arúz (Mac. N. ii. 359):

          U – U – | – – U – | – U – |
         Wa fákhitin kad kála fí nauhihi

          – – U – | – – U – | – U – |
         Yá Dáiman shukran 'alà balwatí

I heard a ringdove chanting soft and plaintively, * “I thank Thee, O Eternal for this misery” (vol. v. 47).

Khafíf, full or perfect form (sahíh), both in Zarb and 'Arúz (Mac. N. ii. 356):

          – U – – | U – U – | – U – – |
         Yá li-man ashtakí 'l-gharáma 'llazí bi

          U U – – | U – U – | – U – – |
         Wa shujúní wa furkatí 'an habíbí

O to whom now of my desire complaining sore shall I * Bewail my parting from my fere compellèd thus to fly (vol. v. 44).

Mujtass, the only 'Arúz (majzúah sahíhah, i.e. shortened by one foot and perfect) with equal Zarb (Mac. N. ii. 367):

           – – U – | U U – – |
         Ruddú 'alayya habíbí

           – – U – | – U – – |
         Lá hajatan lí bi-málin

To me restore my dear * I want not wealth untold (vol. v.  55).

As an instance of the Munsarih, I give the second occurring in The Nights, because it affords me an opportunity to show the student how useful a knowledge of the laws of Prosody frequently proves for ascertaining the correct reading of a text. Mac. N. i. 33 we find the line:

         – U U – | – U U – | – U U – |
         Arba'atun má 'jtama'at kattu izá.

This would be Rajaz with the licence Mufta'ilun for Mustaf'ilun. But the following lines of the fragment evince, that the metre is Munsarih; hence, a clerical error must lurk somewhere in the second foot. In fact, on page 833 of the same volume, we find the piece repeated, and here the first couplet reads

         – U U – | – U – U | – U U – |
         Arba'atun má 'jtama'na kattu siwà

         U – U – | – U – U | – U U – |
         Alà azá mujhatí wa safki damí

Four things which ne'er conjoin unless it be * To storm my vitals and to shed my blood (vol. iii. 237).

The Mutákarib, the last of the metres employed in The Nights, has gained a truly historical importance by the part which it plays in Persian literature. In the form of trimetrical double-lines, with a several rhyme for each couplet, it has become the “Nibelungen”-stanza of the Persian epos:
Firdausí's immortal “Book of Kings” and Nizámi's Iskander-námah are written in it, not to mention a host of Masnawis in which Sufic mysticism combats Mohammedan orthodoxy. On account of its warlike and heroical character, therefore, I choose for an example the knightly Jamrakán's challenge to the single fight in which he conquers his scarcely less valiant adversary Kaurajan, Mac. N. iii. 296:

          U – – | U – U | U – – | U – – |
         Aná 'l-Jamrakánu kawiyyn 'l-janáni

          U – – | U – U | U – – | U – – |
         Jamí'u 'l-fawárisi takhshà kitálí.

Here the third syllable of the second foot in each line is shortened by licence, and the final Kasrah of the first line, standing in pause, is long, the metre being the full form of the Mutakárib as exhibited p. 246, iii. E. 1. If we suppress the Kasrah of al-Janáni, which is also allowable in pause, and make the second line to rhyme with the first, saying, for instance:

            U – – | U – U | U – – | U –
         Aná 'l-Jamrakánu kawiyyu 'l-janán

            U – – | U – – | U – – | U –
         La-yakshà kitálí shijá'u 'l-zamán,

we obtain the powerful and melodious metre in which the Sháhnámah sings of Rustam's lofty deeds, of the tender love of Rúdabah and the tragic downfall of Siyawush

Shall I confess that in writing the foregoing pages it has been my ambition to become a conqueror, in a modest way, myself: to conquer, I mean, the prejudice frequently entertained, and shared even by my accomplished countryman, Rückert, that Arabic Prosody is a clumsy and repulsive doctrine. I have tried to show that it springs naturally from the character of the language, and, intimately connected, as it is, with the grammatical system of the Arabs, it appears to me quite worthy of the acumen of a people, to whom, amongst other things, we owe the invention of Algebra, the stepping-stone of our whole modern system of Mathematics I cannot refrain, therefore, from concluding with a little anecdote anent al-Khalíl, which Ibn Khallikán tells in the following words. His son went one day into the room where his father was, and on finding him scanning a piece of poetry by the rules of Prosody he ran out and told the people that his father had lost his wits. They went in immediately and related to al-Khalíl what they had heard, on which he addressed his son in these terms:

“Had you known what I was saying, you would have excused me, and had you known what you said, I should have blamed you But you did not understand me, so you blamed me, and I knew that you were ignorant, so I pardoned you.”





L'Envoi.



Here end, to my sorrow, the labours of a quarter-century, and here I must perforce say with the “poets' Poet,”

         “Behold! I see the haven nigh at hand,
         To which I mean my wearie course to bend;
         Vere the main shete, and bear up with the land
         The which afore is fairly to be ken'd.”

Nothing of importance now indeed remains for me but briefly to estimate the character of my work and to take cordial leave of my readers, thanking them for the interest they have accorded to these volumes and for enabling me thus successfully to complete the decade.

Without pudor malus or over-diffidence I would claim to have fulfilled the promise contained in my Foreword. The anthropological notes and notelets, which not only illustrate and read between the lines of the text, but assist the student of Moslem life and of Arabo-Egyptian manners, customs and language in a multitude of matters shunned by books, form a repertory of Eastern knowledge in its esoteric phase, sexual as well as social.

To assert that such lore is unnecessary is to state, as every traveller knows, an “absurdum.” Few phenomena are more startling than the vision of a venerable infant, who has lived half his long life in the midst of the wildest anthropological vagaries and monstrosities, and yet who absolutely ignores all that India or Burmah enacts under his very eyes. This is crass ignorance, not the naive innocence of Saint Francis who, seeing a man and a maid in a dark corner, raised his hands to Heaven and thanked the Lord that there was still in the world so much of Christian Charity.

Against such lack of knowledge my notes are a protest; and I may claim success despite the difficulty of the task. A traveller familiar with Syria and Palestine, Herr Landberg, writes, “La plume refuserait son service, la langue serait insuffisante, si celui qui connait la vie de tous les jours des Orientaux, surtout des classes élévees, voulait la devoiler. L'Europe est bien loin d'en avoir la moindre idée.”

In this matter I have done my best, at a time too when the hapless English traveller is expected to write like a young lady for young ladies, and never to notice what underlies the most superficial stratum. And I also maintain that the free treatment of topics usually taboo'd and held to be “alekta”--unknown and unfitted for publicity--will be a national benefit to an “Empire of Opinion,” whose very basis and buttresses are a thorough knowledge by the rulers of the ruled. Men have been crowned with gold in the Capitol for lesser services rendered to the Respublica.

That the work contains errors, shortcomings and many a lapsus, I am the first and foremost to declare. Yet in justice to myself I must also notice that the maculæ are few and far between; even the most unfriendly and interested critics have failed to point out an abnormal number of slips. And before pronouncing the “Vos plaudite!” or, as Easterns more politely say, “I implore that my poor name may be raised aloft on the tongue of praise,” let me invoke the fair field and courteous favour which the Persian poet expected from his readers.

         (Veil it, an fault thou find, nor jibe nor jeer:--
         None may be found of faults and failings clear!)

RICHARD F. BURTON.

Athenæum Club, September 30, ‘86.



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