Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/34

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as they moved, desire and longing redoubled on him; and he puffed and snorted and he devoured them with his eyes, for he could not contain himself, repeating the while these two couplets,

"Here the heart reads a chapter of devotion pure; * Nor reads dispute if Heaven in worship partner take: No wonder 'tis he trembles walking 'neath such weight! * How much of movement that revolving sphere must make. [1]"

Furthermore he said,

"I saw two charmers treading humble earth. * Two I must love an tread they on mine eyes."

When they heard this, they conjured him to enter the bath with them a second time. He could hardly believe his ears and hastening thither, went in with them. The Wazir had not yet left the bath; so when he heard of the Overseer’s coming, he came out and meeting him in the middle of the bath hall invited him to enter. He refused, whereupon Taj al-Muluk taking him by the hand walked on one side and Aziz by the other, and carried him into a cabinet; and that impure old man submitted to them, whilst his emotion increased on him. He would have refused, albeit this was what he desired; but the Minister said to him, "They are thy sons; let them wash thee and cleanse thee." "Allah preserve them to thee!" exclaimed the Overseer, "By Allah your coming and the coming of those with you bring down blessing and good luck upon our city!" And he repeated these two couplets,

"Thou camest and green grew the hills anew; * And sweetest bloom to the bridegroom threw, While aloud cried Earth and her earth-borns too * 'Hail and welcome who comest with grace to endue.'"

They thanked him for this, and Taj al-Muluk ceased not to wash him and to pour water over him and he thought his soul in Paradise. When they had made an end of his service, he blessed them and sat by the side of the Wazir, talking but gazing the while on the youths. Presently, the servants brought them towels, and they dried themselves and donned their dress. Then they went out, and the Minister turned to the Syndic and said to him, "

  1. i.e. We are forced to love him only, and ignore giving him a rival (referring to Koranic denunciations of "Shirk," or attributing a partner to Allah, the religion of plurality, syntheism not polytheism): see, he walks tottering under the weight of his back parts wriggling them whilst they are rounded like the revolving heavens.