Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/40

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hear and I obey." So he said to Aziz, "Bring me ink-case and paper and a brazen pen." And when Aziz brought him what he sought, he hent the pen in hand and wrote these lines of poetry,

"I write to thee, O fondest hope! a writ * Of grief that severance on my soul cloth lay: Saith its first line, 'Within my heart is [owe!' * Its second, 'Love and Longing on me prey!' Its third, 'My patience waste is, fades my life!' * Its fourth, 'Naught shall my pain and pine allay!' Its fifth, 'When shall mine eyes enjoy thy sight?' * Its sixth, 'Say, when shall dawn our meeting-day?' "

And, lastly, by way of subscription he wrote these words. "This letter is from the captive of captivation * prisoned in the hold of longing expectation * wherefrom is no emancipation * but in anticipation and intercourse and in unification * after absence and separation. * For from the severance of friends he loveth so fain * he suffereth love pangs and pining pain. *" Then his tears rushed out, and he indited these two couplets,

"I write thee, love, the while my tears pour down; * Nor cease they ever pouring thick and fleet: Yet I despair not of my God, whose grace * Haply some day will grant us twain to meet."

Then he folded the letter [1] and sealed it with his signet ring and gave it to the old woman, saying, "Carry it to the Lady Dunya." Quoth she, "To hear is to obey;" whereupon he gave her a thousand dinars and said to her, "O my mother! accept this gift from me as a token of my affection." She took both from him and blessed him and went her way and never stinted walking till she went in to the Lady Dunya. Now when the Princess saw her she said to her, "O my nurse, what is it he asketh of need that we may fulfil his wish to him?" Replied the old woman, "O my lady,

  1. Such letters are generally written on a full-sized sheet of paper ("notes" are held slighting in the East) and folded till the breadth is reduced to about one inch. The edges are gummed, the ink, much like our Indian ink, is smeared with the finger upon the signet ring; the place where it is to be applied is slightly wetted with the tongue and the seal is stamped across the line of junction to secure privacy. I have given a specimen of an original love-letter of the kind in "Scinde, or the Unhappy Valley," chaps. iv.