Page:The Perfumed Garden - Burton - 1886.djvu/13

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xi
Notes of the Translator

But this version, which is not supported by any authenticated proof, and which represents the Cheikh Nefzaoui as a man of light morals, does not seem to be admissable. One need only glance at the book to be convinced that its author was animated by the most praiseworthy intentions, and that, far from being in fault, he deserves gratitude for the services he has rendered to humanity. Contrary to the habits of the Arabs, there exists no commentary on this book; the reason may, perhaps, be found in the nature of the subject of which it treats, and which may have frightened, unnecessarily, the serious and the studious. I say unnecessarily, because this book, more than any other, ought to have commentaries; grave questions are treated in it, and open out a large field for work and meditation.

What can be more important, in fact, than the study of the principles upon which rest the happiness of man and woman, by reason of their mutual relations; relations which are themselves dependent upon character, health, temperament and the constitution, all of which it is the duty of philosophers to study.[1] I have endeavoured to rectify this omission by notes, which, incomplete as I know them to be, will still serve for guidance.

In doubtful and difficult cases, and where the ideas of the author did not seem to be clearly set out, I have not hesitated to look for enlightment to the savants of sundry confessions, and by their kind assistance many difficulties, which I believed insurmountable, were con-

  1. "We need not fear to compare the pleasures of the senses with the most intellectual pleasures; let us not fall into the delusion of believing that there are natural pleasures of two sorts, the one more ignoble than the other; the noblest pleasures are the greatest." — Essai de Philosophie Morale, par M. de Maupertius, Berlin, 1749.)