Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/21

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told her all that had happened and she wept awhile, then she rose and set some matter of meat and drink before me. I ate a little and drank, after which I repeated my story to her, and told her the whole occurrence; whereupon she exclaimed, "Praised be Allah, that she did but this to thee and forbore to slaughter thee!" Then she nursed me and medicined me till I regained my health; and, when my recovery was complete, she said to me, "O my son, I will now bring out to thee that which thy cousin committed to me in trust for thee; for it is thine. She swore me not to give it thee, till I should see thee recalling her to mind and weeping over her and thy connection severed from other than herself; and now I know that these conditions are fulfilled in thee." So she arose, and opening a chest, took out this piece of linen, with the figures of gazelles worked thereon, which I had given to Azizah in time past; and taking it I found written therein these couplets,

"Lady of beauty, say, who taught thee hard and harsh design, * To slay with longing Love's excess this hapless lover thine? An thou fain disremember me beyond our parting day, * Allah will know, that thee and thee my memory never shall tyne. Thou blamest me with bitter speech yet sweetest 'tis to me; * Wilt generous be and deign one day to show of love a sign? I had not reckoned Love contained so much of pine and pain; * And soul distress until I came for thee to pain and pine Never my heart knew weariness, until that eve I fell * In love wi' thee, and prostrate fell before those glancing eyne! My very foes have mercy on my case and moan therefor; * But thou, O heart of Indian steel, all mercy dost decline. No, never will I be consoled, by Allah, an I die, * Nor yet forget the love of thee though life in ruins lie!"

When I read these couplets, I wept with sore weeping and buffeted my face; then I unfolded the scroll, and there fell from it an other paper. I opened it and behold, I found written therein, 'Know, O son of my uncle, that I acquit thee of my blood and I beseech Allah to make accord between thee and her whom thou lovest; but if aught befal thee through the daughter of Dalilah the Wily, return thou not to her neither resort to any other woman and patiently bear thine affliction, for were not thy fated life tide a long life, thou hadst perished long ago; but praised be Allah who hath appointed my death day before thine! My peace be upon thee; preserve this cloth with the gazelles herein figured and let it not leave thee, for it was my companion when thou was absent from