Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/44

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"Ho thou, who past and bygone risks regardest with uncare! * Thou who to win thy meeting prize dost overslowly fare! In pride of spirit thinkest thou to win the star Soha [1]? * Albe thou may not reach the Moon which shines through upper air? How darest thou expect to win my favours, hope to clip * Upon a lover's burning breast my lance like shape and rare? Leave this thy purpose lest my wrath come down on thee some day, * A day of wrath shall hoary turn the partings of thy hair!"

Then she folded the letter and gave it to the old woman, who took it and repaired to Taj al-Muluk. And when he saw her, he rose to his feet and exclaimed, "May Allah never bereave me of the blessing of thy coming!" Quoth she, "Take the answer to thy letter." He took it and reading it, wept with sore weeping and said, "I long for some one to slay me at this moment and send me to my rest, for indeed death were easier to me than this my state!" Then he took ink case and pen and paper and wrote a letter containing these two couplets,

"O hope of me! pursue me not with rigour and disdain: * Deign thou to visit lover wight in love of thee is drowned; Deem not a life so deeply wronged I longer will endure; * My soul for severance from my friend divorced this frame unsound."

Lastly he folded the letter and handed it to the old woman, saying, "Be not angry with me, though I have wearied thee to no purpose." And he bade Aziz give her other thousand ducats, saying, "O my mother, needs must this letter result in perfect union or utter severance." Replied she, "O my son, by Allah, I desire nought but thy weal; and it is my object that she be thine, for indeed thou art the shining moon, and she the rising sun. [2] If I do

  1. A star in the tail of the Great Bear, one of the "Banát al-Na'ash," or a star close to the second. Its principal use is to act foil to bright Sohayl (Canopus) as in the beginning of Jámí's Layla-Majnún:--
    To whom Thou'rt hid, day is darksome night:
    To whom shown, Sohá as Sohayl is bright.
    See also al-Hariri (xxxii. and xxxvi.). The saying, "I show her Soha and she shows me the moon" (A. P. i. 547) arose as follows. In the Ignorance a beautiful Amazon defied any man to take her maidenhead; and a certain Ibn al-Ghazz won the game by struggling with her till she was nearly senseless. He then asked her, "How is thine eye-sight: dost thou see Soha?" and she, in her confusion, pointed to the moon and said, "That is it!"
  2. The moon being masculine (lupus) and the sun feminine.