Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/49

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pavilion tall and grand but old and disused, said to the keeper, "O elder, I am minded to do here a good work, by which thou shalt remember me. Replied the other, "O my lord, what is the good work thou wouldest do?" "Take these three hundred diners," rejoined the Wazir When the Keeper heard speak of the gold, he said, "O my lord, whatso thou wilt, do!" So the Wazir gave him the monies, saying, "Inshallah, we will make a good work in this place!" Then they left him and returned to their lodging, where they passed the night; and when it was the next day, the Minister sent for a plasterer and a painter and a skilful goldsmith and, furnishing them with all the tools they wanted, carried them to the garden, where he bade them whitewash the walls of the pavilion and decorate it with various kinds of paintings. Moreover he sent for gold and lapis lazuli [1] and said to the painter, "Figure me on the wall, at the upper end of this hall, a man fowler with his nets spread and birds falling into them and a female pigeon entangled in the meshes by her bill." And when the painter had finished his picture on one side, the Wazir said, "Figure me on the other side a similar figure and represent the she pigeon alone in the snare and the fowler seizing her and setting the knife to her neck; and draw on the third side wall, a great raptor clutching the male pigeon, her mate, and digging talons into him." The artist did his bidding, and when he and the others had finished the designs, they received their hire and went away. Then the Wazir and his companions took leave of the Gardener and returned to their place, where they sat down to converse. And Taj al-Muluk said to Aziz, "O my brother, recite me some verses: perchance it may broaden my breast and dispel my dolours and quench the fire flaming in my heart." So Aziz chanted with sweet modulation these couplets,

"Whate'er they say of grief to lovers came, * I, weakling I, can single handed claim: An seek thou watering spot, [2] my streaming eyes * Pour floods that thirst would quench howe'er it flame Or wouldest view what ruin Love has wrought * With ruthless hands, then see this wasted frame."

  1. Pers. "Lájuward": Arab. "Lázuward"; prob. the origin of our "azure," through the Romaic 8".@bk4@< and the Ital. azzurro; and, more evidently still, of lapis lazuli, for which do not see the Dictionaries.
  2. Arab. "Maurid." the desert-wells where caravans drink: also the way to water wells.