Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/50

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And his eyes ran over with tears and he repeated these couplets also,

"Who loves not swan-neck and gazelle-like eyes, * Yet claims to know Life's joys, I say he lies: In Love is mystery, none avail to learn * Save he who loveth in pure loving wise. Allah my heart ne'er lighten of this love, * Nor rob the wakefulness these eyelids prize."

Then he changed the mode of song and sang these couplets:

"Ibn Síná [1] in his Canon cloth opine * Lovers' best cure is found in merry song: In meeting lover of a like degree, * Dessert in garden, wine draughts long and strong: I chose another who of thee might cure * While Force and Fortune aided well and long But ah! I learnt Love's mortal ill, wherein * Ibn Sina's recipe is fond and wrong."

After hearing them to the end, Taj al-Muluk was pleased with his verses and wondered at his eloquence and the excellence of his recitation, saying, "Indeed, thou hast done away with somewhat of my sorrow." Then quoth the Wazir "Of a truth, there occurred to those of old what astoundeth those who hear it told." Quoth the Prince, "If thou canst recall aught of this kind, prithee let us hear thy subtle lines and keep up the talk." So the Minister chanted in modulated song these couplets, "Indeed I deemed thy favours might be bought * By gifts of gold and things that joy the sprite And ignorantly thought thee light-o'-love, * When can thy love lay low the highmost might; Until I saw thee choosing one, that one * Loved with all favour, crowned with all delight: Then wot I thou by sleight canst ne'er be won * And under wing my head I hid from sight And in this nest of passion made my wone, * Wherein I nestle morning, noon and night."

So far concerning them; but as regards the old woman she remained

  1. The famous Avicenna, whom the Hebrews called Aben Sina. The early European Arabists, who seem to have learned Arabic through Hebrew, borrowed their corruption, and it long kept its place in Southern Europe.