On one occasion I reproached him, and said: “What is become of your precious reason, that a vile passion should thus master you?” He made a short pause, and replied:—“Wherever the king of love came, he left no room for the strong arm of chastity. How can that wretch live undefiled who has fallen in a quagmire up to the neck?”
A certain person had lost his heart and abandoned himself to despair. The object of his desire was not such a dainty that he could gratify his palate with it, or a bird that he could lure it into his net, but a frightful precipice and overwhelming whirlpool:—When thy gold attracts not the charmer’s eye, dust or gold is of equal value with thee.
His friends admonished him, saying: “Put aside this vain fancy, for multitudes are in the durance and chains of this same passion which you are cherishing.” He sighed aloud, and replied: “Say to my friends, Do not admonish me, for my eye is fixed on the wish of her. With strength of wrist and power of shoulders warriors overwhelm their antagonists and charmers their lovers.” Nor can it be consistent with the condition of love that any thought of life should divert the heart from affection for its mistress:—Thou, who art the slave of thine own precious self, playest false in the affairs of love. If thou canst not make good a passage to thy mistress, it is the duty of a lover to perish in the attempt.—I persist when policy is no longer left me, though the enemy may cover me all over with the wounds of swords and arrows. If I can reach her I will seize her sleeve, or at all events proceed and die at her threshold.
His kindred, whose business it was to watch over his concerns, and to pity his misfortunes, gave him advice, and put upon him restraints, but all to no good purpose:—The physician is, alas! prescribing bitter-aloes, and his depraved appetite is craving sweetmeats!—Heardest thou what a charmer was saying in a whisper to one who had lost his heart to her: “So long as thou maintainest thine own dignity, of what value can my dignity appear in thine eye?”
They informed the princess who was the object of his infatuation, saying: “A youth of an amiable disposition and sweet flow of tongue is frequent in his attendance at the top of this plain; and we hear him delivering brilliant speeches and wonderful sallies of wit; it would seem that he has a mystery in his head and a flame in his heart, for he appears to be distractedly in love.” The princess was aware that she had become the object of his attachment, and that this whirlwind of calamity was raised by himself, and spurred her horse toward him. Now that the youth saw that it was the princess’ intention to approach him, he wept, and said:—“That personage who inflicted upon me a mortal wound again presented herself before me; perhaps she took compassion upon her own victim.” However, kindly she spoke, and asked, saying: “Who are you,