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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2.

XIV

A man had a beautiful wife, who died; but the mother, a decrepit old dotard, remained a fixture in his house, because of the dowry.  He was teased to death by her company; but, from the circumstance of the dower, he had no remedy.  In the meantime some of his friends having come to comfort him, one of them asked:  “How is it with you, since the loss of that dear friend?” He answered:  “The absence of my wife is not so intolerable as the presence of her mother:—­They plucked the rose, and left me the thorn; they plundered the treasure, and let the snake remain.  To have our eye pierced with a spear were more tolerable than to see the face of an enemy.  It were better to break with a thousand friends than to put up with one rival.”

XV

In my youth I recollect I was passing through a street, and caught a glimpse of a moon-like charmer during the dog-days, when their heat was drying up the moisture of the mouth, and the samurn, or desert hot-wind, melting the marrow of the bones.  From the weakness of human nature I was unable to withstand the darting rays of a noon-tide sun, and took refuge under the shadow of a wall, hopeful that somebody would relieve me from the oppressive heat of summer, and quench the fire of my thirst with a draught of water.  All at once I beheld a luminary in the shadowed portico of a mansion, so splendid an object that the tongue of eloquence falls short in summing up its loveliness; such as the day dawning upon a dark night, or the fountain of immortality issuing from chaos.  She held in her hand a goblet of snow-cooled water, into which she dropped some sugar, and tempered it with spirit of wine; but I know not whether she scented it with attar, or sprinkled it with a few blossoms from her own rosy cheek.  In short, I received the beverage from her idol-fair hand; and, having drunk it off, found myself restored to a new life. “Such is not my parching thirst that it is to be quenched with the limpid element of water, were I to swallow it in oceans:—­Joy to that happy aspect whose eye can every morning contemplate such a countenance as thine.  A person intoxicated with wine lies giddy and awake half the night; but if intoxicated with the cup-bearer (God), the day of judgment must be his dawn or morning.”

XVI

In the year that Sultan Mohammed Khowarazm-Shah had for some political reason chosen to make peace with the king of Khota, I entered the metropolitan mosque at Kashghar, and met a youth incomparably lovely, and exquisitely handsome; such as they have mentioned in resemblance of him:—­“Thy master instructed thee in every bold and captivating grace; he taught thee coquetry and confidence, tyranny and violence.”  I have seen no mortal with such a form and temper, stateliness and manner; perhaps he learned these fascinating ways from an angel.

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