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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.

Mujnun wept and answered:—­“Many of my friends reproach me for my love of her, namely Laila.  Alas! that they could one day see her, that my excuse might be manifest for me!—­Would to God that such as blame me could behold thy face, O thou ravisher of hearts! that at the sight of thee they might, from inadvertency, cut their own fingers instead of the orange in their hands:—­Then might the truth of the reality bear testimony against the semblance of fiction, what manner of person that was for whose sake you were upbraiding me.”

The king resolved within himself, on viewing in person the charms of Laila, that he might be able to judge what her form could be which had caused all this misery, and ordered her to be produced in his presence.  Having searched through the Arab tribes, they discovered and presented her before the king in the courtyard of his seraglio.  He viewed her figure, and beheld a person of a tawny complexion and feeble frame of body.  She appeared to him in a contemptible light, inasmuch as the lowest menial in his harem, or seraglio, surpassed her in beauty and excelled her in elegance.  Mujnun, in his sagacity, penetrated what was passing in the royal mind, and said:  “It would behoove you, O king, to contemplate the charms of Laila through the wicket of a Mujnun’s eye, in order that the miracle of such a spectacle might be illustrated to you.  Thou canst have no fellow-feeling for my disorder; a companion to suit me must have the self-same malady, that I may sit by him the livelong day repeating my tale; for by rubbing two pieces of dry fire-wood one upon another they will burn all the brighter:—­had that grove of verdant reeds heard the murmurings of love which in detail of my mistress’s story have passed through my ear, it would somehow have sympathised in my pain.  Tell it, O my friends, to such as are ignorant of love; would ye could be aware of what wrings me to the soul:—­the anguish of a wound is not known to the hale and sound; we must detail our aches only to a fellow-sufferer.  It were idle to talk of a hornet to him who has never during his life smarted from its sting.  Till thy condition may in some sort resemble mine, my state will seem to thee an idle fable.  Compare not my pain with that of another man; he holds salt in his hand, but I hold it on a wounded limb.”

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XX

There was a handsome and well-disposed young man, who was embarked in a vessel with a lovely damsel.  I have read that, sailing on the mighty deep, they fell together into a whirlpool.  When the pilot came to offer him assistance, saying:  “God forbid that he should perish in that distress,” he was answering from the midst of that overwhelming vortex:  “Leave me, and take the hand of my beloved!” The whole world admired him for this speech which, as he was expiring, he was heard to make.  Learn not the tale of love from that

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