The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2 eBook

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.
faithless wretch who can neglect his beloved when exposed to danger.  In this manner ended the lives of those lovers.  Listen to what has happened, that you may understand; for Sa’di knows the ways and forms of courtship as well as the Tazi, or modern Arabic, is understood at Bagdad.  Devote your whole heart to the heart-consoler you have chosen (namely, God), and let your eyes be shut to the whole world beside.  Were Laila and Mujnun to return into life, they might read the history of love in this chapter.

CHAPTER VI

Of Imbecility and Old Age

I

In the metropolitan mosque at Damascus I was engaged in a disputation with some learned men, when a youth suddenly entered the door, and said:  “Does any of you understand the Persian language?” They directed him to me, and I answered:  “It is true.”  He continued:  “An old man of a hundred and fifty years of age is in the agonies of death, and is uttering something in the Persian language, which we do not understand.  If you will have the goodness to go to him you may get rewarded; for he possibly may be dictating his will.”  When I sat down by his bedside I heard him reciting:—­“I said, I will enjoy myself for a few moments.  Alas! that my soul took the path of departure.  Alas! at the variegated table of life I partook a few mouthfuls, and the fates said, enough!”

I explained the signification of these lines in Arabic to the Syrians.  They were astonished that, at his advanced time of life, he should express himself so solicitous about a worldly existence.  I asked him:  “How do you now find yourself?” He replied:  “What shall I say?—­Hast thou never witnessed what torture that man suffers from whose jaw they are extracting a tooth?  Fancy to thyself how excruciating is his pain from whose precious body they are tearing an existence!”

I said:  “Banish all thoughts of death from your mind, and let not doubt undermine your constitution; for the Greek philosophers have remarked that although our temperaments are vigorous, that is no proof of a long life; and that although our sickness is dangerous, that is no positive sign of immediate dissolution.  If you will give me leave, I will call in a physician to prescribe some medicine that may cure you.”  He replied:  “Alas! alas!  The landlord thinks of refreshing the paintings of his hall, and the house is tottering to its foundation.  The physician smites the hands of despair when he sees the aged fallen in pieces like a potsherd; the old man bemoans himself in the agony of death while the old attendant nurse is anointing him with sandal-wood.  When the equipoise of the temperament is overset, neither amulets nor medicaments can do any good.”

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III

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The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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