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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.
And there is a tradition of the prophet, that death to the poor is a state of rest.  That ass proceeds all the lighter on his journey on whom they load the lightest burden:—­the poor dervish, who suffers under a load of indigence, will in like sort enter the gates of death with an easy burden; but with him who luxuriates in peace, plenty, and affluence, it must be a real hardship to die amidst all these comforts.  At all events consider the prisoner, who is released from his thraldom, as better off than the prince who is just fallen a captive.

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XXI

I saw a certain person in the garb of dervishes, but not with their meekness, seated in a company, and full of his abuse.  Having opened the volume of reproach, and begun to calumniate the rich, his discourse had reached this place, stating:  “The hand of the poor man’s ability is tied up, and the foot of the rich man’s inclination crippled:—­Men of liberality have no command of money, nor have the opulent and worldly-minded a spirit of liberality.”

Owing, as I am, my support to the bounty of the great, I considered this animadversion as unmerited, and replied:  “O my friend! the rich are the treasury of the indigent, the granary of the hermit, the fane of the pilgrim, resting-place of the traveller, and the carriers of heavy burdens for the relief of their fellow-creatures.  They put forth their hand to eat when their servants and dependants are ready to partake with them; and the bounteous fragments of their tables they distribute among widows and the aged, their neighbors and kindred:—­The rich have their consecrated foundations, charitable endowments and rites of hospitality; their alms, oblations, manumissions, peace-offerings, and sacrifices.  How shalt thou rise to this pomp of fortune who canst perform only these two genuflexions, and them after manifold difficulties?—­Whether it respect their moral dignity or religious duty, the rich are at ease within themselves; for their property is sanctified by giving tithes, and their apparel hallowed by cleanliness, their reputations unblemished, and minds content.  The intelligent are aware that the zeal of devotion is warmed by good fare, and the sincerity of piety rendered more serene in a nicety of vesture; for it is evident what ardor there can be in a hungry stomach; what generosity in squalid penury; what ability of travelling with a bare foot; and what alacrity at bestowing from an empty hand:—­Uneasy must be the night-slumbers of him whose provision for to-morrow is not forthcoming:  the ant is laying by a store in summer that she may enjoy an abundance in winter.  It is clear that indigence and tranquillity can never go together, nor have fruition and want the same aspect:  the one had composed himself for prayer, and the other sat anxious, and thinking on his supper; how then could this ever come in competition with that?  The

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