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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.

They asked Hormuz, son of Nushirowan, “What fault did you find with your father’s ministers that you ordered them into confinement?” He replied:  “I saw no fault that might deserve imprisonment; yet I perceived that any reverence for me makes a slight impression on their minds, and that they put no implicit reliance on my promise.  I feared lest from an apprehension of their own safety they might conspire my ruin; therefore, put in practice that maxim of philosophers who have told us:  ’Stand in awe, O wise man, of him who stands in awe of thee, notwithstanding thou canst cope with a hundred such as he.  Therefore will the snake bite the herdsman’s foot, because it fears that he will bruise its head with a stone.  Seest thou not that now that the cat is desperate it will tear out the tiger’s eyes with its claws.’”

IX

In his old age an Arab king was grievously sick, and had no hopes of recovery, when, lo! a messenger on horseback presented himself at the palace-gate, and joyfully announced, saying:  “Under his majesty’s good fortune we have taken such a stronghold, made the enemy prisoners of war, and reduced all the landholders and vassals of that quarter to obedience as subjects.”  On hearing this news the king fetched a cold sigh, and answered:  “These glad tidings are not intended for me but for my rivals, namely, the heirs of the sovereignty.  My precious life has, alas! been wasted in the hope that what my heart chiefly coveted might enter at my gate.  My bounden hope was gratified; yet what do I benefit by that?  There is no hope that my passed life can return.  The hand of death beats the drum of departure.  Yes, my two eyes, you must bid adieu to my head.  Yes, palm of my hand, wrist, and arm, all of you say farewell, and each take leave of the other.  Death has overtaken me to the gratification of my foes; and you, O my friends, must at last be going.  My days were blazed away in folly; what I did not do let you take warning (and do).”

X

At the metropolitan mosque of Damascus I was one year fervent in prayer over the tomb of Yahiya, or John the Baptist and prophet, on whom be God’s blessing, when one of the Arab princes, who was notorious for his injustice, chanced to arrive on a pilgrimage, and he put up his supplication, asked a benediction, and craved his wants.—­The rich and poor are equally the devoted slaves of this shrine, and the richer they are the more they stand in need of succor.  Then he spoke to me, saying:  “In conformity with the generous resolution of dervishes and their sincere zeal, you will, I trust, unite with me in prayer, for I have much to fear from a powerful enemy.”  I answered him, “Have compassion on your own weak subjects, that you may not see disquiet from a strong foe.  With a mighty arm and heavy hand it is dastardly to wrench the wrists of poor and helpless.  Is he not afraid who is hardhearted

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