ePub 版

great aboundance of golde. For every ten years the rain doth consume the gold from these houses."

Cæsar Frederick, in Hakluyt.

A waste of ornament and labour characterises all the works of the Orientalists. I have seen illuminated Persian manuscripts that must each have been the toil of many years, every page painted, not with representations of life and manners, but usually like the curves and lines of a Turkey carpet, conveying no idea whatever, as absurd to the eye as nonsense-verses to the ear. The little of their literature that has reached us is equally worthless. Our barbarian scholars have called Ferdusi the Oriental Homer. We have a specimen of his poem ; the translation is said to be bad, and certainly must be unfaithful, for it is in rhyme ; but the vilest copy of a picture at least represents the subject and the composition. To make this Iliad of the East, as they have sacrilegiously styled it, a good poem, would be realizing the dreams of alchemy, and transmuting lead into gold.

The Arabian Tales certainly abound with genius; they have lost their metaphorical rubbish in passing through the filter of a French translation.

Sennamar built at Hirah, fc.-P. 9. The Arabians call this palace one of the wonders of the world. It was built for Nôman-al-Aôuar, one of those Arabian Kings who reigoed at Hirah. A single stone fastened the whole structure ; the colour of the walls varied frequently in a day. Nôman richly reward. ed the architect Sennamar; but recollecting afterwards that he might build palaces equal, or superior in beauty for his rival kings, ordered that he should be thrown. from the highest tower of the edifice.-D'Herbelot.

An African colony had been settled in the north of Ireland long before the arrival of the Neimhedians. It is recorded, that Neimheidh had employed four of their artizans to erect for him two sumptuous palaces, which were so highly finished, that, jealous lest they might construct others on the same, or perhaps a grander plan, he. had them privately made away with, the day after they had completed their work.

O'Halloran’s History of Ireland.

The Paradise of Irem, &C.-P. 12. The tribe of Ad were descended from Ad, the son of Aus or Uz, the son of Irem, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, who, after the confusion of tongues, settled in Al Ahkâf, or the winding sands in the province of Hadramaut, where his posterity greatly multiplied. Their first King was Shedad, the son of Ad, of whom the east. ern writers deliver many fabulous things, particularly that he finished the magnificent city his father had begun; wherein be built a fine palace, adorned with delicious gardens, to embellish which he spared neither cost nor labour, proposing thereby to create in his subjects a superstitious veneration of himself as a God. This garden or paradise was called the garden of Irem, and is mentioned in the Koran, and often alluded to by the Oriental writers. The city, they tell us, is still standing in the desarts of Aden, being preserved by providence as a monument of divine justice, though it be invisible, unless very rarely, when God permits it to be seen: a fa. vour one Colabab pretended to have received in the reign

of the Khalif Moâwiyah, who sending for him to know the truth of the matter, Colabah related his whole ad. venture ; that, as he was seeking a camel he had lost, he found himself on a sudden' at the gates of this city, and entering it, saw not one inhabitant, at which being terrified, he stayed no longer than to take with him some fine stones, which he shewed the Khalif.-Sale.

The descendants of Ad in process of time falling from the worship of the true God into idolatry, God sent the prophet Houd (who is generally agreed to be Heber) to preach the unity of his essence, and reclaim them. Houd preached for many years to this people without effect, till God at last was weary of waiting for their repentance. The first punishment which he inflicted was a famine of three years continuance, during all which time the heavens were closed upon them. This, with the evils which it caused, destroyed a great part of this people, who were then the richest and most powerful of all in Arabia.

The Adites seeing themselves reduced to this extremity, and receiving no succour from their false Gods, resolved to make a pilgrimage to a place in the province of Hegiaz, where at present Mecca is situated. There was then a hillock of red sand there, around which a great concourse of different people might always be seen ; and all these nations, the faithful as well as the unfaithful, believed that by visiting this spot with devotion, they should obtain from God whatever they petitioned for, respecting the wants and necessities of life.

The Adites having then resolved to undertake this religious journey, chose seventy men, at whose head they appointed Mortadh and Kail, the two most considerable personages of the country, to perform this duty in the name of the whole nation, and by this means procure rain from Heaven, without which their country must be ruined. The deputies departed, and were hospitably received by Moâwiyah, who at that time reigned in the province of Hegiaz. They explained to him the occasion of their journey, and demanded leave to proceed and perform their devotions at the Red Hillock, that they might procure rain.

Mortadh, who was the wisest of this company, and who had been converted by the Prophet Houd, often remonstrated with his associates, that it was useless to take this journey for the purpose of praying at this chosen spot, unless they had previously adopted the truths which the Prophet preached, and seriously repented of their unbelief. For how, said he, can you hope that God will shed upon us the abundant showers of his mercy, if we refuse to hear the voice of him whom he hath sent to instruct us ?

Kail, who was one of the most obstinate in error, and consequently of the Prophet's worst enemies, hearing the discourses of his colleague, requested King Moâwiyah to detain Mortadh prisoner, whilst he and the remainder of his companions proceeded to make their prayers upon the Hillock. Moâwiyah consented, and, detaining Mortadh captive, permitted the others to pursue their jour. ney, and accomplish their vow.

Kail, now the sole chief of the deputation, having arrived at the place, prayed thus, Lord give to the people of Ad such rains as it shall please thee. And he had scarcely finished when there appeared three clouds in the sky, one white, one red, the third black, At the same

time these words were heard to proceed from Heaven, Chuse which of the three thou wilt. Kail chose the black, which he imagined the fullest, and most abundant in water, of which they were in extreme want. After having chosen, he immediately quitted the place, and took the road to his own country, congratulating himself on the happy success of his pilgrimage.

As soon as Kail arrived in the valley of Magaith, a part of the territory of the Adites, he informed his countrymen of the favourable answer he bad received, and of the cloud which was soon to water all their lands. The senseless people all came out of their houses to receive it; but this cloud, which was big with the divine vengeance, produced only a wind, most cold aru most violent, which the Arabs call Sarsar; it continued to blow for seven days and seven nights, and exterminated all the unbelievers of the country, leaving only the Prophet Houd alive, and those who had heard him, and turned to the faith.-D'Herbelot.

O'er all the winding sands.-P. 12.. Al-Ahkaf signifies the Winding Sands.

Detects the ebony.-P. 15. I have heard from a certain Cyprian botanist, that the Ebony does not produce either leaves or fruit, and that it is never seen exposed to the sun : that its roots are indeed under the earth, which the Æthiopians dig out, and that there are men among them skilled in finding the place of its concealment.-Pausanias, translated by Taylor.

« 上一頁繼續 »