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and degrees , suitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them; every island is a paradise accommodated to its respective inhabitants. Are not these, O Mirza, habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miserable , that gives thee opportunities of earning such a reward ? Is death to be feared that will convey thee to so happy an existence? Think not man was made in vain , who has such an eternity reserved for him. « I gazed with inexpressible pleasure on these happy islands. « At length, said I, shew me now, I beseech thee, the secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds, which cover the ocean on the other side of the rock of adamant. » The genius making me no answer , I turned about to address myself to him a second time, but I found that he had left me; I then turned again to the vision which I had been so long contemplating ; but instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy islands , I saw nothing but the long hollow valley of Bagdat , with oxen, sheep, and camels grazing upon the sides of it. ....
THE FATAL EFFECTS OF GOLD.
An eastern tale.
As Omar, the hoary and the wise, was sitting at the door of his cell, he looked up towards the desart, and saw a cloud of dust that ascended from earth to heaven ; the caravan was returning from Cairo , with merchandise and treasure; he heard a confused murmur of many sounds, and at length the camels and the multitude appeared. When they came up , Omar beckoned with his hand , and cried out, Hear me, ye sons of traffic , ye labourers for anxiety and sorrow; Gold is bright as the morning, but fatal as the storm at midnight : beware of the silent approach of the Serpent; beware of the beauty of woman; but chiefly beware of the power of Gold. It is produced among poisons in the bowels of the earth , and its fruits are calamity and guilt. The caravan stopped; for every one reverenced the wisdom and virtue of Omar. I will tell you, said Omar, the adventures of Sadir, Haran , and Zimur. Sadir,
Haran, and Zimur, were friends; they were amiable, they were young, and their feet had not yet deviated from the path of virtue. They set out together on a journey; and as they were travelling along the plains of Indostan, it happened that they found a treasure. This was at once the test of virtue and of friendship. Every heart throbbed, and every breast was opened to permitted pleasure. To divide it, would have been an outrage on the delicacy and confidence of their amity. Let the bounty of heaven, said they , be the common blessing of us all. Mutually to share it without division , will at once gratify and increase our confidence and love. As they had now the means of enjoyment , they determined to enjoy; they travelled by shorter stages, and they procured every accommodation that wealth could buy. When they reached the next town, Zimur was deputed by Sadir and Haran, to procure them provisions, an office that suited his taste, his knowledge, and his activity. As soon as he was gone, Sadir and Haran fixed their eyes upon the treasure , and sat some time silent; at length they stole a glance at each other, each was conscious to his own wish, and thought he saw it reflected from the coun. tenance of his friend. They began a conversation, in which this wish was mutually disclosed by almost imperceptible degrees. If we should now secure this Gold and depart , said Sadir , whom could Zimur blame but his own indiscretion? would it not make two more happy than three ? Shall we not gain, at least, what he will lose , and can we deserve an opportunity that we neglect to improve ? It is the wise only , said Haran , that are appointed to prosperity : Zimur has no right to share the treasure with us ; and we shall only fulfil an unchangeable decree if we keep the whole to ourselves. It is true, replied Sadir , but if he should again find us , he may question the determination, and claim his part; this, said Haran, must be prevented; the dead are silent , and cease from troubling. Such was the wish that Gold excited in the hearts of Sadir and Haran, and such was the crime by which it was to be accomplished. Zimur returned in the evening, weary with labour , and pleased with the anticipation of refreshment and rest. But his associates seized him at a disadvantage , extended him upon the earth, and strangled him with the band of his turban.
When he was dead, they sat down to the repast he had provided for them, but in a few moments the hand of death was upon them. They became pale , they shuddered ; a cold sweat covered their limbs , and they gazed at each other without power to speak. In this speechless agony of despair and horror, the struggle of nature for life was short, and both sunk down together, were convulsed, groaned, and expired. Was this the work of a divine avenger? Did the Almighty punish by controlling nature, and was juslice miraculous that guilt might tremble ? Is not Nature the handmaid of the Almighty ? and is not wickedness the rod of his displeasure ? Zimur had empoisoned the food he purchased , that he might himself secure the treasure , and fulfil the same purpose upon his companions, that his companions fulfilled upon him. The treasure then, O! ye lovers of Gold, is without a master! To whom shall it belong ? Let not your hearts desire it in secret , lest the crimes at which ye now tremble , ye be tempted to commit. With that bounty which the hand of Nature scatters , be content, and to the Lord of Nature be thankful.