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who rather than utter a falsehood, would be dumb for ever. I am become wretched by the loss of that which I never possessed. Thou hast raised wishes, which indeed I am not worthy thou shouldst satisfy; but why should it be thought, that he who was happy in obscurity and indigence, would not have been rendered more happy by eminence and wealth ?”
"When I had finished this speech, Almalic stood some moments in suspense, and I continued prostrate before him. "Hassan," said he, "I perceive, not with indignation, but regret, that I mistook thy character. I now discover avarice and ambition in thy heart, which lay torpid only because their objects were too remote to rouse them. I cannot therefore invest thee with authority, because I would not subject my people to oppression; and because I would not be compelled to punish thee for crimes which I first enabled thee to commit. But as I have taken from thee that which I cannot restore, I will at least gratify the wishes that I excited, lest thy heart accuse me of injustice, and thou continue still a stranger to thyself. Arise, therefore, and follow me."-I sprung from the ground as it were with t!? wings of an eagle; I kissed the hem of his garment in : ecstacy of gratitude and joy; and when I went out of r house, my heart leaped as if I had escaped from the den a lion. I followed Almalic to the caravansary in which he lodged; and after he had fulfilled his vows, he took me with him to Medina. He gave me an apartment in the seraglio; I was attended by his own servants; my provisions were sent from his own table; I received every week a sum from his treasury, which exceeded the most romantic of my expectations. But I soon discovered, that no dainty was so tasteful, as the food to which labour procured an appetite; no slumbers so sweet, as those which weariness invited; and no time so well enjoyed, as that in which diligence is expecting its reward. I remembered these enjoyments with regret; and while I was sighing in the midst of superfluities, which, though they encumbered life, yet I could not give up, they were suddenly taken away. Almalic, in the midst of the glory of his kingdom, and in the full vigour of his life, expired suddenly in the bath such thou knowest was the destiny which the Almighty had written upon his head.
"His son Aububekir, who succeeded to the throne, was incensed against me, by some who regarded me at once with contempt and envy. He suddenly withdrew my pension, and commanded that I should be expelled the palace, a
command which my enemies executed with so much rigour, that within twelve hours I found myself in the streets of Medina, indigent and friendless, exposed to hunger, and derision, with all the habits of luxury, and all the sensibility of pride. Oh! let not thy heart despise me, thou whom experience has not taught, that it is misery to lose that which it is not happiness to possess. Oh that for me this lesson had not been written on the tablets of Providence! I have travelled from Medina to Mecca; but I cannot fly from myself. How different are the states in which I have been placed! The remembrance of both is bitter for the pleasures of neither can return."-Hassan having thus ended his story, smote his hands together; and looking upwards, burst into tears.
Omar having waited till this agony was past, went to him, and taking him by the hand, My son," said he, "more is yet in thy power than Almalic could give, or Aububekir take away. The lesson of thy life the prophet has in mercy appointed me to explain."
"Thou wast once content with poverty and labour, only because they were become habitual, and ease and affluence were placed beyond thy hope; for when ease and affluence approached thee, thou wast content with poverty and labour no more. That which then became the object, was also the bound of thy hope; and he, whose utmost hope is disappointed, must inevitably be wretched. If thy supreme desire had been the delights of paradise, and thou had believed that, by the tenour of thy life, these delights had been secured, as more could not have been given thee, thou wouldst not have regretted that less was not offered. The content which was ence enjoyed, was but the lethargy of soul; and the distress which is now suffered, will but quicken it to action. Depart, therefore, and be thankful for all things; put thy trust in Him, who alone can gratify the wish of reason, and satisfy thy soul with good; fix thy hope upon that portion, in comparison of which the world is as the drop of the bucket, and the dust of the balance. Return, my son, to thy labour; thy food shall be again tasteful, and thy rest shall be sweet; to thy content also will be added stability, when it depends not upon that which is possessed upon earth, but upon that which is expected in heaven."
Hassan, upon whose mind the angel of instruction impressed the counsel of Omar, hastened to prostrate himself in the temple of the prophet. Peace dawned upon his
mind, like the radiance of the morning: he returned to his labour with cheerfulness; his devotion became fervent and habitual; and the latter days of Hassan were happier than the first.
The vision of Mirza; exhibiting a picture of human life.
On the fifth day of the moon, which, according to the custom of my forefathers, I always keep holy, after having washed myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer. As I was here refreshing myself on the tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human life; and passing from one thought to another, Surely, said I, man is but a shadow, and life a dream. Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was not far fror me, where I discovered one in the habit of a shepherd, but who was in reality a being of superior nature. I drew near with profound reverence, and fell down at his feet. The genius smiled upon me with a look of compassion and affability, that familiarized him to my imagination, and at once dispelled all the fears and apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and taking me by the hand, Mirza, said he, I have heard thee in thy soliloquies; follow me.
He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock; and placing me on the top of it, Cast thy eyes eastward, said he, and tell me what thou seest. I see, said I, a huge valley, and a prodigious tide of water rolling through it. The valley that thou seest, said he, is the vale of misery; and the tide of water that thou seest, is part of the great tide of eternity. What is the reason, said I, that the tide I see, rises out of a thick mist at one end, and again loses itself in a thick mist at the other? What thou seest, said he, is that portion of eternity which is called Time, measured out by the sun, and reaching from the beginning of the world to its consummation. Examine now, said he, this sea that is bounded with darkness at both ends, and tell me what thou discoverest in it. I see a bridge, said I, standing in the midst of the tide. The bridge thou seest, said he, is human life; consi
der it attentively. Upon a more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted of threescore and ten entire arches, with several broken arches, which, added to those that were entire, made up the number about a hundred. As I was counting the arches, the genius told me that this bridge consisted at first of a thousand; but that a great flood swept away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous condition I now beheld it. But tell me further, said he, what thou dis coverest on it. I see multitudes of people passing over it, said I, and a black cloud hanging on each end of it. As I looked more attentively, I saw several of the passengers dropping through the bridge into the great tide that flowed underneath it and, upon further examination, perceived there were innumerable trap-doors that lay concealed in the bridge, which the passengers no sooner trod upon, than they fell through them into the tide, and immediately disappeared. These hidden pitfalls were set very thick at the entrance of the bridge, so that throngs of people no sooner broke through the cloud than many fell into them. They grew inner towards the middle, but multiplied and lay closer together towards the end of the arches that were entire. There were indeed some persons, but their number was very small, that continued a kind of hobbling march on the broken arches, but fell through one after another, being quite tired and spent with so long a walk.
I passed some time in the contemplation of this wonderful structure, and the great variety of objects which it presented. My heart was filled with a deep melancholy, to coe several dropping unexpectedly in the midst of mirth and jollity, and catching at every thing that stood by them to save themselves. Some were looking up towards the heavens in a thoughtful posture, and, in the midst of a speculation, stumbled and fell out of sight. Multitudes were very busy in the pursuit of bubbles that glittered in their eyes, and danced before them but often, when they thought themselves within the reach of them, their footing failed, and down they sunk. In this confusion of objects, I observed some with scimitars in their hands, and others with urinals, who ran to and fro upon the bridge, thrusting several persons on trapdoors which did not seem to lie in their way, and which they might have escaped had they not been thus forced upon them.
The genius seeing me indulge myself in this melancholy prospect, told me I had dwelt long enough upon it. Take
thine eyes off the bridge, said he, and tell me if thou seest any thing thou dost not comprehend. Upon looking up, What mean, said I, those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering about the bridge, and setting upon it from time to time? I see vultures, harpies, ravens, cormorants, and, among many other feathered creatures, several little winged boys that perch in great numbers upon the middle arches. These, said the genius, are envy, avarice, superstition, despair, love, with the like cares and passions that infest human life.
I here fetched a deep sigh. Alas, said I, man was made in vain! how is he given away to misery and mortality! tortured in life, and swallowed up in death! The genius being moved with compassion towards me, bid me quit so uncomfortable a prospect. Look no more, said he, on man in the first stage of his existence, in his setting out for eternity; but cast thine eye on that thick mist into which the tide bears the several generations of mortals that fall into it. I directed my sight as I was ordered, and (whether or not the good genius strengthened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate) I saw the valley opening at the farther end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts. The clouds still rested on one half of it, insomuch that I could discover nothing in it; but the other appeared to me a vast ocean, planted with innumerable islands, that were covered with fruits and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see persons dressed in glorious habits, with garlands upon their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by the sides of fountains, or resting on beds of flowers. Gladness grew in me at the discovery of so delightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle that I might fly away to those happy seats; but the genius told me there was no passage to them, except through the gates of death that I saw opening every moment upon the bridge. The islands, said he, that lie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number than the sands on the sea-shore. There are myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching further than thine eye, or even thine imagination, can extend itself. These are the mansions of good men after