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genius resembling the Asmodeus of the Devil on Two Sticks. Asmodeus is evidently Eastern, the Asmadai of the “ Paradise Lost.”
There is a world of literature in the East, of which we possess but a little corner; though, indeed, that corner is exquisite, and probably the finest of all.*
“Nights,” have some capital stories. Il Bondocani, for instance, and Maugraby. But till we have the express authority of a scholar to the contrary, it is difficult to say that a French hand has not interfered in it, beyond what is stated by the translator of the reformed edition. There are fine things in the story of Maugraby.
* Doubts have been gratuitously and not very modestly expressed of the value of the celebrated Eastern poets; but surely a few names could not have risen eminently above myriads of others, and become the delight and reverence of nations, without possessing something in common with the great attractions of humanity in all countries. Sir John Malcolm pronounces Ferdoosi, the epic poet of Persia, to be a great and pathetic genius; and he gives some evidence of what he says, even in a prose sketch of one of his stories, which, says the original, is a story "full of the waters of the eye." There is a couplet, translated by Sir William Jones, from the same author, which shows he had reflected upon a point of humanity that appears obvious enough, and yet which was never openly noticed by an Englishman till the time of Shakespeare. Sir William's couplet is in the modern fashion, and probably not in the original simplicity, but it is well done, and fit to remember. It is upon crushing an insect.
Ah! spare yon emmet, rich in hoarded grain:
Do the gratuitous critics recollect, that the stories of Ruth and Joseph, and the sublime book of Job, are from the East? or that the religion of simplicity itself comes from that quarter? the religion that set children on its knee, and bade the orthodox Pharisee retire? It appears to us highly probable, that even our Eastern scholars are liable to be mistaken respecting the pompous language of the Orientals. We talk of their highflown metaphors, and eternal substitution of images for words; but how far would not our own language be liable to similar misconception, if translated in the same literal spirit? What should we think of Persians, who instead of overlooking the every-day nature of our colloquial imagery should arrest it at every turn, and wonder how we can talk of standing in other people's shoes, taking false steps, throwing light on a subject
ng the mouths of our enemies, &c. ? There are bad and florid
So much for the rebellious or evil Jinn.
The Jinns obedient seldom make their appearance in a male shape; the Orientals, with singular gallantry of imagination, almost always making them females, as we shall see presently. The best of the males are of equivocal character, and retain much of the fiery and capricious natures of the genii of old. They may be good and kind enough, if they have their way; but do not willingly come in contact with men, except to carry off their wives or daughters; still resenting, it would seem, the ascendancy of human kind, and choosing to serve their own princes and genii, rather than be compelled to appear before masters of an inferior species, — for magicians have power over them, as our astrologers had over the spirits of Plato and the Cabala. They come frightfully, as well as against the grain, -in claps of thunder, and with severe faces. Furthermore, they have a taste for deformity, if we are to judge from the description of Pari Banou's brother. He was not above a foot and a half high, had a beard thirty feet long, and carried upon his shoulders a bar of iron of five hundred weight, which he used as a quarter-staff. But we will indulge ourselves (and we hope the reader) with an extract about him. Prince Ahmed, who has had the good luck to marry the gentle Pari, which has excited a great deal of jealousy and a wish to destroy him, is requested by his father (into whose dull head the thought has been put) to bring him a little monster of a man of the above description. .
“It is my brother Schaibar,' said the fairy; "he is
writers in all countries, perhaps more in Persia, because the people there are more fervent; but we should judge of a literature by its best specimens, not its worst.
of so violent a nature, though we had both the same father, that nothing prevents his giving bloody marks of his resentment for a slight offence; yet on the other hand, so good as to oblige any one in what they desire. He is made exactly as the sultan, your father, described him, and has no other arms than a bar of iron of five hundred pounds weight, without which he never stirs, and which makes him respected. I will send for him, and you shall judge of the truth of what I tell you ; but be sure you prepare yourself not to be frightened at his extraordinary figure, when you see him.'-—What ! my queen,' replied Prince Ahmed, do you say Schaibar is your brother? Let him be ever so ugly or deformed, I shall be so far from being frightened at the sight of him, that I shall love and honor hini, and consider him as my nearest relation.'
“ The fairy ordered a gold chafing-dish, with fire in it, to be set under the porch of her palace, with a box of the same metal, which was a present to her, out of which taking some incense, and throwing it into the fire, there arose a thick smoke.
“Some moments after, the fairy said to Prince Ahmed : • Prince, there comes my brother, do you see him ? do you see him ?' The Prince immediately perceived Schaibar, who was but a foot and a half high, coming gravely, with his bar on his shoulder; his beard thirty feet long, which supported itself before him, and a pair of thick moustaches in proportion, tucked up to his ears and almost covering his face. His eyes were very small, like a pig's, and deep sunk in his head, which was of enormous size, and on which he wore a pointed cap; besides all this, he had a hump behind and before.
“If Prince Ahmed had not known that Schaibar was Pari Banou's brother, he would not have been able to look
at him without fear; but knowing who he was, he waited for him with the fairy, and received him without the least concern.
“Schaibar, as he came forwards, looked at the prince with an eye that would have chilled his soul in his body, and asked Pari Banou, when he first accosted her, who that man was?' To which she replied, 'He is my husband, brother; his name is Ahmed ; he is son to the Sultan of the Indies. The reason why I did not invite you to my wedding was, I was unwilling to divert you from the expedition you were engaged in, and from which I heard, with pleasure, you returned victorious ; on his account I have taken the liberty now to call for you.'
"At these words, Schaibar, looking on Prince Ahmed with a favorable eye, which however diminished neither his fierceness nor savage look, said, “Is there any thing, sister, wherein I can serve him ? '».
We must have one more extract on this part of our subject from the same delightful work. The King of the Genii, in the beautiful story of Zeyn Alasnam (which ends with a piece of dramatic surprise equally unexpected and satisfactory), is a good genius, and yet but a grim sort of personage. Our extract includes a boatman very awkward to sit with, an enchanted island, and a very princely Jinn.
Zeyn, Prince of Balsora, is in search of a ninth statue, which is necessary to complete a number bequeathed to him by his father. Agreeably to a direction found by him among the statues, he seeks an old servant of his father's, at Cairo, of the name of Morabec; and the latter undertakes to forward his wishes, but advertises him there is great peril in the adventure. The prince determines to proceed, and Morabec directs his servants to make ready for a journey.
Then the prince and he performed the ablution of washing, and the prayer enjoined, which is called farz; and that done they set out. By the way they took notice of abundance of strange and wonderful things, and travelled many days; at the end whereof, being come to a delightful spot, they alighted from their horses. Then Morabec said to all the servants that attended upon them, “Do you all stay in this place, and take care of our equipage till we return. Then he said to Zeyn, “Now, sir, let us go on by ourselves. We are near the dreadful place where the ninth statue is kept ; you will stand in need of all your courage.'
“They soon came to a lake: Morabec sat down on the brink of it, saying to the Prince: “We must cross this sea.' 'How can we cross it,' said Zeyn, 'when we have no boat?' 'You will see one in a moment,' replied Morabec; "the enchanted boat of the King of the Genii will come for us. But do not forget what I am going to say to you; you must observe a profound silence ; do not speak to the boatman, though his figure seem ever so strange to you ; whatsoever extraordinary circumstances you may observe, say nothing ; for I tell you beforehand, that if you utter the least word when we are embarked the boat will sink down.' 'I shall take care to hold my peace,' said the prince ; you need only tell me what to do, and I will strictly observe it.'
“While they were talking, he espied on a sudden a boat in the lake, and it was made of red sandal-wood. It had a mást of fine amber, and a blue satin flag: there was only one boatman in it, whose head was like an elephant's, and his body like a tiger's. When the boat was come up to the prince and Morabec, the monstrous boatman took them up one after the other with his trunk, and put them