couple of skips. Melech Mahommed recovered his own form. Clothes were brought to him and, after he had dressed himself, they mounted on horseback and proceeded to pay their devoirs to the Shah.
The Shah, quite impatient, no sooner set eyes on Melech Mahommed then he asked how he came to quit the society of the Perizadis.
“Oh,” said Danish Bait, “they were too clever for him. It is one the slightest of their tricks to change a man into an ass. By the same token has this hopeful nephew of mine been one for these 9 months.”
“Ass or dog,” said Melech Mahommed, “It is all too little to drive the pleasure of a single interview with them out of a person’s head.”
After a full and particular account of all his adventures, Anu Shah requested him to carry a message to Gheti Afroz.
“For when” said he, “can we find so proper a messenger as you who have so much frequented their society?” Of all things in the world this was what Melech Mahommed most ardently desired, for he saw he should now have the sanction of both the king and the court, whereas he had formerly been obliged to slink off without his uncle’s knowledge or permission.
The Shah’s message was couched in these terms: “Princess, it is now some time since you have taken up your residence in the confines of my territories, but notwithstanding my ardent desire of your society, you have never afforded me an opportunity of indulging it. We have been neighbours a long while. Why should we not live on terms of intimacy or at least as visiting acquaintance? I am extremely desirous of such an intercourse and if you will give me leave, I propose shortly to have an hour’s conversation with you and to take a look at the wonders of your Palace.”
Melech Mahommed set off with speed and quickly arrived at the door of the Palace of the Peries. He called out, “Open to the faithful Melech Mahommed. The door was instantly opened. He entered and saw Gheti Afroz sitting on the brink of the basin of water.”
As soon as she saw him, she cried, “Come away, you are welcome. I have long been thinking of you. See, here is your place, still vacant.” And with the most affectionate tenderness, she placed him by her side. She immediately ordered wine to be brought in to drive away the memory ofpast sorrows. After they had quaffed several goblets, she asked him when he recovered his own form. Melech Mahommed answered in the words of the poet:
“Impassioned love that once consigned
My nown a jest to all mankind
Woe all my mistress left to me
Between my soul and misery”10
“But all that has befallen you has happened through your own impatience,” said the Princess. “What can a man expect who is devoid of self-command?”
While they were still conversing on the subject, a tremendous menacing noise was heard from the sky. Suddenly, a host of Perizadis filled the whole air. A Perizada in the confidence of Ansar Shah entered the palace and after due obeisance announced: “This is the order of Ansar Shah. If Gheti Afroz with due respect immediately surrender herself before us, she is permitted to see the light of our countenance. If she refuses, I will order her to be brought in fetters. This our order.”
Gheti Afroz cast her eyes down on the ground and remained silent. Melech Mahommed now began to recollect the message of the Shah, which the caresses of his mistress had driven quite out of his memory.
“Princess,” said he. “I ought to have delivered a message, which I bring you from King Anu Shah. He has been seized with a violent longing for your society and is anxious to obtain your acquaintance. He says you have lived a long time in his vicinity without taking any notice of him and asks why you and he should not be better acquainted. And now, if he can obtain your permission, he proposes to pay you a visit of ceremony.”
Gheti Afroz said, “Very good. The same idea has often occurred to myself, but its execution has always been deferred from time to time. Enjoy the feast and quaff the wine till I have dismissed this Perizada when I will give you an answer.”
Then turning to the Perizada, she said: “Has Ansar Shah no sense of pride that he will still persist in teasing me with messages? Are not the harshness of my answer and the ignominious manner which I dismissed the Vizir sufficient to convince him that I have completely renounced his allegiance? He is provoked by my conduct and I am full of resentment of him. Go. This is your answer. If Asar Shah be inclined to send his host against me tell him to do it quickly and he shall quickly see how black a day shall dawn upon their heads.”
When the Peri saw that this key would open the coffin, he departed to report his success to Asar Shah. No sooner was he gone than Melech Mahommed passionately clasped her round the neck and attempted to snatch a kiss. But tossing his arm, she forwardly rejected his caresses, saying, “There is a time for everything. There is an end of the head hacks and heart burnings you constantly cause me.”
Melech Mahommed desisted and said with some peevishness, “Why should you turn your resentment on me? Is it my reward for presenting you with two such fine jewels to hear such a speech from your lips. “
Gheti Afroz replied with bitterness, “Do you think I value your jewels? Of what worth are they to me?” And she immediately ordered Ruh Afza to bring some tables entirely set out with jewels. Ruh Afza went to the treasurer and ordered him to bring in several tables of jewels arranged in the manner of lustres together with the jewels of Melech Mahommed. Gheti Afroz in an angry tone said, “There are your jewels take them away with as many others as you please.”
Melech Mahommed looked up and saw that the whole house was illuminated with the brilliancy of the precious stones as when the sun emerges from the darkness of night. Every jewel seemed to out-value the riches of the whole world and, in comparison with their splendor, his own seemed quite devoid of brilliancy.
“What an arch blockhead” thought he, “to have offended Gheti Afroz for such a trifle.”
An hour passed away and the princess did not condescend to look on the side of the house where he was. Melech Mahommed then bent down his eyes on the ground and began to weep and wail bitterly till at last the princesses was melted and began to be sorry for the words she had uttered.
“Melech Mahommed,” said she, “how would you find in your heart to speak to me so unkindly and now you are like to break your heart at the harsh speech which you yourself provoked.”
“Ah! What luckless fate is mine
Doomed mid untasted joys to pine
Ah, who could dream that cruel pride
Should on that charming lip reside
Bitterness and gall have chased
The ripe, the rich pistachios’ taste”
Thefeatures of Gheti Afroz relaxed and with a tender smile, she cast her arms round the neck of Melech Mahommed and kissed his check. Mutual caresses soon expelled the rust and canker of resentment from their hearts and Gheti Afroz added, “Let us quite forget what each of us said, for affection is sickened by such hasty discourse.”
Melech Mahommed felt a painful sense of obligation at the least token of affection and was quite ashamed of her tenderness.
Gheti Afroz then observed to him, “But you are a messenger at present. You must return and gratify the wish of King Anu Shah and tell him from me that I am extremely rejoiced that it is the inclination of the Shah to illuminate with the light of his presence this dark and paltry cottage of mine. Observe, however, that I shall only permit three persons to enter my palace. Let one of these be the Shah, another Danish Bait, and the third a poor silly sweetheart of mine whom you know.” Gheti Afroz then called the cooks of her household and ordered them to prepare a thousand dishes of every various kind.
“What need of such formidable preparations for only three guests?” asked Melech Mahommed.
The princess replied, “It is true I have onlyinvited three guests into my palace, but the Shah may station his whole army outside. But pray,” said she, “What is the number of the Shah’s army?”
He answered, “Eighty thousand.”
“Prepare eighty thousand dishes,” said the princess.
He replied, “That is quite extravagant, a great deal less will be sufficient.”
Impatient of contradiction, she immediately ordered them to make ready a hundred thousand dishes. She directed her cooks to provide themselves with materials and to take care to be rather abundant than scanty in their preparations. She then wrote to conciliate her father and informed her brothers that she would shortly present himself in her father’s court, but on the sole condition that in the interval she should not be teased by messengers.
“At present,” said she, “I have engaged my promise to receive ceremonious visit from King Anu Shah and am now busied in preparing the entertainment. I am quite anxious to enjoy the pleasure of your society, but yet it is proper to respect the dignity of a sovereign. For this cause I entreat you to send me Meher Anglez and Shok Anguz with two companies of musicians anddancers to entertain the monarch with suitable respect. They shall be sent back at the close of the entertainment of Ansar Shah. Grant this favor to his daughter and she will be ever bound to him in all devotion.”
The letter was dispatched by one of her confidential servants and, in an instant, was presented with due respect at the Durbar of Ansar Shah.
Ansar Shah read the letter and, in fury, tore it to pieces. “Musicians and dancers,” said he, “I will not send her so much as one hair for a day.” The messenger of Gheti Afroz wished herself only safety out of their presence, but the elder brother of the princess felt all his affection for her revive and, kneeling before his father ,he began to petition for his sister: “To incur blame is the forte of the inferior, but to pardon offenses is the glory of the superior.
If Justice vengeful that a fault is done
All due protection in her worth outrun
Which canst thou say will deeper blame deserve
Who errs himself or bids the law to swerve
Gheti Afroz has no doubt behaved improperly, but as she hopes for pardon from the generosity of the Shah, she was ashamed to raise her voice in his presence.
He honours not the Lord of day
Who lauds the brilliance of his ray
Nor shall disgrace accuse from him
Who says that motes in sunbeams swim
No speck can dim the rays divine
That round the sun of impere shine11
But since so noble a personage as King Anu Shah is to be her guest, it is probable that she may have made proud promises and that the expectation of every eye is turned upon her. To disappoint her at this time by frustrating her promise would be to cover her with indelible disgrace. Anu Shah too would perhaps say Ansar Shah refuses to grant you the musicians and performances so you falsely boasted of what you could not perform. Now there can be no doubt but that she has expected from your generosity that the performers with their musical instruments arrayed in rich garments and adorned with splendid jewels would be sent at her request.”
Ansar Shah perceived that what her brother proposed was nothing more than reasonable, but he answered haughtily, “She has turned her back on me and associated herself with the face of man. God grant that in her life no pleasure may come of it.”
All this the messenger of Gheti Afroz heard but said nothing. In short, after some altercation, Ansar Shah directed his son to deliver the two persons required with the companies of musicians too.
“Messenger, send them off,” said he, “to that unhappy girl and let her keep them and let me never see their face again.”
The messenger made prostration and the two Peris departed and, in the twinkling of an eye, arrived in the presence of Gheti Afroz. Gheti Afroz was greatly delighted when:
Sweet maiden’s sugar-lipped advance
Skilled to weave the merry dance
On their heads, their veils they throw
O’er there backs their tresses flow
Their raven locks in ringlets twine
Amid them countless jewels shine
Plump their forms; each slender waist
Seems too small to be embraced
Gheti Afroz, after their arrival, requested Melech Mahommed to present her respects to the Shah and to tell him that she expected him. With all host at the end of three days, Melech Mahommed returned with speed to the court of King Anu Shah, who was expecting him with extreme impatience. The Shah enquired what answer he brought.
Melech Mahommed replied, “May the life of the king be long and prosperous. She received your message with many expressions of pleasure and she hopes at the end of three days to be able to receive you with suitable respect. She, however, requests that her intimate guests may be only there: your Majesty Danish Bait and your servant. But all your host may pitch their tents without the place and sent down in rank and file to the banquet.”
Anu Shah was highly delighted and could hardly prevail on himself to wait for the expiration of the three days.
He often caught himself repeating:
“Tomorrow ah the thought with sweet
Tomorrow with my love to meet
A night without a moon like that
Was never seen by man Iwis.”
When the three days were nearly expired, Melech Mahommed, who was as impatient as Anu Shah, proposed to visit Gheti Afroz and bring intelligence in what state her preparations were. He took horse and quickly arrived at her residence. As he entered, he observed that the garden, the doors, and the walls of the palace were all adorned in the most incomparable style —
The groves of Irem fanned as long
In many an Eastern poets song
Where spicy fragrance filled the air
Could never with these groves compare
In the garden, he saw Gheti Afroz seated on a splendid golden throne of gold looking so lovely and so charming that her lover was ready to resign his soul.
As soon as she saw him she cried, “Come away! Come away. How do you like my preparations? I am happy to show them to you first.” She then asked what news of Anu Shah.
He replied, “The eyes of the kings are constantly fixed on the road to your palace.
As he who with attentive ear
awaits the crier’s voice to hear
announced that fasting days expire
So sits Shah with keen desire
His eager eyes incessant roam
Towards the portals of your dome”
Gheti afroz said, “Let him come with all possible speed.”
Melech Mahommed instantly returned to the court of the Shah and reported that his presence was expected.
Anu Shah ordered his drums to beat and trumpets to play and his army to assemble. He then dressed himself in the sabif of a cavalier and ordered his harsemer to blow their bugles.
So loud the shrilling bugles play
That hearts of warriors melt away
By brazen drums resounding hoarse
The sun is startled in his course
The Marshals in every street arranged the army numerous as the waves of the ocean and, when the whole was completed, the Shah mounted on horseback. A poet thus described his steed:
On a course swift and strong
He like a tempest rushed along
Swift as the breeze the fiery horse
Yet smooth as water in its course
Like nighting glanced his rapid feet
The perizdi race to meet
His twinkling ears at every prance
Like daggers in his front advance
White as the Sumbals living mows
His man wide on the breezes flows
His footsteps like the lapse of time
No ear can catch their falling chime12
Having mounted on horseback, the cavalcade proceeded to the place of the Peries. When Melech Mahommed struck the ring, instantly the door was opened. The Shah, having arranged his host in order and directed them to pitch their tents without, entered the palace along with Danish Bait. There, they encountered Ruh afroz, who came with certain Perizadis to salute him at his entrance. When the eyes of the Shah fell on Ruh Afra he was astonished at her beauty.
Sudden before his dazzled eyes
He saw a lovely charmer rise
Sweet as the soft Narcissus flower
Beneath her Beauty’ss tyrant power
Bound in her ringlets cruechain
Hosts of lovers wift in vain
The Shah was quite captivated by her charmsand enquired if this was Gheti afroz.
Melech Mahommed replied, “This is only Ruh Afza, her cupbearer, and one of the meanest of her attendants. If the damsel herself be willing, the princess will give her to you in a present.”
“That,” said the Shah, “would be the summit of happiness. For in heart and soul I am quite enamored with the fair.” Ruh Afza took the hand of the Shah and conducted him into the garden. Nothing could express his astonishment at the view. Its gates and walls were entirely composed of jacinth and turquoise rubies and emeralds, pearls, rock, crystal, and every species of precious stone. The carpets were of velvet golden tissue and silk spregged and flowered and of an indigo colour. Damsels fair as the silver moon were stationed in every avenue with wines of every kind and goblets formed of a single emerald, while the choicest sweetmeats were piled on trays with gold. In every avenue was placed a throne formed of sandal and aloes wood adorned with splendid carpets and, on every bough, were perched parrots and parroquets of harmonious voices opening their throats in praise of the all bounteous king—
If from the fields of heavenly light
an angel there had bent his flight
as the sleek moth with powdery wing
Circles the lamps in ceaseless ring
He sure had lingered in its round
Nor ever left the charmed ground
The Shah was in an ecstasy of delight, but when the glamour of his eyes fell on Gheti Afroz—
A heaven of charms appeared the queen
Such as no mortal eye had seen
Charms to compare with which were weak
The lustre of a Peris cheek
Charms that were viewed with mute surprise
And the fair of paradise
He was seated on a throne of polished emerald. The radiations of her sory cheek were like the blissful rays of the ruby, while the Shah fancied in sooth that the Orient Moon had descended from heaven and exclaimed in ecstasy—
“Whence spread the dazzling blaze of light
Is this the Moon Deceives my sight
The Brilliance of the Tulip flower
Or the bright sun at noontide hour
Who such celestial beam imparts
The mirror and the queen of hearts
Sweet jasmine fair of race divine
Whose charms the sun and moon outshine
Should Chinas a blest painter view
That rosy cheeks seductive hew
Soon would he own with sickening sighs
That nature for his art out vies
Ah should more travellor on his way
That fascinating face survey
The wonderer would forget the road
To any place save thine abode
Ah that the fortune sould be mine
To alarm a heart no longer thine
While tis another hap to prove
How sweet the thrilling drought of love”
Gheti Afroz, with the most enchanting grace, replied in the same style:
“The thrilling goblet and the wine
Of love ecstatic still are mine
And tenderness will best reveal
The time to break the secret seal”13
She placed the Shah on the throne, her side edging half round so as to address herself to him with the greater facility, and seated Danish Bait and Melech Mahommed on two ornamented chairs beside the throne. When the Shah looked round him he was astonished to behold nothing but what was formed of rubies and jewels.
After some time spent in conversation, Gheti afroz enquired of the company would chose to view the basin of water.
“Your pleasure is ours,” said the Shah.
Sofas were immediately spread on the brink of the basin and such exhibitions were presented as the eyes of time had never before witnessed. The basin was entirely filled with rose water and numerous jest of this fragrant liquid were playing in regular rows and artificial water birds formed with skillful devices flew round the basin without danger of being submerged.
The eye that once the scene surveys
Would love to linger still and gaze
Like him that lingers still to drink
By clear Euphrates willowy brink
The Shah, turning to Danish Bait, said, “This infinitely surpasses all that I have seen, but you who are a man of years and have seen the world. Have you ever beheld anything to be compared with it?”
The Vizir replied, “I have never so much as heard of such a thing. None but a Peri I suppose has ever seen it.”
The Shah then said to Gheti Afroz, “Princess, I indeed only wish you as much happiness as your entertainment affords me pleasure.”
“The foot of the Padshah,” said she, “brings prosperity and happiness.” She then beckoned Ruh Afra to introduce the cup of friendship.
Ruh Afra, with the rosy complexioned cupbearers, instantly brought in the rosy tinted wine. Gheti directed her to present the goblet to the Shah, at the same time telling Lok Angur the Hourito to hand a cup to Danish Bait.
Mercy on me, thought Melech Mahommed. I am going forward with a backsliding pace. Who can gainsay a Monarchess will, but who is to be any cupbearer now that the Shah has taken Ruh Afza
The mirth grew more gay as the wine went round, till the Shah observed Danish Bait passing his glass: “No, no my friend,” said he, “No apologies will take today.”
“Master of mine,” said Danish Bait,“a fellow like me grown old and cold should avoid such hot headed doings.”
“What,” said the Shah “don’t you recollect what people say when they repent of their sins?”
When friends the purple goblet fill
Even sages drink against their will
The hermit flings his beads aside
And quaffs perforce the muddy tide
Danish Bait made a thousand excuses, but the Shah laid hold of a goblet, saying, “Come, I myself will be you cupbearer.”
Vizier said, “Gheti Afroz, won’t this instance of kindness and condescension induce you to drink with us? You know the saying:
Unbounded favours princes grace
Yet still the subject ought to know his place”
Danish Bait saw it was not time to tamper, and found it necessary to humour the joke so he seized the goblet and tossed it off after the first cup. He made no more ivery faces. One goblet made way for another.
The butler now came to announce dinner. Gheti Afroz enquired if all the host of the Shah had arrived. The heralds reported that they had, and that the whole plain was darkened with them tent crowding on tent pavilion on pavilion and tent rope intertwined with tent rope in every direction to the distance of five farsangs.
Gheti Afroz then directed the Perizadis to range tables in order for the host and cover them with a hundred thousand various dishes of meats and it was instantly performed with such dexterity that it was not ever necessary for a single person to stir from the place where he had seated himself. Meantime diner was served up in the palace in an even superior style while a contest of politeness was carried on between the Shah and the princess.
“I am sure your hospitality must be quite empty,” said the Shah.
“Sovereign of the world,” said Gheti Afroz, “This paltry cottage is illuminated with splendor by the light of your footsteps. All my race are honoured with your visit, and I the least of them all am highly exalted.”
It was presently reported that the host had finished their meal and had been unable to consume the vast quantity of food that had been sent before them. When dinner was over, Gheti Afroz proposed to walk over the gardens. They set out and every garden which they entered was adorned in a different manner with trees and rose bushes planted in such exquisite order as human skill could never attain.
“Gracious!” said the Shah, “The paradise above and the beautiful Houris can never equal this in beauty!”
They walked through the garden about an hour and, however they went, Ruh Afra and Zok Angeez attended him with garden flagons and goblets of emeralds and jacinth, and. wherever they halted, presented cups of wine. Better luck could never betide them.
Gheti Afroz said to the Shah, “Lest your Majesty should feel yourself lonely here I will present you with Ruh Afra for a companion.”
See the sable night advancing
See the beauteous Pleiades dancing
Night pale queen does westward run
To seek her Radiant lord the sun.
When the raven feather of night darkened the day, Danish Bait whispered in the king’s ear that it was now time to retire.
The Shah agreed and shortly after, told Gheti Afroz that next month, if he had her permission, he would have the honor of waiting on her.
“If I have any influence over you whatsoever,” replied she, “I will not dispense with your company to night.”
The Shah was exceedingly rejoiced at the proposal.
“Inflamed with wine inflamed with love
How could he frame the banquets move
His maudlin eyes with nectar shine
He pants for her who hands the wine.”
He turned to Danish Bait and muttered, “There can be no great harm in staying a single night.”
“As your Majesty pleases,” said the vizir. This resolution was equally agreeable to all parties and the princess having taken the hands of the Shah, the vizir, and her lover conducted them to see the chambers. The first chamber they entered was splendidly illuminated with castres of jewels each of which was worth an empire in value. In that chamber they found a beautiful damsel of fourteen years of age, whose chuks were brought as the circle of the sun and whose name was derived from the honeyed sherbet, which was distilled from her lips:
“That fair if night's refulgent queen
In all her lovelings had seen
From the eye of heaven had fled,
One tearful star of envious Zend.”14
The fair laid hold of an emerald flagon and a diamond goblet, and as she joined the party, the chamber was illuminated with her beauty. When the eye of the king Anu Shah fell on that ravisher of hearts he, quite distracted with admiration, exclaimed in a doleful tone:
“Who fills my soul with new alarms?
Are these the fair Zulukhas charms?
Or beaming with celestial love
Some angles from the blest above
Sweet on her placid features lie
The tender Mercies of the sky
And clam as life’s eternal stream
A mild celestial softness beam.”
He anxiously asked Gheti Afroz the name of the conqueror of hearts. The princess, who did not greatly approve this indication of the steadiness of the Shah’s affections, said in an altered tone “She is a Lady whom I greatly respect and who holds the first place in my affection of all the Houris and the Peris and her name is Izrat Afra.”
At the same time she proposed to visit the upper apartments.
The Shah, whose raptures were a good deal chilled by the coldness of her manner, could not avoid accompanying her. There they beheld a splendid throne on each of the four corners on which was placed an ornamented figure of a peacock, the interior of which was stuffed with utter and aboes wood, which at every passing breeze perfumed the whole garden by their fragrant odor.
The Shah asked, “What was the use of it is the car on which I travail?”
Replied Gheti Afroz, “With which I can go in a moment wherever I please. Anu Shah was curious to try it and asked if it would exhibit the same properties with him.”
“You shall see.” said the Princess, and immediately ordered a mattress of golden tissue and admirable workmanship to be spread in it and placed the Shah by her side. She beckoned the Vizir and Melech Mahommed to seat themselves on the opposite side and in order to gratify the Shah, she placed Izrut Afra between herself and him.
Band of Peris arranged in numerous rows were ordered to attend with blazing torches and the most exquisite musicians with their instruments of music as thought and Izrut Afra was appointed to hand round the goblet.
“But don’t,” said the Princess maliciously, “give a single cup to Melech Mahommed.” They merrily tossed off their cups but poor Melech Mahommed sat biting his thumbs and muttering:
“If I should lose my lady’s grace
Compound this ugly Hang dog face
And should her favor light amiss
A sign poot seize this clumsy phizz.
Gheti Afroz could not resist laughter and added, “Well give the poor fellow a cup to console him.” Whenever Izzut handed round the cup, the Shah fixed his ardent eyes on her as much to say:
“To one loved from my fancy flies
I kiss her cheeks I kiss her eyes
And still where playful fancy drays
Mine eyes would ever sleepless gaze.”
Gheti Afroz then called the bearers of the car, who immediately took it up and ascended through the air with extreme velocity till they almost touched the azure vault of heaven. The army of the Shah beheld this strange spectacle in the air, and they immediately reported to the people of Okbalia that King Anu Shah, with his vizir and Melech Mahommed along with Gheti Afroz, were sitting and carousing in mid-air with a beautiful Houri for their cup bearer.
The good people of Okbalia came flocking out to see the sight as if it had been to a procession. A strange sight it was they saw. The car was suspended in open air, almost involved in a cloud of fragrant incense, which spread far and wide its odorous perfumes, and all around resounded the music of innumerable instruments, the modulations of which were strange and uncommon. But all the thrumming of the pipes and tabours could not distract the attention of the people from the situation of the king.
“Alas the day!” cried they, “What shall we do without a king? Woe betide the time that we should lose him.”
Aclender coolly observed:
“One year begins another ends
One rises up and one descends
Every one his fate must prove,
As written in the books above.”
Others were not quite so much distressed. “Never fear,” said they “the Vizir is a knowing old boy. I warrant you he brings him home safe and sound as we may soon find to our cost.”
The aerial party, however, continued their past-time till near midnight when, in the twinkling of an eye, they returned to the palace of the princess and enjoyed a delicate repast. Ruh Afza, in all her claims adorned like a bride and perfumed with the choicest odors, waited on the Shah with such assiduity that she quite lavished his heart and intoxicated his senses.
Zok Angeez arrayed in magnificent garments in like manner on Danish Bait. At a signal from the queen of the Peris they retired to repose. When Anu Shah and Danish entered thumping apartments they found they were illuminated by moons of beauty.
The Shah exclaimed in delight:
“Cous what a prospect charms mine eye,
I feel my lavished senses fly
My soul on seas of rapture lost
Be calm on thou art ever lost
Drunk with the wild unhoped-for bliss
My fancy ne’er dearest soar to this
Like are that dreams in troubled sleep
By fists I laugh by the Ieveep
Ruh Afza replied with a smile of complaisance and the Shah continued his rhapsody:
“O thou who sold in smiling state
On whom prophetic omens wait
Whose brilliant eyes are dear to love,
Beyond the luckiest stars above,
Whose eyebrows admirable arch
Would mend a limping pools March
“May the fortune of the Shah be as admirable as his verses,” said Ruh Afza, “You see, I am ready to reward the Poet by the most propitious omens in my power.”
The Shah threw his arm around her neck and caressed her tenderly repeating with rapture:
"What medicine can the bosom prove
When all the heart is drunk with love
When at the melting charmers glances
In the Eye-soft rapture dances
And every sense is turned to bliss
What remedy awaits for this?"15
Ruh Afza gave him a broad hint that the remedy was by no means difficult. As for Danish Bait, the old codger retired quietly to his bedchamber, thinking of no evil whatsoever when who should he find seated on his couch, but the lovely Zok Anguz, arrayed in all the beauty of the Sun, with her whole apparel sparkling with jewels. She saluted him gracefully as he entered and the sight of her so warmed his old heart that he could not help breaking out in a poetical rapture likewise:
“No dagger keen no murdering lance
Is deadlier than that piercing glance.
Though lovely as the dawn of day,
That face its charming hints display
Though odorous as the breeze of eve
Thy sable ringlets interweave
No dagger keen no murdering lance
Is deadlier than that piercing glance.”
Then, seizing the hand of his charmer, he proceeded to recruit his energies with another goblet of wine.
Melech Mahommed, who had same idea of what was going forward, perceived that the same was likely to hang heavy on nobody’s hands but his own. So mustering all his courage, he took way to the charmer of Gheti Afroz. “Let us hope the best thought he who knows what the force of good example may effect.” When he entered the chamber he saw that the princess was waiting for him.
She cried, “Come away! What has kept you so long?”
He approached and said:
“Love that so every heart brings joy
To me brings only sad annoy
Affection preys upon my heart
And all its mead is thrilling smart
While promises bring no relief
But swell with baffled hopes my grief.”
The princess replied:
“Ah never with hasty hand remove
The pearly drops that spring from love
Ere yet congealed at beauty’s shine
Like jewels on thy vest they shine.”
Melech Mahommed answered:
“The slave which these dear ringlets bend
Why is he felon like confined
The felon sure should mercy prove
Whose only crim is fondest love
Or think when when Mercy’s claims would fail
That begging Takers oft prevail
Lest wandering for and wide they name
The miser to his lasting shame.”16
The heart of Gheti Afroz was melted and she desired him to take courage for in due time, he should his thirst in the pure stream of affection and drink copious droughts of the wine of love. But above all, she inculcated the virtue of patience as the surest and speediest means of attaining the accomplishment of his wishes, strenuously exhorting him to avoid indiscretion and not disgrace both himself and her in the presence of King Anu Shah:
“Mouth by mouth the infants mien
In fresher livelier charms is seen
But never on the lavished sight
The full-formed virgin burst to light.”
Melech Mahommed was enraptured and cried in ecstasy, “After the experience of many sorrows, what a sovereign delight it is to view these charms.”
“These charms” said the princess “you can view any day of the week, but will that satisfy your desire?”
Melech Mahommed frankly confessed that his desire was quite insatiable, but the princess suggested the old remedy of patience and told him of his desire. No abatement he might hope much from time. After conversing some time in this intimate manner and pledging several mutual goblets, which did not much tend to allay the fever in Melech Mahommed’s blood, they laid down to rest.
The first that waked was Melech Mahommed, whose rest was not of the soundest. After tossing and turning and swearing that the night would last forever, he rose and beheld Gheti Afroz in all her charms sleeping in a careless posture.
“Ah,” said he, “This unlucky patience takes a terrible time to cure a fever. Come weal or woe I forward go.”
The moment he touched her cestus, the arch tormentor started from sleep and said in a better lone, “Senseless creature that your will you persist in banishing yourself from my society and bringing irretrievable disgrace on your unlucky head. Desist or be instantly transformed into some brutal shape that alone is worthy of you.”
At this oration, every word of which Melech Mahommed knew to be verity, he was terribly disconcerted and instantly slunk off to his couch in a most pitiful manner where a thousand torturing reflections came to his consolation. In about an hour, the golden plumed peacock of the dawn raised his radiant head. The bright morning undrew the dusty curtains of the displaced night and the light of the world displayed his beams above the mountains Budukshan.
Gheti Afroz awoke and ordered the hall to be adorned with rich carpets and tapestry.
The Shah then made his appearance and after him, Melech Mahommed with a fine resplendent face a little dubious of his reception. The Shah asked him what had come of his uncle, Danish Bait, and desired him to find him out.
Melech Mahommed went to summon him, and found his sage uncle in a sound nap with is arms turned lovingly round the neck of Zok Angeez. He returned to the party and reported that he had found him moralizing. When the vizir had joined them, the Shah left Gheti Afroz with innumerable compliments on both sides and, with the Vizir and Melech Mahommed, proceeded to the army who were waiting for him in their stations.
He then set out for town amid the shouts and exaltation of a hundred thousand men and dismissed the multitude at the gates of the city. The citizens of Ekbalia came flocking to meet him on his return and were not a little disappointed. After all his adventures, to see him riding on horseback like other people, Melech Mahommed proceeded to his own house, and all his servants came to congratulate him that for once he had come back safely from the Peries.
The preceding having been a very sleepless night, he immediately retreated to his couch, where, having reposed for some time, he went to the house of his uncle and proceeded along with him to court to wait on King Anu Shah.
The Visit of Gheti Afroz and the Peries to King Anu Shah, The fourth Transformation of Melech Mahommed into an Ox.
The Shah consoled with Danish Bait and told him that he proposed to give an entertainment to Gheti Afroz in a style of suitable magnificence, of which she could be induced to visit him. Danish Bait highly approved of the idea if it were agreeable to the Perizadis. He then asked Melech Mahommed if he thought Gheti Afroz would accept the invitation. Melech Mahommed said she certainly would and though she would make some eye uses, it would be easy to prevail on her.
The Shah called his stewards and ordered him to prepare with the utmost dispatch a hundred thousands dishes of meat of every various kind each according to its proper quality, and likewise to fit up in the most magnificent hall covered with carpets, an outer room for placing the baggage in, a chamber for perfumes, another for ablution, another for bitel, another for sherbet, and another for wine, and said he, “You shall answer with your office that everything be ready that can possibly be asked, for even to the milk of a bird and the soul of a man.”
The steward immediately went and issued the strongest injunctions to all the servants to exert themselves and every person applied himself assiduously to his own business.
The Shah then desired Melech Mahommed to bear his respects to Gheti Afroz, and tell her, “Though it be presumptuous in a mortal to pretend to entertain her who possesses whatever God has created, yet my desire of her society is so great I cannot refrain from entreating her to illumine with the rays of her beauty. My paltry attage, though it should only be for a single hour, the princess will pardon the presumption of her goodness for once to take a single look at our habitation?”
Melech Mahommed immediately proceeded to the palace of Gheti Afroz and knocked at the door, calling out lustily to open to the faithful Melech Mahommed.
The door was opened, he entered, and beheld Gheti Afroz as charming as ever seated on her throne. She cried, “Come away! You are very welcome. Indeed I was just thinking on you:
“Welcome, welcome, dearly welcome.
A fond welcome my dear
It brings a hundred lives to me
Each step that brings thee near.”
She seated him by her side and asked, “What news have you brought?”
He said “I bring you a message from King Anu Shah. He desired to the remembered to you in terms of the profoundest respect and with the sincerest wishes for your happiness. Moreover, he requests that you would not be displeased at his presumption when he requests you for the space of a single hour to illumine his cottage with the light of your footsteps.”
Gheti Afroz answered, “I will certainly go if it will give you any pleasure.”
Melech Mahommed replied, “How should I presume to direct your pleasure?”
The princess answered, “But I have so much as that to the lord of my heart.”
Melech Mahommed exclaimed in transport:
“As bursts the ripe pistachios and
So bursts my heart with joy confined.”
She immediately added, “Whenever my sovereign signifies his pleasure, I will take horse with heart and hand.”
She then assembled the Perizadis and arrayed herself with Izrut Afzu, the Houri Ruh Afza, and Lok Angeiz in splendid garments of golden tissue richly adorned with jewels.
“Remove the gorgeous chapetel from her neck, a hoard of jewels would her garments dark, Melech Mahommed” said she, “shall I ride on my car or go on horseback?”
He answered, “Your pleasure is my law.”
She said, “To ride in a car I fear will not be so respectful.” She had two horses of incomparable excellence, the names of which were Abarpa and Badpa.
When Badpa paces unconfined
Every bound outstrips the wind
He vibrates with a gentle spring
As if he trod the lusts sweat string
As odours float along the breeze
Both horses were accounted in a splendid manner, with bridles adorned with precious stones. The princess herself mounted Abarpa Izrut Badpa, and they set out for the city, preceded by Melech Mahommed on his own steed.
They came with great hamp and hubbub to the gate of the city Ekabalia and Melech Mahommed went on before to apprise the Shah of her arrival.
The Shah turned up his eyes to the firmament and said, “She must be still a good way off.” There no sound in the air. As soon as he learned that she was entering the city on horseback by the gate, he advanced on foot to meet her. When the princess saw the Shah, she dismounted from her horse and joined him on foot with her whole train. The Shah’s attendants and courtiers became accustomed to the Perizadis, and they soon proceeded from astonishment to impertinence, and began to paw and handle them a little uncivilly.
Gheti afroz observed with a side-glance this presumption of mortals and, turning indignantly to the Shah, she said, “I am a Perizadi and to gratify your majesty, order I will in a moment change them into brute beasts.”
The Shah was enraged at the impertinence of his courtiers and immediately dismissed the whole of them with disgrace. Then taking the hand of Gheti Afroz in a most respectful manner, he conducted her into a saloon and seated her on a golden throne.
The rose tinted cupbearers immediately introduced the ruddy wine, and skillful musicians entered with harp and lyre, tambourine and flute, and other delightful instruments of music.
When they had seated themselves, the Shah resumed his apologies, “We of the race of men,” said he, “have never seen such jewels and ornaments as adorn your train. Excuse the fault of curiosity.”
“May the King live forever,” said Gheti Afroz, “a jewel is but a stone and unworthy of your majesty’s attention. Let us be cheerful and think no more of it.”
The perfumes of saffron and other odors were diffused around, and the Perizadis resumed their good humor. The banquet was speedily announced. The servants with great dexterity covered the table and placed the several dishes and salt sellers in their proper places, and distributed slices of bread in the intervals.
Anu Shah and Gheti Afroz seated themselves at the head of the table and every person took his respective place and assailed the dishes with great dispatch.
Gheti Afroz saw that the preparations ended her own, both in quantity and quality and repeated:
“Your banquet from the foremost dish
Excels e’en to the lated fish
Blest be your basket and your store
And may they prosper more and more.”17
When the tables were removed, the servants were ordered to distribute the fragments of the feast to all comers.
Having adjourned to the tank and made their ablution, another table was set and bited, and perfumes brought in. Every perfume was lavished, that was rare and costly as Sandal and chua atter of roses and saffron amber and rose water according to the prayer ofthe poet:
Yet yet the the massy goblet pour
Till joy itself be felt no more
Till not a shade of thought remain
To flis across my ruting brain
The Shah said to Gheti Afroz, “Permit your slave to perfume a certain person with my own hands. Can you guess who?”
“Ruh Afza, no doubt,” said the princess. Gheti Afroz perfumed with her own hands the garments of her favorite Izrut Afza ,and turning to Melech Mahommed with an arch look said, “It is my sovereign will and pleasure that you perfume me, your liege and mistress, if it won’t distress you too much.”
Melech Mahommed delighted at being permitted to perform this office in the presence of the Shah and his uncle. The whole company sprung up with the utmost alacrity and perfumed her as if he would never have tried whispering all the while:
“My heart beats quick with fond alarms
My soul is fluttering round your charms
Too full my breast its joy to hide
Aright aleft I look with pride
To ask the circle where you shine
Can any mistress equal mine.”
When the company had sufficiently enjoyed the perfumes, the silver limbed cupbearers introduced the ruddy wine and the players on the lyre and flute struck up the most delightful harmony. Afterwards they walked in the garden till the rays of the Sun dived into the bake of the West and the watery circle of the Moon displayed its pale beams.
Then the Shah ordered a chamber to be prepared, and the company retired to rest. When the bustle of the retiring crowd was over, Gheti Afroz took the hand of Melech Mahommed and conducted him to her own chamber. After some time spent in conversation, they retired to their couches.
Melech Mahommed, however, was as ready to die as to sleep. From the strength of the wine and the predominance of love, he was so intoxicated that he had no power of self-restraint. Unable to lie still, he rose up and saw Gheti Afroz sleeping in all her charms in the deep sleep of wine.
“Hap or happen what may,” said he “I may now attain my wish.”
Determined to be guilty of a heinous indiscretion, he stretched out his hand to lay hold of her cestus, when the merciless tormentor again awaked and in a fit of passion exclaimed, “Cursed ox, what is this you are about?”
Melech Mahommed with an awkward leap flounced off the couch and stood on the floor in the form of an ox. Immediately, her attendants threw a rope round his neck and bound him to a sturdy tree to prevent him from trampling the garden of the Shah with his hoofs.
Gheti Afroz at him said:
“With scornful smile with tearful eye
I see thy figure stalking by.”
Taking some brilliant jewels she suspended them round his neck at the same time ordering several large bells to be suspended at it, when Melech Mahommed saw himself thus equipped and recollected this indiscretion he could not help admitting:
Again my said deserts I rue
My punishment is just is true
Since every poor excuse is vain
You justly give your wrath he rain
Gheti Afroz returned to sleep and left him leisure for reflection.
Mercy on me, thought he, what a dreadful change a glance of the eye has produced.
He was already but too well acquainted with the tender mercy of his mistress and he could not now help regretting that a trifling childish desire should lead person into such terrible misfortunes:
“Your heart is marble soul of mine
Nor can to mercy’s voice incline
In vain my wistful eyes entreat
Compassion that they nor should meet”
The more his reflection came to his aid, the greater was his distress, and the more remedy less did his case appear. He not only foresaw that the Shah as well as his uncle would inevitably be spectators of his disgrace, but he recollected with no very pleasurable emotions that not a single particle of of medicine remained in his uncle’s casket.
“Lord have mercy, poor soul,” thought he, “for anything that I see I am utterly undone.” In this doleful state along night passed away till the beams of the golden sun appeared from the chamber of the East—
The Orient moon’s bright banners flew
Like Chosrus standards on the view
Hope brightens at churning ray
And drives intruding griefs away18
King Anu Shah rose with the sun and seated himself on the throne. Gheti Afroz, like a majestic peacock, advanced with stately step to salute him and seated herself by his side. After they had drunk some goblets of a morning cordial, Gheti Afroz arose and with much politeness took her leave. The Shah ordered splendid garments with rich necklaces of pearl and several bashes of beautiful horses to be presented to her at her departure. To gratify the Shah, she accepted the pearls and set out for her palace. The Shah was still sitting on his throne and conversing with Danish Bait, when, casting a side glance towards the garden, he beheld a horned ox bound to a stout tree by a rope round his neck. Everybody was
10. [For analysis of verse, see ]↩
11. [For analysis of verse, see ]↩
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14. [For analysis of verse, see ]↩
15. [For analysis of verse, see ]↩
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17. [For analysis of verse, see ]↩
18. [For analysis of verse, see ]↩