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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 9 out of 12

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tremble, as if they had been undone; but Schemselnihar, who
perceived it, recovered their courage by a smile.

After Schemselnihar had quieted the prince of Persia and Ebn
Thaher's fears, she ordered the slave, her confident, to go and
entertain Mesrour and the two other officers till she was in a
condition to receive them, and send to her to bring them in. She
immediately ordered all the windows of the saloon to be shut, and
the painted cloth on the side of the garden to be let down; and
having assured the prince and Ebn Thaher that they might continue
there without fear, she went out at the gate leading to the
garden, and shut it upon them; but, whatever assurance she had
given them of their being safe, they were still much terrified
all the while they were there.

As soon as Schemselnihar was in the garden with the women that
followed her, she ordered all the seats which served the women
who played on the instruments to be set near the window where Ebn
Thaher and the prince of Persia heard them, and having got things
in order, she sat down upon a silver throne; then she sent by the
slave, her confident, to bring in the chief of the eunuchs, and
his subaltern officers.

They appeared, followed by twenty black eunuchs, all handsomely
clothed, with scimitars by their sides, and gold belts of four
inches broad. As soon as they perceived the favourite
Schemselnihar at a distance, they made her a profound reverence,
which she returned them from her throne. When they came near, she
got up and went to meet Mesrour, who came first. She asked what
news he brought. He answered, Madam, the commander of the
faithful has sent me to signify that he cannot live longer
without seeing you; he designs to come to you tonight, and I come
beforehand to give notice, that you may be prepared to receive
him. He hopes, madam, that you long as much to see him as he is
impatient to see you.

Upon this discourse of Mesrour, the favourite Schemselnihar
prostrated herself to the ground, as a mark of the submission
with which she received the caliph's order. When she rose again,
she said, Pray tell the commander of the faithful, that I shall
always esteem it my glory to execute his majesty's commands, and
that his slave will do her utmost to receive him with all the
respect that is due to him. At the same time she ordered the
slave, her confident, to tell the black women appointed for that
service to get the palace ready to receive the caliph; and
dismissing the chief of the eunuchs, said to him, You see it
requires some time to get all things ready, therefore I pray you
to take care that his majesty may have a little patience, that,
when he arrives, he may not find things out of order.

The chief of the eunuchs and his retinue being gone,
Schemselnihar returned to the saloon, extremely concerned at the
necessity she was under of sending back the prince of Persia
sooner than she thought to have done. She came up to him again
with tears in her eyes, which heightened Ebn Thaher's fear, who
thought it no good omen. Madam, said the prince to her, I
perceive you are come to tell me that we must part; provided
there be nothing more to dread, I hope Heaven will give me the
patience which is necessary to support your absence. Alas, my
dear heart, my dear soul, replied the tender-hearted
Schemselnihar, how happy do I think you, and how unhappy myself,
when I compare your lot with my sad destiny! No doubt, you will
suffer by my absence; but that is all, and you may comfort
yourself with the hope of seeing me again; but as for me, just
Heaven! what a terrible trial am I brought to! I must not only be
deprived of the sight of the only person whom I love, but I must
be tormented with the sight of one whom you have made hateful to
me. Will not the arrival of the caliph put me in mind of your
departure? And how can I, when I think of your sweet face,
entertain that prince with that joy which he always observed in
my eyes whenever he came to see me? I shall have my mind wavering
when I speak to him; and the least complaisance which I show to
him, will stab me to the heart like a dagger. Can I relish his
kind words and caresses? Think, prince, to what torments I shall
be exposed when I can see you no more! Her tears and sighs
hindered her to go on, and the prince of Persia would have
replied to her; but his own grief, and that of his mistress, made
him incapable.

Ebn Thaher, whose chief business was to get out of the palace,
was obliged to comfort them, and to exhort them to have patience.
But the trusty slave interrupted them: Madam, said she to
Schemselnihar, you have no time to lose, the eunuchs begin to
arrive, and you know the caliph will be here immediately. 0
Heaven, how cruel is this separation! cried the favourite. Make
haste, said she to the confident, carry them both to the gallery
which looks into the garden on the one side, and to the Tigris on
the other; and when the night grows dark, let them out by the
back gate, that they may retire with safety. Having spoken thus,
she tenderly embraced the prince of Persia, without being able to
say one word more, and went to meet the caliph in such disorder
as cannot well be imagined.

In the mean time the trusty slave carried the prince and Ebn
Thaher to the gallery, as Schemselnihar had appointed; and having
brought them in, left them there, and shut the door upon them,
after having assured them that they had nothing to fear, and that
she would come for them when it was time.

Schemselnihar's trusty slave leaving the prince of Persia and Ebn
Thaher, they forgot she had assured them that they needed not to
be afraid; they searched all the gallery, and were seized with
extreme fear, because they knew no place where they might escape,
in case the caliph, or any of his officers, should happen to come

A great light, which came on a sudden from the side of the garden
through the windows, caused them to approach to see from whence
it came. It was occasioned by a hundred flambeaux of white wax,
carried by as many young eunuchs; these were followed by as many
others, who guarded the ladies of the caliph's palace, clothed,
and armed with scimitars, in the same manner as those already
mentioned; and the caliph came after them, betwixt Mesrour, their
captain, on his right, and the vassif, their second officer, on
his left hand.

Schemselnihar waited for the caliph at the entry of an alley,
accompanied by twenty women, all of surprising beauty, adorned
with necklaces and ear-rings of large diamonds, and some of them
had their whole heads covered with them. They played upon
instruments, and made a charming concert. The favourite no sooner
saw the prince appear than she advanced, and prostrated herself
at his feet; and while doing this, Prince of Persia, said she
within herself, if your sad eyes bear witness to what I do, judge
of my hard lot; if I was humbling myself so before you, my heart
should feel no reluctance.

The caliph was ravished to see Schemselnihar. Rise, madam, said
he to her; come near: I am angry that I should have deprived
myself so long of the pleasure of seeing you. Saying this, he
took her by the hand, and, after abundance of tender expressions,
went and sat down upon a silver throne which Schemselnihar caused
to be brought for him, and she sat down upon a seat opposite, and
the twenty women made a circle round about them upon other seats,
while the young eunuchs, who carried flambeaux, dispersed
themselves at a certain distance from each other, that the caliph
might enjoy the cool of the evening the better.

When the caliph sat down, he looked round him, and beheld with
satisfaction a great many other lights besides those flambeaux
which the young eunuchs held; but taking notice that the saloon
was shut, was astonished thereat, and demanded the reason. It was
done on purpose to surprise him; for he had no sooner spoken,
than the windows were at once opened, and he saw it illuminated
within and without in a much better manner than ever he had seen
it before. Charming Schemselmhar, cried he at this sight, I
understand you; you would have me to know there are as fine
nights as days. After what I have seen, I cannot disown it.

Let us return to the prince of Persia and Elm Thaher, whom we
left in the gallery. Ebn Thaher could not enough admire all he
saw. I am not very young, said he, and in my time have seen great
entertainments; but I do not think any thing can be more
surprising and magnificent. All that is said of enchanted palaces
does no way come near this prodigious spectacle we now see. O
strange! what riches and magnificence together!

The prince of Persia was nothing moved with those objects which
were so pleasant to Ebn Thaher; he could look on nothing but
Schemselnihar, and the presence of the caliph threw him into
inconceivable grief. Dear Ebn Thaher, said he, would to God I had
my mind as free to admire these things as you! But, alas! I am in
a quite different condition; all those objects serve only to
increase my torment. Can I see the caliph cheek to cheek with her
that I love, and not die of grief? Must such a passionate love as
mine be disturbed by so potent a rival? O heavens, how cruel is
my destiny! It is but a moment since I esteemed myself the most
fortunate lover in the world, and at this instant I feel my heart
so struck, that it is like to kill me. I cannot resist it, my
dear Ebn Thaher; my patience is at an end; my distemper
overwhelms me, and my courage fails. While speaking, he saw
something pass in the garden, which obliged him to keep silence,
and to turn all his attention that way.

The caliph had ordered one of the women, who was near him, to
play on her lute, and she began to sing. The words that she sung
were very passionate; and the caliph was persuaded that she sung
thus by order of Schemselnihar, who had frequently entertained
him with the like testimonies of her affection; therefore he
interpreted all in his own favour. But this was not now
Schemselnihar's meaning; she applied it to her dear Ali Ebn
Becar, and was so sensibly touched with grief, to have before her
an object whose presence she could no longer enjoy, that she
fainted and fell backwards upon her seat, which having no arms to
support her, she must have fallen down, had not some of the women
helped her in time; who took her up, and carried her into the

Ebn Thaher, who was in the gallery, being surprised at this
accident, turned towards the prince of Persia; but, instead of
seeing him stand and look through the window as before, he was
extremely amazed to see him fall down at his feet, and without
motion. He judged it to proceed from the violence of his love to
Schemselnihar, and admired the strange effect of sympathy which
threw him into great fear, because of the place in which they
were. In the mean time he did all he could to recover the prince,
but in vain. Ebn Thaher was in this perplexity when
Schemselnihar's confident, opening the gallery door, came in out
of breath, as one who knew not where she was. Come speedily,
cried she, that I may let you out. All is confusion here, and I
fear this will be the last of our days. Ah! how would you have us
go? replied Ebn Thaher, with a mournful voice. Come near, I pray
you, and see in what condition the prince of Persia is. When, the
slave saw him in a swoon, she ran for water in all haste, and
returned in an instant.

At last the prince of Persia, after they had thrown water on his
face, recovered his spirits. Prince, said Ebn Thaher to him, we
run the risk of being destroyed, if we stay here any longer; let
us therefore endeavour to save our lives. He was so feeble that
he could not rise unassisted. Ebn Thaher and the confident lent
him their hands, and supported him on each side. They came to a
little iron gate which opened towards the Tigris, went out at it,
and got to the side of a little canal communicating with the
river. The confident clapped her hands, and immediately a little
boat appeared, which came towards them with one rower. Ali Ebn
Becar and his comrade went aboard, and the trusty slave staid at
the side of the canal. As soon as the prince sat down in the
boat, he stretched out one hand towards the palace and laid the
other upon his heart. Dear object of my soul! cried he with a
feeble voice, receive my faith with this hand, while I assure you
with the other, that for you my heart shall for ever preserve the
fire with which it burns!

In the mean time the boatman rowed with all his might; and
Schemselnihar's trusty slave accompanied the prince of Persia and
Ebu Thaher, walking along the side of the canal, until they came
to the Tigris; and when she could go no further, she took
farewell of them, and returned.

The prince of Persia continued very feeble. Ebn Thaher comforted
him, and exhorted him to take courage. Consider, said he, that
when we are landed, we have a great way to go before we come to
my house; and I would not at this hour, and in this condition,
advise you home to your lodgings, which are a great way further
off than mine. At length they got out of the boat, but the prince
was so weak that he could not walk, which put Ebn Thaher into
great perplexity. He remembered he had a friend in the
neighbourhood, and carried the prince thither with great
difficulty. His friends received them very cheerfully; and, when
he made them sit down, asked where they had been so late. Ebn
Thaher answered him, I was this evening with a man who owed me a
considerable sum of money, and designed to go a long voyage. I
was unwilling to lose time to find him, and by the way I met with
this young nobleman whom you see, and to whom I am under a
thousand obligations; for, knowing my debtor, he would needs do
me the favour of going along with me. We had a great deal of
trouble to bring the man to reason; besides, we went out of the
way, and that is the reason we are so late. In our return home,
this good lord, for whom I have all possible respect, was
attacked by a sudden distemper; which made me take the liberty of
calling at your house, flattering myself that you would be
pleased to give us quarters for this night.

Ebn Thaher's friend, who believed all this, told them they were
welcome, and offered the prince of Persia, whom he knew not, all
the assistance he could desire; but Ebn Thaher spoke for the
prince, and said, that his distemper was of a nature that
required nothing but rest. His friend understood by this that
they desired to go to bed; on which he conducted them to an
apartment, where he left them.

Though the prince of Persia slept, he had troublesome dreams,
which represented Schemselnihar in a swoon at the caliph's feet,
and increased his affliction. Ebn Thaher was very impatient to be
at home, and doubted not but his family were in great trouble,
because he never used to lie abroad. He rose and deported early
in the morning, after taking leave of his friend, who rose at
break of day to say his prayers. At last he came home; and the
prince of Persia, who had walked so far with much trouble, lay
down upon a sofa, as weary as if he had travelled a long journey
Not being in a condition to go home, Ebn Thaher ordered a chamber
to be got ready for him, and sent to acquaint his friends with
his condition, and where he was. In the mean time he begged him
to compose himself, to command in his house, and order things as
he pleased. I thank you hcartily for these obliging offers, said
the prince of Persia; but, that I may not be any way troublesome
to you, I conjure you to deal with me as if I were not at your
house. I would not stay one moment, if I thought my presence
would incommode you in the least.

As soon as Ebn Thaher had time to recollect himself, he told his
family all that had passed at Schemselnihar's palace, and
concluded by thanking God, who had delivered him from the danger
he was in. The prince of Persia's principal domestics came to
receive his orders at Ebn Thaher's house, and in a little time
several of his friends who had notice of his indisposition
arrived. Those friends passed the greater part of the day with
him; and, though their conversation could not dissipate those sad
ideas which were the cause of his trouble, yet it gave him some
relief. He would have taken his leave of Ebn Thaher towards the
evening; but this faithful friend found him still so weak, that
he obliged him to stay till next day, and in the mean time, to
divert him, gave him a concert of vocal and instrumental music in
the evening; but this concert served only to put him in mind of
the preceding night, and renewed his trouble, instead of
assuaging it; so that next day his distemper seempd to increase.
Upon this, Ebn Thaher did not oppose his going home, but took
care to accompany him thither; and, when alone with him in his
chamber, he represented to him all those arguments which might
influence him to a generous endeavour to overcome that passion,
which in the end would neither prove lucky to himself nor to the
favourite. Ah, dear Ebn Thaher! cried the prince, how easy is it
for you to give this advice, but how hard is it for me to follow
it! I am sensible of its importance, but am not able to profit by
it, I have said already, that I shall carry with me to the grave
the love that I bear to Schemselnihar. When Ebn Thaher saw that
lie could not prevail on the prince, he took his leave of him,
and would have retired.

The prince of Persia detained him, and said, Kind Ebn Thaher,
since I have declared to you that it is not in my power to follow
your wise counsels, I beg you will not charge it on me as a
crime, nor forbear to give me the usual testimonies of your
friendship; you cannot do me a greater favour than to inform me
of the destiny of my dear Schemselnihar, when you hear any news
of it. The uncertainty I am in concerning her fate, and the
apprehensions which her fainting occasioned me, keep me in this
languishing condition you reproach me with. My lord, answered Ebn
Thaher, you have reason to hope that her fainting was not
attended with any serious consequences; her confident, will soon
come and inform me of the issue, and as soon as I know the
particulars, I shall not fail to impart them.

Ebn Thaher left the prince in this hope, and returned home where
he expected Schemselnihar's confident all day, but in vain, nor
did she come next day. His uneasiness to know the state of the
prince of Persia's health would not suffer him to stay any longer
without seeing him; he went to his lodgings to exhort him to
patience, and found him lying in bed as sick as ever, surrounded
by many of his friends, and several physicians, who used all
their art to discover the cause of his distemper. As soon as he
saw Ebn Thaher, he looked upon him smiling, to signify that he
had two things to tell him; the one, that he was glad to see him;
the other, how much the physicians, who could not discover the
cause of his distemper, were mistaken in their reasonings.

His friends and physicians retired one after another; so that Ebn
Thaher, being alone with him, came near his bed, to ask how he
did since he saw him. I must tell you, answered the prince, that
my passion, which continually gathers new strength, and the
uncertainty of the lovely Schemselnihar's destiny, augment my
distemper every moment, and throw me into such a condition as
afflicts my kindred and friends, and breaks the measures of my
physicians, who do not understand it. You cannot think, added he,
how much I suffer to see so many importunate people about me, and
whom I cannot in civility put away. It is your company alone that
is comfortable to me: but, in a word, I conjure you not to
dissemble with me; what news do you bring of Schemselnihar? Have
you seen her confident? What said she to you? Ebn Thaher
answered, that he had not yet seen her; and no sooner had he told
the prince of Persia this sad news, than tears came from his
eyes, and his heart was so oppressed that he could not answer him
one word. Prince, added Ebn Thaher, suffer me to tell you, that
you are very ingenious in tormenting yourself. In the name of
God, wipe away your tears: If any of your people should come in
just now, they would discover you by this, notwithstanding the
care you ought to take to conceal your thoughts. Whatever this
judicious confident could say, it was impossible for the prince
to refrain from weeping. Wise Ebn Thaher, said he, when he had
recovered his speech, I may well hinder my tongue from revealing
the secrets of my heart, but I have no power over my tears upon
such a direful subject as Schemselnihar's danger! If that
adorable and only object of my desires be no longer in the world.
I shall not be one moment after! Reject so afflicting an idea,
replied Ebn Thaher; Schemselnihar is yet alive; you need not
doubt the certainty of it. If you have heard nothing of her, it
is because she could find no occasion to send to you; and I hope
you will hear from her to-day. To this he added several other
comfortable things, and then retired.

Ebn Thaher was scarcely at his own house, when Schemselnihar's
confident arrived with a melancholy countenance, which he
reckoned a bad omen. He asked concerning her mistress. Tell me
yours first, said the confident; for I was in great trouble to
see the prince of Persia go away in that condition. Ebn Thaher
told her all that she desired to know, and when he had done, the
slave began her discourse: If the prince of Persia, said she, has
suffered, and does still suffer, for my mistress, she suffers no
less for him. After I departed from you, continued she, I
returned to the saloon, where I found Schemselnihar not yet
recovered from her swoon, notwithstanding all the help they
endeavoured to give her. The caliph was sitting near her with all
the signs of real grief; he asked the women, and me in
particular, if we knew the cause of her distemper; but we all
kept secret, and told him we were altogether ignorant of it. In
the mean time, we wept to see her suffer so long, and forgot
nothing that might any ways help her. In a word, it was almost
midnight before she recovered. The caliph, who had the patience
to wait, was truly glad at her recovery, and asked Schemselmhar
the cause of her distemper. As soon as she heard him speak, she
endeavoured to resume her seat; and, after she had kissed his
feet before he could hinder her, Sir, said she, I have reason to
complain of Heaven, that it did not allow me to expire at your
majesty's feet, to testify thereby how sensible I am of your

I am persuaded you love me, said the caliph to her, and I command
you to preserve yourself for my sake. You have probably exceeded
in something today, which has occasioned this indisposition; take
heed, I pray you, abstain from it for the future. I am glad to
see you better; and I advise you to stay here tonight, and not to
return to your chamber, lest the motion disturb you. Upon this he
commanded a little wine to be brought her, in order to strengthen
her; and then taking his leave, returned to his apartment.

As soon as the caliph was gone, my mistress gave me a sign to
come near her. She asked me earnestly concerning you: I assured
her that you had been gone a long time, which made her easy as to
that matter. I took care not to speak of the prince of Persia's
fainting, lest it should make her fall into the same condition
from which we had so much trouble to recover her; my precautions
were all in vain, as you shall hear. Prince, said she, I
henceforth renounce all pleasure as long as I am deprived of a
sight of you. If I have understood your heart right, I only
follow your example. Thou wilt not cease to weep until thou seest
me again; it is but just, then, that I weep and mourn till I see
you! At these words, which she uttered in such a manner as
expressed the violence of her passion, she fainted in my arms a
second time.

My comrades and I, said she, were long in recovering her; at last
she came to herself; and then I said to her, Madam, are you
resolved to kill yourself, and to make us also die with you? I
beg of you to be persuaded, in the name of the prince of Persia,
for whom it is your interest to live, to save yourself, as you
love yourself, as you love the prince, and for our sakes, who are
so faithful to you! I am very much obliged to you, replied she,
for your care, zeal, and advice; but alas! these are useless to
me! You are not to flatter us with hopes; for we can expect no
end of our torment but in the grave! One of my companions would
have diverted those sad ideas by playing on her lute; but she
commanded her to be silent, and ordered all of them to retire,
except me, whom she kept all night with her. O heavens! what a
night was it! She passed it in tears and groans, always naming
the prince of Persia; lamented her lot, which had destined her to
the caliph, whom she could not love, and not to him she loved so

Next morning, because she was not commodiously lodged in the
saloon, I helped her to her chamber, where she no sooner arrived,
than all the physicians of the palace came to see her by order of
the caliph, who was not long in coming himself. The medicines
which the physicians prescribed for Schemselnihar were to no
purpose, because they were ignorant of the cause of her
distemper, and the presence of the caliph augmented it. She got a
little rest, however, this night; and as soon as she awoke, she
charged me to come to you to hear concerning the prince of
Persia. I have already informed you of his case, said Ebn Thaher;
so return to your mistress, and assure her that the prince of
Persia waits to hear from her with the like impatience that she
does from him; besides, exhort her to moderation, and to overcome
herself, lest she drop some words before the caliph, which may
prove fatal to us all. As for me, replied the confident, I
confess I dread her transport; I have taken the liberty to tell
her my mind, and am persuaded that she will not take it ill that
I tell her this from you.

Ebn Thaher, who had but just come from the prince of Persia's
lodgings, thought it not convenient to return so soon, and
neglect his own important affairs, and therefore went not till
the evening. The prince was alone, and no better than in the
morning. Ebn Thaher, said he, you have doubtless many friends;
but they do not know your worth, which you discover to me by the
zeal, care, and trouble, you give yourself to oblige me in my
condition. I am confounded with all that you do for me with so
great affection, and I know not how I shall be able to express my
gratitude! Prince, answered Ebn Thaher, do not speak so, I
entreat you; I am ready not only to give one of my own eyes to
save one of yours, but to sacrifice my life for you. But this is
not the present business; I come to tell you that Schemselnihar
sent her confident to ask me about you, and at the same time to
inform me of her condition. You may assure yourself that I said
nothing but what might confirm the excess of your passion for her
mistress, and the constancy with which you love her. Then Ebn
Thaher gave him a particular account of all that had passed
betwixt the trusty slave and him. The prince listened with all
the different emotions of fear, jealousy, affection, and
compassion, with which this discourse could inspire him, making,
upon every thing which he heard, all the afflicting or comforting
reflections that so passionate a lover was capable of.

Their conversation continued so long, that the night was far
advanced, so that the prince of Persia obliged Ebn Thaher to stay
with him. Next morning, as this trusty friend was returning home,
there came to him a woman, whom he knew to be Schemselnihar's
confident, who eagerly addressed him thus: My mistress salutes
you; and I am come to entreat you, in her home, to deliver this
letter to the prince of Persia. The zealous Ebn Thaher took the
letter, and returned to the prince, accompanied by the confident.

When Ebn Thaher entered the prince of Persia's house with
Schemselnihar's confident, he prayed her to stay one moment in
the drawing room. As soon as the prince of Persia saw him, he
earnestly asked what news he had. The best you can expect,
answered Ebn Thaher; you are as dearly beloved as you love;
Schemselnihar's confident is in your drawing room; she has
brought you a letter from her mistress, and waits for your orders
to come in. Let her come in! cried the prince, with a transport
of joy; and, speaking thus, sat down to receive her.

The prince's attendants retired as soon as they saw Ebn Thaher,
and left him alone with their master. Ebn Thaher went and opened
the door, and brought in the confident. The prince knew her, and
received her very civilly. My lord, said she to him, I am
sensible of the afflictions you have endured since I had the
honour to conduct you to the boat which waited to bring you back;
but I hope this letter I have brought will contribute to your
cure. Upon this, she presented him the letter. He took it, and,
after kissing it several times, opened it, and read as follows:

Letter from Schemselnihar to Ali Ebn Becar, Prince of Persia.

The person who carries this letter will give you a better account
concerning me than I can do, for I have not been myself since I
saw you: deprived of your presence, I sought to divert myself by
entertaining you with these ill-written lines, as if I had the
good fortune to speak to you.

It is said that patience is a cure for all distempers; but it
sours mine instead of sweetening it. Although your picture be
deeply engraven in my heart, my eyes desire constantly to see the
original; and their sight will vanish if they are much longer
deprived of that pleasure. May I flatter myself that yours have
the same impatience to see me? Yes I can; their tender glances
discovered it to me. How happy, prince, should you and
Schemselnihar both be, if our agreeable desires were not crossed
by invincible obstacles, which afflict me as sensibly as they do

Those thoughts which my fingers write, and which I express with
incredible pleasure, and repeat again and again, speak from the
bottom of my heart, and from the incurable wound which you have
made in it; a wound which I bless a thousand times,
notwithstanding the cruel torments I endure for your absence. I
would reckon all that opposes our love nothing, were I only
allowed to see you sometimes with freedom; I would then enjoy
you, and what more could I desire?

Do not imagine that I say more than I think. Alas! whatever
expressions I am able to use, I am sensible that I think more
than I can tell you. My eyes, which are continually watching and
weeping for your return; my afflicted heart, which desires
nothing but you alone; the sighs that escape me as often as I
think on you, that is, every moment; my imagination, which
represents no other object than my dear prince; the complaints
that I make to Heaven for the rigour of my destiny; in a word, my
grief, my trouble, my torments, which give me no ease ever since
I lost the sight of you, are witnesses of what I write.

Am not I unhappy to be born to love, without hope of enjoying him
whom I love? This doleful thought oppresses me so much, that I
should die, were I not persuaded that you love me: but this sweet
comfort balances my despair, and preserves my life. Tell me that
you love me always; I will keep your letter carefully, and read
it a thousand times a day; I will endure my afflictions with less
impatience. I pray Heaven may cease to be angry at us, and grant
us an opportunity to say that we love one another without fear;
and that we may never cease to love! Adieu. I salute Ebn Thaher,
who has so much obliged us.

The prince of Persia was not satisfied to read the letter once;
he thought he had read it with too little attention, and
therefore read it again with more leisure; and as he read,
sometimes he uttered sighs, sometimes he wept, and sometimes he
discovered transports of joy and affection, as one who was
touched with what he read. In a word, he could not keep his eyes
off those characters drawn by so lovely a hand, and therefore
began to read it a third time. Then Ebn Thaher told him that the
confident could not stay, and he ought to think of giving an
answer. Alas! cried the prince, how would you have me answer so
kind a letter? In what terms shall I express the trouble that I
am in? My spirit is tossed with a thousand tormenting things, and
my thoughts destroy one another the same momunt they are
conceived, to make way for more; and so long as my body suffers
by the impressions of my mind, how shall I be able to hold paper,
or a reed [Footnote The Arabians, Persians, and Turks, when they
write, hold the paper ordinarily upon their knees with their left
hands, and write with their right, with a little reed or cane cut
like our pens; this cane is hollow, and resembles our reeds, but
is harder.], to write? Having spoken thus, he took out of a
little desk paper, cane, and ink.

The prince of Persia, before he began to write, gave
Schemselnihar's letter to Ebn Thaher, and prayed him to hold it
open while he wrote, that, by casting his eyes upon it, he might
see the better what to answer. He began to write; but the tears
that fell from his eyes upon the paper obliged him several times
to stop, that they might trickle down the more freely. At last he
finished his letter, and giving it to Ebn Thaher, Read it, I
pray, said he, do me the favour to see if the disorder of my mind
has allowed me to give a reasonable answer. Ebn Thaher took it,
and read as follows:

The Prince of Persia's Answer to Schemselnihar's Letter.

I was swallowed up with mortal grief before I received your
letter, at the sight of which I was transported with unspeakable
joy; and the view of the characters written by your lovely hand
enlightened my eyes more sensibly than they were darkened when
yours were closed on a sudden at the feet of my rival. Those
words which your courteous letter contains, are so many rays of
light, which have dispelled the darkness with which my soul was
obscured; they show me how much you suffer by your love to me,
and that you are not ignorant of what I endure for you, and
thereby comfort me in my afflictions. On the one hand, they make
me shed tears in abundance; and, on the other, they inflame my
heart--with a fire which supports it, and hinders my dying of
grief. I have not had one moment's rest since our cruel
separation. Your letter only gave me some ease. I kept a
sorrowful silence till the moment I received it, and then it
restored me to speech. I was buried in a profound melancholy, but
it inspired me with joy, which immediately appeared in my eyes
and countenance. But my surprise at receiving a favour which I
had not deserved was so great, that I knew not which way to begin
to testify my thankfulness for it. In a word, after having kissed
it as a valuable pledge of your goodness, I read it over and
over, and was confounded at the excess of my good fortune. You
would have me to signify to you that I always love you. Ah!
though I did not love you so perfectly as I do, I could not
forbear adoring you, after all the marks you have given me of a
love so uncommon: yes, I love you, my dear soul, and shall
account it my glory to burn all my days with that sweet fire you
have kindled in my heart. I will never complain of the brisk
ardour with which I find it consumes me; and how rigorous soever
the grief be which I suffer, I will bear it corageously, in hopes
to see you some time or other. Would to Heaven it were today; and
that, instead of sending you my letter, I might be allowed to
come and assure you that I die for love of you! My tears hinder
me from saying any more. Adieu.

Ebn Thaher could not read these last lines without weeping. He
returned the letter to the prince of Persia, and assured him it
wanted no correction. The prince shut it, and when he had sealed
it, desired the trusty slave to come near, and told her, This is
my answer to your dear mistress; I conjure you to carry it to
her, and to salute her in my name. The slave took the letter, and
retired with Ebn Thaher.

After Ebn Thaher had walked some way with the slave, he left her,
went to his house, and began to think in earnest upon the amorous
intrigue in which he found himself unhappily engaged. He
considered that the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar,
notwithstanding their interest to conceal their correspondence,
managed with so little discretion, that it could not be long a
secret. He drew all the consequences from it which a man of good
sense ought to do. Were Schemselnihar, said he to himself, an
ordinary lady, I would contribute all in my power to make her and
her sweetheart happy; but she is the caliph's favourite, and no
man can without danger undertake to displease him. His anger will
fall at first upon Schemselnihar; it will cost the prince of
Persia his life; and I shall be embarked in his misfortune. In
the mean time, I have my honour, my quiet, my family, and my
estate to preserve; I must then, while I can, deliver myself out
of so great a danger.

He was taken up with these thoughts all the day; next morning he
went to the prince of Persia, with a design to use his utmost
endeavors to oblige him to conquer his passion. He actually
represented to him what he had formerly done in vain; that it
would be much better to make use of all his courage to overcome
his inclinations for Schemselnihar, than to suffer himself to be
conquered by it; and that his passion was so much the more
dangerous, as his rival was the more potent. In a word, sir,
added he, if you will hearken to me, you ought to think of
nothing but to triumph over your amour, otherwise you run a risk
of destroying yourself, with Schemselnihar, whose life ought to
be dearer to you than your own. I give you this counsel as a
friend, for which you will thank me some time or other.

The prince heard Ebn Thaher with a great deal of impatience, but
suffered him, however, to speak out his mind; and then replied to
him thus: Ebn Thaher, said he, do you think I can forbear to love
Schemselnihar, who loves me so tenderly? She is not afraid to
expose her life for me, and would you have me to regard mine? No;
whatever misfortune befal me, I will love Schemselnihar to my
last breath.

Ebn Thaher, being offended at the obstinacy of the prince of
Persia, left him hastily; and, going to his own house, recalled
to mind what he thought on the other day, and began to think in
earnest what he should do. At the same time a jeweller, one of
his intimate friends, came to see him: this jeweller had
perceived that Schemselnihar's confident came oftener to Ebn
Thaher than usual, and that he was constantly with the prince of
Persia, whose sickness was known to every one, though not the
cause of it. The jeweller began to be suspicious, and finding Ebn
Thaher very pensive, judged presently that he was perplexed with
some important affair; and fancying that he knew the cause, he
asked what Schemselniliar's confident wanted with him. Ebn
Thaher, being struck with this question, dissembled, and told
him, that it was a mere trifle that brought her so frequently to
him. You do not tell me the truth, said the jeweller, and give me
ground to think, by your dissimulation, that this trifle is an
affair of more importance than at first I thought. Ebn Thaher,
perceiving that his friend pressed him so much, said to him, It
is true that it is an affair of the greatest consequence: I had
resolved to keep it secret; but since I know how much you are my
friend, I choose rather to make you my confident, than to suffer
you to be in a mistake about it. I do not recommend it to you to
keep the secret, for you will easily judge, by what I am going to
tell you, how important it is to keep it. After this preamble, he
told him the amour between Schemselnihar and the prince of
Persia. You know, continued he, in what esteem I am at court, in
the city, and with lords and ladies of the greatest quality; what
a disgrace would it be for me, should this rash intrigue come to
be discovered? But what do I say? Should not I and my family be
quite destroyed? That is the thing perplexes my mind. But I have
just now come to such a resolution as I ought to make: I will go
immediately and satisfy my creditors, and recover my debts; when
I have secured my estate, I will retire to Balsora, and stay till
the tempest I foresee blows over. The friendship I have for
Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia makes me very sensible to
what danger they are exposed. I pray Heaven to discover it to
themselves, and to preserve them; but if their ill destiny will
have their amours come to the knowledge of the caliph, I shall at
least be out of the reach of his resentment; for I do not think
them so wicked as to design to draw me into their misfortunes. It
would be extreme ingratitude in them to do so, and a sorry reward
for the good service I have done them, particularly to the prince
of Persia, who may save himself and his mistress from this
precipice, if he pleases: he may as easily leave Bagdad as I;
absence would insensibly disengage him from a passion which will
only increase whilst he continues in this place.

The jeweller was extremely surprised at what Ebn Thaher told him.
What you say to me, said he, is of so great importance, that I
cannot understand how Schemselnihar and the prince have been
capable of abandoning themselves to such a violent amour. What
inclination soever they may have for one another, instead of
yielding to it, they ought to resist it, and make a better use of
their reason. Is it possible they can be insensible of the
dangerous consequences of their correspondence? How deplorable is
their blindness! I perceive all the consequences of it as well as
you; but you are wise and prudent, and I approve your resolution;
that is the only way to deliver yourself from the fatal events
which you have reason to fear. The jeweller then rose, and took
his leave of Ebn Thaher.

Before the jeweller retired, Ebn Thaher conjured him, by the
friendship betwixt them, to speak nothing of this to any person.
Be not afraid, said the jeweller; I will keep this secret on
peril of my life.

Two days after, the jeweller went to Ebn Thaher's shop; and,
seeing it shut, doubted not that he had executed the design he
had spoken of; but, to be certain, he asked a neighbour if he
knew why it was shut? The neighbour answered, that he knew not,
unless Ebn Thaher was gone a journey. There was no need of his
inquiring further, and immediately he thought upon the prince of
Persia: Unhappy prince, said he to himself, what grief will you
suffer when you hear this news? By what means will you now carry
on your correspondence with Schemselnihar? I fear you will die of
despair. I have compassion on you; I must make up the loss that
you have of a too timid confident.

The business that obliged him to come abroad was of no
consequence, so that he neglected it; and though he did not know
the prince of Persia, but only by having sold him some jewels, he
went strait to his house, addressed himself to one of his
servants, and prayed him to tell his master that he desired to
speak with him about business of very great importance. The
servant returned immediately to the jeweller, and introduced him
to the chamber of the prince, who was leaning on a sofa, with his
head upon a cushion. As soon as the prince saw him, he rose to
receive him, said he was welcome, entreated him to sit down, and
asked if he could serve him in any thing, or if he came to tell
him any matter concerning himself. Prince, answered the jeweller,
though I have not the honour to be particularly acquainted with
you, yet the desire of testifying my zeal has made me take the
liberty to come to your house, to impart to you some news that
concerns you. I hope you will pardon my boldness, because of my
good intention.

After this introduction, the jeweller entered upon the matter,
and pursued it thus: Prince, I shall have the honour to tell you,
that it is a long time since the conformity of humour, and
several affairs we had together, united Ebn Thaher and myself in
strict friendship. I know you are acquainted with him, and that
he has been employed in obliging you in all that he could. I am
informed of this from himself; for he keeps nothing secret from
me, nor I from him. I went just now to his shop, and was
surprised to find it shut. I addressed myself to one of his
neighbours, to ask the reason; he answered me, that, two days
ago, Ebn Thater took his leave of him and other neighbours,
offering them his service at Balsora, whither he was gone, he
said, about an affair of great importance. Not being satisfied
with this answer, the concern that I have for whatever belongs to
him, determined me to come and ask you if you knew any thing
particularly concerning his sudden departure.

At this discourse, which the jeweller accommodated to the
subject, that he might come the better to his design, the prince
of Persia changed colour, and looked so as made the jeweller
sensible that he was afflicted with the news. I am surprised at
what you inform me, said he; there could not befal me a greater
misfortune. Ah! said he, with tears in his eyes, I am undone if
what you tell me be true! Has Ebn Thaher, who was all my comfort,
and in whom I put all my confidence, left me! I cannot think of
living after so cruel a blow.

The jeweller needed no more to convince him fully of the prince
of Persia's violent passion, which Ebn Thaher had told him: mere
friendship would not let him speak so; nothing but love could
produce such feeling expressions.

The prince continued some moments swallowed up with these
melancholy thoughts: at last he lifted up his head, and calling
one of his servants, Go, said he, to Ebn Timber's house, and ask
any of his domestics if he be gone to Balsora; run and come back
quickly, and tell me what you hear. While the servant was gone,
the jeweller endeavoured to entertain the prince of Persia with
indifferent subjects; but the prince gave little heed to him, for
he was a prey to fatal grief. Sometimes he could not persuade
himself that Ebn Thaher was gone; at other times he did not doubt
the truth of it, when he reflected upon the discourse he had the
last time he saw him, and the angry countenance with which he
left him.

At last the prince's servant returned, and reported that he had
spoken to one of Ebn Thaher servants, who assured him that he was
gone two days before to Balsora. As I came from Ebn Thaher's
house, added the servant, a slave well arrayed came to me, and,
asking if I had the honour to belong to you, she told me she
wanted to speak with you, begging, at the same time, that she
might come along with me: she is now in the house, and I believe
has a letter to give you from some person of note. The prince
commanded him to bring her in immediately: he doubted not but it
was Schemselnihar's confident slave, as indeed it was. The
jeweller knew who she was, having seen her several times at Ebn
Thaher's house. She could not have come at a better time to
hinder the prince from despair.

She saluted him, and the prince of Persia did likewise salute
Schemselnihar's confident. The jeweller rose as soon as he saw
her appear, and stepped aside, to leave them at liberty to speak
together. The confident, after conversing some time with the
prince, took leave, and departed. She left him quite another
thing than before; his eyes appeared brighter, and his
countenance more gay; which made the jeweller know that the good
slave came to tell him some news that favoured his amour.

The jeweller having taken his place again near the prince, said
to him, smiling, I see, prince, you have important affairs at the
caliph's palace. The prince of Persia was astonished and alarmed
at this discourse, and answered the jeweller, why do you judge
that I have affairs at the caliph's palace? I judge, replied the
jeweller, by the slave that is gone forth. To whom, think you,
belongs this slave? said the prince. To Schemselnihar, the
caliph's favourite, answered the jeweller. I know, continued he,
both the slave and her mistress, who have several times done me
the honour to come to my house, and buy jewels. Besides, I know
that Schemselnihar keeps nothing secret from this slave; and I
have seen her go and come for several days along the streets,
very much troubled, which made me imagine that it was upon some
affair of consequence concerning her mistress.

The jeweller's words did much trouble the prince of Persia. He
would not say so, said he to himself, if he did not suspect, or
rather know, my secret. He remained silent for some time, not
knowing what to answer. At length he said to the jeweller, You
have told me those things which make me believe that you know yet
more than you have acquainted me with. It will tend much to my
quiet if I be perfectly informed; I conjure you, therefore, not
to dissemble.

Then the jeweller, who desired no better, gave him a particular
account of what had passed between Ebn Thaher and himself; so
that he let him know that he was informed of his correspondence
with Schemselnihar; and forgot not to tell him that Ebn Thaher
was afraid of the danger of being his confident in the matter,
which was partly the occasion of his retiring to Balsora, to stay
till the storm which he feared should he over. This he has done,
added the jeweller; and I am surprised how he could determine to
abandon you in the condition he informed me you was in. As for
me, prince, I confess I am moved with compassion towards you, and
am come to offer you my service; and if you do me the favour to
accept of it, I engage myself to be as faithful to you as Ebn
Thaher; besides, I promise to be more constant, I am ready to
sacrifice my honour and life for you; and, in fine, that you may
not doubt my sincerity, I swear, by all that is sacred in our
religion, to keep your secret inviolable! Be persuaded, then,
that you will find in me the friend that you have lost. This
discourse encouraged the prince, and comforted him under Ebn
Thaher's absence. I am very glad, said he to the jeweller, to
find in you a reparation of my loss: I want words to express the
obligations I am under to you. I pray God to recompense your
generosity; and I accept your obliging offer with all my heart.
Believe it, continued he, that Schemselnihar's confident came to
speak to me concerning you; she told me that it was you who
advised Ebn Thaher to go from Bagdad; these were the last words
she spoke to me when she went away, and had almost persuaded me
of it. But do not resent it; for I doubt not but she is deceived,
after what you have told me. Prince, replied the jeweller, I have
had the honour to give you a faithful account of my conversation
with Ebn Thaher. It is true, when he told me he would return to
Balsora, I did not oppose his design, but said he was a wise and
prudent man; and, that this may not hinder you from putting
confidence in me, I am ready to serve you with all imaginable
zeal; which though you do otherwise, this shall not hinder me
from keeping your secret religiously according to my oath. I have
already told you, replied the prince, that I would not believe
what the confident said; it is her zeal that inspired her with
this groundless suspicion, and you ought to excuse it, as I do.

They continued their conversation for some time, and consulted
together of convenient means to continue the prince's
correspondence with Schemselnihar: they agreed to begin by
disabusing the confident, who was so unjustly prepossessed
against the jeweller. The prince engaged to undeceive her the
first time she returned, and to entreat her to engage herself to
the jeweller, that she might bring the letters, or any other
information, from her mistress to him. In fine, they agreed that
she ought not to come so frequently to the prince's house,
because she might thereby give occasion to discover that which
was of so great importance to conceal. At last the jeweller rose,
and, after having again prayed the prince of Persia to have an
entire confidence in him, retired.

The jeweller, returning to his house, perceived before him a
letter which somebody had dropped in the street; he took it up;
and, not being sealed, he opened it, and found that it contained
as follows:

Letter from Schemselnihar to the Prince of Persia.

I am informed by my confident of a piece of news which troubles
me no less than it does you: By losing Ebn Thaher, we have indeed
lost much; but let this not hinder you, dear prince, thinking to
preserve yourself. If our confident has abandoned us through a
slavish fear, let us consider that it is a misfortune which we
could not avoid. I confess Ebn Thaher has left us at a time when
we need him most; but let us fortify ourselves by patience
against this unlooked-for accident, and let us not forbear to
love one another constantly. Fortify your heart against this
misfortune. Nobody can obtain what they desire without trouble.
Let us not discourage ourselves, but hope that Heaven will favour
us; and that, after so many afflictions, we shall come to a happy
accomplishment of our desires. Adieu.

While the jeweller was conversing with the prince of Persia, the
confident had time to return to the palace, and tell her mistress
the ill news of Ebn Thaher's departure. Schemselniliar
immediately wrote this letter, and sent back her confident with
it to the prince of Persia; but she negligently dropped it.

The jeweller was glad to find it; for it was a good way to set
him right with the confident, and bring him to the point he
desired. When he had read it, he perceived the slave, who sought
it with a great deal of uneasiness, looking about every where. He
closed it again quickly, and put it into his bosom; but the slave
took notice of it, and ran to him. Sir, said she, I have dropped
a letter which you had just now in your hand; I beseech you be
pleased to restore it. The jeweller, taking no notice that he
heard her, continued his way till he came to his house. He did
not shut the door behind him, that the confident, who followed
him, might come in. She accordingly did so; and when she came to
his chamber, Sir, said she to him, you can make no use of the
letter you have found; and you would make no difficulty in
returning it to me, if you knew from whom it came, and to whom it
is directed. Besides, let me tell you, you cannot honestly keep

Before the jeweller answered the confident, he made her sit down,
and said to her, Is not this letter from Schemselnihar, and
directed to the prince of Persia? The slave, who expected no such
question, blushed. The question puzzles you, replied he, but I
assure you I do not propose it rashly: I could have given you the
letter in the street, but I suffered you to follow me, on purpose
that I might discourse with you. Tell me, is it just to impute an
unhappy accident to people who no ways contributed towards it?
Yet this you have done, in telling the prince of Persia that it
was I who counselled Ebn Thaher to leave Bagdad for his own
safety. I do not intend to lose time in justifying myself to you;
it is enough that the prince of Persia is fully persuaded of my
innocence in this matter: I will only tell you, that instead of
contributing to Ebn Thaher's departure, I have been extremely
afflicted at it; not so much for my friendship to him, as out of
compassion for the condition in which he left the prince of
Persia, whose correspondence with Schemselnihar he has
acknowledged to me. As soon as I knew certainly that Ebn Thaher
was gone from Bagdad, I presented myself to the prince, in whose
house you found me, to inform him of this news, and to offer him
the same service which he did him; and, provided you put the same
confidence in me that you did in Ebn Thaher, you may serve
yourself by my assistance. Inform your mistress of what I have
told you, and assure her, that if I should die for engaging in so
dangerous an intrigue, I will rejoice to have sacrificed myself
for two lovers so worthy of each other.

The confident, after having heard the jeweller with great
satisfaction, begged him to pardon her the ill opinion she had
conceived of him, out of the zeal she had for her mistress. I am
extremely glad, added she, that Schemselnihar and the prince have
found you, who are a man fit to supply Ebn Thaher's place, and I
shall not fail to signify to my mistress the good-will you bear
her. After the confident had testified to the jeweller her joy to
see him so well disposed to serve Schemselnihar and the prince of
Persia, the jeweller took the letter out of his bosom, and
restored it to her, saying, Go, carry it quickly to the prince of
Persia, and come back this way, that I may see the answer. Forget
not to give him an account of our conversation.

The confident took the letter, and carried it to the prince, who
answered it immediately. She returned to the jeweller's house to
show him the answer, which was this:

The Prince of Persia's Answer to Schemselniliar.

Your precious letter had a great effect upon me, but not so great
as I could wish. You endeavour to comfort me for the loss of Ebn
Thaher; but, alas! sensible as I am of this, it is the least of
my troubles! You know my malady, and that your presence only can
cure me. When will the time come that I shall enjoy it without
fear of being ever deprived of it? O how long does it seem to me!
But shall we rather flatter ourselves that we may see one
another? You command me to preserve myself; I will obey, since I
have renounced my own will to follow yours. Adieu.

After the jeweller had read this letter, he gave it again to the
confident, who said, when she was going away, I will tell my
mistress to put the same confidence in you that she did in Ebn
Thaher, and you shall hear of me to-morrow. Accordingly, next day
she returned with a pleasant countenance. Your very look, said he
to her, informs me that you have brought Schemselnihar to what
you wished. That is true, said the confident, sand you shall hear
how I effected it. Yesterday, continued she, I found
Schemselnihar expecting me with impatience; I gave her the prince
of Persia's letter, which she read with tears in her eyes; and
when she had done, I observed she had abandoned herself to her
usual sorrow. Madam, said I, it is doubtless Ebn Thaher's removal
that troubles you; but suffer me to conjure you, in the name of
God, not to concern yourself any further about that matter. We
have found another who offers to oblige you with as much zeal,
and, what is yet more important, with greater courage. Then I
mentioned you, continued the slave, and acquainted her with the
motive which made you go to the prince of Persia's house. In
short, I assured her that you would inviolably keep the secret
betwixt her and the prince of Persia, and that you was* resolved
to favour their amours with all your might. She seemed to me much
relieved by my discourse. Ah! what obligations, said she, are the
prince of Persia and I under to that honest man you speak of? I
must see him, that I may hear from his own mouth what you tell
me, and thank him for such an unheard-of piece of generosity
towards persons with whom he is no way obliged to concern
himself. A sight of him will please me; and I will not omit any
thing to confirm him in those good sentiments. Do not fail to
bring him to-morrow. Therefore, pray, sir, go with me lo the

The confident's discourse perplexed the jeweller. Your mistress,
replied he, must allow me to say, that she has not thought well
of what she requires. Ebn Thaher's access to the caliph gave him
admission every where; and the officers, who knew him, suffered
him to go and come freely to Schemselnihar's palace; but, as for
me, how dare I enter? You see well enough that it is not
possible. I entreat you to represent those reasons to
Schemselnihar which hinder me giving her that satisfaction, and
acquaint her with all the ill consequences that would result from
it. If she considers it ever so little, she will find that it
would expose me needlessly to very great danger.

The confident endeavoured to encourage the jeweller: Believe me,
said he, that Schemselnihar is not so unreasonable as to expose
you to the least danger, from whom she expects such considerable
services. Consider with yourself that there is not the least
appearance of hazard: my mistress and I are too much interested
in this affair to involve you in any danger. You may depend upon
me, and leave yourself to my conduct. After the affair is over,
you will confess to me that your fear was groundless.

The jeweller hearkened to the confident's discourse, and got up
to follow her; but, notwithstanding his natural courage, he was
seized with such terror that his whole body trembled. In the
condition you are in, said she, I perceive it will be better for
you to stay at home, and that Schemselnihar take other measures
to see you. It is not to be doubted but that, to satisfy her
desire, she will come hither herself. The case being so, sir, I
would not have you to go, as I am persuaded it will not be long
before she comes to you. The confident foresaw this very well;
for she no sooner informed Schemselnihar of the jeweller's fear,
than she made ready to go to his house.

He received her with all the marks of profound respect. When she
sat down, being a little fatigued with walking, she unveiled
herself, and discovered to the jeweller such beauty as made him
acknowledge that the prince of Persia was excusable in giving his
heart to her. Then she saluted the jeweller with a graceful
countenance, and said to him, I am informed with what zeal you
have engaged in the prince of Persia's concerns and mine; but,
without immediately forming a design to express my gratitude, I
thank Heaven, which has so soon made up Ebn Thaher's loss.

Schemselnihar said several other obliging things to the jeweller,
after which she returned to her palace. The jeweller went
immediately to give an account of this visit to the prince of
Persia, who said to him, as soon as he saw him, I have expected
you impatiently. The trusty slave has brought me a letter from
her mistress, but she does not comfort me: whatever the lovely
Schemselnihar says, I dare not hope for any thing; my patience is
at an end; I know not now what measures to take. Ebn Thaher's
departure makes me despair; he was my only support; I lost all by
losing him, for I flattered myself with some hopes by reason of
his access to Schemselnihar.

After these words, which the prince pronounced with so much
eagerness that he gave the jeweller no time to interrupt him, he
said to the prince, No man can bear a greater share of your
affliction than I do; and if you will have patience to hear me,
you will perceive that I am capable of giving you ease. Upon this
the prince became silent, and hearkened to him. I see very well,
said the jeweller, that the only thing to give you satisfaction
is to fall upon a way that you may converse freely with
Schemselnihar. This I will procure you, and to-morrow will set
about it. You must by no means expose yourself to enter
Schemselnihar's palace; you know by experience the danger of
that: I know a very fit place for this interview, where you shall
be safe. When the jeweller had spoken thus, the prince embraced
him with a transport of joy. You revive, said he, by this
charming promise, an unhappy lover who was resolved to die; I see
that you have fully repaired the loss of Ebn Thaher: whatever you
do will be well done; I leave myself entirely to you.

The prince, after thanking the jeweller for his zeal, returned
home, and next morning Schemselnihar's confident came to him. He
told her that he had put the prince of Persia in hopes that he
should see Schemselnihar speedily. I am come purposely, answered
she, to take measures with you for that end. I think, continued
she, this house will be convenient enough for their interview. I
could receive them very well here, replied he; but I think they
will have more liberty in another house of mine, where nobody
lives at present; I will quickly furnish it for receiving them.
Since the matter is so, replied the confident, there remains
nothing for me to do but to make Sehemselnihar consent to it. I
will go tell her, and return speedily with an answer.

She was as diligent as her promise; and, returning to the
jeweller, told him that her mistress would not fail to keep the
appointment in the evening. In the mean time she gave him a purse
of money to prepare a collation. He sent her immediately to the
house where the lovers were to meet, that she might know whither
to bring her mistress; and when she was gone, he went to borrow
from his friends vessels of gold and silver, tapestry, rich
cushions, and other furniture, with which he furnished the house
very magnificently; and, when he had put all things in order,
went to the prince of Persia.

You may easily conceive the prince of Persia's joy, when the
jeweller told him that he came to conduct him to the house he had
prepared to receive him and Schemselnihar. This news obliterated
all his former trouble. He put on a magnificent robe, and went
without his retinue along with the jeweller, who led him through
several by-streets, that nobody might observe him, and at last
brought him to the house, where they discoursed together until
Schemselnihar came.

They did not stay long for this passionate lover. She came after
evening-prayers, with her confident and two other slaves. The
excess of joy that seized those two lovers, when they saw one
another, it is altogether impossible to express. They sat down
together upon the sofa for some time, without being able to
speak, they were so much overjoyed; but, when speech returned to
them, they soon made up for their silence. They expressed
themselves with so much tenderness, as made the jeweller, the
confident, and the two other slaves, weep. The jeweller, however,
restrained his tears to think upon the collation, which he
brought. The lovers ate and drank a little, after which they
again sat down on the sofa. Schemselnihar asked the jeweller if
he had a lute, or any other instrument. The jeweller, who took
care to provide all that might please them, brought her a lute,
which she took some time to tune, and then played.

While Schemselnihar was thus charming the prince of Persia, and
expressing her passion by words composed extempore, a great noise
was heard, and immediately the slave whom the jeweller brought
with him appeared in a terrible fright, to tell him that some
people were breaking up the gate; that he asked who it was, but,
instead of an answer, the blows were redoubled. The jeweller,
being alarmed, left Schemselnihar and the prince, to go and
inform himself of the truth of this bad news. There was already
got into the court a company of men armed with bayonets and
scimitars, who had entered privately, and, having broken up the
gate, came straight towards him: he stood close to a wall for
fear of his life, and saw ten of them pass without being
perceived by them; and, finding that he could give no help to the
prince of Persia and Schemselnihar, he satisfied himself with
bewailing them, and fled for refuge to a neighbour's house, who
was not yet gone to bed. He did not doubt that this unexpected
violence was by the caliph's order, who, he thought, had been
informed of his favourite's meeting with the prince of Persia. He
heard a great noise in his own house, which continued till
midnight; and when all was quiet, as he thought, he prayed his
neighbour to lend him a scimitar, and, being thus armed, went on
till he came to the gate of his own house. He entered the court
full of fear, and perceived a man, who asked him who he was? He
knew by his voice that it was his own slave. How didst thou do,
said he, to avoid being taken by the watch? Sir, answered the
slave, I hid myself in a corner of the court, and I went out as
soon as I heard the noise. But it was not the watch who broke
your house; they were highwaymen, who within these few days
robbed another in this neighbourhood: they have doubtless had
notice of the rich furniture you brought hither, and had that in
their view.

The jeweller thought his slave's conjecture probable: he entered
the house, and saw that the highwaymen had taken all the
furniture out of the chamber where he received Schemselnihar and
her lover; that they had also carried off the vessels of gold and
silver, and, in a word, had left nothing. Being in this
condition, O Heaven! cried he, I am irrecoverably undone! What
will my friends say, and what excuse can I make, when I tell them
that highwaymen have broken into my house, and robbed me of all
that they generously lent me? I shall never be able to make up
their loss. Besides, what is become of Schemselnihar and the
prince of Persia? This business will be so public, that it is
impossible but it must reach the caliph's ears. He will get
notice of this meeting, and I shall fall a sacrifice to his fury.
The slave, who loved him, endeavoured to comfort him thus: As to
Schemselnihar, said he, the highwaymen probably would content
themselves to strip her; and you have reason to think that she is
retired to her palace with her slaves. The prince of Persia is
probably in the same condition; so that you have reason to hope
that the caliph will never know of this adventure. As for the
loss your friends have sustained, that is a misfortune which you
could not avoid. They know very well the highwaymen to be so
numerous, that they have not only pillaged the house I have
already spoken of, but many other houses of the principal
noblemen of the court; and they are not ignorant that,
notwithstanding the orders given to apprehend them, nobody has
yet been able to seize any of them. You will be acquitted by
restoring your friends the value of the things that are stolen;
and, blessed be God, you have enough left.

Waiting till day, the jeweller ordered the slave to mend the gate
of the house, which was broken up, as well as he could: after
which he returned to his ordinary house with his slave, making
sad reflections on what had befallen him. Ebn Thaher, said he to
himself, has been wiser than I; he foresaw the misfortune into
which I have blindly thrown myself: would to God I had never
meddled in this intrigue, which I fear will cost me my life!

It was scarcely day, when the report of the robbery had spread
through the city, and there came to the house a great many of the
jeweller's friends and neighbours, to testify their grief for
this misfortune, but were curious to know the particulars. He
thanked them for their affection, and was so much the better
satisfied, that he heard nobody speak of Schemselnihar or the
prince of Persia, which made him believe they were at their
houses. or in some secure place.

When the jeweller was alone, his servants brought him something
to eat, but he could not taste a bit. About noon one of his
slaves came to tell him that a man was at the gate, whom he knew
not, and desired to speak with him. The jeweller, not willing to
receive a stranger into his house, rose up, and went to speak
with him. Though you do not know me, said the man, I know you,
and am come to discourse with you on an important affair. The
jeweller prayed him to step in. No, answered the stranger; if you
please, rather take the trouble to go with me to your other
house. How know you, replied the jeweller, that I have another
house? I know well enough, answered the stranger: follow me, do
not fear any thing; I have something to communicate to you which
will please you. The jeweller went immediately with him; and
after he had considered by the way how the house they were going
to was robbed, he said to him that it was not fit to receive him.

When they were before the house, and the stranger saw the gate
half broken down, he said to the jeweller, I see you have told me
the truth; I will carry you to a place which will be more
convenient. He went on when he had spoken thus, and walked all
the rest of the day without stopping. The jeweller being weary
with walking, vexed to see night approach, and the stranger
having walked all day without acquainting him where he was going,
began to lose patience. Then they came to a path which led them
to the Tigris; and as soon as they came to the river, they
crossed in a little boat. The stranger led the jeweller through a
long street, where he had never been before, and, after taking
him through several streets, stopped at a gate, which he opened.
He caused the jeweller to go in, shut the gate, bolted it with a
huge iron bolt, and then conducted, him to a chamber, where there
were ten other men, all as great strangers to the jeweller as his

The ten men received the jeweller without any compliments. They
bid him sit down; of which he had great need, for he was not only
weak with walking so far, but the fear be was in, on finding
himself with people whom he thought he had reason to dread, would
have disabled him from standing. They waited for their leader to
supper, and, as soon as he came, it was served up. They washed
their hands, obliging the jeweller to do the like, and to sit at
table with them. After supper, the men asked him if he knew to
whom he spoke. He answered, No, and that he knew not the place he
was in. Tell us your last nights adventure, said they to him, and
conceal nothing from us. The jeweller, being astonished at this
discourse, answered, Gentlemen, it is probable you know it
already. That is true, replied they, the young man and the young
lady, who were at your house yesternight, told it us; but we
would know it from your own mouth. The jeweller needed no more to
be informed that they were the highwaymen who had broken up and
plundered his house. Gentlemen, said he, I am much troubled for
that young man and the lady; can you tell me any thing of them?

Upon the jeweller's inquiry if they knew any thing of the young
man and the young lady, the thieves answered, Be not concerned
for them; they are safe enough, and in good health: which saying,
they showed him two closets, where they assured him they were
separately shut up. They added, We are informed you only know
what relates to them; which we no sooner came to understand, than
we showed them all imaginable respect, and were so far from doing
them any injury, that we treated them with all the kindness we
were capable of on your account. You may secure yourself the like
favour, proceeded they, in regard to your own person, and put all
manner of confidence in us without the least reserve.

The jeweller, being heartened at this, and overjoyed to hear that
the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar were safe, resolved to
engage the thieves yet further in their interest. For this
purpose he commended them, flattered them, and gave them a
thousand benedictions. Gentlemen, said he, I must confess I have
not the honour of knowing you; yet it is no small happiness to me
that I am not wholly unknown to you; and I can never be
sufficiently grateful for the favours which that knowledge has
procured me at your hands. Without mentioning so great an act of
humanity as that I lately received from you, I must needs say, I
am fully persuaded that no persons in the world can be so proper
to be trusted with a secret, and none more fit to undertake a
great enterprise, which you can best bring to a good issue by
your zeal, courage, and intrepidity. In confidence of these great
and good qualities, which are so much your due, I will not
scruple to relate to you my whole history, with that of the two
persons you found in my house.

After the jeweller had thus secured, as he thought, the thieves
to secrecy, he made no scruple to relate to them the whole amour
of the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar, from the beginning of
it to the time he received them into his house.

The thieves were greatly astonished at the surprising particulars
they heard, and could not forbear crying out, How! is it possible
that the young man should be the illustrious Ali Elm Becar,
prince of Persia; and the young lady the fair and celebrated
Schemselnihar! The jeweller assured them nothing was more
certain, and that they needed not to think it strange that
persons of so distinguished a character should not care to be

Upon this assurance of their quality, the thieves went
immediately, one after the other, and threw themselves at their
feet, imploring pardon, and begging them to believe they would
never have offered any violence to their persons, had they known
who they were; but, seeing they did not, they would by their
future conduct do their best endeavours to make some recompence
at least for the crime they had thus ignorantly committed. Having
made profound reverences, they returned to the jeweller, and told
him they were heartily sorry they could not restore all that had
been taken from him, some part of it being out of their
possession; but as for what remained, if he would content himself
with his plate, it should be forthwith put into his hands.

The jeweller was overjoyed at the favour; and after the thieves
had delivered the plate, they required the prince, Schemselnihar,
and him, to promise upon oath that they would not betray them,
and they would carry them to a place whence they might easily go
to their respective homes. The prince, Schemselnihar, and the
jeweller, replied, that they might rely on their words; but since
they desired an oath of them, they solemnly swore not to discover
them so long as they were with them. With this the thieves were
satisfied, and immediately set out to perform their promise.

By the way, the jeweller, being concerned that he could not see
the confident and the two slaves, came up to Schemselnihar and
begged her to inform him what was become of them. She answered,
she knew nothing of them, and that all she could tell him was,
that she was carried away from his house, ferried over a river,
and brought to the place from whence they were just now come.

Schemselnihar and the jeweller had no further discourse; they
found themselves at the brink of a river, whence the thieves
immediately took boat, and carried them to the other side.

Whilst the prince, Schemselnihar, and the jeweller, were landing,
they heard a noise as of horse-guards that were coming towards
them. The thieves no sooner perceived the danger, but they took
to their oars, and got over to the other side of the river in an

The commander of the brigade demanded of the prince,
Schemselnihar, and the jeweller, who they were, and whence they
came so late. This frightened them at first so much that they
could not speak; but at length the jeweller found his tongue, and
said, Sir, I can assure you, we are very honest people; but those
persons who have just landed us, and are got to the other side of
the water, are thieves, who, having last night broken open the
house that we were in, pillaged it, and afterwards carried us to
an obscure inn, where, by some entreaty and good management, we
prevailed on them to let us have our liberty; to which end they
brought us hither. They have restored us part of the booty they
had taken from us. At these words he showed the plate he had

The commander, not being satisfied with what the jeweller told
him, came up to him and the prince of Persia, and, looking
steadfastly at them, said, Tell me truly who is this lady? how
came you to know her? and whereabouts do you live?

This demand surprised them strangely, and tied their tongues,
insomuch that neither of them could answer; till at length
Schemselnihar, taking the commander aside, told him frankly who
she was; which he no sooner came to know, than he alighted, paid
both her and the company great respect, and caused two boats to
be got ready for their service.

When the boats were come, he put Schemselnihar into one, and the
prince of Persia and the jeweller into the other, with two of his
people in each: they had orders to accompany them whithersoever
they were bound. Being abroad, the two boats took different
routes; but we shall at present speak only of that wherein were
the prince and the jeweller.

The prince, to save his guides trouble, bid them land the
jeweller with him, and named the place whither he would go. The
guides, mistaking his orders, stopped just before the caliph's
palace, which put both him and the jeweller into a fright, though
he durst discover nothing of the matter; for though they had
heard the commander's orders to his men, they could not help
imagining they were to be delivered up to the guard, and brought
before the caliph next morning.

This, nevertheless, was not the intention of the guides; for,
after they had landed them, they, by their master's command,
recommended them to an officer of the guard, who next morning
assigned them soldiers to conduct them by land to the prince's
chateau, which was at some distance from the river.

The prince being come home, what with the fatigue of his journey,
and the affliction he conceived at being never likely again to
see Schemselnihar, fell into a swoon on his sofa; and while the
greater part of his servants was endeavouring to recover him, the
other part gathered about the jeweller, and begged of him to tell
them what had happened to the prince their lord, whose absence
had occasioned inexpressible disquiet.

The jeweller, who would discover nothing to them that was not
prudent to be repealed, told them it was not a proper time for
such a relation, and that they would do better to go and assist
the prince, than require anything of him, especially at that
juncture. The prince fortunately came to himself that very
moment; when those that but just before required his history with
so much earnestness, began now to get at a distance, and pay that
respect which was due from them. Although the prince had in some
measure recovered himself, yet he continued so weak, that he
could not open his mouth. He answered only by signs, and that
even to his nearest relations who spoke to him. He remained in
the same condition till next morning, when the jeweller came to
take leave of him. His answer was only with a wink, holding forth
his right hand; but when he saw he was loaded with the bundle of
plate the thieves had taken from him, he made a sign to his
servants that they should take and carry it along with him to his

The jeweller had been expected home with great impatience by his
family the day he went forth with the man that came to ask for
him, and whom he did not know; but no who was quite given over,
and it was no longer doubted that some disaster had befallen him.
His wife, children, and servants, were in continual grief, and
lamented him night and day; but at length, when they saw him
again, their joy was so great, they could hardly contain
themselves; yet they were troubled to find that his countenance
was greatly altered from what it had been before, insomuch that
he was hardly to be known. This was thought to have been
occasioned by his great fatigue, and the fears he had undergone,
which would not let him sleep. Finding himself something out of
order, he continued within doors for two days, and would admit
only one of his intimate friends to visit him.

The third day, perceiving himself better, he thought he might
regain strength by going abroad, and therefore went to the shop
of a rich friend of his, with whom he continued long in
discourse. As he was rising to go home, he observed a woman make
a sign to him, whom he presently knew to be the confident of
Schemselnihar. Partly out of fear, and partly through joy, he
made what haste he could away, without looking at her; but she
followed him, as he very well knew she would, the place in which
they saw each other being by no means proper for an interview. As
he walked a little faster than usual, she could not overtake him,
and therefore every now and then called out to stop. He heard
her, it is true; but, after what had happened, he did not think
fit to take notice of her in public, for fear of giving cause to
believe that he had been with Schemselnihar. In short, it was
known to every body in Bagdad that this woman belonged to her,
and therefore he thought it prudent to conceal his having any
knowledge of her. He continued the same pace, and at last came to
a mosque, where he knew but few people resorted; there he
entered, and she after him, wherein they had a long converse
together, without any body overhearing them.

Both the jeweller and the confident expressed a great deal of joy
at seeing each other after the strange adventure occasioned by
the thieves, and their reciprocal concern for each other's
welfare, without mentioning a word of what related to their own
particular persons.

The jeweller would needs have her relate to him how she escaped
with the two slaves, and what she knew of Sehemselnihar from the
time he had left her; but so great were her importunities to be
informed of what had happened to him from the time of their
unexpected separation, that he found himself obliged to comply.
Having finished what she desired, he told her that he expected
she would oblige him in her turn; which she did in the following

When I first saw the thieves, said she, I imagined, rightly
considered, that they were of the caliph's guard, who, being
informed of the escape of Schemselnihar, had sent them to take
away the lives of the prince and us all; but, being convinced of
the error of that thought, I immediately got upon the leads of
your house, at the same time that the thieves entered the chamber
where the prince and Schemselnihar were, and was soon after
followed by that lady's two slaves. From lead to lead, we came at
last to a house of very honest people, who received us with a
great deal of civility, and with whom we lodged that night.

Next morning, after we had returned thanks to the master of the
house for our good usage, we returned to Schemselnihar's hotel,
which we entered in great disorder, and the more so as we could
not learn the fate of the two unfortunate lovers. The other women
of Schemselnihar were astonished to see me return without their
lady. We told them we had left her at the house of a lady, one of
her friends, and that she would send for us when she had a mind
to come home; with which excuse they seemed well satisfied.

For my part, I spent the day in great uneasiness; and when night
came, opening a little back gate, I espied a boat driven along by
the stream. Calling to the waterman, I desired him to row up the
river, to see if he could not meet a lady, and, if he found her,
to bring her along with him. The two slaves and I waited
impatiently for his return; and at length, about midnight, we saw
the boat coming down with two men in it, and a woman lying along
in the stern. When the boat came up, the two men helped the woman
to rise; and then it was that I knew her to be Schemselnihar. I
rejoiced so greatly to see her, that I cannot sufficiently
express myself.

I gave my hand to Schemselnihar to help her out of the boat. She
had no small occasion for my assistance, for she could hardly
stand. When she was ashore, she whispered me in the ear in an
afflicted tone, bidding me go and take a purse of a thousand
pieces of gold, and give to the soldiers who had waited on her. I
obeyed, leaving her to be supported by the two slaves; and,
having paid the waterman, shut the back door.

I then followed my lady, who was hardly got to her chamber before
I overtook her. We undressed her, and put her to bed, where she
had not long been before she was ready to give up the ghost; in
which condition she continued the remainder of the night. The day
following, her other women expressed a great desire to see her;
but I told them she had been much fatigued, and wanted rest to
restore her. The other women and I, nevertheless, gave her all
the assistance we possibly could. She persisted in swallowing
nothing which we offered; and we must have despaired of her life,
had I not persuaded her to take a spoonful or two of wine, which
had a sensible effect on her. By mere importunity, we at length
prevailed upon her to eat also.

When she came to the use of her speech, for she had hitherto only
mourned, groaned, and sighed, I begged her to tell me how she
escaped out of the hands of the thieves. Why should you require
of me, said she, with a profound sigh, what will but renew my
grief? Would to God the thieves had taken away my life, rather
than preserved it, as in that case my misfortunes would have had
an end; whereas I now live but to increase my torment.

Madam, replied I, I beg you will not refuse me this favour. You
cannot but know that unhappy people have a certain consolation in
venting their misfortunes; and if you be pleased to relate yours,
I doubt not that you will find some relief in so doing.

Why then, said she, lend your ear to a story the most afflicting
that can be imagined. You must know, when I first saw the thieves
entering with sword in hand, I believed it the last moment of my
life: but dying did not then seem so shocking to me, since I
thought I was to die with the prince of Persia. However, instead
of murdering, two of the thieves were ordered to take care of us,
whilst their companions were busied in packing up the goods which
they found in the house. When they had done, and had got their
bundles upon their backs, they went away, carrying us along with

As we went along one of those who had the charge of us demanded
of me briskly who I was: I answered, I was a dancer. He put the
same question to the prince, who replied that he was a

When they were come to the place whither they were going, I had
new fears to alarm me; for they gathered about us, and, after
considering well my habit, and the rich jewels I was adorned
with, they seemed to think that I had disguised my quality.
Dancers, said they, do not use to be dressed as you are; pray
tell us truly who you are.

When they saw I answered nothing, they asked the prince once
more who he was; for they told him they perceived he was not the
person he pretended. He did not satisfy them any more than I had
done; but only told them he came to see the jeweller, who was the
owner of the house where they found us. I know this jeweller,
said one of the rogues, who seemed to have some authority over
the rest; I have some obligations to him, of which he yet knows
nothing; and I take upon me to bring him hither to-morrow morning
from another house he has; but you must not expect to stir till
he come and tell us who you are; though, in the mean time, I
promise there shall be no manner of injury offered to you.

The jeweller was brought next morning, as he said; who, thinking
to oblige us, as he really did, declared to the rogues the whole
truth of the matter. The thieves no sooner knew who we were, but
they came and asked my pardon; and I believe did the like to the
prince, who was shut up in another room. They protested to me,
they would not have broken open the jeweller's house, had they
known whose it was. They soon after took us, (the prince, the
jeweller, and myself), and carried us to the river-side, where,
having put us on board the boat, they rowed us across the water;
but we were no sooner landed, than a party of the horse-guards
came up to us.

The rogues fled. I took the commander aside, and told him my
name, informing him withal, that the night before I had be seized
by robbers who forced me along with them; but having been told
who I was, they had re*aleased me, and the two persons he saw
with me, on my account. He alighted and paid his respects to me;
and expressing a great deal of joy for being able to oblige me,
he caused two boats to be brought, putting me and two of his
soldiers, whom you have seen, into one, and the prince, and
jeweller, with two more, into the other. My guides have conducted
me hither; but what is become of the prince and his friend, I
cannot tell.

I trust in Heaven, added she, with a shower of tears, no harm has
happened to them since our separation; and I do not doubt that
the prince's concern is equal to mine. The jeweller, to whom we
have been so much obliged, ought to be recompensed for the loss
he has sustained on our account. Do not you therefore fail, said
she, speaking to the confident, to take two purses of a thousand
pieces of gold each, and carry them to him to-morrow morning in
my name; and, at the same time, be sure to inquire after the
prince's welfare.

When my good mistress had done speaking, I endeavoured, as to the
last article of inquiring into the prince's welfare, to calm her
mind, which was in some disorder, and to persuade her not to
yield so much to love, since the danger she had so lately escaped
would be soon renewed by such indulgence. She bid me hold my
tongue, and do what she had commanded. I was forced to be silent,
and am come hither to obey her commands without any further
scruple. I have been at your house, and, not finding you at home,
was about to have gone to wait on the prince of Persia, but did
not dare to attempt so great a journey. I have left the two
purses with a particular friend of mine, and, if you have
patience, I shall go and fetch them immediately.

The confident returned quickly to the jeweller in the mosque,
where she had left him. She gave him the two purses, and bid him
accept them for her lady's sake. They are more than necessary,
said the jeweller; and I can never be enough thankful for so
great a present from so good and generous a lady: but I beseech
you to acquaint her, on my behalf, that I shall preserve an
eternal remembrance of her bounties. He then agreed with the
confident, that she should find him at the place where she had
first seen him whenever she had occasion to impart any commands
from Schemselnihar, or to know any thing of the prince of Persia.

The jeweller returned home very well satisfied, not only that he
had got wherewithal plentifully to make up his losses, but also
to think that no person in Bagdad could possibly come to know of
the prince and Schemselnihar being in his other house when it was
robbed. It is true, he had acquainted the thieves with it, but
their secrecy he thought might very well be depended on, as he
imagined they had not sufficient converse with the world to give
him any disturbance. He therefore hugged himself in his good
fortune, paid his debts, and furnished both his houses to a
nicety. Thus he forgot all his past danger, and next morning set
out to wait on the prince of Persia.

The prince's domestics told the jeweller, on his arrival, that he
came in very good time to make their lord speak, for they had not
been able to get a word out of him ever since he was there. They
introduced him softly into his chamber, where he found him in
such a condition as raised his pity. He was lying in bed, with
his eye-lids shut; but when the jeweller saluted him, and
exhorted him to take courage, be faintly opened his eyes, and
regarded him with such an aspect, as sufficiently declared the
greatness of his affliction. He, however, took and grasped him by
the hand, to testify his friendship, telling him, in a faint and
weak tone, that he was extremely obliged to him for coming so far
to seek one so exceedingly unhappy and miserable.

My lord, replied the jeweller, mention not, I beseech you, any
obligations you owe to me; I could wish, with all my soul, that
the good offices I have endeavoured to do you had had a better
effect. But, at present, let us discourse only of your health,
which I fear you greatly injure by unreasonably abstaining from
proper nourishment.

The prince's servants, hearing the jeweller say this, took
occasion to let him know that it was with the greatest difficulty
they had prevailed on him to take even the smallest morsel and
that for some time he had taken nothing. This obliged the
jeweller to beg the prince to let his servants bring him
something to eat, which favour he obtained with much

After the prince had eaten more largely than he had hitherto, at
the persuasion of the jeweller, he commanded the servants to quit
the room, and leave him alone with his friend. When the room was
clear, he said, In conjunction with my misfortune which distracts
me, I have been exceedingly concerned to think of what you have
suffered on my account; and as it is but reasonable that I should
make you a recompence, I shall be sure to take the first
opportunity; at present, however, begging only your pardon a
thousand times, I must conjure you to tell me whether you have
learnt any thing of Schemselnihar since I had the misfortune to
be parted from her.

Here the jeweller, upon the confident's information, related to
him all that he knew of Schemselnihar's arrival at her hotel, her
state of health from the time he had left her, and how she had
sent her confident to him to inquire after his highness's

To all this the prince replied with sighs and tears only; then he
made an effort to get up, and, being assisted by the jeweller,
made shift to rise. Being upon his legs, he called his servants,
and made them open his wardrobe, whither he went in person, and
having caused several bundles of rich goods and plate to be
packed up, ordered them to be carried to the jeweller's house.

The jeweller would fain have withstood this kind offer; but
although he represented that Schemselnihar had already made him
more than sufficient amends for what he had lost, the prince
would be obeyed. The jeweller thought himself obliged to make
every possible acknowledgment, and protested how much he was
confounded at his highness's liberality. He would then have taken
his leave, but the prince would not let him; so they passed in
discourse the greater part of the night.

Next morning the jeweller waited again on the prince before he
went away, but he would not let him stir; he must first sit down,
and hear what he had to say. You know, said he, there is an end
proposed in all things. Now, the end the lover proposes, is to
enjoy the beloved object in spite of all opposition. If he loses
that hope, he must not think to live. You also know that this is
my hard case; for when I had been twice at the very point of
fulfilling my desires, I was all of a sudden torn from her I
loved in the most cruel manner imaginable: I had then no more to
do, but to think of death; and I had certainly proved my own
executioner, did not our holy laws forbid us to commit suicide.
But there is no need of such violent means; death will soon do
its own work by a sure though gentle method; I find myself in a
manner gone, and that I have not long to wait the welcome blow.
Here he was silent, and vented the rest of his passion only in
groans, sighs, and tears, which came from him in great abundance.

The jeweller, who knew no better way of turning him from despair
than by bringing Schemselnihar into his mind, and giving him some
hopes of enjoying her, told him, he feared the confident might be
come from her lady, and therefore did not think it proper to stay
any longer from home. I will let you go, said the prince; but
conjure you, that if you see her, you recommend to her to assure
Schemselnihar, that if I die, as I expect to do every minute, I
will love her to the last moment, and bless her with my last

The jeweller returned home in expectation of seeing the
confident, who came some few hours after, but all in tears, and
in great affliction. He asked, with great earnestness, what was
the matter; she answered, that Schemselnihar, the prince,
herself, and he, were all ruined. He demanded how. Hear the sad
news, said she, as it was told me just upon my entering our
hotel, after I had left you.

Schemselnihar had, it seems, for some fault, chastised one of the
slaves you saw with her in your other house; the slave, enraged
at the ill treatment, ran presently, and, finding the gate open,
went forth; so that we have just reason to believe she has
discovered all to an eunuch of the guard, who gave her
protection, as we have since heard.

This is not all. The other slave, her companion, is fled too, and
has taken refuge in the caliph's palace, so that we may well fear
she has acted her part in a discovery; for, just as I came away,
the caliph had sent twenty of his eunuchs for Schemselnihar, who
carried her to the palace. I just found means to come and tell
you this, yet I fear no good will come of it; but, above all, I
recommend it to you as a secret.

The confident added, that it was expedient he should go and
acquaint the prince with the whole affair, that he might be ready
on all occasions, and contribute what he was able to the common
cause; upon which she departed in great haste, without speaking a
word more, or waiting for an answer.

What answer, however, could the jeweller have made, in the
deplorable condition he was placed? He stood still as if
thunderstruck, and had not a word to say. He was, however,
sensible that the affair required expedition, and therefore went
immediately to give the prince an account of it. He addressed
himself to him with an air that sufficiently showed the bad news
he brought. Prince, said he to him, arm yourself with courage and
patience, and prepare to receive the most terrible assault ever
yet made on your nature. Tell me, in few words, said the prince,
what it is I must prepare to receive; for if it be death only, I
am ready and willing to undergo it.

Then the jeweller told him all that he had learned from the
confident. You see, continued he, that your destruction is
inevitable, if you delay. Rise, save yourself by flight, for the
time is precious. You, of all men, must not expose yourself to
the anger of the caliph, and should much less confess any thing
in the midst of torments.

At these words the prince was almost ready to expire with grief,
affliction, and fear; he recovered, however, and demanded of the
jeweller what resolution he would advise him to take in this
unhappy conjuncture. The jeweller told him he thought nothing
more proper than that he should immediately take horse, and haste
away towards Anbar, [Footnote: Anbar is a city on the Tigris,
twenty leagues below Bagdad.] that he might get thither with all
convenient speed. Take what servants and horses you think
necessary, continued he, and suffer me to escape with you.

The prince, seeing nothing more advisable, immediately gave
orders for such an equipage as would be least troublesome; so
having put some money and jewels in his pocket, and taking leave
of his mother, he departed in company with the jeweller, and with
such servants as he had chosen. They travelled all that day and
the day following without stopping, till at length, about the
dusk of the evening, their horses and selves being greatly
fatigued, they alighted at an inn to refresh themselves.

They had hardly sat down, before they found themselves surrounded
and assaulted by a gang of thieves. They defended their lives for
some time courageously; but, at length, the prince's servants
being all killed, both he and the jeweller were obliged to yield
at discretion. The thieves, however, spared their lives; but,
after they had seized their horses and baggage, they took away
their clothes, and left them naked.

In this condition, and after the thieves had left them, the
prince said to the jeweller, What is to be done, my friend, in
this conjuncture? Had I not better, think you, have tarried in
Bagdad, and undergone any fate, rather than have been reduced to
this extremity? My lord, replied the jeweller, it is the decree
of Heaven that we should thus suffer. It has pleased God to add
affliction to affliction, and we must not murmur at it, but
receive his chastisements with submission. Let us stay no longer
here, but go and look out for some place where we may be
concealed and relieved.

No, let me rather die, said the prince; for what signifies it
whether I die here or elsewhere? for die I know I must very
shortly. It may be, this very minute that we are talking,
Schemselnihar is no more! And why should I endeavour to live
after she is dead? The jeweller at length prevailed on him to go;
but they had not gone far before they came to a mosque, which,
being open, they entered, and passed there the remainder of the

At day-break a single man came into the mosque to his devotion.
When he had ended his prayer, and was turning to go out, he
perceived the prince and the jeweller, who were sitting in a
corner to conceal themselves. He went up to them; and, saluting
them with a great deal of civility, said, By what I perceive,
gentlemen, you seem to be strangers.

The jeweller answered, You are not deceived, sir. We have been
robbed to-night in coming from Bagdad, and retired hither for
shelter. If you can relieve us in our necessities, we shall he
very much obliged to you, for we know nobody here to whom to
apply to. The man answered, If you think fit to come to my house,
I shall do what I can for you.

Upon this obliging offer, the jeweller turned to the prince, and
said in his ear, This man, as far as I can perceive, sir, does
not know us; therefore we had better go with him, than stay here
to be exposed to the sight of somebody that may. Do as you
please, said the prince; I am willing to be guided by your

The man, observing the prince and jeweller consulting together,
thought they made some difficulty to accept his proposition;
wherefore he demanded of them if they were resolved what to do.
The jeweller answered, We are ready to follow you whither you
please; all that we make a difficulty about is to appear thus

Let not that trouble you, said the man; we shall find wherewithal
to clothe you, I warrant you. They were no sooner got to the
house, than he brought forth a very handsome suit for each of
them. Next, as he thought they must be very hungry, and have a
mind to go to bed, he had several plates of meat brought out to
them by a slave; but they ate little, particularly the prince,
who was so dejected and dispirited, as gave the jeweller cause to
fear he would die. They went to bed, and their host left them to
their repose; but they had no sooner lain down, than the jeweller
was forced to call him again to assist at the death of the
prince. He breathed short, and with difficulty; which gave him
reason to fear he had but a few minutes to live. Coming near him,
the prince said, It is done; and I am glad you are by, to be
witness of my last words. I quit this life with a great deal of
satisfaction; but I need not tell you the reason, for you know it
too well already. All the regret I have is, that I cannot die in
the arms of my dearest mother, who has always loved me with a
tenderness not to be expressed, and for whom I had a reciprocal
affection. She will undoubtedly be not a little grieved that she
could not close my eyes, and bury me with her own hands. But let
her know how much I was concerned at this; and desire her, in my
name, to have my corpse transported to Bagdad, that she may have
an opportunity to bedew my tomb with her tears, and assist my
departed soul with her prayers. He then took notice of the master
of the house, thanked him for the several favours he had received
from him, and desired him to let his body be deposited with him
till such time as it should be carried away to Bagdad. Having
said this, he turned aside and expired.

The day after the prince's death, the jeweller took the
opportunity of a numerous caravan that was going to Bagdad, and
arrived there some time after in safety. He first went home to
change his clothes, and then hastened to the prince's palace,
where every body was surprised that their lord was not come with
him. He desired them to acquaint the prince's mother that he must
speak to her immediately; and it was not long before he was
introduced to her. She was seated in a hall, with several of her
women about her. Madam, said he to her, with an air that
sufficiently denoted his ill news, God preserve your highness,
and shower down the choicest of his blessings upon you! You
cannot be ignorant that it is he alone who disposes of us all at
his pleasure.

The princess would not give him leave to go on, but cried out,
Alas, you bring me the deplorable news of my son's death! At
which words she and her women set up such a hideous outcry, as
soon brought fresh tears into the jeweller's eyes. She thus
tormented and grieved herself a long while before the unfortunate
messenger was allowed to go on. At length, however, she gave a
truce to her sighs and groans, and begged of him to continue the
fatal relation, without concealing from her the least
circumstance. He did as she commanded; and, when he had done, she
further demanded of him, if her son the prince had not given him
in charge something more particular. He assured her his last
words were, that it was the greatest concern to him that he must
die so far distant from his dear mother, and that he earnestly
entreated she would be pleased to have his corpse transported to
Bagdad. Accordingly, next morning at day-break, the princess set
out, with her women and great part of her slaves, to bring her
son's body to her own palace.

The jeweller, having taken leave of her, returned home very sad
and melancholy, to think he had lost so good a friend, and so
accomplished a prince, in the flower of his age.

As he came near his house, dejected and musing, on a sudden
lifting up his eyes, he saw a woman in mourning and tears
standing before him. He presently knew her to be the confident,
who had stood there grieving for some time that she could not see
him. At the sight of her, his tears began to flow afresh, but he
said nothing to her; and, going into his own house, she followed

They sat down, when the jeweller, beginning the dismal discourse,
asked the confident, with a deep sigh, if she had heard nothing
of the death of the prince of Persia, or if it was on his account
that she grieved? Alas! answered she; what! is that charming
prince then, dead? He has not lived long after his dear
Schemselnihar. Beauteous souls! continued she, in whatsoever
place ye now are, ye ought to be pleased that your loves will no
more be interrupted. Your bodies were before an obstacle to your
wishes; but now, being delivered from them, you may unite as
closely as you please.

The jeweller, who had heard nothing of Schemselnihar's death, and
had not observed that the confident was in mourning, through the
excessive grief that blinded him, was now afflicted anew. Is
Schemselnihar then dead? cried he, in great astonishment. She is
dead, replied the confident, weeping afresh; and it is for her
that I wear these weeds. The circumstances of her death are
extraordinary, continued she; therefore it is but requisite you
should know them; but, before I give you an account of them, I
beg you to let me know those of the prince of Persia, whom, in
conjunction with my dearest friend and mistress, I shall lament
as long as I live.

The jeweller then gave the confident the satisfaction she
desired; and, after he had told her all, even to the departure of
the prince's mother to bring her son's body to Bagdad, she began,
and said, You have not forgotten, I suppose, that I told you the
caliph had sent for Schemselnihar to his palace; and it is true,
as we had all the reason in the world to believe, he had been
informed of the amour between her and the prince by the two
slaves, whom he had examined apart. Now, you will be apt to
imagine he must of necessity be exceedingly enraged at
Schemselnihar, and discover many tokens of jealousy and revenge

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