The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-76

The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

“Holla, ye people of the palace! I am a stranger and a wayfarer; have you aught here of victual?” He repeated his cry a second time and a third but still there came no reply; so strengthening his heart and making up his mind he stalked through the vestibule into the very middle of the palace and found no man in it. Yet it was furnished with silken stuffs gold starred; and the hangings were let down over the door ways. In the midst was a spacious court off which set four open saloons each with its raised dais, saloon facing saloon; a canopy shaded the court and in the centre was a jetting fount with four figures of lions made of red gold, spouting from their mouths water clear as pearls and diaphanous gems. Round about the palace birds were let loose and over it stretched a net of golden wire, hindering them from flying off; in brief there was everything but human beings. The King marvelled mightily thereat, yet felt he sad at heart for that he saw no one to give him account of the waste and its tarn, the fishes, the mountains and the palace itself. Presently as he sat between the doors in deep thought behold, there came a voice of lament, as from a heart grief spent and he heard the voice chanting these verses:— I hid what I endured of him[FN#110] and yet it came to light, * And nightly sleep mine eyelids fled and changed to sleepless night: Oh world! Oh Fate! withhold thy hand and cease thy hurt and harm * Look and behold my hapless sprite in colour and affright: Wilt ne’er show ruth to highborn youth who lost him on the way * Of Love, and fell from wealth and fame to lowest basest wight. Jealous of Zephyr’s breath was I as on your form he breathed * But whenas Destiny descends she blindeth human sight[FN#111] What shall the hapless archer do who when he fronts his foe * And bends his bow to shoot the shaft shall find his string undight? When cark and care so heavy bear on youth[FN#112] of generous soul * How shall he ‘scape his lot and where from Fate his place of flight?