46. ... the locusts were heard from the thickets on the plain of Catoul The insects here mentioned are of the same species with the τεττιξ of the Greeks, and the cicada of the Latins. The locusts are mentioned in Pliny, b. xi, 29. They were so called, from loco usto, because the havoc they made wherever they passed left behind the appearance of a place desolated by fire. How could then the commentators of Vathek say that they are called locusts, from their having been so denominated by the first English settlers in America?
47. Vathek ... with two little pages “All the pages of the seraglio are sons of Christians made slaves in time of war, in their most tender age. The incursions of robbers in the confines of Circassia afford the means of supplying the seraglio, even in times of peace.”—Habesci’s State of the Ottoman Empire, p. 157. That the pages here mentioned were Circassians, appears from the description of their complexion—more fair than the enamel of Franguestan.
48. ... confectioners and cooks What their precise number might have been in Vathek’s establishment it is not now easy to determine; but in the household of the present Grand Signior there are not fewer than a hundred and ninety.—Habesci’s State of the Ottoman Empire, p. 145.
49. ... hath seen some part of our bodies; and, what is worse, our very faces “I was informed,” writes Dr. Cooke, “that the Persian women, in general, would sooner expose to public view any part of their bodies than their faces.”—Voyages and Travels, vol. ii, p. 443.
50. ... vases of snow, and grapes from the banks of the Tigris It was customary in Eastern climates, and especially in the sultry season, to carry, when journeying, supplies of snow. These æstivæ nives (as Mamertinus styles them) being put into separate vases, were, by that means, better kept from the air, as no more was opened at once than might suffice for immediate use. To preserve the whole from solution, the vessels that contained it were secured in packages of straw.—Gesta Dei, p. 1098. Vathek’s ancestor, the Caliph Mahadi, in the pilgrimage to Mecca, which he undertook from ostentation rather than devotion, loaded upon camels so prodigious a quantity, as was not only sufficient for himself and his attendants amidst the burning sands of Arabia, but also to preserve, in their natural freshness, the various fruits he took with him, and to ice all their drink whilst he stayed at Mecca, the greater part of whose inhabitants had never seen snow till then.—Anecdotes Arabes, p. 326.
51. ... horrible Kaf This mountain, which, in reality, is no other than Caucasus, was supposed to surround the earth, like a ring encompassing a finger. The sun was believed to rise from one of its eminences (as over Œta, by the Latin poets), and to set on the opposite; whence, from Kaf to Kaf, signified, from one extremity of the earth to the other. The fabulous historians of the East affirm, that this mountain was founded upon a stone, called sakhrat, one grain of which, according to Lokman, would enable the possessor to work wonders. This stone is further described as the pivot of the earth, and said to be one vast emerald, from the refraction of whose beams the heavens derive their azure. It is added, that whenever God would excite an earthquake, he commands the stone to move one of its fibres (which supply in it the office of nerves), and, that being moved, the part of the earth connected with it quakes, is convulsed, and sometimes expands. Such is the philosophy of the Koran! The Tarikh Tabari, written in Persian, analogous to the same tradition, relates, that, were it not for this emerald, the earth would be liable to perpetual commotions, and unfit for the abode of mankind. To arrive at the Kaf, a vast region,
“Far from the sun and summer gale,”
must be traversed. Over this dark and cheerless desert, the way is inextricable without the direction of supernatural guidance. Here the dives or giants were confined, after their defeat by the first heroes of the human race; and here, also, the peris, or fairies, are supposed in ordinary to reside. Sukrage, the giant, was king of Kaf, and had Rucail, one of the children of Adam, for his prime minister. The giant Argenk, likewise, from the time that Tahamurath made war upon him, reigned here, and reared a superb palace in the city of Aherman, with galleries, on whose walls were painted the creatures that inhabited the world prior to the formation of Adam.—D’Herbelot, p. 230, etc.
52. ... the Simurgh This is that wonderful bird of the East, concerning which so many marvels are told: it was not only endowed with reason, but possessed also the knowledge of every language. Hence it may be concluded to have been a dive in a borrowed form. This creature relates of itself that it had seen the great revolution of seven thousand years twelve times commence and close; and that, in its duration, the world had been seven times void of inhabitants, and as often replenished. The Simurgh is represented as a great friend to the race of Adam, and not less inimical to the dives. Tahamurath and Aherman were apprised by its predictions of all that was destined to befall them, and from it they obtained the promise of assistance in every undertaking. Armed with the buckler of Gian Ben Gian, Tahamurath was borne by it through the air, over the dark desert, to Kaf. From its bosom his helmet was crested with plumes, which the most renowned warriors have ever since worn. In every conflict the Simurgh was invulnerable, and the heroes it favoured never failed of success. Though possessed of power sufficient to exterminate its foes, yet the exertion of that power was supposed to be forbidden. Sadi, a serious author, gives it as an instance of the universality of Providence, that the Simurgh, notwithstanding its immense bulk, is at no loss for sustenance on the mountain of Kaf. Inatulla hath described Getiafrose, queen of the Genii, as seated on a golden chariot, drawn by ten simurghs; whose wings extended wide as the earth-shading bir, and whose talons resembled the proboscis of mighty elephants: but it does not appear from any other writer, that there ever was more than one, which is frequently called the marvellous gryphon, and said to be like that imaginary monster.—D’Herbelot, p. 1017, 810, etc. Tales of Inatulla, vol. ii, pp. 71, 72. As the magic shield of Atlante resembles the buckler of Gian Ben Gian, so his Ippogrif apparently came from the Simurgh, notwithstanding the reference of Ariosto to the veridical Archbishop:
“Non ho veduto mai, nè letto altrove,
Fuor che in Turpin, d’un si fatto animale.”
53. ... palampores, etc. These elegant productions, which abound in all parts of the East, were of very remote antiquity. Not only are σινδονας ΕΥΑΝΘΕΙΣ, finely flowered linens, noticed by Strabo; but Herodotus relates, that the nations of Caucasus adorned their garments with figures of various creatures, by means of the sap of certain vegetables; which, when macerated and diluted with water, communicate colours that cannot be washed out, and are no less permanent than the texture itself.—Strabo, l. xv, p. 709. Herodotus, l. i, p. 96. The Arabian Tales repeatedly describe these “fine linens of India, painted in the most lively colours, and representing beasts, trees, flowers, etc.”—Arabian Nights, vol. iv, p. 217, etc.
54. ... afrits These were a kind of Medusæ, or Lamiæ, supposed to be the most terrible and cruel of all the orders of the dives.—D’Herbelot, p. 66.
55. ... tablets fraught with preternatural qualities Mr. Richardson observes, “that in the East men of rank in general carried with them pocket astronomical tables, which they consulted on every affair of moment.” These tablets, however, were of the magical kind, and such as often occur in works of romance. Thus, in Boiardo, Orlando receives, from the father of the youth he had rescued, “a book that would solve all doubts”; and, in Ariosto, Logistilla bestows upon Astolpho a similar directory. The books which Carathis turned over with Morakanabad were imagined to have possessed the like virtues.
56. ... dwarfs Such unfortunate beings as are thus “curtailed of fair proportion,” have been, for ages, an appendage of Eastern grandeur. One part of their office consists in the instruction of the pages; but their principal duty is the amusement of their master. If a dwarf happen to be a mute, he is much esteemed; but if he be also an eunuch, he is regarded as a prodigy, and no pains or expense are spared to obtain him.—Habesci’s State of the Ottoman Empire, p. 164, etc.
57. ... a small spring supplies us with water for the Abdest, and we daily repeat prayers, etc. Amongst the indispensable rules of the Mahometan faith, ablution is one of the chief. This rite is divided into three kinds. The first, performed before prayers, is called Abdest. It begins with washing both hands, and repeating these words: “Praised be Alla, who created clean water, and gave it the virtue to purify: he also hath rendered our faith conspicuous.” This done, water is taken in the right hand thrice, and the mouth being washed, the worshipper subjoins: “I pray thee, O Lord, to let me taste of that water which thou hast given to thy prophet Mahomet in paradise, more fragrant than musk, whiter than milk, sweeter than honey; and which has the power to quench for ever the thirst of him that drinks it.” This petition is accompanied with sniffing a little water into the nose. The face is then three times washed, and behind the ears; after which water is taken with both hands, beginning with the right, and thrown to the elbow. The washing of the crown next follows, and the apertures of the ear with the thumbs; afterward the neck with all the fingers, and, finally, the feet. In this last operation, it is held sufficient to wet the sandal only. At each ceremonial a suitable petition is offered, and the whole concludes with this: “Hold me up firmly, O Lord! and suffer not my foot to slip, that I may not fall from the bridge into hell.” Nothing can be more exemplary than the attention with which these rites are performed. If an involuntary cough or sneeze interrupt them, the whole service is begun anew, and that as often as it happens.—Habesci, p. 91, etc.
58. ... reading the holy Koran The Mahometans have a book of stops or pauses in reading the Koran, which divides it into seventeen sections, and allows of no more.—D’Herbelot, p. 915.
59. ... the bells of a cafila A cafila, or caravan, according to Pitts, is divided into distinct companies, at the head of which an officer, or person of distinction, is carried in a kind of horse-litter, and followed by a sumpter camel, loaded with his treasure. This camel hath a bell fastened to either side, the sound of which may be heard at a considerable distance. Others have bells on their necks and their legs, to solace them when drooping with heat and fatigue. Inatulla also, in his tales, hath a similar reference: “The bells of the cafila may be rung in the thirsty desert.” Vol. ii, p. 15. These small bells were known at Rome from the earliest times, and called from their sounds tintinnabulum. Phædrus gives us a lively description of the mule carrying the fiscal moneys: clarumque collo jactans tintinnabulum.—Bk. ii, fabl. vii.
60. Deggial This word signifies properly a liar and impostor, but is applied by Mahometan writers to their Antichrist. He is described as having but one eye and eyebrow, and on his forehead the radicals of cafer or infidel are said to be impressed. According to the traditions of the faithful, his first appearance will be between Irak and Syria, mounted on an ass. Seventy thousand Jews from Ispahan are expected to follow him. His continuance on earth is to be forty days. All places are to be destroyed by him and his emissaries, except Mecca or Medina, which will be protected by angels from the general overthrow. At last, however, he will be slain by Jesus, who is to encounter him at the gate of Lud.—D’Herbelot, p. 282. Sale’s Preliminary Discourse, p. 106.
61. ... dictated by the blessed Intelligence That is, the angel Gabriel. The Mahometans deny that the Koran was composed by their prophet; it being their general and orthodox belief, that it is of divine original; nay, even eternal and uncreated, remaining in the very essence of God; that the first transcript has been from everlasting by his throne, written on a table of immense size, called the preserved table; on which are also recorded the divine decrees, past and future: that a copy was by the ministry of the angel Gabriel sent down to the lowest heaven, in the month of Ramadan, on the night of power: from whence Gabriel revealed it to Mahomet by parcels, some at Mecca, and some at Medina.—Al Koran, ch. ii, etc. Sale’s Preliminary Discourse, p. 85.
62. ... to kiss the fringe of your consecrated robe This observance was an act of the most profound reverence.—Arabian Nights, vol. iv, p. 236, etc.
63. ... and implore you to enter his humble habitation It has long been customary for the Arabs to change their habitations with the seasons. Thus Antara: “Thou hast possessed thyself of my heart; thou hast fixed thy abode, and art settled there, as a beloved and cherished inhabitant. “Yet how can I visit my fair one, whilst her family have their vernal mansion in Oneizatain, and mine are stationed in Ghailem?” Xenophon relates, in his Anabasis, that it was customary for the kings of Persia θεριζειν και εριζειν, to pass the summer and spring in Susa and Ecbatana; and Plutarch observes further, that their winters were spent in Babylon, their summers in Media (that is, Ecbatana), and the pleasantest part of spring in Susa: Καιτοι τουσγε Περσων βασιλεας εμακαριζον εν βαβυλωνι τον χειμωνα διαγονιας· εν δε Μηδιᾳ το θερος· εν δε Σουσοις, το ἡδιστον του ΕΑΡΟΣ.—De Exil., p. 604.
64. ... red characters The laws of Draco are recorded by Plutarch, in his Life of Solon, to have been written in blood. If more were meant by this expression, than that those laws were of a sanguinary nature, they will furnish the earliest instance of the use of red characters, which were afterwards considered as appropriate to supreme authority, and employed to denounce some requisition or threatening design to strike terror. According to Suidas, this manner of writing was, likewise, practised in magic rites. Hence their application to the instance here mentioned. Trotz, In Herm. Hugonem, pp. 106, 307. Suidas sub voc. Θετταλη γυνη.
65. ... thy body shall be spit upon There was no mark of contempt amongst the Easterns so ignominious as this.—Arabian Nights, vol. i, p. 115.; vol. iv, p. 275. It was the same in the days of Job. Herodotus relates of the Medes, ΠΤΥΕΙΝ αντιον ΑΙΣΧΡΟΝ εστι, and Xenophon relates, ΑΙΣΧΡΟΝ εστι Περσαις το ΑΠΟΠΤΥΕΙΝ. Hence the reason is evident for spitting on our Saviour.
66. ... bats will nestle in thy belly Bats in these countries were very abundant, and, both from their numbers and nature, held in abhorrence. See what is related of them by Thevenot, part i, pp. 132, 133, Egmont and Hayman, vol. ii, p. 87, and other travellers in the East.
67. ... the Bismillah This word (which is prefixed to every chapter of the Koran except the ninth) signifies, “in the name of the most merciful God.” It became not the initiatory formula of prayer till the time of Moez the Fatimite. D’Herbelot, p. 326.
68. ... inscription Inscriptions of this sort are still retained. Thus Ludeke: “Interni non solum Divani pluriumque conclavium parietes, sed etiam frontispicia super portas inscriptiones habent.”—Expositio, p. 54. In the History of Amine, we find an inscription over a gate, in letters of gold, analogous to this of Fakreddin: “Here is the abode of everlasting pleasures and content.”—Arabian Nights, vol. i, p. 193.
69. ... a magnificent tecthtrevan This kind of moving throne, though more common at present than in the days of Vathek, is still confined to persons of the highest rank.
70. ... your ivory limbs The Arabians compare the skin of a beautiful woman to the egg of the ostrich, when preserved unsullied. Thus Amriolkais: “Delicate was her shape; fair her skin; and her body well proportioned: her bosom was as smooth as a mirror,— “Or like the pure egg of an ostrich, of a yellowish tint blended with white.” Also the Koran: “Near them shall lie the virgins of Paradise, refraining their looks from beholding any besides their spouses, having large black eyes, and resembling the eggs of an ostrich, covered with feathers from dust.”—Moallakat, p. 8. Al Koran, ch. 27. But though the Arabian epithet be taken from thence, yet the word ivory is substituted, as more analogous to European ideas, and not foreign from the Eastern. Thus Amru: “And two sweet breasts, smooth and white as vessels of ivory, modestly defended from the hand of those who presume to touch them.”—Moallakat, p. 77.
71. ... baths of rose-water The use of perfumed waters for the purpose of bathing is of an early origin in the East, where every odoriferous plant sheds a richer fragrance than is known to our more humid climates. The rose which yields this lotion is, according to Hasselquist, of a beautiful pale blush colour, double, large as a man’s fist, and more exquisite in scent than any other species. The quantities of this water distilled annually at Fajhum, and carried to distant countries, is immense. The mode of conveying it is in vessels of copper coated with wax.—Voyag., p. 248. Ben Jonson makes Volpone say to Celia:
“Their bath shall be the juyce of gillyflowres,
Spirit of roses, and of violets.”
72. ... lamb à la crême No dish among the Easterns was more generally admired. The caliph Abdolmelek, at a splendid entertainment, to which whoever came was welcome, asked Amrou, the son of Hareth, what kind of meat he preferred to all others. The old man answered, “An ass’s neck, well seasoned and roasted.”—“But what say you,” replied the caliph, “to the leg or shoulder of a LAMB à la crême?” and added:
“How sweetly we live if a shadow would last!”
—MS. Laud. No. 161. S. Ockley’s History of the Saracens, vol. ii, p. 277.
73. ... made the dwarfs dance against their will Ali Chelebi al Moufti, in a treatise on the subject, held that dancing after the example of the dervishes, who made it a part of their devotion, was allowable. But in this opinion he was deemed to be heterodox; for Mahometans, in general, place dancing amongst the things that are forbidden.—D’Herbelot, p. 98.
74. ... durst not refuse the commander of the faithful The mandates of Oriental potentates have ever been accounted irresistible. Hence the submission of these devotees to the will of the caliph.—Esther, i, 19. Daniel, vi, 8. Ludeke, Expos. brevis, p. 60.
75. ... the nine hundred and ninety-ninth time The Mahometans boast of a doctor who is reported to have read over the Koran not fewer than twenty thousand times.—D’Herbelot, p. 75.
76. ... black eunuchs, sabre in hand In this manner the apartments of the ladies were constantly guarded. Thus, in the Story of the Enchanted Horse, Firouz Schah, traversing a strange palace by night, entered a room, “and by the light of a lantern saw that the persons he had heard snoring were black eunuchs with naked sabres by them, which was enough to inform him that this was the guard-chamber of some queen or princess.”—Arabian Nights, vol. iv, p. 189.
77. ... to let down the great swing The swing was an exercise much used in the apartments of the Eastern ladies, and not only contributed to their health, but also to their amusement.—Tales of Inatulla, vol. i, p. 259.
78. ... melodious Philomel, I am thy rose The passion of the nightingale for the rose is celebrated over all the East. Thus Mesihi, as translated by Sir W. Jones:
“Come, charming maid, and hear thy poet sing,
Thyself the rose, and he the bird of spring:
Love bids him sing, and love will be obey’d,
Be gay; too soon the flowers of spring will fade.”
79. ... calenders These were a sort of men amongst the Mahometans who abandoned father and mother, wife and children, relations and possessions, to wander through the world, under a pretence of religion, entirely subsisting on the fortuitous bounty of those they had the address to dupe.—D’Herbelot, Suppl., p. 204.
80. ... santons A body of religionists, who were also called abdals, and pretended to be inspired with the most enthusiastic raptures of divine love. They were regarded by the vulgar as saints.—Olearius, tom. i, p. 971. D’Herbelot, p. 5.
81. ... dervishes The term dervish signifies a poor man, and is the general appellation by which a religious amongst the Mahometans is named. There are, however, discriminations that distinguish this class from the others already mentioned. They are bound by no vow of poverty, they abstain not from marriage, and, whenever disposed, they may relinquish both their blue shirt and profession.—D’Herbelot, Suppl., 214. It is observable, that these different orders, though not established till the reign of Nasser al Samani, are notwithstanding mentioned by our author as coeval with Vathek, and by the author of the Arabian Nights as existing in the days of Haroun al Raschid; so that the Arabian fabulists appear as inattentive to chronological exactness in points of this sort as our immortal dramatist himself.
82. ... Brahmins These constituted the principal caste of the Indians, according to whose doctrine Brahma, from whom they are called, is the first of the three created beings by whom the world was made. This Brahma is said to have communicated to the Indians four books, in which all the sciences and ceremonies of their religion are comprised. The word Brahma, in the Indian language, signifies pervading all things. The Brahmins lead a life of most rigid abstinence refraining not only from the use, but even the touch, of animal food; and are equally exemplary for their contempt of pleasures and devotion to philosophy and religion.—D’Herbelot, p. 212. Bruckeri Hist. Philosoph., tom. i, p. 194.
83. ... fakirs This sect were a kind of religious anchorets, who spent their whole lives in the severest austerities and mortification. It is almost impossible for the imagination to form an extravagance that has not been practised by some of them, to torment themselves. As their reputation for sanctity rises in proportion to their sufferings, those amongst them are reverenced the most, who are most ingenious in the invention of tortures, and persevering in enduring them. Hence some have persisted in sitting or standing for years together in one unvaried posture, supporting an almost intolerable burden, dragging the most cumbrous chains, exposing their naked bodies to the scorching sun, and hanging with the head downward before the fiercest fires.—Relig. Ceremon., vol. iii, p. 264, etc. White’s Sermons, p. 504.
84. ... Visnow and Ixhora Two deities of the East Indians, concerning whose history and adventures more nonsense is related than can be found in the whole compass of mythology besides. The traditions of their votaries are, no doubt, allegorical; but without a key to disclose their mystic import, they are little better than senseless jargon.
85. ... talapoins This order, which abounds in Siam, Laos, Pegu, and other countries, consists of different classes, and both sexes, but chiefly of men.—Relig. Ceremon., vol. iv, p. 62, etc.
86. ... small plates of abominations The Koran hath established several distinctions relative to different kinds of food, in imitation of the Jewish prescriptions; and many Mahometans are so scrupulous as not to touch the flesh of any animal over which, in articulo mortis, the butcher had omitted to pronounce the Bismillah.—Relig. Ceremon., vol. vii, p. 110.
87. ... fish which they drew from a river According to Le Bruyn, the Oriental method of fishing with a line, is by winding it round the finger, and when the fisherman feels that the bait is taken, he draws in the string with alternate hands: in this way, he adds, a good dish of fish is soon caught. Tom. i, p. 564. It appears, from a circumstance related by Galand, that Vathek was fond of this amusement.—D’Herbelot, Suppl., p. 210.
88. Sinai This mountain is deemed by Mahometans the noblest of all others, and even regarded with the highest veneration, because the divine law was promulgated from it.—D’Herbelot, p. 812.
89. Peris The word Peri, in the Persian language, signifies that beautiful race of creatures which constitutes the link between angels and men. The Arabians call them Ginn, or genii, and we (from the Persian, perhaps) Fairies: at least, the peris of the Persian romance correspond to that imaginary class of beings in our poetical system. The Italians denominate them Fata, in allusion to their power of charming and enchanting; thus the Manto fatidica of Virgil is rendered in Orlando, La Fata Manto. The term ginn being common to both peris and dives, some have erroneously fancied that the peris were female dives. This appellation, however, served only to discriminate their common nature from the angelic and human, without respect to their qualities, moral or personal. Thus, the dives are hideous and wicked, whilst the peris are beautiful and good. Amongst the Persian poets, the beauty of the peris is proverbial: insomuch that a woman superlatively handsome, is styled by them, the offspring of a Peri.
90. ... butterflies of Cashmere The same insects are celebrated in an unpublished poem of Mesihi. Sir Anthony Shirley relates, that it was customary in Persia, “to hawke after butterflies with sparrows, made to that use, and stares.” It is, perhaps, to this amusement that our author alludes in the context.
91. Megnoun and Leilah These personages are esteemed amongst the Arabians as the most beautiful, chaste, and impassioned of lovers; and their amours have been celebrated with all the charms of verse, in every Oriental language. The Mahometans regard them, and the poetical records of their love, in the same light as the Bridegroom and Spouse, and the Song of Songs, are regarded by the Jews.—D’Herbelot, p. 573.
92. ... they still detained him in the harem Noureddin, who was as old as Gulchenrouz, had a similar indulgence of resorting to the harem, and no less availed himself of it.—Arabian Nights, vol. iii, pp. 9, 10.
93. ... dart the lance in the chase Throwing the lance was a favourite pastime with the young Arabians; and so expert were they in this practice (which prepared them for the mightier conflicts, both of the chase and of war), that they could bear off a ring on the points of their javelins.—Richardson’s Dissertation on the Languages, etc., of Eastern Nations, pp. 198, 281.
94. Shaddukian and Ambreabad These were two cities of the peris, in the imaginary region of Ginnistan: the former signifies pleasure and desire, the latter, the city of Ambergris.—See Richardson’s Dissertation on the Languages, etc., of Eastern Nations, p. 169.
95. ... a spoon of cocknos The cocknos is a bird whose beak is much esteemed for its beautiful polish, and sometimes used as a spoon. Thus, in the History of Atalmulck and Zelica Begum, it was employed for a similar purpose: “Zelica having called for refreshment, six old slaves instantly brought in and distributed Mahramas, and then served about in a great basin of Martabam, a salad made of herbs of various kinds, citron juice, and the pith of cucumbers. They served it first to the Princess in a cocknos beak: she took a beak of the salad, ate it, and gave another to the next slave that sat by her on her right hand; which slave did as her mistress had done.”
96. Ghouls Ghoul, or ghul, in Arabic, signifies any terrifying object, which deprives people of the use of their senses. Hence it became the appellative of that species of monster which was supposed to haunt forests, cemeteries, and other lonely places; and believed not only to tear in pieces the living, but to dig up and devour the dead.—Richardson’s Dissertation on the Languages, etc., of Eastern Nations, pp. 174, 274. That kind of insanity called by the Arabians Kutrub (a word signifying not only a wolf, but likewise a male Ghoul), which incites such as are afflicted with it to roam howling amidst those melancholy haunts, may cast some light on the nature of the possession recorded by St. Mark, ch. v, I, etc.
97. ... feathers of the heron, all sparkling with carbuncles Panaches of this kind are amongst the attributes of Eastern royalty.—Tales of Inatulla, vol. ii, p. 205.
98. ... whose eyes pervade the inmost soul of a female The original in this instance, as in the others already noticed, is more analogous to the French than the English idiom: “Dont l’œil pénètre jusqu’à la moelle des jeunes filles.”
99. ... the carbuncle of Giamschid This mighty potentate was the fourth sovereign of the dynasty of the Pischadians, and brother or nephew to Tahamurath. His proper name was Giam or Gem, and Schid, which in the language of the ancient Persians denominated the sun: an addition ascribed by some to the majesty of his person, and by others to the splendour of his actions. One of the most magnificent monuments of his reign was the city of Istakhar, of which Tahamurath had laid the foundations. This city, at present called Gihil-, or Tchil-minar, from the forty columns reared in it by Homai, or (according to our author and others) by Soliman Ben Daoud, was known to the Greeks by the name of Persepolis; and there is still extant in the East a tradition, that, when Alexander burnt the edifices of the Persian kings, seven stupendous structures of Giamschid were consumed with his palace. This prince, after having subjected to his empire seven vast provinces of Upper Asia, and enjoyed in peace a long reign (which some authors have protracted to 700 years), became intoxicated with his greatness; and, foolishly fancying it would have no end, arrogated to himself divine honours. But the Almighty raised up, even in his own house, a terrible instrument to abase his pride, by whom he was easily overcome, and driven into exile. The author of Giame al tavatikh mentions the cup, or concave mirror of Giamschid, formed of a gem, and called the cup of the sun. To this vessel the Persian poets often refer, and allegorize it in different ways. They attribute to it the property of exhibiting everything in the compass of nature, and even some things that are preternatural. The gem it consisted of appears to be the carbuncle or oriental ruby; which, from its resemblance to a burning coal, and the splendour it was supposed to emit in the dark, was called Schebgerag, or, the torch of the night. According to Strabo, it obtained its high estimation amongst the Persians, who were worshippers of fire, from its igneous qualities; and perhaps those virtues for which it hath been styled “the first of stones.” Milton had a learned retrospect to its fabulous powers, in describing the Old Serpent: