« ZurückWeiter »
ought, therefore, to be suppressed. Censure not thy virgin companions, because they have not the same external attractions thou art favoured with; for they may be possessed of accomplishments superior to thine, though they are not so conspicuous. Behold this talisman; view it with attention : it is the talisman of truth, made with the finest crystal, and so wonderfully constructed, that it will not only shew thee what thou art, but what thou shouldest be. When thou resemblest, in every respect, the character I have drawn for thee, thou wilt appear in the most amiable light: but when any irregular passion, or any vicious inclination, takes possession of thy heart, and stimulates thee to commit an unbecoming, or an immoral action, thou wilt be changed into a monster of ugliness. In such circumstances think on me. Repent, reform, and thou wilt be restored to thy pristine beauty.”-When the genius had uttered the last word, he put the talisman into her hand, and instantly disappeared, with the pillar of smoke, but left a scent behind him grateful as the evening breeze which plays among the Sabæan spices, or the fragrant gale which flutters
upon the gum-distilling trees of Arabia. Zulima's astonishment at the sudden
appear. ance of the genius, deprived her of the powers of speech; but the various emotions which she felt during his address to her were charactered in her countenance. When he told her that he was delighted with her person, she threw off her veil with exultation : her eyes sparkled with joy, her bosom panted with satisfaction. But when he informed her she was subject to the most loathsome distempers, she trembled, and grew pale. She was chilled with 'horror when he talked of the gripe of age, and shuddered at the mention of the talons of decrepitude. When he told her she would be deserted by her admirers, as soon as she had no charms to allure them, she was torpid with amazement; but when he afterwards assured her she would be. come more beautiful by regarding his admonitions, her heart danced with rapture, and her lips quivered with ecstasy. She was somewhat disconcerted to hear him prefer plainness, neatness, and simplicity, to pomp, grandeur and magnificence: and to hear self-admiration and censoriousness condemned by him with severity. She was convinced, however, soon after his departure, that it was necessary to follow the rules he had prescribed; for, on surveying herself in the talisman, she discovered such an alteration in her person, that she was struck with fear, and let it fall to the ground; but, when she carefully took it up, with a wish that it might not be broken, she looked, on a second view, as engaging as ever. From that moment she determined to obey her monitor with punctuality; and, after having prostrated herself to implore the assistance of him who dwelleth in the third heaven, she returned to the house of her father.
Veluti in speculo.
As in a mirror.
When a few moons had passed away, Hamed, a young man of large possessions, and remarkable integrity, demanded Zulima for a wife. His palace dazzled the eye with its magnifi
His dress was purple enriched with gold, and the jewels in his turban glittered like the rays of the sun.
He commanded, by inheritance, an extensive tract of land, which was cultivated like a garden. Herds innumerable lowed in his fields, and flocks without number bleated in his pastures. Yet, in the midst of his riches, Hamed was temperate ; fifty women only had he in his Haram. He had mány personal perfections, but they were trifling compared with the beauties of his mind, which resembled an emerald of inestimable value, deposited in a golden casket. The first view of Zulima's uncommon charms struck him at once with wonder and delight. She appeared to his ravished eyes as majestic as the cedar of Lebanon and graceful as the tulip of Candahar, He
poured forth his soul before her, called her the light of his life, and swore she was more lovely than the daughters of Paradise. Zulima soon became inebriated with the homage paid to her, and, imagining, too hastily, that she should increase his sensibility by retarding the completion of his wishes, and quicken desire by protracting the moment of possession, urged him, by turns, to hope and to despair, by every feminine artifice she could think of. But Hamed soon discovered that the heart of Zulima was deceitful as the ocean, when it is unruffled by a breeze, and that she was neither charmed by his person, nor captivated by his manners. He discovered that the voice of adulation alone was music to her ear, and that she was blind to all beauties, but her own. At this discovery his soul was filled with indignation. Resentment extinguished all emotions of tenderness, and drove him abruptly from her presence.
Zulima, as soon as Hamed had left her, hasten. ed to her talisman with the rapidity of a roe, to see in what light she had appeared to him, and to embellish herself with new graces against the next interview ; for, as he had not mentioned his intention never to return, the hopes of fanning the flames of love with fresh allurements, made her spirits flow with unusual briskness,