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Art. VIII.-). The Adventures of Hatim Tui, a Romance.

Translated from the Persian. By Duncan Forbes, A.M. 4to.

pp. 214. London. 1830. 2. Customs and Manners of the Women of Persia, and their

Domestic Superstitions. Translated from the original Persian Manuscript." By James Atkinson, Esq. of the Honourable East India Company's Bengal Medical Service. Svo. pp. 93.

London. 1832. THERE is no use whatever in our sitting down to read the ad

ventures of Hatim Taï, unless we first revive in our souls the rainbow-hues of early youth, and recall that inexperienced ardour which prompted us easily to believe in the mystic potency of talismans, and in the obedience rendered to them by genii of earth and air and ocean. We must again believe, as we then believed, that the imagination has a real living world of its own, far apart from this laud of spinning-jennies and rail-roads—a fairy region where palaces of gold, provided with every luxury that can regale the sense, greet the wearied traveller just al the moment he is about to sink upon the parched desert from exhaustion—where diamonds as large as. ostrich eggs, and emeralds of the purest green, are trodden upon at every step we advance--and lakes of limpid water spread before us, on which boats with self-expanding sails are most conveniently waiting to waft us from island to island. Nor are we to be surprised if, now and then, when we have lost our way in some gloomy forest, a humane lion or a gentle bear should shake us by the hand, and entertain us with right learned and edifying discourse, while, from his superior knowledge of the country, he conducts us in safety to the cavern in the mountain of which we happen to be in search. Neither are we to look the circumstance as otherwise than perfectly natural and auspicious, if, while gliding over the smooth sea, the tenants of the deep, albeit unused to the vocal mood, favour us with a ravishing melody, timed to the music of myriads of shells struck by invisible hands in the azure depths beneath.

A grave and argumentative treatise might be written on the question, whether the more civilized of mankind have in fact gained any accession to their happiness, by permitting the increase of exact knowledge to limit the free range of the imagination. Agriculture may probably be improved by the multiplication of enclosure bills; but the sports of the village, and, in some instances, the beauty of the landscape, are sad sufferers from this species of parliamentary interposition. Sir David Brewster has, with impious band,' attempted to destroy all the mysteries of our little planet by showing that magic is, in truth, nothing more than nature unexplained. We have the consolation of believing that

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the Sicilians, at least, have not yet read his book, and that they may go on for centuries to come in beholding, as supernatural wonders, the palaces, and towers, the green valleys with herds and flocks reposing in the shade, and the hosts of armed men on foot and on horseback, that sometimes suddenly appear to occupy the sea between them and the fair shores of Italy. We doubt if we should exchange for the cold philosophy of the Scotchman the feelings of astonishment and awe that must have excited the simple Cumberlander beyond himself, when he beheld with his corporeal eye the shadowy huntsman and his dog pursuing their wild chace of horses along Souterfell side ; and still more when he, and all his neighbours too, saw countless troops of horsemen traversing the same perilous steeps. We venture to say that Daniel Stricket would not have been a whit the happier, if he had been told that these strange spectacles were referrible only to the refractory tricks of the atmosphere.

When we choose to be merely rational, and to wander in the groves of the academy, we can experience a sensible delight in solving a difficult problem of mathematics. But this species of pleasure is but as a single ray of light compared with the glorious sunshine which cheered the mind, when first we accompanied Aladdin through the wondrous regions that were opened to him by his enchanted lamp. Even now the visions of early days come crowding upon the fancy whenever we chance to meet with the name of Haroun Alraschid. We resume our acquaintance with him as with a long-lost friend, whom we had known as a beloved meinber of our family circle—we feel towards him as if he had been a part of our own history, and as if we had dwelt beneath his patriarchal rule in the charmed city of Bagdad.

Had we been somewhat sooner acquainted with Hatim Taï, we should doubtless have held him also in considerable estimation. In Persia, Hindostan, and Arabia, his memory is quite as popular as that of the caliph, and his adventures are read with universal admiration. In our sunless climate they will be deemed marvelJous in the extreme; but that very attribute ought to be looked upon as their greatest attraction, next to the indefatigable benevolence which they uniformly display.

Hatim Taï flourished in the latter half of the sixth century of the Christian ara, as the acknowledged chieftain of some thousands of his own tribe, who dwelt in Yemen, or Arabia Felix. According to an Arabian authority of the twelfth century, he was liberal, brave, wise, and victorious : when he fought, he conquered ; when he plundered, he carried off; when he was asked, he gave; when he shot his arrow, he hit the mark; and whomsoever he took captive, he liberated.' Such a man would VOL. XLIX. NO, XCVIII.

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have been justly deemed a hero in any coûntry. His exploits hare furnished copious themes to Arabian poetry and romance. D'Herbelot says, that his tomb is still to be seen in a small village of Yemen, called Aovaredh, and that the natives still visit it with that reverence which the virtues of Hatim Taï so eminently deserved.

The tales which are here translated by Mr. Forbes are seven in number; and they record the various dangers and difficulties which the hero was content to encounter, in order to promote a union between a beautiful damsel of unlimited wealth, and a young prince who was smitten more by her personal charms than her riches. But the lady, like some of our Provençal high-born maidens, proposed certain trials through which her lover must contend for her hand, before he could obtain it. The ordeal in this case assuines the shape of the following seven enigmas, which, at the instigation of her cunning nurse, she proclaimed as necessary to be solved by any person aspiring to her favour :L' 1. What I saw once I long for a second time.

2. Do good and cast it upon the waters. 3. Do no evil; if you do, such shall you meet with. 4. He who speaks the truth is always tranquil. 5. Let him bring an account of the mountain of Nida. 6. Let him produce a pearl of the size of a duck's egg. 7. Let him bring an account of the bath of Bad-gard.'—p.7. These, perhaps, ought rather to be called so many labours which were to be performed after the Herculean fashion. The Prince Munir of Syria, to whom they were proposed, set about performing them to the best of his ability ; but having no clue whatever to guide him, he wandered in vain over mountains and deserts, until his good fortune conducted him to the borders of Yemen, where he sat down under a tree and gave vent to his tears, which were as copious as the showers of early spring. Hatim happening to pass that way on a hunting excursion, beheld the young prince, and having learned from him the cause of his grief, resolved generously to undertake the labours which had been assigned to the lover. Trusting to Providence, he forth with set out for the wilderness, to find the man who constantly exclaimed, What I once saw I long for a second time.' Before he proceeded far upon his journey, he espied a wolf pursuing a milch doe, and his heart being touched with kindliness towards the young to whom the milk belonged, he entreated the wolf to desist from the chace, and to accept a slice from his own thigh, by way of a bonus for abstaining from crime. The wolf agreed; and having feasted upon the food thus seasonably provided, he in return informed Hatim, that the man of whom he was in search dwelt in

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the desert of Hawaïda, and further, pointed out the way which he was to go.

Hatim soon after found himself in the kingdom of the bears, by whom he was received with the greatest politeness and hospitality. He had, however, the misfortune to attract the particular regard of the king, who insisted that the hero should marry his daughter. This proposal Hatim respectfully declined, alleging that he was then engaged in a particular service, which he could not think of interrupting. The bear-king threatened to commit him to a dungeon, where he should remain without food until the day of judgment. Hatim was willing to undergo even this punishment rather than become the husband of a cub, and forthwith he was sent to prison. But sleep came to his aid; and in his dreams an old man appeared to him, who recommended that he should acquiesce in the king's proposal. Having acted upon

this suggestion, he was introduced to his bride, whom he was astonished to find as beautiful as the moon in her fourteenth night, and seated on a splendid throne, arrayed in gold and jewels. Seeing her thus to his infinite surprise one of his own species, he accepted her hand, and took up his abode in her palace. Every day the king provided them with a variety of fruits ; but Hatim being soon satiated with that kind of food, sent the king word that it did not agree with him, and requested something more substantial. Flour, sugar, milk, and butter, were forthwith abundantly served up to him in vessels of porcelain ; and Hatim fared sumptuously twice a-day, on food the most delicious, which he dressed himself.

When six months were elapsed, Hatim obtained, through the intercession of his wife, leave of absence, that he might accomplish his enterprise. He once more found himself in the desert, upon

which no human habitation appeared. But still trusting in Providence, he courageously proceeded. Every evening a mysterious man, with a tattered garment, brought him a loaf and a jug full of water; but, while he was thus cheerfully making progress, he suddenly beheld an immense dragon, who, raising his head to the skies, stooped and devoured him at one fell swoop. Here, no doubt, Hatim must have been promptly digested, had not bis wife fixed a talismanic pearl in his turban before his departure, which protected him from dissolution. The dragon, finding him inconvenient, ejected him on the third day; and Hatim, as soon as his clothes were dried in the sun, resumed his journey. Arriving on the banks of a river, he sat down to refresh himself, and seeing great numbers of fish crowding near him, he was congratulating himself, while washing his clothes, upon the abundant supply of food which he was about to obtain, when a mermaid captured 2 M 2

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him, and took him to her abode in the ocean, very much against his will. Her cavern, though splendidly furnished, did not reconcile him to such a fate, and, after much entreaty, he was restored to the spot whence he was taken. He then finished the washing of his clothes, which had been so unexpectedly interrupted, and again went on way.

A lofty mountain soon appeared in sight, covered to the summit with trees in beautiful clusters. Hatim ascended these shady groves, through which flowed rivulets of pure water, and cooling zephyrs wafted a delicious fragrance. Here he met a man who warned him that the confines of the desert of Hâwaïda were kept by damsels of surpassing beauty. One of them especially was a nymph whose charms it would require the greatest fortitude to resist; if he yielded he was lost for ever; but if he grasped her hand firmly, she would be compelled to forward him to his destination. This advice sunk deep in Hatim's soul, and he was resolved to pursue it.

The next day he reached the borders of a lake, from the bosom of which a nymph of surprising loveliness arose, and seizing Hatim in her arnis hurried hiin into the deep. As soon as he found a footing, he opened his eyes, and beheld around him a beautiful and extensive garden, filled with women of exquisite forms, each of whom assailed him with her attentions. But he remembered the advice that had been given him, and held firmly to his purpose, saying to himself, · This is all enchantment.' He was conveyed to a palace formed entirely of precious stones, and decorated with numberless paintings. Seeing the throne vacant, he thought that he might seat himself upon it. Placing his foot upon the step, a tremendous crash of thunder was heard, which startled him for the moment, but it did not deter him from mounting the ascent. When he sat down upon the throne another peal seemed to shatter the whole building, but when it passed away, the damsel, against whom he had been forewarned, approached, clothed in costly gold and jewels, her faced veiled. Hatim was strongly tempted to remove the veil-but he forbore, upon a moment's reflection, to expose himself to so great a temptation, Wishing, however, to see something more of this enchanted palace, he remained three days and three nights seated on the throne. The darkness of the night was dispelled by magic lamps, which to him were invisible, and his ears were delighted with melodious sounds. Fantastic groups, in endless variety, danced along the scene; but all the while the damsel of surpassing beauty stood by the throne, sweetly smiling in his face. They presented him with food and fruits of every description in costly dishes; but although Hatim ate most heartily, his hunger was not in the least appeased.

Wondering

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