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قراءة كتاب The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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youth, do you see that they use them aright." While dying, his friends discerned a slight motion of the countenance, which was peculiar to him when deeply affected by religious joy.

W.


THE NOVELIST.

OSMYN AND ZAMBRI.
A Persian Tale. From the French.

(From a Correspondent.)

A worthy old Persian having arrived at the end of an irreproachable life, experienced in his last moments the greatest uneasiness for the fate of his two sons, whom he was about to leave without fortune, without a livelihood, and without a prospect. The elder called Osmyn, was twenty years of age, and the younger, eighteen, bore the name of Zambri.

As the old man drew near his last hour, he thought much less of his own sufferings than of the fate of his children, when his ear was agreeably struck with a soft and melodious voice, which said to him, "Fear nothing, old man, I will watch over your children; die in peace as thou hast lived. I bring a present for each of your sons; let them make good use of it, and one day perhaps they may be re-united, and live in happiness."

At these words a balsamic odour spread itself in the cottage, and a bright light discovered to the view of the astonished Persian, the features of a young man, whose expressive countenance had in it something celestial. It was a beneficent genius, who after having deposited his presents on the bed of the old man, vanished like lightning. The old man called his two sons, they ran eagerly towards him with a light, and approached the bed of their father, who related to them the visit he had been honoured with, and showed them the presents of the genius. On one side was a small box covered with brilliant spangles; on the other a sheet of paper carefully sealed. "Come Osmyn," said the old man, "you are the eldest, it is for you to choose."

Osmyn attracted by the richness of the box, chose it with eagerness, and poor Zambri was obliged to be contented with the humble envelope. The old man embraced them, blessed them, and died as one resigning himself to the arms of hope. After having wept sincerely the death of so good a father, and having rendered the last offices to his remains, the two brothers were anxious to know what aid they should find in the presents of the genius. Osmyn opened his little box and found it filled with pastilles of divers forms and colours. He was almost tempted to laugh at the meanness of such a gift, when he perceived these words written on the lid of the box—"Each time that thou eatest one of these pastilles, thine imagination will bring forth a poem perfect in all its parts, sublime and delicate in its details, such in short as will surpass the ablest works of the best Persian poets."

Osmyn did not want vanity; the possession of so fine a secret failed not to turn his young brain, and a hundred illusions of fortune and glory presented themselves at once to his imagination.

From the value of the present given by the genius to his brother, Zambri doubted not that his paper contained also some marvellous secret. He opened it and read with as much surprise as sorrow—"A new Receipt for preparing Sherbet." Some lines pointed out the method of composing a liquor, of which one drop only being infused in a bowl of Sherbet, would give it a taste and perfume hitherto unknown to the most voluptuous Asiatics.

Osmyn was overjoyed, and Zambri was in despair; Osmyn wished not to quit his brother, but the orders of the genius were imperative. The two brothers embraced each other tenderly, shed tears, and separated. The eldest took the road to Bagdad, where all the learned, and all the poets of Asia were assembled to attend the court of the Caliph. As to poor Zambri, he quitted the cottage of his father, carrying nothing with him but the humble receipt for preparing Sherbet, and leaving to chance the direction of his course.

Before his arrival at Bagdad, Osmyn had already eaten half-a-dozen of the pastilles, and consequently carried with him half-a-dozen poems, beside which were to fade the productions of the greatest Eastern poets. But he soon found that pretenders to talent often succeed better than those who really possess it. He felt the necessity of connecting himself with literary men, and men of the world; but he only found them occupied with their business, their pleasures, or their own pretensions. Under what title could he present himself? Under that of a poet? The court and the city overflowed with them; they had already filled every avenue. To consult his fellows would be to consult his rivals; to ask their praises would be to ask a miser for his treasures. Besides, so many books appeared, that people did not care to read. However, Osmyn's works were published, but they were not even noticed in the multitude of similar productions.

After having vegetated four or five years at Bagdad, without obtaining anything but weak encouragement given by wise men, (who are without influence because they are wise,) poor Osmyn began to lose the brilliant hopes that formerly had dazzled him. However, by dint of eating the pastilles, he at last attracted some notice. If it requires time for genius to emerge from obscurity, no sooner is it known than recompense is made for slow injustice. It is sought after not for itself, but for the sake of vanity. Envy often avails itself of it as a fit instrument subservient to its own purposes. Soon, in fact, the works of Osmyn only were spoken of, and after languishing a long time unnoticed, he saw himself at once raised to the pinnacle, without having passed the steps which lead from misery to fortune, from obscurity to glory.

The Caliph desired to see so great a genius, and to possess him at his court. Osmyn was overwhelmed with favours; he sung the praises of the Caliph with a delicacy that other poets were far from being able to imitate. The Caliph admired delicate praise the more because it is rare at court.

So much merit and favour besides, soon created the jealousy of other poets, and likewise of the courtiers. Even those, who had showed themselves the most enthusiastic admirers of Osmyn's talents, feared to see themselves eclipsed by this new comer, and resolved to destroy the idol they had raised so much higher than they wished.

One of the poets, Osmyn's enemy, was employed to compose a satire against the Caliph, and it was agreed that this should be circulated under the favourite's name. From that time the avenger of the common cause never quitted Osmyn, nor ceased to load him with praises and caresses.

One day when Osmyn delivered an extempore poem before the Caliph, his rival, after having warmly applauded him, cast down his eyes by accident, and saw shining on the floor one of the pastilles that Osmyn, who was led away by the vivacity of his declamation, had let fall by mistake. The traitor snatched it up, and put it mechanically in his mouth.

The pastille produced its effect; the poet felt a sudden inspiration, left the hall and flew to compose the projected satire. He was surprised at his own aptitude; the verses cost him no trouble, but flowed of themselves. The bitterest expressions escaped from his pen without his seeking for them. In short, in an instant, he brought forth a true chef-d'oeuvre of malice.

He continued some moments in ecstacy with his work, and carried it in triumph to his friends—or rather to his accomplices. The satire was received with the liveliest applause: it was the pure and vigorous style of Osmyn. The writer had imitated his handwriting; and soon the libel was spread about in his name.

Murmurs arose on all sides against the ingratitude of Osmyn. The satire fell into the hands of the Caliph, who in his rage ordered the unfortunate Osmyn to be stript of all his property, and driven from Bagdad. Osmyn, overpowered by the blow, could not defend himself; besides, how could he make his innocence heard amidst the cries of his calumniators.

After having wandered a long time, every where imploring pity—sometimes meeting with kindness, but oftener repulsed with selfishness—he arrived, at nightfall, before a superb country house, magnificently illuminated. He heard the accents of joy mingled with the sounds of a brilliant concert of music, and saw all the signs of a splendid fête. However, the thunder began to roll, the sky was obscured by heavy clouds, and Osmyn's miserable clothing was soon drenched by the rain.

He approached this beautiful house, in hopes to find there, if not hospitality for the night, at least an asylum for some minutes. The slaves perceived him, and said to him harshly—"What do you ask, beggar?"

"A humble shelter from the storm, a morsel of bread to appease my hunger, and a little straw to rest my body on, borne down by fatigue."

"Thou shalt have none of these."

"For pity—"

"Begone!"

"See how it rains!—Hear how it thunders!"

"Go elsewhere, and come not to disturb by thy presence the pleasures of our master."

Osmyn was on the point of obeying this order, when the master of the house, who had witnessed this scene from a window, came down, called his slaves, and ordered them to receive the unfortunate man, to procure him clothes, a bed, and all he was in need of. "Misery," said he, "misery is for him who revels in the presence of the poor, and suffers them to plead for assistance in vain; and misfortune for the rich who, cloyed with luxuries, refuse a morsel of bread to a famishing stranger. Poor traveller, go and repose thyself, and may the Prophet send thee refreshing slumbers, that thou mayst for a time forget thy sufferings."

"Oh Heaven!" cried Osmyn, "what voice strikes my ear? It is the voice—the voice of Zambri!"

"Zambri! what! do you know him?"

"Heavens! do I know him?—Do I know my brother?"

"You my brother!" cried Zambri in his turn. "Can it be? That voice—those features, disfigured by poverty and misery. Ah! I recognise you, my dear Osmyn!"

No more need be said: he flew to embrace his brother; but Osmyn, overcome by the excess of his joy, fell senseless at his feet.

He was conveyed into the finest apartment of the villa, every assistance was afforded him, and he was soon restored. Zambri ordered him magnificent apparel, and taking him by the hand, conducted him to the banquet, and presented him to his friends. After the repast, Osmyn related all the vicissitudes of his fortune, his long suffering, his rapid glory, the jealousy and perfidy of his enemies, "But thou," added he, "my dear Zambri, by what good fortune do I find you in such an enviable situation? What! this beautiful house, this crowd of slaves, these sumptuous ornaments!—to what dost thou owe them?"

"To the receipt for preparing Sherbet," said Zambri, smiling. "Listen to my story, it is very simple. Soon after we parted, I directed my steps towards Teflis, where I sought only to gain a livelihood. On my arrival, I went into the public places where the opulent people assemble, to refresh themselves with ices and sherbet. I solicited employment there, but was refused, and harshly sent away. Not knowing what to do, and not having money to procure a subsistence, I went at length to one of the obscure cafés, frequented by the lowest people. The master of this wretched place, who was named Mehdad, agreed to accept my services. I prepared a bottle of the liquor for which the good genius had given me the receipt, but the ingredients of which, although cheap, I had not before been able to purchase, and soon I found an immense company crowding to Mehdad's café. The rich people also would take no other; and Mehdad soon had before him the prospect of becoming opulent.

"He had a daughter; she was young and beautiful; I became enamoured of her, and ventured to ask her hand. I had preserved the secret of my receipt. Mehdad was ignorant that he owed his good fortune to me, and believed that it was through his own talent. He rejected my offer with disdain, and drove me from his house. Poor fellow! he was not the first who, without knowing it, had driven good luck from his home.

"I had gained some money in his service; and I employed the fruit of my economy in forming for myself an establishment in one of the public gardens of Teflis, on the banks of the charming river Khur. Here I erected a small, but elegant pavilion, and I sold my Sherbet to all the promenaders of the garden. In a short time Mehdad, and all the cafés of Teflis, were abandoned for my little pavilion. Zambri's Sherbet was alone in demand: it was spoken of in all companies—it was taken at all festivals. The garden of Zambri was crowded from morning till night. The multitude was attracted towards my pavilion like swarms of flies towards a honey-comb. I was compelled to erect a pavilion ten times larger than the former, and I decorated it magnificently.

"A year had scarcely elapsed before I had acquired a considerable fortune. I quitted my new establishment, returned to the city, and purchased merchandize of all descriptions. I prepared a great quantity of this favourite liquor, to which I owe all my wealth. I sent it to all the cities of Persia, and into the most distant countries. Heaven seemed to smile on my exertions. A beautiful widow, aged twenty years, saw and loved me; I was not insensible to her charms. We made mutual vows of attachment, and marriage crowned my happiness.

"We have acquired this charming retreat, and reside here during the most beautiful season of the year, amongst our good friends, who, in partaking our pleasures, add to them the charms of their society.

"How many times, dear Osmyn, have my thoughts been occupied with thee! Often have I said, in the midst of my prosperity, Where is my brother?—where dwells Osmyn? No doubt the invaluable secret he possesses has gained him an immense fortune, and raised him to the pinnacle of honour. But I see that in these times happiness, tranquillity, and perhaps riches, are more easily obtained by humble and modest employment, than by splendid abilities. In the course of my transactions, I have met with vexations and disappointments. Sometimes my Sherbet has been imitated; but the fraud has always been discovered, and the intrigues of my rivals have added to my reputation. At length I have found that it is easier to satisfy the caprice than the judgment of mankind, and that those who could not understand the merits of a clever work, would readily agree upon the subject of a delicious and agreeable beverage."

Thus spoke the good Zambri: he strove affectionately to console Osmyn. The two brothers separated no more; and, thanks to the receipt for preparing Sherbet, they lived long together amidst the pleasures that wealth commands, and the still more true and solid happiness procured by peace and friendship.


THE NATURALIST.


BOTANY OF SHAKSPEARE.

At a recent meeting of the Medico-Botanical Society, a very interesting dissertation on the medicinal plants which occur in the plays of Shakspeare, from the pen of Mr. Rootsay, of Bristol, was read, and excited considerable attention. The hebenon henbane alluded to in Hamlet, the mandragora, the various plants so beautifully alluded to in Romeo and Juliet, and in other dramas, were the subject of the inquiry, and much classical information was displayed by the ingenious author in the illustration of the subject. We hope to report more respecting this very interesting paper to our readers.


THE CUTTLE-FISH.

The following account of the sepia media, a small species of cuttle-fish, is given by Mr. Donovan, in his "Excursion through South Wales:"—"When first caught, the eyes, which

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