L'Esplendente [part 2]

The only wish which disturbed the quiet of his pastoral Life - was that for posterity -. Of three Females which formed his Household - but one had offspring - & the infant dying almost immediately after it was born - he was again childless. - At length however, Almahide his favourite Wife - blessed him with a Son. - The hour of whose Birth which happened at midnight was marked by the uncommon brightness of the Stars - & the joyful Father who was not without astrological ideas imagined this lucid appearance denoted a Life of - splendor to his Child. - Impressed with the notion & recollecting the fame & glory of his Ancestors - he named him Mehemed al moahdin in spanish lEsplendente. - Whilst the young Mehemed was privately named & received into the mahometan faith - with the acostomed ceremonies his Father awed by the lessons of persecution [8] sent him to Seville where he was baptized in the Cathedral & called Ferdinand. - This Rite so repugnant to Abdoulrahmans principles being performed - he took back his Son with haste fully resolving he should never have any further commerce with his Christian Country[men] The Infant grew every day more & more beautiful & lively - his fond Mother already perceived - his eyes sparcling with the brilliance & lustre which was peculiar to the race of the Ommiades All beholders were equally charmed with the strength & comeliness of his Limbs - wich every morning were plunged at Sun rise in the clear rivulet that fertilized his Father's Domain. - By these many attentions he acquired a sprightliness vigor far superior to the Children in the Valley beneath - to which a rice & vegetable diet not a little contributed. - The swabbling imps of the neighbouring villages were never allowed to approach him - indeed he was strictly confined to the meads which encircled his native habitation - & such was the delight he took in their flower & herbage that [9] a wish to stray beyond their limits had never entered his Head. Abdoulrahman gazed with transport on this rising pledge of Almahide's affection & often suspended his occupations in the field to observe his activity He loved to see him boldly climbing rocks in search of plants rooted in their crevices & after mounting the orangetrees on the banks of a stream without an idea of danger - throw himself headlong into the deep current below - The Father was ignorant of Fear & loved to trace in his offspring a disposition like his own. - He encouraged therefore this bold spirit & instead of checking the ardour with which he ventured on the Rocks - frequently placed the choicest fruits on their pinnacles as the reward - of daring excersises. - Scarcely had he attained his 11th year when Abdoulrahman taking him by the hand - led him one evening thro' the dark mysterious passage of which I have spoken - The air was still & the setting Sun - gilt the summits of the Clifs with his last ray as they issued from the chasm. - All around flourished [10] trees, & luxuriant shrubs - in the Rocks glistened Rills that wandering thro places of the deepest verdure lost themselves in Citron Thickets The whole atmosphere was filled with a soft perfume. - Mehemed devourd with his eyes this unexpected prospect he listend to the murmurs of the rills - he scented the fragrance of the vegetation - he enjoyed the universal calm - [TWO WORDS ILLEGIBLE.] to his happy Father asked him into what new World he had been conducted - & if [ILLEGIBLE WORDS] the Garden which as he had been tonight was reserved for the faithful - It is my Son replied Abdoulrahman - & for them alone - Dost thou observe continued he a small cupole shaded by Acacias - I do - what a pleasant place - let me run to it I am all impatience to know what it contains & to gather the blossoms of these trees - whose odour reaches me even at this distance. - Stay Mehemed - that spot is not - released for the purposes of amusement - it his [sic] holy - it is consecrated to Alla the mighty Being who planted these rocks, these woods - [11] & spread over them yonder serene sky There let us go & join our Voices to the acclamation of the great prophet & all the Spirits of Heaven. - The youth was thrilled by these words with the utmost severity he changed colour - he fell on the ground & implored the benediction of Alla - then rising he followed his Father to the Oratory/mosque. - Night was drawing on - the Rocks were lost in shade - The Rocks grew dark & the fall of Torrents was echoed by their cavities. - This scene impressed the youthful mind of Mehemed with religious awe - he started when he saw his Father, move towards the coffer which containd the Koran & which had the appearance of a Tomb - He knew not what to expect when the Brocade was lifted up. - Kneel - said Abdoulrahman lighting two enormous tapers - he obeyed & trembled - Receive the Book dictated by Angels - & filled with the inspirations of our prophet - with those sacred doctrines, which when truly followed - lead to the [12] mansions of eternal Happiness - The Garden of which thou hast heard is placed beyond the portals of the Grave - Between it & mortals - a dark gulph is fixed - whose shades the light of the Koran alone can dissipate - Would thou attain these regions - observe the tenets of our faith. In this angerd & injurd manner Abdoulrahman [ILLEGIBLE] the law of the prophet Mehemed was all attention & respect. - After discoursing a while - on these subjects - their conversation instantly turned to the deeds of their ancestors. - The Father painted the miseries to which their Race had been exposed - in the most energetic strain - he brought the carnage & disdain of that sad period when the Moors were driven from Andalusia full before the imagination of his Son - who dissolved in Tears Unhappy Boy said Abdoulrahman, the Xstians usurp thy possession for all these fertile plains & cultivated Hills we survey from our Abode were once under the domain of thy Fathers. - That great City whose spires terminate our prospect [13] was formerly their habitation but the ruthless Xstians envied this felicity - Those Enemies of our Faith poured upon thy unhappy Ancestors like a destructive Element - They resisted in vain. - whole provinces were laid waste & the sky was darkend with the smoke of burning Towns. - The fairest Country under Heaven - was stained with the blood of its Cultivators - who driven from their native fields - their pleasant dwelling were all cut off or forced to take refuge beyond the Ocean in the burning recesses of Africa.

[Continued in Part 3]


Introduction to L'Esplendente
Part 1 ::: Part 2 ::: Part 3 ::: Part 4 ::: Part 5 ::: Part 6
Part 7 ::: Part 8 ::: Part 9 ::: Part 10 ::: Part 11 ::: Part 12
Part 13 ::: Part 14 ::: Part 15 ::: Part 16 ::: Part 17 ::: Part 18