L'Esplendente [part 3]

Then faded the glories of Andalusia it was no more the garden of the world - a black & hungry superstition - darkened the Land & fed upon its vitals - The few who remained of its ancient possessors soon fell the victims to this blind & savage power - [14] The intolerant Spirit of the Xstian was restless till all those who openly adhered to our Faith - were destroyed. - Some however eluded its researches & remained secure under the mask of Xstianity - Amongst these are number'd thy unfortunate race - the sole inheritors of an illustrious name - This narrow spot is all that remains to Abdoulrahman's Empire of his Fathers - but Here he is at least secure - if he dwells not in lofty castles - Nature has surrounded him with a solid Barrier - which no Xstian can scale - If he adore not Alla with the pomps of Kings - he offers a pure & greatful Heart & his humble prayers are not rejected. - Tis true he possesses not the treasures of Hissem; - but the holy Koran, which formed the consolation of his Fathers is not yet snatched away - there it reposes & in security. - May it allay O my Son - cheer thy solitary Hours - when irritated by the Xstians & stung by the display of their triumph - hither retire - seek this Asylum - but mark me o my dearest Mehemed, form no friendships [15] with the Xstian youth nor suffer thyself to be led away by their [ILLEGIBLE] Allurements - Shun all commerce with that impious Race - mingle not in their societies - & let thy lips be locked in eternal silence concerning this Vale. - O discover not this last sanctuary - the refuge, the comfort of my declining years. - Learn to reflect on thy present situation, suffer not thyself to be buoyed up by the grandeur of thy descent - imitate that caution which has thus far with safety conducted my steps thro it. - He ceased & every word sunk deep into the soul of Mehemed. - The Night was now far advanced & the tapers before the coffer were expiring - Abdoulrahman after a long pause rose up - & told his Son he would leave him to his reflections at the early dawn, - continued he, I will return & bring provisions that we may break our fast together - As soon as he had said these words he departed & Meh'med followed him with his eyes till he was lost in the Darkness. - The youth was not dismayed by the profound silence which reigned around nor by the solitude in which he found himself - No evil thoughts & corse [16] fears had entered his bosom - The softness of the air in this fortunate climate was such that he laid himself down carelessly in the open shed & covering his head with his garment slept till the break of Day. - Awakened by the Sunbeams & by the carol of innumerable birds - he hastened cheerfully to the Bath - the purity of its waters delighted him - he remained a long while enjoying their freshness & breathing the odour an orange bough diffused which hung loosely above his head. He reached some of its fruit & wantoned with its leaves - then springing upon the margin of the Bath he adressed a short prayer to Alla & implored the prophet's inspirations. - Whilst he was thus employed his Father issued from the Chasm - & casting an eager look over the Vale hastened to embrace him with transport. - Abdoulrahman was loaded with a jar filled with a mixture of thrice clarified Honey - over which he had poured some Milk & a fragrant water distilled from Roses. - Reposing under the shade of an Orange grove [17] They drank long draughts of the cooling Liquor & eat the Rice talking all the while of ancient [ILLEGIBLE] times. Mehemed listened with infinite delight to the traditions of that happy period which was passed away & was interested beyond conception - by every circumstance of those days which were never to return. His youthful imagination embodied the House[?] of every tale & beheld transactions of former ages hovering like Visions before its sight. - Full of these pleasing ideas & conscious of the beauty & irrigularity of the Scene which encircled him - he recollected all the romantic stories of the Arabians that had so long aroused his fancy - & almost believed them realized. Surely said he to Abdoulrahman - we are in the Regions of enchantment - some talisman & not these rocks secures us from invasion - the boughs which spread over us have fairer blossoms than those to which I have been acostomed - these springs are purer than the rivulet which waters our pastures - & we eat the food of the Herd - this delicious mixture reminds one of one of Chez Zade's Histories where he mentions an aged Chinese Monarch - who [18] to avoid the [persecution] of his Enemies – [ILLEGIBLE] a delightful retirement like this secured by cabalistic skill with two golden Fountains perpetually flowing with milk - that congealing as it fell - afforded the most exquisite refreshment. - Abdoulrahman was far from discouraging the sports of his Son's fancy - he loved to see him [ILLEGIBLE] indulge its caprices Appearing then to admire the imagination of Chez Zades - he commended the ideas of the Cabbalist & said he should always think himself in a similar situation - when banquetting upon this while [ILLEGIBLE] in the secure Valley. - After much animated & lively conversation the Father led his Child to the extremity of the level space between the precipices & giving him a spade & some other tools - shewed him how to cover the bare surfaces of the Rocks with soil - & by conducting the rivulet down its sides - to extend the Bounds of cultivation. - Nor did he neglect to teach him to prune with jud[g]ment to [19] graft the fruit upon another - & to collect the ripe seeds from plants & flowers. - Let this [beautiful] art after the example of the first & happiest Ages be thy employment Mehemed & let not thy hours of repose pass idly away. - Dedicate those moments to the study of the Koran & fill thy mind with the sublime revelations of the prophet. I am going to place some jars of the food you have this morning partaken of in the shed by the Mosque. see also - it is spread with carpets - they are destined for yr Bed - Your Uncle & myself are called to Seville for several Days - during that time - the approach to this Valley - must be closed - Repine not at this Solitude - but improve my favourite retreat & store all perfect thyself in the sacred Volume which lies before thee. - Mehemed was not chagrined at his Fathers [intentions] - The Scene was as yet quite novel - & the idea of Solitude had not yet made any forcible impression.

[Continued in Part 4]


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