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WRITTEN ORIGINALLY FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT OF THE LADIES OB TAURIS,
AND NOW TRANSLATED.
— Ubi primus equis Oriens adflavit anhelis.
It is with the writings of mankind, in some measure, as with their complexions or their dress; each nation hath a peculiarity in all these, to distinguish it from the rest of the world.
The gravity of the Spaniard, and the levity of the Frenchman, are as evident in all their productions as in their persons themselves; and the style of my countrymen is as naturally strong and nervous, as that of an Arabian or Persian is rich and figurative.
There is an elegancy and wildness of thought which recommends all their compositions; and our geniuses are as much too cold for the entertainment of such sentiments, as our climate is for their fruits and spices. If any of these beauties are to be found in the following Eclogues, I hope my reader will consider them as an argument of their being original. I received them at the hands of a merchant, who had made it his business to enrich himself with the learning, as well as the silks and carpets, of the Persians. The little information I could gather concerning their author was, that his name was Abdallah, and that he was a native of Tauris.
It was in that city that he died of a distemper fatal in those parts, whilst he was engaged in celebrating the victories of his favorite monarch, the great Abbas.* As to the Eclogues themselves, they give a very just view of the miseries and inconveniences, as well as the felicities, that attend one of the finest countries in the East.
The time of writing them was probably in the beginning of Sha Sultan Hosseyn's reign, the successor of Sefi or Solyman the Second.
Whatever defects, as, I doubt not, there will be many, fall under the reader's observation, I hope his candor will incline him to make the following reflection:
That the works of Orientals contain many peculiarities, and that, through defect of language, few European translators can do them justice.
* In the Persian tongue, Abbas signiflefch " the father of the people."
ECLOGUE I. SELIM; OR, THE SHEPHERD'S MORAL.
Scene, A valley near Bagdat.
"Ye Persian maids, attend your poet's lays,
Thus Selim sung, by sacred Truth inspired;
When sweet and blushing, like a virgin bride, The radiant morn resumed her orient pride;
When wanton gales along the valleys play,
"Ye Persian dames," he said, "to you belong —
"Blest were the days when Wisdom held her reign, And shepherds sought her on the silent plain!
With Truth she wedded in the secret grove,
"Lost to our fields, for so the Fates ordain,
Thus sung the swain; and ancient legends say