THE AMOURS OF ZEOKINIZUL, KING OF THE KOFIRANS.
Translated from the Arabic of the famous Traveller Krinelbol.
With a Key.
London: Printed for G. Smith, near Temple-Bar. 1749. [Price One Shilling and Sixpence.]
The Bookseller, who has taken upon him to print this little Work, having absolutely insisted upon my introducing it with a Preface, I was unwilling to refuse him so easy a Matter; and the rather as the Omission might greatly prejudice it. He urged his Request, by saying, that a Preface was no less essential to a Book, than an Exordium to a Sermon. As few read the one, as listen to the other; however, if either be wanting, the Performance is defective, and, is not so much as thought worthy to be read in order to be censured. Nevertheless, what can be said with Regard to a useless Discourse? Why, really, I think, it is best to say nothing at all. This little Work places Truth in so just a Light, that no Characters are wanting to point it out. But perhaps, the real Truth may be amplified in it, and there may be Applications made of it as false as injurious. This is what ought strongly to be guarded against; and to this Purpose I sincerely declare, that I have intermix'd nothing of my own in the Amours of Zeokinizul: But, like a faithful Translator, I have constantly kept close to Krinelbol's Manuscript. I have related the Facts just as he himself says they were told him by the Kofiran Nobility. This sincere Protestation, is all that I can do, In order to remove any Suspicion of Interpolations. The Arabian Manuscript is still in my Possession, and if desired, shall be printed. But I own, with Concern, that it is quite beyond my Power, to procure such a Number of Types as will be requisite to give this Satisfaction; therefore, let those who are willing and equal to such an Expence, set the Printer to work. I promise to deliver him the Manuscript on Demand. I cannot help thinking, but that the Malice of the World is at its highest Pitch. Formerly People were overjoy'd at the Certainty of the Antipodes; and to hear that the Inhabitants of those Climates came nearest to us in Industry, and the Love of Arts and Sciences; and that the Sun approached to, and receded from them, as it does with Regard to us. In fine, that their Temperature, their Seasons, their Manners, and Inclinations, were the same as our own. Yet, in this my Endeavour to verify such a Resemblance, by Proofs extracted from their own History, demonstrating by notorious and certain Facts that they think and act just like ourselves, I shall be branded for an Imposture; or some, who affect to be more sharp-sighted, will suspect that under fictitious Names, I have represented Persons for whom my Heart is filled with the most respectful Sentiments. Let this suffice, as the shorter a Preface is the better it is liked.
THE AMOURS OF ZEOKINIZUL,
King of the Kofirans.
After all the Labours and Attention of our best Academicians to form just Plans, and draw complete Maps of the whole Terraqueous Globe, there are many large Empires and powerful Nations, which their Enquiries have not reached; so that they are not only ignorant of their Position, but even of their Existence. Of this Number are the vast Dominions of the King of the Kofirans, of which hitherto we have had not the least Idea; and which probably would ever have continued unknown to us had not an Arabic Manuscript of the famous Traveller Krinelbol luckily fallen into my Hands.
This illustrious Enquirer, of whom we have several Works, which ostentatious Translators, on Account of their Excellency, have published as their own, that he might not be misled by the various geographical Descriptions of the Globe, determined to ground his Knowledge upon his own Experience. With this rational View he left Arabia Felix, his native Country, and travelled all over both Asia and Africa. Always careful to take an accurate View of every Thing which was worth being seen or known, and making a judicious Collection of what was most remarkable in the Customs and History of the Countries which he visited. But a very small Part of his Collection has reached us. That we are so unhappy as to have only mutilated and unsatisfactory Fragments of an Author of such Veracity, and in such curious Matters, must be imputed to the want of Printing in most of the eastern Nations, and the Ignorance of this Traveller's Heirs.
An Acquaintance of mine, who is extremely fond of Travelling, thinking it would be a very acceptable Present, brought me these Sheets from Ispahan, where they cost him twelve Tomans, that is between twenty and thirty Pounds Sterling. I have translated it without either diminishing, augmenting, or altering it in any one Particular. Only, for the Reader's Convenience, I have expressed the Names of Posts and Dignities in our Language, which in the Original were in Arabic, keeping to it in the Appellations of Persons and Nations, out of regard to historical Exactness. I do not in the least claim any Thanks or Acknowledgements for my Trouble; the several Works of this Nature which I have published producing in me an habitual Pleasure of employing my Pen, for the Instruction and Entertainment of polite Readers.
Possibly the whole Universe could not afford a more tranquil, happy Kingdom than that of the Kofirans, would their Princes equitably sit down contented with the Honours and Prerogatives with which they were invested at their Institution, and not falsly imagine, that their Grandeur and Glory consist in the Oppression of their Subjects; and would they be watchful to entail the Harmony and due Subordination betwixt the several Orders in their Government. Whereas for several Centuries past, they have been labouring to erect an Arbitrary Power; and the two last have taken large Steps towards this execrable End.
Zeoteirizul, the First of the Two, was Son to the greatest King that ever govern'd the Kofirans. Being scarcely eight Years old when the Crown devolv'd to him by his Father's Death, his Mother seiz'd the Reins of Government. This Princess who was a Neitilene by Birth, was related to the King of Jerebi. Secret History relates that, prompted by her Ambition, she entered into a private Treaty with her Relation, her Husband's most inveterate Enemy, and contrived his Murder, which was unfortunately executed, to the great Loss and Grief of all true Kofirans. What aggravates the Guilt is, that this worthy Prince was stabb'd on the very Day of her Coronation, at a Juncture when he was giving this flagitious Wretch the highest Mark of his Affection.
No sooner was the Queen declared Regent of the Kingdom, but she bent all her Endeavours to establish her Power by protracting the King's Minority, as long as possible. She constantly amused the young Prince with Toys and Triffles; she kept him in such Awe that he trembled at her Appearance, and durst not refuse paying a blind Obedience to those whom she had placed near him. But so short-sighted is human Artifice, that what she imagined would be the Basis of her Power, was the very Thing which overthrew it. A crafty Mollak having insinuated himself into her Confidence, made Use of it to gain that of the young King; and being too sagacious a Politician not to foresee what he had to fear from this enraged Woman, if he left her any Degree of Power or Opportunity of hurting him, he compelled her to leave the Kingdom in a disgraceful Manner; and by this successful Boldness, he became Master of the young King, and the Depository of his Authority. His Pride, the general Vice of his Order, made him take a Pleasure in humbling the Nobility. He brought all Employments to depend upon the Court, and by this Means the Persons of Quality to court the Minister's Favour, which effectually exalted the Sovereign as much above them as he himself affected in all Things to appear beneath him.
This Management soon brought upon him the Hatred of the whole Nation; but notwithstanding such a declared and general Hatred, he was succeeded by another Mollak. He had the same Views as his Predecessor, tho' he acted on different Maxims. And the former having succeeded in reducing the first Order nearer the second, he was for bringing them both to an Equality, and raising the third to a Level with them, by making all Employments and Dignities venial; and, without any Regard to Merit, constantly bestowing them on the highest Bidder. Thus, as the same Posts and Honours were equally attainable by the Citizen and Gentleman, there was no material Distinction betwixt them. The Government which had flourished as Monarchical, was become an absolute Despotism. And whereas the King in all important Transactions, was dependant on the Assembly of the States, who were look'd upon as the Defenders and Interpreters of the Laws; both Laws and States were now only mere Phantoms, which he could raise or annihilate at his Pleasure. It is true, that this has made the King of the Kofirans the most powerful Monarch in the Universe; but perhaps, it also makes the People the most miserable; tho' an abject Veneration for their Kings will not permit them to own their Slavery, or lament their Grievances.
In order to the better Understanding of what I shall relate concerning this Monarchy, it will not be an useless Digression to say something of its Foundation, and gradual Increase to that Pitch of Glory to which it was raised by the King who proceeded Zeokinizul.
I am apt to believe, that when the divine Missionary offered up Paradise to Men, as the Reward of their Belief and Obedience, he drew his Idea from the Country of the Kofirans. The many Rivers which intermix their Streams, maintain a perpetual Verdure in the Meadows; the Soil produces all Sorts of Corn, useful Herbs and Fruits; and is so well cultivated, that there are no more Woods than are necessary for Fewel and other Uses. Its exquisite Wines, are little inferior to those of Ghinoer; if it has but few Gold or Silver Mines, the Defect is abundantly compensated by those of Iron, Copper, Tin, and the valuable Quarries of Porcelaine, which abound throughout almost all the Provinces of this delicious Kingdom. The Women are sprightly, witty, and chearful. The Men, brave, industrious, laborious and addicted to Learning. Its Situation is so very advantageous, that it is reckoned one of Nature's Master-pieces. Its steep and lofty Clefts towards the Sea, secure this charming Country from the Invasions of the King of the Island Alniob. Its Ports are numerous, but so well fortified, as to be of the greatest Advantage to the Kofirans. Another Side of this Country has inaccessible Mountains, as a Fence against the King of Jerebi, and the Kam of Vosaie. The River Nhir is its Barrier against the formidable Power of the Emperor of the Maregins. And, lastly, many Cities of almost impregnable Strength, seem to defy the Attacks of the Junes Provinces, and the Bapasis. Such is the Situation and Quality of the Kingdom of the Kofirans, being also blessed with a temperate Climate, and an healthful Air.
The People who are at present seated in this luxuriant Country, are not its original Possessors. The first Colony settled here after the Deluge, were so contented with the spontaneous Produce of its Fertility, that they forbore to cultivate and improve it. This Moderation which, since the Sin of Sultan Adam, has ceased to be a Virtue, so enervated their Courage, that they became slothful and timorous. The Manoris, tho' their own Country, wanted for nothing, envied the more fruitful Possessions of their Neighbours, and invaded them Sword in Hand. The Goilaus, who at that Time inhabited it, and whose Pleasures were heightened by Liberty, made some Efforts to preserve that valuable Blessing; but being not so vigorous as the Juncture required, they were unsuccessful, and the Consequence of their Inactivity was Slavery. After some Shews of Resistance, in which their Multitudes were easily defeated by an handful of Manoris, they underwent the Fate of several other Nations, whom this fierce People had reduced.
However, by an Intercourse with the Manoris, they became sensible of their wretched and disgraceful Condition. After they had been conquer'd, they learned the Art of War from their Conquerors; who, also in a short Time, declined from the Love of Glory, and a martial Spirit, that they were no longer formidable but by their Numbers. They grew intoxicated with Luxury, and run into Extremes opposite to their original Ferosity, so as to become more despicable than those they had conquered.
It was at this Time, that the Nodais, the Guernonies, the Duesois, and the Sokans issuing from the North of Africa, over-run their finest Provinces. A Body of these Barbarians fell upon the Territories of the Goilaus, and having forced them to share this delightful Country, settled themselves there under the Name of Kranfs. These new Conquerors were for some Time molested by the Manoris, but as Luxury had brought their flourishing Empire to Decay, the Kranfs forced them to desist, and remained in quiet Possession of the Goilaus:
I shall omit the first rude Ages, when these Conquerors train'd up to the Licentiousness of War, were under no Regulation or Law, and whose Towns, like those of other Nations, were only a confused Assemblage of Huts. It is true, that there were Kings among them from their first Settlement, but the Men thus dignified, were in Reality only Generals elected out of the Troops, and whose Prerogative was limited to Military Affairs. These Chiefs, whose Savageness was rather augmented by the Power with which they were invested, made no Scruple to dispatch a neighbouring Competitor with the Sword or Poison, and their History is full of unnatural Instances, of Brothers stabbing Brothers, Subjects poisoning their Sovereigns to usurp their dangerous Stations.
The Religion of Suesi, which the fifth of their Kings embraced, tho' its Maxims are far from countenancing Ambition and Murder, but entirely adapted to the Welfare of Society; yet have been so perverted by the Depravity of the Faquirs and the Imans, as to be alledged in Vindication of them, and have besides, set on Foot so many Cheats and Errors, that the holy Books, Bileb and Liegnelau in their Purity, as dictated by the divine Spirit to the Legislators, has been treated by them with Contempt, as mutilated and inconsistent. In Defence of their respective Notions, these People have engaged in furious Wars with each other, and out of a Zeal for Religion, have assassinated several of their Kings. The Times seem now more tranquil, and without any Apprehension of such shocking Crimes. Their Faith is very different from what it was, and the lower Sort of People, who alone adhere to the Tenets of Suesi, are entirely recovered from that stupid Obedience formerly paid to the Pepa, who, having made the World believe, that the Keys of Paradise were in his Hands, required an implicit Compliance with his Decrees, and be ready to second any Scheme of his Revenge or Ambition, with their Lives and Fortunes.
The Destruction of the Empire of the Kofirans, seems morally impossible in its present confirm'd State. It has hitherto withstood several violent Shocks from the Kings of Jerebi and Alniob, and the Emperor of the Maregins, who were all its professed Enemies. Especially the King of Alniob, who, taking Advantage of the Frenzy of one of its Sovereigns, made such a Progress, as to wrest the Sceptre out of his Hands; but the great Zokitarezoul, having compelled him to renounce even the very Title, has brought all the others into Subjection so as to acknowledge his Superiority over all the Sovereigns of Africa. It is to this illustrious Monarch, that the Kingdom of the Kofirans owes its unparalleled Riches and Grandeur. His Courage and good Fortune have reduced all his Enemies, his Liberality and Wisdom has established Commerce, his good Sense has civilized it, and his Successors must attribute the ardent Loyalty and Love of the Kofirans towards them, to the Plans and Labours of this Prince for the Happiness and Glory of his Subjects. After having driven from the Throne of Jerebi, a Family which had been an Enemy to his, placing one of his Grandsons on it, he died covered with Glory, and left the Crown to his great Grandson Zeokinizul, who is the particular Hero of this History.
This young Prince being the only Remains of a numerous Royal Family, was the Darling of the great Zokitarezoul, who apprehending that he might fall a Victim to the same untimely Fate which had laid so many of his Descendants in their Graves, was not wanting to secure him by all possible Precautions. Being persuaded, that the People loved him too well to suffer any Infractions of his last Disposals, he made a Will; in which he deprived the Kam of Anserol, his Nephew, whose Ambition he dreaded, of the Regency, in Favour of the Kam of Meani, his natural Son. The Kam of Anserol was highly exasperated at the Injury done him; but being the greatest Politician of his Time, he took Care that nothing should escape him at such a Crisis, which might increase the Suspicions, and consequently the Precautions of his Enemies. It was not till after the Death of Zokitarezoul, that he asserted his Claim. Attended by a Multitude of his Adherents, he went to the Pemenralt, which is a Phantom of the antient States. There feigning to submit his Destiny to the Arbitration of that illustrious Senate, he set forth, and urged his Claim with such a persuasive Eloquence, that the whole Assembly unanimously annulled a Will, which deprived him of an Honour that was his incontestable Right, and of a Trust for which he was unexceptionably qualified. This so enraged his Enemies, that they forged the vilest Scandals, in order to render him odious. They gave out, that after having poisoned the chief Persons of the royal Blood, his chief Aim was to take off his Pupil. Under pretence of such an Apprehension, they proposed that the Lady of the Bassa of Ourtavan should take care of the King, and taste of every kind of Food which was brought to his Table. And soon after they were not wanting to alarm the People with Reports, that his Victuals had been several Times poisoned. The great Men of the Kingdom, whose Abilities the Regent never consulted, as being himself equal to all the Difficulties of Government, enter'd into a League against him, under Pretence of Concern for Zeokinizul, whose Life they declar'd was in Danger. But the Kam of Anserol, who was too vigilant to be surprized, soon discovered the Plot, and having secur'd the Leaders, he quench'd the Rebellion in the Blood of its Contrivers.
He did not give himself the Trouble of verbally refuting the Calumnies, and Invectives, with which he was daily loaded, but took Care to disprove them by his Conduct. The publick Finances had been quite exhausted, during the last Years of the great Zokitarezoul, and he took upon himself to restore them. It is true, that his Scheme ruined some Families; but besides that their Number was but small, and their Ruin rather owing to their inconsiderate Greediness, such a desperate Distemper could not have been well removed by a softer Remedy.
No sooner was Zeokinizul of Age, but the Kam delivered up to him the Government of the Kingdom, which by his Care and Munificence, was the Abode of the polite Arts, of which he had declared himself the Protector. Nay more, he induced the young King to chuse himself a Consort; and thus he refuted the base Views which his Enemies had fathered on him.
Scarce was this important Affair finished, when the Kam of Anserol, as if this World could afford no Addition to his Glory, died suddenly, as he had always desired. His Enemies laid hold of this Circumstance, to revile him, even in his Grave. They spread a Report, that his Intention was to poison the King, by a Liquor which he was to drink along with him, but that by a fortunate Mistake of the Cups, he had fallen the Victim of his own Contrivance. The young King could not hear such atrocious Insults without Horror. He threatened the severest Punishments to any one who should dare to blacken the Character of this great Prince, and he himself never mentioned his Name but with Words of the highest Esteem, and the warmest Acknowledgment.
The joyful Kofirans promised themselves, from the hopeful Inclinations of Zeokinizul, a Reign no less happy than the preceding; but by a Fatality, not uncommon amongst them, the young Monarch was so fond of an old Mollak, formerly his Tutor, of a very insinuating but hypocritical Humility, that he entirely remitted to him the whole Management of his Kingdom. This old Wretch, whose predominate Passion was Avarice, loaded the People with Taxes. And as a War would not allow him to embezzle at will the public Treasures, he never would enter into one unless utterly impossible to be avoided. And then, with so much Niggardliness, and so little Conduct, that he became the Scorn both of the Generals and the Officers of State. Happy if he could have saved those vast Sums, or have expended them in a manner suitable to the Honour of the Prince, and the unbounded Zeal of his Subjects. But they were all in a short Time squandered away, among Foreigners, who made him their constant Dupe. Indeed, the best Schemes miscarried thro' his Sordidness, and yet with all these Faults, he maintain'd his Ascendency over the Prince, so that no Courtier dared utter any Complaint against him.
Zeokinizul, whose whole Life was devoted to his Consort and his Hunting, of both which he was equally fond, had only the Title and Pomp of a King, for the Mollak Jeflur had engrossed all the Authority, by which Means he aggrandized his Family, promoted and enriched his Creatures, and supplied the enormous Profusion of his Mistress the Princess of Ginarkan, Spouse to a Prince of the Blood of Vosaie.
His selfish Love of Peace, could not, however, hinder his being involved in an unavoidable War.
Sicidem, grand Kam of Katenos, among the Provinces of the Neitilanes, dying without Issue, the Emperor of the Maregins laid Claim to his Succession. This Prince was already too powerful for the King of the Kofirans not to oppose this Addition to his Greatness. And thus this ecclesiastical Statesman Jeflur, was brought under a Necessity of employing his Master's Troops, in order to deprive him of so rich an Inheritance. About this Time also, the Throne of Goplone, of which his Father-in-Law had been dispossess'd, became vacant, and Zeokinizul's Honour required, that he should lay hold of this Opportunity to restore him. After a fruitless Trial of all the peaceable Ways of Bribery and Negotiation to compass his End, the Mollak was at last oblig'd to order the Kofiran Troops to march. The first Body marched towards the Nhir, to oppose the Emperor of the Maregins, the second towards the Kingdom of Goplone, to impose upon them their former Sovereign, and the third hastened into the Provinces of the Neitilanes, to make sure of the Dominions of Sicidem.
As this War was carried on only in Zeokinizul's Name, and he did not personally act in it, I shall omit its various Events, in Order to come the sooner to what immediately relates to this young King. After the loss of two Battles, and a strong City taken by the Kofirans, the Emperor of the Maregins was very glad to accept of a Peace, upon such Conditions as were alone detrimental to his Allies. As a Satisfaction to Zeokinizul's Father-in-law for his Kingdom, which he relinquish'd to another, he was allowed to retain the Title of King, and was made actual Sovereign of the Province of Reinarol, which after his Death, was by the Treaty to be annexed to the Kingdom of the Kofirans, and the Kam in exchange for this Cession, was invested with the Dominions of Sicidem. Tho' this was an advantageous Peace to the Conquerors, yet it was very short of what they might reasonably have expected, or at least, if Zeokinizul was so moderate as to be contented with such small Matters, it behov'd his Minister to insist upon more important and honourable Terms. However, the Glory of his Arms, was the continual Topic to him; and this Prince by hearing of the Exploits of his Soldiers so frequently extoll'd, began to give Signs of a martial Disposition. His Genius now display'd itself, and instead of reigning ingloriously only by a Minister, he shewed, that he would be in all Respects the King. His Courtiers, who had always with Reluctance paid Obedience to the Order of the haughty Mollak, applauded this generous Resolution, while the crafty Jeflur had the Mortification to see, that his Ministry was going to be overturned, by the very Thing which he fancied would have prolonged it.
As this was a fatal Blow, so was he not wanting in his Endeavours to ward it off. Accordingly he set all his Springs at Work, nor minded the Guilt of any Measure if it had a promising Aspect. I question if an Instance of such an hellish Contrivance, and so detestable a Scandal, can be found in any History. A Man to whom a whole Kingdom had committed its only Hope, a Man who had been chosen to rectify and refine the Morals of its King, endeavours by all Means to corrupt them; and, as a Return for the vast Favours received from him, he draws him in to forfeit his Innocence, the Love of his Consort, and the Esteem of his Subjects.
Zeokinizul, as has been said, was passionately fond of the Queen his Spouse, which guarded him against those Irregularities which stain'd the Memory of the preceding Kings of the Kofirans. Yet these People being of a volatile and fickle Humour, could not think, that a settled Love afforded any Pleasure, and were continually wishing that their Sovereign would commence an Intrigue with some Court Beauty. This unbecoming Wish was pretended to proceed from a Regard for the Welfare and Glory of the Nation. What, says they, shall our King always be tutor'd by Mollaks? What signifies this Peace, which is only owing to the Weakness and Pusillanimity of this set of Men, for we are oppressed with Taxes as much as if we were engaged in a War with all the Powers of Africa? Why does not our King shew some Spirit, and give into an Intrigue? An ambitious Mistress would break these scandalous Fetters, and when he is once his own Master, instead of this enervating Idleness, he would soon find such Work for our Forces, as would enhance our Reputation, and enlarge his Dominions.
At this Rate the Kofirans used to talk, and Jeflur was no stranger to it. But a clearer Insight into human Nature, made him conclude, that tho' their Wishes were answered, it would be so far from producing the desired Effect, that he laid it down as a Certainty, that a new Amour would more and more indispose Zeokinizul to State Affairs, and he would quickly lay them aside as Embarasments, in order the more freely to indulge his Passion. With this View, so far from censuring this popular Desire, tho' it had neither Religion nor Laws on its Side, he bent all his Thoughts to accomplish it.
It was not any Beauty in the Queen which had attach'd her Consort to her. For tho' she had not been one third older than himself, there was nothing in her Face to strike the Affections of a Prince constantly encircled with numberless Beauties, and whose Love they would have accounted the highest Honour. The exact Return which he made to her Duty and Tenderness, entirely flowed from this Prince's generous and grateful Temper, and from his good and religious Heart. He had such a delicate Sense of conjugal Duty, that he never fail'd shewing his Displeasure to any Courtiers, who presumed to expatiate on the Charms of some Houris in his Capital, and once when Kigenpi, one of the Methers, or Lords of his Bed-Chamber began to talk to him of a Person of incomparable Beauty, he gave him no Answer, only asking him in a dry and scornful Manner, whether she was handsomer than the Queen?
This Coldness rendered it no easy Matter for the Mollak to alienate the Affections of Zeokinizul from the Queen. But what are Churchmen uncapable of? He changed his Measures, and determined to make the Queen an Instrument to remove from herself a Spouse who loved her most tenderly. He managed it in the following Manner.
This Princess being born in a Country where the Religion of Suesi is directed by the Pepa, who stiles himself the Sovereign Arbitrator of it, had imbibed a strong Prepossession for what in the Kingdom of the Kofirans is called Bigotry, or misplaced Devotion. The Customs and religious Notions of this Nation, which were more free and rational than in the Country of this Princess, had been a Constraint upon her Inclination, without lessening her mistaken Austerity. It was on this Side, that Jeflur spread his Snares. He placed near the Queen a Dervise, one of those sly finished Villains, who, being Masters of the execrable Art of giving Sin an Appearance of Sanctity, instruct the great ones, whose Favour they purchase at the most infamous Rate, how to Sin without Guilt. This Traytor perform'd his Commission according to Jeflur's Desire. He was continually fomenting in the Heart of his over pious Sovereign, the Excesses and fanatical Rants of his Order. He dwelt on the inconceiveable Sweetness of an Intimacy with Suesi, who was ever ready to communicate himself to such Souls as detach'd themselves from sensual Pleasures. He magnified the great Merit of Fastings, Prayers, and Austerities; and when he had rooted these Things in the Heart of his credulous Proselyte, he proceeded to declare to her, that Chastity was a Virtue absolutely necessary to merit the divine Favours; strongly insisting, that this Chastity must be so refined and abstracted, as not to be awed, or seduced by human Engagements. The unhappy Queen, misled by the pathetic Discourse, and the feigned Piety of the Dervise, greedily swallowed the Poison he was administring. She passed whole Days and Nights in Prayer, and the Austerities of a false Devotion, according to the Instructions of her infamous Director. Nor was it long, before she attain'd the Height of that superstitious Chastity which he required of her, and, imagining there was no stopping in a Course which was to end so gloriously, she formed a Resolution, in order to devote herself with the greater Fervour and Purity to the heavenly Bridegroom which had been promised her, to separate herself from the Embraces of a Spouse, to whom she was united by the most sacred Ties, and endeared by the tenderest Affection.
The young King who had been extremely uneasy for some Days at this misterious Behaviour, grew highly offended, when upon asking the Queen to comply with his Affection, he was repulsed, under the Pretence of imaginary Dispositions, from which she was known to be entirely free. However, so far from taking the Denial, it only made him more urgent; at which the Queen to free herself from what she call'd her Consort's Importunities, sent him Word, and confirm'd it herself, that an incurable Disorder had rendered her unfit for the conjugal Functions.
The Monarch was Thunderstruck at this. It threw him into such a Melancholy, that he kept his Chamber for three Days. Even Hunting, which had always been his favourite Diversion, seem'd to be banished from his Thoughts. He never appeared in the Drawing-Room, and the most distinguished Courtiers were oblig'd to put on a sorrowful Appearance whenever they approached him. Jeflur exulted at the Success of his Scheme. He brib'd one of the Lords of the Bed-Chamber, whom the King honoured with a particular Confidence, and having inform'd him what the Arrow was which had pierced the King's Heart, he made him large Promises if he could pluck it out.
Kelirieu, for so was this Lord called, readily embraced the Proposal, and sought for an Opportunity of being alone with his Master. Nor was he long without it. One Day as Zeokinizul was negligently leaning upon a Sopha, involv'd in melancholy Thoughts on the Alteration of his Spouse, the Lord came towards him, throwing himself at his Feet.
Permit, said he, a faithful Subject, to presume to enquire into the Secrets of your Highness. You know, Sire, my respectful Attachment to your august Person. You also know, that your Glory and Satisfaction are dearer to me than my very Life. Vouchsafe then, Sire, to disclose to me the Cause of that Sorrow which incessantly preys upon you. Let the Heart of a faithful Servant be the Depository of all your Disquietudes. Possibly Means may be discover'd to mitigate them.—Kelirieu, perceiving that his Discourse made no Impression upon the King, who indeed continued in the same Posture, without seeming to give the least Attention to it, proceeded thus. But, Sire, I see my Presumption offends you. I have lost the Confidence of my Sovereign. It is enough, let your Highness speak, and decide the Fate of a Subject, who is become hateful to himself, by being hateful to you.
The Firmness with which Kelirieu pronounced these last Words, roused the King from his Lethargy. No, my dear Friend, said he, raising him up, I still love you, and the only Reason why I do not impart my Sorrows to you, is, because they are without Remedy, and you would only have the Trouble of knowing them, without the Power of redressing them.—The Queen.—Ah! enquire no farther? I must either forfeit my everlasting Happiness, or lose the Esteem of my Subjects. But I am fully determined, there is no room for Hesitation, for I am unalterably fixed in my Choice. Withdraw, and leave me to strengthen my Resolutions.
Kelirieu insisted no farther, but hastened to acquaint the Mollak, that he had already search'd the King's Wound. And since, added he, I have drawn out of his Heart the fatal Secret which was lodg'd in it, I flatter myself, that in a short Time, I shall entirely complete the Cure. 'Tis a good Step, replied Jeflur, to have comforted Zeokinizul, but that is not enough. You must still induce him to bestow his Heart upon the Person I shall name to you. Carry but this Point, and I promise you a thousand Tomans as the first Token of my Acknowledgement.
The King, in the mean Time, felt some Relief from the Confidence which he had placed in Kelirieu. He looked for him all the Remainder of the Day. But this Artful Mediator found Means to avoid a private Meeting. Nor did he appear before his Master till after some Days, and the King was obliged to send for him, and demand his immediate Attendance. No sooner were they alone, but the King said, did I not tell you, my dear Kelirieu, that my Sufferings were past Remedy, and that you would only have the Grief of hearing them without having the Power of relieving them? Sire, interrupted the crafty Courtier, with a bashful Air, I know a Remedy, but I dare not mention it, and yet it is the only one practicable. Ah! said the King, eagerly embracing him, declare it, and tho' I should refuse to make use of it, yet I shall always acknowledge myself oblig'd to your Zeal for the Discovery. Sire, replied Kelirieu, one Woman is the Cause of your Highness's Melancholy, and another Woman must be the Remedy. How dost thou dare to offer me such infamous Advice, answer'd Zeokinizul in a Rage, when I have already told you, that I had rather perish than lose the Esteem of my Subjects? Must I, being the Interpreter, and Protector of the Laws, only make a Parade of my Prerogative, by licentiously violating them?
I beseech your Highness to hear me, replied Kelirieu, not in the least daunted at the King's Anger, I swear by your royal Head, that it was not my Intention to offend you. But a too precipitate Construction of my Advice has led you to resent it as base and criminal. But, Sire, can your Highness harbour a Suspicion that Kelirieu would offer to eclipse your Glory? No, Heaven is my Witness, that I would rather die a thousand Deaths. When I intimated to your Highness, that the Remedy of your Sorrows was too be found only in the Conversation of Women, I meant no other than what the Laws both human and divine admit of. And that as Solitude only serves to augment your Grief, the entertaining Wit and Sprightliness of the Fair Sex, in their Conversations, was the only Antidote against your growing Affliction, in which a whole Nation participates.
There may be Danger in such a Step, replied the King, when once a Woman has charmed the Mind, she soon makes her Way to the Heart, and since the Queen has been pleased to return me mine, which I had so affectionately given her, I will be always upon my Guard to keep it free and insensible.
And at the same Time he changed the Discourse, and soon after dismissed his Confident, who was impatient till he had related his Progress to Jeflur. The Mollak, embracing him a thousand Times, cried, thy Services are inestimable, neither shall I be ungrateful. Liamil, Wife to the Bassa of the same Name, is she whom you are to propose to Zeokinizul. Kelirieu could not conceal his Surprise at her Name.
How, says he to the Minister, can you conceive that he is to be captivated by a Person of her Age? Would your Holiness but reflect on the Nature of Zeokinizul's Scruples. It must be some enchanting Beauty which can transport him to commit an Infidelity which he accounts no small Crime. And you are for seducing him by Liamil, who has as few Charms as any Court Lady, and who, besides, is under conjugal Engagements. How shocking will the Idea of this complicated Guilt appear to the Prince, who cannot bear the Thoughts of a single Infidelity? Ah! learned Mollak, you require of me what is beyond my Power, and out of the Course of Nature. Furnish me with a proper Instrument, let the Person to be recommended be young, gay, handsome, and artful, and then I will be answerable for the Success.
Surely you must be very little acquainted with Zeokinizul, interrupted the Minister, is it not apparent that this Prince, who has been used to an antiquated Beauty, and was so excessively fond of her, will think nothing lovely but as it resembles his Spouse? Besides, he will have no Time to attend to the Suggestions of his Scruples. And Liamil's small Share of Beauty will prevent any Mistrust in him. I rely more upon her Wit than on her personal Charms, in which she has few Equals, and that is the Talent by which I suppose she shall commence the Intrigue; Opportunity will forward it. Besides, do you think that I am so blind to mine own Interest, as to provide Zeokinizul with a young ambitious Mistress, who will be for monopolizing the royal Favour, and never be satisfied till she has grasp'd the Disposal of all Offices and Honours? No, no, my dear Kelirieu, Liamil is the Woman for the King, 'tis she whom you must bring him to like, if you value my Friendship, and whose Friendship can equal mine? Any other than she would give me too much Umbrage for me to bear with it long. There is a Bill for a Thousand Tomans, go and receive them at the Treasury. A thousand more shall recompense your Success.
Jeflur was quite void of true Liberality, but this Matter concerned him too nearly to lose such a dexterous Manager, who had taken it into his Hands, by an unseasonable Parsimony. Kelirieu appear'd the next Day at the King's Levee, who took him into his Closet, and renewing their last Conversation; what a feeble Remedy, says he, do you propose for my violent Agitations! Such Sufferings as mine require something more than Words. I know a Person, replied Kelirieu, whose Conversation is so charming, that I am sure your Highness upon a Tryal, will be so delighted with it, that it would recover your former Chearfulness. The King seeming to question it, the Lord flew away to the Queen's Apartment, to tell Liamil, that the King had sent for her.
Liamil, full of Joy, as having already been instructed, made no less Haste thither. But how was she surprised and mortified, when Zeokinizul, having ask'd her what she wanted, view'd her for some Time without speaking a Word more. Tho' she was prepared to act her Part, she could not forbear blushing, tho' more out of Spite than Bashfulness. And as she could not presume to speak first, after staying about a Quarter of an Hour in the Apartment, she made a low Courtesy, and withdrew, full of Confusion and Rancour.
The Mollak, who was waiting for her Return, used his utmost to appease her. Believe me, says he to her, Zeokinizul is smitten, only allow him Time to get the better of some troublesome Scruples, and every Thing will be according to our Desires. And indeed, she was scarce out of Sight, but Zeokinizul was sorry for the cold Reception he had given her. He blamed himself for his Incivility; and, to make her some Amends, he went to the Queen's Apartment. Now was the critical Instant, the decisive Moment for this Princess. Could she have suspended her excessive Devotion to receive the King her Husband in a becoming Manner, there had been an End of all Jeflur's Schemes, and Kelirieu's thousand Tomans had been saved to the Treasury; but her sending him Word, that she begg'd his Highness would suffer her to finish her Devotion before she waited on him, gave him Time enough to talk to Liamil, who did not fail of exerting all her Talents, which charm'd the King to that Degree, that he thought Kelirieu had not exceeded in his high Enconiums, the Wit and agreeable Qualities of this Lady. And under Pretence of being extremely taken with her Conversation, he desired her Company in his Closet that very Evening.
Jeflur's Exultations at hearing this News from Liamil, were beyond all Description. He made her repeat the Oath, which she had at first swore, never to require the Rights of the Favorite Sultana, but be satisfied with the Honours of the Handkerchief. He drew her a Plan for her Rule of Life, regulated her Behaviour to the Queen, and instructed her in the King's Temper. In fine, he imitated the fond Mother, who, upon her Daughters being soon to be delivered up to a Bridegroom, prepares her for the Conflict, represents to her the Pleasures and Sorrows attendant on the Marriage State, and instructs her how to heighten the one, and alleviate the other. When he came to be alone, he applauded his happy Choice, and really he never could have met with a Person so fit for the Purpose, nor who would have submitted to his Directions with less Ambition, and more Pliantness and Punctuality.
Besides, her singular Wit, Liamil had a Serenity of Temper which excited Love, though she was in her thirty sixth Year. The Minister before this, was under no Apprehension that she would fail in her Aim at Zeokinizul's Heart. The artificial Charms with which she concealed the Loss, or want of natural ones, the exquisite Neatness and Elegancy of her Dress, with the Gracefulness of her Deportment, rendered the Conquest certain. Besides, it was no Novelty for a Kofiran King to keep a Mistress older than himself, and some have been even known to retain the Affections from Father to Son, to the third Generation.
Liamil did not fail to keep so promising an Appointment. She found Zeokinizul expecting her, and tho' this Prince had prepared himself to see her, he was as much disordered at the Sight of her, as he had been in the Morning. Liamil was oblig'd to furnish Talk, for Zeokinizul went no further than a reserv'd Complaisance; and after being a full Hour by themselves, upon the Prince's signifying that he would be alone, she left him, having only receiv'd eight or ten Answers, and those rather civil than gallant. Who can conceive the Anguish of Liamil, when she return'd to Jeflur? Wretch that I am, cried she, throwing herself upon a Sopha, here her Sighs stopp'd her Voice, that she could not proceed. Jeflur was struck with Amazement, and knew not what to think of such Emotions. He dried her Tears, he inlarged his Promises, and particularly vowed he would make her rich Amends for the Vexation she suffered on his Account. Let me alone, said she, at last, was it not enough to make me marry a Man whom I hate, but must you also draw me to love one who slights me? Yes, the King, with whose Love you flatter'd me, slights me; I am come directly from his Closet, where I was with him above an Hour; and so far from making Love to me, that he did not say the least soft Thing. Is not this Coldness? Is not this slighting? Is this all that raises such a Storm in this poor Bosom, replied Jeflur? Did not I forewarn you, that Zeokinizul's deep Sense of his Duty, would make him be greatly upon the Reserve with you? And that you would think him insensible, tho' he was only immerst in Thought? Why did not you intice him? Come, come, be easy, I will engage to procure you another private Meeting; but take Care not to act the Prude again so unseasonably. Ply him with every alluring Art, and even make Use of a fond Violence to make him yield. He is not to be treated like common Lovers. These Injunctions cannot be disagreeable to you. Zeokinizul is perfectly handsome, and in the Prime of Life. You love him, and therefore must leave no Means untry'd to secure his.
Liamil relish'd this judicious Lesson, and impatiently waited the Performance of Jeflur's Promise; and being resolv'd to make the utmost Efforts to seduce Zeokinizul, she promised herself, that at the next Meeting she should beat down all Resistance, and allure the King to gratify her Desires. Kelirieu soon brought it about, for the King seeing nothing dangerous to his Freedom in Liamil, was easily prevailed upon by the Entreaties of his Confident, to admit of another Visit from her. Accordingly he sent her a Message to come in the Evening to a certain Chamber in the Palace. It is easy to conceive how welcome this Message was to her. She was there some Time before the King appeared. The Apartment had but a dim Light; however, this rather favoured than prejudiced Liamil, as her Wit was to kindle the first Desires in Zeokinizul. Their Conversation must however, remain a Secret, as neither of them has reveal'd it to any one. What is certain, and also more important, is, that Liamil so charm'd the King by her lively Flights of Wit, heightened by an expressive Air, that he heard her with more Pleasure than he had imagined, that the Inticements of this Woman were too strong for his Virtue, and that at last, she gradually drew him to a Couch, where he gave her the Pledges of his Love, satisfied her longing Desires, and completed the Mollak's Stratagem.
This first Step, at once put an End to all the King's Remorse and Disquietude. He repeated several Times the Pleasure which his experienced Mistress enhanced in such a Manner as his devout Consort was a Stranger to, and at last left this fatal Chamber in such a Temper as Jeflur and Kelirieu had been contriving; that is, passionately in Love. Their Meetings were for some Times a Secret, but Passion soon grew too vehement to be concealed. It became the common Talk of the Courtiers, and at last it reached the Queen's Ear. But she, instead of endeavouring to reclaim her Spouse by an endearing Carriage, and the Ascendency which she had over him, gave herself up to a fruitless Lamentation for his Misfortune, at the Feet of an Image of Suesi, and this unseasonable Devotion deprived her of all Hopes of ever regaining her Consort's Heart. Liamil's Husband took upon him to resent his Wife's Infidelity, upon which he receiv'd an Order never to have any Commerce with her. Her Father, who was one of the most eminent Bassas in the Kingdom, began also to exclaim against it; but a Quantity of Tomans which he greatly wanted, effectually silenced him. Even Jeflur himself, in order to avoid Suspicion, openly censured the King's Behaviour. The Monarch was offended at his Representations on so delicate a Point, and sharply said, I have indeed made you Master of my Kingdom, but I expect to be Master of myself. This Answer completed the Mollak's Design, and he took Care that it should not be lost to the People. The general Displeasure which it gave, is hardly to be imagined. The King's Amour, which had been so greatly desired, appearing to settle Jeflur's Power, was look'd upon in a very different Light. It was look'd upon as an odious Adultery, an impious Commerce, which would pull down divine Vengeance upon the Kingdom. Satires and Lampoons flew about every where, in which both Lover and Mistress were so openly exposed, that any one who was a Stranger to their Fickleness, and how suddenly they pass from one Extreme to the other, would have been apprehensive that the most dangerous Commotions were at hand. However, Zeokinizul was so charmed with Liamil, that he was continually with her. He pitched upon the House of an old Bassa of the first Rank, for the more peaceable and secure Enjoyment of the Delights of his new Mistress. All the Inventions of the most refined Luxury, were employed to add new Incentives to Wantonness. The House seemed the very Residence of Love and Delight. Every Thing in it declar'd the Elegance of the Mistress, and the Magnificence of the Lover. Each succeeding Day brought with it the most ravishing Scenes, without any Alarm or Disturbance. The old Bassa and his Family saw no more than the Prologue, only some few Spectators of approved Discretion and Secrecy, were admitted to be present at the Plot of the Play, but for the Conclusion, it was privately transacted between the two chief Actors.
It is a Saying of a great Kofiran Poet, that Virtue is like a steep Island, there is no setting Foot on it again when once one is out of it. Zeokinizul was a sad Instance of this. In the midst of these delightful Meetings, which consisted entirely of Confidence, Liamil obtain'd Leave for one of her Sisters to be admitted. Imprudent Creature! not to see that after she herself had stifled all Remorse in her Lover's Heart, their being so nearly related would not be Proof against Love, nor hinder her from becoming her Rival. This Lady, who could not boast of more Beauty than her Sister, surpass'd her even in Wit, and was possess'd of all the Arts and Qualities requisite in a Favourite. She was as enterprizing as Liamil was moderate; of unbounded Ambition, haughty, revengeful, entirely bent on her own Interest, and aiming at royal Favour only for its Advantages, such was Leutinemil. She no sooner perceiv'd how easy it would be to supplant her Sister, but she formed the Design, and Zeokinizul who began to be pall'd with the long Enjoyment of so indifferent a Mistress, was easily inclin'd to vary the Object of his Love. He therefore commenced an Amour with Leutinemil, but however, was far from discarding her Sister, his View being only to sharpen his Appetite with Novelty, in order to return with the greater Gust to his first Entertainment. Love is well known to pay no Regard to the Tyes of Nature; Liamil was so exasperated at Leutinemil's being her Rival, that she forgot she was her Sister. She hastened to inform Jeflur, and to engage him to revenge her Quarrel. The Mollak was thunderstruck at this News, for such an Alteration in the King had shipwreck'd all his Hopes. His two thousand Tomans were lost, and he seem'd on the Brink of his Ruin. In this Extremity he had Recourse to Kelirieu.
But it was no longer this Courtier's Interest to serve him. The two thousand Tomans were all he could get of the vast Riches which had been promised him, and as Liamil had shewn but little Concern for her Friends, he sided with her Sister, who was like to prove a powerful Benefactress to her Creatures. So that all the soothing Speeches of the Mollak made no Impression on him, neither was Jeflur greatly concerned at it; for, being long practised in Wickedness, he had already discovered a Way to remove his Fears, without hazarding his Tomans. Endeavour, says he to Liamil, to preserve those Remains of Favour which the King still has for you. Be blind to those Fondnesses which so deeply affect you; let not your Sister's Rivalship alarm you: I will soon bring it to an End. Flatter Zeokinizul; I know him, Fondness and Complaisance are the only Means to preserve his Heart.
Pursuant to these Instructions of Jeflur, Liamil so far from troubling the King with Complaints, was more eager in her Caresses, and the Prince overjoyed to Love and be beloved by two such easy and unsuspecting Rivals, carried on with both of them an Amour, whose Guilt seemed to make it the more delightful. Leutinemil became with Child, and as she protested that her Husband had no Share in her Pregnancy, it must be attributed to Zeokinizul. Jeflur was not at all disturbed at it, he was only affraid of the Mother, and here was a favourable Opportunity to dispatch her.
She went her Time very happily, and was safely delivered. Zeokinizul paid her his Compliments in the most tender Terms; but a few Days changed all this Joy into the deepest Sorrow. She was seiz'd with violent Pains in her Breast, which were followed with such terrible Convulsions, as, in a few Hours proved the Death of this unfortunate Mother; nor could the Physicians, or at least they would not, declare the real Cause of it. Zeokinizul was so afflicted at this unexpected Loss, that he intermitted every Pleasure and Diversion. Liamil seemed to indulge an excessive Grief on a double Account, and so artfully concealed her Joy for her Rival's Death, that the compassionate King dismist his Sorrows to put an End to hers. This Shew of Sympathy and Tenderness in Liamil, imposed on many, and reunited Zeokinizul to her with more Fondness and Attachment than ever.
Though he had a very important War upon his Hands, it did not divert him from the Gratifications of Love; he left the entire Management of every Thing to the Mollak Jeflur. The Welfare of his Troops and Glory of his Arms were to depend on Generals of the Minister's Appointment, whose Weakness and sordid Parsimony, occasioned several very ignominious Miscarriages to the Kofirans. Zeokinizul had such a paternal Love for his People, that the Loss of a hundred thousand brave Soldiers, and above seven Millions of Tomans would have greatly afflicted him, had his Passion for Liamil left him any Freedom of Thought, but in her Company, he was insensible to every other Concern. The disinterested Fondness of this Favourite, who only loved the Lover in the King, must have made her the happiest that ever was, if relying less on her Merit, or warned by a recent Experience, she had guarded against some of her own Sex, whom she must think envied her Elevation, and watch'd her Ruin; but as an illusory Conceit that a Passion which had subsisted for many Years, would never be extinguished, brought her into the very Misfortune from which Leutinemil's Death had delivered her.
She had three Sisters still remaining, who all longed impatiently to show themselves to their Sovereign, though they were none of Nature's Master-pieces. Coquetry and something worse had always been hereditary in this Family, who yet seem to have bewitch'd Zeokinizul. The eldest of these three Sisters, was the Widow of a Bassa of the second Rank, she expected the Precedence as being a little more sprightly than the others; and full of a high Conceit of her Desert, she depended on keeping her Station long enough to put the others out of all Hopes. She had a great deal of Leutinemil's Temper, only still more Ambition. There had formerly been a very close Intimacy betwixt her and Kelirieu, and it is thought, that he espoused her Interests as much through Gratitude, as Envy and Revenge to displace Liamil.
Her continued Familiarity with Zeokinizul, had worn away even that little Modesty which the most abandoned Prostitutes are seen to retain; and having been long in Possession of his Spouse's Rights, she came to look upon herself as such; and made no Scruple of seeing Company when she was just coming from her Lover's Arms, and her Face full of the Marks of his eager Caresses. I have been assured by several Noblemen, that one Day she threw herself out of an Arbour, under Pretence of avoiding Zeokinizul's Embraces with her bare Breast and loose Hair, and said to them, very unconcernedly, for God's Sake see how this Fornicator has handled me. She had now lost all Relish for these delightful Parties of Pleasure, whilst they were to be in private, and was continually importuning her Lover to chuse a Set of Associates. Kelirieu, to compass his own Aim, seconded the Favorite's Desire with such flattering Stories, that his Master recommended to him the Care of finding out some Persons of both Sexes who were fit to bear a Part in these Festivals of Bacchus, and the Cytherean Deity. The Confident laid hold of this Opportunity at length, to gratify Lenertoula's Impatience to be introduced to the King. Her Sister Liamil, who had entertained no Suspicion at her Punctuality in shewing herself at Court, was as easy with Regard to her being admitted as one of the Guests. But Zeokinizul was not so indifferent about her, for he fell violently in Love with her at her first Appearance. Lenertoula observed him very attentively, and artfully avoided any Steps which might give him Reason to conclude, that she was his own. The Monarch was caught in the Snare, and when she perceived the Force of his Love was equal to her Wish, she declar'd to him the Conditions on which alone she would yield herself up to his Embraces. Zeokinizul could refuse her nothing. Rank, Titles, Riches, all was laid at her Feet; and Lenertoula being now in no Danger of Disappointments, or at least in a Condition to support them, was under no Apprehension of her Intrigues becoming publick.
This second Act of Perfidiousness in her Sisters, fill'd Liamil with Rage. As she had imagined the King's Heart to be her Property by right of Prescription, she bitterly reproach'd him for his Inconstancy. But her Reign was over, for Zeokinizul dismissed her coldly, without so much as even debating the Matter with her, and within a few Hours, he notified to her by one of his Eunuchs, that she should immediately leave the Court. This was a Step of Lenertoula's Policy. This new Favourite, fearing lest her Sister, than whom none better knew the King's Temper, might lay hold of one of his soft Moments, when he could refuse nothing, to recover her Property. She objected some religious Scruples which could not be satisfied but by removing Liamil. This unfortunate Creature, who, after so long a Continuance in so high Favour, had nothing left but the Sorrow for losing it, and the Shame of having purchased it at the Price of her Honour, retired into a Mosque, where she is said to have spent the Remainder of her Life in penitential Devotions. I must, for my Part, be of Opinion, that her Grief was much greater for the Loss of her Lover, than for having ever enjoy'd him. However, tho' she had lost Zeokinizul's Love, she felt his Generosity; for he order'd all her Debts to be discharg'd, and settled on her a very large Annuity. Lenertoula was so fully satisfied by such evident Proofs of her Sovereign's Love, that she now consented to make him happy. The Monarch's Desires were heightened by Enjoyment, which was recompenced with the Power of disposing, according to her Fancy, Titles, Posts, and Monies; so that she greatly exceeded all her Predecessors in an unbounded Authority. Jeflur was now no longer in a Condition to contrive her Fall, as he had that of Leutinemil. He was too much shock'd at the Sight of his approaching End; for a few Days more were to terminate his Greatness. He employed them in salutary Counsels to his Master in Relation to the Government of his Dominions. Yet he persisted in his Perfidy and Ingratitude towards his best Friends, even till his last Moments, by alienating the King from a Mollak, whom he had often promised to recommend for his Successor. This old Minister died unlamented by all but the King, who being ignorant of his Incapacity and Mismanagement, especially in the last three Years of his Life, shewed a sincere Sorrow for him, and ordered a stately Monument to be erected to his Memory, in the royal Mosque of the Capital of the Kingdom. But when after having declared, that he would admit of no prime Minister, and began to govern himself, he plainly saw how unworthy Jeflur had been of the great Trust reposed in him, he no longer lamented him; but not to carry his Resentment too far, he only countermanded his Orders for the Monument, and left the Ashes of his ignorant and treacherous Visier, to remain in the obscure Corner where they had been deposited.
The Death of his Minister soon changed the Face of the whole Court. Zeokinizul, who hitherto could not bear the least Application to Business, now regularly shut himself up every Day for some Hours, in order to consult Means to repair the Losses of the Nation, and retrieve its Strength and Character. Now all Remembrance of its many disheartening Miscarriages was soon lost in the Glory of his Conquests. The chief Motive of this War, was to lessen the vast Acquisitions of the Emperor of the Maregins. His Daughter the Queen of Ghinoer, who was an aspiring, lofty, and resolute Princess, in contempt of the many Treaties made to prevent it, insisted that her Sex did not exclude her from inheriting all her Father's Dominions. Besides, an Army of tried Veterans which had served the late Emperor with so much Honour, her heroic Courage, together with her extraordinary Beauty so universally engaged the Hearts of her Subjects, that to a Man they offered to inlist and support her Claim at all Events. Zeokinizul, very well knew, that the Efforts of his whole Power would be requisite to humble such a formidable Enemy; yet, had he not exerted himself above common Measures, all would have been feeble and insufficient, on Account of the Emptyness of the Treasury, the Decay of Trade, the Scarcity of Men, and the Discontent of the People. To regain the Esteem of the Kofirans, whom his Indolence, and the weak and wicked Ministration of Jeflur had alienated, he caused it to be declared, that he was resolved to head his Army in Person: Surprising Turn, fortunate Instance of the Easiness and Loyalty of his Subjects. All the King's Deviations, though of such bad Consequences, were instantly forgotten. He had now been on the Throne near thirty Years, yet they made this generous Change the AEra of his Inauguration. Not a Murmur was heard, there was no longer any Appearance, at least any Complaint of Distress. Old Noblemen came with Pride from the farthest Provinces, to place their Sons in their Sovereign's Houshold Troops. Farmers freely parted from their lusty Children, though the helpful Companions of their Labours, and a part of their last Farewel, was to fight manfully in the Presence of their King, who so nobly would share in the Danger, for the Honour of the Nation. In fine, Zeokinizul's Amours, which had so greatly disgusted the Kofirans, because they had been disappointed in the Effect they wish'd and expected from them, were indifferent Matters to them, now he manifested a Genius for Glory; instead of Ridicule and Invective about his Irregularities, War was all the Subject of Discourse, and every one according to the Fertility of his Invention, laid magnificent Schemes to raise their King to an unparallell'd Glory. This general Complacency and Zeal were duly reported to the King, who was not wanting to encourage so good a Disposition; prompted by the Importance of answering their endearing Idea of him, and verifying their Wishes, he shewed himself such as really he was, but hitherto restrained and seduced by his crafty Visier. Yet amidst these mighty Affairs, he was not totally diverted from Love; for it never was held to be incompatible with the Desire of Glory, and he always allotted his Time so properly, that neither of these Passions encroached upon the other. His Fondness for Lenertoula did not slacken his Pursuit of Glory, it rather tended to animate and increase it, she being exorbitantly ambitious, and esteeming her Lover's Laurels her own; upon a Persuasion that her Grandeur would increase with the King's Power; then her Pride could not bear the Thought that the Queen of Ghinoer and her Allies should prescribe Laws to a Prince, whom she would have under no Controul but her own.
The Magazines being at last formed, the Plan for the Campaign determined, and the Troops at the general Rendezvous, Zeokinizul set out for the Army, which was to act against the Bapasis. Never did a saved People shew greater Marks of Gratitude to a brave Father of his Country at his Return from a dangerous War, than were shewn by the affectionate Kofirans to Zeokinizul, wherever he came. Lenertoula's accompanying him to the Army, seemed not to be minded. The King, the King, was the Cry, and they would see nothing but the King.
This Ardour induced the King unalterably to persevere in his Resolution of committing the Welfare of so loyal a People to none but himself, and during the Remainder of his Reign, whenever he has been advised to ease himself of the Fatigue of Government, by deputing some faithful and able Minister, this has always been his generous Answer, "The Kofirans Love me so as to shed their Blood in my Cause, and they are so dear to me, that I cannot do less in Return than to watch myself over their Welfare." There was not, among all the Generals of the Age, one of more Bravery and Experience than he whom Zeokinizul had appointed to serve under him. Tho' he was a Foreigner, he was not the less belov'd by the Kofirans; for as he was perfectly acquainted with their Customs and Temper, he modell'd his Behaviour accordingly. This great Man was famous for Military Qualifications, only, if so noble an Excess may be term'd a Fault, he was perhaps too brave. But this Intrepidity, which in any other Country would have hindered his Preferment, promoted it among the Kofirans, and raised his Character with that People, who are all Fire and Spirit. His Name was Vameric. He has been reproached with interrupting the Actions of this Campaign, which was not so glorious as its Opening had promised. It is certain, that this General, to make Zeokinizul more in Love with War, and to animate him by great Successes, had weakened the other Armies, the better to enable that under his Command to perform some signal Exploits, which gave the Enemy an Opportunity to make an unexpected Irruption. A strong Army of the Queen of Ghinoer, forced the Passes of the Nhir, and penetrated into a Province of the Kofirans. This Misfortune stopp'd Zeokinizul in the midst of his rapid Conquests. He chose about twenty eight, or thirty thousand of his best Troops, which he would lead in Person, to reinforce a small Number, who, being far inferior to the Enemy, had been obliged to shelter themselves under a Fortress. To encourage these brave Men in their long and painful Marches, he travelled at their Rate; but he had no sooner reached a Town near the Place appointed for the Junction of his Forces, when he was seized with a Distemper which had a fatal Appearance.
Lenertoula, who never would leave the Prince, was the Cause of it; for how contrary to all Reason is it to attribute it to the Fatigue of the March, Zeokinizul having been inured to much greater in his continual Huntings. As all the Courtiers in this Kingdom are Officers, and as the Expedition these thirty thousand Soldiers were upon, required all their Precaution and Activity, none but the Favourite was left for the Monarch to divert himself with. But Conversation between two Lovers, who are continually together, would soon become insipid, if they confined themselves to common Topics. These Lovers were not so Phlegmatic, they ardently repeated their Protestations to love each other with an eternal Constancy. They mutually urged that the present Vehemence of their Passions, was a Pledge of its unalterable Permanency. Then they proceeded to sensible Proofs, and demonstrated, that the Conjunction of two Bodies is an Emblem of the inseperable Union of two Souls. With mutual Ardour, they repeated the Demonstration; till at last the Demonstrator quite spent, sunk under the Fatigue of the Arguments. In this Manner Zeokinizul and Lenertoula amused themselves, when he was informed of the Barbarity with which his Enemies carried on the War in his Country, at which he was deeply affected. The Impossibility of quickly meeting them, made him very impatient; the Account of their Forces added to this Uneasiness; in fine, Joy, Grief, Hope and Fear, distracted his Heart, and the Shock of such opposite Motions was too strong for his attenuated Body. A violent Disorder seiz'd upon his whole Constitution, which was succeeded by such a Fever, whose first Symptoms seem'd to presage Death.
This melancholy News was soon spread over the whole Kingdom. The Kofirans seem'd quite stupified at it; they fell into an inexpressible Grief and Consternation at the Thoughts of losing such a Sovereign, and at such a Juncture. The Queen, who by this Time had seen her Folly, and heartily repented of the superstitious Credulity, by which she had lost the Embraces of a real Husband in seeking those of an imaginary one, left her Palace, and, prompted by Grief and Love, flew to the sick King. She was still in Hopes, that the Deity meant only to alarm the Nation; and therefore she was for forwarding by her Presence, and deserving by her kind Offices, the happy Return of his Affection, which she did not doubt would be the Effect of this Correction. All the People used to gather about the Governor of Kofir's House, and flock to the Palace, where Expresses arriv'd every Hour, shewing such Concern, that their Fate seem'd to depend on the Death or Recovery of Zeokinizul. Never was there such an universal Affliction; never was a Father more lamented by affectionate Children. They looked at each other with Tears in their Eyes, and could not speak for sighing. Paleness and Dejection sat on every Countenance. The Artificers had no Heart to work. All Diversions and Shews were suspended, and that vast and splendid City, which seemed the Center of Gaiety and Pleasure, was now changed into a general Scene of Silence and Melancholy. Yet it was observed, that the Imans and Dervises did not in the least sympathize with this publick Consternation. Some will be apt to imagine, that these pious Men had a divine Intimation that the King would not die. But whoever knows them, will much rather conclude, that, like Physicians who are never better pleased than in Times of general Sickness, they only concealed a selfish Joy under the Mask of an affected Calmness; and it is really scarce credible what Advantage they drew from this public Calamity. The King, being given over by the Physicians, seemed to be lost without miraculous Relief from Heaven, and as the meanest of his Subjects was not wanting in his Endeavours to procure it, so that Sesems, which in that Country are Devotions of about a Quarter of an Hour, perform'd by the Imans, are known to have risen to such an Extortion, as not to be said under two Tomans each.
During the first Days of his Illness, Lenertoula never left the royal Patient's Bed, who also protested, that Death had nothing bitter to him, but the leaving his Mistress and his Subjects. But no sooner was the Monarch sensible of his desperate Condition, than a Cloud of awful Ideas broke in upon his Mind. The Principles he had imbibed by Education, revived in his Conscience. He reflected on all his Conduct to the present Time, and the Thoughts of his being on the Point of passing into another Life, impress'd on him strongly the Conditions on which his Religion offers eternal Happiness. All Kelirieu's Care to conceal these penitential Dispositions, could not hinder their being known among the Courtiers. The Kam Kertras, Grandson to the Kam of Anserol, late Regent, at the Instance of his Father, who was a very religious Prince, resolv'd to make Use of them, in order to restore the Queen to her Rights, and deprive the wicked Lenertoula of her Usurpations. Taking with him a Mollak, equally venerable for his Birth and Piety, he went to the sick King's Apartment. Kelirieu knowing how much it concerned both him and her whom he served to hinder this Visit, dared to refuse them Admittance, under Pretence that the King was going to sleep, and would see no Body. Although the Kam and the Mollak plainly saw through the Deceit, yet Regard to the melancholy Juncture, made them quietly withdraw, in Hopes of a more lucky Opportunity, which yet they never would have found, had they contented themselves with such Excuses. They returned the same Day, and Kelirieu gave them the same Answer, which provoked the young Duke beyond Measure, being naturally very fiery. What, said he, with a threatning Air, shall you, who are no better than a Lacquey, dare to deny Admittance to your Master's nearest Relation? and at once kick'd open the Door, and went forward into the Apartment, followed by the Mollak.
Upon Zeokinizul's asking the Meaning of that Noise and Bustle, Kelirieu, who had acted without any such Orders from him, durst not make any Answer, but the young Kam, whose Heat was not over, gave the King such an Account of it, as made him very angry; for he not only condescended to ask the Kam's Pardon, but forbad Kelirieu his Presence. The judicious Mollak laid hold of that Instant to discourse of the Concerns of his Conscience to the dying Monarch; and as his own Reflections, had beforehand suggested preparative Ideas of it, he was the sooner brought to the wished for Contrition and Repentance.
The Behaviour of the Mollak is certainly very praise-worthy, but it would have been much more so, if after having, with a truly Apostolic Zeal, pathetically represented to the Sovereign the Enormity of his Crimes, the Certainty of his Death, and the Punishments to be dreaded after such a licentious Life, he had stopp'd at bringing him to a due Sense of Things, and strengthening him in such a pious Disposition, but he shewed more Zeal than Discretion, for his Devotion being sharpened with Resentment, made him imagine, that he was ruining Lenertoula beyond Retrieve; whereas he was, in Reality, doing nothing less than paving the Way for her greater Exaltation, in Case the King recovered.
Thus, under a Pretence that true Repentance required more than a Detestation of what was past, and guarding against future Relapses, he signified to Zeokinizul, that it was still his farther Duty to make some signal Satisfaction for the Offence which he had given to the whole Kingdom. That in order thereto, he must disapprove and abrogate all his Grants and Favours to Lenertoula. Zeokinizul, who now was intent only upon dying in the Religion of his Ancestors, pleasing his People, and carrying their Esteem as well as their Grief with him to the Grave, complied with all the Mollak's Injunctions, ordered Lenertoula to be immediately dismissed the Court, with a Prohibition from ever appearing in his Presence.
Having thus settled all the Affairs of his Conscience, Zeokinizul became senseless, so that he was thought dead by all his Attendants. But this sudden Alteration was the happy Crisis which saved his Life. During this Interval of Inanition, the Mind recover'd its former Situation, and freed itself from all its Anxieties. The Body performed its Functions, and the Passages which all the Art of the Physicians could not relax, opened of themselves, which was followed by such copious Evacuations as saved the Patient. This joyful News spread itself rather quicker than the other, so that it was as soon known at Kofir that the King was out of Danger, as that there was no Hopes of his Recovery.
In the mean Time, the Queen arrived. She made Use of the Mollak's pious Impressions, and tho' her Austerities and Vexations, together with her advanced Age, had rendered her no tempting Spouse, yet the kind and grateful Monarch was so taken with her Tenderness and Diligence, that he vowed, that from this Time his Heart should be her's, and her's alone. But that Man knows himself but very little, when he is in Danger; and that the Assurances of Amendment which he then makes, are weak and transitory when he has recover'd his Health, is what the Sequel of this History will abundantly demonstrate.
Zeokinizul was soon perfectly recovered, and then his Generals whose Ardour had been restrain'd by Fear and Grief, soon made their Enemies feel, that their King was restored to them, for they forced them to repass the Nhir with considerable Loss; and the most Skilful in Military Affairs do not scruple to affirm, than if the Kofirans had not been headed by a General prudent even to a Fault, not so much as a single Soldier would have been left to have given the Queen of Ghinoer an Account of their Expedition. This General so deficient in the ardent Bravery of his Country, was call'd Leosanil; he was afterwards disgraced, and though his Age was still fit for Military Functions, he was taken into the Cabinet, which was a fitter Theatre for his Abilities; for there being out of the Reach of Swords and Guns, and left to undisturbed Reflection, his Advice and Schemes were of excellent Service. I now shall leave Zeokinizul in the pure Embraces of his Consort, and preparing to besiege a Place of Strength, to follow Lenertoula in her Disgrace.
She did not betray any great Confusion, when Zeokinizul's harsh Order was notified to her; but she little knew what she was to go through upon the Road. She took a travelling Chariot, accompanied by her Sister, and followed by a few Domestics. Here was an Instance of such Strokes with which Fortune now and then seems to warn the Insolent and Ambitious. After having led her Favorites to the Altars to be worshipped like petty Deities, she afterwards drags them thither to be sacrificed like fatened Victims.
This Woman, who lately saw the most illustrious among the Kofirans cringe at her Feet, and practise the basest Submission to obtain only a single Look, now sees herself exposed to the contemptuous Insults of the very Meanest; the whole Nation combining to plant Daggers in her Heart by their Reproaches and Shouts at her Downfal. It having been whispered among the Country Folks, that Lenertoula had occasioned the King's Illness, and they being possess'd of a Notion, propagated by her Enemies, that she had been bribed to poison the King, crowded all the Roads in her Way, loading her with Curses and Invectives, threatning to tear her to Pieces, had they not thought it would be a more galling Punishment to her Pride, to let her pass on amidst the same Hisses and Outrages of their Fellows, for above eighty Leagues successively. It was next to a Miracle that she escaped with her Life, for she was put to all Manner of Shifts and Precautions to deceive these furious Clowns who vowed to revenge their King; whenever she came near any Town, she stopp'd above half a League off, whilst one of her Out-riders went before to take fresh Horses, and observe the Bye-roads, that thus she might avoid the Tumults of the Inhabitants. At last she reach'd Kofir, which she found disposed to receive her in the same rough Manner as the Country had done. The whole Nation appeared determined against her. One Day she happened, a little indiscretely, to take the Air in her Chariot, while the Streets were full of People, who were celebrating the happy Recovery of their King with all Kinds of Sports and Rejoicings. Possibly she might flatter herself, that the easy Kofirans seeing her appear Abroad to join in the publick Festivity, would relinquish the Suspicions they had harbour'd against her. But they were too inveterate, and the Event was quite different, for had it not been for the Dexterity of her Coachman, and the Swiftness of her Horses, she had infallibly fallen a Victim to the Fury of the Populace. This hazardous Experience of their Malice, brought her to lead a Life at Kofir very different to her Inclinations, being ashamed to shew herself in any Assembly, where she must have been their Jest and Scorn, and much less daring to appear in the public Walks. When she was not shut up in her Palace, she used to amuse herself for a while in a Garden, which, tho' one of the finest in all Kofir was the least frequented. Here it was that such a mortifying Accident befel her, as exceeded all the rest, and which sensibly shewed her how low she was fallen from her former Grandeur.
It was as follows: An Officer who, tho' her Relation, had not felt the happy Influences of her Favour, because he never made himself known to her, which renders his Impoliteness, I may even say, his Brutality inexcusable, resolving to give the finishing Stroke to her Anguish.
According to the gallant Custom of the Kofirans, he politely approached towards Lenertoula, who was taking an Evening Walk, in Company with her melancholy Sister, and wished for nothing more than for a third Person to join them, whose Chearfulness might help to dissipate the continual Gloominess of her Temper. After the first Compliments, which are not short among this ceremonious People, the Gentleman entertain'd the Ladies with the most refined Gallantry. He expressed himself in so graceful and charming a Manner, that they were both infinitely taken with his Conversation. Lenertoula, that he might talk more at Ease, desired him to sit down by her upon a Bank of Turf, and after some Questions on the Condition of his Fortune, offered him her Services, if needful, for its Improvement. This Person, of all Men the most rude and brutish, for he was insulting over the Disgrace of an unfortunate Woman, who was extremely desirous of obliging him, and had made him an Offer of an unusual Generosity. He gave her a full Answer to the first Article. "I was a general Officer in the King's Army, said he to her, where I served honourably for twenty Years. But having been injured by the Ministry, I retired to my Estate, with which and some small Marks of Distinction, which could not be denied my long Services, I live contented." "But my Lord," interrupted Lenertoula, who was for knowing how she stood in the Thoughts of People of Quality, "I am surprized that you never address'd yourself to the Favourite, in order to obtain, by Means of her Interests, the just Reward of your Services. She took a Pleasure in countenancing Merit, and certainly such as yours would have engag'd her Favour." "I, Madam," replied the Officer, with Indignation, "should I make a Prostitute my Refuge? I am her Relation, and it is the only Blot that I know of in our Family. I am too tender in Point of Honour, to hold any Thing from the Hands of a Woman, who has so notoriously trampled it under her Feet." At this Lenertoula was indeed as one thunder-struck. She endeavoured several Times to make some Reply to this ungrateful Officer; but her Voice failed her. He left them, and her Sister was obliged to call her Slaves to lead her to her Chariot, in order to carry her back to her Palace.
Zeokinizul, in the mean Time, had crowned his Campaign, by taking the important Fortress he had besieged. His Soldiers encouraged by his Presence, had at once surmounted Nature, Art, a severe Season, and the Efforts of a numerous and brave Garison. Having now nothing to do but repose himself under his Laurels, he returned towards his Capital. Then it was that his Subjects, in an Extacy of Loyalty, were seen to prepare him a Reception answerable to their Love, and present the most affecting and pleasing Sight to the Eyes of a Monarch, who aimed more at reigning over their Hearts, than subduing them by Fear. If the News of his Sickness had dispirited them, the News of his Approach rejoiced them. But when they came to see him, their Transports were beyond all Description, their Eyes overflowed with Tears of Joy and Affection, whilst the Sky rung with their Acclamations. How happy is such a King amidst such a People, and how formidable when he heads them against their Enemies! Zeokinizul stayed three Days at Kofir, as a Testimony of his Regard for this cordial People, who also to shew their Sense of so much Condescension, and to celebrate his Return, invented Variety of polite Entertainments. The King and People seemed to strive who should be kindest, for he gave Orders, that all the Inhabitants without Exception, should have Admittance into his Presence, that they might feast themselves with the delightful Sight which they had so affectionately desired. It is affirmed, that the Idea of his late Danger, from which he was often told, that nothing less than a Miracle delivered him, being still strong upon his Mind, he had a real Tenderness for the Queen, whom he had restored to all her Rights. They were more than once surprized in such Attitudes as clearly shewed their Reconciliation.
But how frail are Vows drawn from us only by Danger, how soon effaced by Safety and Temptation! Scarce was Zeokinizul returned to the Hurry, Brilliancy, and Diversions of the Court, but those Impressions which it was hoped would be as lasting as they were salutary, were by Degrees soon dissipated. His Love for Lenertoula appear'd to have been like a sudden Fire, ready to burst out with greater Vehemence. At first he was sorry for his using her so abruptly; than he began to frown on the Advisers of her disgraceful Removal, and recall'd Kelirieu and others who had sided with his injured Favorite. Kalontil, Governor to the Prince, the presumptive Heir of the Crown, was banished from Court, for Reasons which were never thought fit to be made publick. Some imputed it to his endangering his Pupil, by having brought him to his sick Father, without any such order, and without Attendance. Others charge him with a Project for aggrandizing himself upon the King's Death. But the most knowing conclude, that he must have spoken ill of the Favorite, in order to set the young Prince against her. Zeokinizul seemed afterwards mightily to affect Solitude, nor did even Hunting itself please him, unless when he went without Company; which gave Occasion to suspect, that there were some private Meetings carried on in order to a Reconciliation with the Favourite, and to which Kelirieu was only privy. At last, weary of constraining his Temper, he complained openly of the Abuse put upon him at a Time when he was incapable of Reflection, and of the Indignity offered to his Honour, in urging him with terrible Threatnings to disgracefully remove, and expose to Contempt and Violences, a Person whose only Fault towards him was an Excess of Love. He restored her to her Rank, Titles, and Privileges; but openly declaring, that all this was only to prevent her former Commerce with him proving her utter Ruin; for that he was determined not to keep her any longer as a Mistress. Yet notwithstanding these Protestations, private Measures were forming in order to procure as fond a Reconciliation as ever. The Reality of these Assurances were soon illustrated, when he broke the solemn Promise he had made to the Mollak, and recall'd his dear Lenertoula. But this was too slender a Reparation for what she had suffered. She required of Zeokinizul, a more complete and signal Triumph. Immediately the pious, but over-zealous Mollak was dismissed the Court, and ordered to his Mosque. A Visier also whom the Favourite particularly hated, having always opposed her Amour, was ordered personally to declare to her, that Zeokinizul again acknowledged her Mistress of his Heart, and only waited her Orders, and a List of her Enemies, in order to revenge her to the utmost. The Visier obeyed; but at the same Time he took secure Measures that he might not be upon the fatal List, and to prevent this imperious Woman from abusing the King's Weakness, an infallible Poison which he found Means to have given her, worked at the very Instant that he went to perform his Commission. As she was soon violently seiz'd with the Approaches of Death, it was believed by the Generality, who had no Notion of foul Play, that Lenertoula had been overcome by an Excess of Joy, which is always more forcible than that of Grief, especially in Women. Upon this Notion, a Kofiran Wit made four Verses, which may be thus rendered in English.