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ALAEDDIN and the ENCHANTED LAMP;
Zein Ul Asnam and the King of the Jinn: Two Stories Done into English from the Recently Discovered Arabic Text
by John Payne
To Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, K.C.M.G., H.B.M. CONSUL, TRIESTE.
My Dear Burton,
I give myself the pleasure of placing your name in the forefront of another and final volume of my translation of the Thousand and One Nights, which, if it have brought me no other good, has at least been the means of procuring me your friendship.
Twelve years this day,--a day of winter, dreary With drifting snows, when all the world seemed dead To Spring and hope,--it is since, worn and weary Of doubt within and strife without, I fled
From the mean workday miseries of existence, From spites that slander and from hates that lie, Into the dreamland of the Orient distance Under the splendours of the Syrian sky,
And in the enchanted realms of Eastern story, Far from the lovelessness of modern times,
Garnered the rainbow-remnants of old glory That linger yet in those ancestral climes;
And now, the tong task done, the journey over, From that far home of immemorial calms, Where, as a mirage, on the sky-marge hover The desert and its oases of palms,
Lingering, I turn me back, with eyes reverted To this stepmother world of daily life, As one by some long pleasant dream deserted, That wakes anew to dull unlovely strife:
Yet, if non' other weal the quest have wrought me. The long beloved labour now at end, This gift of gifts the untravelled East hath brought me, The knowledge of a new and valued friend.
5th Feb. 1889.
The readers of my translation of the Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night will remember that, in the terminal essay (1884) on the history and character of the collection, I expressed my conviction that the eleven (so-called) "interpolated" tales, [FN#1] though, in my judgment, genuine Oriental stories, had (with the exception of the Sleeper Awakened and Aladdin) no connection with the original work, but had been procured by Galland from various (as yet) unidentified sources, for the purpose of supplying the deficiencies of the imperfect MS. of the Nights from which he made his version. [FN#2] My opinion as to these talcs has now been completely confirmed by the recent discovery (by M. Zotenberg, Keeper of Oriental MSS. in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris) of two Arabic MSS. of the Nights, both containing three of the missing stories, i.e. (1) Zeyn Alasnam, (3) The Sleeper Awakened and (4) Aladdin, and by the publication (also by M. Zotenberg) of certain extracts from Galland's diary, giving particulars of the circumstances under which the "interpolated" tales were incorporated with his translation of the Arabian Nights. The Arabic text of the Story of Aladdin, as given by the completer and more authentic of the newly-discovered MSS., has recently been made by M. Zotenberg the subject of a special publication, [FN#3] in the preface to which (an exhaustive bibliographical essay upon the various Texts of the Thousand and One Nights, considered in relation to Galland's translation) he gives, in addition to the extracts in question from Galland's Diary, a detailed description of the two MSS. aforesaid, the more interesting particulars of which I now proceed to abstract for the benefit of my readers.
The first MS. commences precisely where the third volume of Galland's MS. ends, to wit, (see my Terminal essay, p. 265, note1) with the 281st Night, in the middle of the story of Camaralzaman [FN#4] and contains, (inter alia) besides the continuation of this latter (which ends with Night CCCXXIX), the stories of the Sleeper Awakened (Nights CCCXXX-CCCC), Ganem (Nights CCCCXXVIII-CCCCLXX1V), Zeyn Alasnam (Nights CCCCLXXV- CCCCXCI), Aladdin (Nights CCCCXCII-DLXIX) and three others not found in Galland's version. The MS. ends in the middle of the 631st night with the well-known Story of King Bekhtzad (Azadbekht) and his son or the Ten Viziers, (which will be found translated in my " Tales from the Arabic," Vol. I. pp. 61 et seq.) and contains, immediately after Night CCCCXXVII and before the story of Ganem, a note in Arabic, of which the following is a translation:
"The fourth volume of the wonders and marvels of the stories of the Thousand Nights and One Night was finished by the hand of the humblest of His' servants in the habit of a minister of religion (Kahin, lit. a diviner, Cohen), the [Christian] priest Dionysius Shawish, a scion (selil) of the College of the Romans (Greeks, Europeans or Franks, er Roum), by name St. Athanasius, in Rome the Greatest (or Greater, utsma, fem. of aatsem, qu re Constantinople ?) on the seven-and-twentieth of the month Shubat (February) of the year one thousand seven hundred fourscore and seven, [he being] then teacher of the Arabic tongue in the Library of the Sultan, King of France, at Paris the Greatest."
From this somewhat incoherent note we may assume that the MS. was written in the course of the year 1787 by the notorious Syrian ecclesiastic Dom Denis Chavis, the accomplice of Cazotte in the extraordinary literary atrocity shortly afterward perpetrated by the latter under the name of a sequel or continuation of the Thousand and One Nights [FN#6] (v. Cabinet des Fees, vols. xxxviii--xli), [FN#7] and in all probability (cf. the mention in the above note of the first part, i.e. Nights CCLXXXI-CCCCXXVII, as the fourth volume) to supply the place of Galland's missing fourth volume for the Bibliotheque Royale; but there. is nothing, except a general similarity of style and the occurrence in the former of the rest of Camaralzaman and (though not in the same order) of four of the tales supposed to have been contained in the latter, to show that Dom Chavis made his copy from a text identical with that used by the French savant. In the notes to his edition of the Arabic text of Aladdin, M. Zotenberg gives a number of extracts from this MS., from which it appears that it is written in a very vulgar modern Syrian style and abounds in grammatical errors, inconsistencies and incoherences of every description, to say nothing of the fact that the Syrian ecclesiastic seems, with the characteristic want of taste and presumption which might be expected from the joint-author of "Les Veillees Persanes," to have, to a considerable extent, garbled the original text by the introduction of modern European phrases and turns of speech a la Galland. For the rest, the MS. contains no note or other indication, on which we can found any opinion as to the source from which the transcriber (or arranger) drew his materials; but it can hardly be doubted, from internal evidence, that he had the command of some genuine text of the Nights, similar to, if not identical with, that of Galland, which he probably "arranged" to suit his own (and his century's) distorted ideas of literary fitness. The discovery of the interpolated tales contained in this MS. (which has thus presumably lain unnoticed for a whole century, under, as one may say, the very noses of the many students of Arabic literature who would have rejoiced in such a find) has, by a curious freak of fortune, been delayed until our own day in consequence of a singular mistake made by a former conservator of the Paris Bibliotheque, the well-known Orientalist, M. Reinaud, who, in drawing up the Catalogue of the Arabic MSS. in the collection described (or rather misdescribed) it under the following heading:
"Supplement Arabe 1716. Thousand and One Nights, 3rd and 4th parts. This volume begins with Night CCLXXXII and ends with Night DCXXXI. A copy in the handwriting of Chavis. It is from this copy and in accordance with the instructions (d'apres la indications) of this Syrian monk that Cazotte composed (redigea) the Sequel to the Thousand and One Nights, Cabinet des Fees, " xxxvii et xl (should be tt. xxxviii-xli)."
It is of course evident that M. Reinaud had never read the MS. in question nor that numbered 1723 in the Supplement Arabe, or he would at once have recognized that the latter, though not in the handwriting of the Syrian ecclesiastic, was that which served for the production of the "Sequel" in question; but, superficial as was the mistake, it sufficed to prevent the examination by students of the MS. No. 1716 and so retarded the discovery of the Arabic originals of Aladdin and its fellows till the acquisition (some two years ago) by the Bibliotheque Nationale of another (and complete) MS. of the Thousand and One Nights, which appears
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