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GREEK FIRE-DESTRUCTION OF THE BARMECIDES.

set on fire, could not be extinguished by water. This
inflammable substance adhered to wood with destruc-
tive tenacity, and, when thrown upon combatants in
battle, insinuated itself between the joints of their ar-
mor, and destroyed them by a torturing death. Cal-
linicus was a subject of the khalif, but a Christian.
Instead of imparting his secret to the Saracens, he
carried it to Constantinople, where it was used in de-
fence of Christendom. It was called the Greek Fire,
but its qualities are very imperfectly known to us.
The historians of the crusades describe it as being
shot through tubes from the prows of vessels, and the
ramparts of towns: when it struck any thing, it imme-
diately exploded, and set it on fire by some process with
which we are unacquainted. The devoted victims saw
it approaching in the form of a fiery serpent, till at last
it fell in a burning shower on ships and men. An hour's
fight would cover the sea with this flaming oil, and give
it the appearance of a sheet of fire.
The Saracen
fleets were repeatedly destroyed by it, and their most
valiant warriors, whom the near aspect of death never
daunted, recoiled from the terrors and tortures of this
liquid fire, which crept beneath their armor, and clung
to every limb.

Haroun al Raschid.

But the Byzantine empire had become so weakened, that although the emperors were able to defend their capital, they did not hesitate to buy a peace with the Saracens by the payment of tribute. On the accession of Nicephorus to the throne, in 786, he determined to throw off this badge of servitude. He accordingly sent a letter of defiance to the khalif in the following terms, alluding to the empress Irene, his predecessor: "The empress considered you as a rook, and herself as a pawn. That pusillanimous female consented to pay a tribute, when she should have demanded twice as much from the barbarians. Restore, therefore, the fruits of your injustice, or abide by the decision of the sword." The Greek ambassador, who carried the letter, cast a bundle of swords at the foot of the throne. Haroun ordered them to be stuck in the ground, and then, at one blow, severed them all, without turning the edge of his cimeter. He returned for answer to the letter-"In the name of the most merciful God! Haroun al Raschid, commander of the faithful, to Nicephorus, the Roman dog! I have read thy letter, O thou son of an unbe

lieving mother! Thou shalt not hear, thou shalt behold my reply." Immediately an army of one hundred and thirty thousand Saracens appeared in the Greek provinces of Asia Minor, under the black standard of the khalif. The whole territory was made to feel the terrible vengeance of Haroun. The presumptuous Nicephorus was glad to retract his defiance, and return to submission.

In his administration of the internal affairs of the empire, Haroun was guided chiefly by his two ministers, Yahia ben Kaled, and Giafar, who were of the ancient family of the Barmecides, and whose ancestors, through many generations previously to the introduction of Islamism, had held the hereditary office of priest of the fire temple of Balkh. This family is said to have descended from the monarchs of Persia; and when they came to the court of Bagdad, they were exceedingly rich. Yahia had been the governor and instructor of Haroun in his boyhood. On his accession to the throne, the khalif appointed him grand vizier. When age compelled the minister to relinquish his post, it was immediately conferred on his son Giafar, whose abilities equalled those of his father. Giafar was the most admired writer and the most eloquent speaker of his age; and, while in office, he displayed the accuracy of a man of business, and the comprehensive ideas of a statesman. His acquirements caused him to become the companion as well as the minister of the khalif, who, at last, grew so much attached to him, that he appointed his elder brother Fadhel grand vizier in his place, that the affairs of state might not deprive him of the pleasure of his society.

For seventeen years, the brothers Giafar and Fadhel were all powerful, when, on a sudden, the whole family were involved in disgrace, and the treatment which they received is an eternal stain on the character of Haroun. The following circumstances have been assigned as the cause of the catastrophe. The khalif had a sister, named Abasia, of whom he was passionately fond, and whose company he preferred to every thing but the conversation of Giafar. These two pleasures he would fain have enjoyed together, by carrying Giafar with him on his visits to Abassa; but the laws of the harem, which forbade any one except a near relation from being introduced there, made that impossible. At length, he thought of uniting Giafar and Abassa in marriage, which would remove this obstacle. They were married accordingly, but with the express condition that they should never meet but in the presence of the khalif. This was promised by the husband and wife; but their mutual affection proved too strong; the promise was violated, and two children were born of this unequal marriage. For some time the khalif remained in ignorance of this event; but, when it could no longer be concealed from him, he gave way to his rage, and resolved on the most cruel revenge. He commanded Giafar to be put to death, and the whole race of the Barmecides to be deprived of their property, and thrown into prison. These orders were obeyed. Giafar was beheaded in the antechamber of the royal apartment, which he had sought to request an interview with the implacable Haroun, and his father and brothers were put to death in prison. Abassa and her two children were thrown into a well, which was closed over them.

The destruction of the Barmecides was looked upon as a general calamity. All of them, says an Eastern

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REIGN OF AL MAMOUN-SPLENDOR OF THE KHALIFS.

writer, enjoyed the singular happiness of being loved |
as much when in the plenitude of their power as in a
private station, and of being praised as much after
their disgrace and ruin, as when they were at the
summit of their prosperity. The following verses
were written on their fall:

"No, Barmec ! time hath never shown
So sad a change of wayward fate,
Nor sorrowing mortals ever known
A grief so true, a loss so great.

"Spouse of the world! thy soothing breast
Did balm to every woe afford;
And now, no more by thee caressed,

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example of the khalif was imitated in Egypt, in Spain, and in all the provinces, and the natural enthusiasm of the Arabs was devoted to science and literature. A vizier founded a college at Bagdad, by a gift of three and a half millions of dollars. The number of students amounted to six thousand, of every class in life, from the noble to the mechanic. Every city of the Saracen empire had its collection of literary works A private doctor refused the invitation of the sovereign of Bokhara to visit his capital, because the transportation of his books would have required four hundred camels. In Egypt, the public library contained one hundred thousand volumes, which were free for the gratuitous use of every student. The public libraries This massacre is an odious exception to the mild-in the Mahometan cities of Spain comprised six hunness and equity by which the reign of Haroun was dred thousand volumes. generally characterized, and strongly marks the state of society at that period, and the tendency of despotism itself. The supreme pontificate and the secular authority were united in the hands of the khalif, who, being invested with the mantle, signet, and staff of the prophet, and bearing the title of Commander of the Faithful, exercised supreme temporal and spiritual rule, without any other restriction than the vague ordinances of religion.

The widowed world bewails her lord."

The reign of Haroun al Raschid has always been referred to as the golden age of Arabian dominion. The wealth and adopted luxury of conquered nations had given to social life a refinement, and to the court of Bagdad a splendor, before unknown among the Mahometans. Flourishing towns sprung up in all parts of the empire. Commerce by land and sea increased with the luxury of wealth, and Bagdad rivalled in magnificence even the Greek capital, Constantinople. Haroun died of despondency, caused by ill-omened dreams, in the year 808, after dividing his empire

between his sons Al Mamoun and Amin. A civil war soon arose between these princes, and the feeble and timid Amin was easily overthrown by his brother, who thus became sole master of the eastern empire of

the Saracens.

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AL MAMOUN was one of the most illustrious of the khalifs. He was distinguished particularly by two things-the magnificent style of his court, and his patronage of letters. At the marriage of this monarch, a thousand pearls of the largest size were showered on the head of his bride, and a lottery of lands and houses was distributed to the guests. In a single gift, he disposed of a sum exceeding four millions of dollars. He ordered his ambassadors and agents in all parts of the world to collect books for his use. The volumes of Grecian literature and science were gathered at Bagdad, from Constantinople, Armenia, Syria, and Egypt. They were translated into Arabic, and Al Mamoun exhorted his subjects to the diligent study of them. He attended the assemblies of the learned, who were invited to his court from all countries. The

Notwithstanding the splendor of the Saracen court, the empire was disturbed by rebellions, civil wars, and the contentions of religious sects. The sovereigns, although they relinquished all attempts at foreign conquest, continued to surround themselves with all the show and magnificence of the most powerful and martial princes. Motassem, the second khalif after Al Mamoun, is said to have had one hundred and thirty thousand horses in his stables, which is double the amount of cavalry possessed by Napoleon in the height of his power. Motassem is said to have loaded each of his horses with a pack of earth, which was carried fifty miles, to raise a mountain in Arabian Irak, on which a palace was erected, called Samara. It is also related of this khalif that he had eight sons and eight daughters, reigned eight years, eight months, and eight days; was born in the eighth month of the year, was the eighth khalif of the Abbassides, fought eight battles, had eight thousand slaves, and left eight million pieces of gold in his treasury!

In his

The last of the khalifs distinguished in history was Moctader, who acceded to the throne in 833. reign, the splendor of the court of Bagdad appears to have been at its height. On the occasion of receiving an ambassador from Constantinople, a body of troops, amounting to one hundred and sixty thousand horse and foot, were assembled under arms. The state officers and favorite slaves of the khalifs stood round him, glittering with gold and gems. Near these were seven thousand eunuchs, black and white. The Tigris was covered with gorgeous boats and barges. In the palace were hung thirty-eight thousand pieces of tapestry, a hundred lions were exhibited in show, and the eyes of the curious were delighted with the spectacle of a tree of gold and silver spreading out into eighteen branches, on which sat a variety of golden birds among the golden leaves. By the ingenious mechanism of this wonderful toy, the birds warbled in harmony, and the leaves waved in the wind. Such a proficiency of the Arabs in mechanical science would be incredible, were it not confirmed by abundant proofs.

The glory of the Saracen empire had now reached its highest point, and soon began to decline. We shall not, however, attempt to follow out historically the progress of this decay. It would be a waste of time, and an abuse of learning, to load our pages with the names of a host of princes whose reigns were marked by nothing useful or interesting. The frequent revolutions of the throne of Bagdad ceased to have any influence on the rest of the world. In each successive reign, some province detached itself from the ancient

342

CHARACTER OF THE MAHOMETAN RELIGION.

monarchy. The khalifs remarked the decline of enthusiasm, courage, and even of bodily strength, among their subjects, from the time that all noble objects had ceased to be presented to their ambition or their activity. Motassem, the twenty-seventh khalif, (A. D. 842,) endeavored to supply this want by procuring young slaves, bred in the mountain region of Caucasus, whom he trained to the profession of arms, and formed into a guard; and to this guard he intrusted the protection of his palace.

These troops obtained the name of Turks, and soon became numerous and formidable. The rivalry which existed between them and the Syrians effectually disgusted the latter with military pursuits, and the Turks were soon the only soldiers of the khalifs. The slavery in which they had been reared made them less faithful, but not more obedient. Most of the revolutions were their work. They hurled from the throne or they assassinated those khalifs who were not the obsequious tools of their insolence and rapacity. At length, in the year 936, they elected a chief of their own body, whom they called Emir al Omara, or chief of chiefs. This officer became the true sovereign of the state. He kept the khalif a prisoner in his own palace, reducing him to that life of poverty, penitence, and prayer which the early successors of Mahomet had imposed on themselves by choice. The Turks would have assumed the nominal authority, if their conversion to Islamism had not made it indispensable to keep up a phantom of a khalif as the spiritual representative of the prophet. While actually in office, the khalifs were treated with great ceremony; but, whenever it suited the Turks, they were thrust from their elevation, and substitutes appointed. Several of the deposed khalifs became beggars. The dominion of the sovereign of the Saracen empire was soon reduced to the city of Bagdad: all the provinces set up independent governments, or were absorbed by conquering powers. At length, the Mongolian hordes of Zingis Khan poured in from the east, sweeping every thing before them. Bagdad was taken by storm, and sacked, in the year 1278, and the fifty-sixth successor of Mahomet was trodden under foot by the Tartar cavalry amid the plunder of the city. Two hundred thousand of the inhabitants of the ancient seat of Arabian learning and splendor were put to the sword, and the work of destruction continued for the space of forty days. Such was the end of the Saracenic dominion!

The history of this empire, as we have seen, is marked by one age of brilliant conquest, a second of stationary but rather precarious greatness, and a third of rapid decline. The Saracen dominion is also distinguished by the strong contrast which it presents to the European nations of that day. The splendid palaces of the khalifs, their numerous guards, their treasures of gold and silver, the populousness and wealth of their cities, form a striking spectacle when viewed in company with the rudeness and poverty of the western nations in the same age. Yet the merit of these monarchs has, perhaps, been exaggerated by adulation or gratitude. After all the vague praises of hireling poets, which have been repeated in Christendom, it is very rare to find the history of an Eastern despot unstained by atrocious crimes. No Christian government, except, perhaps, that of Constantinople, exhibits such a series of tyrants as the khalifs of Bagdad, if deeds of blood, perpetrated by unbridled

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CHAPTER CLXXXII.

Character of the Mahometan Religion - Paradise and Hell of Mahomet — The Sunness and Sheahs.

MAHOMETANISM was first established by religious zeal and fanaticism, and its earliest form was that of paternal authority. Mahomet did not give liberty to the Arabs, nor did he impose a despotism upon them. These people had been accustomed to liberty before his time, and the prophet was careful not to alarm the spirit of Arabian freedom by acts or ordinances hostile to it. He neither destroyed nor preserved the republican institutions of Mecca, but he exalted above them the power of inspiration-that divine voice which must silence all the counsels of human prudence. He organized no political despotism: this was the work of religious faith alone. The character of the government and people has been strikingly portrayed by the events of their history. This rendered the empire prosperous. A characteristic circumstance in the conquests of the Arabs was, that whoever embraced the faith of Islam was thenceforward reckoned among the victorious people, and became as free as the conquerors themselves. The nation stood less in awe of the unlimited power of the khalifs than of God and the prophet, whom the khalifs themselves feared, or professed to fear. There was a loftiness of character imparted to the whole nation which became the source of splendid undertakings. The laws of the people were founded, for the most part, on the common principles of the understanding, and, on this account, maintained their influence. The government was, in general, so intimately connected with the doctrines of their religion, that the description of the one necessarily involves that of the other.

The fundamental creed of the Mahometans is simple. There is but one God, and Mahomet was his apostle, by whom the law of Moses and the revelation of Jesus were accomplished and perfected. Mahomet preached no dogmas substantially new, but only adorned, amplified, and exhibited in a form adapted to the ideas, prejudices, and inclinations of the Orien tals, that doctrine which is as ancient as the human race. He enjoined many ablutions, well suited to the manners and necessities of hot climates. He ordained five daily prayers, that man might learn habitually to elevate his thoughts above himself and above the sensible world. He instituted the festival of the Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca, and commanded that every man should bestow in alms the hundredth part of his possessions. These observances already existed in established custom among the Arabs, or in the circumstances which gave occasion to their enactment. In like manner, the prohibition of wine and swine's flesh, the practice of circumcision and the observance of Sabbath on Friday, were things not absolutely new in his creed, and were rather recommended than strictly ordained. He established a law adapt

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PARADISE AND HELL OF MAHOMET.

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ed to circumstances, a religion for different coun-petual youth. At whatever age they may have died, in their resurrection, all will be in the prime of manly vigor, which will be eternal. The ravishing songs of the angels and of the black-eyed Houris will render all the groves vocal; the very trees will celebrate the divine praises with a harmony such as mortal ear never heard. To these delights will be added the music of golden bells, shaken by the odoriferous zephyrs from the throne of God. It would be a journey of a thousand years for a true Mahometan to travel through paradise, and behold all the wives, servants, gardens, robes, jewels, horses, camels, furniture, and other things, which belong exclusively to him.

The Mahometans are rigid fatalists; and a firm believer in this religion is under the habitual influence of an enthusiasm which elevates his soul above the whole visible world, above the power of perishable things, and above the fear of death itself. A ready faith in the marvellous is fostered in all its details by the letter and spirit of Islamism. The whole life of Mahomet may be called a miracle. The Koran treats of death, the resurrection, the judgment, paradise, and the place of torment, in a style which has a most powerful effect on the imagination. The joys of paradise were promised to all who fell in the cause of religion, and these joys were made exceedingly captivating to an Arabian fancy. When Al Sirat, or the Bridge of Judgment, which is as slender as the "thread of a famished spider, and as sharp as the edge of a sword, and beset on each side with briers and hooked thorns," shall be passed by the believer, the Koran states that he will be welcomed into the garden of delight by the black-eyed Houris. These beautiful nymphs are not made of common clay, like other females, but of pure essences and odors, free from all blemish, and subject to no decay of virtue or of beauty. Until the time when the destined lovers of these damsels arrive in the bowers of bliss, they lie secluded in pavilions formed of a single hollow pearl, so large that some of them are sixty miles long.

The soil of paradise, according to the same authority, is composed of musk and saffron, sprinkled with pearls and hyacinths. The walls of its mansions are of gold and silver, and the trunks of its trees are encased in gold. The fruits, which here bend spontaneously to him who would gather them, are of a flavor and delicacy unknown to mortals. The tree of happiness, which stands in the midst of the palace of Mahomet, is laden with pomegranates, grapes, dates, and other productions of extraordinary lusciousness. The boughs of this tree, in addition to every kind of fruit that the eye can desire, bear silken garments, and beasts to ride on, ready saddled and bridled, and adorned with rich trappings, all of which burst forth from its blossoms and fruit at the slightest wish of the faithful. This tree, moreover, is so large, that a person mounted on the fleetest horse could not gallop from one extremity of its shade to the other in a hundred years! Numerous rivers flow through this blissful abode, some of wine, and others of milk, honey, and water, the pebbly beds of which are rubies and emeralds, and their banks of camphor, musk, and saffron.

The thoughts become bewildered in this voluptuous maze, and it seems incredible that such a description should form a portion of the religious belief of any existing nation. Yet such is literally the fact. The glowing and sensual enjoyments of paradise are not understood as mere figurative illustrations of heavenly pleasures, but as corporeal realities, to be relished like earthly gratifications, though without being subject to satiety or diminution. The hell of Mahomet is as full of terror as his heaven is of delight. The wicked who fall into the gulf of torture from the bridge of Al Sirat, will suffer alternately from the intensity of heat and cold: when they are thirsty, boiling and filthy water will be given them to drink; they will be shod with shoes of fire, the heat of which will cause their skulls to boil like caldrons. The dark mansions of the Christians, Jews, Sabeans, Magians, and idolaters, are sunk below each other with increasing horrors, in the order of their names. The seventh, or lowest hell is reserved for the faithless hypocrites and nominal professors of every religion. Into this dismal receptacle, full of smoke and darkness, the unhappy sufferer will be dragged, with roaring noise and fury, by seventy thousand halters, each pulled by seventy thousand angels. He will be exposed to the extremes of heat and cold, the hissing of reptiles, and the scourge of hideous demons, whose pastime is cruelty and pain. Despair will increase his misery, for the Koran has condemned him to this everlasting abode without the smallest hope of deliverance. Every corpse, when laid in the grave, is supposed to be catechized by two examiners, Monkir and Nekir- black and livid angels of a terrible aspect, who order the dead man to sit upright, and answer their interrogatories as to the soundness of his faith. If his replies are not satisfactory, he is beaten on the head with iron mallets, and stung and gnawed by ninety-nine dragons, with seven heads each, till he receives his final doom.

It has been a common error to believe that Mahomet excluded women from paradise. This is incorrect: he has declared that the gates of the blissful abode stand open to both sexes. But whether they are to inhabit the same or separate apartments, is a point which he has left unexplained. They are to be rewarded and punished like the men, though their felicity will not be so exquisite as that of the other sex, as, according to the Mahometan notions, their deeds in this life cannot have been equally meritorious or important.

In paradise, the enjoyment of believers will be greater than the human understanding can compass. The very meanest inhabitant will have eighty thousand servants and seventy-two wives. His pavilion will be constructed of pearls, hyacinths, and emeralds. He will be waited upon while he eats by three hundred attendants. Every dinner will be served up in three hundred dishes of gold. Wine, though forbidden on earth, will be freely allowed in paradise, and there it will not hurt nor inebriate. The raiment of the blessed will be the richest silks, brocades, and muslins, adorned with gold and silver embroidery, and surmounted with bracelets and crowns gemmed with the most costly The three leading Mahometan sects are the Sunnees, pearls and precious stones. The dwellings and every the Sheahs, and the Wahabees. The difference bething else will be on the same scale of magnificence. tween the two first was originally more political than The inhabitants of paradise will be gifted with per-religious. The Sunnees call themselves the orthodox

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SCIENCE AND LITERATURE OF THE

party they are traditionists, and acknowledge the authority of the first khalifs, from whom most of the traditions were derived. The Sheahs asserted the divine and indefeasible right of Ali to succeed to the prophet; consequently they consider the first three khalifs and all their successors as usurpers. The Persians were the first nation that joined this sect, and, for more than three centuries, the Sheah faith has prevailed among them. The spirit of hostility between these two branches of Mahometanism is rancorous and irreconcilable. No wars that ever desolated the Christian world have caused so much bloodshed and misery, or been so deeply stamped with the character of implacable animosity, as those which have arisen from the political and religious controversies of the Mahometan sectaries. The Wahabees are a sect of comparatively modern origin, and their history will be given in a separate place.

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THE first rudiments of the liberal sciences were obtained by the Saracens from the Greeks. John of Damascus translated the writings of the Greek physicians into Arabic, and this gave the first impulse to scientific study among the subjects of the khalif. Translations were afterwards made of the works of the Greek astronomers and philosophers. Schools of learning were established at Bagdad, Bassora, Cufa, Kesh, Nishapour, and other places. The Saracens obtained the art of clock-making from the Greeks of Constantinople, and carried it to high perfection. The court of Bagdad bestowed the most munificent patronage upon learned men, while the literature of the Greek capital lay buried in unfrequented libraries. The Arabs, however, often made a perverted use of Greek erudition, which they did not, in every case, thoroughly understand. Astrology, the interpretation of dreams, fortune-telling, and many other superstitious follies, were developed among them, and have descended from them to our times. In philosophy, the Arabs greatly admired Aristotle. They learned to distinguish merely in words where he distinguishes things. They translated Ptolemy's description of the earth, and combined it with a better knowledge of the globe, and an acquaintance with the starry heavens, which, among themselves, was an ancient acquisition. On these branches of science, they have left us important observations, the sum of which, as far as relates to geography, is contained in the Arabic work of Abulfeda. We are indebted to this author for much of the knowledge which we now possess respecting the countries with which the Arabs held intercourse. The measure of a degree of latitude was undertaken by the command of Haroun al Raschid. The Saracens were the authors of many improvements in arts and manufactures. Before the time of Charlemagne, they had instructed the French in the art of weaving, and they introduced into Europe many Eastern vegetables. The fair of Bagdad was the chief market for silk. They also invented a new species of architecture, which is marked by an expression of boldness and

SARACENS-THE KORAN.

extravagance peculiar to the Orientals. They had fountains and jets of water even in their sleeping apartments, as their religion commanded frequent ablution, and because, in the desert, water and shady places were regarded as the greatest of luxuries. The court of the khalif surpassed the splendor of that of Constantinople in the abundance of gold, of pearls, and of precious stones. The Saracen cities bore scarcely any resemblance to those of Europe. Their walls enclosed large districts of ground, beautifully cultivated. Many of them were built in the midst of deserts; they were the markets and places of deposit for the neighboring tribes. Communication was maintained through all parts of the empire, by means of posts, which the khalif Moawiyah introduced about seven hundred years before they were established in France. The same prince laid the foundation of a maritime force, which served to connect the provinces. The invention of tournaments is ascribed to the Arabs, from whom they were introduced into Italy and France. The Hindoo numerals, commonly called Arabic, also came to us through the hands of the Saracens.

In the Saracen literature, the work which first attracts our notice is the Koran. This book contains the pretended revelations of Mahomet, and is still received by his followers, as containing every information necessary for the guidance and spiritual welfare of mankind. It was written from time to time by the disciples of the prophet, from his dictation, and for want of better materials, upon palm leaves, scraps of leather, and shoulder bones of mutton. Like the Jews, the Mahometans hold their sacred book in the most extraordinary veneration. They will not in general suffer it to be read or touched by any man of a different religion. They handle it with great respect, never holding it below their girdle, and always qualifying themselves by first performing their legal ablutions. They swear by it, consult it on all occasions of moment, carry it with them to battle, and inscribe verses from it on their banners and garments, as they formerly did on their coins. Of its literary merits, the Mahometans speak in terms of rapture. The most learned Mussulman doctors have pronounced its style to be inimitable. Whatever may be its defects as a work of genius, it is universally allowed to be written with great elegance and purity of language. Though in prose, it is measured into chapters and verses, like the Psalms of David. The sentences have the sweet cadence of poetry, and generally conclude in a longcontinued chime, which often interrupts the sense, and occasions unnecessary repetition. But to an Arab, whose ear is delighted with musical cadence, this met. rical charm is its principal commendation. The materials of the Koran are borrowed from the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, the legends of the Talmudists, and the traditions and fables of the Arabian and Persian mythologies, all heaped together without any fixed principle or visible connection. In spite of the hyperbolical praises bestowed on the Koran by the Arabs, a critic of purer taste will be offended by its long repetitions of pious declamation, and its incohe rent rhapsody of fable and precept, of promises, threats, and admonitions, which seldom excite any definite feeling or idea-sometimes crawling in the dust, and sometimes lost in the clouds.

Next to the Koran we may rank the Arabian Nights, a more recent work, but one strongly national in its |

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