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reconciled to her, and they lived happily together ever afterwards.*-Throughout the East, indeed, the want of children is considered as a great disgrace. Readers of Oriental romances, such as those contained in Elf Layla wa Layla, or The Thousand and One Nights; Bahar-i Dānish, or the Spring of Knowledge, and Kissa-i Chehar Darvish, or Tale of the Four Dervishes, will easily call to mind the many stories of Khalīfs, Sultāns, Shāhs, Viziers, &c. being childless, and of the pious and even magical means they adopted to obtain the blessing of a son and heir.

Page 108. "In a dream."-Muslims consider dreams as the predictions of future events. Good dreams are believed to be from God, and false ones from the Devil. "Whoever seeth me," said the Prophet, "in his sleep, seeth me truly; for Satan cannot assume the similitude of my form."-Lane's Thousand and One Nights, iii, p. 512, note.

Page 108. "Was addressed by an old man," &c.-According to Lescallier, "by a genie, resplendent with light."

Page 109. "The top of a mountain, from which he shall fall, rolling in blood and clay."-Lescallier's rendering goes on to say: "He shall yet escape the murderous teeth of that lion; and when he has attained his twentieth year, he shall give you a wound, and put you to death.”


Page 109. "One of his Viziers eminently skilled in astrology' -Lescallier adds, "assisted by many other astronomers."-In Eastern courts an astronomer would be held in disrespect if he did not debase the truth of his science to the vain predictions of astrology ('ilmu-'n-nujūn). Every professional astrologer hangs an astrolabe-which is not larger than the hollow of the hand-in a neat case, at his girdle. Some have an astrolabe two or three inches in diameter, which at a distance looks like a

*The Story of Semiletka, in Mr Ralston's Russian Folk-Tales, bears so close a resemblance to this rabbinical story, in the stratagem adopted by the wife, that we must conclude it cannot be a mere coincidence.

medal conferred on the wearer as a mark of honour, or as an order of merit.* "A very slight knowledge of astronomy," says Sir John Malcolm, "is sufficient to allow a Persian student to profess the occult science of judicial astrology. If a person

can take an altitude with an astrolabe, knows the names of the planets and their different mansions, and a few technical phrases, and understands the astrological almanacs that are annually published, he deems himself entitled to offer his services to all who wish to consult him; and that includes every person in Persia who has the means to reward his skill. Nothing is done by a man of any consequence or property without reference to the stars. If any measure is to be adopted, if a voyage or journey is to be commenced, if a new dress is to be put on the lucky or unlucky moment must be discovered, and the almanac and astrologer are consulted. A person wishing to commence a journey will not allow a fortunate day to escape, even though he is not ready to set out. He leaves his own house at the propitious moment, and remains, till he can actually proceed, in some incommodious lodging in its vicinity, satisfied that, by quitting his house, he has secured all the benefit which the influence of good stars can afford him.Ӡ When Sir John Malcolm entered Tehran as British Ambassador, the King's astrologer so timed the progress of the cavalcade that the "Elchi's" charger should put his foot over the threshold of the gate at the precise lucky moment, which he had previously ascertained.

The Chaldeans were the first astrologers, and the so-called science was sedulously cultivated and in high estimation among the Hindus, the Greeks, the Egyptians, and their Alexandrian disciples. Even the illustrious Tycho Brahe was devoted to astrology from his early youth until within a few years of his death, when he finally abandoned it as a fallacy. At first, and

* Chardin's Voyages en Perse, &c., vol. ii, pp. 149, 290.
↑ History of Persia, vol. ii, pp, 576-7.


for a very long period afterwards, astrology was not separated into the two divisions or departments of natural astrology, or observations of the regular motions of the heavenly bodies (which is now termed astronomy), and judicial astrology, or the pretended science of foretelling events from observation of the relative positions of the planets. Isidore of Seville, it is said, was the first to distinguish between astronomy and astrology. The professors of judicial astrology in Europe pretended those in Asiatic countries still pretend—to be able to predict the destiny of any one who came to consult them, by a process. called casting his horoscope, which was done by first ascertaining the precise hour of the person's birth, and the sign the sun was in at that time, and then drawing conclusions from observation of the conjunction and relative position of the planets towardseach other. But European astrologers very frequently-probably as a general rule - did not trouble themselves to "read the stars;" they were for the most part accomplished physiognomists, and it may be said that they usually contented themselves with telling fortunes by faces rather than by the appearance of the heavenly bodies. There can be little doubt that, with the exception of a few deluded individuals who thoroughly believed in their own skill, those who professed a knowledge of astrology were arrant impostors-cunning knaves, who traded on the prevalent superstition and credulity of mankind in the days before science began to shed its pure light.

El-Hajjāj, a general under the Khalif El-Walid I, consulted, in his last illness, an astrologer, who predicted to him his approaching death. "I rely so completely on your knowledge," said El-Hajjāj to him, "that I wish to have you with me in the next world, and I shall therefore send you thither before me, in order that I may be able to employ your services from the time of my arrival." He then ordered the soothsayer to be put to death, although the time fixed for this event by the planets had not yet arrived.— Abū-'l-Ma‘shar, the oracle of astrology, left in writing, that he found the Christian religion,

according to the indications of the stars, should last but fourteen hundred years—he has been belied by nearly five hundred years already.-Tiberias, when he was at Rhodes, wished to satisfy his curiosity with respect to judicial astrology. He sent, in succession, for all those who pretended to foretell future events. One of his enfranchised slaves, of great stature and extraordinary strength, conducted them to him through the intricacies of the precipices. If Tiberius discovered that the astrologer was a cheat, the slave, upon a given signal, immediately cast him into the sea. At that time there was at Rhodes a man named Trasullus, who was deeply skilled in astrology, and of a cunning disposition. He was taken, in the same manner as the others, to this retired spot, assured Tiberius that he should be Emperor, and revealed to him many other events that should take place. Tiberius asked him if he knew his own destiny, and if he had consulted his own horoscope. Trasullus-who had had some suspicions when he did not see any of his companions return, and felt his fears increase on viewing the countenance of Tiberius, the man who had been his conductor (who did not quit him for a moment), the elevated place where he stood, and the precipice which lay beneath him-turned his eyes up to heaven, as if to consult the stars; he immediately appeared fearstricken, turned pale, and exclaimed, in an apparent agony of terror, that he was menaced with death. Tiberius was full of joy and admiration on hearing this reply, ascribing to astrology what was only presence of mind and cunning, cheered the spirits of Trasullus, embraced him, and from that time regarded him as an oracle.-An astrologer foretold the death of a lady whom Louis XI passionately loved. She did, in fact, die, and the King imagined that the prediction of the astrologer was the cause of it. He sent for the man, intending to have him thrown out of the window as a punishment. "Tell me," said the King, "thou who pretendest to be so clever and learned a man, what thy own fate will be?" The soothsayer, who suspected the intentions of the King, and knew his foible, replied :.

"Sire, I foresee that I shall die three days before your Majesty." Louis believed him, and was careful of the astrologer's life.—An astrologer, fixing his eyes upon the Duke of Milan, said to him: "My Lord, arrange your affairs, for you have not long to live.” The Duke asked: "How dost thou know this?" "By my acquaintance with the stars," answered the astrologer. "And pray, how long art thou to live?" "My planet promises me a long life." "Well, thou shalt shortly discover that we ought not to trust the stars." And the Duke ordered him to be hanged instantly. Our own King Henry VIII asked an astrologer if he knew where he should pass the festivities at Christmas. The astrologer answered that he knew nothing on the subject. "Then," said the King, "I am wiser than thou art; for I know that thou shalt pass them in the Tower of London ;" and the unlucky astrologer was at once conducted thither. William, Duke of Mantua, had in his stables a brood mare which gave birth to a mule. He immediately sent to the most famous astrologers in Italy the hour of the birth of this animal, requesting them to inform him what should be the fortune of a bastard that had been born in his palace; he took care, however, not to intimate that he was speaking of a mule. The soothsayers used their best endeavours to flatter the Prince, not doubting that the bastard belonged to himself. Some declared that it should be a general; others made it a bishop; some raised it to the rank of cardinal; and there were even some who elevated it to the papal chair!

It is truly marvellous that the same age which produced a Newton should also have seen flourish that arch-astrologer William Lilly (inimitably satirised by Butler under the name of Sidrophel,* whose preposterous predictions were credited even by persons of education. Swift may be said to have dealt

* A cunning man, hight Sidrophel,

That deals in Destiny's dark counsels,

And sage opinions of the moon selle.-Hudibras.

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