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been so many translations and imitations in Asiatic and European languages, and to which the Persian romance reproduced in the present volume is considered to bear some relation. El-Mas'udi, in his famous historical work, "Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems," states very plainly that "in the reign of Khūrūsh (Cyrus) lived Es-Sondbād, who was the author of the Book of the Seven Viziers, the Teacher, the Boy, and the Wife of the King." According to another Arabian writer, Sindibād was an Indian philosopher who lived about a hundred years B.C. El-Mas'udi does not mention the version through which the work was known in his time, but it was probably either in Arabic or Persian. The oldest version known to exist is in Hebrew, and is entitled Mishli Sindabar, Parables of Sindabar; the change of the name from Sindibād to Sindibar, Deslongchamps conjectures to be a mistake of the copyist, the Hebrew letters D and R being very similar in form. This Hebrew version has been proved to date as far back as the end of the twelfth century. Under the title of Historia Septem Sapientum Romæ, a Latin translation was made-from the Hebrew, it is supposed-by Dam Jehans, a monk of the abbey of Haute Selve, in the diocese of Nancy, early in the 13th century. A Greek version, entitled Syntipas, the date of which is not known, was made by a Christian named Andreopulus, who states in his prologue that he translated it

from the Syriac. Notwithstanding this very distinct statement, several learned scholars - Senglemann, among others—have contended that the Syntipas was made from the Hebrew version; of late years, however, a unique but unfortunately mutilated manuscript of the Syriac version, transcribed about the year 1560, was discovered by Rödiger, and reproduced in his Syriac Chrestomathie, in 1868; and a year later Baethgens published, at Leipsic, this text, together with a German translation, under the title of Sindban, oder die Sieben wiesen Meister, from which it appears certain that the Greek version of Andreopulus was made from the Syriac, the order of the stories being the same in both. Besides the Hebrew and Syriac versions of the Book of Sindibād, there exist translations or adaptations in at least two other Oriental languages, the Arabic and the Persian. The Arabian version (to which perhaps El-Mas'udi alluded in his mention of the work, as above) now forms one of the romances comprised in the Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night (the " Arabian Nights' Entertainments"), under the title of "The Story of the King, his Son, his Concubine, and his Seven Viziers;" and an English translation of it was published, in 1800, by Dr Jonathan Scott, in his Tales, Anecdotes, and Letters, from the Arabic and Persian. * Two

*

A complete and unabridged translation of the Thousand and One Nights (the first that has appeared in English), by Mr John Payne, author of "The Masque of Shadows," "Poems of

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poetical versions have been composed in Persian; one of which, entitled Sindibād Nama,* by Azraki, who died, at Herat, A.H. 527 (A.D. 1132-3), is mentioned by Daulet-Shah, in his life of Azraki, in these terms: And they say the Book of Sindibād, on precepts of practical philosophy, is one of his compositions." The other Persian version is known in Europe, I believe, only through Professor Forbes Falconer's excellent analysis‡ of a unique manuscript, entitled Sindibad Nama, composed A.H. 776 (A.D. 1374).

It was through the Latin version, Historia Septem Sapientum Roma, that this very remarkable work was communicated to nearly all the languages of Western Europe; Herbers, or Hebers, an ecclesiastic of the 13th century, made a translation, or rather Francis Villon," &c., is in course of publication. The first volume, now issued to subscribers, is well printed on handmade paper, and elegantly bound in gilt parchment. This edition is limited to 500 copies, numbered, most of which, I understand, have already been taken up.

* The word Nāma (often written Namah and Nameh) signifies Book, or History.

+ It is probably this version that is quoted by Sa‘dī, in his Bustan, book iii:

How nice comes this point in Sindibād,

That "Love is a fire-O whirlwind-like sea!"

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Asiatic Journal, N.S., vols. xxxv, xxxvi, 1841.—These titles also appear on this manuscript. Mesneviyi Sindibād, "The couplet-rhymed Sindibād ; Nazmi hakim Sindibād, Rhymed Story of the Philosopher Sindibād ;" and Kitābi hakim Sindibād, "Book of the Philosopher Sindibād."

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imitation, of it in French verse, under the title of Dolopatos. Many imitations in French prose subsequently appeared, and from one of these the work was rendered into English, under the title of The Sevyn Sages, and The Seven Wise Masters, one of which is among the reprints for the Percy Society, and of the other Ellis gives an analysis, with specimens in his Early English Metrical Romances. In 15 16 an Italian version, entitled "The History of Prince Erastus," was published, which was afterwards translated into French.

In all these works, a young prince is falsely accused by his step-mother of having attempted to violate her, and the King, his father, condemns him to death, but is induced to defer the execution of the sentence from day to day, during seven days, by one of his seven counsellors, viziers, or wise men, relating to the King one or more stories, designed to caution him against the wicked wiles of women; while the Queen, every night, urges the King to put his son to death, and, in her turn, tells him a story, intended to show that men are faithless and treacherous, and that fathers must not expect gratitude or consideration from their sons. In the sequel, the innocence of the Prince is established, and the wicked step-mother is duly punished for her gross iniquity. This is the leading story of most of the romances which have been derived, or imitated, from the Book of Sindibād; but the subordinate Tales vary materially in the several translations or versions.

Dunlop, in his History of Fiction, remarks that "the leading incident of a disappointed woman accusing the object of her passion is as old as the story of Joseph, and may thence be traced through the fables of mythology to the Italian novelists." But surely there was nothing so very peculiar in the conduct of Zulaykha (as Muslims name the wife of Potiphar)-nothing very different from human (or woman) nature in general, that should lead us to conclude, with Dunlop, that all the numerous stories based upon a similar incident had their common origin in the celebrated tale of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. We have no reason to suppose a Hebrew origin for the well-known classical legend of Phædra, who was enamoured of Hippolytus, and, unable to suppress her passion, made overtures to him, which were disdainfully rejected; upon which Phædra accused Hippolytus to her husband Theseus of attempting to dishonour her. And although the work ascribed to the Indian sage Sindibād now appears to be lost, yet this "leading incident" of works of the Sindibād-cycle forms the subject of several Indian romances, one of which is a story in verse of a Prince named Sarangdhara, whose step-mother Chitrángí falls in love with. him. He rejects her advances, on which she accuses him to the King of attempting to violate her, and the King orders him to have his feet cut off and to be exposed to wild beasts in the forest. The innocence of the Prince is afterwards proved, and the wicked. Queen is put to death.

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