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AKING their way toward that part of the city inhabited
something, in the obscurity of night, and was nigh falling to the ground: at the same moment a voice cried out, "Allah, preserve me! Am I not wretched enough already, that I must be trodden under foot by a wandering beggar like myself, in the darkness of night!"
2. Mesrour the executioner, indignant at this insult to the Commander of the Faithful, was preparing to cut off his head, when Ali Raschid interposed, and inquired of the beggar his name, and why he was there sleeping in the streets, at that hour of the night.
3. "Mashallah," replied he, "I sleep in the street because I have nowhere else to sleep; and if I lie on a satin sofa, my pains and infirmities would rob me of rest. Whether on divans' of silk or in the dirt, all one to me, for neither by day nor by night do I know any rest. If I close my eyes for a moment, my dreams are of nothing but feasting, and I ǎwake only to feel more bitterly the pangs of hunger and disease."
4. "Hast thou no home to shelter thee, no friends or kindred to relieve thy necessities, or administer to thy infirmities?"
5. "No," replied the beggar; "my house was consumed by fire; my kindred are all dead, and my friends have deserted me. Alas! stranger, I am in want of everything-health, food, clothing, home, kindred, and friends. I am the most wretched of mankind, and death alone can relieve me."
6. "Of one thing, at least, I can relieve thee," said the caliph, giving him his purse. "Go and provide thyself food and shelter, and may Allah restore thy health."
7. The beggar took the purse, but instead of calling down blessings on the head of his benefactor, exclaimed, "Of what use is money? it can not cure disease ;" and the caliph again went on his way with Giafer his vizier, and Mesrour his executioner.
ASSING from the abodes of want and misery, they at length
from the windows, the caliph approached, and looking through the silken curtains, beheld a man walking backward and forward, with languid step, as if oppressed with a load of cares. At length casting himself down on a sofa, he stretched out his limbs, and yawning desperately, exclaimed, "O Allah! what shall I do? what will become of me! I am weary of life; it is nothing but a cheat, promising what it never purposes, and affording only hopes that end in disappointment, or, if realized, only in disgust."
2. The curiosity of the caliph being awakened to know the cause of his despair, he ordered Mesrour to knock at the door; which being opened, they pleaded the privilege of strangers to enter, for rest and refreshments. Again, in accordance with the precepts of the Kō'ran and the customs of the East, the strangers were admitted to the presence of the lord of the palace, who received them with welcome, and directed refreshments to be brought. But though he treated his guests with kindness, he neither sat down with them nor asked any questions, nor joined in their discourse, walking back and forth languidly, and seeming oppressed with a heavy burden of sorrows.
3. At length the caliph approached him reverently, and said: "Thou seemèst sorrowful, O my brother! If thy suffering is of the body, I am a physician, and peradventure can afford thee relief; for I have traveled into distant lands, and collected věry choice remedies for human infirmity."
4. "My sufferings are not of the body, but of the mind," answered the other.
5. "Hast thou lost the beloved of thy heart, the friend of thy bosom, or been disappointed in the attainment of that on which thou hast rested all thy hopes of happiness?"
6. "Alas! no. I have been disappointed, not in the means, but in the attainment of happiness. I want nothing but a want. I am cursed with the gratification of all my wishes, and the fruition of all my hopes. I have wasted my life in the acquisition
of riches, that only awakened new desires, and honors that no longer gratify my pride or repay me for the labor of sustaining them. I have been cheated in the pursuit of pleasures that weary me in the enjoyment, and am perishing for lack of the excitement of some new want. I have every thing I wish, yet enjoy nothing."
7. "Thy case is beyond my skill," replied the caliph; and the man cursed with the fruition of all his desires turned his back on him in despair. The caliph, after thanking him for his hospitality, departed with his companions, and when they had reached the street exclaimed
8. "Allah preserve me! I will no longer fatigue myself in a vain pursuit, for it is impossible to confer happiness on such a perverse generation. I see it is all the same, whether a man wants one thing, every thing, or nothing. Let us go home and
JAMES KIRKE PAULDING was born August 22, 1779, in the town of Pawling, on the Hudson, so named from one of his ancestors. After receiving a liberal education, he removed to New York City, where he has since principally resided. After writing some trifles for the gazettes, Mr. Paulding, with Washington Irving, established a periodical entitled "Salmagundi," in 1807. It met with extraordinary success, and was, perhaps, the determining cause of the author's subsequent devotion to literature. In 1819, Mr. Paulding published a second series of the "Salmagundi," of which he was the sole author. He is a voluminous writer. His various works, including stories, essays, and other papers, which he has published in periodicals, make more than thirty volumes. "The Dutchman's Fireside," published in 1831, and "Westward Ho," published the next year, are regarded as his best novels. They are distinguished for considerable descriptive powers, skill in character-writing, natural humor, and a strong national feeling, which gives a tone to all his works. Mr. Paulding was many years navy agent for the port of New York. When President Van Buren formed his cabinet, in the spring of 1837, he was selected to be the head of the navy department, in which office he continued for four years. Though this veteran author is now nearly ninety, he still retains his intellectual vigor.
47. THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
WEET Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
The decent church that topped the neighboring hill,
2. How often have I blessed the coming day,
3. Sweet, smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn:
One only master grasps the whole domain,
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amid thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
5. Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.
Amid thy tangling walks and ruined grounds,