The Autobiography Of The Constantinopolitan Story-Teller

Miscellaneous Arabic Texts


The Autobiography Of The Constantinopolitan Story-Teller, TEI XML

  1. شعر
  2. دع المقادير تجري في اعِنتها
  3. ولا تباتنَّ الاَّ خال البال
  4. ما بين رقدة عين وانت غافلها
  5. يغيّر ربك من حالٍ الى حالِ
  7. Let destiny run with slackened reins and be not in
  8. haste,
  9. Pass not thy nights, but with careless mind and in rest,
  10. Be sure that while thou art taking in bed a little rest,
  11. Thy Lord in heaven is changing thy lot for the best.
  12. لاَ يَكُونُ الحَكِيمُ حَكِيماً
  13. حَتَّى يَغْلِبَ جَمِيعَ شَهْوَاتِةِ
  14. Le sage ne sera point sage jusqu'à ce qu'il dompte
  15. toutes ses passions!
  16. A man will never become a wise man until he can
  17. rule his own passions!
  3. This beautiful Arabic Romance, which ought to be
  4. translated into English, may be called the Eastern
  5. Gil Blas, or the New Sindebad el Bahri, the famous
  6. traveller of the Arabian Nights.
  7. The hero, born in Constantinople, receives a good
  8. education under the careful superintendence of a
  9. Turkish nobleman, who adopts him, and afterwards
  10. presents him to the Sultan, by whom he is treated
  11. with all kindness.
  12. Upon the death of the Sultan, he loses all in-
  13. fluence at Court, and is banished by his successor,
  14. instigated by the intrigues and jealousy of the
  15. Grand Wezier.
  16. He becomes pirate, merchant, agent, slave, shepherd,
  17. derwish, captive; in every situation giving
  18. proof of a true nobility of mind, and a firm trust in
  19. Providence.
  1. Thus he is sometimes raised to the summit of
  2. prosperity, and sometimes reduced to the most abject
  3. misery, like Gil Blas, experiencing all the vicissitudes
  4. of human conditions, with this difference, that Le
  5. Sage describes the domestic and social habits of the
  6. West, whilst our author renders with the most consummate
  7. skill the many nuances that blend to form
  8. an accurate picture of Life in the East.
  9. Our adventurer, like Sindebad el Bahri, is a
  10. wanderer in many lands, visiting most parts of Asia
  11. and Africa, the author with careful touches giving
  12. the most vivid description of the different countries
  13. and cities of those continents, and bringing before
  14. the eyes of the reader the manners and customs of
  15. the inhabitants with a rare fidelity.
  16. Besides narrating his own adventures, our hero
  17. relates many other strange and amusing tales incidentally,
  18. giving proof of an imagination of unbounded
  19. fertility, and inexhaustible powers pf invention.
  20. The variety and interesting nature of these episodes
  21. greatly increase the beauty of the romance, and
  22. render the work more valuable in every respect.
  23. The author has selected for his style the conversational
  24. Arabic which prevails over the greater
  25. portion of the East, so that this romance will be
  1. recited in all the cafés in those immense countries,
  2. in which its graphic descriptions and vivid imagery
  3. will recommend it to a population so attached to
  4. those qualities.
  5. I have no doubt that this work will not only
  6. furnish immense gratification to Arabic scholars in
  7. Europe, but will also prove most useful from its easy
  8. and fluent style to those who are anxious to study
  9. the Arabic language as now used in the Arabic-speaking
  10. countries of Asia and Africa.
  11. As for those sentences which may seem to the
  12. foreign reader imperfectly or ungrammatically constructed,
  13. they have been left as they were written
  14. by the author, perhaps on purpose to copy popular
  15. expression, since they have their own merit, being
  16. generally admitted in modern common conversation,
  17. which the reader cannot find in the classical authors,
  18. but to which even the learned must conform, to make
  19. themselves understood. Hence the learned Arabic
  20. scholars have the following maxim:
  21. غلط مشهور خير من صوابٍ مهجور
  22. “A common mistake admitted by general use is
  23. preferable to grammatical correctness, which, become
  24. obsolete, cannot be understood.”
  1. This romance is therefore certain to be appreciated
  2. by every person who is interested in the perusal of
  3. works of imagination of the kind of the Arabian
  4. Nights, to which this Autobiography is perhaps in
  5. many respects superior, and more particularly in
  6. that the Wonderful is always subordinated to the
  7. Possible.
  9. London, June, 1877.
  10. HERTFORD'.