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frowns. The birth of the prince was celebrated throughout the empire by the customary public demonstrations of joy. The felicity of Ibrahim was complete. He was perpetually revolving in his mind the sentiments and hopes which the nation would form of the royal infant. Scarce was he born, when paternal solicitude embraced, as it were, his whole life. Impatient to know his destiny, that solicitude plunged into futurity, determined, if possible, to wrest from time, the secrets of which he was the hoary-headed guardian.
In Ibrahim's dominions were some sages particularly honoured with the confidence of heaven. He commanded them to consult the stars, and to report their answer. Tremble,” said the sages;
or thou unfortunate father, tremble ! Never before have the skies presented such inauspicious omens. Let him fly; let this son, too dear to you, fly; let him avoid, if possible, the meeting with any savage beasts. His seventh year is the fatal one; and if he should happen then, to escape the misfortune that hangs over him, ah! do not wish him to live. His father, his very father, will not be able to escape from the hand of a parricide.”
This answer threw the sultan into the deepest consternation. He did not sink, however, into absolute despondency; his courage soon revived. He determined to take all the precautions which paternal tenderness could suggest, to defeat the prediction of the astrologers. He, therefore, caused a kind of subterranean palace to be made on the summit of a lofty mountain. The labour and expense of the exca
vation was prodigious. Extensive walks were formed, with a variety of apartments, in which every thing was provided that could contribute to the conveniences, and even the luxuries of life. In this magnificent cavern, Ibrahim, as it were, inhumed his son, together with his governess, of whose care and fidelity he had no doubt. Provisions were constantly carried thither at stated periods. The king forgot not a single day to visit the mountain that contained his beloved treasure, and to be satisfied of his safety with his own eyes. With what delight did he behold the growing beauties of his son! With what pleasure and rapture did he listen to his sprightly saillies of wit, his smart repartees, and those pretty nothings which a father, in particular, is fond to recollect and to repeat; at which the most rigid gravity may smile, and which are worth all the understanding of riper years. He was perpetually counting the hours and minutes that he had to spend with his son'; and he incessantly reproached himself, for not seeing him more frequently.
Shah Abbas, for such was his name, at length reached his seventh year, that fatal year, which Ibrahim would fain have delayed, even at the expense of his crown. He would never leave his son a minute. But, alas! is it possible to escape our destiny ? Summoned one day to his palace by affairs of the most pressing exigency, he left the mountain with extreme reluctance. Never had Shah Abbas appeared more amiable in his father's eyes, never had Ibrahim appeared more affectionate to his son ! Each was tormented by an uneasy sensation, an unaccount
*able presentiment that they were to meet there no more!
Some robbers were hunting wild beasts : the ardour of the pursuit brought them to this mountain. A lion that fled from them, perceived the subterra
passsage, and took refuge in it. The robbers, who durst not follow him, waited, however, for the sequel of this adventure. On a sudden, they heard a violent scream, and presently all was silent. This silence suggested to them, that the cavern now contained, not a living creature, but the lion. They threw down a quantity of stones, which soon put an end to the existence of the formidable animal. They then descended into the cavern, securing themselves from all further danger from the lion by cutting off his head. Wandering through every part of this subterraneous palace, they were astonished at the prodigious riches which they beheld. They perceived a slaughtered woman: this was the prince's governess. By her side lay a child covered with blood, who shewed, however, some signs of life. They examined his wounds: they found not one of them dangerous. The captain of these banditti, after stripping the cavern of its valuable contents, dressed the young prince's wounds himself, and effected a cure. The growing qualities of Shah Abbas endeared him to the chief, who adopted him as his son, and distinguished him as such by all the tenderness of a paternal heart.
Some years had elapsed since Ibrahim had first deplored the loss of a son, who, having been constantly ignorant of the name and titles of his father, had been unable to explain his origin to the robbers, was soon to become their chief. Such were the unaccountable caprices of fortune, which led to the completion of the prophecy, that had destined him to become one day a parricide. Ibrahim was wont to divert his grief by the pleasures of the chase; and this exercise soon became almost his only occupation. One evening that he had strayed, with a very slender escort, into the defiles of a very solitary mountain, a troop of robbers rushed upon him. The combat for sometime was furious. An arrow pierced the king ; it excited the spirit of vengeance in his attendants, and they fought, determined to conqueror die. They were soon victorious. The murderer was taken, and conducted to the metropolis, that he might undergo the punishment due to his crime.
Ibrahim, on the bed of death, summoned the astrologers to attend him, and thus addressed them : “I was to have perished, you told me, by the hand of a son ; but it is the hand of a robber that has inflicted the blow,"_" Sire," answered the sages,
« forbear to seek an explanation. The robber”...... They proceed no further. The young robber appears,
and relates his history. Ibrahim, while he bowed in submission to God, and adored His inscrutable decrees, blessed Him also for having restored his son; and the tears which he saw flow from the eyes of Shah Abbas, were a consolation in his dying moments.
APPLICATION OF ASTROLOGY TO THE PROLONGATION
OF LIFE, &c.
Astrology was also made subservient to the means of prolonging human life ; but how an art which determines the fate of mortals, and ascertains the impassable limits of the grave, could consistently be made subservient to such a purpose, we are rather at a loss to conceive, unless accounted for as follows. The teachers of divination maintained, that not only men, but all natural bodies, plants, animals, nay even whole countries, including every place and family, were under the government of some particular planet. As soon as the masters of the occult science had discovered by their tables, under what constellation the misfortune or distemper of any person originated, nothing farther was required, than that he should remove to a dwelling ruled by an opposite planet, and confine himself exclusively to such articles of food and drink as were under the influenc of a different star. In this artificial manner they con rived to form a system, or peculiar classification of planets, namely, Lunar, Solar, Mercurial and the like-and hence arose a confused map of dictated rules, which, when considered with reference to the purposes of health, cleanliness, exercise etc. form remarkable contrasts to those of the Greeks. But this preventive and repulsive method was not merely confined to persons who suffered under some bodily disorder : even individuals, who enjoyed a good state of health, an unlucky constellation