FLOWERS PERSIAN GARDEN ***
Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
"The smiling Garden of Persian Literature": a Garden which I would describe, in the Eastern style, as a happy spot, where lavish Nature with profusion strews the most fragrant and blooming flowers, where the most delicious fruits abound, which is ever vocal with the plaintive melancholy of the nightingale, who, during day and night, "tunes her love-laboured song": ... where the voice of Wisdom is often heard uttering her moral sentence, or delivering the dictates of experience.--SIR W. OUSELEY.
FLOWERS FROM A PERSIAN GARDEN,
BY W. A. CLOUSTON,
AUTHOR OF 'POPULAR TALES AND FICTIONS' AND 'BOOK OF NOODLES'; EDITOR OF 'A GROUP OF EASTERN ROMANCES AND STORIES,' 'BOOK OF SINDIBAD,' 'BAKHTYAR NAMA,' 'ARABIAN POETRY FOR ENGLISH READERS,' ETC.
LONDON: DAVID NUTT, 270, 271, STRAND. MDCCCXC.
TO E. SIDNEY HARTLAND, ESQ.,
FELLOW OF THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES; MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF THE FOLK-LORE SOCIETY, ETC.
MY DEAR HARTLAND,
Though you are burdened with the duties of a profession far outside of which lie those studies that have largely occupied my attention for many years past, yet your own able contributions to the same, or cognate, subjects of investigation evince the truth of the seemingly paradoxical saying, that "the busiest man finds the greatest amount of leisure." And in dedicating this little book to you--would that it were more worthy!--as a token of gratitude for the valuable help you have often rendered me in the course of my studies, I am glad of the opportunity it affords me for placing on record (so to say) the fact that I enjoy the friendship of a man possessed of so many excellent qualities of heart as well as of intellect.
The following collection of essays, or papers, is designed to suit the tastes of a more numerous class of readers than were some of my former books, which are not likely to be of special interest to many besides students of comparative folk-lore--amongst whom your own degree is high. The book, in fact, is intended mainly for those who are rather vaguely termed "general readers"; albeit I venture to think that even the folk-lore student may find in it somewhat to "make a note of," as the great Captain Cuttle was wont to say--in season and out of season.
Leaving the contents to speak for themselves, I shall only say farther that my object has been to bring together, in a handy volume, a series of essays which might prove acceptable to many readers, whether of grave or lively temperament. What are called "instructive" books--meaning thereby "morally" instructive--are generally as dull reading as is proverbially a book containing nothing but jests--good, bad, and indifferent. We can't (and we shouldn't) be always in the "serious" mood, nor can we be for ever on the grin; and it seems to me that a mental dietary, by turns, of what is wise and of what is witty should be most wholesome. But, of the two, I confess I prefer to take the former, even as one ought to take solid food, in great moderation; and, after all, it is surely better to laugh than to mope or weep, in spite of what has been said of "the loud laugh that speaks the vacant mind." Most of us, in this work-a-day world, find no small benefit from allowing our minds to lie fallow at certain times, as farmers do with their fields. In the following pages, however, I believe wisdom and wit, the didactic and the diverting, will be found in tolerably fair proportions.
But I had forgot--I am not writing a Preface, and this is already too long for a Dedication; so believe me, with all good wishes,
Yours ever faithfully, W. A. CLOUSTON. GLASGOW, February, 1890.
FLOWERS FROM A PERSIAN GARDEN.
I Sketch of the Life of the Persian Poet Saádí--Character of his Writings--the _Gulistán_, or Rose-Garden--Prefaces to Books--Preface to the _Gulistán_--Eastern Poets in praise of Springtide
II Boy's Archery Feat--Advantages of Abstinence--Núshirván on Oppression--Boy in terror at Sea--Pride of Ancestry--Misfortunes of Friends--Fortitude and Liberality--Prodigality--Stupid Youth--Advantages of Education--The Fair Cup-bearer--'January and May'--Why an Old Man did not Marry--The Dervish who became King--Muezzin and Preacher who had bad voices--Witty Slave--Witty Kází--Astrologer and his Faithless Wife--Objectionable Neighbour
III On Taciturnity: Parallels from Caxton's _Dictes_ and preface to _Kalíla wa Dimna_--Difference between Devotee and Learned Man--To get rid of Troublesome Visitors--Fable of the Nightingale and the Ant--Aphorisms of Saádí--Conclusion