Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

by his friend and ally, Abradates, but, at his death, it
was incorporated with the Persian monarchy. Should
you ever travel through it, you will find the northern
part of it hilly, while the central portion of it is a
great plain, the greater part of which is very fertile,
but the southern and eastern part is chiefly a sandy
desert, or extensive morasses. The banks of the rivers,
in the southern and eastern portions, are capable of
cultivation. Rice, indigo, wheat, barley, poppies, dates
and sugar cane are raised. The climate is considered
remarkably healthy; so much so, that the inhabitants
of the surrounding provinces resort to it when sick,
just as the old Roman invalids used to go to Egypt.
The winters are mild, and the springs proverbially the
delight of the earth. In the summer the heat, how-
ever, is so intense that the people spend the day in
subterranean chambers, and sleep on the house tops, in
the open air, at night. The chief trade of Shuster is
in opium, indigo and sugar. Opium is produced here
in great quantities from the large and beautiful Orien-
tal
poppy.

of the
country

is

very fine, and produced in a considerable quantity. The luxuriancé of the sugar cane, and the excellence of the manufactured

sugar is so great that the province is said to have its name from its staple commodity-Khuzistan, that is, sugar country.

The animals of this country are jackals and hyenas, which are very numerous, and their nightly howlings a great annoyance. Antelopes and gazelles are numerous, and the winged songsters are the same that are found in southern Europe. Locusts, all sorts of lizards and insects, and venomous reptiles are found in great

The sugar

MODERN PERSIA COVETED.

35

66

abundance. This is the country, also, of the camel and of the wild ass, the wild boar and the lion. “ The wild ass of the wilderness that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure,” is a beautiful creature, and so swift in her native wilds that she can be caught only by relays of horses and dogs.

It is foreign to my present purpose to dwell on the history of Persia from the death of Esther to the defeat of the Persians by the Arabs on “the bloody plains of Cadessia," where Iran's ancient diadem was broken, or to speak of Persia under the Saracens, and of her emancipation from them, and her present dynasty of Shahs. This belongs properly to the general historian and to the political writers of the great Powers of Europe and Asia, who are all struggling to get the ascendancy in Persia, just as heirs intrigue for a dying man's estates. Of the Tartars, the Seljukian Turks, Turkomans, “the white sheep dynasty,” of Hassan, Hussein, Gengis-Khan, Nader Shah, “the great Moguls,” “the terrible Afghans,” Irak, Shiraz, Bagdad and Mosul, and of the fight between the British lion and the Russian bear for the vineyards of the Persian Naboths, I shall say nothing. Sure I am, however, as the poet says, that

“ All regions, revolutions, fortunes, fates

Of high, of low, of mind and matter, roll
Through the short channels of expiring time,
Or shoreless ocean of eternity,

In absolute subjection”to the mandate of Him who setteth up one and casteth down another, and doeth His will on earth and in the armies of heaven.

Happy then that people whose God is the Lord. Happy the nation that trusts in the Great Disposer of human events, amid the ever-changing scenes of time. In an empire so vast and so populous as that of the great king Ahasuerus, there were many large cities, of which little beyond their names, or the simple fact of their having once existed, is now known. It is difficult, and has, in fact, been done only in a few instances, to identify the mouldering remnants of cities that are scattered over the vast tracts of Persia, with the names of the cities described in the ancient history of that country.

But the same thing is true of the mighty cities of Egypt, Babylon and Greece. And is there not a day coming when the mighty cities of our times shall be as these mighty cities of old now are? “A school boy's tale, the wonder of an hour.” The reins of the Universe however are in the hands of the same Supreme Ruler that governed the world when Ahasuerus reigned from India to Ethiopia. The hand of God is just as truly in the modern as in the ancient history of Persia. There is a God that judgeth in the earth in America, just as much as in Asia. His eye and his laws are just as much over London and San Francisco, as they ever were over Babylon and Susa. It is just as true now, as when Mordecai was made Grand Vizier, that “there is a reward for the righteous." We have then a personal interest in keeping the commandments of our God, for in keeping of them there is great reward. And we have a deep personal interest in escaping from the wrath to come! Let us then well consider the great question of the poet :

That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
When heaven and earth shall pass away,
What power shall be the sinner's stay ?
How shall he meet that dreadful day?

a

[ocr errors]

THE DAY

OF WRATH.

37

When shivering like a parched scroll,
The flaming heavens together roll !
When louder yet, and yet more dread,
Swells the high trump that wakes the dead :

Oh! on that day, that wrathful day,
When man to judgment wakes from clay,
Be thou the trembling sinner's stay,
Though heaven and earth shall pass away.

Sir Walter Scott.

of what happened to their fathers many years ago

in the land of their captivity. The original is in Hebrew, and has been preserved with great care and fidelity. The following is the most faithful, elegant, and in every way the best translation that has yet been made of it into English. It was made in the early part of the seventeenth century by some of the best scholars then living, at the special command of a great and learned king of England, who had been educated by a Scotch pedagogue of great celebrity:

THE MEGILLOTH ESTHER. Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces :) that in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. And when these days were expired, the", king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace; where were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black marble. And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal

a

« ÎnapoiContinuați »