The Messenger and the Departure.

Zulaikha, sick through hope deferred, falls into her old dejection, and her fond father, in his anxiety and perplexity, determines to offer her in marriage to the Grand-Vizier of Egypt. With this view, he selects a trusty and discreet messenger, and sends him on his mission. The Grand-Vizier, in great delight, accepts the offer, but excuses himself for not returning with the messenger to fetch his bride on the ground of his duties and the requirements of his office, the King, his master, not allowing him a term of absence. Her father, nevertheless, decides to send her, and prepares a magnificent dowry, and a suitable retinue of attendants and companions.

For Zulaikha herself he provideth an elegant litter,
Or rather the model of a bridal chamber:
A sculptured apartment of sandal and aloes wood,
Its well-compacted boards overlaid with gold;
Its roof studded with gems like the Pavilion of Jemshid;
Its golden dome like the ball of the sun;
Within and without covered all over
With golden nails and with pendants of jewels,
And hung all around with brocade and cloth of gold,
In heart-captivating colours and lovely figures.
They place Zulaikha in this bridal chamber,
And, with a thousand endearments, set her forward towards Memphis:
The beautiful litter, borne on wind-footed dromedaries,
Went swiftly as the rose-leaves before the spring-tide wind.
Zulaikha, with heart reconciled to fortune,
Hopeth soon to reach the end of her journey at Memphis.
Soon will the morning dawn on the night of gloom;
Soon will the pain of separation come to its ending!
Thoughtless how many a black night was yet to be!
How many a year’s travel ere the dawn of that morning!
By the bright day, through the darksome night,
They hurried on, till Memphis was nigh at hand;
Then they sent forward a swift messenger
To announce the news before their arrival.
He was to seek the nearest road to Memphis,
And inform the Grand-Vizier of Egypt—
“Lo! now a sudden fortune descendeth upon thine head!
Rouse thyself, if thou wouldst give it a worthy reception!”