Here follows the account of Pharaoh’s dreams of the seven fat and seven lean kine, and of the seven full and thin ears of corn, as told in the Koran and the book of Genesis. He interrogates his wise men and counsellors, but they are unable to explain their meaning. Then the Cup-bearer remembers Joseph, and informs the King, that there is one confined in the prison, who had interpreted his dream, and could probably interpret the King’s. At the King’s com­mand he hastens to Joseph, and receives from him the interpretation of the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine; and is immediately sent back to bring him in person to the King’s presence, who remarks,

“Sweet as sugar are the words which come from a friend,
But sweeter is it still when we hear them from himself.”

But Joseph declines to obey the order:

“Why”—he says—“should I go to the King,
Who me—the friendless—the faultless one,
Hath kept confined for years in the prison,
And left me despairing of all signs of mercy?
If he desireth that from this house of sorrows
I should step forth, let him first command,
That the women of Memphis, assembled like the Pleiades,
Should lift up the veil which covereth my actions,
And plainly declare what they have seen in me,
What is my crime, and wherefore they have led me on the way to a prison:
Then may the mystery be cleared up before the King,
And it may be seen that my garment is pure from perfidy:
No! it is not my habit to give way to sinful thoughts,
It is not my habit to have a thought of treachery!
In that house treachery never came from me,
Nothing came from me but truth and rectitude;
For rather would I grub for treasure in a mine,
Than become a traitor to the household-couch!

When the King has received this message, he orders all the women of Memphis to be assembled, and demands from them their reason for accusing Joseph.

The women reply,—“O Fortune-favoured Monarch—
May thy throne and thy crown be ever prosperous!
Never have we seen aught but purity in Joseph,
Never have we seen aught but honour and nobility;
The pearl is not more pure within its shell,
Than is that soul of the world pure from suspicion.
And Zulaikha also was seated there,
Her tongue freed from falsehood and her soul from malice,
And purified by the discipline of love
From every deceit which was hid beneath a veil.
The brightness of rectitude shewed wisdom to her heart,
And, like the clear morning, she spake out the truth.
She said,—“Joseph is guiltless of a crime:
It was I who lost my way in the pursuit of his love;
I it was who first sought his society,
And, when he refused it, drove him from my presence;
My injustice it was which threw him into prison,
My own misery it was which brought him to misery;
And when my misery had passed all limits,
I made his condition as miserable as my own.
For all the injustice done him through my injustice
Now am I bound to find a remedy;
And whatever favours a beneficent King may confer,
Joseph is worthy of such a hundred-fold.”
When the King heard these nicely-weighed words,
He expanded like a rose, and smiled like a rosebud;
He made a sign that they should bring him out of prison,
And conduct him to that delightful palace-garden-house.
“He is a blooming rose from the garden of grace,
The rose garden befitteth a blooming rose better than a prison;
He is a favoured King in the realm of spirits,
He ought to have no seat except a Throne.”

The narrator now goes on to describe how Joseph, released from prison, is received with the greatest honour by the King, who demands from him what it will be best to do during the years of plenty and famine, listens to his counsels and plans, appoints him his Grand-Vizer, and gives him full power to administer the affairs of the kingdom. Potiphar, thus deprived of his rank and authority, pines away and dies: and Zulaikha retires into solitude, and falls into premature old age, blindness, and decrepitude; but after a time, unable to bear her distance from Joseph, she returns to the city, and builds herself a hut surrounded with reeds, whence she can hear the sound of his horse whenever he passes to and fro: and this is her sole remaining solace and occupation.