Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

Then turning to the Jew, he asked him, “ What he had to say, and whether he was content." The Jew answered, That he thought himself extremely happy to come off at so easy a rate, and that he was perfectly content.”—“ But we are not content, replied Sixtus, nor is there sufficient satisfaction made to our laws. We desire to know what authority you have to lay such wagers? The subjects of princes are the property of the state, and have no right to dispose of their bodies, nor any part of them, without the express consent of their sovereigns.'

They were both immediately sent to prison, and the governor ordered to proceed against them with the utmost severity of the law, that others might be deterred by their example from laying any more such wagers.-[The governor interceding for them, and proposing a fine of a thousand crowns each, Sixtus ordered him to condemn them both to death, the Jew for selling his life, by consenting to have a pound of flesh cut from his body, which he said was direct suicide, and the merchant for premeditated murder, in making a contract with the other that he knew must be the occasion of his death.]

As Secchi was of a very good family, having many great friends and relations, and the Jew one of the most leading men in the synagogue, they both had recourse to petitions. Strong application was made to Cardinal Montalto, to intercede with his holiness at least to spare their lives. Sixtus, who did not really design to put them to death, but to deter others from such practices, at last consented to change the sentence into that of the galleys, with liberty to buy off' that too, by paying each of them two thousand crowns, to be applied to the use of the hospital which he had lately founded, before they were released. Life of Sixtus V. Fol. B. VII. p. 293, &c.



IN a Persian manuscript in the possession of Ensign Thomas Munro, of the first battalion of Sepoys, now at Tanjore, is found the following story of a Jew and a Mussulman. Several leaves being wanting both at the beginning and end of the MS. its age has not been ascertained. The translation, in which the idiom is Persian, though the words are English, was made by Mr. Munro, and kindly communicated to me (together with a copy of the original,) by Daniel Braithwaite, Esq.

“ It is related, that in the town of Syria a poor Mussulman lived in the neighbourhood of a rich jew. One day he went to the Jew, and said, lend me 100 dinars, that I may trade with it, and I will give thee a share of the gain.- This Mussulman had a beautiful wife, and the Jew had seen and fallen in love with her, and thinking this a lucky opportunity, he said, I will


not do thus, but I will give thee a hundred dinars, with this condition, that after six months thou shalt restore it to me. But give me a bond in this form, that if the term of the agreement shall be exceeded one day, I shall cut a pound of flesh from thy body, from whatever part I choose. The Jew thought that by this means he might perhaps come to enjoy the Mussulman's wife. The Mussulman was dejected, and said, how can this be? But as his distress was extreme, he took the money on that condition, and gave the bond, and set out on a journey; and in that journey he acquired much gain, and he was every day saying to himself, God forbid that the term of the agreement should pass away, and the Jew bring vexation upon me. He therefore gave a hundred gold dinars into the hand of a trusty person, and sent him home to give it to the Jew. But the people of his own house, being without money, spent it in maintaining themselves. When he returned from his journey, the Jew required payment of the money, and the pound of Aesh. The Mussulman said, I sent thy money a long time ago. The Jew said, thy money came not to me.

When this on examination appeared to be true, the Jew carried the Mussulman before the Cazi, and represented the affair. The Cazi said to the Mussulman, either satisfy the Jew, or give the pound of flesh. The Mussulman not agreeing to this, said, let us go to another Cazi. When they went, he also spoke in the same manner. The Mussulman asked the advice of an ingenious friend. He said, “

say to him, let us go to the Cazi of Hems.* Go there, for thy business will be well.” Then the Mussulman went to the Jew, and said, I shall be satisfied with the decree of the Cazi of Hems; the Jew said, I also shall be satisfied. Then both departed for the city of Hems. When they presented themselves before the judgment-seat, the

[ocr errors]

* Hems-Emessa, a city of Syria, long. 70, lat. 34.

The Orientals say that Hippocrates made his ordinary residence there; and the Christians of that country have a tradition, that the head of St. John the Baptist was found there, under the reign of Theodosius the younger.

This city was famous in the times of paganism for the Temple of the Sun, under the name of Heliogabalus, from which the Roman emperor took his name.

It was taken from the Mussulmen by the Tartars, in the year of Christ 1098. Saladin retook it in 1187. The Tartars took it in the


1.258. Afterwards it passed into the hands of the Mamalukes, and from them to the Turks, who are now in possession of it. This city suffered greatly by a most dreadful earthquake in 1157, when the Franks were in possession of Syria. HERBELOT.

+ Here follows the relation of a number of unlucky adventures, in which the Mussulman is involved by the way; but as they only tend to show the sagacity of the Cazi in extricating him from them, and have no connection with Shylock, I have omitted them. T. M.

Jew said, O my Lord Judge, this man borrowed an hundred dinars of me, and pledged a pound of flesh from his own body. Command that he give the money and the flesh. It happened, that the Cazi was the friend of the father of the Mussulman, and for this respect, he said to the Jew, “ Thou sayest true, it is the purport of the bond; and he desired, that they should bring a sharp knife. The Mussulman on hearing this, became speechless. The knife being brought, the Cazi turned his face to the Jew, and said, “ Arise, and cut one pound of flesh from the. body of him, in such a manner, that there may not be one grain more or less, and if more or less thou shalt cut, I shall order thee to be killed. The Jew said, I cannot. I shall leave this business and depart. The Cazi said, thou mayest not leave it. He said, O Judge, I have released him. The Judge said, it cannot be ; either cut the flesh, or pay the expence of his journey. It was settled at two hundred dinars: the Jew paid another hundred, and departed." Malone.

To the collection of novels, &c. wherein the plot of the foregoing play occurs, may be added another, viz. from " Roger Bontemps en Belle Humeur.In the story here related of the Jew and the Christian, the Judge is made to be Solyman, Emperor of the Turks.

See the edition of 1731, Tom. II. So far Mr. Douce:-Perhaps this Tale (like that of Parnell's Hermit,) may have found its way into every language.

[ocr errors]


p. 105.


T, DAVISON, Lumbard-street,

Whitefriars, London.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »