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Zadig by Voltaire

[Illustration]

_ZADIG_;

OR, THE

Book of Fate.

AN

Oriental HISTORY,

Translated from the

_French_ ORIGINAL

OF

Mr. _VOLTAIRE_.

----_Quo fata trahunt, retrahuntque sequamur. Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum, Tendimus in Latium._----VIRG.

_LONDON_:

Printed for IOHN BRINDLEY, Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of _Wales_, in _New Bond-Street_.

MDCCXLIX.

THE

DEDICATION

TO THE

SULTANA _SHERAA_,

BY

_SADI_.

The 18th of the Month _Scheval_, in the Year of the _Hegira_, 837.

Thou Joy of ev'ry Eye! Thou Torment of every Heart! Thou Intellectual Light! I do not kiss the Dust of thy Feet; because thou seldom art seen out of the Seraglio, and when thou art, thou walkest only on the Carpets of _Iran_, or on Beds of Roses.

I here present you with a Translation of the Work of an ancient _Sage_, who having the Happiness of living free from all Avocations, thought proper, by Way of Amusement, to write the History of _Zadig_; a Performance, that comprehends in it more Instruction than, 'tis possible, you may at first be aware of. I beg you would indulge me so far as to read it over, and then pass your impartial Judgment upon it: For notwithstanding you are in the Bloom of your Life; tho' ev'ry Pleasure courts you; tho' you are Nature's Darling, and have internal Qualities in proportion to your Beauty; tho' the World resounds your Praises from Morning till Night, and consequently you must have a just Title to a superior Degree of Understanding than the rest of your Sex; Yet your Wit is no ways flashy; Your Taste is refin'd, and I have had the Honour to hear you talk more learnedly than the wisest _Dervise_, with his venerable Beard, and pointed Bonnet: You are discreet, and yet not mistrustful; you are easy, but not weak; you are beneficent with Discretion; you love your Friends, and create yourself no Enemies. Your most sprightly Flights borrow no Graces from Detraction; you never speak a misbecoming Word, nor do an ill-natur'd Action, tho' 'tis always in your Power. In a Word, your Soul is as spotless as your Person. You have, moreover, a little Fund of Philosophy, which gives me just Grounds to hope that you'll relish this Historical Performance better than any other Lady of your Quality would do.

It was originally compos'd in the _Chaldean_ Language, to which both you and my self are perfect Strangers. It was translated, however, into _Arabic_, for the Amusement of the celebrated Sultan OULOUG-BEG. It first appear'd in Public, when the _Arabian_ and _Persian_ Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, and One Thousand and One Days, were most in Vogue: OULOUG chose rather to entertain himself with the Adventures of _Zadig_. The Sultanas indeed were more fond of the former. How can you, said the judicious OULOUG, be so partial, as to prefer a Set of Tales, that are no ways interesting or instructive, to a Work, that has a Variety of Beauties to recommend it? Oh! replied the Sultanas, the less Sense there is in them, the more they are in Taste; and the less their Merit, the greater their Commendation.


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