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all the pulpits that of Hassan as the true successor of the Prophet."

The latter point had presented some difficulty to Hassan; for, in order to satisfy the people on that head, it was necessary to prove a descent from the Prophet, and this was an honour to which it was well known the family from which he was sprung had never laid claim. He might take upon him to abolish the positive precepts of the law as he pleased, and the people, whose inclinations were thereby gratified, would not perhaps scan very narrowly the authority by which he acted; but the attempt to deprive the Fatimite khalif of the honour which he had so long enjoyed, and to assume the rank of God's vicegerent on earth in his room, was likely to give too great a shock to their prejudices, if not cautiously managed.

It was necessary, therefore, that he should prove himself to be of the blood of the Fatimites. He accordingly began to drop some dark hints respecting the truth of the received opinion of his being the son of Keäh Mohammed. Our readers will recollect that, when Hassan Sabah was in Egypt, a dispute had taken place respecting the succession to the throne, in which Hassan had nearly lost his life for opposing the powerful commander-in-chief (Emiral-Jooyoosh), and Nezar, the prince for whom the khalif Mostanser had designed the succession, had been deprived of his right by the influence of that officer. The confidents of Hassan now began to give out that, in about a year after the death of the khalif Mostanser, a certain person named Aboo-'lZeide, who had been high in his confidence, had come to Alamoot, bearing with him a son of Nezar, whom he committed to the care of Hassan Sabah, who, grateful to the memory of the khalif and his son, had received the fugitive with great honour, and assigned a village at the foot of Alamoot for the

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residence of the young imam. was grown up he married and had a son, whom he named On his Memory be Peace. Just at the time when the imam's wife was confined in the village, the consort of Keäh Mohammed lay in at the castle; and, in order that the descendant of Fatima might come to the temporal power which was his right, a confidential woman undertook and succeeded in the task of secretly changing the children, Others went still further, and did not hesitate to assert that the young imam had intrigued with the wife of Keäh Mohammed, and that Hassan was the fruit of their adulterous intercourse. Like a true pupil of ambition, Hassan was willing to defame the memory of his mother, and acknowledge himself to be a bastard, provided he could succeed in persuading the people to believe him a descendant of the Prophet.

These pretensions of Hassan to a Fatimite pedigree gave rise to a further increase of the endless sects into which the votaries of Islam were divided. Those who acknowledged it got the name of Nezori, and by them Hassan was called the Lord of the Resurrection (Kaim-al-Kiamet), and they styled themselves the Sect of the Resurrection.

The reign of the vain, inconsiderate Hassan was but short. He had governed the society only four years when he was assassinated by his brother-in-law, Namver, a descendant, we are told, of the family of Buyah, which had governed the khalifs and their dominions before the power passed into the hands of the Turkish house of Seljook.

CHAPTER VIII.

Mohammed II.-Anecdote of the Imam Fakhr-ed-deenNoor-ed-deen-Conquest of Egypt-Attempt on the Life of

Saladin.

THE death of Hassan was amply avenged by his son and successor, Mohammed II. Not only was the murderer himself put to death; vengeance, in its oriental form, extended itself to all his kindred of both sexes, and men, women, and children bled beneath the sword of the executioner. Mohammed, who had been carefully trained up in the study of philosophy and literature, was, like his father, puffed up with vanity and ambition, and, far from receding from any of his predecessor's pretensions to the imamat, he carried them to even a still greater length than he had done. At the same time he maintained a high character for knowledge and talent among his literary contemporaries, who were numerous, for his reign extended through a period of forty-six years, and the modern Persian literature was now fast approaching its climax. Not to mention other names, less familiar to our readers, we shall remark, as a proof of what we have said, that this was the period in which Nizamee of Ghenj sang in harmonious numbers the loves of Khosroo and Shireen, and of Mujnoon and Leila (these last the Romeo and Juliet of the east), the crown and flower of the romantic poetry of Persia. Then too flourished the great panegyrist Enveree, and a crowd of historians, jurists, and divines.

One of the most celebrated men of this time was

the imam Fakhr-ed-deen (Glory of Religion) Rasi, who gave public lectures on the law in his native city of Rei. It being slanderously reported that he was devoted in secret to the opinions of the Ismaïlites, and was even one of their missionaries, he adopted the ordinary expedient of abusing and reviling that sect, and each time he ascended the pulpit to preach he reprobated and cursed the Impious in no measured terms. Intelligence of what he was about was not long in reaching the eyrie of the Sheikh-al-Jebal, and a Fedavee received his instructions, and forthwith set out for Rei. He here entered himself as a student of the law, and sedulously attended the lectures of the learned imam. During seven months he watched in vain for an opportunity of executing his commission. At length he discovered one day that the attendants of the imam had left him to go to fetch him some food, and that he was alone in his study. The Fedavee entered, fastened the doors, seized the imam, cast him on the ground, and directed his dagger at his bosom. "What is thy design?" said the astonished imam. "To rip up thy belly and breast." "And wherefore?" fore? Because thou hast spoken evil of the Ismaïlites in the pulpit." The imam implored and entreated, vowing that, if his life was spared, he would never more say aught to offend the sect of Ismaïl. "I cannot trust thee," cried the Assassin; "for when I am gone thou wilt return to thy old courses, and, by some ingenious shift or other, contrive to free thyself from the obligation of thy oath." The imam then, with a most solemn oath, abjured the idea of explaining away his words, or seeking absolution for perjury. The Assassin got up from over him, saying, "I had no order to slay thee, or I should have put thee to death without fail. Mohammed, the son of Hassan, greets thee, and invites thee to honour

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him by a visit at his castle. Thou shalt there have unlimited power, and we will all obey thee like trusty servants. We despise, so saith the sheikh, the discourses of the rabble, which rebound from our ears like nuts from a ball; but you should not revile us, since your words impress themselves like the strokes of the graver in the stone." The imam replied that it was totally out of his power to go to Alamoot, but that in future he should be most careful never to suffer a word to pass his lips to the discredit of the mountain prince. Hereupon the Fedavee drew 300 pieces. of gold from his girdle, and, laying them down, said, "See! here is thy annual pension; and, by a decree of the divan, thou shalt every year receive an equal sum through the reis Mozaffer. I also leave thee, for thy attendants, two garments from Yemen, which the Sheikh-al-Jebal has sent thee." So saying, the Fedavee disappeared. The imam took the money and the clothes, and for some years his pension was paid regularly. A change in his language now became perceptible, for, whereas he was used before, when, on treating of any controverted point, he had occasion to mention the Ismaïlites, to express himself thus, "Whatever the Ismaïlites, whom God curse and destroy! may say,"-now that he was pensioned he contented himself with merely saying, "Notwithstanding what the Ismaïlites may say." When one of his scholars asked him the cause of this change he made answer, "We cannot curse the Ismaïlites, they employ such sharp and convincing arguments." This anecdote is related by several of the Persian historians, and it serves to prove, like the case of sultan Sanjar, related above, that the Ismaïlites were not so thoroughly ruthless and bloodthirsty as not to prefer rendering an enemy innocuous by gentle means to depriving him of life.

Historians record no other event connected with

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