Solomon to Songs of Zion

Solomon, an epic poem in three books, by Prior (1718). Bk. i. Solomon seeks happiness from wisdom, but comes to the conclusion that “All is vanity :” this book is entitled knowledge. Bk. ii. Solomon seeks happiness in wealth, grandeur, luxury, and ungodliness, but comes to the conclusion that “All is vanity and vexation of spirit:” this book is entitled Pleasure. Bk. iii., entitled Power, consists of the reflections of Solomon upon human life, the power of God, life, death, and a future state. An angel reveals to him the future lot of the Jewish race, and Solomon concludes with this petition—

Restore, Great Father, Thy instructed son,
And in my act may Thy great will be done!

Solomon is called king of the ginn and fairies. This is probably a mere blunder. The monarch of these spirits was called “suleyman,” and this title of rank has been mistaken for a proper name.

Solomon died standing. Solomon employed the genii in building the temple, but, perceiving that his end was at hand, prayed God that his death might be concealed from the genii till the work was completed. Accordingly, he died standing, leaning on his staff as if in prayer. The genii, supposing him to be alive, toiled on, and when the temple was fully built, a worm gnawed the staff, and the corpse fell prostrate to the earth. Mahomet refers to this as a fact—

When We [God] had decreed that Solomon should die, nothing discovered his death unto them [the genii] except the creeping thing of the earth, which gnawed his staff. And when his [dead] body fell down, the genii plainly perceived that if they had known that which is secret, they would not have continued in a vile punishment.—Al Kordn, XXXIV.

N. B.—Louis XVIII. said, “A king should die standing.” Vespasian said the same thing.

Solomon’s Favourite Wife. Prior, in his epic poem called Solomon (bk. ii.), makes Abra the favourite.

The apples she had gathered smelt most sweet;
The cake she kneaded was the savoury meat;
All fruits their odour lost and meats their taste,
If gentle Abra had not decked the feast;
Dishonoured did the sparkling goblet stand,
Unless received from gentle Abra’s hand;…
Nor could my soul approve the music’s tone,
Till all was hushed, and Abra sang alone.

   —M. Prior: Solomon (1664–1721).

Al Beidâwi, Jallâloddin, and Abulfeda, give Amina, daughter of Jerâda king of Tyre, as his favourite concubine.

Solomon kills his Horses. Solomon bought a thousand horses, and went to examine them. The examination took him the whole day, so that he omitted the prayers which he ought to have repeated. This neglect came into his mind at sunset, and, by way of atonement, he slew all the horses except a hundred of the best “as an offering to God;” and God, to make him amends for his loss, gave him the dominion of the winds. Mahomet refers to this in the following passage:—

When the horses, standing on three feet, and touching the ground with the edge of the fourth foot, swift in the course, were set in parade before him [Solomon] in the evening, he said, “Verily I have loved the love of earthly good above the remembrance of my Lord; and I have spent the time in viewing these horses till the sun is hidden by the veil of night. Bring the horses back unto me.” And when they were brought back, he began to cut off their legs and their necks.—Al Korâu, xxxviii.

Solomon’s Mode of Travelling. Solomon had a carpet of green silk, on which his throne was placed. This carpet was large enough for all his army to stand on. When his soldiers had stationed themselves on his right hand, and the spirits on his left, Solomon commanded the winds to convey him whither he listed. Whereupon the winds buoyed up the carpet, and transported it to the place the king wished to go to, and while passing thus through the air, the the birds of heaven hovered overhead, forming a canopy with their wings to ward off the heat of the sun. Mahomet takes this legend as an historic fact, for he says in reference to it—

  By PanEris using Melati.

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