The Sequel of the Story of Shalum and Hilpa.
The Letter inserted in my last had so good an Effect upon Hilpa, that she answered it in less than a Twelvemonth, after the following Manner.
Hilpa, Mistress of the Vallies, to Shalum, Master of Mount Tirzah.
In the 789th Year of the Creation.
'What have I to do with thee, O Shalum? Thou praisest Hilpa's Beauty, but art thou not secretly enamoured with the Verdure of her Meadows? Art thou not more affected with the Prospect of her green Vallies, than thou wouldest be with the Sight of her Person? The Lowings of my Herds, and the Bleatings of my Flocks, make a pleasant Eccho in thy Mountains, and sound sweetly in thy Ears. What tho' I am delighted with the Wavings of thy Forests, and those Breezes of Perfumes which flow from the Top of Tirzah: Are these like the Riches of the Valley?
'I know thee, O Shalum; thou art more wise and happy than any of the Sons of Men. Thy Dwellings are among the Cedars; thou searchest out the Diversity of Soils, thou understandest the Influences of the Stars, and markest the Change of Seasons. Can a Woman appear lovely in the Eyes of such a one? Disquiet me not, O Shalum; let me alone, that I may enjoy those goodly Possessions which are fallen to my Lot. Win me not by thy enticing Words. May thy Trees increase and multiply; mayest thou add Wood to Wood, and Shade to Shade; but tempt not Hilpa to destroy thy Solitude, and make thy Retirement populous.
The Chinese say, that a little time afterwards she accepted of a Treat in one of the neighbouring Hills to which Shalum had invited her. This Treat lasted for two Years, and is said to have cost Shalum five hundred Antelopes, two thousand Ostriches, and a thousand Tun of Milk; but what most of all recommended it, was that Variety of delicious Fruits and Pot-herbs, in which no Person then living could any way equal Shalum.
He treated her in the Bower which he had planted amidst the Wood of Nightingales. This Wood was made up of such Fruit-Trees and Plants as are most agreeable to the several Kinds of Singing Birds; so that it had drawn into it all the Musick of the Country, and was filled from one End of the Year to the other with the most agreeable Consort in Season.
He shewed her every Day some beautiful and surprising Scene in this new Region of Woodlands; and as by this Means he had all the Opportunities he could wish for of opening his Mind to her, he succeeded so well, that upon her Departure she made him a kind of Promise, and gave him her Word to return him a positive Answer in less than fifty Years.
She had not been long among her own People in the Vallies, when she received new Overtures, and at the same Time a most splendid Visit from Mishpach, who was a mighty Man of old, and had built a great City, which he called after his own Name. Every House was made for at least a thousand Years, nay there were some that were leased out for three Lives; so that the Quantity of Stone and Timber consumed in this Building is scarce to be imagined by those who live in the present Age of the World. This great Man entertained her with the Voice of musical Instruments which had been lately invented, and danced before her to the Sound of the Timbrel. He also presented her with several domestick Utensils wrought in Brass and Iron, which had been newly found out for the Conveniency of Life. In the mean time Shalum grew very uneasie with himself, and was sorely displeased at Hilpa for the Reception which she had given to Mishpach, insomuch that he never wrote to her or spoke of her during a whole Revolution of Saturn; but finding that this Intercourse went no further than a Visit, he again renewed his Addresses to her, who during his long Silence is said very often to have cast a wishing Eye upon Mount Tirzah.
Her Mind continued wavering about twenty Years longer between Shalum and Mishpach; for tho' her Inclinations favoured the former, her Interest pleaded very powerfully for the other. While her Heart was in this unsettled Condition, the following Accident happened which determined her Choice. A high Tower of Wood that stood in the City of Mishpach having caught Fire by a Flash of Lightning, in a few Days reduced the whole Town to Ashes. Mishpach resolved to rebuild the Place whatever it should cost him; and having already destroyed all the Timber of the Country, he was forced to have Recourse to Shalum, whose Forests were now two hundred Years old. He purchased these Woods with so many Herds of Cattle and Flocks of Sheep, and with such a vast Extent of Fields and Pastures, that Shalum was now grown more wealthy than Mishpach; and therefore appeared so charming in the Eyes of Zilpah's Daughter, that she no longer refused him in Marriage. On the Day in which he brought her up into the Mountains he raised a most prodigious Pile of Cedar and of every sweet smelling Wood, which reached above 300 Cubits in Height; He also cast into the Pile Bundles of Myrrh and Sheaves of Spikenard, enriching it with every spicy Shrub, and making it fat with the Gums of his Plantations. This was the Burnt-Offering which Shalum offered in the Day of his Espousals: The Smoke of it ascended up to Heaven, and filled the whole Country with Incense and Perfume.Translation of motto: