Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter I
Usbek to his friend Rustan, at Ispahan
 
WE stayed only one day at Koum. After having said our prayers before the tomb of the virgin who brought forth twelve prophets, 1 we resumed our journey, and yesterday, the twenty-sixth day since our departure from Ispahan, we came to Tauris.  1
  Rica and myself are perhaps the first Persians who have left their native country urged by the thirst for knowledge; who have abandoned the amenities of a tranquil life for the laborious search after wisdom.  2
  Although born in a prosperous realm, we did not believe that its boundaries should limit our knowledge, and that the lore of the East should alone enlighten us.  3
  Tell me, without flattery, what is said of our journey: I do not expect that is will be generally commended. Address your letter to Erzeroum, where I shall stay for some time. Farewell, my dear Rustan. Rest assured that in whatever part of the world I may be, you have in me a faithful friend.

  TAURIS, the 15th of the moon of Saphar, 2 1711.
  4
 
Note 1. Fatima, daughter of Mohammed, and wife of Ali—according to the Koran, one of the four perfect women. [back]
Note 2. More correctly Safar, the second month of the Persian year. [back]
 
 
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