Four Gothic Novels

By Horace Walpole; William Beckford et al. | Go to book overview

VATHEK

VATHEK, ninth Caliph of the race of the Abassides, was the son of Motassem, and the grandson of Haroun al Raschid. From an early accession to the throne, and the talents he possessed to adorn it, his subjects were induced to expect that his reign would be long and happy. His figure was pleasing and majestic; but when he was angry, one of his eyes became so terrible, that no person could bear to behold it; and the wretch upon whom it was fixed, instantly fell backward, and sometimes expired. For fear, however, of depopulating his dominions and making his palace desolate, he but rarely gave way to his anger.

Being much addicted to women and the pleasures of the table, he sought by his affability, to produce agreeable companions; and he succeeded the better as his generosity was unbounded and his indulgencies unrestrained: for he did not think, with the Caliph Omar Ben Abdalaziz that it was necessary to make a hell of this world to enjoy paradise in the next.

He surpassed in magnificence all his predecessors. The palace of Alkoremi, which his father, Motassem, had erected on the hill of Pied Horses, and which commanded the whole city of Samarah, was, in his idea far too scanty: he added, therefore, five wings, or rather other palaces, which he destined for the particular gratification of each of the senses.

In the first of these were tables continually covered with the most exquisite dainties; which were supplied both by night and by day, according to their constant consumption; whilst the most delicious wines and the choicest cordials flowed forth from a hundred fountains that were never exhausted. This palace was called The Eternal or unsatiating Banquet.

The second was styled, The Temple of Melody, or The Nectar of the Soul. It was inhabited by the most skilful musicians and admired poets of the time; who not only displayed their talents within, but dispersing in bands without, caused every surrounding scene to reverberate their songs; which were continually varied in the most delightful succession.

The palace named The Delight of the Eyes, or The Support of Memory, was one entire enchantment. Rarities, collected from every corner of the earth were there found in such profusion as to dazzle and confound, but for the order in which they were arranged. One gallery exhibited the pictures of the celebrated Mani, and statues, that seemed to be alive. Here a well-managed perspective attracted the sight; there the magic of optics agreeably deceived

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Four Gothic Novels
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Four Gothic Novels *
  • The Castle of Otranto *
  • Contents *
  • The Castle of Otranto *
  • A Chronology of Horace Walpole *
  • The Castle of Otranto, - A Story. *
  • Preface to the First Edition *
  • Preface to the Second Edition *
  • Sonnet - To the Right Honourable Lady Mary Coke *
  • The Castle of Otranto - A Gothic Story *
  • Chapter I *
  • Chapter II 31
  • Chapter III 44
  • Chapter IV 57
  • Chapter V 69
  • Vathek *
  • A Chronology of William Beckford *
  • Vathek *
  • The Monk *
  • A Chronology of Matthew Lewis *
  • The Monk - A Romance *
  • Preface *
  • Table of the Poetry *
  • Advertisement *
  • Volume I *
  • Chapter I *
  • Chapter II 186
  • Chapter III 220
  • Volume II *
  • Chapter I *
  • Chapter II 283
  • Chapter III 304
  • Chapter IV 325
  • Volume III *
  • Chapter I *
  • Chapter II 357
  • Chapter III *
  • Chapter IV 403
  • Chapter V 430
  • Frankenstein *
  • A Chronology of Mary Shelley *
  • Frankenstein - Or the Modern Prometheus *
  • Introduction - [1831] *
  • Preface - [1818] *
  • Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus *
  • Letter I *
  • Letter II 463
  • Letter III 466
  • Letter IV *
  • Chapter I 472
  • Chapter II 475
  • Chapter III 480
  • Chapter IV 485
  • Chapter V 490
  • Chapter VI 494
  • Chapter VII *
  • Chapter VIII *
  • Chapter IX *
  • Chapter X 517
  • Chapter XI 521
  • Chapter XII 527
  • Chapter XIII 531
  • Chapter XIV 535
  • Chapter XV *
  • Chapter XVI *
  • Chapter XVII 551
  • Chapter XVIII 554
  • Chapter XIX 560
  • Chapter XX 565
  • Chapter XXI 571
  • Chapter XXII 578
  • Chapter XXIII 585
  • Chapter XXIV 590
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