The travels of Sig. Pietro della Valle, a noble Roman, into East-India and Arabia Deserta in which, the several countries, together with the customs, manners, traffique, and rites both religious and civil, of those Oriental princes and nations, are faithfully described : in familiar letters to his friend Signior Mario Schipano : whereunto is added a relation of Sir Thomas Roe's Voyage into the East-Indies.
Della Valle, Pietro, 1586-1652., Roe, Thomas, Sir, 1581?-1644., Havers, G. (George)

SECTION XXIV. Of the Mogol, shewing himself three times publickly unto his people every day, and in what state and glory he doth oftentimes appear.

FIrst, early in the morning, at that very time the Sun begins to appear above the Horizon, He appears unto his people in a place very like unto one of our Balconies, made in his Houses, or Pavilions for his morning appearance, directly op∣posite to the East, about seven, or eight foot high from the ground, against which time a very great number of his people, especially of the greater sort, who desire as often as they can to appear in his eye, assemble there together to give him the Salam, or good morning, crying all out as soon as they see their Page  456 King with a loud voice, Padsha Salamet, which signifies, Live O great King, or, O great King, Health and life. At Noon he shews himself in another place like the former, on the South-side; and a little before Sun-set, in a like place, on the West-side of his House, or Tent: but as soon as the Sun forsakes the Hemisphear, he leaves his people ushered in and out with Drums and Wind-instruments, and the peoples acclamations.

At both which times likewise very great numbers of his people assemble together to present themselves before him: And at any of these three times, he that hath a suit to the King, or desires Justice at his hands, be he Poor, or Rich, if he hold up a Petition to be seen, shall be heard and answered.

And between seven and nine of the Clock at night, he sits within House, or Tent, more privately in a spacious place, cal∣led his Goozalcan, or bathing-house made bright, like day by abundance of lights, and here the King sits mounted upon a stately Throne, where his Nobles and such as are favoured by him stand about him: others find admittance to, but by special leave from his Guard, who cause every one that enters that place to breathe upon them; and if they imagine that any have drunk wine, they keep him out.

At this time my Lord Embassadour made his usual addresses to him, and I often waited on him thither; and it was a good time to do business with that King, who then was for the most part very pleasant, and full of talk unto those which were round about him, and so continued till he fell a sleep (oft times by drinking) and then all assembled, immediately quitted the place, except those which were his trusted servants, who by turns watched his person.

The Mogol hath a most stately, rich, and spacious house at Agra, his Metropolis, or chief City, which is called his Palace Royal, wherein there are two Towers, or Turrets about ten foot square covered with massie Gold (as ours are usually with Lead) this I had from Tom Coryat, as from other English Mer∣chants, who keep in a Factory at that place. And further they told me, that he hath a most glorious Throne within that his Palace, ascended by divers steps, which are covered with plate of silver, upon the top of which ascent stand four Lions upon pedestals (of curiously coloured Marble) which Lions are all made of Massie silver, some part of them guilded with gold, and beset with precious stones. Those Lions support a Canopy of pure gold, under which the Mogol sits, when as he appears in his greatest state and glory.

For the beauty of that Court; it consists not in gay and gorgi∣ous apparel, for the Country is so hot, that they cannot endure any thing that is very warm, or massie; or rich about them. The Mogol himself for the most part is covered with a garment (as before described) made of pure, white, and fine Callico∣laune, and so are his Nobles; which garments are washed Page  457 after one days wearing. But for the Mogol, though his cloath∣ing be not rich and costly, yet I believe that there is never a Monarch in the whole world that is daily adorned with so ma∣ny Jewels as himself is. Now, they are Jewels which make mens covering most rich; such as people in other parts some∣times wear about them, that are otherwise most meanly habi∣ted. To which purpose I was long since told by a Gentleman of honour, sent as a Companion to the old Earl of Nottingham, when he was imployed as an extraordinary Embassadour by King James, to confirm the peace made 'twixt himself and the King of Spain, which Embassadour had a very great many Gentlemen in his train, in as rich clothing as Velvets and Silks could make; but then there did appear many a great Don, or Grandee in the Spanish Court, in a long black bays Cloak and Cassack, which had one Hatband of Diamonds, which was of more worth by far, than all the bravery of the Ambassadors many Followers.

But for the Mogol, I wonder not at his many Jewels, he be∣ing (as I conceive) the greatest, and richest Master of precious stones that inhabits the whole earth. For Diamonds (which of all other are accounted most precious stones) they are found in Decan (where the Rocks are, out of which they are digged) the Princes whereof are the next Neighbours and Tributaries to the great Mogol, and they pay him as Tribute many Diamonds yearly; and further, he hath the refusal of all those rich stones they sell, he having Gold and Silver in the greatest abundance, (and that will purchase any thing but heaven) & he wil part with any mony for any Gems beside, that are precious and great, whe∣ther Rubies, or any other stones of value, as also for rich Pearls.

And his Grandees follow him in that fancy: for one of his great Lords gave our Merchants there, twelve hundred pounds sterling for one Pearl which was brought out of England. The Pearl was shaped like a Pear, very large, beautiful, and ori∣ent, and so its price deserved it should be.

Now the Mogol having such an abundance of Jewels, wears many of them daily; enow to exceed those women, which Rome was wont to shew in their Star-like dresses, who in the height and prosperity of that Empire

—were said to wear
The spoils of Nations in one ear.
Or, Lollia Paulina, who was hid with Jewels. For the great Mogol, the Diamonds, and Rubies, and Pearls, which are very many, and daily worn by him, are all of an extraordinary greatness, and consequently of an exceeding great value. And besides those he wears about his Shash, or head covering, he hath a long Chain of Jewels hanging about his Neck (as long as an ordinary Gold-Chain); others about his wrists, and the Page  458 Hilts of his Sword and Dagger, are most curiously enriched with those precious Stones; beside others of very great value, which he wears in Rings on his fingers.

The first of March, the Mogol begins a royal Feast, like that which Ahasuerus made in the third year of his Reign, Esth. 1. wherein he shewed the riches of his glorious Kingdom. This feast the Mogol makes, is called the Nooroos, that signifies Nine-days: which time it continues, to usher in the new year, which begins with the Mahometans there, the tenth day of March.

Against which Feast, the Nobles assemble themselves toge∣ther at that Court in their greatest Pomp, presenting their King with great gifts, and he requiting them again with Princely re∣wards: at which time I being in his presence, beheld most im∣mense and incredible riches, to my amazement, in Gold, Pearls, Precious stones, Jewels, and many other glittering vanities. This Feast is usually kept by the Mogol while he is in his Pro∣gress, and lodges in Tents.

Whether his Diet at this time be greater than ordinary I know not; for he always eats in private amongst his Women, where none but his own Family see him while he is eating; which Family of his consists of his Wives, and Children, and Women, and Eunuchs, and his Boys; and none but these abide and lodge in the Kings Houses, or Tents, and therefore how his Table is spread, I could never know; but doubtless he hath of all those varieties that Empire affords, if he so please. His food (they say) is served in unto him in Vessels of Gold, which covered and brought unto him by his Eunuchs, after it is proved by his Tasters, he eats, not at any set times of the day, but he hath provision ready at all times, and calls for it when he is hungry, and never but then.

The first of September (which was the late Mogol's birth∣day) he retaining an ancient yearly Custom, was, in the pre∣sence of his chief Grandees, weighed in a Balance; the Cere∣mony was performed within his House, or Tent, in a fair spacious Room, whereinto none were admitted but by special leave. The Scales in which he was thus weighed were plated with Gold, and so the beam on which they hung, by great Chains made likewise of that most precious Metal, the King sitting in one of them was weighed first against silver Coin, which im∣mediately after was distributed among the poor; then was he weighed against Gold; after that against Jewels (as they say) but I observed (being present there with my Lord Ambassador) that he was weighed against three several things, laid in silken Bags on the contrary Scale. When I saw him in the Balance, I thought on Belshazzar, who was found too light, Dan. 5.27. By his weight (of which his Physicians yearly keep an exact account) they presume to guess of the present estate of his body, of which they speak flatteringly, however they think it to be.

Page  459When the Mogol is thus weighed, he casts about among the standers by thin pieces of silver, and some of Gold, made like flowers of that Countrey, and some of them are made like Cloves, and some like Nutmegs, but very thin and hollow. Then he drinks to his Nobles in his Royal wine (as that of A∣hasuerus is called, Esth. 1.7.) who pledge his health: at which solemnity he drank to my Lord Ambassadour, in a Cup of Gold most curiously enameled, and set all over the outside with stones (which were small Rubies, Turkesses, and Emeralds) with a Cover, or Plate, to set in it in, both of pure Gold, the brims of which plate, and the cover were enameled, and set with stones as the other, and all these together weighed twenty and four ounces of our English weights, which he then gave unto my Lord Ambassadour, whom he ever used with very much respect, and would moreover often ask him, why he did not desire some good, and great gifts at his hands, be being a great King, and able to give it; the Embassadour would reply, That he came not thither to beg any thing of him; all that he desired, was that his Countrey-men the English might have a free, safe, and peaceable trade in his Dominions: The Mogol would answer that he was bound in honour to afford them that, we coming from the furthermost parts of the world to trade there; and would often bid the Ambassadour to ask something for himself, who to this would answer, that if that King knew not better to give, then he knew to ask, he must have nothing from him. Upon these terms they continually both stood, so that in conclusiun the Embassadour had no gift from him, but that before-mentioned, besides an horse or two, and sometimes a Vest, or upper Garment, made of slight Cloth of Gold, which the Mogol would first put upon his own back, and then give it to the Embassadour. But the Mogol (if he had so pleased) might have bestowed on him some great Princely gift, and found no greater miss of it, than there would be of a Glass of water taken out of a great Fountain. Now although the Mogol had such infinite Treasure, yet he could find room to store up more still: the desires of a covetous heart being so unsatiable, as that it never knows when it hath enough: being like a bot∣tomless purse that can never be fill'd; for the more it hath, the more still it covets.

See an image hereof in Alcmaeon, who being will'd by Crae∣sus to go into his Treasure-house, and there take as much Gold as himself could carry away; provided for that purpose a long Garment that was double down to his ankles, and great boots, and fill'd them both; nay, he stuffed his mouth, and tied wedges of Gold to the locks of his head, and doubtless, but for killing himself, he would have fill'd his skull and bowels therewith. Here was an heart set upon Gold, and Gold over∣lading an heart: for the man stowing so much about him, as that he could not stir with it, forfeited what he might have had, Page  460 and was turned out of the Treasury, as poor and empty as he came into it. He is a rich man whatever he hath (be it more, or less) that is contented. He is a poor man, who still wants more, in becoming poor by plenty, wanting what he hath as well and as much as what he hath not; and so do very many, who are the greatest engrossers of the worlds wealth.