K.C.M.G., F.R.G.S., &c., &c., &c.
EDITED BY HIS WIFE, ISABEL BURTON.
"Our notions of Mecca must be drawn from the Arabians; as no unbeliever
is permitted to enter the city, our travellers are silent."-Gibbon,
IN TWO VOLUMES
[p.xii] [Arabic text]
Dark and the Desert and Destriers me ken,
And the Glaive and the Joust, and Paper and Pen.
PREFACE TO THE MEMORIAL EDITION.
AFTER my beloved husband had passed away from amongst us, after the
funeral had taken place, and I had settled in England, I began to think
in what way I could render him the most honour. A material Monument to
his memory has already been erected by his countrymen in the shape of a
handsome contribution to the beautiful Mausoleum-tent in stone and
marble to contain his remains; but I also hoped to erect a less
material, but more imperishable, Monument to his name, by making this
unique hero better known to his countrymen by his Works, which have
hitherto not been sufficiently known, not extensively enough published,
and issued perhaps at a prohibitive price. Viewing the long list of
Works written by him between 1842 and 1890, many of which are still
unpublished, I was almost disheartened by the magnitude of the work,
until the Publishers, Messrs. Tylston and Edwards, fully appreciating
the interest with which the British Public had followed my husband's
adventurous career and fearless enterprise, arranged to produce this
uniform Memorial Edition at their own expense.
[p.xvi]Mr. Leonard Smithers, a man of great literary talent and of
indefatigable energy, who admired and collaborated with my husband in
the traduction of Latin Classics for two years before he died, has also
kindly volunteered to be my working assistant and to join with me in
My part is to give up all my copyrights, and to search out such papers,
annotations, and latest notes and corrections, as will form the most
complete work; also to write all the Prefaces, and to give every
assistance in my power as Editress.
The Memorial Edition commences with the present "Pilgrimage to
Al-Madinah and Meccah," which will be followed at intervals by others
of my husband's works. Since this "Memorial Edition" was arranged, and
the Prospectus issued, I have parted with the Copyright of my husband's
famous translation of the "Arabian Nights" to the Publishers, and they
are arranging to bring out that work at an early date, and as nearly as
possible uniform in appearance with the Memorial Edition.
The ornamentations on the binding are, a figure of my husband in his
Arab costume, his monogram in Arabic, and, on the back of the book, the
tent which is his tomb.
Both the publishers and myself have to thank Mr. Smithers for the
infinite trouble he has taken in collating the first, second, third and
fourth editions of the ‘Pilgrimage' with Sir Richard's own original
annotated copies. All the lengthy notes and appendices of the first
edition have been retained, and these are supplemented by the notes and
appendices in the later editions, as well as by the author's MS. notes.
He has adopted Sir Richard's latest and
[p.xvii]most correct orthography of Arabic words, and has passed the
sheets through the press. Following my husband's plan in "The Thousand
Nights and a Night," he has put the accents on Arabic words only the
first time of their appearance, to show how they ought to be; thinking
it unnecessary to preserve throughout, what is an eyesore to the reader
and a distress to the printer. So it is with Arabic books,-the accents
are only put for the early student; afterwards, they are left to the
practical knowledge of the reader. All the original coloured
illustrations of the first edition, and also the wood engravings of the
later issues, are reproduced for the first time in one uniform edition.
The map and plans are fac-similies of those in the latest (fourth)
edition. In fact, everything has been done to make this book worthy of
its author and of the public's appreciation.
For those who may not know the import of "A Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah
and Meccah," in 1853, they will not take it amiss when I say that there
are Holy Shrines of the Moslem world in the far-away Desert, where no
white man, European, or Christian, could enter (save as a Moslem), or
even approach, without certain death. They are more jealously guarded
than the "Holy Grail," and this Work narrates how this Pilgrimage was
accomplished. My husband had lived as a Dervish in Sind, which greatly
helped him; and he studied every separate thing until he was master of
it, even apprenticing himself to a blacksmith to learn how to make
horse-shoes and to shoe his own horses. It meant living with his life
in his hand, amongst the strangest and wildest companions, adopting
their unfamiliar manners, living for nine months in the hottest and
most unhealthy climate, upon
[p.xviii]repulsive food; it meant complete and absolute isolation from
everything that makes life tolerable, from all civilisation, from all
his natural habits; the brain at high tension, but the mind never
wavering from the role he had adopted; but he liked it, he was happy in
it, he felt at home in it, and in this Book he tells you how he did it,
and what he saw.
Sir Richard Burton died at the age of 70, on the 20th October, 1890.
During the last 48 years of his life, he lived only for the benefit and
for the welfare of England and of his countrymen, and of the Human Race
at large. Let us reverently raise up this "Monument," aere perennius,
to his everlasting memory.
May 24, 1893.