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493 because he made trinkets (hilya) of brass. Abu Bakr al-Khuwarezmi states that
the following charming verses, composed by an-Nashi al-Asghar, were recited to him at Aleppo by their author :
When I rebuked my friend (whom unrequited love had rendered) weary of the world (1), I might as well have written on water. Had he even renounced his passion after my reprimand, that love which was at first a spontaneous movement would have still remained a duty (2).
In the year 325 (A. D. 936-7) he went to Küfa and taught his own poetry in the great mosque ; al-Mutanabbi, who was then a boy, attended his lessons and took them down in writing. The following passage from one of an-Nashi's kasidas was written down by al-Mutanabbi under the author's dictation :
As a secret thought is the point of his spear, it is always buried deep in the heart 3). His sword is like the pact made with him at Ghadir Khumm ('t); the necks of mankind are formed to receive it (5).
The same thought has been thus versified by al-Mutanabbi :
In the tumult of battle the enemy's heads are as eyes, and thy sword then seems to have been formed out of sleep (6). Thy lances also are made of thoughts, for it is into the hearts alone that they enter.
An-Nashi had visited the court of Saif ad-Dawlat Ibn llamdan at Aleppo, and that prince overwhelmed him with the marks of his generosity. When he decided on taking his departure, he addressed the following farewell lines to his patron :
I bid farewell, but that reluctantly; and, forced by fate, I make a sacrifice to which I should never have willingly consented. I depart in grief, which is now the only companion of my soul; if indeed I can depart and not leave my soul behind. You removed from me a weight of misery in loading me with favours and with honours; and these we refer to God alone for retribution. May He protect you whose religion is protected by thy sword ! May He conduct you to a garden of happy life, ever green and ever flourishing
The lines which follow are attributed to him by ath-Thaalibi, but in a subquent part of this writer's work, he gives them as the production of Abù Muhammad Ibn al-Munajjim (7):
cannot attain the honours which are coveted by noble minds, cease your efforts and seek a foreign land. How often has a life of ease become irksome! and how often have fatigues and toils yielded repose !
This piece also is by an-Nashi :
If the feelings of a friend be alienated from me wrongfully (8), I try to give him reasons to justify his conduct; I expostulate not, lest I should irritate him more, and I make him feel that my silence is a reproach sufficient. And if I am tormented by an ignorant pretender to knowledge, ever ready to assert the wrong for the right, I honour him with my silence, for silence often answers for an answer.
His poetry contains a number of fine thoughts. He died A. H. 366 (A. D. 976-7), but some say that he expired on Wednesday, the 5th of Safar, A. II. 365 (October, A.D. 975), at Baghdad. His birth took place, A.H. 271 (A.D. 884-5).
.الملول read الملوث For (1)
(3) Literally: It has no departure from the hearts. The verses are in praise of Ali Ibn Talib, as is proved by the first hemistich of the second verse, which is written thus in the autograph and in one of my own ma
.وصارمه كبیعته بخم :nuscripts
تقلدوا بيعتهم ,party as a collar around their necks
(4) See vol. I. page 162, note (8). (5) In Arabic, the idea of being bound by a pact is expressed thus: They have placed the pact of the other
, . (6) That is: Thy sword falls upon the foeman's head as naturally as sleep upon the eye.
(7) Ath-Thaklibi mentions at least four different persons bearing the name of Ibn al-Munajjim; they all composed verses and flourished, it would appear, in the time of Saif ad-Dawlat. They were distinguished by the additional surnames of Abu Muhammad, Abů ’l-Fath, Abù ’l-Hasan Bàbek Ibn Ali, Abd Jsa, and Hibat Allah. Ibn Khallikân gives the lives of two others a few pages farther on.
تجنيا The autograph has (8)
AZ-ZAHI THE POET.
Abû 'l-Kâsim Ali Ibn Ishak Ibn Khalaf, generally known by the surname of 494 az-Zahi, was a celebrated poet and a native of Baghdad. He excelled in description, and his productions abound with beauties. The Khatib speaks of him in the History of Baghdad, and, after mentioning that his poetry offers many fine examples of simile and other figures of rhetoric, he states his belief that his poetical compositions are not numerous, and he then gives us to understand that
he was a seller of cottons and kept a shop in the Grant of ar-Rabi (1). Amid ad-Dawlat Abù Saad Ibn Abd ar-Rahim (2) gives him a place in his Tabakål asShuard, and says : “lle was born on Monday, the 19th of Safar, A. H. 318
March, A.D. 930); he died at Baghdad on Wednesday, the 19th of the latter “ Jumada, A. H. 352 (July, A. D. 963), and was buried in the cemetery of the “ Koraish. His poetical works fill four volumes, and the greater part are in “ honour of the family of Muhammad, or in praise of Saif ad-Dawlat, the vizir " al-Muhallabi, and other great men of the epoch.” He adds that az-Zahi composed pieces in all the various styles of poetry, and quotes the following lines as
Thy aversion for my love has torn the veil off my passion, and my tears serve only to expose me more. I did not reject the control of prudence, till I saw the beauty of the ringlets which adorned thy cheeks. Yet I often before saw handsome faces, but, to my misfortune, my choice fell on thine.
In describing the violet, az-Zàhi employs the following comparison :
Azure flowers from the garden, surpassing the sapphire in colour and borne on stems too feeble to support them (3); they appear like the first flame given out by a match tipped with sulphur.
By the same :
A wine so transparent in the cup that it resembles the light which dawns over the domain of man. It is so clear (4) and limpid in the glass that it appears not, and the vase which contains it seems to be empty.
The following is one of the beautiful passages offered by his poems :
Fair ladies, the glances of whose eyes are such, that they seem to brandish swords and unsheath daggers. They accosted me one day in the recess of the valley, and they deluded my heart, which was deluding itself with assumed insensibility. When they unveiled, they were full moons; when they drew their veil, they were crescents; when they moved with dignity, their waists were pliant wands; and when they turned their heads, they displayed the tender looks of the gazelle. From their necks encircled with pearls, their heads seemed to rise like stars; they were formed to do harm to our hearts (5).
This mode of enumerating female charms has been often employed by poets, but was never given under so admirable a form as this. Al-Mutanabbi has said on the subject :
In her aspect, a moon; in her movements, a branch of willow; in odour, ambergris; in looks, a gazelle.
And ath-Thaklibi quotes the following description of a musician by a contemporary poet, which is in the same style :
I devote my life for thee, O most charming of mortals and fittest object of a lover's attachment! Thy countenance is, by its beauty, the solace of our eyes; and thy voice, by its sweetness, the delight of our ears. When ladies asked me to describe thee, I told them the strangest tale: “In looks,” said I, “ she is a gazelle, in song a nightingale, in countenance an anemone, and in graceful port a wand.”
To avoid lengthening this notice, we shall abstain from giving other examples of the same kind (6).—“ Zahi,” says as-Samâni, “ is a relative adjective derived “from (Zah) the name of a village in the dependencies of Naisàpůr, to which
place a number of persons are indebted for their surname.' He then adds : “ But as for Abû ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn Ishak Ibn Khalaf al-Baghdadi, who was sur“ named az-Zàhi, I cannot say whether he derived that appellation from the
village of which we are speaking or not; all I know of him is, that he was a “ native of Baghdad and a good poet.”
(1) See vol. I. page 526.
(2) According to Hajji Khalifa, in his bibliographical dictionary under the head of Tabakât as-Shuara, a work bearing this title was composed by the vizir Abd Sai:l Muhammad Ibn al-Husain Ibd Abd ar-Rahim, who died A.H. 338. This date cannot be exact, for an extract from that vizir's work, quoted by Ibn Khallika: in the life of Ibn Nûbakht (page 319 of this volume', proves that he wrote subsequently to A.H. 431. Abu 'lMahåsin is more satisfactory; he says in the Nujum, under the year 439: “In this year died Abu Said Mu“hammad Ibn al-Husain Ibn Ali Ibn Abd ar-Rahim, vizir to Jalâl ad-Dawlat Ibn Buwaih. Having lost heavy “ sums by the exactions of the Turkish troops, he was placed under the necessity of quitting Baghdad " and seeking concealment in Jazira tibni Omar, where he remained till his death, which occurred in the “ month of Za 'l-Kaada (April-May, A.D. 1048)."-Ibn Khallikân writes his surname Abů Saad, and as such I have printed it in the life of Bishr Ibn Ghaiåth al-Marisi, where we find attributed to him another work, entitled (an-Nutaf wa 'l-Turan). In all the other works which I have examined, his surname is written Abú Said. For the turbulent conduct of the Turkish troops under Jalál ad-Dawlat, see Abû ’l-Feda's Annals, year 423, and Wilken's edition of Mirkhond's History of the Buides, page 93.
(3) Read in the printed text wisis.
(6) Before this, in the Arabic text, a piece of two verses is inserted, which the author had added at a later period. They are not fit for translation.
.وقت The autograph has (4)
IBN AL-MUNIJJIM AN-NADIM.
Abù 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Yahya Ibn Abi Mansur al-Munajjim was the boon companion (nadim) of al-Mutawakkil and a member of his intimate society. On the death of his patron, he continued in the highest favour with the khalifs who succeeded ; being permitted to sit in their presence when they gave audience from the throne, and enjoying their confidence to such a degree that they entrusted him with the knowledge of all their secret intentions and proceedings. The favour in which they held him, high as it was, continued without intermission to the last. Before his connection with the khalifs, he had placed himself under the patronage of Muhammad Ibn Ishak Ibn Ibrahim al-Musâbi ( 1 ); he then became acquainted with al-Fath Ibn Khâkân (2), for whose use he formed a library consisting chiefly of philosophical treatises ; and he augmented that vizir's collection of books manifold by the immense number of works which he had copied for the express purpose, and none of which existed therein before. He knew by heart and could repeat correctly a great quantity of ancient poems and historical narrations, but his skill lay principally in vocal music, (and the airs which he sung were) obtained by him from Ishak Ibn Ibrahim al-Mausili (vol. I. p. 183), with whom he had been personally acquainted. He is the author of some works, such as an account of the anteislamic and the Moslim poets, a life of Ishak Ibn Ibrahim al-Mausili, a treatise on boiled wine (3), etc. That he had a talent for poetry is proved by the following verses of his on the taif al-khial (4):
Dearer to me, by Allah! than my father, is that object which appeared to me in the darkness, like the smile of the glimmering morn. Its aspect increased my passion and filled my heart with flames. Who can cure a heart smitten and enamoured, which beats yet stronger the more I strive to calm it? The image of my beloved made me a visit (in my dream), but that has only served (3) to destroy my repose for ever.
Some other elegant passages in verse composed by the Nadim are still extant. He lived long enough to pay his court to al-Motamid, and he died in the latter part of that khalif's reign. It was at Sarra-man-râa that he breathed his last, A. H. 275 (A. D. 888-9). He left a number of sons, all of them distinguished for their honourable character and convivial talents : notices of some of them will be found in this work under the proper heads.