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(1) Muhammad Ibn Ishak al-Musâ bi was governor of the province of Fars.
(5) I read Əl; for l; in the second hemistich ; the autograph has sislj; but the measure of the verse does
not seem to allow this reading.
IBN AL-MUNAJJIM THE POET.
Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi Abd Allah Harûn Ibn Ali Ibn Yahya Ibn Abi Mansûr al-Munajjim, the celebrated poet, belonged to a family which produced many 496 elegant scholars, men of refined taste, whose agreeable qualities rendered them the companions of khalifs and vizirs in their parties of pleasure. The Sahib Ibn Abbâd admitted him into his society, and composed the following verses in his honour':
The descendants of al-Munajjim are gifted with a vivid intellect, and their literary talents are conspicuous in Persian and in Arabic. I persevered in praising them and extolling their merit, till I was accused for excessive partiality.
Among the number of charming verses composed by Abû 'l-Hasan Ibn alMunajjim are some which have been set 10 music. One of his pieces is as follows:
Motives for affection subsist between thee and me; and the relationship which we bear each other is that of love (1). (Sighing for thee,) I blame time for its delay, and my reproaches shall long continue, unless they effect an amendment by which that delay may be annulled. Othou who refusest me thy presence and thy letters ! tell me if I am to hope that this double privation may cease? Were it not for the allurements of hope, a heart arrayed in the garb of suffering had been broken on thy account. But let us not despair of divine favour; the separated are sometimes reunited, and the absent may perhaps return again.
He addressed the following lines to Ibn al-Khuwàrezmi, who had hurt his foot by a fall :
How could a stumble hurt the man who, in affairs of importance, never made a false step but he recovered from it? How could harm reach a foot which always trod in the path of honour (2) ? VOL. II.
He composed a great deal of poetry, and numerous amusing anecdotes are told of him. His other works are, a treatise on the month of Ramadan, drawn up by him for the khalif ar-Rádi; the Kitâb an-Niraz wa 'l-Mihrigân (book of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes); a refutation of al-Khalil (Ibn Ahmad's) system of prosody; a work commencing with the genealogy of his own family, undertaken at the request of the vizir al-Muhallabi, but left unfinished ; an essay on the difference between the style of Ibrahim Ibn al-Mahdi and that of Ishak al-Mausili in the art of vocal music; the Kitâb al-Lafz al-Muhit, etc. (the comprehensive declaration, being a refutation of the assertions made by al-Lakit ) (3); this is an answer to Abû ’l-Faraj al-Ispahầni’s work, entitled al-Fark wa 'l-Miyår bain alAughâd wa 'l-Ahrâr (difference between the noble and the rabble and appreciation of their relative worth). This Ibn al-Munajjim was son to the author of the Kitab alBari (4), a work containing a choice of extracts from the productions of the later poets, and grandson to the Abû ’l-Hasan Ibn al-Munajjim of whom an account has been given in the preceding article. His birth took place on the 9th of Safar, A. H. 276 (June, A. D. 889); some say in 277; he died on Wednesday, the 16th of the latter Jumàda, A. H. 352 (July, A. D. 963). He persevered till the end of his life in the custom of wearing his hair dyed (5).
(1) This verse is not given in the autograph.
(3) The word Lakit signifies a foundling. It does not appear why this appellation should have been given to the author of the Kitab al-Agháni.
(4) The life of Harûn Ibn Ali al-Munajjim is given in this dictionary. (8) See vol. I. page 46, note (3).
ABU 'L-FATH AL-BUSTI.
Abû 'l-Fath Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Busti, a kâtib and a poet of great celebrity, was the author of the work entitled): at-Tarika tal-Anika fi't-Tajnis (1), al-Anîs alBadi at-Tâsis (the pleasing path, designed as a treatise on paronomasia and as a delight
ful companion by the solidity of the principles which it lays down) (2). As specimens of the elegance which he attained (in expression and thought), we shall quote the following phrases : “ He that does good to the man that wrongs him confounds “ the man that is jealous of him.”—“He who yields to his anger loses his civility.”
.” _ “ The fashions of lords are lords of the fashions.”—“A sign of your good fortune is your keeping within bounds.”—“Bribes are the means of “ success.”—“ The most foolish of men is he who is scornful to bis brethren “ and presumptuous towards his sovereign.
«« The mind is a sun, and the un“derstanding its rays.”-“Fate mocks at wishes.”—“Definition of temperance: “ To be content with a strict sufficiency.”—“There is no mending a torn darn." We shall here give some striking passages from his poetry:
When he flourishes his pen on going to use it, he makes you forget the bravest warrior 497 that ever flourished a spear 3). When he rests his fingers upon the paper, all the writers in the world confess themselves his slaves (!).
Some men clothe themselves in silk, whilst a wretched body is concealed beneath. It is thus that people paint their cheeks when suffering from a tumour in the lungs.
When you try to amuse people in talking of past events and those which are to come, avoid repetitions, for their minds are placed in hostility to repetitions (5).
Endure thy brother's temper, be it what it may; you cannot hope to amend it. How could you expect to succeed, since his body contains four humours placed in it by nature?
That part of his poetry composed in the alliterative style called tajnîs is very copious. He died at Bukhara, A.H. 400 (A.D. 1109-10); some say A.H. 401.
- We have given the explanation of the word Busti (vol. I. p. 477). I read, at the beginning of his collected poetical works, that he bore the names of Abù 'lFath Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Husain Ibn Yûsuf Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Aziz, and this may, perhaps, have been the case.
في التجنيس The autograph has (1)
(2) I follow the authority of Abû ’l-Fedâ (see Annals, year 400) in taking Tarika, as here mentioned, for the title of a book, but must acknowledge having doubts on the subject, as no such work is noticed by Hajji Khalifa. It it be really a title, some quibble is intended by the words Tajnis and Tasis, one of which is a term of rhetoric and the other of prosody. It strikes me however that the whole passage may apply to the
man himself, as it might be rendered thus : “A poet of great celebrity, was noted for the pleasing way in “ which he employed paronomasias (or alliteration), and was a delightful companion by the solidity of the
principles which he laid down.”
(4) As these verses abound in the figure of Arabic rhetoric called tajnis, or alliteration, their merit is lost in the translation.
(3) In the original Arabic these verses offer another curious example of tajnis.
AT-TIHAMI THE POET.
Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad at-Tihảmi, a celebrated poet, is spoken of in these terms by Ibn Bassâm in his Dakhira: “He was renowned for his abi“lities and possessed a cutting tongue; between him and all the varied modes “ of expression the path was free; his poetry indicated as clearly (the talents) “ which had fallen to his lot, as the coolness of the zephyr denotes the presence “ of the morn, and it disclosed his exalted station in science as plainly as the "* tear reveals the secret of love." His collected poetical works form a small volume, but the greater portion of the pieces is exquisite; one of his most graceful passages is contained in a long kasida, composed in praise of the vizir Abù ’l-Kasim Ibn al-Maghribi (1), where he says:
When the lips of the flowers on the hills and those of our mortal) beauties were smiling, I asked my friend which were the fairest to the sight: “I know not,” said he; “all of them are anthemis blossoms (2).”
A similar thought is expressed in the following lines, attributed to (Hibat Allah) Ibn Sanâ 'l-Mulk, a poet whose life will be found in this work :
I hesitated, thinking the teeth (of my beloved) Sulaima to be anthemis buds, and taking these for teeth. I therefore kissed them all, to dispel my doubts; and every person who feels earnest ( in such matters) would do the same.
In one of his eulogistic passages he has surpassed all competition, where he says :
His gifts are ample; yet he thinks them small, though the copious rains of autumn are shamed (by their abundance). Compared with the beneficence which he sheds around, the swollen cloud would be called a vapour, and oceans, rivulets.
He composed a most beautiful elegy on the loss of his son, who died a boy; 498 and I am only prevented from giving it here because people say that it brings ill luck; but as two of the verses, descriptive of envious men, contain an unusual (but elegant) idea; I shall insert them :
I pity those who envy me, because hatred burns within their bosoms. They see God's kindness towards me, and thus their eyes are in paradise whilst their hearts are in hell.
In the same piece he thus expresses his contempt for the world :
It is composed of turbid elements, yet you hope to find it free from dregs and lees! He who requires of time what is contrary to its nature, is as the man who seeks in water for a brand of fire. He who expects what is impossible, builds his hopes on the brink of a tottering sand-bank.
In this piece also he says :
I reside in the vicinity of foes, but he (whom I have lost) sojourns near his lord; how different that neighbourhood from mine! The parching heat which consumes my heart has changed my hair to grey, and this light colour is the flame of that inward fire.
The idea expressed in the last verse is taken from a piece by Abû Nasr Said Ibn as-Shảh, where he says :
“ Thy cheeks,” said she, are darkened with hair, and that spoils the fairest faces.” I replied: “Thou hast kindled a fire in my heart, and the smoke has settled on my “ cheeks.”
The following verses belong to one of his long kasidas :
How often have I warned you against the land of Hijaz, for its gazelles (maidens) are accustomed to make its lions (heroes) their prey. You wished to pursue the hinds (3) of Hijâz; but, unfavoured by fate, 'twas you who became their prey.
One of his best-known pieces is this:
In the company of noble-minded men there is always room for another; friendship, it is true, renders difficulties easy. A house may be too small for eight persons, yet friendship will make it hold a ninth.