Page images

of their subjects. After them, Adud ad-Dawlat, the son of Rukn ad-Dawlat, exercised the supreme power, and, under him, the bounds of the empire formed by his predecessors received a wide extension. Were I not apprehensive of lengthening this article too much, I should relate how Imâd ad-Dawlat obtained the throne, and trace his history from the commencement (3). Abů Muhammad Harûn Ibn al-Abbâs al-Mamůni (4) says in his History: “Amongst “the strange events which happened to Imâd ad-Dawlat and contributed to the “ establishment of his authority was the following : When he took Shirâz, in “ the beginning of his reign, his followers assembled and required money from “ him, but he had not the means of satisfying their demands. Overcome with “ anxiety at the prospect of the speedy ruin with which his enterprizes were “ threatened, he remained alone in the council-chamber, that he might reflect

upon his situation and devise some remedy for the danger. Having thrown “ himself on his back, he continued to ruminate over his misfortune, when he “ perceived a serpent come forth from a hole in the ceiling and creep into “ another. Fearing that it might drop down on him, he called in the tent

pitchers and told them to bring a ladder and catch the reptile. On climbing

up to look for the serpent, they discovered a room between the ceiling and the “ roof, and informed him of the circumstance. He ordered them to open it, “and within was found a number of chests filled with money and merchandise “ to the amount of five hundred thousand dinars. Elated at the sight of the

money which had now been brought down to him, he distributed it to his “ soldiers and thus retrieved his affairs, which were on the brink of ruin. He “ then caused a dress to be cut out for his own use, and having inquired for a “ skilful tailor to make it up, they told him of a person who had served the “ former governor of the town in that capacity. In pursuance of his orders, “ this man was brought to him; and the fellow, happening to be deaf, imagined “ that secret information had been lodged against him for retaining in his pos“ session some property which his former master had confided to his care.

Impressed with this belief, he swore, when spoken to by the prince, that he “had only twelve chests in his house, and did not know what they contained. “Surprised at such an answer, Imâd ad-Dawlat sent for the chests, which 507

were discovered to be filled with money and dresses to an immense amount. “ These occurrences were most striking proofs of the good fortune which

" attended him, and from that moment his success was assured, and the foun“ dations of his power solidly grounded.” He died at Shîrâz on Sunday, the 16th of the first Jumada, A. H. 338 (Nov. A. D. 949); some say A. H. 339 (5). He was buried at the seat of the empire. His reign lasted sixteen years, and his life fifty-seven. He left no issue. In his last illness, he received the visit of his brother Rukn ad-Dawlat, and in consequence of the agreement which they then made, the province of Fars was given to Adud ad-Dawlat (6).

(1) See vol. I. page 158, and the additional note, page 672.

(2) Here the autograph writes this word hó. Hitherto, in this translation, it has been transcribed Adad. Ibn Khallikân gives a notice on Rukn ad-Dawlat; see vol. I. p. 407.

(3) What follows here was added by the author at a later period. In the autograph it is written in the margin.

(4) Abů Muhammad Harûn Ibn al-Abbâs, surnamed al-Mâmuni because he drew his descent from the khalif al-Mámûn, was a native of Baghdad, and died A. H. 573 (A. D. 1177-8). He is the author of a history of the rulers of Khorásán, a work often cited by Ibn Khallikân; and a commentary on al-Hariri's Makâmát. -(Al-Yafi. Abû 'l-Mahâsin, in his Nujům.)

(5) Here the autograph has the following additional note: “And it is said that he commenced his reign in “ the latter Jumâda, A. H. 322 (May-June, A. D. 934)."

(6) Fuller information on the Bûides will be obtained from the work entitled Geschichte der Dynastie Bujeh nach Mirchond; von F. Wilken, Berlin, 1835, 410; in Persian and German.


Abû 'l-Hasan Ali, surnamed Saif ad-Dawlat (the sword of the empire), was the son of Abd Allah Ibn Hamdàn. The remainder of his genealogy having been already given in the life of his brother Nasir ad-Dawlat (vol. I. p. 404), it is needless to repeat it. Ath-Thaklibi describes him thus in his Yatima : “The

sons of Hamdân were princes whose faces were formed for beauty; whose

tongues, for eloquence; whose hands, for liberality; and whose minds, for pre“ eminence; Saif ad-Dawlat was renowned as their chief and the middle pearl “ of their necklace (1). His court was the attraction of visitors, the point where

(the sun of) beneficence rose, the kibla to which the hopes of the needy) were




“ turned, the spot where the caravans discharged their loads of travellers), the

place of concourse for literary men, and the list where poets contended. It is “ said that never at the door of any other prince, except the khalifs, were assem“ bled so many masters in the poetic art, stars of the age. But sovereignty is “ the mart to which such wares are brought as can be best disposed of there. “ Saif ad-Dawlat was an accomplished scholar, a poet, and a lover of good

poetry, in which he took the greatest delight. A collection of ten thousand “ verses, selected from the panegyrics composed on him, was formed by the kâtib Abû Muhammad Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad al-Faiyâd (2) and by Abû 'l“ Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad as-Shimshậti.” The following admirable description of the rainbow is due to Saif ad-Dawlat ; some, it is true, attribute it to Abû 's-Sakr al-Kabisi, but ath-Thaalibi declares it, in the Yatima, to be the production of this prince :

I called the handsome cupbearer to pour me out the morning draught, and he arose with slumber on his eyelids. He passed round the wine-cups (which shone) like stars, some descending towards us, and others just drained off (3). The hands of the southern breeze spread dark mantles over the sky, their trains sweeping the ground (4), and embroidered by the rainbow with yellow upon red, joined to green overlaid with white; like maidens who approach, arrayed in gowns of different colours, and each of which is shorter than the next.

This piece offers one of those princely comparisons which could hardly occur to a plebeian. The idea expressed in the last verse was afterwards borrowed by Abû Ali al-Faraj Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Ukhwat, a preceptor and a native of Baghdad, who thus describes a black horse having the forehead and legs white :

He is arrayed in light and darkness, as in two mantles; one he has let down, and the other he wears tucked up.

This verse is attributed by some to Abd as-Samad Ibn al-Muaddal 5.- Saif ad-Dawlat possessed a most beautiful slave-girl, the daughter of a Greek prince ; and the jealousy of his other concubines was excited by the favour which she 508 enjoyed and the place which she held in his heart. They therefore resolved to avenge themselves on her by poison or other means. The prince was informed of their intentions, and being apprehensive for her safety, he removed her to a castle where she might be secure from danger, and pronounced these lines :

Jealous eyes observed me on account of thee; I trembled and have never since been free from apprehension. I saw the enemy betray the excess of envy; dearest of all I possess (6)! I therefore wished thee far away, our mutual love still subsisting. Thus absence is sometimes caused through fear of absence, and separation through dread of separation.

I have seen these identical verses in the collected poetical works of Abd alMuhsin as-Sûri (vol. II. p. 176), and am unable to decide which of the two was the author of them. Saif ad-Dawlat says in another of his pieces :

I kissed her in trembling, like the timorous bird taking a hurried drink. It saw water and desired it, but it feared the consequences of desire. It seized the moment and drew near, but found no pleasure in the draught.

It is related that, one day, being in company with his boon companions, and his own nephew Abů Faràs (vol. I. p. 366) among the number, he challenged them to compose a second couplet to a verse which he was about to recite them, but observed that the only person capable of doing it was his lordship, meaning Abû Farâs. He then pronounced the following lines :

You are mistress of my body and hast caused it to languish; but how can you lawfully shed my blood ?

Here Abû Faràs recited extempore:

She replied: "If sovereign power be mine, my authority extends over every thing."

Saif ad-Dawlat was so highly pleased with the impromptu, that he bestowed on the author a landed estate in the province of Manbaj, producing a yearly income of two thousand pieces of gold. Another of Saif ad-Dawlat’s pieces is the following:

She accused me wrongfully, for the crime was hers; she blamed me unjustly, but on her side lay the fault. When a master is weary of the slave who serves him, he finds him in fault where no fault existed. She turned from me disdainfully when mistress of my heart; why was she not cruel whilst my heart was still my own?

The following distich, reproducing the idea expressed in this last line, was recited to me by Ibrahim Aidmor, the sufi dervish:

In the valley (where lovers meet they plighted us their faith, and yet, without crime or fault of ours, they broke their vows. They shunned me and reproached me, though I loved them; why did they not spurn me when my heart was still my own?

It is related that Saif ad-Dawlat was one day giving audience in the city of Aleppo, and poets were reciting verses in his praise, when an Arab of the desert, in squalid attire, stepped forward and repeated these lines :

Thou art the exalted, for this is Aleppol my means are spent, but I have reached my journey's end. This is the glory of all other cities, and thou, emir! art the ornament whereby the Arabs surpass the rest of men. Fortune, thy slave, has wronged us; and to thee we have recourse against thy slave's injustice.

“By Allah !” exclaimed the prince, “thou hast done it admirably.” He then 309 ordered him a present of two hundred gold pieces.—Abû 'l-Kâsim Othman Ibn Muhammad, a native of Irâk and kâdi of Ain Zerba (7), relates as follows: “I “ was at an audience given by Saif ad-Dawlat at Aleppo, when the kâdi Abû “ Nasr Muhammad Ibn Muhammad an-Naisàpůri (native of Naisåpar) went up “to him, and having drawn an empty purse and a roll of paper out of his “ sleeve, he asked and obtained permission to recite a poem which was written “ on the paper. He then commenced his kasida, the first line of which was :

[ocr errors]

Thy wonted generosity is still the same; thy power is uncontrolled, and thy servant * stands in need of one thousand pieces of silver.'

“When the poet had finished, Saif ad-Dawlat burst into a fit of laughter and “ ordered him a thousand pieces of gold, which were immediately put into the

purse he had brought with him.”—Abû Bakr Muhammad and Abû Othmân Said, the sons of Hashim, and generally known as the two Khalidites, were in high repute as poets. Abû Bakr was the elder. They went to the court of Saif ad-Dawlat, and having recited to him the panegyrics which they had composed, they were lodged by him and treated in a manner suitable to their desert. He one time sent them a present of a male and a female slave, each of them bearing a purse of money and a portmanteau filled with clothes of Egyptian workmanship. One of these poets recited to the prince, on this occasion, a long kasida, in which was this passage :

Had thy wealth not been consecrated to deeds of beneficence, the gratitude of mortals had not been universal as it is. Thou hast bestowed on us a sun and a moon (of beauty) by whose lustre the darkness (of misfortune) which overshadowed us (8) has been enlightened. A fawn has come to us, in beauty a Joseph; and a gazelle, in radiance a a Balkis (9). Not content with bestowing two such gifts, thou hast sent us money; nay, the sum is large. The girl came bearing a purse, and on the boy's shoulder was a



« PreviousContinue »