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“ mise was to meet me in the coming year; but think not that I shall survive till thy “ return. Miracle of beauty! thou in whose face alone the Creator employed his utmost “ care! it could not have harmed thee hadst thou given me, on the day of our separa“tion, a sign of recognition with thy eye or with thy hand. Be assured, however, that I “ love thee with devotion; so do with me as thou pleasest.”
The kâtib mentions also that Ibn Asaad recited to him the following lines, and stated that the thought which they contained was perfectly original and had never before been expressed:
His letters are the destruction of squadrons; and when they go forth, I know not which is most effectual,—their lines or an army. The sand adhering to the writing had not been appropriate, did earth not adhere to the soldiers' legs when marching.
These two verses belong to a kasida, and the author has displayed in them great originality. But a certain poet has said, in comparing the pen to an army (3):
A family who, when they seize their pens in anger and dip them in the ink of fate, inflict with them on their enemies greater harm than with their swords.
may observe that the idea expressed in Ibn Asaad's first verse resembles that which is contained in the following lines, composed by Abû Tammâm, in praise of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Malik az-Zaiyât, al-Motasim's vizir :
Prince of the faithfull you have roused Muhammad, and in your hand he is a lance and a sword. You no sooner direct his thoughts towards a rebel, than you have directed an army against that foe.
I afterwards discovered an idea similar to that contained in Ibn Asaad's second verse; it is to be found in a kasida composed by at-Togrài (whose life has been given, vol. I. page 462), in honour of Nizam al-Mulk:
When the day is changed to night by the cloud of dust which shrouds the battle-field, those heroes never cease to wield their blood-stained weapons of Indian steel. Lines are traced on their armour by the strokes of the sword; those lines are pointed by the thrusts of lances ; thus is formed a page of writing for which the dust of the combat serves as sand.
The following verses by Ibn Asaad are currently cited :
All day she avoids me as she would an enemy; but from evening to morning she bears me company. When she passes by me, she fears discovery and her words are reproaches; but her wanton glance is a salutation.
By the same, on a girl whose lip was stung by a bee :
How dear to me is that maiden stung by the bee! It gave pain to the noblest and most precious of beings. Its sting left a mark on that lip which God had only created to be kissed. It took her mouth for its hive, on finding that the moisture of her lips was like honey.
The apprehension of lengthening this notice too much prevents me from giving more curious passages from his poems. He died at Emessa in the month of Shaabân, A. H. 581 (November, A. D. 1185), but some say, 582: the latter date is that given in the work entitled as-Sail wa ’z-Zail (4), but the former is the true one.
He was then nearly sixty years of age. — The sharif Ibn Obaid Allah, of whom we have spoken above, died at Mosul in the year 563 (A. D. 1167-8). He was a generous râis (5), always ready to do good and possessed of
virtue. He is the author of some poetry, of which we may cite the following lines :
(My enemies) said to my beloved): “He is resigned to his loss." They spoke the truth; I am resigned to the loss of all consolation; not to the loss of her affection. They said: “Why has he ceased to visit her ?” I answered: “Through fear of censorious “spies.” They said: “How can he live in such a state?" I replied: “That is really
The kâtib Imad ad-din mentions Ibn Obaid Allah in the Kharida, and, after praising him highly, he says: “When at Baghdad I heard a piece of verse sung " there which some Syrians attributed to the sharif Diâ ad-din; in it was the
following passage :
O willow of the valley! thou whose glances have shed my heart's blood !-or shall I not rather call thee the slender reed of the plain ?-It is mine to disclose to thee what I suffer from the pains of love, and it is thine not to hearken to me. By what means shall I obtain the object of my wishes? my hands are unable to grasp it, and I feel like *one deprived of them (6)!'"
(1) Al-Muhaddab is probably the equivalent of Muhaddab ad-din.
(3) The observations which follow are evidently later additions. They are written in the margin of the autograph MS. and it may be perceived from a close inspection, that they were inserted successively and at three different periods. It may even be remarked that many of the author's later additions, such as these, are of very slight importance.
(4) This is a mistake, but it is found in all the manuscripts, the autograph included. Ibn Khallikân should
have written as-Sail ala 'z-Zail, which work is a continuation, by the katib Imâd ad-din, of as-Samâni's supplement to the History of Baghdad. See Fluegel's Hajji Khalifa, No. 2179.
(5) The author gives Ibn Obaid Allah the title of rais, or chief, because he was nakib of the sharifs.
(6) This verse is rather enigmatical, but as the poet has just hinted that his mistress resembled a willow or a reed by the thinness of her waist; he most probably means here that her waist was too thin to be clasped ; in short, an evanescent quantity.
Abû Muhammad Abd Allah Ibn Najm Ibn Shâs Ibn Nizâr Ibn Ashậir Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Shâs al-Judàmi as-Saadi, surnamed al-Jalál (1), was an able jurisconsult of the sect of Màlik, in the principles of which he was profoundly versed : I met a great number of his former pupils at Cairo, and they all spoke of his merit in the highest terms. He composed on the system of doctrine founded by the imâm Mâlik a valuable work, displaying great originality and entitled al-Jawahir ath-Thamîna fi Mazhab Aalimi ’l-Madina (precious jems, being a treatise on the doctrines taught by the learned man of Medina): it is drawn up the plan of Abû Hàmid al-Ghazzâli's Wajiz, and furnishes many proofs of the vast abilities possessed by its author; the Malikites of Cairo study it with great assiduity on account of its excellence and the rich store of information which they find in it. Ibn Shảs was a professor in the college near the Great Mosque
of Cairo, but when the fortress of Dimyat (Damietta) was taken by the misguided 363 enemy (the crusaders), he proceeded thither with the design of fighting in the
cause of God, and he died there in the month of the latter Jumada, or in that of Rajab, A. H. 616 (Aug.-Sept. A.D. 1219).—We have already explained the meaning of the words Judůmi and Saadi (see vol. I. page 148).
العدل The autograph has (1)
ABD ALLAH IBN AL-MOTAZZ.
Abù 'l-Abbas Abd Allah Ibn al-Motazz Ibn al-Mutawakkil Ibn al-Motasim Ibn Harùn ar-Rashid Ibn al-Mahdi Ibn al-Mansûr Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Abd Allah Ibn al-Abbàs Ibn Abd al-Muttalib al-Hashimi (a descendant from Hashim Ibn Abd Mandf) acquired his knowledge of literature under the tuition of Abû ’l-Abbàs al-Mubarrad, Abû ’l-Abbâs Thaalab, and other eminent masters. He was not only well acquainted with the pure Arabic language, but equally skilled in the arts of eloquence and poetry. In his verses he displayed a natural talent and superior abilities; they were clear in their meaning and easy in their style. These qualities, joined to a fertile genius and a mind prompt in conceiving original ideas of great beauty, inclined him to cultivate the society of learned scholars and literary men, and as such he was himself counted, till the fatal event which befel him in the khalifate of al-Muktadir. Having then entered into a conspiracy with the principal civil and military officers of the empire, they deposed al-Muktadir on Sunday the 20th, or by another account the 23rd, of the first Rabi, A. H. 296 (December, A. D. 908); after which they proclaimed Abd Allah khalif, under the title of al-Murtada billa (him in whom God is pleased), or, as it is mentioned in other statements, al-Munsif billah (the dispenser of justice in God's name), or al-Ghålib billah (the victor with God's assistance), or ar-Ràdi billah (the pleasing by God's favour). He remained in authority during one day and one night, when his supporters were attacked and dispersed by the partisans of al-Muktadir, who had united in considerable force; the deposed khalif was restored to the throne, and Ibn al-Motazz fled for concealment to the house of a person named Abû Abd Allah al-Husain Ibn Abd Allah Ibn al-Husain, but who was more generally known by the name of Ibn al-Jassàs at-Tajir al-Jauhari (the merchant jeweller, son of the gypsum seller). He was there discovered by al-Muktadir and handed over to the eunuch Můnis (1), the lord treasurer, by whom he was put to death. His body was then delivered up to his family, enveloped in a cloak. Some persons have mentioned that he died a natural death, but this is not true ; for he was certainly strangled by Můnis on Thursday the 2nd of the latter Rabi, A. H. 296 (December, A. D. 908). interred in a ruined building opposite his own house. His birth took place
on the 22nd of Shaabân, A. H. 247 (October, A. D. 861), or according to Sinan Ibn Thâbit (2), in the year 246. The fall of Ibn al-Motazz is an event of which the history is well known; a full narration of it would lead us too far, but che main points of it are what we have just mentioned (3). Ibn al-Jassàs was then arrested by al-Muktadir's orders, and fined to the amount of two millons of dinars, but some time after, seven hundred thousand of them were restored to him. He was an inconsiderate and simple man. His death occurred on Sunday the 13th of Shawwal, A. H 315 (December, A. D. 927).—Ibn alMotazz composed the following works : Kitāb az-Zahr wa 'r-Riad (flowers and gardens); Kitab al-Badi (treatise on the beauties of style); the Mukåtibat al-Ikhwân. (poetical correspondence between the Brethren); the Jawârih wu 's-Said (a treatise on falcons and game); on Plagiarisms; Poems by royal authors; the Kitab al-Adab (on politeness and social duties); the Halyu ’l-Akhbar ( historical jewels); the Tabakåt as-Shuard (a classified biography of the poets); the Jâmi (a comprehensive trea-, tise on vocal music), and a collection of rajaz verses in dispraise of early drinking. One of his sayings was: “Eloquence is the just expression of ideas in few “ words (4)." He observed also that if he was asked what was the finest passage
of poetry which he knew of, he would say that it was the following, by al-Abbâs Ibn al-Ahnaf :
The public have cast suspicions on us (5) and spoken of our conduct in various man
But some were mistaken and suspected a wrong person (to be my beloved), and others were right in their conjectures, but knew it not.
Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Bassåm, a poet whose life shall be given in this work, lamented the death of Ibn al-Motazz in these terms:
How eloquent were thy words, thou whom destruction has placed among the dead. It was thou to whom belonged the pre-eminence of learning, of polished manners, and of worth. Never did an if or an unless diminish the value of the favours conferred by thee); the only conjunction which ever occurred to thee was thy conjunction with sudden death (6).
As a specimen of the charming verses composed by Ibn al-Motazz, and of his novel comparisons, we may quote the following:
May an abundant shower water the shady groves of al-Matira and the convent of Abdûn. How often, at the dawn of day before the lark took wing, I was awoke to take my morning-draught of wine by the voices of convent-monks at their prayers. Clothed