Page images
PDF
EPUB

(8) This philologer is noticed by Ibn Khallikân.

(9, Chammåkh fils de Dhirâr, de la tribu de Dhobyan, est un poëte qui a vécu dans le paganisme et l'islamisme. Son véritable nom était Måkal lörs. Il est un de ceux qui ont satirisé leur propre tribu et leurs hôtes. Il excellait à faire la description des ânes. Le calife Wélid fils d’Abd el-Mélik disait à ce sujet : Chanmâkh connait et dépeint si bien les ânes qu'il faut croire qu'il en compte quelqu'un parmi ses ancêtres.A. C. de Perceval.

(10) Araba tal-Ausi was probably one of the Prophet's companions.

(11) The author of the Hamdsa says that this elegy was made on the deaths of Za 'r-Rumma and Adfa Ibn Dalham, a different person from Zů 'r-Rumma's brother. See Hamāsa, page 91, where the piece is given with a commentary.

(12) See vol. I. page 348.

(13) Hatim's name was proverbial for the generosity of his conduct, and the fidelity of as-Samal was not less celebrated. See Rasmussen's Additamenta, page 14.

(14) The surname Zu 'r-Rumma means old-rope man.
(15) See vol. I. page 528.
(16) See vol. I. p.323, note (8).
(17) His life will be found in this work
(18) The province Najd, in Arabia, was the Arcadia of the Arabic poets.

(19) Literally: In my heart were as if live coals of ghada wood, owing to my love for her.— The charcoal of the ghada tree is frequently mentioned by the poets as retaining its fire a great length of time.

FATIK AL-MAJNUN.

The emir Abû Shujâ Fàtik the Great, surnamed al-Majnûn, was a Greek by birth. He, his brother and his sister had been carried off captives from a place near the castle called Zû ’l-Kelâa, in Asia Minor. He learned writing in Palestine, and was one of those slaves whom al-Ikhshid took away from Ramla against the will of their masters and without even paying their value. His former master then declared him free, and from that time he continued to live a freeman among the mamlůks belonging to the Ikhsbid family. He was distin- 367 guished for his generosity, lofty spirit, and daring courage, and this quality procured him the surname of al-Majnûn (the madman). During the life of al-Ikhshid, he and Kâfür were both in his service, but, when he died, leaving a son to the care of Kåfür, Fâtik refused to remain in Old Cairo, lest he should be obliged to give the precedence to his former comrade and ride in his suite. He there

fore retired to his fief, which consisted of al-Faiyûm and its territory, and he there took

up his residence, although the air and the water of that province were noxious in their qualities and prejudicial to the constitution. Kåfûr stood in dread of him, and treated him with high respect whilst he dissimulated his real feelings. Fâtik's indisposition continuing to increase, he was obliged to proceed to Old Cairo for medical assistance, and he arrived there whilst al

Mutanabbi was living as a guest with Kâfùr. The poet had often heard of Fåtik's generous character and undaunted courage, but dared not now wait upon him lest he should offend Kåfør; as for Fåtik, he inquired after him regularly and sent him polite letters. They met at length by accident in the desert (outside the city), and had a long conversation. When Fåtik returned to his house, he immediately sent to al-Mutanabbi a present to the value of one thousand dinars, and this he followed up by others. The poet then obtained permission from Kåfør to celebrate the praises of his benefactor, and, on the 9th of the latter Jumâda, A. H. 348 (August, A. D. 959) he pronounced the eulogium of Fàtik in the celebrated and splendid käsida which begins thus :

As thou (O poet) hast neither steeds nor wealth to offer, let eloquence aid thee, since fortune aids thee not.

It is the same poem which contains this admirable verse :

(Glory belongs only) to the like of Fatik! nay, the like ofweakens the idea ;—to the like of the sun, then, it belongs; but where has the sun its like ?

Fâtik died at Old Cairo on the eve of Sunday, the 11th of Shawwal, A. H. 350 (November, A. D. 961), and al-Mutanabbi, who had left Egypt some time before, lamented his death in the kasida which begins thus :

Grief troubles the mind and resignation calms it; thus, between them both, (my) tears are rebellious and obedient.

In this poem we find the following elegant thoughts :

I am weak on quitting my friends, but if my soul hears of death and battle, I am strong. I am increased in force by the wrath of the foe; but if a friend even hint a reproach, I tremble with sorrow. The stream of life is limpid for the fool; for him who thinks not of the past and of the future; for him who is blind to inevitable fate, and, in the pursuit of vanity, yields to the delusions of hope. Where is he who built the pyramids ? what was his people ? what, his life? his death ? Monuments remain for a time after their founders; then ruin strikes them and they follow (them to oblivion).

The whole elegy is of singular beauty (1). When al-Mutanabbi left Baghdad, he composed a poem in which he described his journey from Egypt and deplored the loss of Fåtik. This piece, which was recited by him on Tuesday, the 9th of Shaabân, A. H. 352 (September, A. D. 963), begins thus :

How long must we travel as the stars do, through the darkness; (the unwearied stars) which travel not with the feet of camels or with those of men ?

The following are the lines in which he mentions Fåtik :

Egypt has no other Fåtik whom we may visit; he has left no successor amongst men. 568 He whom the living could not equal in virtues is now on an equal with the dead in the dust of the tomb. I have lost him, and I seem to be journeying in search of him, but the world only offers me a void.

(1) See it in M. Grangeret de Lagrange's Anthologie Arabe.

AL-FATH IBN KHAKAN.

Abû Nasr al-Fath Ibn Muhammad Ibn Obaid Allah Ibn Khâkân Ibn Abd Allah al-Kaisi (member of the tribe of Kais) al-Ishbili (native of Seville) was the author of the Kaldid al-Ikiyân (collars of gold) and of other works. In the Kaldid he has united (a series of notices on) a great number of Moorish poets, and he employs, in each of these articles, a highly elegant style and the most refined allusions. He is also the author of the work called Matmah al-Anfus wa Masrah at-Tađnnus fi Mulah Ahl il-Andalus (the aspiring-point for souls and open field for familiarity, containing elegant anecdotes of Spaniards). He gave three editions of this treatise, a large one, a medium, and a compendium; it contains much information, but is rarely to be found in our countries (the East). In these works the great genius and extraordinary accomplishments of the author are eminently conspicuous. He was a great traveller, and seldom staid long in one place. He died a violent death, A.H. 535 (A.D. 1140-1), in the funduk (or caravan-serai) of

Morocco.—The hâfiz Ibn Dihya (vol. II. p. 384) says, in his work entitled al-Mutrib fi Ashaâr Ahl il-Mughrib (the amusing book, treating of the poetry of the Western Arabs): “ I met a number of his disciples, and they spoke to me of his works “ and astonishing talents); in his conduct he was a libertine, but in his written “ compositions he displayed a style which might be called lawful magic and

limpid water. He was murdered in the funduk where he resided, in the “ capital of Morocco, towards the commencement of the year 529 (Oct.-Nov. “ A. D. 1134). The person who abetted this crime was the Emir of the Mos“ lims himself, Abû ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn Yûsuf Ibn Tashisin.” This Emir of the Moslims was the brother of Abu Ishak Ibrahim Ibn Yûsuf Ibn Tashifin, him for whom Abû Nasr had composed his Kaldid al-Ikiyán, as it appears from his own statement in the preface of the work (1).

(1) For further information respecting Ibn Khâkân and his productions, see M. Weyer's Specimen criticum exhibens locos Ibn Khacanis de Ibn Zeidouno, and the first volume of his Orientalia. I feel myself bound to say that the Kaldid al-Ikiyan is a work as barren in facts as it is brilliant in style.

FITYAN AS-SHAGHURI.

Fityân Ibn Ali Ibn Fityàn Ibn Thumål, surnamed as-Shihab (i. e. Shihåb addin, flambeau of the faith), was a member of the tribe of Asad, a follower of the Hanifite doctrines and a native of Damascus. He bore the designation of asShàghûri al-Muallàm (the preceptor), and he acquired distinction by his abilities and by his talent for poetry. He was engaged in the service of different princes, and their praises were celebrated by him whilst he instructed their children. The diwân, or collection, of his poems contains a number of fine passages, and, as he dwelt for a time at az-Zabadâni, he made it the subject of some charming pieces. One of these, which we here give and in which he has reached the acme of perfection (1), is on the Garden of az-Zabadàni, an extensive tract of country offering a delightful sight in spring for the variety of its flowers, but, in winter, covered with snow:

Kånûn (January) has congealed the wine in every cup, and even extinguished the embers which were lighted in the brasier (kánún). O Garden of az-Zabadani! thou displayest a handsome face even when the face of the weather is contracted with frowns. The snow which covers thee is like cotton ; the clouds shake it out, the air cleans it, and the rainbow is the bow (2).

Happening, when an old man, to take a bath, and finding the water very hot, he said :

I think your water is as hot as hell, and I suffer from it pains and smarting. I remem- 569 ber seeing you scald kids, but what makes you now scald old goats ?

I have since found, in the Kharida, a piece of five verses, containing the same idea ; they are inserted in a biographical notice on the kåtib Saad Ibn Ibrahim as-Shaibâni al-Asârdi (a native of Asârd in Mesopotamia), and surnamed al-Majd (i. e. Majd ad-din, or glory of religion). Speaking of these lines, Imád ad-din al-Ispahâni, the author of the Kharida, says: “They were recited to me by “Saad himself to exemplify what could be said in dispraise of a bath, but he “ did not give them as his own.” The fifth verse is as follows:

It was a well-known custom to scald kids, but what has induced you to scald old goats?

Imád ad-din continues : “He (Saad) was still alive on the 6th of the latter Rabi, “ in the year 587 (A. D. 1191) and serving with the victorious army outside Acre (3).” I warn the reader not to take the verse for Fityân’s ; he has merely inserted it amongst his own.— Fityân was attached to the service of the emir Nûr ed-din Maudûd Ibn al-Mubarak, the resident agent (4) at Damascus and brother of Izz ad-din Farrûkh Shah, the son of the sultan Salâh ad-din's brother by the mother's side. He was employed to teach Maudûd's children writing, and this induced Ibn Onain to address him the following lines :

O thou who art wrongly surnamed as-Shihåb (5), for thy darkness would infect even the shooting stars in the heavens! be not too proud of thy place in Maudud's empire, even though thou thinkest to hold it in firm possession. If thou utterest a single bark therein, thou wilt have to twist thy tail about thy nose (6).

This last verse is borrowed from a passage in the Hamása (7).- Ibn Onain and as-Shâghûri were in correspondence, and some raillery passed between them,

VOL. II.

58

« PreviousContinue »