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a mawla to Abû Muhammad Talha Ibn Abd Allah (13) Ibn Khalaf al-Khuzai, who is generally known by the name of Talhat at-Talhåt. Talha acted as governor of Sijistân, under the orders of Abû Harb Muslim Ibn Ziad Ibn Abih, the governor of Khorasan. He died there whilst Abd Allah Ibn az-Zubair was in revolt against the khalif. The poet Obaid Allah Ibn Kais ar-Rukaiyát (14) said on this subject :

May the mercy of God be shown to the bones which were interred in Sijistân-to Talhat at-Talhật.

Talhat at-Talhât was so called because his mother's name was Talha, daughter of Abû Talha. This observation is furnished by Abû 'l-Husain Ali Ibn Ahmad as-Salâmi in his history of the governors of Khorasan (15).—Kamas or Kamis, the country of which Abû Tamim speaks in the verses given above, is situated in Persian Irak; its limit on the Khorasản side extends to Bastâm, and on the Irak side to Simnàn, and includes both of these cities.—Abd Allah died at Marw in the month of the first Rabi, A. H. 228, or 230 (Nov.-Dec. A. D. 844), which is more exact. [At-Tabari says that he died at Naisåpûr on Monday, the 11th of the first Rabi, 230, seven days after the death of Ashnås at-Turki.] He lived to the same age as his father, namely forty-eight years. We shall give the life of his son Obaid Allah.

(1) The comparison of a generous man to a shower is very common. Like the drops of rain which water a parched soil, his gifts spread abundance around.

(2) The revolt of Nasr Ibn Shabath is not noticed by Abu 'l-Fedà, although mentioned by Ibn al-Athir in his Kamil. This historian relates that in the year 198 (A. D. 813–4), Nasr Ibn Shabath al-Akili, who was

-. votedly attached to al-Amin and had taken the oath of allegiance to him ; wherefore, on that prince's death, his anger was excited, and declaring himself the vindicator of the Arabic race, whose rights the Abbasides had contemned by introducing foreigners into the service of the empire, he seized on all the neighbouring towns, and Somaísât among the rest. Being then joined by a great number of the desert Arabs and needy adventurers, he crossed the Euphrates with the intention of subduing Mesopotamia. In the year 199, he laid siege to Harrán, and Tâhir, who was sent against him, did not gain over him any signal advantage. He persevered in his revolt till A. H. 209, when he was besieged in Kaisům by Abd Allah Ibn Tahir, and forced to surrender. The conqueror levelled that place to the ground, and sent his prisoner to al-Mamun, who, it would appear, pardoned him. The author of the Khuldsat al-Akhbar and Ibn Khallikân place the defeat of Nasr Ibn Shabath at Rakka, which however was the head-quarters of Abd Allah. I must observe that in

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the Arabic edition of this work, I have printed the word Shabath as here transcribed, although written otherwise in my MSS. My correction has been confirmed by the reading of the autograph and by the text of Ibn al-Athir, where the orthography of the name is given letter by letter.

(3) The avarice of al-Mâmûn was proverbial.
(4) See vol. I. page 23, note (3). Muslim Ibn al-Walid died A. H. 208 (A. D. 823-4).

(8) They set out in hopes of obtaining money, and that depended on the will of the patron to whom they intended to apply.

(6) In the printed Arabic text read B.
(7) In Arabic the word wylic means both scorpions and secret foes.
(8) The reason is clear : generous men never hoard up money.

(9) I suspect that in the original Arabic, this note bears throughout a double meaning. The more obvious is that given here; the other is of such a nature as cannot be even alluded to.

(10) The autograph has the words Auf Ibn inserted before al-Muhallim. This is probably the same poet whose death Ibn Shåkir places in the year 220, and of whom he gives rather a long notice. According to him,

not

al-Khuzai was one of the learned men of that me to write Obaid Allah in the Arabic text corresponding to the present passage: but Abd Allah is the true reading in both places, not Obaid Allah.

age, and equally remarkable for his convivial talents and his wit. He became the inseparable companion of Tâhir Ibn al-Husain and enjoyed his favour to such a degree, that even in travelling, he rode behind him on the same camel or was borne in the same litter als de. His first acquaintance with that emir was formed by accident: He saw him in a pleasure-barge on the Tigris and addressed him in the lines already mentioned by Ibn Khallikân, vol. I. page 681, and which begin thus : I wonder how the bark, etc. (It may be observed that the latter writer attributes them to another poet.) Tâhir then made him get into the boat, and from that moment the patron and the poet were inseparable. Auf frequently asked leave of absence from Tâbir that he might go and see his own family, but his master was so much attached to him, that the permission was constantly refused. When Tahir died, Auf naturally hoped that he might then visit the relations whom he had not seen for so long a time, but Abd Allah the son of Tahir conceived for him the same fondness as his father had done, and would not allow him to depart. He thenceforward treated the poet with great kindness and raised him to opulence by the abundance of his gifts. Auf having at length obtained the long-desired permission, set out to see his family, but died on the way.-(Oyun at-Tawarikh, vol. VIII. fol. 10.-Other anecdotes respecting him are to be found in the next pages of that work.)

(11) In the month of Shabân, A. H. 206 (January, A. D. 822), Obaid Allah Ibn as-Sari was proclaimed governor of Egypt by the troops, on the death of his brother Muhammad. By the double right then conferred upon him of presiding at public prayers and of administering the revenues of the state, he possessed the greatest privileges which a provincial governor could obtain. But his ambition was not satisfied, and some time afterwards he revolted against his sovereign al-Mámon. Abd Allah Ibn Tâhir was immediately recalled from Khorasan and sent with an army against the rebel. After an obstinate conflict outside the walls of Cairo, Obaid Allah was forced to take refuge in the citadel and propose terms of surrender. He sent also to Ibn Tahir a present of one thousand male and one thousand female slaves; each of the latter bearing a silken purse in which was contained one thousand pieces of gold. The argument was irresistible, and Obaid Allah obtained an honourable capitulation. He had been in the exercise of power four years seven months and eight days.-(Abu 'l-Mahåsin's Nujum.)

(12) His life is given in vol. I. page 450.

(13) In page 810 of the preceding volume I have written this name Obaid Allah, although it is printed Abd Allah in the text. The same manuscript which induced me to think that the reading of the text was erroneous, led

(14) Obaid Allah Ibn Kais Ibn Shuraih Ibn Malik Ibn Rabia al-Aamiri, a native of Hijâz and a celebrated poet, composed verses in honour of Musáb Ibn az-Zubair and Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwan. He was surnamed ar-Rukaiyat, because he sung in some of his pieces the charms of three females, each of whom bore the name of Rukaiya.—(See Suyūti's Sharh Shawahid al-Moghni, MSS. No. 1238, fol. 33.)

(15) We read however as follows in Ibn Shakir's Oyun at-Tawdrikh, vol. III. fol. 4: “ A. H. 80 (A. D. “ 699–700). In this year died Talha Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Khalaf, one of the persons renowned for their gene

rosity, and the most liberal man of all the inhabitants of Basra. Al-Asmâi says : “Those noted for their “ • beneficence were Talha Ibn Obaid Allah at-Tamimi, surnamed al-Khair (the good); Talha Ibn Amr Ibn " • Abd Allah Ibn Måmar, surnamed al-Jud (liberality); Talha Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Auf Ibn Akhi Abd ir««• Rahman Ibn Auf, surnamed an-Nida abundant gifts); Talha Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Ali, surnamed al-Faiyad * * overflowing with generosity), and Talha Ibn Abd Allah ìbn Khalaf, surnamed Talhat at-Talhất (the " Talha of the Talhas), who, in generosity, surpassed them all.'”

ABU 'L-AMAITHAL.

The kâtib Abù 'l-Amaithal Abd Allah Ibn Khulaid was a mawla to Jaafar Ibn Sulaiman Ibn Ali Ibn Abd Allah Ibn al-Abbâs Ibn Abd al-Muttalib, and came, it is said, of a family which inhabited Rai (in Persian Irak). In his style he affected pompous expressions and the use of uncommon terms (1). He was employed as a secretary by Tâhir (Ibn al-Husain al-Khuzai), and was afterwards at– 370 tached in the same capacity, and in that of a poet, to the service of Abd Allah, Tâhir's son.

The

pure Arabic language was well known to him, and he made frequent use of the idioms peculiar to it. In the art of poetry he displayed considerable abilities, and the following lines on Abd Allah Ibn Tâhir are of his composing :

O you who desire to possess qualities such as those of Abd Allah, be silent and listen! I swear by Him to whose temple the pilgrims resort, that I shall give you a sincere advice; hearken then, or renounce your project: Be true, be modest, be charitable; endure with patience and indulgence; pardon, oblige; be mild, be gentle and be brave; act with kindness and lenity, with longanimity, courtesy, and forbearance; be firm and resolute; protect the feeble, maintain the right and repel injustice. Such is my counsel, if you choose to accept it, and are disposed to follow a straight and open way.

This is really a piece of extraordinary beauty, and he composed some others, equally fine. It is related that he one day went to the palace of Abd Allah Ibn Tâhir, but was refused admittance, on which he said :

Never shall I return to this door whilst admittance is so difficult as I find it now; I shall wait till access be more easy. And on the day in which I did not find a means to enter, I at least found means of not favouring the master with my presence.

These verses were repeated to Abd Allah, who blamed the door-keeper's conduct, and gave orders that the poet should be admitted. Abû 'l-Amaithal observed that the word nomán was one of the terms used to designate blood, and that the flowers called shakdik an-Nomân, or Nomân poppies (2), had received this name on account of their red colour, the opinion that they were so called after an-Nomân Ibn al-Mundir being totally unfounded. “I made this observation,” continued he, “to al-Asmai, who repeated it, adding: Such are the words of " • Abû Amaithal.” This opinion however is in contradiction with that held by all eminent philologers ; thus Ibn Kutaiba says, in his Kitâb al-Maårif: “ An“ Nomân Ibn al-Mundir” — the last Lakhmide king of Hira — “ went out of “ Küfa into the open country at a time in which it was all yellow, red, and green,

from the quantity of herbage and flowers, among which were poppies “ in great abundance. On seeing them, he declared that their beauty pleased “ him and that he forbade them to be gathered. This prohibition none dared “ to transgress, and they were therefore called an-Nomân's poppies.” Al-Jawhari also mentions in his Sahậh that they were so denominated after this anNomân, and other writers have made a similar statement : which opinion may be right, God best knows! It is related that when Abû Tammâm recited to Abd Allah Ibn Tahir his poem rhyming in B, of which we have spoken in his life (3), Abû 'l-Amaithal, who was present, said to him: “Abù Tammâm! why do you “not say something which may be understood ?” To this the other retorted : “ Abû Amaithal! why do you not understand what people say?”—Abû Amaithal one day kissed the hand of Abd Allah Ibn Tâhir, and as the prince complained of the roughness of his mustachioes, he immediately observed that the spines of the hedgehog could not hurt the wrist of the lion. Abd Allah was so highly pleased with this compliment, that he ordered a valuable present to be given to the poet.— The following works, amongst others, were composed by thal : a treatise on the terms which bear different meanings; a work entitled Kitâb at-Tashâbuh (4) (mutual resemblance); a notice on those verses which are current and well known, and a treatise on the ideas usually expressed in poetry. He died A. H. 240 (A.D. 854-5).- The word Amaithal serves to designate a number of things, and, amongst the rest, the lion; that such is its meaning in the present case is perfectly evident.

(1) In the Arabic text, read a gi?.

(2) The Shakäik an-Nomân, here translated an-Noman's poppies, is considered by Ibn Baithår as the same plant which Dioscorides describes under the name of the anemony. This writer notices two species of it, the wild and the cultivated, and a genus called by him argemonė, resembling the wild poppy. The flower of this plant has furnished the Arabian poets with a great number of comparisons, from which it would appear that its petals were red or vermilion-coloured, and its stamens black or brown. According to the author of the Kamus, these flowers were called shakdik, because their colour was red, like that of the lightning-flash; he gives also the same reason as Ibn Kutaiba for the origin of the name shakdik an-Noman. It cannot, however, escape observation that a great resemblance subsists between the word an-Noman and the old Greek name of anemoné, from which it may be inferred that the former is a mere alteration from the latter.

(3) See vol. I. page 350, the lines which begin thus : “ At the sight of dwellings,” etc.

(4) Such is the orthography of Hajji Khalifa and of Ibn Khallikân himself: all the later manuscripts of his work are wrong here.

ABU ’L-ABBAS AN-NASHI IBN SHIRSHIR.

Abû ’l-Abbas Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad an-Nashi al-Anbâri, generally known by the name of Ibn Shirshir, was a poet of great talent and a contemporary of Ibn ar-Rûmi and al-Bohtori. It is he who is denominated an-Nashi l-Akbar (the elder Nashi), to distinguish him from an-Nåshi al-Asghar, or the younger, whose life is to be found in this volume. He was also a grammarian, a prosodist, and 571 a scholastic theologian. The city of Anbâr was the native place of his family, but he himself resided during a long period at Baghdad, and then proceeded to Old Cairo where he passed the remainder of his life. He was deeply versed in a number of sciences, and his skill as a logician was so great, that he could overturn any proofs alleged by grammarians in favour of their doctrines. His penetration and sagacity enabled him also to bring into doubt the established

VOL II.

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