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He took this idea from the following verses composed by Abû ’n-Nida Hassan Ibn Numair al-Kalbi, a celebrated poet of Damascus, and generally known by the appellation of al-Arkala (5):
If thou art seduced by a dark olive complexion, ask the pains I endure what is the effect produced by the silvery white. The part of the (brown) lance which slayeth is but a span in length, whilst every part of the bright) sword, except one span (the handle), gives deadly wounds.
When Sharaf ad-din (Ibn al-Mustaufi) composed the two verses given above, a certain literary man observed that he would have more fully expressed the idea, had he said, that the portion of the lance which slayeth is of the same substance as the sword.
An amateur of the belles lettres (whether Ibn al-Mustaufi himself or some other, I know not,) then composed the following lines, in which the thought is expressed with that addition :
The bright-complexioned (the swords) inflict the most fatal wounds, and the wounds of my heart were inflicted by bright beauties (of mortal race). If the brown (the lances) slay, it is because their points are formed of the same substance as the bright (suords).
· Amongst the poems of Ibn al-Mustaufi which were set to music (6), we may notice the following piece:
O night during which I remained awake till morning, comparing (the beauty of thy full moon with that of) its fellow (which I held in my arms)! Fortune at length granted me that happy night, and if the lover complained of its length, it was surely with sweet reproaches. I made it a night of life and happiness), but I concealed its existence from my envious foes, whose only thought was to scatter calumnies. She (7) who clung to my neck was sweet in disposition, slender-waisted, and possessing all the charms of beauty. Her port might be thought erect, but her slender waist, whilst the zephyr wantoned with it, was ever bending. (She trod with faltering steps like one) intoxicated; passion hurried me towards her, but piety withheld me, and I blushed at my amorous folly. My hand rested on her neck ; I touched her cheeks; these I kissed, and the charms of that neck I rifled. Had my sighs not been intermingled with hers (and been thus concealed), they had discovered us both to the spy who wished to betray her. The morning was jealous and angry at the night for having joined us, and its precursor (the dawn) forced us to separate.
The lines which follow are also of his composing:
Blessings on those nights, short though they were, which brought us together! may genial showers refresh them and give them new life. From that time, I never said Proceed! (ihi) to the friend with whom I whiled away the evenings in conversation, but my heart said: alas ! (aha).
These verses are to be met with in a kasida composed by my friend Husâm addin al-Hâjiri (vol. II. p. 434), but most of my acquaintances say that Sharaf addin (Ibn al-Mustaufi) was their real author.—One night, as Ibn al-Mustaufi was returning home from the mosque in the neighbourhood of his house, a man sprung upon him and aimed a dagger at his heart; but he warded off the stroke with his arm, and in so doing received on it a severe wound, which was immediately stitched up, anointed, and bandaged by a barber-surgeon who had been called in. Ibn al-Mustausi then wrote the following lines to al-Malik al-Moazzam, the sovereign of Arbela, informing him of the attempt which had been made against his life. To the best of my belief, this took place in the year 618 (A. D. 1221-2): I was then a boy, but I remember the circumstance perfectly well. The lines I speak of are these :
O prince whose prowess would excite the admiration of Mars himself (8)! the marks of thy generosity are deeply impressed (upon our hearts), and none of them ever effaces the other (9). To thee I denounce a heinous deed, the like of which I never suffered from before; a deed which will form an epoch in history. It is the night of my birth, and in proof thereof I cite as witnesses, the bandages in which I am swathed and the oil with which I have been anointed (10).
This idea is singularly original.—He related that he composed the following lines in his sleep :
We passed the night together, and my jealous foe bit his hands with anger. So ardent is my passion, that I should give the dark ( pupils) of my eyes to prolong the darkness of the night.
In the year 628 (A. D. 1230-1) Sharaf ad-din Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Abi 'lHasan Ibn Isa Ibn Ali Ibn Yarub al-Bawâziji, the poet, arrived at Arbela, and Ibn al-Mustaufi, who was at that time vizir, sent him a mathlàm by al-Kamål Ibn as-Seâr al-Mausili, a person employed in his service, and the author of a historical
By mathlum is meant a dinar from which a small portion has been clipped off. This is a general practice in Irâk and the neighbouring countries ; they employ these clippings in making purchases, and they call them kurada (clippings); the mathlūms are also employed by them in the same manner: both
sorts are very common among them. — Al-Kamâl went to the poet, and said : “ The Sahib (11) greets thee, and requests thee to employ this sum for thy present
wants, as he will soon send thee something more adequate to thy merit.” The poet perceived that the coin was not perfect, and, thinking that Sharaf ad-din had sent it to him whole, he suspected al-Kamål of having clipped it. Desirous of learning the truth of the matter from Sharaf ad-din, he wrote to him these lines :
My lord vizir! you whose generosity is proverbial! you sent me a moon perfect in beauty when at its full (or when with Kamal), but the servant brought it to me a crescent. It would not have decreased, had it not reached its full (or got into the hands of Kamal), for such is the prescribed course of things.
In that country
The thought and the double meaning contained in these lines pleased Ibn alMustaufi so highly that he bestowed a reward on the poet, and treated him afterwards with great favour.—When I left Arbela, in the year 626 (A. D. 1228-9), Sharaf ad-din was mustaufi of the Diwan (or council of state). the istifa (or post of mustaufi ) is one of the highest places under government, being second only to that of vizir. In the year 629 he was raised to the vizirate, and he fulfilled the duties of this office to general satisfaction. He continued in place till the death of Muzaffer ad-din (A. H. 630; see vol. II. p. 542), but then, towards the middle of the month of Shawwal, the imâm (khâlif) al-Mustansir took possession of Arbela, and Ibn al-Mustausi received his dismissal. From that time he lived in domestic retirement, receiving, as I have been informed, constant tokens of public respect, till the city was taken by the Tartars, on the 27th of the month of Shawwal, A. H. 634 (June, A. D. 1237). The fatal consequences of this event for Arbela and its inhabitants are well known (12 . (Ibn al-Mustaufi) Sharaf ad-din was one of those who took refuge in the citadel, and thus escaped. When the enemy raised the siege of the citadel, he proceeded to Mosul, where he obtained a pension, and passed the rest of his life universally respected. He possessed a large collection of valuable books. His death took place at Mosul, on Sunday, the 5th of Muharram, A. H. 637 (August, A. D. 1239), and he was interred in the Sâbilah cemetery, outside the Jasása Gate. He was born on the 15th of Shawwal, A. H. 564 (July, A. D. 1169), in the citadel of Arbela. He came of a powerful family, which produced a number of men
distinguished by the posts which they held under government, or by their learning. The place of istifa at Arbela had been (previously) filled by his father, and by his uncle Safi ad-din (pure in religion) Abû ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn al-Mubarak, a man of eminent abilities. It was he who translated Abû Hamid al-Ghazzáli’s Nasiha tal-Mulak (counsel for kings) from Persian into Arabic, for al-Ghazzâli had composed it in the former language. Sharaf ad-din (Ibn al-Mustaufi) notices this circumstance in his History, and I heard it mentioned also, during my residence in that country, as a well known fact. An elegiac poem was composed on the death of Ibn al-Mustaufi, by my friend Shams ad-din Abû ’l-Izz Yûsuf Ibn an-Nafis al-Irbili, surnamed Shaitân as-Shâm (the demon of Syria). Shaitàn as-Shâm was born at Arbela, A. H. 586 (A. D. 1190-1); he died at Mosul, on the 16th of Ramadàn, A. H. 638 (April, A. D. 1241), and was interred in the cemetery at the Jasása gate. Speaking of Ibn al-Mustaufi, he said :
O Abû 'l-Barakåt ! had death known that thou wert the paragon of the age, it would not have smitten thee. The greatest of misfortunes which Islamism could experience was the loss of one whom men and genii are lamenting.
Were I not apprehensive of extending this article too much, I should give a great many more anecdotes concerning him, and notice further particulars of his life, with some of the pieces composed in his praise; for, God be merciful to him! he was one of the ornaments of the age, and the like of him, for merit 623 and influence, has never since existed in that city.--We have already explained the meaning of the word Lakhmi (vol. I. p. 148) and need not therefore repeat it here.
(1) Diwan may here mean register, account-book, or perhaps the office for keeping the public accounts. From the passage which follows, I am induced to think that the art of book-keeping was not unknown to the Arabs.
(2) For the meaning I here give to the passive participle muhassal, I shall assign as my authority that given by M. de Sacy in his Abdallatif, page 244, to the corresponding active participle muhassil. I consider the word here as bearing the passive form, because, in the complete Arabic title, it rhymes to Mufassal.
(3) Abu Kumash; in Latin, pater supellectilis or supellectilem congerens. A sort of common-place book. (4) By white and brown are meant fair-complexioned females and brunettes.
(5) Abū 'n-Nida Hassan Ibn Numair, surnamed Arkala, belonged to a branch of the tribe of Kalb, settled in the neighbourhood of Damascus. The katib Imâd ad-din al-Ispahåni, who met him at that city, says that he was a great favorite with the princes of the Aiyubide family, and the constant companion of their convivial
parties, which he enlivened by his gaiety. Salah ad-din promised to give him one thousand dinars on becoming master of Egypt, and when that event took place, Arkala proceeded thither and received the sum. He then returned to Damascus and died there towards the year 566 (A. D. 1170). The katib, who knew him personally, has given us long extracts from his poetical works, arranged in alphabetical order, according to the rhymes. - See Kharida; MS. of the Bib. du Roi, No. 1414, fol 25 et seq.
(6) Literally: Which are sung.
(7) Throughout this piece I have changed the gender of the pronouns and made other modifications of a similar kind.
(8) Abu 'l-Maashar al-Balkhi, generally known in Europe by the name of Albumaser, says in one of his astrological works (MS. of the Bib. du Roi, fonds Ducaurroi, No. 24): “Mars is the indicator of (presides over) war
riors, armed men, men of might, libertines, and highway-robbers. Saturn is the indicator of kings,old men, “ gardeners, and farmers. Jupiter, of nobles, judges, vizirs, and devout and religious men. Venus, of women, “ eunuchs,and girls. Mercury, of katibs (penmen, secretaries), arithmeticians, merchants, artisans, and boys. “ The Sun, of kings and princes; and the Moon, of the post-house establishment (barid), the common people, “ their trades, and the means by which they gain their daily bread.” It may be seen from this that the Arabs have borrowed the attributes of the planets from the Greeks.
(9) This verse is entirely composed of technical terms, such as are employed by dogmatic theologians in discussing the verses of the Koran. The meaning of these terms being familiar to persons who have read Pococke's Specimen and Sale's preface to the Koran, I think it unnecessary to explain them; the more so, as they are here used with a different signification.
(10) It seems from this that it was then customary to anoint infants with oil. (11) See vol. I. page 213.
(12) In the year 634, the Moghuls took Arbela by storm, and put to the sword all the inhabitants who had not taken refuge in the citadel. They then plundered the city, and having burned it down, they directed their attacks against the citadel, but after a forty days' siege, they evacuated the place on receiving a large sum from the garrison. During this period, the inhabitants defended themselves with great courage, but many of them died of thirst.-—(D'Ohsson's Hist. des Monghols, t. III. p. 73).
Abû Bakr al-Mubarak Ibn Abi Tålib al-Mubàrak Ibn Abi ’l-Azhar Said, surnamed al-Wajih (the respectable), and generally known by the appellation of Ibn ad-Dahhàn (the son of the ointment maker), was a native of Wasit, and a grammarian. The designation of ad-Darir (the blind) was also given to him because he had lost his sight. He was born at Wasit, and passed his youth in that city; he there learned the Koran by heart, and was taught to read it according to the different systems; he studied also the science (of jurisprudence), and took lessons