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principles of prosody, and to lay down forms of versification entirely different from those admitted by al-Khalil Ibn Ahmad. He wrote a kasida of four thousand verses, all terminating in the same rhyme, and in this poem he treated of various sciences. A number of fine works were written by him, and he composed a great quantity of verses on the animals used for hunting, on the different sorts of game, on the implements and every other subject connected with the chase. In these poems he displayed knowledge worthy of a professional sportsman, and many passages are quoted from them by Koshâjim, in his work called al-Masáid wa 'l-Matárid. Some of his poems are kasidas, and some, tardiyas or hunting-pieces, in the style of those made by Abû Nuwâs ; the rest are detached passages, but in all of them his talent is equally conspicuous. One of his tardiyas, containing the description of a falcon, runs as follows :

When the veil of darkness was rent off the face of the heavens, and the light of the morning rejoiced in shedding its brightness, I went forth on the track of the game, with a cream-coloured (bird), from its birth, of singular beauty. It was clothed by the Creator in raiment of the softest tissue, and when it darted forward or circled around, the eye could not follow its motions. From its cheeks to its eyes extends an ornament which serves it as a diadem (1). Its active spirit is denoted by its beak, and by its claws is shown the art wherein lies its skill. Were a traveller journeying in darkness, the eye of that animal might serve him as a taper to light him on his way.

In describing a singing girl of great beauty, he expresses himself in the following terms :

O thou for whose welfare I should sacrifice my life! (The spies who surround me) do not appreciate thy charms, or else they had not allowed me to fix my eyes on thine. They forbid me to look on any other females; did they think it possible that the eyes of men could be turned towards any but thee? They placed thee to watch my conduct; whom then have they placed as a watch over thine? Fools that they were ! did they not read in thy cheeks the written revelation of thy beauty ?

His poetical works are very numerous, but we shall confine ourselves to the foregoing extracts. He died at Old Cairo, A. H. 293 (A. D. 905–6).— Näshi was a surname given to him (2). Anbåri means belonging to al-Anbår, which is a town on the Euphrates, ten parasangs (to the west) of Baghdad; it has produced a number of learned men. Anbar is the plural of nibr, and signifies magazines of provisions ; this place was so called because the ancient kings of Persia used to keep provisions stored in it (for the use of their troops).

(1) He must mean the dusky bars which mark the plumage of the gyrfalcon, or else its hood.

(2) The word näshi has a number of meanings ; it is therefore not easy to determine what is the signification it bears here.


Abû Muhammad Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Sâra as-Shantarini, a native of Spain and a member of the tribe of Bakr, was celebrated as a poet, but he possessed also superior abilities as a prose-writer. Notwithstanding his talents, his lot through life was little else than adversity and disappointment: he lived without finding a place of abode to suit him or a prince to protect him. He is noticed by (Ibn Khâkân) the author of the Kaldid al-Ikiyán, and is praised by Ibn 372 Bassâm in the Dakhira. This writer says: “After endeavouring to obtain (1) “ even the meanest employments and undergoing great sufferings, he rose at

length to fill the place of secretary to a provincial governor; but at the period “in which (Yusuf Ibn Tâshifin) dispossessed the Spanish sovereigns of their “ dominions, he retired to Seville in a state more dismal than night itself and

more solitary than the star Canopus (2). He then supported his existence

by binding books, an art with which he was well acquainted and in which “ he displayed great skill. This profession he followed, although it had then

greatly fallen off and was almost totally neglected. To this he alludes in the following lines :




• The trade of a bookbinder is the worst of all; its leaves and its fruits are nought but • disappointment. I may compare him that follows it to a needle, which clothes others, .but is naked itself!'" (3)

These verses also are by the same poet :

That maid with the flowing ringlets is encircled by a host of tender charms, and for her a tender passion fills our hearts. It is not dark curls which shade her cheeks, but rather a tint cast upon them by the black pupils of her eyes.

He said also of a girl with blue eyes :

I see, within the circle of necklaces which adorn that slender-waisted nymph, a moon (handsome face) which receives its lustre from the gems of beauty. She is formed like a lance that she may pierce us to the heart, and on this lance gleams a point of blue (steel).

A similar thought is thus expressed by as-Salami :

In embracing her waist, I have clasped a pliant spear; and you will recognise its deadly point in the glances of her eyes.

It was from this verse that Ibn an-Nabih al-Misri (4) borrowed the idea which he has thus expressed :

The complexion of this brunette is like the colour of the lance (5), and her eyes might be taken for its point, were they not painted with antimony.

The following verses of Ibn Såra's inculcate the renunciation of the world and its pleasures :

O thou who hearkenest to the call of the cupbearer, though warned of thy approaching end by gray hairs and age! If thou wilt not listen to my admonitions, why hast thou hearing to receive men's words, and memory to retain them? He alone is blind and deaf who followeth not the lessons offered by the present and the past. Time shall not endure for ever, nor the world, nor the lofty spheres, nor the two great lights, the sun and the moon. The inhabitants of the world, both those who dwell in tents and those who live in towns, must leave it, though unwilling.

It was he who composed these verses :

I have for a companion one who, like an inward disorder, cannot be shaken off, and who loves me as the wolf does the shepherd. He extols me—may God requite him for his good intentions !—with praise such as Hind bestowed upon Rauh Ibn Zinbå.

This Hind was daughter to an-Nomân Ibn Bashir al-Ansari, and wife to Rauh Ibn Zinbâ ’l-Judami (6), the favourite officer of the khalif Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwân. She detested her husband and made on him these lines :


Hind, a filly of pure Arabian breed and sprung from noble steeds, has she not been covered by an ass? If she bear a foal of good points, she had a right to do so; but if it be only a half-blood (ikraf), wonder not! it had a worthless sire.

These verses are attributed also to her sister Humaida, the daughter of an-Nomân. The word ikraf indicates that the dam was of Arabian breed and that the sire was not; another word, hujnat, is employed to mark that the sire was of Arabian blood and that the dam was not.—Ibn Sâra composed a great number of poetical pieces, most of them very good, and they have been collected into a volume. He died A. H. 517 (A.D. 1123) at Almeria in Spain, a city already mentioned (in vol. I. pages 43 and 151).— Såra, his grandfather's name, is written either with a sîn or a såd (a hard or a soft s).-Shantarîni means belonging to Shantarin (Santarem), a town in the Spanish peninsula.

تتبع The true reading is (1)


1 The true

is (2) The Arabs consider Canopus as the brightest of the fixed stars ; it has consequently no fellow or com-, panion. Ibn Bassâm is here led away, as usual, by the temptation of a mere quibble.

(3) These verses fix the meaning in which the word wiraka auzly, must be taken here. It signifies also the profession of a stationer and that of a copyist of books.

“ Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn an-Nabih, one of the most eminent poets of his time in Egypt, died A.H. 621 “ (A.D. 1224)."-(As-Soyuti's Husn al-Muhadira, MS. No. 652, fol. 180 verso.)

(5) Lances were generally made of a species of bamboo.

(6) Abů Zarâa Rauh (or Růh) Ibn Zinbå, the head of the tribe of Judâm, was possessed of such great influence, that the khalif Moawia resolved on putting him to death, but was induced at length to change his mind. When Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwan came to the throne, Rauh received the government of Palestine and became the intimate and inseparable companion of his master. In the service of Abd al-Malik he filled all the duties of a vizir and proved himself not only prudent and intelligent, but also learned and religious. He died A.H. 84 (A. D. 703).—(Nujům. Al-Yafi.)


Abû Muhammad Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad Ibn as-Sid al-Batalyausi was an able grammarian, eminent also in philology and general literature, of which sciences he possessed a profound and exact knowledge. He inhabited the city of Valencia, where his lessons drew crowds of pupils, anxious to study under his tuition and to profit by his learned observations. His mode of instructing and the talent with which he rendered the most difficult points intelligible to his auditors were very superior, and the passages which he cited from memory illustrative of the pure Arabic language were not only copious, but correct. He composed a number of instructive works, such as a Muthallath (1) in two volumes, containing many novel observations and denoting vast erudition in the author. This can be better appreciated when we mention that the (cele

brated) treatise of Kutrub, which bears the same title, fills only one quire (or about twenty pages), and yet it gives as current certain examples which were only poetical licenses, and contains besides some words which do not exist, and others to which a wrong signification is attributed. He wrote also the Iktidåb (extemporizing), a work designed as a commentary on the Adab al-Kâtib, and of which we have already spoken in the life of Ibn Kutaiba (page 23). He drew up also a commentary on Abů Alâ's work, the Sikt az-Zand, in which he fully develops the thoughts and allusions contained in the text of that poet; it is even superior to the treatise on the same subject composed by Abû ’l-Alå himself and entitled D&w as-Sikt. In a treatise on (the right use of) the letters , Je, jo, b, and s (in the orthography of words), he has assembled a great quantity of curious observations. He composed also the Hulul (elucidations) (2), which is a commentary on the verses cited as examples in (az-Zajjåji's grammatical compendium) the Jumal ; the mistakes committed in the same work were pointed out by him in a treatise entitled al-Khalal (the faults) (3). His Tanbih, or indication, is a treatise on the causes of the dissensions which have prevailed among the (Moslim) people. He composed also a commentary on the (imâm Malik's) Muwatta, and another, as I have been informed, on the Diwân of al-Mutanabbi's poems.

This last work I have never seen, and it is even said that no copies of it ever reached the East. We may conclude this list by observing that every subject which he undertook was treated in the most masterly manner. He composed also some good poetry, from which we may quote the following passages :

The man of learning lives after his death, though his bones be buried and crumbling into dust. But the ignorant man is dead, though he yet walk upon the earth; he is thought to be of the living, but he is not.

On the length of a night (passed in suffering):

Behold! the dark locks of our night are turned hoary with age. She has become gray like myself; or rather, a meadow, white with flowers, is spread over the heavens. The seven nights of the week seem to have come together in the sky without a day's interval between them.

From the beginning of a kasida in praise of al-Mustain Ibn Hûd (4):

My patience under affliction was born away from me by the people of that tribe, when they set out with moons encircled with necklaces and which rose from over a willow branch (5). They have left me here, in the valley amongst the sands of the desert, but

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