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We were afflicted with drought till thy arrival; but with thee abundance drew near. Two showers came at the same time; so let us welcome the emir (1) and the rain.

Such is the statement set forth in as-Salâmi's History of Khorasan, but atTabari says in his Annals: "Abd Allah the son of Tahir was at Dinawar in the "year 213, at the time of his brother Talha's death."- We have spoken of Talha in the life of his father Tahir (vol. I. pp. 649,654).—“ The kâdi Yahya Ibn "Aktham was then sent to him by al-Mâmûn with a message of condolence and "with directions to felicitate him on his elevation to the government of Khora"san."-Farther on, however, when giving an account of Talha's administration, he makes a different statement: "At the time of Tâhir's death,” says he, "Abd Allah was at Rakka, combatting Nasr Ibn Shabath (2), and al-Màmûn "conferred upon him the government of all the provinces held by his father, "and granted him that of Syria besides. Abd Allah then sent his brother Talha "to Khorasan." The same author says again, under the year 213: "Al-Mà"mûn now appointed his brother al-Motasim to the government of Syria and "Egypt, and he nominated his own son al-Abbàs as ruler over Mesopotamia, "the northern frontiers of that province and those of Syria (ath-Thughûr wa 'lAwasim). He gave to each of them five hundred thousand dinars, and to Abd "Allah Ibn Tâhir a similar sum. It is said that he never gave away as much “money in a single day as he had done in that (3).”—The poet Abû Tammâm at-Tai set out from Irak with the design of paying his court to Abd Allah, and, on reaching Kûmis after a long and fatiguing journey, he pronounced these

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We arrived at Kûmis, worn away by our journey and the fatiguing pace of our camels, now no longer restive. My companions then said: "Dost thou mean to lead us (to "earth's farthest limits,) to the place of sunrise ?"-"No," I replied; "but to the point "where the sun of generosity riseth over the world."

I may here observe, before going farther, that Abû Tammam has stolen the idea and the very words of these verses from a piece by Muslim Ibn al-Walid al-Ansari (4), in which he


My companions hastened forward on their journey, and the horses lent heavily on the bit: "Dost thou intend," said they, "to lead us to the place of sunset?"-"No," I replied, "but to the spot where liberality riseth over the world."

When Abû Tammâm arrived at his journey's end, he waited on Abd Allah and recited to him his splendid kasida rhyming in B, wherein he says:

These riders, worn away with fatigue and thin as the points of spears, toiled through the darkness which invaded the earth; and the beasts that bore them were emaciated like them. They came on a business which it was theirs to commence, and another's to finish (5).

The following verse also is contained in the same magnificent kasida :

But Abd Allah struck (6) terror into the night, and, through dread of his vengeance, it ceased to assail us; the very scorpions (7) which crawl forth at night did not dare to stir.

It was in this journey that Abû Tammâm composed the Hamasa; for, on arriving at Hamadân, the winter had set in, and, as the cold is excessively severe in that country, the snow blocked up the road, and obliged him to stop and await the thaw. During his stay, he resided with one of the most eminent men of the place, who possessed a library in which were some collections of poems composed by the Arabs of the desert and other authors. Having then sufficient leisure, he perused those works and selected from them the passages out of which he formed his Hamâsa. - Abd Allah was versed in the belles-lettres and possessed an elegant taste; he was also a good musician and composed the airs of a great number of songs, inserted as his in the Kitâb al-Aghani; they are very beautiful and have been transmitted down unaltered by the persons who make music their profession. Some fine verses and charming letters of his are still preserved. One of his pieces is as follows:

We are a people who yield to the force of large and brilliant eyes, and yet (armour of) iron yields to our (blows in war). Submissive to these gazelles, we are vanquished by their glances; we who with our spears vanquish lions. We subdue the beasts of chace, but are ourselves subdued by fair maidens with modest eyes and cheeks unprofaned by public gaze. The lions dread our anger, but we dread the anger of a fawn(-like nymph), when she seems displeased. Behold us freemen in the day of battle, but in peace slaves to the fair.

These verses have been attributed to Asram Ibn Humaid, a person in whose honour al-Mutanabbi composed some of his poems; but God best knows who was their author. One of Abd Allah's most remarkable pieces is the following:

Forgive my fault and merit my deepest gratitude; the recompense of my thanks shall not be withheld from thee. Oblige me not to find an excuse for my conduct; I may perhaps be unsuccessful.

One of his sayings was, that a well-filled purse and a glorious reputation are never found together (8). A paper was one day put into his hands, in which it 569 was represented to him that a number of persons went out of the city on a party of pleasure, and that they had taken with them a young boy. On reading the complaint, he wrote above it these words: "What mode of legal proceedings "can be taken against young men who go out to amuse themselves, and satisfy "their inclinations as far as lies in their power? And the boy may be a son to "one of them or a relation of some of them (9)." but at different periods, the governments of Syria and of Egypt. latter country, he was spoken of in these terms by a poet :

Abd Allah held for some time,

When in the

People say that Egypt is a distant land, but for me it is not distant since the son of Tahir is there. Farther from us than Egypt are some men that you see here present, but whose favours you never see. They are dead to every virtue, and a visit to them in hopes of a generous gift is as a visit made to those whose dwelling is the tomb.

These verses are also attributed, but I do not know on what grounds, to Aûf Ibn Muhallim as-Shaibâni (10). Abd Allah entered Old Cairo A. H. 211 (A. D. 826), but left it towards the end of the same year, and in the month of Zû 'lKaada he arrived at Baghdad. During his absence, he confided the government of the province to his lieutenants. In A.H. 213, he was replaced by Abû Ishak the son of Harûn ar-Rashid, who was afterwards khalif under the title of alMotasim. Al-Farghâni says in his History that Abd Allah Ibn Tâhir succeeded in the government of Egypt to Obaid Allah Ibn as-Sari Ibn al-Hakam (11); the latter left the country in the month of Safar, A. H. 241, and Abd Allah on the 25th of Rajab, 212, when he proceeded to Irak, after leaving the government of the country to his lieutenants; they remained in authority till the appointment of al-Motasim. The vizir Abû 'l-Kàsim al-Maghribi (12) says in his Adab al-Khawass that the Abdalawi (or Abdallian) melon which grows in Egypt was so called after Abd Allah Ibn Tahir. This species of melon is not found in any other country, and it was perhaps named after him because he was fond of it or was the first who cultivated it there. Abd Allah and his family belonged to the tribe of Khuzaa by right of adoption; their grandfather Ruzaik having been

a mawla to Abu Muhammad Talha Ibn Abd Allah (13) Ibn Khalaf al-Khuzai, who is generally known by the name of Talhat at-Talhât. Talha acted as governor of Sijistân, under the orders of Abû Harb Muslim Ibn Ziad Ibn Abîh, 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-Rukaiyàt (14) said on this subject:

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

Talhat at-Talhât was so called because his mother's name was Talha, daughter of Abu Talha. This observation is furnished by Abû 'l-Husain Ali Ibn Ahmad as-Salami in his history of the governors of Khorasan (15).-Kûmas or Kûmis, the country of which Abû Tamim speaks in the verses given above, is situated in Persian Irak; its limit on the Khorasan side extends to Bastâm, and on the Irak side to Simnân, and includes both of these cities.-Abd Allah died at Marw in the month of the first Rabî, A. H. 228, or 230 (Nov.-Dec. A. D. 844), which is more exact. [At-Tabari says that he died at Naisàpûr on Monday, the 44th of the first Rabi, 230, seven days after the death of Ashnâs 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.

كيسوم then inhabiting Kaisam

(2) The revolt of Nasr Ibn Shabath is not noticed by Abû 'l-Fedâ, 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 a place to the north of Aleppo, revolted against al-Mâmûn. He was devotedly attached to al-Amîn 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 Somaisât 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 Harrân, 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 Kaisûm by Abd Allah Ibn Tâhir, and forced to surrender. The conqueror levelled that place to the ground, and sent his prisoner to al-Mâmûn, who, it would appear, pardoned him. The author of the Khulasat 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

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 25, note (3). Muslim Ibn al-Walid died A. H. 208 (A. D. 823-4).

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

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(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.

(و محكم

(10) The autograph has the words Aûf Ibn inserted before al-Muhallim. This is probably the same poet whose death Ibn Shakir places in the year 220, and of whom he gives rather a long notice. According to him, Abû 'l-Manhâl Aûf Ibn Muhallim (I read, not al-Khuzai was one of the learned men of that age, and equally remarkable for his convivial talents and his wit. He became the inseparable companion of Tahir 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 litteral. 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 651, 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 Tâhir 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 Tâhir died, Aûf 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 Tâhir 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.-(Oyûn at-Tawârîkh, 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-Mâmûn. 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 Tâhir 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-Mahasin's Nujûm.)

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

(13) In page 510 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

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