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Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Ali Ibn Abi 't-Taiyib al-Båkharzi, an illustrious poet, was the pearl of his age for talent and genius, and bore away the
prose and verse. When a young man, he studied the Shafite system of jurisprudence, and attended with assiduity the lectures of Abû Muhammad alJuwaini, the father of the Imam al-Haramain; he next cultivated the art of penmanship, and obtained occasional employment in the office of the secretary of state. He passed his life in an alternation of riches and poverty, and experienced surprising vicissitudes of fortune in his travels and sojournings. His taste for literature having prevailed over his inclination for the law, he gained the reputation of an elegant scholar, and devoted his time to the double task of learning Traditions respecting the Prophet and of composing verses. He drew up a continuation to ath-Thaâlibi's Yatima tad-Dahr, and entitled it Dumyat tal-Kasr wa Osra tahl il-Asr (statue of the palace, and the essence extracted from our contemporaries). This work, which includes a great number (of poets), received a supplement, entitled Wishảh ad-Dumya (girdle of the statue), from the pen of Abû ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn Zaid al-Baihaki: it is thus that as-Samâni gives the author's name in his treatise, the Zail, or Supplement (1), but Imâd ad-din, in his Kharida, calls him Sharaf ad-din Abû ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn al-Hasan al-Baihaki. The latter writer gives also some extracts from his poems (2). The diwân, or collection of al-Båkharzi's poetical works, forms a large volume, and the majority of the pieces is very good. An original idea of his is the following:
I complain of the wounds (inflicted on my heart) by those cheeks which are encircled by scorpions (ringlets) (3). I, who have a father living, weep for the pearls of thy mouth ; how then can it, which is an orphan (an exquisite object), be always smiling ?
Describing an intense frost, he says:
How many have been the true believers who, torn by the claws of winter, envied the inhabitants of hell! Behold the water-fowl in their nestling-places, ready to prefer the heat of the fire and the spit! If you throw up into the air the drops which remain in your wine-cup, they will return to you hardened into beads of cornelian. O you that possess the two woods (6)! neglect them not, but let music strike up from one and flame from the other (5).
One of his pieces contains the following passage :
O Thou who hast disclosed the brightness of morning from the pearly teeth (of my beloved), and caused the night to dwell in her ringlets! Thou hast made me the slave of an idol formed by thyself; by it thou hast tempted me, and long hast thou excited my sadness! No wonder that the fire of passion consumeth my heart; (hell-)fire is the meet desert of him who serveth idols.
Al-Båkharzi was murdered at Bảkharz, whilst engaged in a party of pleasure ; this occurred in the month of Zù ’l-Kaada, A.H. 467 (June-July, A.D. 1075), and the crime remained unpunished.— Bakharz is the name of a tract of country near Naisåpůr, including a number of villages and grounds under cultivation ; it has produced many eminent men.
(1) See vol. II. page 187.
(2) Ibn Khallikàn quotes here two verses as a specimen. They both finish with the same word to which a different meaning is given in each case, but their profanity and indecence repel translation.
(3) See vol.I. Introduction, page xxxvi.
(4) By the two woods he means firewood and a lute, which in Arabic is called the wood (al-ud); whence the European name.
(8) Literally: Strike a wood and burn a wood (harrik udan wa harrig udan).
IBN AFLAH THE POET.
Abû 'l-Kâsim Ali Ibn Aflah al-Absi, surnamed Jamal al-Mulk (the beauty of the kingdom), was a poet of considerable reputation, fully justified by the elegance of his genius, the beauty of his eulogiums, and the number of his satires. He celebrated the praises not only of the khaliss, but of the persons holding a subordinate rank; and having travelled to the different provinces of the empire, he visited the princes and the men in high station (obtaining solid tokens of their satisfaction in return for his panegyrics). I have seen the diwán, or collection, of his poetical works; it is a middle-sized volume, drawn up by himself and accompanied by an introduction and a postscript of his own composition. He there
mentions the precise number which it contains of verses having the same rhyme, and the whole is digested with much care and attention. I extracted from it the following lines in which he addresses his beloved :
O thou who knowest not the force of that love which torments me—who conceivest not my fruitless pains and sufferings! Thou showest equal indifference towards the lover captivated by thy charms (1), and him whose heart is free from thy power and without a wound. Had I known that thy character was such, I had not rejected my friend's advice when he warned me against thee. It was never my intention to forget thee, till forced thereto by the excess of thy cruelty.
On a girl who was far from being handsome :
It was not because I disliked the handsome and preferred the ugly that I loved her with a passion so fantastic; but I was too jealous to love a fair one, seeing that all men love the fair.
İbn al-Motazz (vol. II. p. 41) has the following lines on a similar subject :
My heart leans from this one to that one, and sees nothing to dislike; it is passionate for beauty, as it should be; but it pities her bereft of charms, and loves her (2).
On a girl who was lame, by Ibn Aflah :
How dearly I cherish her whom I perceive there wavering in her gait! what stiffness, yet what freedom in her movements (3)! Her beauty raises envy, and they say she halts; but handsome persons are always envied. She is a branch (of willow), and the beauty of a tender branch is in its bending.
The following lines were addressed by him to a great man whose porter had refused him admittance :
I am grateful to your porter for refusing to admit me, and I leave to others whom he has repulsed the task of abusing him. For he has rendered me a service which merits my highest praise; he saved me from a rude reception and from your inordinate 303 pride.
His compositions abound with striking passages. He died at Baghdad on Thursday, the second of Shaabân, A. H. 535 (March, A.D. 1141), aged sixty-four years, three months and fourteen days. Some place his death a year, or two years, later. He was interred on the west side of the Tigris), in the Koraish cemetery.-
Absi (sm.) means belonging to Abs; a number of tribes bear this name, and I know not to which of them Ibn Aflah belonged. This surname is sometimes confounded with that of Ansi (mis), derived from Ans, which is also the name of a tribe.
(1) The autograph has st instead of Ji (2) Here the following passage has been inserted in the margin of the autograph: “And a verse of his which is currently known is the following, from one of his poems :
On the day in which we parted at the tamarisks of Mina, our separation was without our will.”
بيننا يوم اثیلات منا كان عن غير تراض بيننا
(3) Literally: And from her flexibility she is untied and knotted.
IBN MUS'HIR AL-MAUSILI.
Abù 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi 'l-Wafà Saad Ibn Abi 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abd al-Wahid Ibn Abd al-Kâhir Ibn Ahmad Ibn Mus'hir al-Mausili (native of Mosul), surnamed Muhaddab ad-din, was an excellent poet and held a high rank under government, having successively filled the greater part of the places connected with the administration of Mosul. He composed panegyrics on the khalifs, the princes, and the emirs. I met with the collection of his poetical works forming two volumes, and in it he mentions that he was born at the town of Aâmid. A fine passage from his poetry is the following, in which he describes a panther :
When the sun was styled al-Ghazala (the gazelle), he bribed this panther with a body (1) of the same colour as his light; and the roes of the desert gave him spots from the pupils of their eyes, to induce him to live in peace (2) with them and spare their lives. And yet, quiet as he is, they never appear in his sight without trembling.
The idea of these verses is taken from a kasîda composed by the emir Abû Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Ahmad as-Sarraj as-Sûri, a contemporary poet. The passage to which we allude is the following:
His claws are rough, and he bears in his mouth and paws the qualities of the sword and the pliant spear. The night and the day rivalled in adorning him; they arrayed him in a garment spotted with eyes, and the sun, since the time he was named the gazelle, never appears in his sight without apprehension.
The following verses were addressed by Ibn Mus'hir to a person of rank :
When you complain in anguish, all on earth complain, and the suffering is general from East to West; for you are a heart to the body of the epoch, and the body cannot be well when the heart is sick.
The following relation of a very singular coincidence is given by as-Samâni on the authority of Abû 'l-Fath Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Abi ’l-Ghanaim Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Ali Ibn Abd al-Ghaffär, generally known by the name of Ibn alUkhwat al-Baii, who was an accomplished scholar and a kůtib. “I saw in a “ dream,” said Abû ’l-Fath, “ a person who recited these verses :
* And stranger still than my patience (under affliction) was to see the camel depart with thy well-girthed litter, and able to support its burden ; and I bear enclosed within my curbed ribs an ardent passion unabating, and an assumed patience completely • broken.'
“On awaking I made it my business to inquire respecting the author of these 504
but could find no person capable of giving me that information ; it happened, however, that some years afterwards, Abû 'l-Hasan Ibn Mus'hir “ stopped at my house as a guest, and one evening, our conversation fell on the
subject of dreams. I then related to him the dream which I had, and repeated “ the verses : By Allah!' exclaimed he, these verses belong to a piece of my “ composition.” He then proceeded to recite me this passage from one of his “ kasidas :
• When the tongue of tears declares the secret of love, the feelings enclosed within * the bosom are concealed no longer. On the evening she bade me farewell, I knew • not, by Allah! whether the doves of the valley were cooing with sorrow or with joy. * I think of thee and reproach the active camels for our separation; I ask every wind * which blows to tell me how thou art, and I bear enclosed within my curbed ribs an 'ardent passion unabating, and an assumed patience completely broken.'
“We were much struck with the coincidence, and the rest of our night was passed in literary discussions.”- Ibn Mus'hir died towards the end of the