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4 Lament for Lost Youth

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Chapter Summary

Old age looks back nostalgically at its bygone days of youth. Ibn al-Rūmī calls for the shedding of blood instead of tears over the loss of youth. He equates this loss with death and takes the matter more personally, censuring people for not sharing his grief. There are various reasons to lament one's youth, such as the loss of beauty or the deterioration of health and vigor. In one of his longest preludes, Ibn al-Rumi recollects a series of scenes that evoke memories of his youth, from which he was forcibly separated. One of the main reasons for lamentation is youthful pleasures, which moralists like Miskawayh (d. 421/1030) condemn. Abū Nuwās displays his artistic skill in a structurally original poem about the recollection of youth that consists of two parts, the first being a marthiya (elegy) on lost youth, and the second a khamriyya (wine song).

Keywords: Abū Nuwās; Ibn al-Rūmī; khamriyya; lamentation; marthiya; youth



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