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FN1 1First published in English in JNES4 (1945): 137-151; enlarged German version: “Die Naturauffassung der arabischen Dichtung,” in G.E. von Grunebaum, Kritik und Dichtkunst. Studien zur arabischen Literaturgeschichte(Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1955), 28-51. The most important subsequent studies are: J.C. Bürgel, Die ekphrastischen Epigramme des Abū Ṭālib al-Maʾmūnī, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, Philol.-hist. Klasse, Jg. 1965, Nr. 14 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1965), index; G. Schoeler, Arabische Naturdichtung. Die Zahrīyāt, Rabīʿīyāt und Rauḍīyāt von ihren Anfängen bis aṣ-Ṣanaubarī: Eine Gattungs-, Motiv- und Stilgeschichtliche Untersuchung(Beirut: Orient-Institut der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 1974), 235-72, especially 248-66, 270-2; A. Hamori, On the Art of Medieval Arabic Literature(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), 78-98; G.J. van Gelder, “Pointed and Well-Rounded. Arabic Encomiastic and Elegiac Epigrams,” Orientalia Lovaniensa Periodica26 (1995): 101-40, 135-8; T. Bauer, Liebe und Liebesdichtung in der arabischen Welt des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts(Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1998), index. The present paper owes much to all these works and is only meant to contribute some statistical data and comment on the generic identity of Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s two- and three-liners. I am grateful to Professor van Gelder for reading, commenting and suggesting improvements to this paper.
FN2 2See van Gelder, “Pointed and Well-Rounded”, 101-2. Anthologists and adab-writers usually quoted single lines, short fragments or abridged poems, which could subsequently be mistaken for entire ones. The critics, on the other hand, normally focused on single lines and have therefore been criticized by modern scholars for their indifference or inability to consider poems as wholes: see W. Heinrichs, “Literary Theory: The Problem of Its Efficiency,” in Arabic Poetry: Theory and Development, Third Giorgio Levi Della Vida Conference: 1971, University of California, Los Angeles, ed. G.E. von Grunebaum (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1973), 19-69; G.J.H. van Gelder, Beyond the Line: Classical Arabic Literary Critics on the Coherence and Unity of the Poem(Leiden: Brill 1982). The role of adabliterature in the preservation and at the same time the splintering and shattering of the work of minor Abbasid poets has been discussed by B. Najar in his La mémoire rassemblée: Poètes arabes “mineurs” des II e/VIII eet III e/IX esiècles: Approche confrontative et évaluative du corpus(Clermont-Ferrand: La Française d’édition et d’imprimerie, 1987), 154-5, 165-74.
FN3 3The study of pre-modern Arabic short poems has largely been neglected: cf. van Gelder, “Pointed and Well-Rounded”, 105-6, especially note 16; G. Schoeler, “Alfred Blochs Studie über die Gattungen der altarabischen Dichtung,” Asiatische Studien56 (2002): 737–68, 738-9. A good introduction to the subject are the two articles by van Gelder and Schoeler in EAL(“Epigram”, 1:210) and EI2(“ ḳiṭaʿ”, 12: 538-40) respectively. To the studies mentioned in the bibliographies of these articles, one should add R. Jacobi’s “Al-Walīd Ibn Yazīd, the Last Ghazal Poet of the Umayyad Period,” in Ghazal as World Literature, ed. T. Bauer and A. Neuwirth (Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2005-6), 1:131-55, and G. Schoeler’s “On Ibn ar-Rūmī’s Reflective Poetry. His Poem about Poetry,” JAL27 (1996): 22-36 (first appeared in German: “Ibn ar-Rūmī’s Gedicht über die Dichtung und seine Gedankenlyrik,” in Festschrift Ewald Wagner zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. W. Heinrichs and G. Schoeler (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1994), 2:318-36). See also van Gelder’s article “Epigram” in EI3(forthcoming).
FN4 4G.J. van Gelder, “Brevity: The Long and the Short of it in Classical Arabic Literary Theory,” in Proceedings of the Ninth Congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants, ed. R. Peters (Leiden: Brill, 1981), 78-88, 79.
FN6 6“Pointed and Well-Rounded”, 105; cf. E. Wagner, Grundzüge der klassischen arabischen Dichtung(Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1987-88), 1:61-2.
FN7 7Ibn Rašīq, al-ʿUmda fī maḥāsin al-šiʿr wa-ādābihī, ed. M.M. ʿAbdalḥamīd (Cairo: Maṭbaʿat as-Saʿāda, 1963), 1:186-9; cf. van Gelder, “Brevity”, 82; J. Bencheikh, Poétique arabe. Précedée de: Essai sur un discours critique(Paris: Gallimard, 1989), 111-2. Occasionality and “closeness to life” as features of early Arabic qiṭʿashave been emphasized by A. Bloch: see Schoeler, “Alfred Blochs Studie”, and his article “ ḳiṭaʿ” in EI2; Schoeler rightly objects that occasionality cannot be said to generally characterize classical Arabic qiṭʿas. There are however plenty of short occasional pieces, especially poems on such trivial matters as invitations, bidding farewell, etc., dating from the classical and post-classical era.
FN8 8Apart from the exemplary work of W. Diem and M. Schöller on the epitaph ( The Living and the Dead in Islam: Studies in Arabic Epitaphs(Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2004) — also W. Diem, “The Role of Poetry in Arabic Funerary Inscriptions,” in Poetry and History: The Value of Poetry in Reconstructing Arab History, ed. R. Baalbaki [et al.] (Beirut: American University of Beirut Press, 2011), 121–136), pre-modern Arabic inscribed poems have only been sporadically studied: see van Gelder, “Pointed and Well-Rounded”, 106-7, note 18; L. Kalus and F. Soudan, “Les sceaux dévoilent leur propriétaires: “Soufi Raffiné”, “Homme de résolution” ou “Homme de Passion”? L’ Adabau service de la sigillographie: Extraits du Kitāb al-Muwaššād’al-Waššāʾ,” Quaderni di Studi Arabi, n.s. 2 (2007): 157-80. I am grateful to Prof. van Gelder for these references.
FN9 9On the role of the scoptic epigram in establishing the expectation of a satirical punch line see N. Livingstone and G. Nisbet, Epigram(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 121.
FN10 10M.D. Lauxtermann, Byzantine Poetry from Pisides to Geometres(Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2003), 22-31.
FN11 11The first scholarly edition by B. Lewin ( al-Juzʾ ar-rābiʿ min šiʿr ʿAbdallāh b. al-Muʿtazz(publ. 1945); al-Juzʾ aṯ-ṯāliṯ min šiʿr ʿAbdallāh b. al-Muʿtazz(publ. 1950) (Istanbul: Maṭbaʿat al-Maʿārif, 1945-50)) is partial; it comprises only the second half of the dīwān, i.e. from the šarāb-section to the end (see below) [henceforth in references to this edition 2 stands for al-Juzʾ ar-rābiʿand 1 for al-Juzʾ aṯ-ṯāliṯ].
FN12 12The first Sāmarrāʾī edition ( Šiʿr Ibn al-Muʿtazz: Qism 1: ad-Dīwān; Qism 2: ad-Dirāsa(Baghdad: Wizārat al-Iʿlām, al-Ğumhūrīya al-ʿIrāqīya, 1978)) was in two parts: the first part, in three volumes, is the actual dīwānedition and the second, one volume entitled Dirāsa, contains the editor’s introduction to the dīwān, describing the manuscripts etc., and a study of the poet’s times, life and poetry. A second edition of this work, sadly omitting the Dirāsa, was made in Beirut (ʿĀlam al-Kutub) in 1997.
FN13 13cf. G. Schoeler, “Die Einteilung der Dichtung bei den Arabern,” ZDMG123 (1973): 9-55, 45-7. For reasons that will become clear in what follows, note the exact headings of the ten sections: al-faḫr; al-ġazal; al-madḥ wa-t-tahānī; al-hijāʾ wa-ḏ-ḏamm[in Šarīf: al-hijāʾ]; aš-šarāb; al-muʿātabāt; aṭ-ṭaradīyāt; al-awṣāf wa-l-mulaḥ[in Šarīf: al-awṣāf wa-ḏ-ḏamm wa-l-mulaḥ]; al-marāṯī wa-t-taʿāzī[in Šarīf: ar-riṯāʾ]; az-zuhd wa-l-ādāb wa-š-šayb wa-l-ḥikma. Despite the minor differences in the phrasing of the headings in the two editions, the same genres are intended.
FN14 14Five manuscripts were used by both editors; Sāmarrāʾī employed another six manuscripts not seen by Šarīf, one of which (Maktabat ad-Dirāsāt al-ʿUlyā, Baghdad, no. 1442) preserves some verses not found elsewhere. Šarīf used four additional manuscripts not seen by Sāmarrāʾī, two of which are of great importance and will be referred to below. In addition Šarīf used a ms. that contains a selection ( iḫtiyār) of Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s poetry made by aṣ-Ṣāḥib b. ʿAbbād. The ms. is dated 587 h. and preserves some interesting variants and additions. Sāmarrāʾī saw and described the ms. in his Dirāsa, 113, but doubted the authenticity of the work and unfortunately made no use of it.
FN15 15cf. Dirāsa, 124-44.
FN16 16See his notes on his editorial work, Dīwān ašʿār al-amīr Abī l-ʿAbbās ʿAbdallāh b. Muḥammad al-Muʿtazz, ed. M.B. Šarīf (Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif, 1977-78), 1:22-7.
FN17 17E.g., the following qiṭʿasof the ġazal-section (none of them is found in Sāmarrāʾī’s edition): nos. 124, 126, 153, 154, 169, 170, 195.
FN18 18[In the following B stands for the Šarīf edition and S for the edition of Sāmarrāʾī; the first number after B indicates the volume and the second the number of the poem in that volume; the number after S is the number of the poem in Sāmarrāʾī’s edition]. B1/263 (not extant in S) are two poems: vv. 1-2 is a two-liner in kāmiland vv. 3-7 is a five-liner in mutaqārib; B1/192 = S158 + S160; B2/485 = S798 + S808; B2/608 is the conflation of two different versions of the same poem, i.e. S1229A and S1229B [in fact they seem to me to be two utterly different poems: I believe that vv. 12-14, which are found in B as an independent three-liner (B2/144: waṣf), are falsely appended to S1229A, hence the similarity to S1229B]; a similar case is B2/109: cf. S934A and S934B; B2/612 = S1237 + S1239; B2/693 = S1314 + S1315. Conversely, B2/50 + B2/51 = S880 and B2/4 + B2/5 = S835: in the last case it seems to me that Šarīf is right in keeping the two pieces apart.
FN19 19With slight variations: S117=B1/135 ( ġazal) = B2/167 ( waṣf); S214=B1/268 ( ġazal) = B2/218 ( waṣf); S396=B1/521 ( madḥ) = 2/174 ( waṣf); S510=B2/211 ( waṣf) = B2/776 ( hijāʾ); S663=B2/338 ( šarāb) = B1/159 ( ġazal); S746=B2/416 ( šarāb) = B1/275 ( ġazal); S824=B2/513 ( šarāb) = B2/277 ( waṣf); S952=B2/125 ( waṣf) = B1/77 ( ġazal); S992=B2/163 ( waṣf) = B1/18 ( faḫr); S1008=B2/180 ( waṣf) = B2/410 ( šarāb); S1036=B2/205 ( waṣf) = B2/407 ( šarāb); S1142=B2/278 ( waṣf) = B1/490 ( ġazal). All these repetitions, which are due to the manuscript tradition, show the uncertainty of readers and copyists as to which genre the poems belong to and will be discussed below. Sāmarrāʾī has eliminated such repetitions, mentioning them however in his Dirāsa, 120-1 (and 117-9, where he discusses repetitions in the Lewin edition); a repetition found only in his edition is B1/156=S133 ( ġazal) = S668 ( šarāb).
FN20 20cf. Sāmarrāʾī’s Dirāsa, 122-3. The six-lines-long B1/58 ( faḫr) is vv. 3-8 of S564 ( hijāʾ; not found in B). The four-liner B1/89 ( ġazal) is vv. 9-12 of B2/281=S593 ( šarāb); B1/120 ( ġazal) is vv. 5-7 of B2/293=S604 ( šarāb); B1/142 ( ġazal) is vv. 1-3 of B1/512=S387 ( madḥ); B1/260 ( ġazal) is vv. 4-5 of B2/384=S700 ( šarāb); B2/75 ( ṭarad) is vv. 7b, 9b-12 and 14a of B2/76=S901 ( ṭarad170); B2/89 ( ṭarad) is vv. 6-7a of B2/352=S688 ( šarāb); B2/259 ( waṣf) is vv. 1-2 of B1/393=S302 ( ġazal); B2/434 ( šarāb) is vv. 7-8 of B2/98=S923 ( ṭarad); B2/486 ( šarāb) is vv. 12, 14-15 of B2/59=S888 ( muʿātabāt); for B2/144 see note 18 above; a problematic case is B1/557=S429, which in B (only) is appended at the end of 1/560. All these cases show clearly how excerpts can circulate as self-contained short poems without being conceived and composed as such.
FN21 21The poem was edited, translated into German and thoroughly commented upon by C. Lang, “Muʿtaḍid als Prinz und Regent, ein historisches Heldengedicht von Ibn el Muʿtazz,” ZDMG40 (1886): 563-611 and 41 (1887): 232-79.
FN22 22On Ḥamza’s recension, see Dirāsa, 101-2, and Lewin’s ed., 2:4-5. As in the case of Abū Nuwās, here too Ḥamza seems to have been anxious to gather every piece attributed to the poet, as opposed to Ṣūlī, who in both cases was very cautious to avoid including poems of doubtful authenticity.
FN23 23For this little known author and his work see Saḫāwī, aḍ-Ḍaw al-lāmiʿ li-ahl al-qarn at-tāsiʿ(Cairo: Maktabat al-Qudsī, 1934-36), 2:65; ʿU.R. Kaḥḥāla, Muʿjam al-Muʾallifīn(Damascus: Maṭbaʿat at-Taraqqī, 1957-61), 2:56; Ḫ. Ziriklī, al-Aʿlām(Beirut: [?], 1969-70), 1:219; Saḫāwī and Kaḥḥāla know him as the author of a Taḏkira— perhaps the same work as the Safīna, which is the title given in Ziriklī. C. Brockelmann ( GAL, Supplement 2:1032) knows him only as an author of a cookery book!
FN24 24It seems that the corrections at the end of the second volume of his edition, 239-45, for which the Safīnawas consulted, are not by Lewin, but by Helmut Ritter: see Lewin’s introduction, 2:8.
FN25 25The variance in the verses’ number is normally small and only rarely exceeds three lines (e.g., S1302=B2/681, a zuhdīyaof twelve verses in B, but only five in S). An extreme case is S10=B1/10, which is thirty-three lines longer in S: the additional verses are from the ms. mentioned in note 14, which comprises part of the faḫr-section only and may represent the recension of Ḥamza, as Sāmarrāʿī suggests. For the number of poems culled by Šarīf from the Copenhagen ms. and the Safīna, see his introduction to the dīwān, 1:16-8, 20, 178, 184, 190 and 193. Many (if not most) of these pieces, however, are most probably falsely attributed to Ibn al-Muʿtazz. Sadly Šarīf did not bother to clarify issues of authenticity.
FN26 26It must be noted that these numbers include poems that are falsely attributed to Ibn al-Muʿtazz. Nevertheless I believe that they are representative of his corpus. I would think that the number of poems falsely attributed to him in the dīwānmanuscripts (thirty-eight pieces: see Dirāsa, 124-32; excluding some more poems of doubtful authenticity) more or less equals that of his poems not found in the dīwānbut culled from reliable adabsources. In the following I shall confine myself to the data concerning the dīwānper se, to the exclusion of the Mulḥaq. Note that the correct number of poems of the zuhd-section is 131 and that of the dīwān1352 (the poems are numbered from 1 to 1350, but Sāmarrāʾī counted as additional pieces the second versions of poems S934 and S1229, hence the number 1352). There are some more minor mistakes in counting: see the second plate below.
FN27 27According to Bencheikh’s calculations on the basis of numbers of poems ( Poétique arabe, 106-7), Abū Tammām’s corpus comprises: panegyric 45%, love poem 30%, invective 18%, elegy 7%; Buḥturī’s dīwāncomprises: panegyric 51%, invective 17%, love poem 13%, elegy 4%, wine poetry 2%, zuhd2%, and miscellaneous 10%. Regarding Abū Tammām, it must be noted that Bencheikh’s calculation is problematic. It is based on the ʿAzzām edition [complete bibliographical data of the editions of the various poets referred to below are given in the Bibliography], but the number of eulogies there is 176 (the poems are numbered from 1 to 175, but two of them are mistakenly given the same number, that is, 34), not 204 as in Bencheikh, who obviously added to them the poems of the muʿātabāt-section (30 or 29 depending on whether one includes the four-liner of the footnote at the end of the section or not). Besides he has left out the sections on waṣf(20 poems), faḫr(8) and zuhd(5). His numbers for marāṯī(30), hijāʾ(84) and ġazal(132) are correct. The total number of poems in ʿAzzām’s edition is 485 (counting 30 muʿātabāt), not 450 as in Bencheikh (see also 108, note 11). Thus the real percentages — in terms of numbers of poems — for Abū Tammām are: madḥ36.3%, ġazal27.2%, hijāʾ17.3, muʿātabāt6.2%, marāṯī6.2%, waṣf4.1%, faḫr1.6%, zuhd1%. Some of Abū Tammām’s muʿātabātare indeed rather mild, but since they have been assigned a section and are included therein they have to be counted separately. Presumably Bencheikh did the same with Buḥturī, in whose dīwān, however, the poems are arranged according to the rhyme-letter. In his table for Buḥturī there must be some mistakes in calculations, for the total sum of the last column is 923 and that of the last row 918: these two numbers should have been identical and certainly not 460(! obviously a misprint). Again, he must have left out some pieces, because the total number of poems in the Ṣayrafī edition, i.e. the one used by Bencheikh, is 933.
FN28 28“Die Einteilung ”, 45-6.
FN29 29As said above, the number of verses of several poems differs in the two editions: for example, what is a three-liner is B may be a five-liner in S. In counting such poems I decided on each case individually but more often than not I followed Sāmarrāʾī. Although not as frequent an occurrence as the metamorphosis of a fragment into a short poem, it does occasionally happen that verses are added to short poems. Such later accretions are at times easy to tell, but this is not always so. E.g., S1242=B2/620 is clearly a three-liner to which two verses were mistakenly added (the last two in B, appearing in brackets and commented upon in S). The case of S1003/3=B2/169/2 [the last number indicates the number of a poem’s verses] is much harder to decide: the added line in S is culled from adabworks (see Sāmarrāʾī’s note). I think it is better as a two-liner than as a triplet, therefore I counted it as couplet. Another difficult case is S1313/2=B2/692/3: the additional line in B is from the Copenhagen manuscript. It is good as a three-liner, but it is better as a couplet; however I counted it as triplet so as not to be thought to tendentiously augment the number of two-liners. Nevertheless, these cases are not so numerous as to influence the general outlook of the corpus. The small differences in the numbers of short and long poems between my table and the table of Sāmarrāʾī are, I presume, due to (either my or his) mistakes in counting, but there are so few that they do not change the general picture. I counted 1101 poems under ten-lines-long, whereas Sāmarrāʾī counted 1104 such poems. As said above, many or most pieces that are only found in B are of doubtful authenticity. Suffice it here to give some data on the ġazal-section, which contains the greatest number of additions, i.e. 124 pieces: two-liners 64, three-liners 27, four-liners 25, five-liners 4, six-liners 3, one thirty-three-lines-long urjūza. Five of these pieces are repetitions, four are excerpts of longer poems, and fifteen are found in the Mulḥaqof S.
FN30 30This percentage reaches 82.5% if we add the ten-liners (1116 out of 1352 poems). The respective percentages in Abū Tammām and Buḥturī (i.e. of the number of poems up to ten-lines-long in relation to the total number of poems in their dīwāns) according to Bencheikh ( ibid; the same reservations apply) are 66% and 49% (Abū Tammām’s high percentage is due to his many love poems that in their majority are four-liners: see T. Bauer, “Abū Tammām’s Contribution to ʿAbbasid Ġazal Poetry,” JAL27 (1996): 13-21). On the whole, I think that among the muḥdaṯūnthe tendency was indeed towards shorter poems. Bencheikh wrongly denies this ( Poétique arabe, 111, 113) and tries to prove the opposite relying on the cases of Abū Tammām, Buḥturī and Ibn ar-Rūmī. These three poets are the exception rather than the rule. The majority of poets in early Abbasid times (up to Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s times) composed shorter pieces. This is obvious from the tables of Bencheikh for al-ʿAbbās b. al-Aḫnaf, Abū Nuwās, Muslim b. al-Walīd, Abū l-ʿAtāhiya and ʿAlī b. al-Jahm — let alone the minor poets. cf. Wagner’s notes in Grundzüge, 2:156: although he bases himself on Bencheikh, he rightly emphasizes the relation between genre and length (“In formaler Hinsicht führte der Rückgriff auf die alten Gattungen dazu, daß die Gedichte länger würden”).
FN31 31Bauer, ibid., 18 and 21: “The percentage of four liners increases from 25% with Abū Nuwās, over 55% with Abū Tammām to nearly 100% with Ḫālid [b. Yazīd]”. In Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s ġazalthe percentage of four-liners drops to 19.7%, which is equal to that of the three-liners, as against 43.4% of the couplet. cf. T. Seidensticker, “Die Herkunft des Rubāʿī,” Asiatische Studien53 (1999): 905–36, 921, the diagram on the gradual rise of the four-liner from ʿUmar b. Abī Rabīʿa to Abū Tammām.
FN32 32Ṣanawbarī’s dīwān(I counted only the poems of the ʿAbbās edition), total 400 poems: Two-liners 40 (10%); three-liners 18 (4.4%); four-liners 64 (16%); 4.5-liners 3; five-liners 41 (10.2%); six-liners 22 (5.5%); seven-liners 19 (4.7%); eight-liners 19 (4.7%); 8.5-liners 1; nine-liners 14 (3.5%); 9.5-liners 1. Total up to four-lines-long 122 (30.5%); total under ten-lines-long 242 (60.5%). Ten-liners 16 (4%); 11-15-liners 40 (10%); 16-20-liners 30 (7.5%); 21-30-liners 22 (5.5%); 31-40-liners 20 (5%); 41-50-liners 8 (2%); 51-60-liners 11 (2.8%); 61-80-liners 10 (2.5%); 112-liner 1. Kušājim’s dīwān(ed. Maḥfūẓ), total 493 poems (including some pieces of doubtful authenticity: see A. Giese, Waṣf bei Kušāğim: Eine Studie der beschreibenden Dichtkunst der Abbasidenzeit(Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1981), 27): Single-liners 9 (1.8%); two-liners 81 (16.4%); 2.5-liners 3; three-liners: 80 (16.2%); 3.5-liners 3; four-liners 75 (15.2%); 4.5-liners 1; five-liners 37 (7.5%); 5.5-liners 1; six-liners 31 (6.3%); 6.5-liners 4; seven-liners 14 (2.8%); 7.5-liners 2; eight-liners 21 (4.2%); 8.5-liners 1; nine-liners 18 (3.6%). Total up to four-lines-long 251 (50.9%); total under ten-lines-long 381 (77.3%). Ten-liners 11 (2.2%); 10.5-15-liners 37 (7.5%); 16-20-liners 26 (5.3%); 21-30-liners 13 (2.6%); 31-40-liners 13 (2.6%); 41-50-liners 9 (1.8%); 60-72-liners 3. In Bürgel’s study al-Maʾmūnī’s poems are numbered from 1 to 97, with a two-liner given the number 35A, as if it were a shortened version of no. 35, which I do not think is the case. Ṯaʿālibī ( Yatīmat al-dahr fī maḥāsin ahl al-ʿaṣr(Cairo: Maṭbaʿat aṣ-Ṣāwī, 1934), 4:149-79) gives excerpts of seven of his eulogies, including the first verses of Bürgel no. 38; hence the total is 104 pieces. Two-liners 46 (44.2%), 2.5-liners 1, three-liners 17 (16.3%), 3.5 liners 1, four-liners 11 (10.6%), five-liners 11 (10.6%), six-liners 4 (3.8%), seven-liners 1, eight-liners 2. Total up to four-verses-long 76 (73%); total under ten-lines-long 94 (90.4%). Pieces longer than ten verses 10 (9.6%).
FN33 33The two taʿziyas, S1183=B2/562/2 and S1218=B2/597/3, are addressed to the vizier ʿUbaydallāh b. Sulaymān b. Wahb on the death of his son al-Ḥasan (Abū Muḥammad). All three poems revolve around the same idea: al-Qāsim (Abū l-Ḥusayn), the vizier’s younger son, is alive and this compensates for the loss of Wahb and Abū Muḥammad. Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s poems seem to be patterned on a taʿziyaby Abū Nuwās ( Dīwān, ed. Wagner, 1:344-5). As Ṣūlī notes in Kitāb al-Awrāq: Qism aḫbār aš-šuʿarāʾ, ed. J. Heyworth-Dunne (London: Luzac and Co., 1934), 223, the same must be true of a similar triplet composed by Ibn Bassām but attributed by him to Ibn ar-Rūmī (see the latter’s dīwān, ed. Naṣṣār, no. 267). Ibn Bassām’s triplet is possibly a naqīḍato Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s taʿziyas; it is also addressed to ʿUbaydallāh on the death of al-Ḥasan, but aims at disparaging al-Qāsim: Ibn Bassām claims that the vizier lost the best of the two sons, whereas Ibn al-Muʿtazz implies that the opposite is the case. For the Wahb family see Y.A as-Sāmarrāʾī, Āl Wahb min al-usar al-adabīya fī l-ʿaṣr al-ʿAbbāsī(Baghdad: Maṭbaʿat al-Maʿārif, 1978); D. Sourdel, Le Vizirat ʿabbāside de 749 à 936 (132 à 324 de l’Hégire)(Damascus: Institut Français de Damas, 1959-60), 329-57, 745 and index; S. Boustany, Ibn ar-Rūmī, sa vie et son oeuvre(Beirut: Publications de l’Université Libanaise, 1967), 170-91.
FN34 34The poem has been discussed and partly translated into English by R. Jacobi, “Ibn al-Muʿtazz: Dair ʿAbdūn. A Structural Analysis,” JAL6 (1975): 35-56.
FN35 35Very rarely the same poem is found in different sections of the dīwānin the two editions: S1040/2 ( waṣf) = B2/409 ( šarāb), on the poet’s preference for drinking in the evening rather than in the early morning (for the muzdawijaon the same subject see below), and S458/4 ( madḥ) = B2/284 ( šarāb), a ḫamrīyathat ends up as praise of al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydallāh ( istiṭrād!).
FN36 36Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā Ṣūlī, Ashʿār Awlād al-Khulafāʾ wa-Akhbāruhum. From theKitāb al-Awrāq, ed. J. Heyworth-Dunne (London: Luzac and Co., 1936), 107-13, especially 108-9. cf. Sāmarrāʾī, Dirāsa, 166-9, who gives a better text. Judging by the relatively little attention they have been given so far, Ṣūlī indeed succeeded in screening the importance of these poems; see, however, the fine study of A.S. Muḥammad, Naqāʾiḍ Ibn al-Muʿtazz wa-Tammīm b. al-Muʿizz(Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif, 1981). As to the inclusion of such odes in the faḫr-section, it was obviously motivated by the mingling of self-praise and invective which is typical of these poems as it is of lampoons in general. A poem against the ʿAlids from the faḫr-section has been discussed by J.N. Mattock, “A Political Poem of Ibn al-Muʿtazz,” Occasional Papers of the School of Abbasid Studies, 4 (1992, publ. 1994): 51-61 (my warmest thanks to R. Hoyland for letting me use his copy of that issue). On Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s attitude towards the Shiites see further A. Arazi, “Poétique et politique dans Kitāb al-ṭabaqātd’Ibn al-Mu‘tazz,” JSAI30 (2005): 264-92, 271-81.
FN37 37On Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s political ambitions see the recent ground-breaking article of J. Bray, “Ibn al-Muʿtazz and Politics: The Question of the Fuṣūl Qiṣār,” Oriens38 (2010): 107-43. Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s abundant self-praise — both personal and “dynastic” — relates partly to his political ambitions and engagementand partly to his neoclassical stance and endeavour to revive decadent poetic genres (I hope to elaborate on this point elsewhere).
FN38 38See, e.g., S873=B2/43/3, S874=B2/44/4, S880/6=B2/50/3+51/3, S884=B2/55/4, S887= B2/58/2 (complains to friends for alienation / misbehaviour). S876=B2/46/2, on the other hand, is most probably a ġazal(complaining for alienation).
FN39 39See, e.g., S461=B2/733/2, S477=B2/748/2, S489=B2/760/3, S504/5=B2/772/4 (reproof of particular friends); S475=B2/747/17, S480/19=B2/752/16 (general blame of sham friends).
FN40 40Cf. Wagner, Grundzüge, 2:130-1, especially note 36.
FN41 41See S950=B2/127/13, S954=B2/129/5, S999=B2/172/2, S1037=B2/208/2, S1083= B2/231/2, S1123=B2/268/2. cf. S990=B2/164/2 (travel faḫrdwelling on both the camel and the desert); S1027=B2/202/4 (travel faḫrframing the depiction of a rainy night).
FN42 42See, e.g.: Martial prowess: S949=B2/126/2 (sword), S953=B2/128/2 (horse), S992=B2/163=B1/18/2 (horse), S1124=B2/265/2 (sword and horse). Horse/s in connection with travel faḫr: S1086=B2/240/2.5, S1104=B2/248/3, S1122=B2/267/2.5. Horse in connection with hunting faḫrS1106=B2/250/3 (I don’t see why this piece was not placed in the ṭaradīyāt). S1121=B2/266/2 (hunting faḫrframes a comparison of the dawn).
FN43 43S962=B2/136/1.5 and S1108=B2/252/2. In S936=B2/137/2 Ibn al-Muʿtazz boasts of having dug a spacious well, a claim of vaunt that I have only come across in the later poet as-Sarī ar-Raffāʾ, Dīwān(ed. al-Ḥasanī), 2:7, no. 92.
FN44 44See, e.g., S613=B2/287/2 (incitement to drink at dawn); S701=B2/388/5 (incitement to drink in the early morning in springtime); S708=B2/396/6 (incitement to drink in spring); S713=B2/401/4 (incitement to leave the gardens as the summer has come and seek refuge indoors, wear light clothes and mix wine with ice — the poem is more about the season than about wine-drinking); S791=B2/480/5 (incitement to drink on the eve of Ramaḍān, as he will not drink for a whole month); S807=B2/496/2 (incitement to drink at the end of Ramaḍān); S802=B2/492/2 (incitement to drink at night); S811=500/2 (rainy day); S819=B2/508/2 (Āb is over; Eylūl invites us to drink); S823=B2/512/4 (Nowruz), S825=B2/516/4 (Mihrajān). S821=B2/510/4 is a pure-blood rabīʿīya, without any reference to wine-drinking, found in the šarāb-section on the margin of the Laleli ms.
FN45 45The term seems to have been applied to various beverages: see J. Sadan, “Mashrūbāt,” EI2, 6:720-3.
FN46 46This couplet is repeated in the Lewin edition (1:62: šarāb; 2:96: waṣf).
FN47 47Perhaps this poem was conceived as a naqīḍato Abū Nuwās’s poem on honey-wine, on which see E. Wagner, Abū Nuwās: Eine Studie zur arabischen Literatur der frühen ʿAbbāsidenzeit(Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1965), 158-9; Abū Nuwās’ dīwān(ed. Wagner), 3:11-3.
FN48 48The pieces in this section are normally laudatory. Numerous poems, mostly humorous couplets, dispraising singers are found in the hijāʾ-section: see, e.g., S462=B2/734/2, S468=B2/739/2, S484=B2/755/2, S490=B2/761/4; also some obscene ones: S524=B2/788/2. A laudatory piece on a female singer is found in ġazal: S214=B1/268, repeated in awṣāfB2/218 (likewise in Lewin, 2:101, no. 149).
FN49 49Black slave girl: S986=B2/161/2, S1013=B2/185/2, S1015=B2/187/6, S1128=B2/272/2 (black women are depicted by Ibn ar-Rūmī too); other lovers etc.: S1062=B2/215/4, S1063=B2/216/2, S1065=B2/217/2, S1064=B2/219/2, S1088=B2/239/2; S970=B2/140/2 (on bleeding, a theme popular with Ibn ar-Rūmī too). Note also the numerous couplets and triplets of doubtful authenticity, mostly on the mole or some other feature of the beloved, that are found in the waṣf-section of S only: S1042, 1049-53, 1094-97, 1100, 1125, 1133-36, 1141.
FN50 50E.g., rain like the weeping of lovers: S967=B2/146/3, S968=B2/142/2, S1087=B2/241/3.5; cf. S952=B2/125/5 (rain vs. poet’s weeping = B1/77/4 ġazal!); S1099=B2/243/2 (the sky rains out of compassion for the poet). In connection with garden and spring: S1035=B2/210/3, S1115=B2/260/13. Rain (or its effects) / clouds / rainy days depicted for their own sake, e.g., S955=B2/130/2, S964=B2/138/2, S1018=B2/190/3, S1025=B2/201/3, S1070=B2/224/2, S1118=B2/262/2.5.
FN51 51See, e.g., the many pieces discussed by Schoeler in Naturdichtung, 248-66.
FN52 52All these poems are found in only one dīwānedition or in the Mulḥaqāt: e.g., B2/153/3 (pomegranate: from the Safīna) and the similar couplet S Mulḥaqno. 58; the triplet S Mulḥaqno. 65 (pistachio) is probably by Ṣanawbarī — its third verse is B2/154/1; B2/199/2 (chestnut: from the Safīna); S972 and S1072 (orange); S973 and S1054 (lemon); B1/318 (a couplet on eggplants from the Safīna; wrongly assigned by Šarīf to the ġazal-section because of their being compared to gazelles’ (girls’?) hearts).
FN53 53E.g. S977=B2/151/8, S1020=B2/191/2, S1033=B2/212/3, S1120=B2/264/3 (Sāmarrāʾ) — cf. hijāʾ-section: S510=B2/776 (repeated in waṣf: B2/211). S1060=B2/214/2 (Baghdad) — cf. hijāʾ-section: S532=B2/795/22 (nostalgia for Sāmarrāʾ and blame of Baghdad), B2/822 (not found in S — blame of Baghdad). S960=B2/134/2, S1014=B2/186/2, S1126=B2/270/3 (weather). S989=B2/162/4; S1021=B2/192/3; S1069=B2/223/3; S1077=B2/228/4.5; S1131= B2/275/3.5 (mosquitoes). S998=B2/171/2 (heavy rain); B2/122/2, B2/170/2 (bath-house); S1022=B2/194 (donkey); S1075=B2/226/2 (half-bald man — cf. hijāʾ-section: S513/2= B2/779/1). S959=B2/133/5, S1019=B2/193/5 (unproductive garden).
FN54 54The notebook poem (S1111=B2/255/17) has been discussed and translated into German by J.C. Bürgel, “Von Büchern und Termiten,” in Festschrift Ewald Wagner, 2:337-49. On his inundated house see S1074=B2/227/7 and B2/247/22 (general complain about the location).
FN55 55E.g. S487=B2/758/2 (on bald men in the bath-house); S494=B2/765/2 (on the arrogance of wālīs); S512=B2/778/4 (on a boring visitor); S535=B2/798/2 (on the company of misers); S549=B2/810/2 (on the jealous); S509=B2/775/2 and S541=B2/803/3 (on the stingy); S551/4=B2/812 (on a man with stinking armpits); S463=B2/735/3 (on an imām who curtails prayers — cf. S479/8=B2/751/7 a real invective on the same subject).
FN56 56“Einteilung”, 45, note 118. The word in the sense of “pleasantries” had been used before as heading of the last chapter of Abū Tammām’s Ḥamāsa: see G.J. van Gelder, “Against Women and Other Pleasantries. The Last Chapter of Abū Tammām’s Ḥamāsa,” JAL16 (1985): 61-72. It is also found — in the same sense — in the heading of the eleventh chapter of al-Ḥillī’s dīwān: “Einteilung”, 50.
FN57 57See Wagner, Abū Nuwās, 287-8; Abū Nuwās’ dīwān(ed. Wagner), 2:320-3. As is clear from its last hemistich (only in B!), in S966/20=B2/143/20.5 Ibn al-Muʿtazz gives a detailed description of a horse which he keeps for races. This urjūzatoo, it seems, is in the tradition of Abū Nuwās’ depictions of racing animals. See also S1132=B2/276/3 (on racing horses).
FN58 58S969=B2/141/3 (penis); S1028=B203/2 (water-wheel); S1028=B2/204/2 (reed-pipe); S1081=B2/229/2 (ship); S1102=B2/246/2 (palm-trees); S1110=B2/254/2 (ships).
FN59 59S965=B2/139/2; S967=B2/146/3; S1041/1 (not found in B); S1082=B2/230/2; S1093=B2/233/2; S1117=B2/261/2. See the ḫabarsaccompanying these pieces in S. The above is a summary account of the contents of the waṣf-section; it is not meant to be exhaustive.
FN60 60Cf. Schoeler’s remarks on the waṣf-section in the dīwānsof Abū Tammām and Ibn al-Muʿtazz: “Einteilung”, pp. 43, 46. This is not the place to discuss the problem of “descriptive poetry”, of which I am not alone to think that it does not constitute a genre in itself (cf. R.H. Webb and P. Weller, “Descriptive Poetry,” The New Princeton Encyclopaedia of Poetry and Poetics, ed. A. Preminger and T.V.F. Brogan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 283-8, 283). But since Arab critics felt that way, we should try to understand their rationale and, in this particular case, give reasons for Ṣūlī’s accommodating multifarious topics under this heading.
FN61 61Bauer ( Liebe und Liebesdichtung, 106-41) rightly stresses the great stylistic variety of Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s epigrams (and of the Abbasid ġazalin general): they range from very simple to moderately ornate, to rhetorically and conceptually complex ones. cf. Schoeler’s stylistic analysis of numerous flower epigrams by Ibn al-Muʿtazz: Naturdichtung, 248-66.
FN62 62It is thinkable that in creating this image Ibn al-Muʿtazz was inspired by ʿAbdallāh b. Sabaʾs claim that lightning is ʿAlī’s whip: see Sahrastānī, Livre des religions et des sects, Traduction avec introduction et notes par D. Gimaret, J. Jolivet et G. Monnot (Paris: Peeters/Unesco, 1986-93), 1:510.
FN63 63This repetition must be Šarif’s fault — for, to judge by his description, the Safīna, i.e. his source for the poem in the faḫr-section, does not arrange the poems thematically.
FN64 64See Schoeler, Naturdichtung, 247.
FN65 65Similes are often used as punch lines in three-liners and quatrains too. See, e.g. S447=B1/575/3 ( madḥ), S956=B2/131/4 ( waṣf); S1018=B2/190/3 ( waṣf); S1027=B2/202/4 ( waṣf); S1077=B2/228/4.5 ( waṣf). Ibn al-Muʿtazz is considered as one of the great masters of the simile. He is sometimes connected with Imruʾu l-Qays and Ḏū r-Rumma, evidently because these two poets too were great masters of the simile (Sāmarrāʾī, Dirāsa, 154). According to Ṯaʿālibī his comparisons became proverbial ( Ṯimār al-qulūb fī l-muḍāf wa-l-mansūb, ed. M. Abū l-Faḍl Ibrāhīm (Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif, 1985), 227: tašbīhāt Ibn al-Muʿtazz).
FN66 66See S1014=B2/186 (a pun on the name of the cold days known as ayyām al-ʿajūzbringing out the poet’s dislike of cold weather); B2/220 = MulḥaqS no. 181 (next note); S994/B2/167 (incitement to drink in winter — drinking is the remedy of cold).
FN67 67Compare what is said about coal in the first verse of the following couplet (B2/220 = MulḥaqS no. 181): Water prevents [us] from touching it and coal allows [us] to palp it —/ you only see people trembling and Muslims bowing to the sun ( Qad manaʿa l-māʾu mina l-lamsī wa-amkana l-jamru mina l-massī/ Fa-lasta talqā ġayra ḏī riʿdatin aw Muslimin tasjudu ilā š-šamsī). Fire flaring up is compared to golden trees ( ka-ašjāri ḏ-ḏahab) in S962=B2/136/1.5.
FN68 68In the ġazal-section of B Šarīf does not mention the manuscript he culled the qiṭʿafrom. According to Lewin and Šarīf’s notes in the waṣf-section, it is found there on the margin of the Laleli ms. marked as deriving from the Ṣūlī recension. Hence Sāmarrāʾī is presumably mistaken in noting that it is marked as deriving from the Ḥamza recension. No further sources are given. Thanks to Fuʾād ʿAbdalmuʿṭī aṣ-Ṣayyād, an-Nawrūz wa-aṯaruhū fī l-adab al-ʿarabī(Beirut: Jāmiʿat Bayrūt al-ʿArabīya, 1972), 15, 30-1, I have been able to locate the piece (with slight variations) in the following works [complete bibliographical data in the Bibliography]: Nuwayrī’s Nihāyat al-arab(ed. Cairo 1923-55), 1:186-7 (attributed to al-Mʿwj [?]), Qalqašandī’s Ṣubḥ al-aʿšā(ed. Cairo 1913-22), 2:409, and Maqrīzī’s al-Mawāʿiẓ wa-l-iʿtibār(ed. G. Wiet), 4:249. In Qalqašandī there is a third verse added to the piece, for which see below. Nuwayrī quotes a further couplet on the same subject. That piece is also found in al-Maqrīzī, who adds a third couplet on the Nowruz. Both pieces are clearly depended on Ibn al-Muʿtazz. For a fourth couplet by Kušājim, see the next note.
FN69 69For Nowruz celebrations in Islamic times see A.Sh. Shahbazi, “Nowruz. ii. In the Islamic Period,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 15 November 2009, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/nowruz-ii. For the origins of the two customs, the lighting of fires, which was part of the original Nowruz celebrations, and the custom of sprinkling each other with water, in honour of Haurvatāt (Hordād/Khordād), which became part of the Nowruz festivities only later due to the calendar reform that took place in Achaemenid times, see M. Boyce, “Nowruz. i. In the Pre-Islamic Period,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 15 November 2009, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/nowruz-i. Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s epigram inspired Kušājim, who composed a couplet on the same subject (ed. Maḥfūẓ, no. 463): When I saw that the custom at Nowruz is to pour water and to kindle fires / I celebrated it alone — distressed by longing — with the fire of my heart and the water of my eyes ( lammā raʾaytu n-Nawrūza sunnatahū ṣabbu miyāhin wa-šabbu nīrānī / nawraztu waḥdī wa-š-šawqu yuqliqunī bi-nārī qalbī wa-māʾī ajfānī).
FN70 70B. Reinert, “Der Vierzeiler,” in Orientalisches Mittelalter, ed. W.P. Heinrichs [et al.], Neues Handbuch der Literaturwissenschaft, Bd. 5 (Wiesbaden: AULA-Verlag, 1990), 284-300, 284.
FN71 71“Response to Nature”, 148, “Naturauffassung”, 46.
FN72 72The story is alluded to already in Ṯaʿālibī’s Ṯimār al-qulūb, 227, but is fully narrated in Ibn Rašīq, al-ʿUmda, 2:236-7. For various views and comments of later writers on this ḫabarsee Sāmarraʾī, Dirāsa, 291-3; Š. ḍayf, al-ʿAṣr al-ʿAbbāsī aṯ-ṯānī(Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif, 1973), 333-4; M.ʿA. Ḫafājī, Ibn al-Muʿtazz wa-turāṯuhū fī l-adab an-naqd wa-l-bayān(Cairo: Dār al-ʿAhd al-Jadīd, 1958), 236-8 (with references to other pre-modern and modern Arabic works).
FN73 73See note 53; cf. especially S510=B2/776, S1069=B2/223/3; S1131=B2/275/3,5, where mosquitoes are compared to sparks of fire.
FN74 74 Yā sāriqa l-anwāra min šamsi ḍ-ḍuḥā yā muṯkilī ṭība l-karā wa-munaġġiṣī / ammā ḍiyāʾu š-šamsi fīka fa-nāqiṣun wa-arā ḥarārata nārihā lam tanquṣī/ lam yaẓfari t-tašbīhu minka bi-ṭāʾilin mutasalliḫun bahaqan ka-lawni l-abraṣī. cf. S1021=B2/192/3, on a sleepless night under mosquito attacks, where it is described as “a moon whose half was stolen as if it were a perfume spoon” ( fī qamarin mustaraqin niṣfuhū kaʾannahū mijrafatu l-ʿiṭrī).
FN75 75These pieces’ claims to instantaneousness — the typical characteristic of early Arabic qiṭʿas— call to mind the Hellenistic literary epigrams’ frequent posing as inscribed poems. Hellenistic literary epigrams often pretended to be inscribed ones, playfully alluding to their origin: they commented, for example, on a work of art as if they were inscribed on it or they purported to be inscriptions of various sorts (funerary, dedicatory, etc.) imitating the style of their inscribed counterparts and using the same referential linguistic means, such as deictic particles or adverbs and demonstratives. cf. Livingstone and Nisbet, Epigram, 7-8, 41-2, 54-5; Anja Bettenworth, “The Mutual Influence of Inscribed and Literary Epigram,” in Brill’s Companion to Hellenistic Epigram, ed. Peter Bing and Jon Bruss (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 69-93.
FN76 76For further details and references, see G. Vajda, “Hārūt wa-Mārūt,” EI2, 3:236-7, and W.M. Brinner, “Hārūt and Mārūt,” Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, 2:404-5.
FN77 77There are of course triplets of the pattern 1+1+1, e.g. his invective piece on the singer Dubsīya (S572: cf. B2, p. 463, note 7), but I shall here confine myself to those expanding the basic scheme of the couplet.
FN78 78 Ḫīrīor Manṯūris the Erysimum cheiri(or Cheiranthus cheiri), a species of wallflower commonly known in English as “the Aegean wallflower”. It occurs in several of Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s poems in connection with spring and carousing: e.g. S713=B2/401/4 (v. 1); S812=B2/501/12 (v. 4); S993=B2/166/2; S996=B2/2/123 (v. 13); S1039=B2/213/4 (translated and discussed by Schoeler in Naturdichtung, 263-5); see further Schoeler, ibid, 35 (in a garden description by al-Aʿšā) and 283, 303 (in Ṣanawbarī).
FN79 79cf. Schoeler’s German translation and comments to this triplet ( ibid, 261-2). I disagree with his understanding of the third verse: he renders bakkiras “steh früh auf (wake up early)” and thinks that Ibn al-Muʿtazz prompts his companion to follow his example and keep awake so that the flower, should it blossom again, finds some company. But evidently the anonymous companion (or the poet himself) is prompted to hurry and enjoy life (carpe diem!), for death is imminent — a recurrent theme in Ibn al-Muʿtazz’s ḫamrīyāt.
FN80 80cf. Sāmarraʾī, Dirāsa, 261-6.