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58 58 A Panegyric Qaṣīdah by al-Buḥturī ‫�ا‬‫م‬�ّ ‫ر‬‫�ص‬ � ‫�ت‬� ّ ‫م‬ � ‫ث‬ � ‫ف‬ � � �ْ ‫ر‬‫ط‬ �� � ‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ع‬ � ‫ج‬ � �‫ر‬‫ك‬ � �� ‫م‬ �‫ق�ا‬ � � � ‫أ‬ � ‫�ا‬‫�م‬ ّ ‫ل‬��‫س‬��‫م‬� ‫ا‬ � ‫ل‬ � �‫�ا‬ ‫ي‬ � ‫�خ‬ � ‫ا‬ � ‫ل‬ � � ‫�إ‬ ‫ب�ا‬ � ِ ّ ‫�ص‬ � ‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ �‫�ا‬‫ك‬ � �� ‫أ‬ � ‫�ا‬‫�م‬‫م‬� ّ‫�ذ‬ �‫م‬� ‫ه‬�‫ي‬ � ‫ف‬ � � � ‫ن‬ �‫�ا‬‫ك‬ � ��‫�ا‬‫م‬� ‫�ا‬‫ه‬ � ‫ل‬� � ‫و‬� ْ ‫ط‬ �� � ‫أ‬ �‫و‬�� ‫ب�ا‬ �‫�ص‬ � ‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ي‬ � � ‫�ف‬ � � َ ‫�م�د‬‫ح‬ � ‫أ‬ � ‫م‬ �‫�ا‬ ‫ي‬ �� ‫أ‬� � ‫ل‬ � � ‫ا‬ َ ‫ر‬‫�ص‬ � ‫�ق‬ � � ‫أ‬ � ‫ى‬ � �‫ر‬ ‫أ‬ � ʾa-kāna ṣ-sibā ʾillā khayālan musallimā ʾaqāma ka-rajʿi ṭ-ṭarfi thumma taṣarramā ʾarā ʾaqṣara l-ʾayyāmi ʾaḥmada fī ṣ-ṣibā wa-ʾaṭwalahā mā kāna fīhi mudhammamā190 Meter (al-ṭawīl): SLX SLLL SLX SLSL / SLX SLLL SLX SLSL. Abū ʿUbādah al-Walīd ibn ʿUbayd al-Buḥturī (206/821–284/897) has often been compared and contrasted with his older colleague, Abū Tammām; both came from Syria (belonging to the tribe of Ṭayyiʾ) and specialized in odes composed for a range of patrons, although both excelled in other genres too. Whereas Abū Tammām was considered the prototype of the “difficult ” poet, with his artful and often rather contrived style, al-Buḥturī, less original but smoother, was deemed the more naturally gifted poet. The present ode, dedicated in 255/869 to a general called Abū l-Qāsim al-Haytham ibn ʿUthmān al-Ghanawī, is praised especially for its nature description: the patron is compared with springtime. It opens in traditional style, with a nasīb, containing a departure scene. The transition to the eulogy (lines 10–11) is rather abrupt. What else was youth if not a phantom:191 it arrived to greet us, stayed the twinkling of an eye, and passed. The shortest day, in youth, I found the best; even the longest, then, could not be spurned.192 I lingered long in blameful, youthful folly, cared for nothing else—a fool, would he accept rebuke? On many a day of meeting before parting I held back my tears—my eyes shed blood instead.193 59 59 59 59 al-Buḥturī We found the tribe all set, that morning, for departure to their own protected pasture grounds. I said, Good morrow194 to you all!—but I, in what I said, meant only her, that sweet gazelle. Only a man in love lives in the folds of freely giving favors, after separation. I lived a life of luxury, alongside beauties who led me along, until youth’s bloom had gone, even beyond. I used to disobey reproachful women, heedless of the first white hairs appearing on my head. I say to the torrential evening rain cloud that has packed its downpours for a deluge all-pervading: Let loose a little or a lot, you’ll never reach a level to be noted, until you are Haytham’s like! He’s Death, beware of him and his sword’s edge: to meet this warrior in battle’s dust cloud is your death. A hero195 with whose virtues Fate196 has clothed itself, illuminating the horizon that was dark before; A man well-tried in war, which straightened strong resolve: a Khaṭṭī lance will not be true until made straight. He came; Nizār and Yaʿrub came to pray for him that he may live forever safely in their midst.197 He humbly owns their glory and nobility: high-minded men hate haughtiness. In every tribe there is a branch of his beneficence; among them, one is special when he names his tribe. So far went his munificence to them: they swore his generosity is the twin brother of the sea.198 So copious, Abū l-Qāsim, are your merits that they fill all roads on earth for good or ill.199 Those trying to keep up with you in glory fall behind as much as you’re ahead.200 Salaam!—if this word is a greeting, then your face alone suffices as an answer to the greeter. Look! the Euphrates swells as if it were the mountains of Sharawrā, swimming in the flood,201 5 10 15 20 60 60 60 60 Verse Which it was not its wont to do: it saw its neighbor’s nature, and it learned from him. Nor is it Syria’s garden blossoming: a hero in the east has smiled, and so it smiled. Bright Spring has come to you, so proudly strutting, laughing in its beauty, that it almost speaks. New Year202 has woken, in the dark before the dawn, the early roses that, last night, were still asleep. The coolness of the dew has opened them: as if to let them hear some news, suppressed until today. Many a tree, its clothes restored by spring as one unfolds embroidered, multicolored cloth, Has donned its proper dress, appearing joyously, eyesore no longer, as it was...


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