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97 97 97 97 Abū l-Ḥakam al-Maghribī IV. Light Verse: A Domestic Disaster, by Abū l-Ḥakam al-Maghribī ِ ‫ن‬ �‫ا‬‫و‬� ‫خ‬ � � ‫�إ‬� ‫ل‬ � � ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ �‫م‬� ّ ‫ك‬��‫ش‬ ��� ‫ا‬� ‫ل‬�‫ب‬ �� ‫ى‬ � �‫ر‬ ْ‫ت‬ �� َ‫ت‬ �� ِ ‫ن‬ �‫س�ا‬�� ‫ن‬ � ‫�إ‬� ‫ل‬ � � ‫ا‬ ‫ى‬ � ‫ل‬��‫ع‬ � ‫ت‬ �‫ي‬ ��‫ب‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ُ ‫ة‬ �ّ ‫ر‬‫ع‬ � َ ‫م‬� ِ‫ب‬ �‫ي‬ ��‫ت‬ ��‫تر‬ ��‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ى‬ � ‫ل‬��‫ع‬ � ‫ح‬ � ‫ر‬ ‫�ش‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ب�ا‬ �� ‫ك‬��‫ي‬ �‫�ت‬� ‫أ‬ ��‫ي‬ �� ِ‫ب‬ � ‫ي‬ ��‫ر‬ ‫ج‬ � � ‫ت‬ � ‫ي‬ � � ‫�خ‬ � ‫أ‬ � ‫ل‬� � ‫و‬� ‫�ق‬ � � ‫ى‬ � ‫ل‬�� ‫�إ‬ ‫�غ‬ � ْ ‫�ص‬ �‫ف�ا‬� � � maʿarratu l-bayti ʿalā l-ʾinsānī tatrā bi-lā shakkin mina l-ʾikhwānī fa-ṣgha ʾilā qawli ʾakhī tajrībī yaʾtīka bish-sharḥi ʿalā t-tartībī302 Meter: al-rajaz (XXSL XXSL XLL); paired rhyme throughout (aabbccdd…). The numbering below is of couplets, not lines. Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah’s work is a biographical encyclopedia of physicians, including many philosophers and scientists (starting with the ancient Greeks). ʿUbayd Allāh Ibn al-Muẓaffar, also known as Abū l-Ḥakam al-Maghribī, probably came from Spain (although some say he was born in Yemen) and was active mainly in Baghdad and Damascus. He was also a poet of mostly satirical and “light” verse, the author of a collection called Nahj al-waḍāʿah li-ulī l-khalāʿah (The Lowly Route for the Dissolute). Any domestic scandal tends To happen through one’s own best friends. Now listen to a well-tried man: He’ll tell you how it all began: All that may come from invitations And all their diverse tribulations. Provide the food, provide the fun: Then suffer all the damage done. Disliked by all, the Awful Bore Comes first. Then: spongers at the door! Whatever food may be provided, The host will be severely chided. Creep up his mother’s cunt he may, From censure he can’t hide away. “Not enough spices!” says one guest, “It’s rather burnt!” declare the rest. 5 98 98 98 98 Verse Another says, “Too little salt! —I am just helping, finding fault.” He grabs the food from far and near, Then drinks some water, fresh and clear, Since “wholesome water has no peer.” The next thing he demands is beer, With ice in summer. When it’s cold: “A fire, if I may be so bold!” Who needs a tooth pick? Take a straw: The mats lie ready on the floor. And after this there comes the wine, Delicious, choice; it tastes divine. One person says, “It’s vinegár!” Another says, “Defective jar!”303 And someone else is now complaining: He wants a filter, for the straining. Some large carafes are brought in there, In which the wine is mixed with care. Someone cries out, “But that’s still pure!” And pours more water, to be sure. “He’s got an ulcer,” mocks another, “O, don’t add water! Please, don’t bother!” Fruits, nuts, with any fragrant smell, Go down, it seems, extremely well. Some fussy person’s fancy’s tickled Only by basil and things pickled, While yet another man supposes Wine goes with apples and with roses. The singers’ fee may cause some tension, The taxman causes apprehension; A fix you should be quick to handle: Spread round your cash,304 for fear of scandal. Sometimes they fall into a swoon: Fear not! They’ll have their breakfast soon. If you invite them in December, Make sure of stove and burning ember! 10 15 20 25 99 99 99 99 Abū l-Ḥakam al-Maghribī From which there flies up many a spark That on your carpet leaves its mark: Your once new carpet now is peppered With dots like any spotted leopard. And don’t forget the meat: kebab Or sliced, for everyone to grab. And when the cold is over, pep Them up with fans and cool julep.305 Your drinking friends come in all sorts: The wine reveals their favorite sports. There’s one whose forte and whose strength Is telling stories at great length, While he is busy masticating. —Nobody heeds what he’s relating. Forgets himself, speaks out of turn; They slink away in unconcern. Another weighs his words with care And gives himself a haughty air. Another acts the fool. He’s after A cheap but all embracing laughter. Someone becomes morose when stewed; Instead of leaving he gets rude. Someone as sober as a judge Arrives, and bears all drunks a grudge. There’s one light fingered Jim’ll fix it Sees something rather nice: he nicks it. A knife, a flask, a handkerchief, A dicing bowl fit for a thief. Now someone pulls (abracadabra!) A chain right off the candelabra, “Extinguishing” (he says) “a wick.” It is, of course, a little trick. Don’t mind their winks whenever any Should leave the room “to spend a penny”: It...


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