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345 345 Lyrical Prose: A Visit to the Bath, by al-Ḥaymī al-Kawkabānī1116 The Yemenite author al-Ḥaymī (d. ca. 1151/1738) modeled his collection ʿIṭr nasīm al-ṣabā (The Perfume of the Zephyr’s Gentle Breeze) on Nasīm al-ṣabā (The Zephyr’s Gentle Breeze) by Ibn Ḥabīb al-Ḥalabī (d. 779/1377). Both works consist of lyrical “sketches” in rhymed, poetic, “euphuistic” prose, with a slight narrative element, interspersed with verse quotations, always without attribution; the authors say in their introductions (Nasīm, p. 35, ʿIṭr p. 19) that the prose is theirs, the verse by others (I have not been able to identify all the poets). Though akin to the maqāmāt of al-Hamadhānī and al- Ḥārīrī, they are obviously different and not called maqāmāt by the authors. They are told by the author’s persona. Al-Ḥaymī also wrote a treatise on the bath, called Ḥadāʾiq al-nammām fī l-kalām ʿalā mā yataʿallaq bil-ḥammām, ed. ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad al-Ḥibshī (Beirut, 1986), in which he deals with its religious, legal, medical, and literary aspects. The literary side of the hammam has rather little to do with having a good wash, as is also borne out by the following text. There is a large amount of word play, often wholly untranslatable, some of it explained in the notes. I have again imitated the rhymed prose. The text was chosen because it offers a nice contrast with the preceding story on the Egyptian peasants; and the end of the present text, with its allusions to Paradise, can be compared with the end of the excerpt from Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿārrī’s Epistle of Forgiveness (above, p.276). ‫س‬�� ‫أ‬ ��‫ك‬ � �� ‫ير‬ �‫�د‬‫ن‬��‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫م‬ �‫ا‬� ‫ل‬�‫ك‬ � � �‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬ ‫ي‬ � � ‫�ف‬ � � ‫د‬‫و‬�� ‫ا‬‫تر‬ ��‫ن‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ب‬ �‫ا‬‫ر‬ ‫�ت‬‫أ‬� � ‫ل‬ � � ‫ا‬ ‫ء‬‫�ف�ا‬�‫ط‬ �� � ‫ل‬� � ‫ن‬ �‫م‬� ‫ة‬ ��‫ع‬ � ‫�ا‬‫�م‬‫�ج‬ �‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ب‬ �‫�ا‬‫ح‬ � ‫ص‬�� � ‫أ‬� � ‫ل‬ � � ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ �‫م‬� ‫ة‬ �‫ر‬‫م‬� ُ ‫�ز‬ ‫ي‬ � � ‫�ف‬ � � ‫ت‬ � ‫ن‬ �‫ك‬ � �� ‫ل‬� � ‫و‬� ‫خ‬ � �‫د‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ى‬ � ‫ل‬�� ‫�إ‬ ‫ة‬ �‫ر‬‫د‬‫ب�ا‬ �‫م‬ ‫ل‬ �� ‫ا‬ ‫٭‬ ‫ه‬�‫ي‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫�إ‬ ‫ي‬ � � � ‫أ‬ �‫ر‬‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫�د‬‫ي‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫�ق�ا‬�‫م‬� ‫ي‬ � � ‫�ق‬�‫ل‬��‫ن‬��‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ه‬�‫ي‬ �‫ل‬��‫ع‬ � ‫�م�د‬ ‫ت‬ �‫ع‬ �‫ن‬ �� ‫ن‬ �‫م‬� ‫ل‬� � ‫�ق�ا‬�‫ف‬ � � � ‫٭‬ ‫م‬ �‫ا‬� ّ ‫�م‬‫ح‬ � ‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬ ‫ل‬� � ‫و‬� ‫خ‬ � �‫د‬ ‫ي‬ � � ‫�ف‬ � � ‫ة‬ �‫ور‬�� ‫�ا‬‫ح‬ � ‫م‬ ‫ل‬ � ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ �‫ي‬ ��‫ب‬ ��‫و‬�� ‫ن�ا‬ �‫ن‬ �‫ي‬ ��‫ب‬ �� ‫س‬��‫ي‬ ��‫ل‬� � ‫ن‬ �‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫أ‬ �‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬� ‫غ‬ �� � ‫ش�ا‬ ���‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ �‫ع‬ � ‫ل‬� � ‫�خ�ا‬ � ‫ت‬ � ‫ق‬ � � �‫و‬�� ‫ا‬ ‫�ذ‬ �‫�ه‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ة‬ �‫د‬‫و‬�‫م‬�‫ح‬ � ‫م‬� ‫ن‬ �‫ر‬‫د‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ة‬ ��‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫�إ�ز‬ ‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ة‬ �‫د‬‫و‬�‫ص‬� � ‫�ق‬�‫م‬� ‫ر‬‫ي‬ �� ‫�غ‬ � ‫ه‬�‫ح‬ �‫م�د‬�‫ر‬‫�ص‬ � ‫ح‬ � ‫ل‬�� ‫�د‬ ‫ي‬ ��‫ر‬‫�م‬ ‫ل‬ �� ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ر‬‫ك‬ � ��‫ش�ا‬ ���‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬‫ر‬‫ك‬ � � � ‫ش‬ ��� ‫�ا‬‫ه‬ � ‫��ض‬ � ‫ع‬ �‫ب‬ �‫�ب‬� ‫م‬ �‫و‬� ‫�ق‬�‫ي‬ �� ‫ا‬ � ‫ل‬ � � ‫ة‬ ��‫م‬�‫ع‬ �‫ن‬ �� ‫م‬ �‫ا‬� ‫م‬�‫ح‬ � ‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫٭‬ ‫ل‬� ‫ئ‬ ���‫�ا‬‫ح‬ � ‫ه‬�‫ي‬ � ‫ف‬ � � � ‫ة‬ � ّ‫�ذ‬��‫ل‬��‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫م‬ �‫�ا‬‫ن‬ �‫ت‬ � ‫�غ‬ � ‫ا‬ ‫٭‬ ‫م‬ �‫ا‬� ‫م‬�‫ح‬ � ‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬ ‫ت‬ �‫ي‬ ��‫ب‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ َ ‫م‬ � ْ ‫ع‬ �ِ ‫ن‬ ��‫٭‬ ‫م‬ �‫�ا‬‫ن‬�� ‫أ‬� � ‫ل‬ � � ‫ا‬ ‫�د‬‫ي‬ �‫�س‬� ‫ل‬� � ‫و‬� ‫�ق‬ � � ‫ك‬��‫ل‬� � ‫�ذ‬ �‫ب‬ �� ‫ه�د‬ � ‫ش‬ ���‫ي‬ �‫و‬�� ‫�ا‬‫ن‬ �‫ل‬��‫�ق‬�‫ف‬ � � � ‫٭‬ ‫ر‬‫د‬‫ق�ا‬ � � � 346 346 346 346 Prose kuntu fī zumratin mina l-ʾaṣḥāb * wa-jamāʿatin min luṭafāʾi l-ʾatrāb * natarāwadu fī l-kalām * wa-nudīru kaʾsa l-muḥāwarati fī dukhūli l-ḥammām * fa-qāla man naʿtamidu ʿalayh * wa-nulqī maqālīda r-raʾyi ʾilayh * ʾal-mubādaratu ʾilā d-dukhūli maqṣūdah * wa-ʾizālatu d-darani maḥmūdah * wa-hādhā waqtun khālin ʿani shsh āghil * wa-ʾawānun laysa baynanā wa-bayna ghtināmi l-ladhdhati fīhi ḥāʾil * wal- ḥammāmu niʿmatun lā yaqūmu bi-baʿḍihā shukru sh-shākir * wal-murīdu li-ḥaṣri madḥihī ghayru qādir * fa-qulnā wa-yashhadu bi-dhālika qawlu sayyidi l-ʾanām * niʿma l-baytu l-ḥammām * Chapter 20: The Bath Once, together with a number of good and gentle friends, * we were talking about various odds and ends, * passing along the cup of conversation on its circular path * and discussing a visit to the bath. * Someone on whom we always relied * and whom we would often let decide, * said, “Such a visit is good for one’s health, * as it is laudable to get rid of one’s filth. * This is a time of leisure, * when nothing can stand in the way of taking this opportunity for taking this pleasure. * The bath is a blessing by which we are blessed: * sufficient thankfulness for it can never be expressed, * and whoever wants to sing all its praises will never rest.” * We said, “This is attested by the lord of the human race,1117 * when he said, ‘A bath: what a good place!’” * So we got up and went, anticipating the pleasures it offers, * looking to empty joy’s treasures from its coffers, * longing for it as we long for flowers * that yearn for the water of rivers and clouds’ showers; * its blazing heat was not our desire, * since each had enough of his own passion’s fire. * I did not seek in the hammam the heat that’s burning: Why should I? In my chest there burn the fires of yearning. My flood of tears was not enough, for all its seeping: I came so that from all my limbs I would be weeping.1118 On its wide door we knocked, * and by a servant, at our behest, it was unlocked. * We had a good long look at him, * examining his every limb: * he was like a lion cub or the fawn of a gazelle, * casting on the beholder his spell. * His mouth and lips * were purer than rain when...


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