The Maqámát of Badí‘ al-Zamán al-Hamadhání, tr. W.J. Prendergast  at sacred-texts.com
‘ÍSÁ IBN HISHÁM related to us and said: I was passing through one of the towns of Ahwaz when my supreme object was to capture a stray word, 6 or add to my store an eloquent expression. My journeying led me to a vast open space of the town where lo!
there was a company of people gathered around and listening to a man who was tapping the ground with beats which varied not, I knew there must be a tune with those beats. So I withdrew not, in order that I might enjoy the song or hear a chaste expression, but remained among the spectators, shouldering this one and pushing that one, until I reached the man. I passed my eye over him 1and I found him to be a person short and portly like a beetle, 2 blind, and wrapped up in a woollen blanket, whirling round like a top, wearing a burnous 3 too long for him, and supporting himself with a staff to which were attached a number of tiny bells. With this he was beating the ground with a rythmical sound, while with plaintive air and pathetic voice proceeding from a straightened breast, he sang:--
Said ‘Ísá ibn Hishám: By Heavens! my heart became tender towards him and my eyes were filled with tears for him.
[paragraph continues] So I gave him a dinar I had with me. And he delayed not but said:--
The people then gave him what they were disposed to give. Then he left them. But I followed him, for I knew by the quickness with which he recognized the dinar that he was feigning blindness. As soon as we were alone 3 I stretched forth my right hand, seized his left arm and said: 'By Heavens! thou shalt disclose to me thy secret, or else I will assuredly expose thee.' Then he opened his pair of almonds. 4 I drew his veil from his face and behold--by Heavens! it was our Sheikh Abú’l-Fatḥ, al-Iskanderí. Said I: 'Art thou Abú’l-Fatḥ?' He answered: 'Nay;
73:6 To capture a stray word: The collecting of (…) rare words was a favourite pursuit.
74:1 I passed my eye over him: Literally, from him to.
74:2 … Like a beetle: The Qarambá is an insect resembling the beetle called … Khanfasá. It is said 'the Qarambá in the eye of its mother is beautiful.' Arab Proverbs, ii, 253.
74:3 Burnous: Worn by devotees in the first age of Islám; any garment of which the head forms a part. Some say it is from … meaning cotton and the … augmentive. It appears to be a foreign word.
74:4 O people my debt weighs down: Metre, rejez.
75:1 What beauty is hers! Cf. De Sacy, Ḥarírí, i, 34. Metre, rejez.
75:2 I refer thee to God: Literally, go to God.
75:3 … We were alone: Literally, seclusion strung us together.
75:4 Pair of almonds: Figurative for both eyes.
75:5 I am Abú Qalamún: Metre, mujtath.
Abú Qalamún: a kind of variegated Greek fabric. The expression is used to describe a very fickle person. (Ibn al-Athír, Kunya Lexicon (Kitab al-Muraṣṣ’a, Edited by Seybold, p. 175.)
This maqáma has been translated by De Sacy, Chrestomathie Arabe, iii, 251.
75:6 … Repel time: Cf. De Sacy, Ḥarírí, i, 304,
75:7 Cf. This maqáma with De Sacy, Ḥarírí, i, 75, where the impostor also feigns blindness.