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The Maqámát of Badí‘ al-Zamán al-Hamadhání, tr. W.J. Prendergast [1915] at

p. 84


‘ÍSÁ IBN HISHÁM related to us and said: While I was in the city of Peace, 1 returning from the Sacred Territory, 2 I was swaggering along, with the swaggering of pedestrians, on the bank of the Tigris, observing those rare sights and closely examining those embellishments until, suddenly, I reached a ring of men crowding together, excitement agitating their heads 3 and laughter exploding 4 their cheeks. Curiosity impelled me to do what it had driven them to do, till I stood within earshot of the voice of a man without being able to see his face, because of the intensity of the thronging and the excessiveness of the crowding, and behold! it was a monkey-trainer causing his monkey to dance and making those near him to laugh. So I bounded as bounds the well-trained hound, 5 and went forward, after the manner of one lame, over the necks of the people. This one's shoulder throwing me in that one's stomach, 6 until I made the beards of two men my carpet and sat down after much fatigue. 7 And verily shame choked me with its spittle and the straitness of the place distressed me. When the monkey-trainer had finished his performance and the place of assembly divested itself of its people, I arose, and verily terror had clothed me in its garb, and I stood up that I might see his face, and lo! by Heavens! it was Abú’l-Fatḥ, al-Iskanderí. So I said: 'Sirrah, what meaneth this baseness?' Then he indited saying:--

p. 85

'The sin is the days’ 1 not mine,
So censure the vicissitudes of the nights.
By means of folly I obtained my desire
And proudly trailed my embellished skirts.'



84:1 The city of Peace: i.e., the city of God. Al-Manṣúr is said to have called Baghdad the city of Peace--Madína al-Salám--because the Tigris had been previously called the valley and river of Peace. It is said ‘Abd al-‘Azíz ibn ‘Alí Ruwwid called it the city of Peace, because in Persian bagh is an idol and dad a gift which made an impious or ill-omened name. Yaqút, i, 678. See also Le Strange, Baghdad during the ‘Abbásid Khalífate, p. 10.

84:2 The sacred territory: Mecca.

84:3 Their heads: Literally, their necks.

84:4 Exploded (literally, split) their cheeks: Cf. English, split their sides.

84:5 Well-trained hound: Literally, having a collar of white shells such as are worn on the neck to avert the evil eye. It seems that only trained hounds were given this collar.

84:6 Stomach: Literally, the navel.

84:7 great fatigue: Another reading is between two.

85:1 The sin is the days: Metre, kámil.

This maqáma has been translated by De Sacy. See his Chrestomathie Arabe, iii. p. 246.

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