February 16, 2013

Madmen who were poets 5

Abu 'l-'Abbās [al-Mubarrad] attributes these verses to al-Mānī al-Muwaswas:

   The cheeks on him are white and red:
      red in their middles and white at the rim.
   Thin but dewy, like a cup's glass walls
      streaked by swirling wine within.
Muhammad ibn Yazīd al-Mubarrad said: I got caught in a rainstorm, which quickly abated. When along came Mānī al-Muwaswas, who said:

  "Don't mistake for a real rain
      the rain that fell just now.
   A single tear from my eye 
      flows more freely, when
   assailed by the gloom
      of my worried thoughts.
   This is what it's like to watch
      the change of heart inside a friend's bosom."

Mānī al-Muwaswas went up to Abū Dulaf [al-'Ijlī] and said:

  "The look in your eye 'mid the enemy host
      saves you the trouble of taking out swords."

"By God," said Abū Dulaf, "no poet has ever praised me so well," and ordered ten thousand dirhams be given to him. But Mānī declined to take them. "It's all the same to me as half a dirham's worth of harisa," he said.

Also by Mānī al-Muwaswas:

   Grazing on hearts, some gazelles are preoccupied
      with necklaces. And in my heart there is just grass.
   My life is forfeit to gazelles. Instead of antlers
      they are rubied and empearled with bangling gold.
   O beauty that stole mine eye unwittingly,
      seldom though the stolen glance unwitting be!
   The beauty of her eyes elicited my heart from me,
      and I gave it ovcr, little heeding its acceptability.
   If they do not look my way, the attraction's finished.
      What good are eyes to me if she declines?
   A thief and his hand are soon separated,
      but hearts are for stealing at no such penalty.

'Alī ibn al-Jahm rode up on a man in the grip of a brain-fever who was encircled by a hostile crowd. On spotting him, the man took hold of his horse's bridle and said:

  "Do not swell the company of
      wastrels before me. I swear by the prerogative
   of the One Who aggrieves my life with them,
      and the One Whose forgiveness I beg for them:
   compared to the fallen of their own number,
      these are fallen further still."

His rolling gaze then fixed on a shapely boy with a handsome face, and he rent his tunic, saying:

  "This one, their most nobly favored,
      now treats me with surpassing baseness!"

Continued from The Necklace Without Peer of Ibn 'Abd Rabbih