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of art by the trophies and rarities of the garden. For this reason, the Arabs never produced artists ; religion turned them from the beautiful, and made them soldiers, philosophers, and men of affairs. Splendid flowers and rare exotics ornamented the courtyards and even the inner chambers. Great care was taken to make due provision for the cleanliness, occupation, and amusement of the inmates. Through pipes of metal, water, both warm and cold, to suit the season of the year, ran into baths of marble; in niches, where the current of air could be artificially directed, hung dripping alcarazzas. There were Libraries whispering-galleries for the amusement of the women; laby- of taste. rinths and marble play-courts for the children; for the master himself, grand libraries. The Khalif Alhakem's was so large that the catalogue alone filled forty volumes. He had also apartments for the transcribing, binding, and ornamenting of books. A taste for calligraphy and the possession of splendidlyilluminated manuscripts seems to have anticipated in the khalifs, both of Asia and Spain, the taste for statuary and paintings among the later Popes of Rome.
Such were the palace and gardens of Zehra, in which Abd - The court of errabman III. honoured his favourite sultana. The edifice man III. had twelve hundred columns of Greek, Italian, Spanish, and African marble. Its hall of audience was incrusted with gold and pearls. Through the long corridors of its seraglio black eunuchs silently glided. The ladies of the harem, both wives and concubines, were the most beautiful that could be found. To that establishment alone 6300 persons were attached. The body-guard of the sovereign was composed of 12,000 horsemen, whose scimitars and belts were studded with gold. This was that Abderrahman who, after a glorious reign of fifty years, sat down to count the number of days of unalloyed happiness he had experienced, and could only enumerate fourteen. “O man," exclaimed the plaintive khalif, "put not thy trust in this present world."
No nation has ever excelled the Spanish Arabs in the beauty Social and costliness of their pleasure-gardens. To them, also, we the Moors. owe the introduction of very many of our most valuable cultivated fruits, such as the peach. Retaining the love of their
Social Life of the Spanish Mohammedans.
ancestors for the cooling effect of water in a hot climate, they spared no pains in the superfluity of fountains, hydraulic works, and artificial lakes in which fish were raised for the table. Into such a lake, attached to the palace of Cordova, many loaves were cast each day to feed the fish. There were also menageries of foreign animals; aviaries of rare birds; manufactories in which skilled workmen, obtained from foreign countries, displayed their art in textures of silk, cotton, linen, and all the miracles of the loom ; in jewellery and filigree-work, with which they ministered to the female pride of the sultanas and concubines. Under the shade of cypresses cascades disappeared; among flowering shrubs there were winding walks, bowers of roses, seats cut out of the rock, and crypt-like grottoes hewn in the living stone. Nowhere was ornamental gardening better understood; for not only did the artist try to please the eye as it wandered over the pleasant gradation of vegetable colour and form-he also boasted his success in the gratification of the sense of smell by the studied succession of perfumes from beds of flowers.
To these Saracens we are indebted for many of our personal comforts. Religiously cleanly, it was not possible for them to clothe, according to the fashion of the natives of Europe, in a garment unchanged till it dropt to pieces of itself, a loathsome mass of vermin, stench, and rags. No Arab who had been a minister of state, or the associate or antagonist of a sovereign, would have offered such a spectacle as the corpse of Thomas à Becket when his haircloth shirt was removed. They taught us the use of the often-changed and often-washed under-garment of linen or cotton, which still passes among ladies under its old Arabic name. But to cleanliness they were not unwilling to add ornament. Especially among women of the higher classes was the love of finery a passion. Their outer garments were often of silk, embroidered and decorated with gems and woven gold. So fond were the Moorish women of gay colours, and the lustre of chrysolites, hyacinths, emeralds, and sapphires, that it was quaintly said that the interior of any public building in which they were permitted to appear, looked like a flower meadow in the spring besprinkled with rain.
Their do mestic life.
33 In the midst of all this luxury, which cannot be disregarded They culti
vate litera. by the historian, since in the end it produced a most important ture, music, result in the south of France, the Spanish khalifs, emulating the example of their Asiatic compeers, and in this strongly contrasting with the Popes of Rome, were not only the patrons, but the personal cultivators of all the branches of human learning. One of them was himself the author of a work on polite literature in not less than fifty volumes; another wrote a treatise on algebra. When Zaryab the musician came from the East to Spain, the Khalif Abderrahman rode forth to meet him in honour. The College of Music in Cordova was sustained by ample government patronage, and is said to have produced many illustrious professors.
The Arabs never translated into their own tongue the great But disapGreek poets, though they so sedulously collected and translated European the Greek philosophers. Their religious sentiments and se
mythology date character caused them to abominate the lewdness of our classical mythology, and to denounce indignantly any connection between the licentious, impure Olympian Jove and the Most High God, as an insufferable and unpardonable blasphemy. Haroun al Raschid had gratified his curiosity by causing Homer to be translated into Syriac, but he did not adventure on rendering the great epics into Arabic. Notwithstanding this aversion to our graceful but not unobjectionable ancient poetry, among them originated the Tensons, or poetic disputations, carried afterward to perfection among the Troubadours; from them, also, the Provençals learned to employ jongleurs. Across the Pyrenees, literary, philosophical, and military ad- The South venturers were perpetually passing; and thus the luxury, the taste, and above all, the chivalrous gallantry and elegant cour, their tastes. tesies of Moorish society found their way from Granada and Cordova to Provence and Languedoc. The French and German and English nobles imbibed the Arab admiration of the horse; they learned to pride themselves on skilful riding. Hunting and falconry became their fashionable pastimes; they tried to emulate that Arab skill which had produced the celebrated breed of Andalusian horses. It was a scene of grandeur and gallantry; the pastimes were tilts and tournaments. The
of France contracts
Its Diffusion in Europe. refined society of Cordova prided itself on its politeness. A gay contagion also spread from the beautiful Moorish miscreants to their sisters beyond the mountains; the south of
France was full of the witcheries of female fascinations, and of Light lite- dancing to the lute and mandolin. Even in Italy and Sicily spreads in. the love-song became the favourite composition; and out of to Sicily and Italy. these genial but not orthodox beginnings the polite literature
of modern Europe arose. The pleasant epidemic spread by degrees along every hillside and valley. In monasteries, voices that had vowed celibacy might be heard carolling stanzas of which St. Jerome would hardly have approved; there was many a juicy abbot, who could troll forth, in jocund strains, like those of the merry sinners of Malaga and Xeres, the charms of women and wine, though one was forbidden to the Moslem and one to the monk. The sedate greybeards of Cordova had already applied to the supreme judge to have the songs of the Spanish Jew, Abraham Ibn Sahal, prohibited ; for there was not a youth, nor woman, nor child in the city who could not repeat them by heart. Their immoral tendency was a public scandal. The light gaiety of Spain was reflected in the coarser habits of the northern countries. It was an archdeacon of Oxford who some time afterward sang
“Mihi sit propositum in tabernâ mori,
Vinum sit appositum morientis ori,
* Deus sit propitius huic potatori,'” etc.
The khalifs of the West carried out the precepts of Ali, the fourth successor of Mohammed, in the patronage of literature.
They established libraries in all their chief towns; it is said The Ara.
that not fewer than seventy were in existence. To every mosque system. was attached a public school, in which the children of the
poor were taught to read and write, and instructed in the pre
cepts of the Koran. For those in easier circumstances there were academies, usually arranged in twenty-five or thirty apartments, each calculated for accommodating four students; the academy being presided over by a rector. In Cordova, Granada, and other great cities, there were universities, frequently under the superintendence of Jews; the Mohammedan maxim being that the real learning of a man is of more public importance than any particular religious opinions he may entertain. Visb. In this they followed the example of the Asiatic khalif, Haroun al Raschid, who actually conferred the superintendence of his schools on John Masué, a Nestorian Christian. The Mohammedan liberality was in striking contrast with the intolerance of Europe. Indeed, it may be doubted whether at this time any European nation is sufficiently advanced to follow such an example. In the universities, the professors of polite literature gave lectures upon Arabic classical works; others taught rhetoric, or composition, or mathematics, or astronomy, or other sciences. From these institutions many of the practices observed in our colleges were derived. They held Commencements as we do, at which poems were read and orations delivered in presence of the public. They had also, in addition to these schools of general learning, professional ones, particularly for medicine.
With a pride perhaps not altogether inexcusable, the Ara- Cultivation bians boasted of their language as being the most perfect spo- mar, rheken by man. Mohammed himself, when challenged to produce position. a miracle in proof of the authenticity of his mission, uniformly pointed to the composition of the Koran, its unapproachable excellence vindicating its inspiration. The orthodox Moslems -the Moslems are those who are submissively resigned to the Divine will—are wont to assert that every page of that book is indeed a conspicuous miracle. It is not then surprising that, in the Arabian schools, great attention was paid to the study of language, and that so many celebrated grammarians were produced. By these scholars, dictionaries, similar to those now in use, were composed; their copiousness is indicated by the circumstance that one of them consisted of sixty volumes, the definition of each word being illustrated or sustained by