« AnteriorContinuar »
THE KHALIPH RADHI BILLAH-SHEMS ALMAALI CABUS. 97
Cassim's son, Hosein, was Vizir to the Khaliph Moctader; and the other, Mohammed, to his successor, Kaher. Professor Carlyle says: “The sarcasm might apply to either without much impropriety; for Hosein was condemned to suffer punishment for his impiety, in the reign of Radhi; and Mohammed was the favourite minister of Kaher, who appears to have been the greatest monster that ever presided over the Khaliphat.”
THE KHALIPH RADHI BILLAH. The twentieth Khaliph of the house of Abbas, and the last of those princes who possessed any substantial power. He died in the 329th year of the Hegira, i.e., A.D. 951.
TO A LADY UPON SEEING HER BLUSH.
My alter'd cheek turns pale,
A deep’ning blush prevail.
Why such a change takes place?
To mantle on thy face. This is one of the most elegant epigrams to be found in any language, and deserves particular attention.
SHEMS ALMAALI CABUS. Ascended the throne of Georgia in the year of the Hegira 366, i.e., A.D. 988, reigned for thirty-five years, and was then deposed. He possessed almost every virtue and every accomplishment, and was os unfortunate as he was amiable.
ON THE CAPRICES OF FORTUNE.
Why should I blush that Fortune's frown
Dooms me life's humble paths to tread ?
To sink forgotten to the dead ?
'Tis not the good, the wise, the brave,
That surest shine, or highest rise ;
The pearl in ocean's cavern lies.
Sparkles with undiminish'd light;
The lord of day, the queen of night.
In the “Festoon" is a translation from the Greek of Solon, which well expresses the indifference of Fortune to worth :
Some wicked men are rich, some good men poor ;
While wealth now flies to this man, now to that. One of the best epigrams on Fortune is by Samuel Wesley, the usher of Westminster School, which he says is “From a hint in the minor poets":
No, not for those of women born,
Not so unlike the die is cast;
How very small the odds at last!
With him beneath her feet compare;
The other nothing more to fear,
ON TAHER BEN HOSEIN,
Who was ambidexter, and one-eyed.
And a monster perhaps may be changed to a man. “Taher appears to have been the most celebrated general of his time. He commanded the forces of Mamun, second son to Haroun Alrashid, and it was chiefly owing to his abilities that Mamun arrived at the throne."--Carlyle.
“ This epigram,” says Professor Carlyle, “ reminds us of the wellknown lines nipon a brother and sister, both extremely beautiful, but who had each lost an eye; and it is curious to observe how easily the same idea is modified by a different poet into a satire or a panegyric." The epigram alluded to is that on Acon and Leonilla by Amaltheus. The one on Taher might have been given under that singularly elegant piece, but the want of harmony between the two would injure both if brought int juxta-position.
TO A FRIEND UPON HIS BIRTHDAY.
With smiles their joy confest;
And thou in smiles be drest!
It may interest some readers to see a translation of this very beautiful epigram, which is attributed to Sir William Jones:
On parents' knees, a naked new-born child,
Calm thou may'st smile, while all around thee weep. It can hardly be supposed that the old epigrammatist, Hayman, knew anything of Arabian poetry. The similarity, therefore, of the following distich, found among his "Quodlibets," may be considered as a coincidence of ideas (Book I. Quod. 55):
When we are born, our friends rejoice; we cry:
The fated track to all assign'd,
And leave the world to those behind.
Man presses to the future day,
Like the dun* robber, waits his prey.
* The wolf.
An epigram by Samuel Wesley shows how the generations of men .ive and pass away :
Some laugh, while others mourn;
Some toil, while others play;
So runs the worl: away.
MEDIÆVAL AND EARLY MODERN LATIN
A.D. 1265-A.D. 1678.
HIS OWN EPITAPH.
Whilst Fate allow'd I sung of kings and gods,
Poccianti says that Dante wrote these lines for his own epitaph, when at the point of death. (Hackett.)
Leonidas of Tarentum, who is believed to have died in exile, having been carried captive from Tarentum by Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, wrote an epitaph for himself, which is singularly suitable to Dante (Jacobs I. 181, C.). The translation is by Merivale :
Far from Tarentum's native soil I lie,