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curious illustration of the sincerity and amount of that grief, which, on this occasion, was designated by "fountains of water pouring forth abundant and unceasing streams of tears." The first is equally Latin, (Castillian,) says Father Cisneros, the author; and he may be allowed to say so: we shall not quarrel with him on this score.
"Pyra funesta luces ostentando
But perhaps none is more original-to us, at least, it is peculiarly so than the following:
"Deidad que sin llegar à
M ayó en ataud
* Not having indulged in attempts of this kind, we were not a little surprised at the facility with which, in twenty minutes, the following imitation of the above sonnet was produced. If, in our not very manageable language-at least in versification--such attempts are so little laborious, in an idiom so full of vowel terminations as the Spanish, the effort would be much less tedious than we had imagined.
We dare not make farther extracts. Those who are curious may find examples of a similar character in Faria y Souza's notes to Camöes. It is strange that men of undoubted genius should have given so much time to these whimsical vagaries, and have become the mere posture-masters of poetry.
Of the Arabic poets of Spain, the greatest number were natives of Andalucia, a province which, as it was the witness of the first successes of the Moorish invaders, continued to be the seat of their affections, and the central point of their dominion. Their poetry was of a very varied character, and the number of poets was very considerable indeed. In the fourth century of the Hegira, flourished Maria Alphaisuli of Seville, who has been called the Arabic Sappho. Ebn Tarhun, also a native of Seville, wrote on the creation of the world, on the of the soul, and on the temple of Mecca. Dhialdin Alkazrag made poetry the subject of his compositions, of which his Treasure of Poets is best known. Ebn Forgia and Ebn Macrana wrote learned criticisms on the poetry of Arabia and Persia. Of the ancient Spaniards and Africans eminent in literature, and especially in poetical literature, Ben Mahommed Abu Nassar Alphath of Seville, composed a biographical account, in the sixth century of the Hegira. Religion, morals, politics, experimental and abstract science, history and general letters, form the varied subjects of this interesting class; a mine of treasures almost unexplored: for notwithstanding the great merit and industry of which Conde has given so many proofs, we must be allowed to regret, that what has appeared, since our former article, of his interesting history of the Moors in Spain, has disappointed us in many particulars. It is chiefly a detail of various military triumphs, which opens to us but too little
Aw A ke to
Lady! in whom the fairest graces dwel L
And streams, A nd songs, And flowers of sweetest smell
of the religion, policy, literature, general character and customs of the Spaniards, during the Moorish domination, and the impressions made by them on their conquerors. This, however, would serve to confirm a suspicion which we have before expressed, that the oriental intruders looked down with great contempt on the Spaniards of that period, and thought them little worthy of their attention and much less so of their respect.
The name, at least, of Ebn Paca, who died in the prime of his days, and whose death is mourned with singular emotion by his contemporaries and successors, is entitled to be introduced; as also that of Ebn Zohar, surnamed the wise, the glorious, the master of Averroes. Such marks of distinction must not, however generally conferred, be considered as demonstrative proofs of the real merits or characteristic of the peculiar endowments of the individuals who bear them. They form a part of that system of oriental exaggeration, whose extravagancies must be always taken into account, in order to give the statements of Arabic authorities their due, and only their due, influence. To Averroes himself, (Ebn Roshd,) however, a place of high distinction will not be disputed. Mahommed Gheber is another illustrious name; and with Ebn Cacham, the poet Ebn Hani, of Andalucia, whose verses are lauded by Hottinger, and Ebn Jaafar Ebn Tophasi, spoken of by Pococke, we shall close the list. The Spanish Arabic schools were visited by literary inquirers, and students from the east, as well as the north; and, among others, Ebn Lchatib, one of the favorite writers of Arabia, passed great part of his life in Granada for the purposes of study.
Alphonso the Wise, in the spirit of inquiry and discernment which distinguished him, established, in 1254, schools for Arabic studies. It is to him we are indebted for several valuable translations from oriental sources, and for many of the fragments which have come down to us; though, indeed, but too few escaped through those ages of ignorance and barbarism which followed him. Spain had been, it has been often remarked, the great emporium of the literary treasures of the east, and would have continued to be so, had it not been for that destructive and intolerant fury which condemned to the flames every volume which had Arabic characters in it, as a Koran, or a book connected with the Mahommedan superstition. The communication kept up by Spain with the north of Africa, through the Spanish settlements on the coast, might have been the channels through which the streams of science, of history, and of poetry, would have flown to the western and the northern world. Of the volumes which escaped from the eager pursuits of the inquisitors, nearly eight thousand pe
rished in 1671, in the great fire at the Escurial; and the literary Moors had previously withdrawn from Spain whatever they could rescue from the fury of the ignorant book-destroyers. Leo Africanus tells us, that he lived at Algiers with a Moor, who had brought more than three thousand volumes from Granada.
Poetry was a subject of almost universal study, even from the most remote time, among Arabian youth: to produce good verses was one of the greatest glories of their monarchs and sages, and all their best authors blend it with their works of philosophy and history. The Spanish romances are grafted wholly upon the Arabic stem, with this distinction, that the rimes of the latter are consonantes, (or common rime,) and of the former, asonantes, which are not perceptible to an unpractised ear, but which become by use as harmonious as the more perfect jingle. The Arabic and the Spanish verse is written in the same measure, but the latter use four lines, the former only two. The effect is the same; for the first and the third lines, in Spanish romances, scarcely ever rhyme. We shall give a few specimens of Hispano-Arabic poetry on various subjects, with the translations Conde has attached to them.
Impromptu to the Calif Suleiman, when admiring his own form in a mirror :
"Beautiful, yes! none denies it; beauty were a lovely thing
The following were sent to the Caliph Meruan by Nasir Ben Seyar, advising him to look to those threatenings of rebellion, which he was too much in the habit of passing over with indifference or inattention:
"I look'd upon the ashes cold, and many a spark was living,
*"Eres bello; quien lo niega? no fuera presuncion vana
A no tener la hermorura de ser instable la falta
Esta sola tacha tienes el ser tu belleza humana
Que pasa como sombra leve como flor del campo acaba."
And wished Omaya's race were there;-theirs is the mighty stake; O tell me, tell me, do they dream, or are they yet awake."*
Abdorrahman, one of the idols of the Mahommedan historians, is said to have introduced the palm-tree into Spain, and wrote these verses in consequence, which, we are told, were familiar to every body:
"Noble palm! thou wert a stranger, even thou, a stranger here,
I have tears enough to water all the palms where Forat flows;
The verses of another of the Moorish monarchs, Hexim, (ob. A. H. 796,) have much strength and beauty.
"Entre la ceniza fria vi lucir leves centellas,
que estas llamas abrazan no serà monte ni selva;
+ "Tu tambien insigne palma! eres aqui forastera,