Note to the Reader: Alexis Almeida, John Keene, and David Larsen
Friday, May 24, 2019
Yaqut al-Hamawi (d. 626 A.H./1229 CE)
on al-Muhassin ibn Kawjak (d. 416/1025)
Translated by David Larsen
Ibn ‘Asakir says in his History of Damascus that the scholar Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Muhassin ibn ‘Ali ibn Kawjak dictated short, aphoristic lectures in Sidon, some on the authority of Ibn Khalawayh. These teachings were memorized and transmitted by Abu Nasr ibn Tallab.
Ibn ‘Asakir said: I was told by ‘Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Umar that Ibn Tallab said: “Our teacher Ibn Kawjak dictated his lectures to us in Sidon, where I studied under him in the year 394 (= 1003-4). One of the poems he taught us was this” (meter: munsarih):
Your good looks are leaving you. They’re on their way out,
when eyes roll and turn away from your [onetime] beauty.
You who used to slay others are now the slain.
You come back to life and find that it’s moved on.
How many have seen my affection for you, and my passion,
and had a talk with me, and called me a middle-aged [fool]?
May God have mercy on you, young man,
when young romantics start to call you “Sir.”
From the Dictionary of the Scholars of Yaqut