Posts tagged ‘11th century’

Monday, 8 April 2019

Reading by Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār

My eye frees what the page imprisons:
the white the white and the black the black.

From: http://www.islamicspain.tv/Arts-and-Science/andalusi_poetry.htm

Date: 11th century (original in Arabic); 1971 (translation in Spanish);1989 (translation in English)

By: Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār (1031-1086)

Translated by: Emilio García Gómez (1905-1995) and Cola Franzen (1923-2018)

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Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Final Verse of “Mahābhārata” by Nannaya Bhattaraka

Autumn nights under the glowing canopy of stars,
dense with the wind-borne fragrance
of unfolding water lilies,
flooded with light white as camphor
flowing down from the moon,
and filled with sky.

From: Velcheru, Narayana Rao and Shulman, David (eds. and transls.), Classical Telugu Poetry: An Anthology, 2002, University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, p. 55.
(https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt096nc4c5)

Date: 11th century (original in Telugu); 2002 (translation in English)

By: Nannaya Bhattaraka (11th century)

Translated by: Narayana Rao Velcheru (1932- ) and David Dean Shulman (1949- )

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Verses 46-50 of “Black Marigolds [Caurapañcāśikā]” by Kavi Bilhana

Even now
The night is full of silver straws of rain,
And I will send my soul to see your body
This last poor time. I stand beside our bed;
Your shadowed head lies leaving a bright space
Upon the pillow empty, your sorrowful arm
Holds from your side and clasps not anything.
There is no covering upon you.

Even now
I think your feet seek mine to comfort them.
There is some dream about you even now
Which I’ll not hear at waking. Weep not at dawn,
Though day brings wearily your daily loss
And all the light is hateful. Now is it time
To bring my soul away.

Even now
I mind that I went round with men and women,
And underneath their brows, deep in their eyes,
I saw their souls, which go slippng aside
In swarms before the pleasure of my mind;
The world was like a flight of birds, shadow or flame
Which I saw pass above the engraven hills.
Yet was there never one like to my woman.

Even now
Death I take up as consolation.
Nay, were I free as the condor with his wings
Or old kings throned on violet ivory,
Night would not come without beds of green floss
And never a bed without my bright darling.
Most fit that you strike now, black guards,
And let the fountain out before the dawn.

Even now
I know that I have savoured the hot taste of life
Lifting green cups and gold at the great feast.
Just for a small and a forgotten time
I have had full in my eyes from off my girl
The whitest pouring of eternal light.
The heavy knife. As to a gala day.

From: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/bilhana/bil01.htm

Date: 11th century (original); 1919 (translation in English)

By: Kavi Bilhana (11th century)

Translated by: Edward Powys Mathers (1892-1939)

Sunday, 27 January 2019

River Song by Li Zhiyi

To the tune of Busuanzi (Calculating the Future)

I live at the head of the long Yangtze.
He lives in its furthest reaches.
I think of him, each day, but we never meet.
The drink we share is the Yangtze water.

When will these waters come to rest,
or my regrets finally end?
I only hope his heart’s like mine.
Surely, we won’t betray our longings!

From: https://www.litro.co.uk/2012/09/river-song-by-li-zhiyi-1035-1117/

Date: 11th century (original); 2012 (translation)

By: Li Zhiyi (1035-1117)

Translated by: Julian Farmer (19??- )

Monday, 23 July 2018

Woo Not the World by Muhammad ibn Abbad al-Mu’tamid

Woo not the world too rashly, for behold,
Beneath the painted silk and broidering,
It is a faithless and inconstant thing.
(Listen to me, Mu’tamid, growing old.)

And we— that dreamed youth’s blade would never rust,
Hoped wells from the mirage, roses from the sand —
The riddle of the world shall understand
And put on wisdom with the robe of dust.

From: ibn Abbad al-Mu’tamid, Muhammad and Smith, Dulcie Lawrence (transl.), Wisdom of the East: The Poems of Mu’tamid, King of Seville, 1915, John Murray: London, p. 54.
(https://archive.org/details/poemsofmutamidk00muta)

Date: 11th century (original in Arabic); 1915 (translation in English)

By: Muhammad ibn Abbad al-Mu’tamid (1040-1095)

Translated by: Dulcie Lawrence Smith (18??-19??)

Sunday, 28 January 2018

To a Little Man with a Very Large Beard by Isaac ben Khalif

How can thy chin that burden bear?
Is it all gravity to shock?
Is it to make the people stare?
And be thyself a laughing stock?

When I behold thy little feet
After thy beard obsequious run,
I always fancy that I meet
Some father followed by his son.

A man like thee scarce e’er appear’d –
A beard like thine – where shall we find it?
Surely thou cherishest thy beard
In hopes to hide thyself behind it.

From: Carlyle, J.D., Specimens of Arabian Poetry, From the Earliest Times to the Extinction of the Khaliphat, with Some Accounts of the Authors, 1796, John Burges: Cambridge, p. 148.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=BXg_AQAAMAAJ)

Date: ?11th century (original in Persian); 1796 (translation in English)

By: Isaac ben Khalif (?11th century)

Translated by: Joseph Dacre Carlyle (1758-1804)

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Excerpt from “Lamiyat al-Ajam (The L-Poem of the Foreigner)” by Abu Esmail Moayed-o-din Hosein-ebn-e-ali Esfahani Togharayi

No kind supporting hand I meet,
But Fortitude shall stay my feet;
No borrowed splendours round me shine,
But Virtue’s lustre all is mine:
A fame unsullied still I boast,
Obscured, concealed, but never lost —
The same bright orb that led the day
Pours from the west his mellowed ray.

Zaura, farewell! No more I see
Within thy walls a home for me;
Deserted, spurned, aside I’m tossed,
As an old sword whose scabbard’s lost:
Around thy walls I seek in vain,
Some bosom that will soothe my pain —
No friend is near to breathe relief,
Or brother to partake my grief.

For many a melancholy day
Through desert vales I’ve wound my way;
The faithful beast whose back I press
In groans laments her lord’s distress;
In every quivering of my spear
A sympathetic sigh I hear;
The camel, bending with his load,
And struggling through the thorny road,
Midst the fatigues that bear him down,
In Hassan’s woes forgets his own; —
Yet cruel friends my wanderings chide,
My sufferings slight, my toils deride.

Once wealth, I own, engrossed each thought;
There was a moment when I sought
The glittering stores Ambition claims
To feed the wants his fancy frames;
But now ’tis past: the changing day
Has snatched my high-built hopes away,
And bade this wish my labours close, —
Give me not riches, but repose.

From: Clouston, W.A., Arabian Poetry for English Readers, 1881, Privately Printed: Glasgow, pp. 153-154.
(https://archive.org/details/arabianpoetryfo00clougoog)

Date: 11th century (original in Persian); 1796 (translation in English)

By: Abu Esmail Moayed-o-din Hosein-ebn-e-ali Esfahani Togharayi (1045-1105)

Translated by: Joseph Dacre Carlyle (1758-1804)

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Eagle and the Crow: A Dialogue by Abul Qasim Hassan Unsuri Balkhi

A dialogue occurred, I happen to know,
Betwixt the white eagle and the crow.

Birds we are, said the crow, in the main,
Friends we are, and thus we shall remain.

Birds we are, agreed the eagle, only in name,
Our temperaments, alas, are not the same.

My leftovers are a king’s feast,
Carrion you devour, to say the least.

My perch’s the king’s arm, his palace my bed,
You haunt the ruins, mingle with the dead.

My color is heavenly, as everyone can tell,
Your color inflicts pain, like news from hell.

Kings tend to choose me rather than you,
Good attracts good, that goes for evil too.

From: http://www.angelfire.com/rnb/bashiri/Poets/Unsuri.html

Date: 11th century (original in Persian); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Abul Qasim Hassan Unsuri Balkhi (980-1039/40)

Translated by: Iraj Bashiri (1940- )

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

I’ve Made This Rhyme Completely Free of Sense by William IX, Duke of Aquitaine

I’ve made this rhyme completely free
of sense—it’s not of you and me,
or youth, or doings he-and-she,
or springtime thoughts.
It came to me while I was sleeping
on my horse.

What planet ruled when I was born?
I’m native here and still feel foreign.
Can’t be contented, or forlorn,
or change myself:
I was the midnight work of freaking
magic elves.

I can’t tell when I wake or sleep
unless the others keep me briefed.
It almost breaks my heart—I’m deeply
plagued by doubts,
and none of them, by Saint Martial,
is worth a mouse.

They say I’ll soon be dropping dead
Fetch that doctor, quick!—I said—
his name has just escaped my head.
No matter who:
he’s bad if I do not get well,
good if I do.

My lady friend I’ve never seen:
I don’t know if she’s cute or plain,
or if she’s kind to me or mean.
Why should I care?—
I don’t let French and Normans stay
the night in here.

My passion’s absolutely strong
but she won’t do me right, or wrong.
Avoiding her I get along
just fine. Forget her:
I’ve others nicer anyway
who please me better.

This verse I’ve made—of what or who
unknown—I’ll send to someone who
will send it on to someone who
is in Anjou,
who might decode it and convey
the key to you.

From: http://www.midi-france.info/190401_guilhem.htm

Date: 11th century (original in Occitan); 2001 (translation in English)

By: William IX, Duke of Aquitaine (1071-1127)

Translated by: Leonard Cottrell (1937-2016)

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Excerpt from “The Debate of the Body and the Soul” by Traditional

The soul these words had scarcely spoke,
That wist not whither it should go.
When with a bound right in there broke
A thousand devils, and yet mo.
Their sharpe claws in it they stoke,
Exulting, with a loud halloo,
And piteously, with many a mock,
They tugged and toused it to and fro.

For they were rough and fierce and tailed,
With broad bulges on their back,
Sharp their clawës, longë nailed,
There was no limb withoutë lack.
On every side it was assailed
By many a devil, foul and black;
Crying mercy nought availed
When God his hard revenge would take.

Some the jaws wide open wrast
And pourëd in the lead all hot,
Bade him thereof to drinken fast,
And skink to all his friends about.
A devil came there attë last
That was the master, well I wot,
A glowing colter in him thrast,
And through the heart the iron smot.

White-hot sword-blades some did set
To back and breast and either side;
In his heart the pointës met,
And made great gaping woundës wide; —
A pretty sight, not to forget.
They said, that heart so full of pride.
But they had promised morë yet,
And more should presently betide.

Seemly weeds they must not spare,
In such he ever would be drest;
A devil’s mail-coat for to wear,
All burning, was upon him cast,
With red-hot hasps, to fasten fair,
That sat right close to back and breast;
Anon thereto a helmet rare,
And eek a charger of the best.

As a colt for him to ride
A cursed devil forth they brought,
Horribly grinning, yawning wide,
And flame all flaring from his throat;
With a saddle at mid-side
Full of sharpë pikës shot,
Like a heckle to bestride,
And all over blazing-hot.

From: Child, F. J. (ed.), The Debate of the Body and the Soul, 1888, John Wilson and Son: Cambridge, pp. 31-34.
(https://archive.org/stream/cu31924013113364#page/n35/mode/2up)

Date: 8th century (original in Latin); 11th century (translation in Middle English); 1888 (translation from Middle English to modern English)

By: Traditional

Translated by: Francis James Child (1825-1896)

Alternative Title: Visio Philiberti (Vision of Filibertus)