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Abu Nuwas


ABU NUWAS (Abu 'Ali Hal-asan ibn Hani'al-Hakami) (c. 756-810), Arabian poet, was born in al-Ahwaz, probably about 756. His mother was a Persian, his father a soldier, a native of Damascus. He is said to have spent a year with the Arabs in the desert to gain purity of language. Settling in Baghdad he enjoyed the favour of Harlan al-Rashid and al-Amin, and died there, probably about 81o. Abu Nuwas is recognized as the greatest Arab poet of his time. Genial, cynical, immoral, he drew on all the varied life of his time for the material of his poems. In his wine-songs especially the manners of the upper classes of Baghdad are revealed. He was one of the first to ridicule the set form of the qasida (elegy) as unnatural, and has satirized this form in several poems.

See I. Goldziher, Abhandlungen zur Arabischen Philologie (Leyden, 1896), i. pp. 145 ff. His poems were collected by several Arabian editors. One such collection (the MS. of which is now in Vienna) contains nearly 5,00o verses. His collected poems (Diwdn) have been published in Cairo (186o), in Beirut (1884) and an edition by Isma '11 al-Nabhani (Cairo, 1904). The wine-songs were edited by W. Ahlwardt under the title Diwan des Abu Nowas. i. Die Weinlieder (Greifswald, 1861).

poems and time