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floor and walls inlaid with gold and marble. The Caliph, robed in purple, reclined on crimson pillows: the air was redolent of musk and amber, which lay before him on a golden chafing dish; occasionally he shook the dish, and filled the hall with the sweet incense. He accosted me kindly, and desired me to approach. I kissed his foot, and in doing so caught a glimpse of two slave girls of superlative beauty standing behind, their great ruby earrings glancing by their cheeks like fire. He asked after my welfare; a verse had occurred to him, and he had sent for me, he said, because he could not remember where it was to be found. I told him at once, and was able, moreover, to repeat the entire poem. He was delighted, and desired me to present my request. I asked that I might have one of the slave girls. He gave me both, and commanded that I should be placed in a lordly chamber, to which I at once repaired, and found attendants and everything I could wish in readiness. Likewise, he gave me a present of 100,000 dirhems." 

There are circumstances related by Sprenger of this poet which show that at times he was little better than a drunken and debauched sot. On one occasion he was found in a shameful state when sent for by the Caliph Mansûr. But rapidly recovering himself, he recited an elegy with such pathos as to draw tears from the Caliph's eyes. 

The Caliph Mehdie once held a gathering of learned men versed in poetry. To Hammâd he presented 20,000 dirhems, remarking that he composed good poetry, but that when he recited ancient poems he inserted many spurious verses. To another, called Mofaddhal, he gave 50,000 dirhems, because he recited ancient poetry with critical accuracy.

This Mofaddhal tells us that Hammâd exercised a most pernicious influence in giving currency to erroneous and altered versions of the ancients poets. Mere errors learned critics might correct; but this man was so thoroughly versed in the peculiar language of Arabic poetry, and knew the style and manner of each poet so closely, that he could compose whole poems in the spirit and language of some ancient bard, and then give them out as authentic. These became mixed up with the genuine remains, 


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