FALLING IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Often it happens that Love fastens itself to the heart as the result of a single glance. This variety of Love is divided into two classes.
The first class is the contrary of what we have just been describing, in that a man will fall head over heels in love with a mere form, without knowing who that person may be, what her name- is, or where she lives. This hashappened to more than one man.
Our friend Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Ishaq informed me, quoting a trustworthy authority whose name has escaped me-though I think it was Judge Ibn al-Hadhdha' that the poet Yusuf Ibn Harun, better known as al-Ramadi, was one day passing the Gate of the Perfumers at Cordova, a place where ladies were wont to congregate, when he espied a young girl who, as hesaid, "entirely captured my heart, so that all my limbs were penetrated by the love of her". He therefore turned aside from going to the mosque and set himself instead to following her, while she for her part set off towards the bridge, which she then crossed and came to the place known as al-Rabad.
When she reached the mausolea of the Banu Marwan (God have mercy on their souls!) that areerected over their graves in the cemetery of al-Rabad, beyond' the river, she observed him to have gone apart from the rest of the people and to be preoccupied solely with her.
She accordingly went up to him and said, "Why are you walking behind me?" He told her how sorely smitten he was with her, and she replied, "Have done with that! Do not seek to expose me to shame; you have no prospect ofachieving your purpose, and there is no way to you're gratifying your desire. -"He countered," I am satisfied merely to look at you. "hat is permitted to you", she replied. Then he asked her, "My lady, are you a freewoman, or are you a slave?" "I am a slave", she answered. "And what is your name?" he enquired. "Khalwa", she told him. "And to whom do you belong?" He asked next.
To this she retorted,By Allah, you are likelier to know what inhabits the Seventh Heaven, than the answer to that question. Seek not the impossible!" "My lady", he begged, "Where may I see you again?" "Where you saw me to-day", she replied, "at the same hour, every Friday." Then she added, "Will you go off now, or shall I?" "Do you go off, in Allah's protection!" he replied. So she went off in the direction of thebridge; and he could not follow her, because she kept looking round to see if he was accompanying her or not.
When she had passed the gate of the bridge, he came after her but could find no trace of her whatsoever. "And by Allah", said Abu `Umar (that is to say, Yusuf Ibn Harun), recounting the story of his adventure, " I have frequented the Perfumers' Gate and al-Rabad the whole time from thentill now, but I have never come upon any further news of her. I know not whether the heavens have devoured her, or whether the earth has swallowed her up; and the feeling I have in my heart on her account is hotter than burning coals."This is the Khalwa whose name he celebrates in his love lyrics. Thereafter he had news of her after he journeyed to Saragossa for her sake, but that is a long story.This sort of thing happens frequently enough; I have a poem on the subject, from which I here quote.
Against my heart mine eye designed
Great wrong, and anguish to my mind,
Which sin my spirit to requite
Hath loosed these tears against my sight.
How shall mine eye behold infact
This justice that my tears exact,
Seeing that in their flood profound
My weeping eye is wholly drowned?
Since I had never seen her yet
I could not know her, when we met;
The final thing of her I knew
Was what I saw at that first...
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