Answer to a Reproach for Drunkenness -
attributed to Caliph Yazid I
for tenor and piano
then, my failings from the shaft
And dost thou storm because I’ve quaffed
The water of
That I can thus from wine be driv’n,
ne'er canst think—
Another reason thou hast giv’n
Why I resolve
'Twas sweet the flowing cup to seize,
thy rage to see;
And first I drink myself to please,
And next, to anger thee.
pages, circa 1' 45"
coin above comes from the reign of Yazid I (c. 642-683), stamped probably
between 676 and 677, giving a likeness of the caliph from the poet
attributed to this text.
an undated Wikipedia article on "Yazid I," one reads: "Some scholars
regard Yazid as a just, noble, religious and administratively efficient
ruler and that his nomination by his father Muawiya as caliph was proper.
Notable contemporaries such as Ibn Abbas and Muhammad bin Hanfia regard
Muawiya's nomination of Yazid as sincere and proper as Muawiya genuinely
believed that Yazid had the qualifications of being the leader of
Muslims.Muslim tradition regards Caliph Yazid I as a tyrant who was
responsible for three major actions during the Second Fitna that were
considered atrocities: the death of Husayn ibn Ali and his followers at the
Battle of Karbala, considered a massacre; the aftermath of the Battle of
al-Harrah, in which the troops of Yazid's general, Muslim bin Uqbah al-Marri,
pillaged the town of Medina; and the burning of the Kaaba during the siege
of Mecca, which was blamed on Yazid'scommander Husayn ibn Numayr.That view
was summed up with the following evaluation of Yazid by a scholar from the
Abbasid era: He was strong, brave, deliberative, full of resolve, acumen,
and eloquence. He composed good poetry. He was also a stern, harsh, and
coarse Nasibi. He drank and was a reprobate. He inaugurated his Dawla with
the killing of the martyr al Husayn and closed it with the catastrophe of
al-Harrah. Hence the people despised him, he was not blessed in his life,
and many took up arms against him after al-Husayn...."
take various sides and perspectives as regards this caliph of the Umayyad
dynasty, but what is certain is that this "poet" remains a central figure in
the centuries' long schism between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and that
drunkenness seems to be part of that story, as does it play a part in Heine'
rhymed tale of
One may find advice from a variety of sources, and one such reflects the
It's drink that uplifts
rhymed English text attributed to Caliph Yazid I is found in The World’s
Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes, 1906. The text is
interesting for a common human truth it reveals -- the phenomenon of the
"forbidden fruit." Throughout literature and stories across centuries, that
which is "forbidden" is in part a lure to some for the fact that others have
deemed something or some action forbidden. This has been excuse enough for
violating such a social taboo, with modern psychology telling this also as a
truth of the human condition.
The setting in D minor quotes a gesture from Schubert's setting of Goethe's
Gretchen am Spinnrade," D 118, and other gestures, arpeggios and
parallelisms accompany the narrative, as narrator, mice and cat all take
their lines in turn.
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this art song score.
Answer to a Reproach for Drunkenness