The Princess Wallada

The princess Wallada

Wallada bint al Mustakfi  was a poet and an Andalusi princess of the Omeya dynasty, born in Cordoba in the year of 994 , and died at the age of 97 when the Almoravide´s army was entering the city. Her father was the Califa al-Mustakfi  and her mother, Amina, a Christian slave.

After her father was murdered, the Princess Wallada, at the age of 17, opened a literary salon for the noble´s daughters to teach them to read, write and recite. She also introduced the slaves into the poetry and the art of singing. After all, slave women were very important for her, as her mother was a slave, educated in Medina, and she herself was educated by a black slave named Safia.

Over the years, her literary salon became in the place to be and to meet for the intellectuals, the place to discuss about politics, history, art… and gossip. But Wallada always tried to make poetry the main topic.

In one of these poetic sessions, she met Ibn Zaydun, who will be the love of her life. He was a well-positioned noble, with big political influence, and the most elegant and handsome of the intellectuals in the salon.

But if good was Ibn Zaydun, better was Wallada: she had a slender body, white face, blue eyes, blonde-red hair and she used to dress Bagdad´s style. Embroidered on her dresses sleeves she order to write these words: “For God´s sake that I deserve all greatness and proud I pursue my path”, and “I gladly give my cheek to my lover and my kisses for those who want them”.

This love was to be kept in secret, as Ibn Zaydun was linked to the Banu Yahwar family, enemies for Omeyas, so they started to express their feelings through poetry:

Wallada said:

Wait for my visit when darkness arrives

Because I think that night is the secrets keeper.

That concern I have with you, if brought into the sun, this would not bright

If into the Moon, this would not rise

If into the stars, they would not walk.

Ibn Zaydun answered:

Your love has made me a celebrity among people.

It is because of you that my mind and my heart are worried.

When you are not around, nobody can console me

And when you arrive everybody is present.

This romance suffered the intrigues of some al- Andalus politicians as the Visir Ibn Abdus.  He bribed one of Wallada´s slaves to seduce Ibn Zaydun, and then Ibn Abdus published the cheating. Princess Wallada enraged.  Not only was wounded her pride but her public life, tainted by the scandal. She never forgave her greatest love. Ibn Zaydun only knew to cry for her lost love.

After this, all the poems they exchanged were of hatred and satires.

Wallada, in spite, got involved with Ibn Abdus, although they never got married, and continued to cultivate poetry. Ibn Zaydun went to Seville and he was Vizier of King Al Mutamid. He died in fame, power and wealth in 1071.

 

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