Little is known of Gabirol’s life. His parents died while he was a child. At seventeen years of age he became the friend and protégé of Jekuthiel Hassan. Upon the assassination of the latter as the result of a political conspiracy, Gabirol composed an elegy of more than 200 verses. The death of Hai Gaon also called forth a similar poem. When barely twenty Gabirol wrote “Ana,” a versified Hebrew grammar, alphabetical and acrostic, consisting of 400 verses divided into ten parts. Of this grammar, ninety-five lines have been preserved by Solomon Par’on. In these Gabirol reproaches his townsmen with their neglect of the Hebrew language.
Gabirol’s residence in Saragossa was embittered by strife. He thought of leaving Spain, but remained and wandered about. He gained another friend and patron in the person of Samuel ibn Nagdela, whose praises he sang. Later an estrangement arose between them, and Nagdela became for a time the butt of Gabirol’s bitterest irony. All testimonies agree that Gabirol was comparatively young at the time of his death, which followed years of wandering. The year of his death was probably 1058 or 1059.
Poems by Solomon Ibn Gabriol
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