Al Mansur, the third Caliph of the house of Abbas, succeeded his brother Es-Saffah (â€œthe blood-shedderâ€ ). a.d. 754. He was a prince of great prudence, integrity, and discretion; but these good qualities were sullied by his extraordinary covetousness and occasional cruelty. He patronized poets and learned men, and was endowed with a remarkable memory. It is said that he could remember a poem after having only once heard it. He also had a slave who could commit to memory anything that he had heard twice, and a slave-girl who could do the same with what she had heard three times. One day there came to him a poet bringing a congratulatory ode, and Al Mansur said to him: â€œIf it appears that anybody knows it by heart, or that any one composed it â€" that is to say, that it was brought here by some other person before thee â€" we will give thee no recompense for it; but if no one knows it, we will give thee the weight in money of that upon which it is written.â€
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