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Edib Bey and Mecmû’a-i Eş’âr

Gülay Durmaz, Şükrü Baştürk


The 19th century witnessed renewal movements in every field in the Ottoman state that was experiencing a disintegration process due to the changing mentality. The aim of the Ottoman state, weakened in political, military and economic terms, was to adapt to the changing world order. Classical Turkish poetry that reigned for six centuries, was headed for the last roundup. Classical Turkish poetry tried to resist the new. While the changes observed in other areas of society were more pronounced, the rate of change in literature was not the same. The fact that the change in poetry was often observed only in content was an indication of this fact. Edib Bey, who was born in Yozgat in 1858 as the son of Osman Nuri Bey, was a statesman and poet of the period. Born in the second half of the 19th century, Edib Bey held various civil offices after graduation. He served as Yozgat deputy and was forced to reside in Kayseri due to Yozgat rebellion and died there. His solitary work is titled “The Book of Poetry” (Mecmûâ-i Eş’âr). Edib Bey said that every piece in it held a memory from his life and he did not want it to be lost; thus, he wanted it to be published. The Book of Poetry is registered in National Library A-E verse no: 795. In the book, it was mentioned that it was printed in 1327 (1909) by Ebuzziya Printing House and the author was Abdülcebbarzâde Edib. The work was 47 pages long and included various poems. These included poems in terkib-i bend (long poems constructed with cantos), tevhid (poems on oneness of Allah), münacat (appeal), naat (on Prophet), tahmis (quintuplets), hasbihal (dialogue), şarkı (lyric), kıt’a (quatrain), müfred (single verse), tarih (historical), kitabe (inscription), gazel (ode), and kaside (eulogy) forms. The number of odes was 11. The number of eulogies was 4. Three of the eulogies were written for Reşid Âkif Pasha. Kaside-i İnkılâbiye (Euology to the Revolution) was the fourth eulogy. Cantos and collective odes and lyrics, common in the 19th century, could be observed in the Book of Poetry as well. The book begins with a terkib-i bend that included eleven couplets and five cantos. An ode that included 14 couplets authored by Edib Bey and Memduh Bey, an example of collective poetry, two lyrics and three historical quatrains reflected the formal trends of the period. One of the references (nazire) written about the works of Naci and Fennî was titled “Nâcî Merhûmun Lâl Olursun Söylesem Bir Fıkra Sîneden Matlalı Gazeline Nazîre.” One of the three historical poems written between 1899-1906 was about the repairs of a mosque in Skopje, the second about the birth of the son of a friend, and the third about the fountain by the late Kul Agha Osman Efendi. The only inscription in the book was about the tombstone of the late Major Osman Efendi. Edib Bey attempted to express his own situation and asked for help in the eulogies written to Reşid Âkif Pasha. Complaining that the rightful people could not get what they deserve, Edib Bey criticized the period where malicious people were appointed to higher offices and expressed his regret that he was not appointed to the office he desired. Edib Bey stated that he was aware of the fact that he constantly repeated his desires but he thought that he could make his voice heard in order to get what he deserved via the poems. Edib Bey, who expressed similar considerations not only in the eulogies he wrote to Âkif Pasha but also in other forms of verse, stated that it was unfair to consider the virtuous and refined people and ignorant ones the same, and he could never accept the fact that fate let the ignorant ones to achieve higher offices. Furthermore, it is possible to observe affectionate expressions in the work. Edib Bey, who also utilized examples of daily language in his poems, also used proverbs. The present article included the life and work of Edib Bey who lived in the second half of the 19th century. During the review of Edib Bey's life, both biographies and his own poems were utilized. The verse forms, language and style of his work were also addressed.