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Arabian Poetry, by W. A. Clouston, [1881], at


The Absians meet the Teyans, and are defeated; their bravest warriors retreat, and the women of Abs are taken captive. In their extremity the Absian chiefs recollect the prowess of Antar, whom their envy and malice have caused to be degraded from the rank of the foremost warrior of the age to the condition of a keeper of flocks and camels. A messenger is despatched to solicit

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his assistance. Antar puts on his armour, girds his sword Dhami to his side, and mounting Abjer, joins the chiefs of Abs. His father Shedad solemnly promises, if he will pursue the enemy and rescue the women and plunder, to recognise him as his son; and his uncle Malik swears that, if he will but rescue Abla, he shall have her for his wife. On these conditions Antar agreed to redeem the honour of the tribe, and thus he exclaimed:

Soon shall ye behold my deeds this day with the foe in the field of spear-thrusts and the battle-fire; and my furious courage amongst the tribes; so that in my sublimity, I will mount above the Pisces.

I plunge into the flames of war with the cleaving scimitar, and I extirpate them with the goring lance. I drive back the horses on their haunches, from the lofty seat of my thin-flanked Abjer, and with the blade of my sword Dhami, at whose edge flow the waves of death over the enemy.

This day will I exhibit my ardent soul with my Indian sword, and I will meet the chests of the horse with my thrusts.

I will establish the market of war in its field on the top of my steed, in the protection of my country. My sword is my father, and the spear in my hand is my father's brother; and I am the son of my day in the heights of the deserts!

The first object of his attack was the horseman who had captured Abla. Antar pierced him through the side with his spear, and he caught Abla in his arms, like a frightened bird, but unhurt. He then rushed upon the enemy with irresistible impetuosity—his sword Dhami played among them, causing the heads of warriors to fly through the air like balls, and scattering

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their limbs like the leaves of trees. The Absians are again collected together and attack the Teyans, who, seeing their leader Rebeeah fall, slain by Antar, fly in terror of the hero's sword; and the tribe of Abs, after driving them out of their country, return to their own tents, with Antar at their head, chanting his song of triumph:

I have abused fortune, but how can she humiliate such as I?—I, too, that have a spirit would cut down mountains!

I am the warrior of whom it is said, "He tended the he and she camels of his tribe!"

When I assaulted Kendeh and Tey, their hands brandishing the long spears, with armies, that when I thought of them, I imagined the whole earth filled with men;

And as their hardy steeds trampled our lands, whilst you might see them talking and exulting—‘twas then their steeds fled away horrified at me, and the redoubled thrusts that gored them as they sought the fight.

The noble hero feels no fatigue: him no challenger need call to the combat.

It was the slave alone that drove back the horsemen whilst the flame of battle was blazing!

Then speeded away their troops, in terror of my arm;—light they fled, burthened though they had been!

Crushing were the stamps and tramplings on their necks, and the horse-shoes dashed and pounded their skulls.

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How many warriors were laid low by my sword, whilst they tore, in very rage, their hands with their teeth!

I rescued the maidens and virgins, and not one did I leave but bereft of sense.

Mine is a spirit for every enterprise: high is my fame!—exalted is my glory!

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