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

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BEATRICE [Su'ād] hath departed. Therefore was my heart that day distracted, raving after her, irredeemably enchained.

2. On the morrow of our separation, when she went forth, Beatrice was no other than a bleating antelope, with downcast glance, and eyes set off with collyrium.

3. When she smiles, she displays [a row of] teeth of glancing whiteness, as though it had been a damaskeened sword-blade, once tempered, and then dipped a second time in wine,

4. Dashed, on a cold day, with water from a meandering stream, clear, and flowing in a wide, pebbly channel, fanned by a north wind when the day is high;

5. From which the winds banish all sticks and straws, and on which the silvery bubbles raised by a morning rain appear in great numbers.

6. God bless her mother! for the darling she would have been, had she kept true to her promise, and if advice had been acceptable [to her]!

7. But she is a darling, in the very blood of whom are blended pain, anxiety, disappointment, and change!

8. She remains not constant to any state she may have assumed, even as the demon of the wilds varies in its costume!

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9. She does not hold to any promise she has spoken, save as sieves hold water!

10. [The proverbial expression,] "the promises of ’Urqūb" is [as it were] a parable concerning her; and his promises were naught but lies!

11. I wish and desire that they would become present in an eternity: but what ails them, then? I feel the whole duration of time an impatience!

12. Let not, then, that deceive thee which she has bestowed, or which she has promised. Verily, desires and dreams are a delusion!

13. Beatrice is to-day in a land where naught can enable one to reach her, save the noble, generous, free-going she-camels.

14. And certainly nothing could carry one to her, save a huge and dauntless she-camel, possessed, against fatigue, of speed and endurance;

15. Of those which drench the roots of their ears when they sweat; whose unknown energy blurs all the road-marks;

16. Who looks at the highlands with the eyes of an isolated white addax, when the rocky flats and sand-hills are [as it were] on fire;

17. Whose neck is thick where her collar sits; whose pastern is plump; in whose build there is a superiority over the daughters of the stallion-camel;

18. Large-headed, large-jawed, strongly formed; in whose side is capaciousness; whose neck is an obelisk;

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19. Whose hide is that of a sea-turtle, on which tikes, slim in the loins and meagre, can make no impression;—

20. A graceful creature; whose brother is her father out of a full-blooded dam, and whose paternal uncle is also her maternal uncle; who is long in the back, and agile;

21. Upon whom the tikes crawl; which are then dropped off by a chest and by flanks that are sleek;—

22. A very wild-ass; who, from plumpness, might be accused of too much flesh; whose elbow is twisted out from her chest-ribs;

23. Aquiline of nose; in whose ears, to an observer, there is manifest nobility; in whose cheeks is a smoothness;

24. As though what stands out in front of her two eyes and of the stabbing-place of her throat, as her muzzle and jaw-sides, were a millstone-pick;

25. Who whisks [a tail] the like of a palm-branch, set with tufts of hair, against a flat udder, which the teats have never made to shrink;

26. Who, as she plays, alights on agile, slender legs, the fall of which on the earth is a mere pat;

27. Dusky in their tendinous parts, which leave the pebbles scattered; and which no [leather] shoeing protects from the black [basaltic] stones of the hills,

28. On which, by day, the chameleon remains on the outlook, as though his back, exposed to the sun, were turned to ashes in the fire,

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29. When the leader of a party has said to them—the piebald locusts having already begun to kick the pebbles—"Make your siesta;"

30. The alternating play of whose fore-legs [they having already sweated, and the mirages having already shone on the rocks]

31. Is [as it were] the alternating movement of the hands of a bereaved, grizzly, howling woman, standing up, and answered by [other] bereaved ones suffering from unsucked milk;

32. Lamenting, her arms drooping, deprived of reason when the bringers of bad news announced the [menaced] death of her first-born;

33. Who tears her breast with her two hands, her corset being burst into tatters away from her chest-ribs;

34. By whose side walk the misinformers, their words being: "O thou son of Abū Sulmà, verily thou art already slain!"

35. And each faithful friend, from whom I had entertained hope [of protection from Muhammad's emissaries], said to me: "I will not deceive thee; I am busy with other things than thee."

36. Then I spoke out: "Make ye way for me;—may your fathers perish! For all that the Most Merciful [God] hath forewilled will be accomplished:

37. "Every son of a female, long though his safety may be, is one day borne upon a ridged implement [a bier with a ridged lid]."

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38. I have been informed that the Apostle of God hath threatened me; but pardon is hoped for from the Apostle of God.

39. "Respite!—May He guide thee [O Apostle!) aright, who hath given thee the free gift of the Qur’ān, in which are exhortations and detail!—

40. "Punish me not, then, at the words of calumniators: for I have not offended, though stories have multiplied concerning me."

41. Verily, I occupy a position, such that, were the elephant [of Abraha] to occupy it, and were to see and hear what I hear [and see],

42. Out of distraction would his shoulders tremble, unless generosity were shown by the Apostle of God.

43. I ceased not to traverse the wilderness, penetrating the folds of darkness, the skirts of night having dropped over all,

44. Until I have placed my right hand, which I will not remove, in the palm of him who had a claim to vengeance,—whose word is the word.

45. A mere plaything unto me was the most terrible object, when I spoke to him, and it was said [unto me]: "Thou art accused and responsible!"

46. By a lion, whose den is in a level spot of the land, in the marshy hollow of ‘Aththar, surrounded by jungle upon jungle;

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47. Who goes forth in the morning and provides with food two cubs, that feed on the flesh of men soiled in the dust and torn into fragments;

48. Who, when he attacks his equal, is not permitted to leave that equal otherwise than mortified;

49. From whom the wild asses of the desert take flight, and in whose valley bands of men cannot march;

50. In whose valley there never lacks a man of courage, whose weapons are soiled with blood, his garments in shreds, and [himself] eaten!

51. Verily the Apostle of God is a Light from which illumination is sought: a drawn Indian blade—one of the Swords of God;

52. Among a small band of the Quraysh, whose spokesman said, in the Vale of Makka, when they had embraced Islām: "Depart ye!"

53. And they did depart. But there departed not [among them] the poltroons, the dastards in time of the encounter, the puny, and the unarmed.

54. They walk with the gait of light-coloured camels;—a blow protects them; while the dwarfish tawny men [of Madīna] run away:

55. Aquiline-nosed heroes; whose clothing, in combat, is of shirts of the tissue of David—

56. Bright and ample, interlaced with links like the tendrils of the Qaf‘a plant, firmly wove together;

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57. Who are not boisterously joyful if their lances wound a foe; and who piteously bewail not when wounded;

58. Whom the spear-thrusts hit not, save on the front of their throats: for whom there is no shrinking back from the [battle-] pools of death!

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