Arabian Poetry, by W. A. Clouston, , at sacred-texts.com
BESIDES Professor E. H. Palmer's elegant translation of Antara's Mo‘allaqah, included in a small volume entitled "The Song of the Reed, and Other Pieces," published by Messrs. Trübner and Co., of London, the only attempts that have been made to render passages of the "Seven Arabian Poems" into English verse are—the first sixteen verses of Lebīd by Carlyle, and a few of the more striking passages of the other Poems by the anonymous writer of an article on the Mo‘allaqāt in vol. v. of the Retrospective Review, 1822. Carlyle's "learned translation" of Lebīd's opening couplets, as Burton terms it half-scornfully in his "Pilgrimage to El-Medina and Meccah," forms the first of his "Specimens of Arabian Poetry," but was omitted in the reprint of his translations in the present volume, in order that it might be more appropriately placed, with the other versified passages of the Mo‘allaqāt, among the following Notes.
A new translation of the Mo‘allaqāt, done with the light of the Commentaries, will probably appear shortly, by Mr. C. J. Lyall, of the Indian Civil Service, who has already published, by way of specimens, in the Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, the Poems of Lebīd and Zuhayr, with Introductions and copious Notes. In these translations Mr Lyall has preserved the external form of the original verses, though he has not attempted to reproduce the Qasīda rhyme. When Mr Lyall's complete translation is published, it will doubtless supersede that of Sir William Jones; which, however, with all its imperfections, must continue to be respectfully regarded as being the first attempt to translate these remarkable compositions into any of the modern European languages.
The following Notes are designed simply for the general reader, to whom they may perhaps serve to render certain obscure passages and expressions in the English text somewhat more intelligible. It is perhaps hardly necessary to state that the words printed in italic letters in the text are explanatory
interpolations of the translator, and are not in the original. Those verses which are distinguished by asterisks are not given in the original texts which, printed in Roman characters, are appended to the translation as given in Sir W. Jones’ collected Works.