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


Next day Antar and his companions meet with a numerous bridal party; the bride's howdah—richly ornamented with velvet, and on its top a crescent of gold—was preceded by damsels and slaves wearing bright-coloured robes, and behind came a troop of seventy horsemen. The Absians attack the escort, and take the bride prisoner. But while Ghegadh and the others are disputing with Antar about his share of the plunder, the father of the damsel, Yezid the son of Handhala, surnamed the Blood-drinker, arrives, with 300 warriors. "In a moment swords clashed; every heart was roused: heads flew off like balls, and hands like leaves of trees. The Teyans rushed upon the race of Abs; the Blood-drinker assailed them in his courage, and released his daughter. The Absians quitted their plunder, for their souls could not stand fire, and they fled over the wilds." Antar, to punish his sordid companions, had thus far remained an inactive spectator of the conflict, but seeing the Absians give way, he rushed down on the Teyans, and slew with his own hand eighty of their bravest warriors; and the rest, with the renowned Blood-drinker and his daughter, spread themselves

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over the plain and escaped. The Absians had hardly returned from pursuing the Teyans, when Nakid, the husband of the bride, came up, with a large body of horsemen, and a fierce battle immediately ensued. The tribe of Abs were overpowered, and were about to retreat, when Antar turned the fortune of the day, by encountering and slaying Nakid.

Meanwhile King Zoheir had sent a slave in search of Antar, who returned with the news that he was engaged with the tribe of Maan in deadly conflict. The King at once despatched his son Prince Malik with a party of warriors to Antar's assistance, but when they reached him, the enemy was already vanquished. Antar and Prince Malik then returned to their own land, and as they drew near the tents of their tribe Antar exclaimed:

When the breezes blow from Mount Saadi, their freshness calms the fire of my love and transports. Let my tribe remember I have preserved their faith; but they feel not my worth, and preserve not their engagements with me.

Were there not a maid settled in the tents, why should I prefer their society to absence?

Slimly made is she, and the magic influence of her eye preserves the bones of a corpse from entering the tomb.

The sun, as it sets, turns towards her, and says: Darkness obscures the land—do thou rise in my absence; and the brilliant moon calls out to her: Come forth!—for thy face is like me when I am at the full, and in all my glory!

The tamarisk trees complain of her in the morn and the eve, and say: Away, thou waning beauty, thou form of the laurel!

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She turns away abashed, and throws aside her veil, and the roses are scattered from her soft fresh cheeks.

She draws her sword from the glances of her eyelashes, sharp and penetrating as the blade of her forefathers, and with it her eyes commit murder, though it be sheathed:

Is it not surprising that a sheathed sword should be so sharp against its victims?

Graceful is every limb; slender her waist; love-beaming are her glances; waving is her form.

The damsel passes the night with musk under her veil, and its fragrance is increased by the still fresher essence of her breath.

The lustre of Day sparkles from her forehead, and by the dark shades of her curling ringlets Night itself is driven away.

When she smiles, between her teeth is a moisture, composed of wine, of rain, and of honey.

Her throat complains of the darkness of her necklace;—alas! alas! the effects of that throat and that necklace!

Will fortune ever, O daughter of Malik! ever bless me with thy embrace, that would cure my heart of the sorrows of love?

If my eye could see her baggage-camels, and her family, I would rub my cheeks on the hoofs of her camels. I will kiss the earth where thou art; mayhap the fire of my love and ecstacy may be quenched.

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Shall thou and I ever meet as formerly on Mount Saadi? or will the messenger come from thee to announce thy meeting? or will he relate that thou art in the land of Nejd?

Shall we meet in the land of Shurebah and Hima, and shall we live in joy and happiness?

I am the well-known Antar, the chief of his tribe, and I shall die; but when I am gone, history shall tell of me.

King Zoheir and the chiefs of the tribe came out to meet Antar, and congratulate him on his return. The hero, after the King had greeted him kindly, ran to his father Shedad, and asked his forgiveness; and the whole tribe were astonished at his prowess.

Next: Plots Against The Hero