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


Antar then learns that his father Shedad and his uncles are gone in pursuit of a knight, called Kais, who had taken some cattle from their tribe, and immediately mounts his horse Abjer and sets off to their assistance. He finds his father and uncles tied ignominiously across their horses, prisoners of Kais, at which he roared, "Ye dastards!—come forth!" and Kais no sooner heard the challenge than he pricked on his horse till he came up to Antar, and thus addressed him:

I am renowned in every nation for the thrust of the spear and the blow of the sword.

I am the destroyer of horsemen with the lance, when the spears are interwoven under the dust.

How many contests have I waged on the day of battle, whose terrors would turn gray the heads of infants!

Long ago have I drunk the blood of horsemen, with which they fed me before I was weaned. This day will I prove my words when the blood streams from my sword.

This foul wretch will I slay with the edge of my sword, that cleaves through the flesh before the bones.

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His dwellings shall this eve be found waste and desolate, and I will not swerve from my word: his body shall lie on the deserts, cut down, and his face thou mayst see grovelling in the dust.

To these insolent verses Antar replied, saying, "Silence!—may thy mother bewail thee":—

Verily, thy spirit has urged thee to abuse me, and thou hast spoken the words of a vile dastard:

Thou art ignorant of my exploits in every battle, from the land of Irak to the sacred shrine:

Thou shalt have no time to reply—no justice but the sword; for ignorance among mankind conducts them to their death.

This is the scene of conflict, and in it doubtless will be proved the skill of the coward and the base-born.

Let him repent who has only shown his vanity; and let him prefer flight to resistance.

I am Antar; and my name is far spread for the thrust of my spear and the blow of my sword.

Having thus exclaimed, Antar "drew forth his sword and struck Kais between the eyes, and split his helmet and wadding, and his sword worked down to his thighs, down even to the back of his horse: and he cried out—'Thou wretch! I will not be controlled! I am still the lover of Abla!'" He then rushed among the tribe of Dibgan, who fled in dismay, leaving all their plunder behind.

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