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


The unhappy Prince, however, finds a friend in need in the old lady of Kendeh, who, with her family, had been rescued from the brigand Sudam, by Antar, on his way to Mecca. Misfortune had taught Shas a salutary lesson, and he now bitterly repented of his conduct towards the noble hero: he assured the old lady that if ever he gained his freedom he would henceforth befriend Antar, and further his union with Abla. Perceiving the advantages which Antar would derive from the friendship of Shas, the good old lady despatches her husband, As-hath, to Mecca, to acquaint the hero of Shas’ condition.

"With all haste he traversed the plains till he reached Mecca, where he inquired for Antar; and being directed to his residence, he introduced himself, and told what had happened to Shas, and how he had left him in despair.—'May God never deliver him from peril or death!' cried Shiboob; 'for my brother has no such enemy among the Absians as he.'—'Brother,' said Antar, bear malice against no man;' and he repeated these verses:

Do not bear malice, O Shiboob!—renounce it, for no good ever came of malice.

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Violence is infamous: its result is ever uncertain, and no one can act justly when actuated by hatred.

Let my heart support every evil, and let my patience endure till I have subdued all my foes.

"When Antar had finished, the old man was amazed at such clemency towards his enemies, strong and powerful as he was. That night they reposed; but early next morning Antar said to As-hath, 'Let us depart, O Sheikh, before my lord Shas be reduced to the last extremity and be killed.' The sheikh and Antar were soon mounted, and Shiboob started in front of them, making the wild beasts and antelopes fly before him."

But before Antar can come to his deliverance, Maisoor has determined to hang Prince Shas without further delay, and the old lady of Kendeh therefore enables him to escape, in the disguise of a slave, directing him to take the road to Mecca. Having rested during the night in a mountain-cave, the Prince resumes his flight at daybreak, and meets with a party of the tribe of Riyan, one of whom mistakes him for a slave who lately stole his horse. He tells them that he is Shas, the son of Zoheir; but unfortunately his captors are enemies of his tribe; and they are about to put him to death, when they discover a man running towards them with the speed of the wind, and close behind him two horsemen. These are Shiboob and the noble Antar and As-hath. The hero, with his sword Dhami, and Shiboob, with his arrows, soon make all the warriors to bite the dust, save one, who escapes on a swift camel.

Prince Shas expresses his contrition to Antar, and promises to make him ample amends for the past. Antar having presented to As-hath all the horses and plunder, the old sheikh takes his leave, and departs for his own country; while the hero and Prince Shas begin their journey to the land of Hejaz, with the trusty Shiboob for their guide. On the fifth day they reached the waters of the tribe of Akhram, where they rested for the night.

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[paragraph continues] Antar had a delightful dream of his beloved Abla, and in the morning, when he awoke, he thus recited:—

The dear image of Abla visited in sleep the victim of love, intoxicated with affliction.

I arose to complain of my sufferings from love, and the tears from my eyes bedewed the earth.

I kissed her teeth—I smelled the fragrance of musk and the purest ambergris.

I raised up her veil, and her countenance was brilliant, so that Night became unveiled.

She deigned to smile, and looked most lovely; and I saw in her eye the lustre of the frill moon.

She is environed with swords and calamitous spears, and about her dwelling prowls the lion of the land.

O Abla! love for thee lives in my bones, with my blood; as long as life animates my frame, there will it flow.

O Shas! I am persecuted with a deadly passion, and the flame of the fire blazes still fiercer.

O Shas! were not the influence of love overpowering every resolution, thou wouldst not thus have subdued Antar!

Next: The Hero Encounters Roudha, A Gallant Horseman, Going A-Wooing to Abla