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


Notwithstanding the great respect entertained for Antar by King Cais and the noble warriors of Abs, his uncle Malik was yet far from being reconciled to his proposed union with Abla. On one occasion the ungrateful wretch planned a murderous attack upon Antar by a party of the tribe of Fazarah, while the hero was carousing with himself in his own tent. But Antar,

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having been warned of the plot by Abla's maid, defeated his uncle's inhospitable designs. Enraged at his failure, and perhaps also a little ashamed, Malik resolves again to emigrate; but this time Abla firmly refuses to accompany her father and brother, and these two worthies have no help but to leave Abla behind, in the care of Shedad, the father of Antar.

A few days after Malik and his son had quitted the tribe, Antar determined to go in quest of them, and induce them to return. Accompanied by Shiboob and two trusty comrades, he sets out accordingly; and learning that Malik and Amru are prisoners of Ramih, chief of the tribe of Jibhan, they proceed thither with all haste. When they reached the tents of Ramih, Shiboob and Antar disguised themselves, and, each carrying a bundle of wood on his head, they approached the dwelling of the chief.

“It was almost dark when they entered the tents, through which they continued to pass, attentively observing everything, till they came to the tents of Ramih, where they saw Malik and his son, in extreme misery, tied up with the dogs. 'Behold your uncle,' said Shiboob; 'let your grief be now assuaged.' Antar threw his bundle of wood off his head, and Shiboob did the same; but they did not stop till Ramih, who was the chief of the Jibhanians, came out, attended by a troop of slaves, who laid out a sofa for him to sit on. He then began to talk to his shepherds, who were parading before him his horses and his cattle; and he inquired of them about the pastures and the grain.

“'O my lord,' said one of the slaves, 'I beheld a most extraordinary sight this day: for whilst I was in the Valley of Meadows, tending the flocks, I cane upon the high road, where, behold! was a knight hunting the fawns. He was mounted on a black steed, and in front of the knight was a man on foot, girded with an Arabian bow, and round his waist was a quiver full of arrows, and both were in pursuit of a fawn, endeavouring to catch it. I stopped to look at them, when, to! the man on foot outstripped the knight. He seized the fawn by the left horn, and

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the knight, catching it by its right horn and gazing in its face, thus in poetry exclaimed:

Depart, and, ever in the protection of God, may no evil e’er overtake thee! for thou resemblest my love in her eyes, and her beauty; so depart in security.

Although thy form resembles the damsel, no imagination can comprehend the virtues of her mind.

“As soon as the knight had finished his verses, my lord, he let the fawn go out of his hand, and it went off skipping over the barren waste, when soon two more knights joined them.'—'And what is there so wonderful in all this?' said Ramih. I suppose they are of the tribe of Cahtan, and that the evening has surprised them, and consequently they must repose in my land, and will quit it in the morning.'”

Malik, however, who had overheard this conversation, was convinced that the man on foot, spoken of by the slave, must be Shiboob, while the humane knight could only be Antar, on the way to rescue them; and he was right. Immediately there was great confusion in the tents;—the lion-hero struck off the chief's head with his sword Dhami, and having released Malik and his son, they all returned to the land of Abs.

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