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


Antar returned to his tribe, and lived secluded in his tent, sorrowing for the loss of his first and ever steadfast friend. One day Khemisa, Abla's handmaiden, came to him with a message from his darling, who desired him to watch over the safety of herself and her female companions while they passed some time at the lake during the evening. The hero was delighted with the duty, and readily promised Abla his protection against the wanderers of the night.

The girls set out for the lake at the hour appointed, and Amarah, disguised in women's clothes, followed them. When they reached the lake he pounced upon Abla like a voracious. vulture. But help was at hand. Antar, concealed behind the sand-hills, heard Abla's screams. He rushed forth like a furious lion, grasped Amarah, and almost heat the life out of him; then he let him go, followed by the taunts and jeers of the girls.

p. 292

"This circumstance with Abla soon spread abroad, and all the women, and men, and girls, and boys, and slaves, and slave-girls joined in the laugh against Amarah, singing these verses, whilst Amarah heard them:—the women and shepherdesses sang them at their spindles; for there was a girl among the Absians who could compose verses; she was very eloquent, so she repeated these verses on Amarah the cuckold, and they were recollected by all the women and girls:"

Amarah, leave alone the beautiful, full-hipped damsels;—let alone all disputes about the lovely girls!

For thou canst not plunge into the sea of deaths, and thou art no horseman in the day of battle.

Aspire no more to Abla: if thou dost but look at her, thou wilt see horrors from the lion of the forests!

As to the thin quivering spear, touch not its strength, nor the cleaving scimitar.

Abla is a fawn chased by a lion, with eyes that afflict with disorder the stoutest in health.

Let alone all contest about her, or the unflinching Antar will make thee drink of death.

Thou didst not cease thy obstinacy, till thy foul condition gave evidence against thee!

All the girls laughed at thee: thou vast the carrion of the plains and deserts; thou wast the common talk of the merry, and the laughing-stock for every passenger!

Thou camest to us in the robes of dyed silk, thou black greasy kettle!

As thou didst meet us, a lion met thee, whom all the lion-heroes acknowledge in the carnage:

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Then fear trembled in thy heart—intoxication quitted thee, and thou wast restored to thy senses. Nothing but contempt remained for thee, when thou didst retire like a dunghill.

Abla beheld thee laid low, stretched out; and all the beautiful high-hipped damsels with her.

We held our noses at thee, as we laughed at thee and quizzed thee.

The Antar of Knights, the lion of the cave, came—he, who in generosity is a sea of liberality:

And thou art the vilest of all those that ever crossed a horse—the noblest of those who are tenacious of their lives!

We are like the sweetest flowerets, scented like the violets and the camomile; and Abla amongst us is like the branch of the tamarisk: her beauty is the full moon, and the sun of the desert.

Thou wouldst possess her by violence and outrage—thou!—the vilest of all the dogs that bark!

Die in grief, otherwise live in contempt; for never, never will there be an end of our lampoons upon thee!

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