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

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IS it from a recollection of neighbours at Dhū-Salam that thou hast mixed with blood the tears flowing from an eyeball?

2. “Or, has the wind blown from the direction of Kādzima, and has the lightning gleamed in the darkness from Itzam?

3. “What ails thy two eyes? If thou sayest, 'Leave off,' they fill. And what ails thy heart? If thou sayest, 'Be tranquil,' it is perplexed.

4. “Does the deeply-entangled lover suppose that affection can be concealed, when it is being partly wept for, and partly suffered for?

5. “Were it not for fondness, thou hadst not shed tears over projecting ruins, neither hadst thou remained sleepless with the memory of the moringa-tree and the long hill.

6. “And how wilt thou deny love, when the truth-speaking witnesses, tears and wasting, have testified to it against thee,

7. “And ardour hath fixed upon thy cheeks the two lines of grief and woe, like unto the corn-marigold and the ‘anam?“

8. “Yea! The phantom of her I love passed before me, and made me sleepless. For love doth dash delights with pain.

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9. “O my chider for an excusable affection! [receive] an excuse from me to thee: and if thou wert just, thou wouldst not have reproached me.

10. “My condition hath become manifest unto thee; my secret is not concealed from the traducers; nor is my disease cut off.

11. “Thou hast given unto me sincere advice; but I listen not thereto. Verily a lover is in a state of surdity to all blamers!”

12. In truth, I have suspected my sincere gray hairs of being among my blamers; but my gray hairs are very far from blamings in giving advice.

13. For, indeed, the dominating spirit that commands me to do evil has not accepted admonition, through its ignorance, from the warning voice of gray hairs and decrepitude;

14. Neither has it made ready, out of good actions, a feast for the guest that has settled tenaciously on my head unabashed.

15. Had I known that I should not treat it with respect, I would have concealed with woad a secret that became revealed to me.

16. Who is for me in checking perversity in its erratic movements, as the perversity of horses is checked with bits?

17. Propose not, therefore, to crush its inclination in its acts of rebellion; for food invigorates desire in the insatiate.

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18. The Flesh is like a child: if thou leavest him alone, he grows up with a love for suckling; and if thou weanest him, he is weaned.

19. Turn, then, away its desire; and take heed lest thou make it thy master: for whomsoever desire masters, it kills, or binds fast.

20. And watch thou over it, while it grazes in the [field of] actions. Then, if it find the pasturage sweet to its taste, leave it not to pasture.

21. How often hath it made a lethal thing appear pleasant of taste unto a man, while he knew not that poison was in the gravy!

22. And beware of artifices devised by hunger and satiety. For many an emptiness of stomach is more detrimental than indigestion.

23. And dash out the tears from thine eye that has filled from [a desire for] forbidden things; and strictly observe the diet of penitence.

24. And withstand thou the Flesh and the Devil, and rebel against them. Even when they offer thee sincere advice, doubt it.

25. And be not thou obedient to them, either as adversary or arbiter; for thou art aware of the devices of the adversary and of the arbiter.

26. I ask forgiveness of God for my spoken words unaccompanied by deeds; for therewith have I accused a spouse of barren wives of having posterity.

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27. I have commanded thee [to do] good; but I have not [myself] conformed thereto. I have not been upright;—what, then, is my word to thee: Be upright?

28. I have not provisioned myself, before death, with a [store of] supererogatory good works; I have not worshipped, save as is incumbent; nor have I fasted [otherwise].

29. I have swerved from the practice of him who made the darkness [of night] alive [with his devotions], until his two feet complained of injury from tumefaction;

30. And bound up his entrails from hunger, and girded beneath stones a tender-skinned hypochondriac region;

31. Whom the towering mountains sought to entice from his self-possession by talking about gold; but to which he exhibited a surprising loftiness;

32. Whose necessity confirmed his disinclination towards them; for, verily, necessity doth not invade continences.

33. Then, how could his necessity invite to [the things of ] the world, him, without whom the world would not have come forth from naught?—

34. Muhammad, the Prince of the two universes [material and spiritual], of the two ponderable classes [men and demons], and of the two sections [of mankind], of the Arabians and of the Non-Arabians;

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35. Our Annunciator, who commands and who prohibits; than whom no one is more righteous in the word "No!" or in [the word] "Yea!"

36. Who is also the "Beloved One [of God];" whose intercession is hoped for in every terror, of the terrors that beset;

37. Who called [men and demons] to [obedience to] God; so that they who lay hold on him have hold of a cable that will not break;

38. Who surpassed [all] the prophets in manly form and in moral qualities; whom they do not approach in knowledge or in generosity;

39. All of them supplicate the "Apostle of God" for a handful of [his] sea [of knowledge], or for a sip of [his] steady rain [of exposition];

40. Compared with whom, they, in their degree, are cognisant of a [mere] dot of the [divine] knowledge, or a [bare] suspicion of [God's] wisdoms;

41. Whose outward form and inner significance the Creator of the soul perfected, and whom He then selected [as His] "Beloved One;"

42. Who is unassociated with any partner in his beauties; in whom the essence of loveliness is undivided.

43. Put aside that which the Nazarenes have laid claim to for their prophet; pronounce what thou wilt in his praise, and decide;

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44. Attribute to his personality what thou wilt of nobility; and ascribe to his worth what thou wilt of vastness;

45. For verily the superiority of the Apostle of God hath no limit, that a speaker can clearly enunciate with his mouth concerning it.

46. If his miracles had equalled his worth, his [very] name, when called upon, would have brought back to life mouldering bones fallen to pieces.

47. But, out of anxious solicitude towards us, he hath not tried us with anything at which men's reasons break down; we therefore doubt not, nor vainly surmise.

48. The comprehension of his spiritual mystery outwearies the human race; thou wilt, therefore, not see, far or near, any not out of breath [thereat];—

49. Even as the sun at a distance appears small to our eyes, but fatigues the sight with over-closeness.

50. And how should a sleeping people comprehend his reality in this lower world? They console themselves with dreams in lieu thereof.

51. The utmost scope of [their] knowledge concerning him [is], that he was a man, and that he is the best of God's creatures—of the whole of them.

52. And all the signs that the noble apostles wrought [in former days] pertained unto them merely through his glory.

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53. For verily he is the sun of superiority, of which they are the stars. They exhibit their lights to the people in the darknesses [but the sun is visible by day].

54. How noble was the manly form of the Prophet; whom moral qualities adorned; whom beauty enveloped; and whom beauty of features distinguished!

55. Like the flowers in softness, and the full moon in splendour, and the sea in liberality, and time in endeavours!

56. Through his majesty, when thou meetest him, in an army, or in a body of attendants, it is as though he were a solitary individual!—

57. As though the pearl enclosed in the shell were [composed] of the two ores—speech from him, and smiling!

58. There is no perfume to equal the earth that has enclosed his bones;—blessed is he that sniffs therefrom, and he who kisses [it]!

59. His birth made manifest the sweet-smelling goodness of his substance. How fragrant was the commencement thereof, and the conclusion!

60. [It was] a day in which the Persians sagaciously opined that they were warned of the happening of evil and of vengeance;

61. And the pavilion of the Chosroes became, being fissured, like unto the courtiers of the Chosroes, irremediably disarrayed;

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62. And the [Sacred] Fire, through sorrowfulness thereat, became extinct in its respirations [of flame], and the river [of the Tigris] dry at fount, through choking;

63. And it afflicted [the town of ] Sāwa that its lake should sink into the earth, and that the corner thereto for water should be angrily repelled when he thirsted;—

64. As though in the Fire [there was], through sadness, the wetness that is in water; and in the water, the [heart-] burning that is in fire;—

65. Then the genii make their voices heard; and the meteors are flashing, and the truth becomes manifest in sense and in words;

66. [But men] were blind and deaf; so the proclamation of the good news was not heard; nor were the flaming admonitions heeded;

67. Although their soothsayers had informed the peoples that their crooked religions would not stand;

68. And though they had seen in the horizon blazing stars fallen, in like manner with what [took place] on earth with idols;

69. Until it happened, by means of revelation, that one discomfited individual of the demons followed the footmarks of [another] discomfited one;

70. As though they were, in [their] flight, the cowards of Abraha, or the army lapidated with pebbles from his [Muhammad's] two hands,

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71. In a throw, after a recitation of doxology within their two palms; even as the casting forth of the doxologist [Jonah] from the entrails of the swallowing fish;

72. At his [Muhammad's] call the trees came prostrating themselves, walking towards him on legs [trunks] without feet;

73. As though they were tracing lines for what their branches wrote, of a beautiful handwriting, in the main track of the path:

74. Like the cloud, which followed wherever he went, shielding him from the oven-like heat of noontide waxed sultry.

75. I swear by the cloven moon,—verily, it hath a relation, through his heart, which makes an oath thereby sacred to fulfil,—

76. And by what the Cave enclosed of good and generous, while all the eyes of the misbelievers were blind thereto,

77. And "Honesty," in the Cave, and the "Vouching Friend" [Abū-Bekr], budged not, while they [their pursuers] were saying: "No soul is in the Cave:

78. They imagined that the Dove would not circle, and they supposed that the Spider would not weave, around the "Best of Mortals;"

79. The protection of God rendered [them] independent of twofold coats of mail, and of high towers.

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80. Time has not offered me an injury [against which] I have had recourse for protection unto him [Muhammad], but I received a protection from him that is not to be infringed;

81. And I have not craved from his hand the riches of this world, or the next, but that I received a bounty from the best of [bestowing hands] respectfully kissed [as their bounty is accepted] .

82. Deny thou not the revelation from his vision. Verily he had a heart that did not sleep when the two eyes slept;

83. For this [happened] in the time of the fulness of the prophetship; therefore the state of the dreamer is not denied regarding him.

84. God be sanctified! No revelation can be acquired by effort; and no prophet is suspected without his privity.

85. How many hath his [Muhammad's] hand cured by the touch who were diseased; and hath skilfully set free from the halter of insanity!

86. And his prayer hath made the year of drought to be alive—so that it hath been told of as a chief [year] among the times of rich vegetation—

87. By a cloud-bank that rained copiously, so that thou wouldst thence have imagined the pebbly torrent-channels were dikes cut from the ocean, or an inundation from a mountain-reservoir broken loose!

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88. Let me alone, and my description of some of his miracles, which were as manifest as is the conspicuousness of the hospitality-fire. by night on the mountain-top;—

89. For pearls increase in beauty when they are in regular strings, while they lose no value when unstrung;—

90. And what [signifies] the aspiringness of the yearnings of the panegyrist toward that which is in him [Muhammad] of noble qualities and habits?

91. [And that volume of] Miracles of the Truth, brought into new existence by the All-Merciful, though [itself] an attribute of Him who is qualified with eternity, and [itself also] eternal;

92. It is not in conjunction with any one time [alone]; but it reminds us of the Resurrection, and of [the people of] ’Ad, and of [the garden of] Iram;

93. It remains perpetual with us; therefore it hath surpassed every miracle of the prophets [of old], since they came forth and endured not;

94. [Its miracles, i.e., verses, are] self-evident, so that they remain not matters of doubt to the caviller, neither do they excite a desire for [another] arbiter;

95. It has never been contested, but that the most aggressive of its attackers has returned to it proposing peace;

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96. Its eloquence repels the pretensions of its disputer, with the repulsion of the jealous one [who repels] the hand of the criminal from the things held sacred [to virtue];

97. Its miracles [verses] have significations like the waves of the ocean at full tide, and above the pearls thereof in beauty and in values;

98. Its wonders are not to be told or counted, neither does it verge, through over-abundance, on tediousness;

99. The eye of its reader is made to sparkle; therefore have I said to him [the reader]: "Thou hast found the stay [cable] of God; keep fast hold [thereon];

100. "If thou recite it out of fear of the heat of the fire of hell's lowest pit, thou hast extinguished the heat of the pit with its refreshing recitation."

101. It is, as it were, the Tank, at which the faces of transgressors become whitened, who have approached it black as charcoal;

102. And as the [strait] Path and the Balance, in equity; for justice, by any other than it, is not established among the people.

103. Wonder thou not at envious ones who deny it through ignorance, whereas it is [as] the [very] eye [-sight] of the perspicacious and intelligent:—

104. The eye, through ophthalmia, has, ere now, denied the light of the sun; and the mouth, through disease, has denied the taste of water.

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105. O [Muhammad] thou Best of those whose court the guests seek, trudging on foot, or [seated] upon the loins of easy-paced she-camels;

106. And who art the greatest sign for one who takes admonition; and who art the greatest blessing to him who avails [thereof]!

107. Thou travelledst by night from one sacred site to [another] sacred site, as the full moon journeys in the deepest of darkness;

108. And thou continuedst to mount, until thou reachedst the stage of Two Bow-shots, not reached [by another], and not attempted;

109. And all the prophets and messengers gave thee the precedency—the precedency of the served one over the servants;

110. And thou traversedst with them the seven strata [of the heavens] in a procession, in which thou wast the standard-bearer;

111. Until thou leftedst not a further limit for any to go beyond thee in propinquity [to God's throne], nor a stair of ascent for any one mounting;

112. Thou debasedst every degree by comparison, when thou wast invited to go up higher, like the sole distinguished guest;

113. That thou mightest have an interview with One curtained in how special a manner from the eyes [of mankind] and [the communication of] a secret concealed in how profound a degree;

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114. Thou gainedst every subject of [legitimate] boasting, without a co-participator; and thou passedst through every stage [of progress] free from the throng;

115. And illustrious was the worth of the grades thou acquiredst; difficult is the comprehension of the favours thou receivedst!

116. Glad tidings unto us, the host of Islām! For verily we have, through [God's] grace, a corner pilaster undemolishable!

117. Inasmuch as God has named him [Muhammad] "the Most Noble of the Apostles," who called us to obedience unto Him [God], we are the noblest of peoples.

118. The tidings of his mission scared the hearts of the enemies, as a cry that puts to flight an unminded flock of sheep and goats;

119. Neither did he cease to meet them on every battle-field, until, through his lances, they put [men] in mind of flesh on a tray;

120. They preferred flight; and therein they had well-nigh envied the [torn] limbs rising [into the air] with the eagles and the vultures;

521. The nights went by, and they knew not the count thereof, when these were not nights of the months when warfare is unlawful.

122. As though the religion [of Islām] were a guest that had alighted in their court with all noble brood camels, eager to devour the flesh of his enemies,

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123. Who led a flood of an army [mounted] upon fleet horses, that threw up dashing waves of brave warriors,

124. [Composed] of all ready answerers to his call, confiding in God, and attacking with an exterminating weapon—extirpator of blasphemy;

125. Until, through them, the religious community of Islām, after its exile, became united to its blood-kindred;

126. For ever guaranteed, through them, with the best of fathers, and the best of husbands; so that it shall not become an orphan, nor a widow.

127. They were [immovable as] mountains. Ask, then, concerning them, of him who encountered with them: what was it he experienced from them in every place of encounter?

128. And ask Hunayn, and ask Badr, and ask ’Uhud: seasons of death more dire to them than the pest!

129. They sent forth the bright swords red, after these had reached every black hanging ear-curl of the hair of their enemies;

130. And they wrote with brown lances of Khatt, whose pens did not leave one body of a letter unpunctuated;

131. Whose weapons are keen; who have a mark that distinguishes them; for the rose is distinguished from the acacia by its mark.

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132. The winds of victory guide unto thee their odour; so that thou deemest each armour-clad warrior a flower in its calyx.

133. They are, on the backs of their steeds, as it were, trees on hills, by reason of the firmness of courage, not through stringency of girths.

134. The hearts of the enemies sank with dismay at their onset; so that thou couldst not distinguish whether they were a flock of lambs or an army of warriors.

135. For whoso hath his stay in the Apostle of God, if lions meet him in their thickets, they are struck mute and motionless.

136. Thou wilt never see one of his friends unsuccoured by him, nor one enemy unbroken!

137. He hath caused his people to camp in the protection of his religion, even as the lion lays him down with his whelps in the thickets!

138. How many disputants concerning him have the words of God confounded; and how many adversaries has the Demonstration overcome in argument!

139. Let science in the "Illiterate One," in a time of universal ignorance [of God], and education in the "Orphan," suffice thee as a miracle!

140. I have given him my service in a panegyric, by which I seek pardon for the sins of a lifetime passed in poetry and services,

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141. Which have placed on my neck that of which the results are to be feared; as though I were, through them, a victim from among cattle.

142. In both those occupations I have obeyed the seductions of youth; and I have earned nothing, save through sins and regret.

143. O what loss to a soul, in its traffic, that has not purchased religion with the world [as its price], and has not made a bid [for future happiness]!

144. And whoso selleth his future for the present, there becomes manifest for him a being cheated in the sale, and in the prepayment!

145. If I have committed a sin, my compact is not broken away from the Prophet, nor my cable sundered;

146. For verily I hold a safeguard from him through my being named Muhammad; and he is the most true of men to his bond.

147. If, in my resurrection, there be not one to take me by the hand out of goodness, then, otherwise, say thou [of me]: "Alas, the footslip!"

148. Be it not imagined of him that he will frustrate of his generosities the expectant one, or that the refugee will return from him other than treated with honour.

149. And ever since I have devoted my thoughts to his praiseworthy qualities, I have found him the best of sureties for my salvation.

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150. Wealth from him will never fail a hand pinched with poverty: verily the rain maketh the flowers to grow on the hills!

151. And I have not desired the glory of the world, which the hands of Zuhayr [the poet] grasped through what he sang in praise of Harim.

152. O thou most noble of the creation! I have not any one [beside thee] to whom to betake me, on the occurrence of the universal event [of death and resurrection].

153. And thy dignity, O Apostle of God! will not be narrowed through me when the All-Generous God shall manifest Himself in His name of an Avenger.

154. For the world and its fellow [future life] exist out of thy bounty; and out of thy science exists the science of the Tablet and of the Pen!

155. O Flesh! despair thou not by reason of a footslip that was great: verily deadly sins, in the divine forgiveness, are as venial offences.

156. Maybe that the grace of my Lord, when He shall share it out, will come, in the shares, in proportion to the transgressions.

157. O my Lord [God], let not my hope be reversed in Thy counsel; and judge Thou not my reckoning deficient!

158. And deal Thou graciously with Thy servant: verily he hath a fortitude, which, when terrors call for it, is put to flight.

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159. And grant Thou that showers of benedictions from Thee [may be] perpetual upon the Prophet, copious and continuous;

160. And upon the family and the companions; then upon the successors of these, the men of piety, and virtue, and forbearance, and generosity;

161. While the breath of the zephyr waves the branches of the moringa, and the camel-leader enlivens the camels with chants.

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