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

p. 342 p. 343


p. 344

When the Arabians became the only learned people, and their empire extended over the greater part of the known world, they impressed their own genius on those nations with whom they were allied as friends, or reverenced as masters.—Isaac D’Israeli: Curiosities of Literature.

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BY Major W. F. Prideaux, F.R.G.S., &c.

["Ptolemy mentions the Homerites as a nation seated in the southern parts of Arabia Felix, and bounded on the east by the Adramitæ, or province of Hadramaut. His Arabiæ Emporium he likewise places in their country, as Pliny does his Massala. Some authors make them the same people with the Sabæans, whilst others consider them in a different light. For our part, we look upon Sabæi and Homeritæ to have been different names of the same nation, and are countenanced herein by the Oriental historians. For these inform us that the Sabæans were called Hamyarites from Hamyar the son of their great ancestor Saba; and that they ruled over almost the whole country of Yaman. Though the kingdom of the Hamyarites, or Homerites, was at length

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translated from the princes of Hamyar to the descendants of Cahlan his brother, yet they all retained the title of King of Hamyar. . . . They made a great figure amongst the ancient Arabs before the time of Mohammed."—Ancient Universal History, vol. xviii. p, 352.


Major W. F. Prideaux has employed some of the few leisure hours afforded by his official duties at Sehore, Central India, in rendering into English the excellent didactic Poem, the "Lay of the Himyarites," composed in the 12th century a.d., by Neshwân ibn Sa’îd. His work—printed, for private circulation, at the School Press of Sehore, in 1879, and the impression limited to 25 copies—presents the original text together with the prose translation; also Notes, giving the more important variants found in the texts previously published, and collated with the Miles and Rich MSS. in the British Museum; to which is added a series of genealogical tables, "designed to exhibit, at one comprehensive glance, the various degrees of relationship in which the chiefs and heroes who are commemorated in the Poem stood to one another."

The "Lay of the Himyarites" is chiefly valuable, as Major Prideaux remarks, for the light it throws upon the ancient history of that nation. The opening and closing verses, which are here reproduced, with the translator's kind permission, will perhaps enable the general reader to form a tolerably clear notion of the design and character of this fine Poem, written by a learned and pious descendant of the renowned princes of Himyar.—Ed.]

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