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


THE purpose of God is a serious matter, and not a subject for jesting; employ thyself; therefore, my comrade, in religious works.

2. How is stability possible with diversities of temperaments, and the everlasting recurrence of night and morning!

3. Time is the best of counsellors to admonish a young man; and its ad vice surpasses that of the most friendly monitors.

4. Direct thine eyes to what is certain; and inquire not, oh thou drunken one, from him who is recovering from intoxication.

5. The world runs away with us towards peril, like as the boat of the seaman hastens to it;

6. It runs away with us into a sea of waters, in which there is neither shore nor shallows.

7. The occupations of mankind divert them from the worship of their Lord; the seductions of their world and its contentions,

8. And the love of the world which enters ever with the souls into bodies.

9. All mankind are drinkers of the cup of Death; by natural means or by bloodshed.

10. Do not despair at evil accidents, and be not too joyful over happy events.

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11. Where is Hûd, the man who feared God, and his testamentary injunctions? or Kahtân, of the seed of the Prophet and of holiness?

12. Where is Ya’rub, who was the first to speak Arabic, and who introduced articulate language among man?

13. Where is Yashjub, whom his fate betrayed; and for whom sorrow was ordained by the decree of destiny?

14. And Sabà, the son of Yashjub, who in foray was the first to lead into captivity the women who wore girdles?

15. Or Himyar and his brother Kahlân, who perished through the accidents of all-destroying Time?

16. And the Kings of Himyar?—a thousand kings have betaken themselves to the dust, to rest in graves beneath slabs of stones.

17. Their monuments in the land give us information of them: and the books in their stories record the truth.

18. Their generations are made manifest in them, and their renown is fragrant as the perfume of ambergris.

19. They reigned over the East and the West; and obtained possession of all the country between Ankarah and Nejd-el-jâh.

20. Thamūd and the latter ’Ad reigned together; from them proceeded noble princes in whom was no covetousness.

21. Where is El-Humaisa’, and Aïman after him, and Zuhair, a king brilliant in splendour?

22. In course of time Thamûd came to destruction through a she-camel, and met with great grief on her account.

23. And ’Arîb and Katan and Haidân together?—They were smitten as though they were date-stones in the crusher.

[Of the next 105 verses, in which the Poet continues his recital, begun as above, of the names of famous princes and heroes of Himyar, the five following, referring to the visit of the celebrated "Queen of Sheba" to King Solomon, are selected as being of general interest.]

45. Where is Bilkîs, the mighty-throned one, or her palace, lofty above all palaces?

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46. She visited Solomon the prophet in Tadmor, coming from Mârib on an errand of faith, without thoughts of marriage,

47. With thousands upon thousands of the armed men of her people; she did not approach him with jaded camels.

48. She came to acknowledge Islâm, at the season when his writing came, with which he invited her with a loud-voiced Hoopoe.

49. She bowed in worship to her mighty Creator, and humbly became a Muslim; and formerly her adoration was to the Sun.

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