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


Now it happened that Antar, pursuing his journey homeward, reached the Zatool Menahil shortly after the five slaves in charge of Abla's litter had pitched the tents there; and he was not a little surprised to hear the voice of a woman within the litter, calling upon his own name in her distress, saying, "Woe to these dastard slaves! O Antar! where are thine eyes, that they might behold me?" and thus she continued her lament:

Where are thine eyes, O Knight of men and genii?

O that thou couldst see me in the infamy of despair, with wretches who respect no protection: no, no—and have no mercy!

O that I had never lived in this age of traitors, who only see in thee my misery and dishonour!

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Why has God prolonged my existence, now the lion is gone, who ever protected the country and the women?

May God ever bedew his grave with plenteous showers that fail not!

For, in truth, he was a knight and a hero that could vanquish with his fingers the beasts of the desert, and destroy the warriors in the day of battle, whenever he appeared in the plains of contention!

Antar was now assured that the distressed damsel could be none but his own beloved Abla; and furiously assailing the slaves with his spear, he slew three of them, while the two others fled, to carry the news to their chief.

Abla was naturally overcome by the sudden apparition of her brave lover, whom she had long regarded as dead, but at length her spirits revived, and she expressed her feelings in these verses:

All my misery—all my grief—is past, now that we have met after so long an absence!

Time now happily announces the existence of one who had been trampled beneath the dumb grave!

Now the eyes of the age are illumined, after a period of darkness; and I am returned to life after my death!

O Knight of men and genii!—O thou that excellest every warrior in glory! mine eyes gladden at beholding thy liberality, and the beauty of thy truth!

I will implore God ever to exalt thy glories, both morning and evening!

p. 241

She then told Antar how Shiboob had brought the doleful news of his death, and of all that had occurred to her during his long absence; and Antar, in his turn, briefly recounted his own adventures, and the perils he had been exposed to since he quitted the land of Shurebah to procure the Asafeer camels for her dowry.

Thus the lovers were conversing when the Nocturnal Evil was seen rapidly approaching, having heard, from the two slaves that escaped Antar's spear-thrusts, of the irresistible champion who had come to the rescue of their fair charge. Antar, mounted on Abjer, impetuously assailed the brigand with his spear, and, crying "O by Abs! O by Adnan!—I am the lover of Abla!

forced it through his breast, so that he fell lifeless to the earth. The hero then hastened to disperse the followers of the Nocturnal Evil and release the prisoners; and while expressing his gratification at meeting his uncle Malik, he reminded him that all his late sufferings were but a just punishment for his past conduct.

Then were the tents pitched, and a grand feast prepared by Antar's slaves; and the hero entertained his friends with his adventures in Irak and the honours and princely gifts bestowed on him by king Nushirvan. After the feast was over, Antar rejoined Abla, who threw herself into his arms, and kissed him repeatedly; and when he told her of all the riches he had brought home with him, "Truly," she replied, "thy safety is more acceptable to me than all thou hast described: I have felt no pleasure but in thy presence." Antar smiled, and his bosom expanded with joy at the purity of her love.

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