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


"Fortune builds up, and throws down!"—Antar's cup of happiness, filled to overflowing, was in an instant dashed from his lips, by the mysterious disappearance of his beloved Abla, for whose sake he had braved the perils of the deserts and the wastes, and fought with savage lions, and with warriors all but invincible. This was a calamity for which the heroic son of Shedad was totally unprepared; it fell upon him with a force that threatened to deprive him of his reason. In vain the kindhearted King Zoheir tried to soothe him with the assurance that

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he would soon clear up the mystery. The grief-stricken lover bitterly accused himself of having, in his anxiety to meet the King, carelessly left his heart's idol in charge of slaves who knew not her worth. The King sent forth parties to scour the country in every direction, but they all returned without having obtained tidings of the beautiful daughter of Malik. As to Antar himself, the calamity had quite unmanned him: his "native hue of resolution was sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;" and the slayer of heroes was for the time being unfit for "enterprises of great pith and moment." He despatched his brother Shiboob, however, in quest of his lost bride, and awaited his return with anxious expectation, that banished sleep from his eyelids. The heart of the hero was completely subdued; and thus, with many a sob and sigh, he expressed his sorrow:

My tears stand in drops on my eyelids, and short is the sleep of my eyes.

For love there is no rest—no comfort when the railers advise.

We met, but our meeting quenched not the flame;—no, it did not cool the boiling heat!

How long shall I mourn for the mate that grieves me?—tears and lamentations avail not.

I have implored a peaceable life from Fortune, but her favours to me are like the boons of a miser.

I am dying; and the most extraordinary forbearance aids me not in my calamities.

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