Arabian Poetry, by W. A. Clouston, , at sacred-texts.com
Prince Malik, while hunting, like his brother Harith, fell in love with a beauteous damsel of the tribe of Ghorab, and straightway asked her in marriage of her father, an old sheikh, who
consented, after some little demur on the ground of his own poverty, and they shook hands for the nuptials.
“On the next day Prince Malik sent to the sheikh he and she-camels, and variegated robes, and cattle, and precious jewels, and howdahs, brilliant with magnificent velvet, and servants and slaves, and with them horses and sheep, ordering them to be expeditious, on account of the passion that was in his heart; and he appointed a certain hour on the seventh day. When all these presents reached the tribe of Ghorab, the old and the young rejoiced; they passed those days in the greatest delight, and slaughtered the sheep and the camels, and filled the goblets with wine; and they were perfectly happy, to the exclusion of every sorrow.
“Soon after, Prince Malik clad himself in the robes of noble-born kings, and his beauty was more dazzling than the new moon. On this expedition Antar accompanied him, fearful lest some enemy should waylay him; and he took ten horsemen and five of his brothers. They wandered through the Arab dwellings till they reached the tribe of Ghorab, and Prince Malik dismounted at the marriage canopy, his brothers also alighting round the tent. The feast immediately commenced; the damsels waved the cymbals, and the horsemen flourished their swords; exclamations of joy arose, and the cups went round; and thus they continued till the laughing day was spent, when the nymph was married to Malik.”
But who could guess that "upon night so sweet an awful morn would rise?"—that the nuptial night of the good Prince Malik should be his last!—"By morning their joys were converted into sorrows, and shots were precipitated at them from arrows for which there is no surgeon;—for Fortune never gives, but it pillages; is never stationary, but it revolves; is never merry, but it sorrows; never bestows, but it takes back; never joys, but it grieves; never sweetens, but it embitters."
Early next morning, Hadifah, with a party of his kinsmen, attacked the marriage-guests. Antar was the first to start up on the alarm being given by the slaves; springing upon
his horse Abjer, he hastened to meet the enemy, and soon the whole tribe of Ghorab were in motion. Hadifah advanced towards the nuptial tent. Prince Malik, half asleep, and his garments scented with musk and saffron, rushed out, and mounting his horse, cried, "I am Malik, the son of Zoheir!" But his horse stumbled and threw him. As he was attempting to rise, Hadifah dealt him a deadly blow on the head with his sword; then, fearing the vengeance of Antar, he rejoined his companions, and they all hastened away. When Antar returned from the conflict he found his friend in the agonies of death, lying bathed in blood beside his horse. The dying Prince opened his eyes and attempted to speak to Antar, but could not; and with a sigh his gentle spirit departed. "Antar wrapped him up in his clothes, and tying him on the back of his horse, took him away, and sought the land of Abs." As he journeyed sadly homeward his grief found expression in these verses:
Alas! O raven, hastening in thy flight, send me thy wings, for I have lost my support!
Is it true that I have seen the day of Malik's death and murder, or has it befallen me in a dream?
The light of day is darkened in grief for the youth, the hero of Abs and of Ghiftan!
O woe is me! how fell he from his horse, and my sword and my spear were not near him?
The fated arrow of the all-bounteous Archer cast him down!—O that, when it cast him down, it had cast me down too!
O that my soul had bade farewell, and that his hands had not beckoned to me a double adieu!
Alas! his kindnesses, were I to comment on them, my tongue would fail ere I could repeat them!
I swear I will not sleep from taking vengeance: I will not repose, but on the back of my stallion.
Never shall my sword cease to cleave those Fazareans, till the desert be converted into a sea of crimson blood!
The shade of Prince Malik appeared to Antar one night in a dream;—beckoning with his fingers, he said: "O Aboolfawaris! dost thou sleep, and I unrevenged? Hast thou forgotten our former friendship? Before thee many have been faithful to their friends: be thou faithful also to him who was slain but yesterday;" and then the apparition vanished. In the darkness of the night, then and there, the hero mounted Abjer, and taking his brother Shiboob in front of him, he sought the land of Fazarah. There he slew Awef, the brother of Hadifah, as a first sacrifice to the manes of his murdered friend.