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Arabs Crossing the Desert, by Jean-Leon Gerome [19th Cent.] (Public Domain Image)
Arabs Crossing the Desert, by Jean-Leon Gerome [19th Cent.] (Public Domain Image)

Arabian Poetry

by W.A. Clouston


Contents    Start Reading    Page Index    Text [Zipped]

Ibn Altalmith was expiring when his son approached his bed, and inquired whether there was anything he wished for. Upon which the old man in a faint voice exclaimed: 'I only wish that I could wish for anything!'--p. 435.

This is an anthology of 19th century Orientalist translations of Arabian poetry, many of which are very rare, as is this particular book. Most of the included works either predated Muhammed or were contemporary, so there are many fascinating bits of pre-Islamic lore. Included is the Moallakat, or the 'Hanged' Poems, a collection of seven pre-Islamic poets whose works were once displayed (i.e. 'hanged') in the Ka'ba. Another highlight is a synopsis of the 'Romance of Antar,' an oral saga of a brave prince of old Arabia, and many deeds of derring-do. The one downside here is all of the variant ways of transliterating Arabic words, which probably will take an specialist in Arabic literature to sort out.

Title Page
The Frontispiece


I.—The Ancient Arabs
II.—The Mu‘allaqāt, or, Seven Ancient Arabic Prize Poems
III.—Genuineness of the Early Arabic Poetry
IV.—Arabian Literature Under the Khalifate
Genealogy of the Seven Arabian Poets

The Moallakát

Title Page
The Poem of Amriolkais: The Argument
The Poem of Amriolkais
The Poem of Tarafa: The Argument
The Poem of Tarafa
The Poem of Zohair: The Argument
The Poem of Zohair
The Poem of Lebeid: The Argument
The Poem of Lebeid
The Poem of Antara: The Argument
The Poem of Antara
The Poem of Amru: The Argument
The Poem of Amru
The Poem of Hareth: The Argument
The Poem of Hareth

Shorter Pieces of Arabian Poetry

Title Page and Front Matter
On the Tomb of Mano, by Hassan Alasady
On the Tomb of Sayid, by Abd Almalec Alharithy
On The Death Of His Mistress, By Abu Saher Alhedily
On Avarice, by Hatem Tai
On The Battle of Sabla, by Jaafer Ben Alba
Verses Addressed to a Kindred Tribe at Variance with the One to Which the Poet Belonged, by Alfadhel Ibn Alabas
On His Friends, by Meskin Aldaramy
On Temper, by Nabegat Beni Jaid
The Song of Maisuna
Verses of Yezid To His Father, Mowiah, Who Reproached Him For Drunkenness
On Fatalism, by The Imam Shafay Mohammed Ben Idris
To The Khalif Haroun Alrashid, On His Undertaking A Pilgrimage to Mecca, by Ibrahim Ben Adhem
On The Inauguration of Haroun Alrashid, and the Appointment of Yahia, by Isaac Almousely
On The Ruin of the Barmecides
Epigram on Taher Ben Hosein, Who Was Ambidexter and One-Eyed
The Adieu, by Abu Mohammed
Verses Addressed To His Mistress, Who Had Found Fault With Him For Profusion, by Abu Teman Habib
To a Female Cupbearer, by Abd Alsalam Ben Ragban
Songs by Mashdud, Rakeek, and Rais
Mashdud on the Monks of Khabbet
Rakeek to his Female Companions
Dialogue by Rais
To a Lady Weeping, by Ebn Alrumi
On a Valetudinarian, by Ebn Alrumi
On a Miser, by Ebn Alrumi
To Cassim Obid Allah, On the Death of One of His Sons, by Ali Ben Ahmed Ben Mansour
To a Friend, On His Birthday
On a Cat, That Was Killed As She Was Attempting to Rob A Dove-House, by Ibn Alalaf Alnaharwany
Epigram On Ebn Naphta-Wah, by Mohammed Ben Zeid Almotakalam
Fire: A Riddle
To a Lady, On Seeing Her Blush, by the Khalif Radhi Billah
On the Vicissitudes of Life, by the Khalif Radhi Billah
To a Dove, by Serage Alwarak
On a Thunder-Storm, by Ibrahim Ben Khiret Abu Isaac
To His Favourite Mistress, by Saif Addaulet, Sultan of Aleppo
On the Crucifixion of Ebn Bakiah, by Abu Hassan Alanbary
On the Caprices of Fortune, By Shems Almaali Cabus, The Dethroned Sultan of Georgia
To Leila
Extempore Verses, by Ebn Alramacram
On the Death of a Son, By Ali Ben Mohammed Altahmany
On Moderation In Our Pleasures, by Abu Alcassim Ebn Tabataba
On the Vale of Bozaa, by Ahmed Ben Yousef Almenazy
To Adversity, by Abu Menbaa Carawash, Sultan of Mousel
On The Incompatibility of Pride and True Glory, by Abu Alola
On the Death of Nedham Almolk, by Shebal Addaulet
Verses by Waladata
Verses Addressed to His Daughters, During His Imprisonment, by Motammed Ben Abad, Sultan Of Seville
A Serenade to His Sleeping Mistress, by Ali Ben Abd Algany, of Cordova
The Inconsistent
On the Capture of Jerusalem, in the First Crusade, by Almodhafer Alabiwerdy
To A Lady, Who Accused Her Lover of Flattery
Epigram on Abu Alchair Selamu, an Egyptian Physician, by George, A Physician of Antioch
To A Little Man With A Very Large Beard, by Isaac Ben Khalif
Lamiat Alajem, by Mauid Eddin Alhassan Abu Ismael Altograi
To Youth, by Ebn Alrabia, in His Old Age
On Love, by Abu Ali, The Mathematician
A Remonstrance with a Drunkard, by Yahia Ben Salamet
Verses Addressed by The Khalif Almoktafi Liamrillah to a Lady, Who Pretended a Passion For Him In His Old Age
On Procrastination, by Hebat Allah Ibn Altalmith
On the Early Death of Abu Alhassan Ali, by Camal Eddin Ben Alnabit
The Interview, A Song in the Rhythm of the Original, With the Music Annexed

The Romance of Antar

Title Page
Editor's Preface
From the Translator's Preface
The Hero's Birth and Early Years
The Dawn of Love
Early Warlike Exploits
Antar And Abla's Mother
Antar Offends His Father
How Antar Obtained His Horse Abjer
A Bridal Party Attacked
Plots Against The Hero
Antar Rescues His Father and Uncles
A Gallant Knight of Mazin
How Antar Found the Sword Dhami
Rescue of the Tribe of Mazin
Another Suitor For Abla
Battle of the Tribes of Abs and Tey—Antar to the Rescue!
Antar Proclaimed Champion of Abs
Antar's Expedition For the Asafeer Camels
The Satrap Khosrewan Sent to Chastise Monzar
Combat Between Antar and Khosrewan
Antar at the Court of Chosroe
Abla's Trials During Antar's Absence
Abla and Her Family Rescued by Antar
The Hero's Reception by His Tribe
Antar's Grief For the Loss of Abla
Shiboob Brings Tidings of Abla
Antar Rescues His Beloved
Antar Goes to Mecca
Prince Shas in Captivity
Antar Summoned From Mecca to Rescue Shas
The Hero Encounters Roudha, A Gallant Horseman, Going A-Wooing to Abla
Antar Undertakes Another Enterprise For Abla's Sake
Story of Jaida and Khalid
Antar in the Land of Zebeed
Address to the Turtle-Dove
The Matrimonial Schemes of Abla's Father Again Come to Naught
Shiboob in Masquerade at the Tents of Kendeh
Attempted Murder of Abla
The Hero Quits His Tribe
Numan, King of Hirah, Makes War Against King Zoheir—The Hero Saves His Country
Prince Harith in Love
King Zoheir and His Brother, Asyed
Death of Prince Shas and King Zoheir
King Cais Avenges His Father's Death
Abla's Father and Brother Again Rescued by Antar
A Horse Race, and its Consequences
Prince Malik's Marriage and Death
Amarah Lampooned by the Girls
Marriage of Antar and Abla
The Death of Antar

Ka‘b's Poem of the Mantle

Title Page
Ka‘b's Poem of the Mantle

El-Būsīrī's Poem of the Mantle

Title Page
El-Būsīrī's Poem of the Mantle


Extracts From The Lay of the Himyarites

From the Translator's Preface
Opening Verses of the Poem
Closing Verses
The Poet ’Omar
On the Prosody of the Arabs
Notes on the Moallakát
Notes on the Poem of Amriolkais
Notes on the Poem of Tarafa
Notes on the Poem of Zohair
Notes on the Poem of Lebeid
Notes on the Poem of Antara
Notes on the Poem of Amru
Notes on the Poem of Hareth
Notes on Shorter Poems
Notes on the Romance of Antar
Notes On Ka‘b's Mantle Poem
Notes On El-Būsīrī's Mantle Poem
The L Poem of the Foreigner