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2 2 A Qaṣīdah by ʿAbīd ibn al-Abraṣ ‫ي‬ � � ‫ل‬�� ‫ب�ا‬ �‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ة‬ ��‫ن‬ �‫�م‬‫ي‬ �‫ل‬�� ‫ا‬ ‫ق‬ � �‫ي‬ �‫ح‬ � ‫س‬��� ‫ل‬�‫ث‬ ��‫م‬� ّ ‫و‬� ‫ج‬ � � ‫ل‬�� ‫ب�ا‬ �� ‫ل‬� � ‫�ا‬ ّ ‫ط‬ �� � ‫�ه‬ ‫ل‬�‫ك‬� � ��‫�ا‬‫�ه‬‫�ف�ا‬�‫ع‬ � ‫�د‬‫ن‬ �‫�ه‬ ‫ر‬‫ا‬‫د‬ ‫�ا‬ ‫ي‬ �� ‫ل‬� � ‫�ا‬ ‫ي‬ �� ‫�ذ‬‫أ‬ ��‫ب‬ �� ‫�ا‬‫ه‬ �‫ي‬ � ّ‫�ف‬�‫ع‬ �‫ت‬ �� ‫�ا‬‫ه‬ �‫ي‬ � ‫ف‬ � � � ‫ح‬ � ‫ي‬ �‫ر‬‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬‫و‬�� ‫ت‬ �‫د‬‫ر‬ ّ ‫ط‬ �� �‫ف�ا‬� � � ‫ف‬ ��‫ي‬ �‫�ص‬ � ‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ‫ح‬ �‫�ا‬ ‫ي‬ ��‫ر‬ ‫�ا‬‫ه‬ �‫ي‬ �‫ل‬��‫ع‬ � ‫ت‬ �‫ر‬ ‫ج‬ � � yā dāra hindin ʿafāhā kullu haṭṭālī bil-jawwi mithla saḥīqi l-yumnati l-bālī jarat ʿalayhā riyāḥu ṣ-ṣayfi fa-ṭṭaradat war-rīḥu fīhā tuʿaffīhā bi-ʾadhyālī1 Meter (al-basīṭ): XXSL XSL LLSL SSL / XXSL XSL LLSL LL. Note the internal rhyme in line 1, which makes the meter of the hemistichs identical. Such internal rhyme is very common at the beginning of a poem but not mandatory. ʿAbīd ibn al-Abraṣ, of the Asad tribe, is one of the earliest known preIslamic Arabic poets. The word qaṣīdah is used for any poem of some length (according to some critics as few as ten), but especially for formal polythematic odes, that open with a lyrical, elegiac passage and followed by one or more sections, often abruptly without transition and without obvious connections to the opening passage. The thematic structure of this qaṣīdah is as follows: lines 1–4: the aṭlāl (the deserted campsite; often introducing the nasīb, the description of a past love affair or of a girl, here reduced to a mere name, but cf. 15–16); line 5: a return to the present; the poet is old and can only reminisce and boast of his past, a mixture of hardship and pleasure; lines 6–8: the linking motif (“consolation”), a brief camel description (waṣf al-nāqah), with an implied journey (raḥīl); lines 9–12: the boast (fakhr) of martial prowess; lines 13–14: boast of drinking wine provided by an unidentified liberal host (often the poet himself is the generous giver and perhaps he is referring to himself here); lines 15–16: boast of amorous adventures; lines 17–18: back to the present and to the mode of the poem’s opening. O home of Hind,2 effaced by all the heavy rains in Jaww:3 like cloth from Yemen,4 worn! 3 3 3 3 ʿAbīd ibn al-Abraṣ The summer winds have blown above it, one behind another, and still the wind, trailing its skirts, obliterates the traces. There I detained my friends, interrogating the abode, the collar of my cloak soaking with tears, In yearning for the tribe, the days the clans were gathered there. —but how can those like me be moved5 and yearn? For grayness has now come over my locks; the fair bade me farewell, forever, in disgust. Yet often have I soothed6 my cares, when they appeared to me, with a she-camel, sturdy, like a blacksmith’s anvil, swift, A strong one, strutting with the saddle frames, traversing through the midday heat, trotting or ambling; Her flanks are covered with firm flesh; she’s like a lonely oryx bull in Jaww, trailing its tail. —Enough of this! Many’s the war I joined, fanning its fire to a fierce blaze, With under me a mare with mighty limbs, short haired and muscular, fast like an arrow by the hand of a far-aiming bowman sent. Many’s the warrior who bared his teeth, the chief of a packed throng, their armor gleaming, clad in coats of mail, men of mettle, Whose chest I pierced with a lance tip, so that he reeled as bends a broken bough of a lithe jujube tree. And many a wine, fragrant as musk when crushed, that long dwelt in its cask, year after year, Have I drunk in the early morning, before dawn appeared, in a man’s tent, whose hands with bounty overflowed. With many a girl, plump, soft like a gazelle of Jaww, saliva tasting as if mixed with water sweet,7 Have I spent half the night; I play with her and she with me, and then I leave her while she is still on my mind— Now youth is gone and has sworn never to return to us; grayness has settled firmly on my hair. Gray hair: an ugly shame to him in whose courtyard it dwells; O God, how wonderful were those black locks, now gone! 5 10 15 ...


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