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8 8 A Qaṣīdah by al-Muthaqqib al-ʿAbdī ‫ي‬ � � ‫ن‬�‫ي‬ �‫ب‬ �� َ‫ت‬ �� ‫ن‬ � ‫أ‬ ��‫ك‬ � �� ُ ‫ت‬ �‫ل‬� �‫أ‬ ��‫��س‬ ‫�ا‬‫م‬� ‫ك‬�� ُ ‫ع‬ �‫ن‬ �‫م‬�‫و‬�� ‫ي‬ � � ‫ن‬�‫ي‬ �‫ع‬ � ّ‫ت‬ �‫م‬� ‫ك‬��‫ن‬ �‫ي‬ ��‫ب‬ �� ‫ل‬� ‫ب‬ �� ‫ق‬ � � � َ ‫م‬ � ‫ط‬ �� �‫ف�ا‬� � � ‫أ‬ � ‫ي‬ � � ‫ن‬ ��‫و‬��‫د‬ ‫ف‬ ��‫ي‬ �‫�ص‬ � ‫ل‬� � ‫ا‬ ُ ‫ح‬ �‫�ا‬ ‫ي‬ ��‫ر‬ ‫�ا‬‫ه‬ �‫�ب‬� ّ ‫ر‬‫�م‬� ‫ت‬ � ٍ ‫ت‬ �‫ب�ا‬ �� ‫�ا�ذ‬ ‫ك‬ � ��َ ‫ع�د‬ � ‫ا‬‫و‬�‫م‬� ‫ي‬ � � �‫�د‬ِ‫ع‬ � َ‫ت‬ �� ‫ا‬� ‫ل‬� ‫ف‬ � � � ʾa-fāṭima qabla bayniki mattiʿīnī wa-manʿuki mā saʾaltu ka-ʾan tabīnī fa-lā taʿidī mawāʿida kādhibātin tamurru bihā riyāḥu ṣ-ṣayfi dūnī25 Meter (al-wāfir): SLSSL SLSSL SLL (SS may be replaced by L); rhyme: -ī/ūnī. Note the internal rhyme in line 1 (also in ll. 4 and 36). The pre-Islamic poet ʿĀʾidh ibn Miḥṣan ibn Thaʿlabah, nicknamed alMuthaqqib (or al-Muthaqqab), of the ʿAbd al-Qays tribe, came from alBa ḥrayn (larger than the modern state and covering the eastern part of the Peninsula) and visited al-Ḥīrah in the time of the Lakhmid kings ʿAmr ibn Hind and al-Nuʿmān Abū Qābūs. His nickname (“the piercer”) derives from line 11 of the following poem. It opens with a nasīb (1–18), first on the poet’s beloved, and then describing her companions when they part; this is followed by a relatively long camel description (waṣf al-nāqah, 19–39). The poem concludes with five lines (40–45) addressed to a certain ʿAmr, possibly the king of al-Ḥīrah. The concluding part of a qaṣīdah is often mistakenly called its gharaḍ or “purpose”; in fact, each of its constituent sections is a gharaḍ in its own right, at least for the pre-modern Arab critics. By dint of the final section this poem might be called a eulogy or panegyric (madīḥ), but the bulk of the poem is not about the patron but about the poet himself. Fakhr, as this vaunting, boasting, or self-glorification is called, dominates here, as it often does. O Fāṭimah, before you go, give me some pleasure! You deny me what I ask as if you have already gone! And do not make false promises that summer winds will sweep out of my reach.26 9 9 9 9 al-Muthaqqib al-ʿAbdī If my left hand were as contrary as you are to me, I would not let it join my right, But I would cut it off and say, “Begone!” Thus I dislike those who dislike me too. Who are these women, going up in litters from Ḍubayb,27 so slowly they’ve not left the wadi yet? They passed along Sharāf and then Dhāt Rijl, while keeping al-Dharāniḥ on their right. And thus they were when crossing Falj; their litters looked like cargo loaded on ships’ decks: Resembling ships, though Bactrian camels instead,28 broad in the back and in the sutures of their skulls. The women sit, nested in shaking howdahs, unconcerned, those killers of brave men made meek. They’re like gazelles that lingered at a lote tree bush, and nibble at the nearest twigs. They’re visible through the thin drapes and have let down a cloth29 in which they pierced30 some peepholes for their eyes. For all their cruelty they are much sought, those ladies long of tresses and of locks. Some of their charms they show, others they hide —their necks, their well-protected skins; Gold glittering on their chests, colored like ivory, no wrinkles there. When on a day they leave a man behind, and carry off a pledge he values most, it will not come again.31 Thus, jesting about her, I’m feathering my arrow shafts;32 she who excels all of the herd’s gazelles that stand and gaze. A hillock they ascended, and into a hollow they went down, they hardly halted for the midday rest. I said to one of them, my saddle fastened for a fiery noontide against which I set my face, “Though you may cut the bond between us, I remain the master of myself!” Therefore, dispel your33 sorrow with a camel strong and sturdy, like the hammer of a blacksmith, hard, 5 10 15 20 10 10 10 10 Verse True in her steady, rapid pace, as if a cat were racing with her, clawing at her girth;34 Topped with a towering hump with matted hair, fed with crushed date-stones, fodder from the fertile land. Her strap upon her breast I fasten when it slackens, loosened by the slackness of her girth.35 Five marks are left upon the earth when she lies down, small as the spots that black-backed sandgrouse leave, drinking at dawn.36 She fills her chest, takes a deep breath...


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