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352 352 Notes 1 Source: Dīwān ed. Charles Lyall (Cambridge: E.J. W. Gibb Memorial Trust, 1931), 23–26 (translation pp. 25–26), ed. Tawfīq Asʿad (Kuwait: Wizārat al-Iʿlām, 1989), 98–100. See Jacobi, “The Origins of the Qasida Form,” in Sperl and Shackle (eds.), Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa, vol. I:21–34 (analysis) and vol. II:64–67 (text and translation), 415 (brief commentary and notes). The following translation owes something to those of Jacobi and Lyall. A sprinkling of alliteration has been added, to compensate for meter and rhyme. 2 A girl’s name, very common in early Arabic; it rhymes with “sinned”. 3 Name of a place; location unknown. 4 Textiles from Yemen are usually described as striped. 5 Ṭarab is “strong emotion, transport,” sometimes of joy, often of grief, and at times a mixture of both, e.g. when remembering past joys. 6 Jacobi: “Yet sometimes I soothe;” but in early Arabic qad + imperfect often refers to the past, which is obviously better here. 7 The sweetness of the beloved’s saliva (even upon waking up) is a very frequent motif in Arabic love poetry, somewhat difficult to render into English; cf. also the poems of ʿUmar ibn Abī Rabīʿah (line 11, p.32), al-ʿAbbās ibn al-Aḥnaf (line 10, p.45), and—in a reversed simile—Ibn al-Fāriḍ (line 34, p.81). 8 Source: al-Mufaḍḍaliyyāt (an anthology compiled by al-Mufaḍḍal, d. ca. 163/780), ed. Lyall , vol. I:762–86; ed. Shākir & Hārūn, 390–96 (omitting a few lines that do not appear in all redactions); among other versions, see e.g. al-Akhfash al-Aṣghar, al-Ikhtiyārayn, 647–56 and al-Aʿlam al-Shantamarī, Sharḥ Dīwān ʿAlqamah ibn ʿAbadah, 17–39. There is some variation in the order of the lines. Earlier translations and studies include: Lyall , The Mufaḍḍalīyāt: Vol. II: Translation and Notes, 327–33 (imitating the Arabic meter in English); Stetkevych, “Pre-Islamic Panegyric,” 1–58 (on ʿAlqamah and his poem see pp. 2–20); Montgomery, The Vagaries of the Qaṣīdah, Ch. 1: “ʿAlqamah’s Petition for the Release of his Brother Shaʾs” (pp. 10–51). Some echoes of these three renderings may be heard in mine. 9 On the nasīb, see e.g. Stetkevych, The Zephyrs of Najd: The Poetics of Nostalgia in the Classical Arabic Nasīb; Jacobi, entry “Nasīb” in EI2, VIII:978–83. 353 353 353 353 Notes 10 As is very common, the poet addresses himself, changing to the first person (and reverting momentarily to the second person in line 7). 11 Rabīʿah is her clan; Tharmadāʾ, its location uncertain, is apparently far away. Several ancient commentators suggest this could mean that the “well” is a grave: she will never come back and will die in Tharmadāʾ. 12 Montgomery has “diseases [caused by] women,” which is a possible reading. AlShantamar ī glosses it as “women’s characters.” 13 This is a common, formulaic transition device from nasīb to the description of the camel and the desert journey, which in a panegyric poem often leads to the patron (who is here, somewhat unusually, mentioned already in the next line, even though the eulogy proper starts only in line 22). 14 Montgomery takes the ridāf to be the “saddlebags at her rear,” perhaps because in the poem the poet travels alone. 15 Ṣabīb is said to be a tree used for dyeing, or possibly “spilled water,” “spilled blood,” or “the juice of ʿandam (tarragon).” This line, not in Lyall’s edition, is placed by some after line 21. 16 The comparison of the poet’s camel with an oryx or (as in Dhū l-Rummah’s poem below) with an onager (wild ass) is very common. Such comparisons regularly take the form of an inserted narrative episode in which the camel is temporarily forgotten; here it is a mere one line and a half. 17 Unlike the early commentators, Stetkevych and Montgomery make the oryx shelter among the trees, rather than the hunters. It is true that oryxes are often said to shelter in arṭā trees, but the syntax suggests that, here, the poet thought fit to vary. 18 “Nearing brought me near” is my rendering of qarrabatnī … qarūbū (where the word qarūb is unusual—al-Shantamarī says Qar...


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