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Antara

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt 1840 (Petworth House) – 1922 (United Kingdom)



How many singers before me! Are there yet songs unsung?
Dost thou, my sad soul, remember where was her dwellingplace?
Tents in Jiwá, the fair wádi, speak ye to me of her.
Fair house of 'Abla my true love, blessing and joy to thee!
Doubting I paused in the pastures, seeking her camel--tracks,
high on my swift--trotting nága tall as a citadel,
Weaving a dream of the past days, days when she dwelt in them,
'Abla, my true love, in Házzen, Sammán, Mutathéllemi.
There on the sand lay the hearth--stones, black in their emptiness,
desolate more for the loved ones fled with Om Héythami,
Fled to the land of the lions, roarers importunate.
Daily my quest of thee darkens, daughter of Mákhrami.

Truly at first sight I loved her, I who had slain her kin,
ay, by the life ofthy father, not in inconstancy.
Love, thou hast taken possession. Deem it not otherwise.
Thou in my heart art the first one, first in nobility.
How shall I win to her people? Far in Anéyzateyn
feed they their flocks in the Spring--time, we in the Gháïlem.
Yet it was thou, my beloved, willed we should sunder thus,
bridled thyself the swift striders, black night encompassing.
Fear in my heart lay a captive, seeing their camel--herds
herded as waiting a burden, close to the tents of them,
Browsing on berries of khímkhim, forty--two milch--camels,
black as the underwing feathers set in the raven's wing.
Then was it 'Abla enslaved thee showing her tenderness,
white teeth with lips for the kissing: sweet was the taste of them,
Sweet as the vials of odours sold by the musk sellers,
fragrant the white teeth she showed thee, fragrant the mouth of her.
So is a garden new planted fresh in its greenery,
watered by soft--falling raindrops, treadless, untenanted.
Lo, on it rain--clouds have lighted, soft showers, no hail in them,
leaving each furrow a lakelet bright as a silverling.
Pattering, plashing they fell there, rains at the sunsetting,
wide--spreading runlets of water, streams of fertility,
Mixed with the humming of bees' wings droning the day--light long,
never a pause in their chaunting, gay drinking--choruses.
Blithe iteration of bees' wings, wings struck in harmony,
sharply as steel on the flint--stone, light--handed smithy strokes.
Sweet, thou shalt rest till the morning all the night lightly there,
while I my red horse bestriding ride with the forayers.
Resting--place more than the saddle none have I, none than he
war--horse of might in the rib--bones: deep is the girth of him.

Say, shall a swift Shadaníeh bear me to her I love,
one under ban for the drinker, weaned of the foal of her,
One with the tail carried archwise, long though the march hath been,
one with the firm foot atrample, threading the labyrinths?
Lo, how she spurneth the sand--dunes, like to the ear--less one,
him with the feet set together: round him young ostriches
Troop like the cohorts of Yémen, herded by 'Ajemis,
she--camel cohorts of Yémen, herded by stammerers.
Watching a beacon they follow, led by the crown of him
carried aloft as a howdah, howdah where damsels sit,
Him the small--headed, returning, fur--furnished Ethiop,
black slave, to Thu--el--Ashíra: there lie his eggs in it.
Lo, how my nága hath drunken deeply in Dóhradeyn;
how hath she shrunk back in Déylam, pools of the enemy,
Shrunk from its perilous cisterns, scared by the hunting one,
great--headed shrieker of evening, clutched to the flank of her.
Still to her off--side she shrinketh, deemeth the led--cat there
Clawing the more that she turneth;--thus is her fear of them.
Lo, she hath knelt in Ridá--a, pleased there and murmuring
soft as the sweet--fluting rushes crushed by the weight of her.
Thickly as pitch from the boiling oozeth the sweat of her,
pitch from the cauldron new--lighted, fire at the sides of it,
Oozeth in drops from the ear--roots. Wrathful and bold is she,
proud in her gait as a stallion hearing the battle--cry.

Though thou thy fair face concealest still in thy veil from me,
yet am I he that hath captured horse--riders how many!
Give me the praise of my fair deeds. Lady, thou knowest it,
kindly am I and forbearing, save when wrong presseth me.
Only when evil assaileth, deal I with bitterness;
then am I cruel in vengeance, bitter as colocynth.

Sometime in wine was my solace. Good wine, I drank of it,
suaging the heat ofthe evening, paying in white money,
Quaffing in goblets of saffron, pale--streaked with ivory,
hard at my hand their companion, the flask to the left of me.
Truly thus bibbing I squandered half my inheritance;
yet was my honour a wideword. No man had wounded it.
Since that when sober
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt was an English poet and writer. more…

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