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ARGUMENT.

In vy. 1–15 the poet, after the fashion of his fellows, strives to touch the hearts

of his hearers and to prepare them to receive kindly what he has to say on his real theme by the mention of women and the deserted pasture-grounds which the tribesmen leave at the end of Spring ; Umm Aufa was his wife : she bore him, we learn, many children, who all died young, and one day in an angry mood he divorced her. Afterwards he repented of his deed, and prayed her to return to him, but she would not.

Then he turns to praise the two who made the peace and bore the burden of the price of blood (vv. 16–25). After that he exhorts the two tribes (vv. 26–33) to keep faithfully their pact of peace, and after what they have known of War, to stir her not up again. Then he tells of the deed of Hoseyn son of Damdam, how he slew his enemy while the two peoples were making ready the peace (vv. 34–39). Then by a figure he relates how the senseless war broke out afresh, and more blood was spilt ; for which again the House of Gheyö paid from their herds, though themselves without blame (vv. 40–46).

What follows would seem to be a store of maxims of life and conduct, some of which are wanting in certain recensions of the poem, and all do not appear to be here appropriate ; nevertheless many of them seem clearly to touch upon the generous deed of the Peace-makers, and to be meant to praise them and to set them as an example to men. In the last verse he warns those who heard him that though noble men may pay for misdoers once and again, the time will come when the thankless shall find none to bear the burden of his guilt.

I.

1 Are they of Umm Aufa's tents—these black lines that speak no word in the stony plain of el-Mutathellem and ed-Darrāj P 2 Yea, and the place where her camp stood in er-Raqmatán is now like the tracery drawn afresh by the veins of the inner wrist. 3 The wild kine roam there large-eyed, and the deer pass to and fro, and their younglings rise up to suck from the spots where they lie all round. 4 I stood there and gazed : since I saw it last twenty years had flown, and much I pondered thereon : hard was it to know again— 5 The black stones in order laid in the place where the pot was set, and the trench like a cistern's root with its sides unbroken still. 6 And when I knew it at last for her resting-place, I cried— * Good greeting to thee, O House—fair peace in the morn to thee (’ 7 Look forth, O Friend—camst thou see aught of ladies camel-borne that journey along the upland there above Jurthum well ? 8 Their litters are hung with precious stuffs, and thin veils thereon cast loosely, their borders rose, as though they were dyed in blood. 9 Sideways they sat as their beasts clomb the ridge of es-Sūbān —in them were the sweetness and grace of one nourished in wealth and ease.

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They went on their way at dawn—they started before sunrise:
straight did they make for the Vale of er-Rass as hand for mouth.
Dainty and playful their mood to one who should try its worth, *
and faces fair to an eye skilled to trace out loveliness.
And the tassels of scarlet wool in the spots where they gat them down
glowed red like to ‘ishriq seeds, fresh-fallen, unbroken, bright.
And when they reached the wells where the deep blue water lies,
they cast down their staves and set them to pitch the tents for rest.
On their right hand rose el-Qanān and the rugged skirts thereof—
and in el-Qanān how many are foes and friends of mine !
At eve they left es-Sābān : then they crossed its ridge again
borne on the fair-fashioned litters, all new and builded broad.

II.

I swear by the Holy House which worshippers circle round—
the men by whose hands it rose, of Jurhum and of Qureysh–

How goodly are ye, our Lords, ye twain who are found by men
good helpers in every case, be it easy to loose or hard
Busily wrought they for peace, those two of Gheyā, Murrah's son,
when the kin had been rent in twain and its friendship sunk in
blood.
Ye healed ‘Abs and Đubyān's breach when the twain were well-nigh
- - spent,
and between them the deadly perfume of Menshim was work-
ing hate.
Ye said—“If we set our hands to Peace, base it broad and firm
by the giving of gifts and fair words of friendship, all will be well.’
And ye steadfastly took your stand thereon in the best of steads,
far away from unbrotherliness and the bitter result of wrong.
Yea, glory ye gained in Ma'add, the highest—God guide you right !
who gains without blame a treasure of glory, how great is he
The wounds of the kindred were healed with hundreds of camels good :
he paid them forth troop by troop who had no part in the crime;
Kin paid them forth to kin as a debt due from friend to friend,

and they spilt not between them so much as a cupper's cup full of

blood.

Among them went forth, your gift, of the best of your fathers’ store, fair spoils, young camels a many, slit-eared, of goodly breed.

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III.

Ho! carry my message true to the tribesmen together leagued and Bubyān–Have ye sworn all that ye took upon you to swear P It boots not to hide from God aught evil within your breasts: it will not be hid—what men would hold back from God, He knows. It may be its meed comes late : in the Book is the wrong set down for the Reckoning Day; it may be that vengeance is swift and t i stern. And War is not aught but what ye know well and have tasted oft : not of her are the tales ye tella doubtful or idle thing. When ye set her on foot, ye start her with words of little praise; but the mind for her grows with her growth, till she bursts into blazing flame. She will grind you as grist of the mill that falls on the skin beneath ; year by year shall her womb conceive, and the fruit thereof shall Yea, boys shall she bear you, all of ill omen, eviller [be twins: than Ahmar of ‘Ād : then suckling and weaning shall bring their Such harvest of bitter grain shall spring as their lords reap not [gain : from acres in el-‘Irāq of bushels of corn and gold.

IV.

Yea, verily good is the kin, and unmeet the deed of wrong
Hoseyn son of I)amdam wrought against them, a murder foul |
He hid deep within his heart his bloody intent, nor told
to any his purpose, till the moment to do was come.
He said—“I will work my will, and then shall there gird me round
and shield me from those I hate a thousand stout cavalry.”
So he slew : mo alarm he raised where the tents stood peacefully,
though there in their midst the Vulture-mother had entered in
To dwell with a lion fierce, a bulwark for men in fight,
a lion with angry mane upbristled, sharp tooth and claw,
Fearless : when one him wrongs, he sets him to vengeance straight,
unfaltering : when no wrong lights on him, 'tis he that wrongs.

V.

They pastured their camels athirst, until when the time was ripe

they drove them to pools all cloven with weapons and plashed with blood ;

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They led through their midst the Dooms: then they drove them forth

again to the pasture rank and heavy, till their thirst should grow anew. But their lances—by thy life were guilty of none that fell: Nehik's son died not by them, nor by them el-Muthellem's slain; Nor had they in Naufal’s death part or share, nor by their hand did Wahab lie slain, nor by them fell el-Mukhazzem’s son. Yet for each of those that died did they pay the price of blood— good camels unblemished that climb in a row by the upland road To where dwells a kin great of heart, whose word is enough to shield whom they shelter when peril comes in a night of fierce strife and r storm ; Yea, noble are they ! the seeker of vengeance gains not from them the blood of his foe, nor is he that wrongs them left without help.

WI.

Aweary am I of life's toil and travail: he who like me
has seen pass of years fourscore, well may he be sick of life
I know what To-day unfolds, what before it was Yesterday;
but blind do I stand before the knowledge To-morrow brings.
I have seen the Dooms trample men as a blind beast at random treads
—whom they smote, he died : whom they missed, he lived on to
- strengthless eld.
Who gathers not friends by help in many a case of need
is torn by the blind beast's teeth, or trodden beneath its foot.
And he who his honour shields by the doing of kindly deed
grows richer who shuts not the mouth of reviling, it lights on him.
And he who is lord of wealth and is niggardly with his hoard
alone is he left by his kin : nought have they for him but blame.
Who keeps faith, no blame he earns : and that man whose heart is led
to goodness unmixed with guile gains freedom and peace of soul.
Who trembles before the Dooms, yea, him shall they surely seize,
albeit he set in his dread a ladder to climb the sky.
Who spends on unworthy men his kindness with lavish hand,
no praise does he earn, but blame, and repentance the end thereof.
Who will not yield to the spears when their feet turn to him in peace
shall yield to the points thereof, and the long flashing blades of
steel.
Who holds not his foe away from his cistern with sword and spear,
it is broken and spoiled : who uses not roughness, him shall men
Wrong.

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