Aspects of Islamic Civilization: As Depicted in the Original by A J Arberry

By A J Arberry

Originally released in 1964, this quantity gathers jointly extracts from lots of Arberry’s best-known works and vitamins them with a range of formerly unpublished translations. the fabric consequently offers a brilliant photograph of the richness and diversity of Islamic civilization from its origins to the overdue 20th century.

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Ha, and a day on the back of the sand-hill she denied me swearing a solemn oath that she should never, never be broken. ‘Gently now, Fátima! A little less disdainful: even if you intend to break with me, do it kindly. If it’s some habit of mine that’s so much vexed you just draw off my garments from yours, and they’ll slip away. Puffed-up it is it’s made you, that my love for you’s killing me and that whatever you order my heart to do, it obeys. 33 Your eyes only shed those tears so as to strike and pierce with those two shafts of theirs the fragments of a ruined heart.

6 31 Of the very considerable volume of poetry transmitted from the desert bards of the sixth century and collected in writing by Arab scholars of the eighth, pride of first place belongs to seven odes, acclaimed the best work of their seven authors and known as the Mu‘allaqāt. 7 Imr al-Qais ‘the Wandering King’ Halt, friends both! Let us weep, recalling a love and a longing by the rim of the twisted sands between Ed-Dakhool and Haumal, Toodih and El-Mikrát, whose trace is not yet effaced for all the spinning of the south winds and the northern blasts; there, all about its yards, and away in the dry hollows you may see the dung of antelopes spattered like peppercorns.

36 Ṭarafa ‘Who Died Young’ The ode of Ṭarafa, who was executed in his twenties, is chiefly prized for a fine picture of a racing camel. Ah, but when grief assails me, straightway I ride it off mounted on my swift, lean-flanked camel, night and day racing, sure-footed, like the planks of a litter; I urge her on down the bright highway, that back of a striped mantle; she vies with the noble, hot-paced she-camels, shank on shank nimbly plying, over a path many feet have beaten. Along the rough slopes with the milkless shes she has pastured in Spring, cropping the rich meadows green in the gentle rains; to the voice of the caller she returns, and stands on guard with her bunchy tail, scared of some ruddy, tuft-haired stallion, as though the wings of a white vulture enfolded the sides of her tail, pierced even to the bone by a pricking awl; 37 anon she strikes with it behind the rear-rider, anon lashes her dry udders, withered like an old water-skin.

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