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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Antar: A Fair Lady

By Arabic Literature

From the ‘Mu ’allakât of Antara’: Translation of Edward Henry Palmer

’TWAS then her beauties first enslaved my heart—

Those glittering pearls and ruby lips, whose kiss

Was sweeter far than honey to the taste.

As when the merchant opes a precious box

Of perfume, such an odor from her breath

Comes toward me, harbinger of her approach;

Or like an untouched meadow, where the rain

Hath fallen freshly on the fragrant herbs

That carpet all its pure untrodden soil:

A meadow where the fragrant rain-drops fall

Like coins of silver in the quiet pools,

And irrigate it with perpetual streams;

A meadow where the sportive insects hum,

Like listless topers singing o’er their cups,

And ply their forelegs, like a man who tries

With maimèd hand to use the flint and steel.