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

Ja’far ibn ’Ulbah: A Foray

By Arabic Literature

From the ‘Hamásah’: Translation of Sir Charles James Lyall

THAT even when, under Sábhal’s twin peaks, upon us drave

the horsemen, troop upon troop, and the foeman pressed us sore—

They said to us, “Two things lie before you; now must ye choose

the points of the spears couched at ye; or if ye will not, chains!”

We answered them, “Yea this thing may fall to you after the fight,

when men shall be left on ground, and none shall arise again;

But we know not, if we quail before the assault of Death,

how much may be left of life—the goal is too dim to see.”

We rode to the strait of battle; there cleared us a space, around

the white swords in our right hands which the smiths had furbished fair.

On them fell the edge of my blade, on that day of Sabhal date;

And mine was the share thereof, wherever my fingers closed.