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

Tarafah ibn al ’Abd: A Rebuke to a Mischief-Maker

By Arabic Literature

Translation of Sir Charles James Lyall

THE CRAFT of thy busy tongue has sundered from home and kin

the cousins of both thy houses, ’Amr, ’Auf, and Mâlik’s son.

For thou to thy dearest art a wind of the bitter north,

that sweeps from the Syrian hills, and wrinkles our cheeks and brows.

But balmy art thou and mild to strangers, a gracious breeze

that brings from the gulf shore showers and fills with its rain our streams.

And this, of a truth, I know—no fancy it is of mine:

who holds mean his kith and kin, the meanest of men is he!

And surely a foolish tongue, when rules not its idle prate

discretion, but shows men where thou dwellest with none to guard.