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

’Umar ibn Rabí’a: Zeynab at the Ka’bah

By Arabic Literature

From ‘Love Poems’: Translation of William Gifford Palgrave

AH, for the throes of a heart sorely wounded!

Ah, for the eyes that have smit me with madness!

Gently she moved in the calmness of beauty,

Moved as the bough to the light breeze of morning.

Dazzled my eyes as they gazed, till before me

All was a mist and confusion of figures.

Ne’er had I sought her, ne’er had she sought me;

Fated the love, and the hour, and the meeting.

There I beheld her as she and her damsels

Paced ’twixt the temple and outer inclosure;

Damsels the fairest, the loveliest, gentlest,

Passing like slow-wandering heifers at evening;

Ever surrounding with comely observance

Her whom they honor, the peerless of women.

“Omar is near: let us mar his devotions,

Cross on his path that he needs must observe us;

Give him a signal, my sister, demurely.”

“Signals I gave, but he marked not or heeded,”

Answered the damsel, and hasted to meet me.

Ah, for that night by the vale of the sandhills!

Ah, for the dawn when in silence we parted!

He whom the morn may awake to her kisses

Drinks from the cup of the blessed in heaven.