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Arabic Poetry 4

دعاني من نجد؛ فإن سنينه لعبن بنا شيباً وشيبننا مردا Leave me (both of you) in relation to Najd; for as grey-haired [elderly people] its years undoubtedly made sport of us and as beardless [youth] it made us grey-haired. Meaning: Leave me, my (two) bosom friends in relation to mentioning this land [of Najd], for […]

Pre-Islamic Poetry 3

ألم أك جاركم ويكون بيني     وبينكم المودة والإخاء Was I not your neighbour whilst there was between me and you love and brotherliness? Meaning: [The poet,] Al-Hutay’ah, reprimands the Al-Zibriqan family with this verse and says to them: I was an adherent of yours living under your protection and there was familiarity and brotherhood between me […]

Pre-Islamic Poetry 2

لعمرك ما أدري وإني لأوجل       على أينا تعدو المنية أول By your life, I do not know – though certainly I assuredly dread – on which of us will the fate [of death] strike first Meaning: He is saying to his companion: I swear to you by your life I certainly do not know – […]

Pre-Islamic Poetry 1

Time will reveal to you that which you were unaware of;  and the one whom you had not dispatched* will bring you news  Meaning: Time will certainly expose to you what was concealed from you; and news will come to you [spontaneously] without you having to exert yourself [take the trouble] to seek it out. * That is: to seek out news. Literally: ‘and the […]