The Poem of as-Samau’al (Mid-6th Century AD): Verses 6-11

6 la-nā jabal(un) yaḥtallu-hu man nujīru-hu | manī^(un) yaruddu-ṭ-ṭarf(a) wa-hwa kalīl(u)
7 rasā ‘aṣl(u)-hu taḥta-ṯ-ṯarA wa-samā bi-hi | ‘ilaA-n-najm(i) far^(un) lā yunālu ṭawīl(u)
8 wa-‘in-nā la-qaum(un) mā narāY-l-qatl(a) subbaẗ(an) | ‘iḏā mā ra’at-hu ^āmir(un) wa-salūl(u)
9 yuqarribu ḥubb(u)-l-maut(i) ‘ājāl(a)-nā la-nā | wa-takrahu-hu ājāl(u)-hum fa-taṭūlu
10 wa-mā māta min-nā sayyid(un) ḥatf(a) ‘anf(i)-hi | wa-lā ṭulla min-nā ḥaiṯ(u) kāna qatīl(u)
11 tasīlu ^alāY ḥadd(i)-ḍ-ḍub(āti) nufūs(u)-nā] | wa-laisat ^alāY ḡair(i)-ḍ-ḍub(āti) tasīlu

This post is continued from here.

The segment evokes the lofty mountain refuge available to the speaker’s confederates, then exalts his tribe’s martial disposition and willingness to die in battle and avenge the fallen.

6 We have a mountain where those we shelter settle down; impregnable, it turns away the eye, tired from looking.
7 Its trunk anchors underneath the soil; a branch lifts it to the stars. It’s not got hold of; it is towering.
8 We’re a people who don’t consider killing a disgrace the way that ^Amir and Salūl have thought it.
9 Love of death advances for us our final moment; their final moment loathes it, therefore is drawn out.
10 No sayyid of ours dies a death of his nose, nor was the blood of any of us made to go for nought, like dew, where he lay dead.
11 Our souls flow out on sword-blade edge, and nowhere but on sword-blade edge do they flow out.

(Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from Arberry.)
6 tired from looking: The mountain is so lofty it defies the eye’s attempt to take it in. Arberry notes the “mountain” may be taken metaphorically, or “as referring to the mountain-fortress of al-Ablaq (al-Fard), the famous redoubt of al-Samau’al.”
8 don’t consider killing: i.e., being killed. “[^Amir and Salūl] are the names of rival tribes…”
9 love of death, etc.: “Sc. our warriors die young, those of our rivals live on into old age.”
10 dies a death of his nose: i.e., dies a natural death in which life exits with a last breath. The warrior’s life was considered to exit through his bleeding wounds, as verse 11 makes explicit. Nor was the blood, etc.: i.e., our slain have always been avenged.
11 “The commentator al-Tibrīzī explains the second half of this verse as excluding death by the dishonourable instruments of sticks and staves and the like.”

(c) 2023 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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2 Responses to The Poem of as-Samau’al (Mid-6th Century AD): Verses 6-11

  1. I am intrigued – thank you for these posts that makes me think Jim!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Poem of as-Samau’al (Mid-6th Century AD): Verses 12-16 | EthicalDative

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