Excerpt from “The Poem of Tarafa (The Mu’Allaqa of Ibn Tarafa)” by Ṭarafah ibn al-‘Abd ibn Sufyān ibn Sa‘d Abū ‘Amr al-Bakrī al-Wā’ilī

Were it not for three enjoyments which youth affords, I swear
by thy prosperity, that I should not be solicitous how soon
my friends visited me on my death-bed:

First, to rise before the censurers awake, and to drink tawny
wine, which sparkles and froths when the clear stream is poured
into it.

Next, when a warrior, encircled by foes, implores my aid, to
bend towards him my prancing charger, fierce as a wolf among the
GADHA-trees, whom the sound of human steps has awakened,
and who runs to quench his thirst at the brook.

Thirdly, to shorten a cloudy day, a day astonishingly dark, by
toying with a lovely delicate girl under a tent supported by pillars,

A girl, whose bracelets and garters seem hung on the stems of
OSHAR-trees, or of ricinus, not stripped of their soft leaves.

Suffer me, whilst I live, to drench my head with wine, lest,
having drunk too little in my life-time, I should be thirsty in another state.

A man of my generous spirit drinks his full draught to day;
and to-morrow, when we are dead, it will be known, which of us
has not quenched his thirst.

From: Jones, Sir William, The Works of Sir William Jones in Six Volumes, Volume IV, 1799, G. G. and J. Robinson: London, p. 267.

Date: 1782 (translated)

By: Ṭarafah ibn al-‘Abd ibn Sufyān ibn Sa‘d Abū ‘Amr al-Bakrī al-Wā’ilī (6th century)

Translated by: William Jones (1746-1794)


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