Old Arabic poetry is acquainted with two main types of love affairs: erotic escapades and sincere or chaste affairs. In the first, the poet-protagonist boasts of his ability to conduct sexual escapades with one woman or more. In the second, the poet-lover tells of a sincere and heart-breaking love affair. In this, the latter instance, the lover may recall some romantic encounters with his beloved; nonetheless, such encounters play only a marginal role. The main subject here is the separation between the lovers, the deep suffering of the lover, and sometimes his attempts to recover. The two kinds of affairs are well represented in the Mu'allaqa of Imru'al-Qays.1 Mentioning more than one beloved in an erotic poem is reasonable. However, it is expected that a lover with a sincere love experience dealsin a certain poemwith only one beloved. But this is not always the case. Some old Arabic poems do include a mention of two or more sincere love affairs experienced by the same lover. The present article aims to shed some light on such a phenomenon in poems composed by pre-Islamic and mukharam poets. This article is a preparatory paper to a forthcoming article that discusses the same issue in the poetry of the mukharam Mulay b. al-akam who, in our opinion, was unique in describing this phenomenon.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory