A poet and a knight. The ancient Arabic references say that the poet Hassan ibn Thabit, also included in this selection, described him as “the most important poet of his time”. His language is eloquent and his poetry full of realistic scenes and sensual, concrete images. The beloved in his amatory poems is a vital presence and usually has something to say in the poem. The ancient sources describe him as a brave knight, and a handsome man and sensitive lover. Amongst the most beautiful and famous of his long poems is an elegy for his five sons who died from the plague, and a love poem from which the extract in this selection is taken.