Sunday, 24 August 2008


TITLE: Teachings of Hafiz
DATE: 10/26/2008 08:35:52

Translated by Gertrude Lowthian Bell


ARISE, oh Cup-bearer, rise! and bring
To lips that are thirsting the bowl they praise,
For it seemed that love was an easy thing,
But my feet have fallen on difficult ways.
I have prayed the wind o'er my heart to fling
The fragrance of musk in her hair that sleeps
In the night of her hair-yet no fragrance stays
The tears of my heart's blood my sad heart weeps.
Hear the Tavern-keeper who counsels you:
"With wine, with red wine your prayer carpet dye!"
There was never a traveller like him but knew
The ways of the road and the hostelry.
Where shall I rest, when the still night through,
Beyond thy gateway, oh Heart of my heart,
The bells of the camels lament and cry:
"Bind up thy burden again and depart!"
The waves run high, night is clouded with fears,
And eddying whirlpools clash and roar;
How shall my drowning voice strike their ears
Whose light-freighted vessels have reached the shore?
I sought mine own; the unsparing years
Have brought me mine own, a dishonoured name.
What cloak shall cover my misery o'er
When each jesting mouth has rehearsed my shame!
Oh Hafiz, seeking an end to strife,
Hold fast in thy mind what the wise have writ:
"If at last thou attain the desire of thy life,
Cast the world aside, yea, abandon it!"


THE bird of gardens sang unto the rose,
New blown in the clear dawn: "Bow down thy head!
As fair as thou within this garden close,
Many have bloomed and died." She laughed and said
"That I am born to fade grieves not my heart
But never was it a true lover's part
To vex with bitter words his love's repose."
The tavern step shall be thy hostelry,
For Love's diviner breath comes but to those
That suppliant on the dusty threshold lie.
And thou, if thou would'st drink the wine that flows
From Life's bejewelled goblet, ruby red,
Upon thine eyelashes thine eyes shall thread
A thousand tears for this temerity.
Last night when Irem's magic garden slept,
Stirring the hyacinth's purple tresses curled,
The wind of morning through the alleys stept.
"Where is thy cup, the mirror of the world?
Ah, where is Love, thou Throne of Djem?" I cried.
The breezes knew not; but "Alas," they sighed,
"That happiness should sleep so long!" and wept.
Not on the lips of men Love's secret lies,
Remote and unrevealed his dwelling-place.
Oh Saki, come! the idle laughter dies
When thou the feast with heavenly wine dost grace.
Patience and wisdom, Hafiz, in a sea
Of thine own tears are drowned; thy misery
They could not still nor hide from curious eyes.


WIND from the east, oh Lapwing of the day,
I send thee to my Lady, though the way
Is far to Saba, where I bid thee fly;
Lest in the dust thy tameless wings should lie,
Broken with grief, I send thee to thy nest,
Or far or near there is no halting-place
Upon Love's road-absent, I see thy face,
And in thine car my wind-blown greetings sound,
North winds and east waft them where they are bound,
Each morn and eve convoys of greeting fair
I send to thee.
Unto mine eyes a stranger, thou that art
A comrade ever-present to my heart,
What whispered prayers and what full meed of praise
I send to thee.
Lest Sorrow's army waste thy heart's domain,
I send my life to bring thee peace again,
Dear life thy ransom! From thy singers learn
How one that longs for thee may weep and bum
Sonnets and broken words, sweet notes and songs
I send to thee.
Give me the cup! a voice rings in mine cars
Crying: "Bear patiently the bitter years!
For all thine ills, I send thee heavenly grace.
God the Creator mirrored in thy face
Thine eyes shall see, God's image in the glass
I send to thee.
Hafiz, thy praise alone my comrades sing;
Hasten to us, thou that art sorrowing!
A robe of honour and a harnessed steed
I send to thee."


SLEEP on thine eyes, bright as narcissus flowers,
Falls not in vain
And not in vain thy hair's soft radiance showers
Ah, not in vain!
Before the milk upon thy lips was dry,
I said: "Lips where the salt of wit doth lie,
Sweets shall be mingled with thy mockery,
And not in vain!"
Thy mouth the fountain where Life's waters flow,
A dimpled well of tears is set below,
And death lies near to life thy lovers know,
But know in vain!
God send to thee great length of happy days
Lo, not for his own life thy servant prays;
Love's dart in thy bent brows the Archer lays,
Nor shoots in vain.
Art thou with grief afflicted, with the smart
Of absence, and is bitter toil thy part?
Thy lamentations and thy tears, oh Heart,
Are not in vain
Last night the wind from out her village blew,
And wandered all the garden alleys through,
Oh rose, tearing thy bosom's robe in two;
'Twas not in vain!
And Hafiz, though thy heart within thee dies,
Hiding love's agony from curious eyes,
Ah, not in vain thy tears, not vain thy sighs,
Not all in vain


OH Turkish maid of Shiraz! in thy hand
If thou'lt take my heart, for the mole on thy cheek
I would barter Bokhara and Samarkand.
Bring, Cup-bearer, all that is left of thy wine!
In the Garden of Paradise vainly thou'lt seek
The lip of the fountain of Ruknabad,
And the bowers of Mosalla where roses twine.
They have filled the city with blood and broil,
Those soft-voiced Lulis for whom we sigh;
As Turkish robbers fall on the spoil,
They have robbed and plundered the peace of my heart.
Dowered is my mistress, a beggar am I;
What shall I bring her? a beautiful face
Needs nor jewel nor mole nor the tiring-maid's art.
Brave tales of singers and wine relate,
The key to the Hidden 'twere vain to seek;
No wisdom of ours has unlocked that gate,
And locked to our wisdom it still shall be.
But of Joseph's beauty the lute shall speak;
And the minstrel knows that Zuleika came forth,
Love parting the curtains of modesty.
When thou spokest ill of thy servant 'twas well--
God pardon thee! for thy words were sweet;
Not unwelcomed the bitterest answer fell
From lips where the ruby and sugar lay.
But, fair Love, let good counsel direct thy feet;
Far dearer to youth than dear life itself
Are the warnings of one grown wise--and grey!
The song is sung and the pearl is strung
Come hither, oh Hafiz, and sing again!
And the listening Heavens above thee hung
Shall loose o'er thy verse the Pleiades' chain.


A FLOWER-TINTED cheek, the flowery close
Of the fair earth, these are enough for me
Enough that in the meadow wanes and grows
The shadow of a graceful cypress-tree.
I am no lover of hypocrisy;
Of all the treasures that the earth can boast,
A brimming cup of wine I prize the most--
This is enough for me!
To them that here renowned for virtue live,
A heavenly palace is the meet reward;
To me, the drunkard and the beggar, give
The temple of the grape with red wine stored!
Beside a river seat thee on the sward;
It floweth past-so flows thy life away,
So sweetly, swiftly, fleets our little day--
Swift, but enough for me!
Look upon all the gold in the world's mart,
On all the tears the world hath shed in vain
Shall they not satisfy thy craving heart?
I have enough of loss, enough of gain;
I have my Love, what more can I obtain?
Mine is the joy of her companionship
Whose healing lip is laid upon my lip--
This is enough for me!
I pray thee send not forth my naked soul
From its poor house to seek for Paradise
Though heaven and earth before me God unroll,
Back to thy village still my spirit flies.
And, Hafiz, at the door of Kismet lies
No just complaint-a mind like water clear,
A song that swells and dies upon the ear,
These are enough for thee!


FROM the garden of Heaven a western breeze
Blows through the leaves of my garden of earth;
With a love like a huri I'ld take mine ease,
And wine! bring me wine, the giver of mirth!
To-day the beggar may boast him a king,
His banqueting-hall is the ripening field,
And his tent the shadow that soft clouds fling.
A tale of April the meadows unfold--
Ah, foolish for future credit to slave,
And to leave the cash of the present untold!
Build a fort with wine where thy heart may brave
The assault of the world; when thy fortress falls,
The relentless victor shall knead from thy dust
The bricks that repair its crumbling walls.
Trust not the word of that foe in the fight!
Shall the lamp of the synagogue lend its flame
To set thy monastic torches alight?
Drunken am I, yet place not my name
In the Book of Doom, nor pass judgment on it;
Who knows what the secret finger of Fate
Upon his own white forehead has writ!
And when the spirit of Hafiz has fled,
Follow his bier with a tribute of sighs;
Though the ocean of sin has closed o'er his head,
He may find a place in God's Paradise.


THF rose has flushed red, the bud has burst,
And drunk with joy is the nightingale
Hail, Sufis! lovers of wine, all hail!
For wine is proclaimed to a world athirst.
Like a rock your repentance seemed to you;
Behold the marvel! of what avail
Was your rock, for a goblet has cleft it in two!
Bring wine for the king and the slave at the gate
Alike for all is the banquet spread,
And drunk and sober are warmed and fed.
When the feast is done and the night grows late,
And the second door of the tavern gapes wide,
The low and. the mighty must bow the head
'Neath the archway of Life, to meet what . . . outside?
Except thy road through affliction pass,
None may reach the halting-station of mirth
God's treaty: Am I not Lord of the earth?
Man sealed with a sigh: Ah yes, alas!
Nor with Is nor Is Not let thy mind contend
Rest assured all perfection of mortal birth
In the great Is Not at the last shall end.
For Assaf's pomp, and the steeds of the wind,
And the speech of birds, down the wind have fled,
And he that was lord of them all is dead;
Of his mastery nothing remains behind.
Shoot not thy feathered arrow astray!
A bow-shot's length through the air it has sped,
And then . . . dropped down in the dusty way.
But to thee, oh Hafiz, to thee, oh Tongue
That speaks through the mouth of the slender reed,
What thanks to thee when thy verses speed
From lip to lip, and the song thou hast sung?


OH Cup-bearer, set my glass afire
With the light of wine! oh minstrel, sing:
The world fulfilleth my heart's desire!
Reflected within the goblet's ring
I see the glow of my Love's red cheek,
And scant of wit, ye who fail to seek
The pleasures that wine alone can bring!
Let not the blandishments be checked
That slender beauties lavish on me,
Until in the grace of the cypress decked,
My Love shall come like a ruddy pine-tree
He cannot perish whose heart doth hold
The life love breathes-though my days are told,
In the Book of the World lives my constancy.
But when the Day of Reckoning is here,
I fancy little will be the gain
That accrues to the Sheikh for his lawful cheer,
Or to me for the draught forbidden I drain.
The drunken eyes of my comrades shine,
And I too, stretching my hand to the wine,
On the neck of drunkenness loosen the rein.
Oh wind, if thou passest the garden close
Of my heart's dear master, carry for me
The message I send to him, wind that blows!
"Why hast thou thrust from thy memory
My hapless name?" breathe low in his ear;
"Knowest thou not that the day is near
When nor thou nor any shall think on me?"
If with tears, oh Hafiz, thine eyes are wet,
Scatter them round thee like grain, and snare
The Bird of joy when it comes to thy net.
As the tulip shrinks from the cold night air,
So shrank my heart and quailed in the shade
Oh Song-bird Fortune, the toils are laid,
When shall thy bright wings lie pinioned there?
The heavens' green sea and the bark therein,
The slender bark of the crescent moon,
Are lost in thy bounty's radiant noon,
Vizir and pilgrim, Kawameddin!


SINGER, sweet Singer, fresh notes strew,
Fresh and afresh and new and new!
Heart-gladdening wine thy lips imbrue,
Fresh and afresh and new and new!
Saki, thy radiant feet I hail;
Flush with red wine the goblets pale,
Flush our pale cheeks to drunken hue,
Fresh and afresh and new and new!
Then with thy love to toy with thee,
Rest thee, ah, rest! where none can see
Seek thy delight, for kisses sue,
Fresh and afresh and new and new!
Here round thy life the vine is twined;
Drink I for elsewhere what wine wilt find?
Drink to her name, to hours that flew,
Hours ever fresh and new and new!
She that has stolen my heart from me,
How does she wield her empery?
Paints and adorns and scents her too,
Fresh and afresh and new and new!
Wind of the dawn that passest by,
Swift to the street of my fairy hie,
Whisper the tale of Hafiz true,
Fresh and afresh and new and new!


MIRTH, Spring, to linger in a garden fair,
What more has earth to give? All ye that wait,
Where is the Cup-bearer, the flagon where?
When pleasant hours slip from the hand of Fate,
Reckon each hour as a certain gain;
Who seeks to know the end of mortal care
Shall question his experience in vain.
Thy fettered life hangs on a single thread--
Some comfort for thy present ills devise,
But those that time may bring thou shalt not dread.
Waters of Life and Irem's Paradise--
What meaning do our dreams and pomp convey,
Save that beside a mighty stream, wide-fed,
We sit and sing of wine and go our way!
The modest and the merry shall be seen
To boast their kinship with a single voice;
There are no differences to choose between,
Thou art but flattering thy soul with choice!
Who knows the Curtain's secret? . . . Heaven is mute
And yet with Him who holds the Curtain, e'en
With Him, oh Braggart, thou would'st raise dispute!
Although His thrall shall miss the road and err,
'Tis but to teach him wisdom through distress,
Else Pardon and Compassionate Mercy were
But empty syllables and meaningless.
The Zealot thirsts for draughts of Kausar's wine,
And Hafiz doth an earthly cup prefer--
But what, between the two, is God's design?


WHERE is my ruined life, and where the fame
Of noble deeds?
Look on my long-drawn road, and whence it came,
And where it leads!
Can drunkenness be linked to piety
And good repute?
Where is the preacher's holy monody,
Where is the lute?
From monkish cell and lying garb released,
Oh heart of mine,
Where is the Tavern fane, the Tavern priest,
Where is the wine?
Past days of meeting, let the memory
Of you be sweet!
Where are those glances fled, and where for me
Reproaches meet?
His friend's bright face warms not the enemy
When love is done--
Where is the extinguished lamp that made night day,
Where is the sun?
Balm to mine eyes the dust, my head I bow
Upon thy stair.
Where shall I go, where from thy presence? thou
Art everywhere.
Look not upon the dimple of her chin,
Danger lurks there!
Where wilt thou hide, oh trembling heart, fleeing in
Such mad haste--where?
To steadfastness and patience, friend, ask not
If Hafiz keep--
Patience and steadfastness I have forgot,
And where is sleep?


LADY that hast my heart within thy hand,
Thou heed'st me not; and if thou turn thine ear
Unto the wise, thou shalt not understand--
Behold the fault is thine, our words were clear.
For all the tumult in my drunken brain
Praise God! who trieth not His slave in vain;
Nor this world nor the next shall make me fear!
My weary heart eternal silence keeps--
I know not who has slipped into my heart;
Though I am silent, one within me weeps.
My soul shall rend the painted veil apart.
Where art thou, Minstrel! touch thy saddest strings
Till clothed in music such as sorrow sings,
My mournful story from thy zither sweeps.
Lo, not at any time I lent mine ear
To hearken to the glories of the earth;
Only thy beauty to mine eyes was dear.
Sleep has forsaken me, and from the birth
Of night till day I weave bright dreams of thee;
Drunk with a hundred nights of revelry,
Where is the tavern that sets forth such cheer!
My heart, sad hermit, stains the cloister floor
With drops of blood, the sweat of anguish dire;
Ah, wash me clean, and o'er my body pour
Love's generous wine! the worshippers of fire
Have bowed them down and magnified my name,
For in my heart there burns a living flame,
Transpiercing Death's impenetrable door.
What instrument through last night's silence rang?
My life into his lay the minstrel wove,
And filled my brain with the sweet song he sang.
It was the proclamation of thy love
That shook the strings of Life's most secret lyre,
And still my breast heaves with last night's desire,
For countless echoes from that music sprang.
And ever, since the time that Hafiz heard
His Lady's voice, as from a rocky hill
Reverberates the softly spoken word,
So echoes of desire his bosom fill.


THE nightingale with drops of his heart's blood
Had nourished the red rose, then came a wind,
And catching at the boughs in envious mood,
A hundred thorns about his heart entwined.
Like to the parrot crunching sugar, good
Seemed the world to me who could not stay
The wind of Death that swept my hopes away.
Light of mine eyes and harvest of my heart,
And mine at least in changeless memory!
Ah, when he found it easy to depart,
He left the harder pilgrimage to me!
Oh Camel-driver, though the cordage start,
For God's sake help me lift my fallen load,
And Pity be my comrade of the road!
My face is seamed with dust, mine eyes are wet.
Of dust and tears the turquoise firmament
Kneadeth the bricks for joy's abode; and yet . . .
Alas, and weeping yet I make lament!
Because the moon her jealous glances set
Upon the bow-bent eyebrows of my moon,
He sought a lodging in the grave-too soon!
I had not castled, and the time is gone.
What shall I play? Upon the chequered floor
Of Night and Day, Death won the game-forlorn
And careless now, Hafiz can lose no more.


RETURN! that to a heart wounded full sore
Valiance and strength may enter in; return!
And Life shall pause at the deserted door,
The cold dead body breathe again and burn.
Oh come! and touch mine eyes, of thy sweet grace,
For I am blind to all but to thy face.
Open the gates and bid me see once more!
Like to a cruel Ethiopian band,
Sorrow despoiled the kingdom of my heart
Return! glad Lord of Rome, and free the land;
Before thine arms the foe shall break and part.
See now, I hold a mirror to mine eyes,
And nought but thy reflection therein lies;
The glass speaks truth to them that understand.
Night is with child, hast thou not heard men say?
"Night is with child! what will she bring to birth?"
I sit and ask the stars when thou'rt away.
Oh come! and when the nightingale of mirth
Pipes in the Spring-awakened garden ground,
In Hafiz' heart shall ring a sweeter sound,
Diviner nightingales attune their lay.


WHAT is wrought in the forge of the living and life--
All things are nought! Ho! fill me the bowl,
For nought is the gear of the world and the strife!
One passion has quickened the heart and the soul,
The Beloved's presence alone they have sought--
Love at least exists; yet if Love were not,
Heart and soul would sink to the common lot--
All things are nought!
Like an empty cup is the fate of each,
That each must fill from Life's mighty flood;
Nought thy toil, though to Paradise gate thou reach,
If Another has filled up thy cup with blood;
Neither shade from the sweet-fruited trees could be bought
By thy praying-oh Cypress of Truth, dost not see
That Sidreh and Tuba were nought, and to thee
All then were nought!
The span of thy life is as five little days,
Brief hours and swift in this halting-place;
Rest softly, ah rest! while the Shadow delays,
For Time's self is nought and the dial's face.
On the lip of Oblivion we linger, and short
Is the way from the Lip to the Mouth where we pass
While the moment is thine, fill, oh Saki, the glass
Ere all is nought!
Consider the rose that breaks into flower,
Neither repines though she fade and die--
The powers of the world endure for an hour,
But nought shall remain of their majesty.
Be not too sure of your crown, you who thought
That virtue was easy and recompense yours;
From the monastery to the wine-tavern doors
The way is nought
What though I, too, have tasted the salt of my tears,
Though I, too, have burnt in the fires of grief,
Shall I cry aloud to unheeding ears?
Mourn and be silent! nought brings relief.
Thou, Hafiz, art praised for the songs thou hast wrought,
But bearing a stained or an honoured name,
The lovers of wine shall make light of thy fame--
All things are nought!


LAY not reproach at the drunkard's door
Oh Fanatic, thou that art pure of soul;
Not thine on the page of life to enrol
The faults of others! Or less or more
I have swerved from my path--keep thou to thine own
For every man when he reaches the goal
Shall reap the harvest his hands have sown.
Leave me the hope of a former grace--
Till the curtain is lifted none can tell
Whether in Heaven or deepest Hell,
Fair or vile, shall appear his face.
Alike the drunk and the strict of fare
For his mistress yearns--in the mosque Love doth dwell
And the church, for his lodging is everywhere.
If without the house of devotion I stand,
I am not the first to throw wide the door
My father opened it long before,
The eternal Paradise slipped from his hand.
All you that misconstrue my words' intent,
I lie on the bricks of the tavern floor,
And a brick shall serve me for argument.
Heaven's garden future treasures may yield--
Ah, make the most of earth's treasury!
The flickering shade of the willow-tree,
And the grass-grown lip of the fruitful field.
Trust not in deeds--the Eternal Day
Shall reveal the Creator's sentence on thee;
But till then, what His finger has writ, who can say.
Bring the cup in thine hand to the Judgment-seat;
Thou shalt rise, oh Hafiz, to Heaven's gate
From the tavern where thou hast tarried late.
And if thou hast worshipped wine, thou shalt meet
The reward that the Faithful attain;
If such thy life, then fear not thy fate,
Thou shalt not have lived and worshipped in vain.


SLAVES of thy shining eyes are even those
That diadems of might and empire bear;
Drunk with the wine that from thy red lip flows,
Are they that e'en the grape's delight forswear.
Drift, like the wind across a violet bed,
Before thy many lovers, weeping low,
And clad like violets in blue robes of woe,
Who feel thy wind-blown hair and bow the head.
Thy messenger the breath of dawn, and mine
A stream of tears, since lover and beloved
Keep not their secret; through my verses shine,
Though other lays my flower's grace have proved
And countless nightingales have sung thy praise.
When veiled beneath thy curls thou passest, see,
To right and leftward those that welcome thee
Have bartered peace and rest on thee to gaze!
But thou that knowest God by heart, away!
Wine-drunk, love-drunk, we inherit Paradise,
His mercy is for sinners; hence and pray
Where wine thy cheek red as red erghwan dyes,
And leave the cell to faces sinister.
Oh Khizr, whose happy feet bathed in life's fount,
Help one who toils afoot-the horsemen mount
And hasten on their way; I scarce can stir.
Ah, loose me not! ah, set not Hafiz free
From out the bondage of thy gleaming hair!
Safe only those, safe, and at liberty,
That fast enchained in thy linked ringlets are.
But from the image of his dusty cheek
Learn this from Hafiz: proudest heads shall bend,
And dwellers on the threshold of a friend
Be crown��d with the dust that crowns the meek.


WHAT drunkenness is this that brings me hope--
Who was the Cup-bearer, and whence the wine?
That minstrel singing with full voice divine,
What lay was his? for 'mid the woven rope
Of song, he brought word from my Friend to me
Set to his melody.
The wind itself bore joy to Solomon;
The Lapwing flew from Sheba's garden close,
Bringing good tidings of its queen and rose.
Take thou the cup and go where meadows span
The plain, whither the bird with tuneful throat
Has brought Spring's sweeter note.
Welcome, oh rose, and full-blown eglantine!
The violets their scented gladness fling,
Jasmin breathes purity-art sorrowing
Like an unopened bud, oh heart of mine?
The wind of dawn that sets closed blossoms free
Brings its warm airs to thee.
Saki, thy kiss shall still my bitter cry!
Lift up your grief-bowed heads, all ye that weep,
The Healer brings joy's wine-cup--oh, drink deep!
Disciple of the Tavern-priest am I;
The pious Sheikh may promise future bliss,
He brings me where joy is.
The greedy glances of a Tartar horde
To me seemed kind--my foeman spared me not
Though one poor robe was all that I had got.
But Heaven served Hafiz, as a slave his lord,
And when he fled through regions desolate,
Heaven brought him to thy gate.


FROM out the street of So-and-So,
Oh wind, bring perfumes sweet to me
For I am sick and pale with woe;
Oh bring me rest from misery!
The dust that lies before her door,
Love's long desired elixir, pour
Upon this wasted heart of mine--
Bring me a promise and a sign!
Between the ambush of mine eyes
And my heart's fort there's enmity--
Her eye-brow's bow, the dart that flies,
Beneath her lashes, bring to me!
Sorrow and absence, glances cold,
Before my time have made me old;
A wine-cup from the hand of Youth
Bring me for pity and for ruth!
Then shall all unbelievers taste
A draught or two of that same wine;
But if they like it not, oh haste!
And let joy's flowing cup be mine.
Cup-bearer, seize to-day, nor wait
Until to-morrow!--or from Fate
Some passport to felicity,
Some written surety bring to me!
My heart threw back the veil of woe,
Consoled by Hafiz melody:
From out the street of So-and-So,
Oh wind, bring perfumes sweet to me!


NOT all the sum of earthly happiness
Is worth the bowed head of a moment's pain,
And if I sell for wine my dervish dress,
Worth more than what I sell is what I gain!
Land where my Lady dwells, thou holdest me
Enchained; else Fars were but a barren soil,
Not worth the journey over land and sea,
Not worth the toil!
Down in the quarter where they sell red wine,
My holy carpet scarce would fetch a cup
How brave a pledge of piety is mine,
Which is not worth a goblet foaming up!
Mine enemy heaped scorn on me and said
"Forth from the tavern gate!" Why am I thrust
From off the threshold? is my fallen head
Not worth the dust?
Wash white that travel-stained sad robe of thine!
Where word and deed alike one colour bear,
The grape's fair purple garment shall outshine
Thy many-coloured rags and tattered gear.
Full easy seemed the sorrow of the sea
Lightened by hope of gain--hope flew too fast
A hundred pearls were poor indemnity,
Not worth the blast.
The Sultan's crown, with priceless jewels set,
Encircles fear of death and constant dread
It is a head-dress much desired--and yet
Art sure 'tis worth the danger to the head?
'Twere best for thee to hide thy face from those
That long for thee; the Conqueror's reward
Is never worth the army's long-drawn woes,
Worth fire and sword.
Ah, seek the treasure of a mind at rest
And store it in the treasury of Ease;
Not worth a loyal heart, a tranquil breast,
Were all the riches of thy lands and seas!
Ah, scorn, like Hafiz, the delights of earth,
Ask not one grain of favour from the base,
Two hundred sacks of jewels were not worth
Thy soul's disgrace


THE rose is not fair without the beloved's face,
Nor merry the Spring without the sweet laughter of wine;
The path through the fields, and winds from a flower strewn place,
Without her bright check, which glows like a tulip fine,
Nor winds softly blowing, fields deep in corn, are fair.
And lips like to sugar, grace like a flower that sways,
Are nought without kisses many and dalliance sweet;
If thousands of voices sang not the rose's praise,
The joy of the cypress her opening bud to greet,
Nor dancing of boughs nor blossoming rose were fair.
Though limned by most skilful fingers, no pictures please
Unless the beloved's image is drawn therein;
The garden and flowers, and hair flowing loose on the breeze,
Unless to my Lady's side I may strive and win,
Nor garden, nor flowers, nor loose flying curls are fair.
Hast seen at a marriage-feast, when the mirth runs high,
The revellers scatter gold with a careless hand?
The gold of thy heart, oh Hafiz, despised doth lie,
Not worthy thy love to be cast by a drunken band
At the feet of her who is fairer than all that's fair.


My lady, that did change this house of mine
Into a heaven when that she dwelt therein,
From head to foot an angel's grace divine
Enwrapped her; pure she was, spotless of sin;
Fair as the moon her countenance, and wise;
Lords of the kind and tender glance, her eyes
With an abounding loveliness did shine.
Then said my heart: Here will I take my rest!
This city breathes her love in every part.
But to a distant bourne was she addressed,
Alas! he knew it not, alas, poor heart!
The influence of some cold malignant star
Has loosed my hand that held her, lone and far
She joumeyeth that lay upon my breast.
Not only did she lift my bosom's veil,
Reveal its inmost secret, but her grace
Drew back the curtain from Heaven's mansions pale,
And gave her there an eternal dwelling-place.
The flower-strewn river lip and meadows fair,
The rose herself but fleeting treasures were,
Regret and Winter follow in their trail.
Dear were the days which perished with my friend--
Ah, what is left of life, now she is dead,
All wisdomless and profitless I spend!
The nightingale his own life's blood doth shed,
When, to the kisses of the wind, the morn
Unveils the rose's splendour-with his torn
And jealous breast he dyes her petals red.
Yet pardon her, oh Heart, for poor wert thou,
A humble dervish on the dusty way;
Crowned with the crown of empire was her brow,
And in the realms of beauty she bore sway.
But all the joy that Hafiz' hand might hold,
Lay in the beads that morn and eve he told,
Worn with God's praise; and see! he holds it now.


NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
From out mine eyes unto my garment's hem
A river flows; perchance my cypress-tree
Beside that stream may rear her lofty stem,
Watering her roots with tears. Ah, bring to me
The wine vessel! since my Love's cheek is hid,
A flood of grief comes from my heart unbid,
And turns mine eyes into a bitter sea!
Nay, by the hand that sells me wine, I vow
No more the brimming cup shall touch my lips,
Until my mistress with her radiant brow
Adorns my feast-until Love's secret slips
From her, as from the candle's tongue of flame,
Though I, the sing��d moth, for very shame,
Dare not extol Love's light without eclipse.
Red wine I worship, and I worship her--
Speak not to me of anything beside,
For nought but these on earth or heaven I care.
What though the proud narcissus flowers defied
Thy shining eyes to prove themselves more bright,
Yet heed them not! those that are clear of sight
Follow not them to whom all light's denied.
Before the tavern door a Christian sang
To sound of pipe and drum, what time the earth
Awaited the white dawn, and gaily rang
Upon mine ear those harbingers of mirth:
"If the True Faith be such as thou dost say,
Alas! my Hafiz, that this sweet To-day
Should bring unknown To-morrow to the birth!"


THE days of absence and the bitter nights
Of separation, all are at an end!
Where is the influence of the star that blights
My hope? The omen answers: At an end!
Autumn's abundance, creeping Autumn's mirth,
Are ended and forgot when o'er the earth
The wind of Spring with soft warm feet doth wend.
The Day of Hope, hid beneath Sorrow's veil,
Has shown its face--ah, cry that all may hear:
Come forth! the powers of night no more prevail!
Praise be to God, now that the rose is near
With long-desired and flaming coronet,
The cruel stinging thorns all men forget,
The wind of Winter ends its proud career.
The long confusion of the nights that were,
Anguish that dwelt within my heart, is o'er;
'Neath the protection of my lady's hair
Grief nor disquiet come to me no more.
What though her curls wrought all my misery,
My lady's gracious face can comfort me,
And at the end give what I sorrow for.
Light-hearted to the tavern let me go,
Where laughs the pipe, the merry cymbals kiss;
Under the history of all my woe,
My mistress sets her hand and writes: Finis.
Oh, linger not, nor trust the inconstant days
That promised: Where thou art thy lady stays--
The tale of separation ends with this!
Joy's certain path, oh Saki, thou hast shown--
Long may thy cup be full, thy days be fair!
Trouble and sickness from my breast have flown,
Order and health thy wisdom marshals there.
Not one that numbered Hafiz' name among
The great-unnumbered were his tears, unsung;
Praise him that sets an end to endless care!


THE secret draught of wine and love repressed
Are joys foundationless--then come whate'er
May come, slave to the grape I stand confessed!
Unloose, oh friend, the knot of thy heart's care,
Despite the warning that the Heavens reveal!
For all his thought, never astronomer
That loosed the knot of Fate those Heavens conceal!
Not all the changes that thy days unfold
Shall rouse thy wonder; Time's revolving sphere
Over a thousand lives like thine has rolled.
That cup within thy fingers, dost not hear
The voices of dead kings speak through the clay
Kobad, Bahman, Djemshid, their dust is here,
"Gently upon me set thy lips!" they say.
What man can tell where Kaus and Kai have gone?
Who knows where even now the restless wind
Scatters the dust of Djem's imperial throne?
And where the tulip, following close behind
The feet of Spring, her scarlet chalice rears,
There Ferhad for the love of Shirin pined,
Dyeing the desert red with his heart's tears.
Bring, bring the cup! drink we while yet we may
To our soul's ruin the forbidden draught
Perhaps a treasure-trove is hid away
Among those ruins where the wine has laughed!--
Perhaps the tulip knows the fickleness
Of Fortune's smile, for on her stalk's green shaft
She bears a wine-cup through the wilderness.
The murmuring stream of Ruknabad, the breeze
That blows from out Mosalla's fair pleasaunce,
Summon me back when I would seek heart's ease,
Travelling afar; what though Love's countenance
Be turned full harsh and sorrowful on me,
I care not so that Time's unfriendly glance
Still from my Lady's beauty turned be.
Like Hafiz, drain the goblet cheerfully
While minstrels touch the lute and sweetly sing,
For all that makes thy heart rejoice in thee
Hangs of Life's single, slender, silken string.


My friend has fled! alas, my friend has fled,
And left me nought but tears and pain behind!
Like smoke above a flame caught by the wind,
So rose she from my breast and forth she sped.
Drunk with desire, I seized Love's cup divine,
But she that held it poured the bitter wine
Of Separation into it and fled.
The hunter she, and I the helpless prey;
Wounded and sick, round me her toils she drew,
My heart into a sea of sorrow threw,
Bound up her camel loads and fled away.
Fain had I laid an ambush for her soul,
She saw and vanished, and the timid foal,
Good Fortune, slipped the rein and would not stay.
My heart was all too narrow for my woe,
And tears of blood my weeping eyes have shed,
A crimson stream across the desert sped,
Rising from out my sad heart's overflow.
She knew not what Love's meanest slave can tell:
"'Tis sweet to serve!" but threw me a Farewell,
Kissing my threshold, turned, and cried "I go!"
In the clear dawn, before the east was red,
Before the rose had torn her veil in two,
A nightingale through Hafiz' garden flew,
Stayed but to fill its song with tears, and fled.


HAST thou forgotten when thy stolen glance
Was turned to me, when on my happy face
Clearly thy love was writ, which doth enhance
All happiness? or when my sore disgrace
(Hast thou forgot?) drew from thine eyes reproof,
And made thee hold thy sweet red lips aloof,
Dowered, like Jesus's breath, with healing grace?
Hast thou forgotten how the glorious
Swift nights flew past, the cup of dawn brimmed high?
My love and I alone, God favouring us!
Andwhen she like a waning moon did lie,
And Steep had drawn his coif about her brow,
Hast thou forgot? Heaven's crescent moon would bow
The head, and in her service pace the sky!
Hast thou forgotten, when a sojourner
Within the tavern gates and drunk with wine,
I found Love's passionate wisdom hidden there,
Which in the mosque none even now divine?
The goblet's carbuncle (hast thou forgot?)
Laughed out aloud, and speech flew hot
And fast between thy ruby lips and mine!
Hast thou forgotten when thy cheek's dear torch
Lighted the beacon of desire in me,
And when my heart, like foolish moths that scorch
Their wings and yet return, turned all to thee?
Within the banquet-hall of Good Repute
(Hast thou forgot?) the wine's self-pressed my suit,
And filled the morn with drunken jollity!
Hast thou forgotten when thou laid'st aright
The uncut gems of Hafiz' inmost thought,
And side by side thy sweet care strung the bright
Array of verse on verse-hast thou forgot?


FROM Canaan Joseph shall return, whose face
A little time was hidden: weep no more--
Oh, weep no more! in sorrow's dwelling-place
The roses yet shall spring from the bare floor!
And heart bowed down beneath a secret pain--
Oh stricken heart! joy shall return again,
Peace to the love-tossed brain--oh, weep no more!
Oh, weep no more! for once again Life's Spring
Shall throne her in the meadows green, and o'er
Her head the minstrel of the night shall fling
A canopy of rose leaves, score on score.
The secret of the world thou shalt not learn,
And yet behind the veil Love's fire may burn--
Weep'st thou? let hope return and weep no more!
To-day may pass, to-morrow pass, before
The turning wheel give me my heart's desire;
Heaven's self shall change, and turn not evermore
The universal wheel of Fate in ire.
Oh Pilgr'm nearing Mecca's holy fane,
The thorny maghilan wounds thee in vain,
The desert blooms again--oh, weep no more!
What though the river of mortality
Round the unstable house of Life doth roar,
Weep not, oh heart, Noah shall pilot thee,
And guide thine ark to the desir��d shore!
The goal lies far, and perilous is thy road,
Yet every path leads to that same abode
Where thou shalt drop thy load--oh, weep no more!
Mine enemies have persecuted me,
My Love has turned and fled from out my door--
God counts our tears and knows our misery;
Ah, weep not! He has heard thy weeping sore.
And chained in poverty and plunged in night,
Oh Hafiz, take thy Koran and recite
Litanies infinite, and weep no more!


ALL hail, Shiraz, hail! oh site without peer!
May God be the Watchman before thy gate,
That the feet of Misfortune enter not here!
Lest my Ruknabad be left desolate,
A hundred times, "God forbid!" I pray;
Its limpid stream where the shadows wait
Like the fount of Khizr giveth life for aye.
'Twixt Jafrabad and Mosalla's close
Flies the north wind laden with ambergris--
Oh, come to Shiraz when the north wind blows!
There abideth the angel Gabriel's peace
With him who is lord of its treasures; the fame
Of the sugar of Egypt shall fade and cease,
For the breath of our beauties has put it to shame.
Oh wind that blows from the sun-rising,
What news of the maid with the drunken eyes,
What news of the lovely maid dost thou bring?
Bid me not wake from my dream and arise,
In dreams I have rested my head at her feet--
When stillness unbroken around me lies,
The vision of her makes my solitude sweet.
If for wine the Cup-bearer pour forth my blood,
As the milk from a mother's bosom flows,
At his word let my heart yield its crimson flood.
But, Hafiz, Hafiz! thou art of those
For ever fearing lest absence be near;
For the days when thou held'st the Beloved close,
Why rise not thy thanks so that all may hear?


THE breath of Dawn's musk-strewing wind shall blow,
The ancient world shall turn to youth again,
And other wines from out Spring's chalice flow;
Wine-red, the judas-tree shall set before
The pure white jessamine a brimming cup,
And wind flowers lift their scarlet chalice up
For the star-pale narcissus to adore.
The long-drawn tyranny of grief shall pass,
Parting shall end in meeting, the lament
Of the sad bird that sang "Alas, alas!"
Shall reach the rose in her red-curtained tent.
Forth from the mosque! the tavern calls to me!
Would'st hinder us? The preacher's homily
Is long, but life will soon be spent!
Ah, foolish Heart! the pleasures of To-day,
If thou abandon, will To-morrow stand
Thy surety for the gold thou'st thrown away?
In Sha'aban the troops of Grief disband,
And crown the hours with wine's red coronet--
The sun of merriment ere long will set,
And meagre Ramazan is close at hand!
Dear is the rose--now, now her sweets proclaim,
While yet the purple petals blush and blow;
Hither adown the path of Spring she came,
And by the path of Autumn she will go.
Now, while we listen, Minstrel, tune thy lay!
Thyself hast said: "The Present steals away
The Future comes, and bringing--what? Dost know?"
Summoned by thy melody did Hafiz rise
Out of the darkness near thy lips to dwell;
Back to the dark again his pathway lies--
Sing out, sing clear, and singing cry: Farewell!


UPON a branch of the straight cypress-tree
Once more the patient nightingale doth rest:
"Oh Rose!" he cries, "evil be turned from thee!
I sing thee all men's thanks; thou blossomest
And hope springs up in every joyless heart--
Let not the nightingale lament apart,
Nor with thy proud thorns wound his faithful breast."
I will not mourn my woeful banishment,
He that has hungered for his lady's face
Shall, when she cometh, know a great content.
The Zealot seeks a heavenly dwelling-place,
Huris to welcome him in Paradise;
Here at the tavern gate my heaven lies,
I need no welcome but my lady's grace.
Better to drink red wine than tears, say I,
While the lute sings; and if one bid thee cease,
"God is the merciful!" thou shalt reply.
To some, life brings but joy and endless ease;
Ah, let them laugh although the jest be vain!
For me the source of pleasure lay in pain,
And weeping for my lady I found peace.
Hafiz, why art thou ever telling o'er
The tale of absence and of sorrow's night?
Knowest thou not that parting goes before
All meeting, and from darkness comes the light!


THE jewel of the secret treasury
Is still the same as once it was; the seal
Upon Love's treasure casket, and the key,
Are still what thieves can neither break nor steal;
Still among lovers loyalty is found,
And therefore faithful eyes still strew the ground
With the same pearls that mine once strewed for thee.
Question the wandering winds and thou shalt know
That from the dusk until the dawn doth break,
My consolation is that still they blow
The perfume of thy curls across my cheek.
A dart from thy bent brows has wounded me--
Ah, come! my heart still waiteth helplessly,
Has waited ever, till thou heal its pain.
If seekers after rubies there were none,
Still to the dark mines where the gems had lain
Would pierce, as he was wont, the radiant sun,
Setting the stones ablaze. Would'st hide the stain
Of my heart's blood? Blood-red the ruby glows
(And whence it came my wounded bosom knows)
Upon thy lips to show what thou hast done.
Let not thy curls waylay my pilgrim soul,
As robbers use, and plunder me no more!
Years join dead year, but thine extortionate rule
Is still the same, merciless as before.
Sing, Hafiz, sing again of eyes that weep!
For still the fountain of our tears is deep
As once it was, and still with tears is full.


LAST night I dreamed that angels stood without
The tavern door, and knocked in vain, and wept;
They took the clay of Adam, and, methought,
Moulded a cup therewith while all men slept.
Oh dwellers in the halls of Chastity!
You brought Love's passionate red wine to me,
Down to the dust I am, your bright feet stept.
For Heaven's self was all too weak to bear
The burden of His love God laid on it,
He turned to seek a messenger elsewhere,
And in the Book of Fate my name was writ.
Between my Lord and me such concord lies.
As makes the Huris glad in Paradise,
With songs of praise through the green glades they flit.
A hundred dreams of Fancy's garnered store
Assail me--Father Adam went astray
Tempted by one poor grain of corn! Wherefore
Absolve and pardon him that turns away
Though the soft breath of Truth reaches his ears,
For two-and-seventy jangling creeds he hears,
And loud-voiced Fable calls him ceaselessly.
That, that is not the flame of Love's true fire
Which makes the torchlight shadows dance in rings,
But where the radiance draws the moth's desire
And send him forth with scorched and drooping wings.
The heart of one who dwells retired shall break,
Rememb'ring a black mole and a red cheek,
And his life ebb, sapped at its secret springs.
Yet since the earliest time that man has sought
To comb the locks of Speech, his goodly bride,
Not one, like Hafiz, from the face of Thought
Has torn the veil of Ignorance aside.


FORGET not when dear friend to friend returned,
Forget not days gone by, forget them not!
My mouth has tasted bitterness, and learned
To drink the envenomed cup of mortal lot;
Forget not when a sweeter draught was mine,
Loud rose the songs of them that drank that wine--
Forget them not!
Forget not loyal lovers long since dead,
Though faith and loyalty should be forgot,
Though the earth cover the enamoured head,
And in the dust wisdom and passion rot.
My friends have thrust me from their memory;
Vainly a thousand thousand times I cry:
Forget me not!
Weary I turn me to my bonds again.
Once there were hands strong to deliver me,
Forget not when they broke a poor slave's chain!
Though from mine eyes tears flow unceasingly,
I think on them whose rose gardens are set
Beside the Zindeh Rud, and I forget
Life's misery.
Sorrow has made her lair in my breast,
And undisturbed she lies--forget them not
That drove her forth like to a hunted beast!
Hafiz, thou and thy tears shall be forgot,
Lock fast the gates of thy sad heart! But those
That held the key to thine unspoken woes--
Forget them not!


BELOVED, who has bid thee ask no more
How fares my life? to play the enemy
And ask not where he dwells that was thy friend?
Thou art the breath of mercy passing o'er
The whole wide world, and the offender I
Ah, let the rift my tears have channelled end,
Question the past no more!
If thou would'st know the secret of Love's fire,
It shall be manifest unto thine eyes:
Question the torch flame burning steadfastly,
But ask no more the sweet wind's wayward choir.
Ask me of faith and love that never dies;
Darius, Alexander's sovereignty,
I sing of these no more.
Ask not the monk to give thee Truth's pure gold,
He hides no riches 'neath his lying guise;
And ask not him to teach thee alchemy
Whose treasure-house is bare, his hearth-stone cold.
Ask to what goal the wandering dervish hies,
They knew not his desire who counselled thee:
Question his rags no more!
And in their learned books thou'lt seek in vain
The key to Love's locked gateway; Heart grown wise
In pain and sorrow, ask no remedy!
But when the time of roses comes again,
Take what it gives, oh Hafiz, ere it flies,
And ask not why the hour has brought it thee,
And wherefore ask no more!


ARISE! and fill a golden goblet up
Until the wine of pleasure overflow,
Before into thy skull's pale empty cup
A grimmer Cup-bearer the dust shall throw.
Yea, to the Vale of Silence we must come;
Yet shall the flagon laugh and Heaven's dome
Thrill with an answering echo ere we go!
Thou knowest that the riches of this field
Make no abiding, let the goblet's fire
Consume the fleeting harvest Earth may yield!
Oh Cypress-tree! green home of Love's sweet choir,
When I unto the dust I am have passed,
Forget thy former wantonness, and cast
Thy shadow o'er the dust of my desire.
Flow, bitter tears, and wash me clean! for they
Whose feet are set upon the road that lies
'Twixt Earth and Heaven Thou shalt be pure," they say,
"Before unto the pure thou lift thine eyes."
Seeing but himself, the Zealot sees but sin;
Grief to the mirror of his soul let in,
Oh Lord, and cloud it with the breath of sighs!
No tainted eye shall gaze upon her face,
No glass but that of an unsullied heart
Shall dare reflect my Lady's perfect grace.
Though like to snakes that from the herbage start,
Thy curling locks have wounded me full sore,
Thy red lips hold the power of the bezoar--
Ah, touch and heat me where I lie apart!
And when from her the wind blows perfume sweet,
Tear, Hafiz, like the rose, thy robe in two,
And cast thy rags beneath her flying feet,
To deck the place thy mistress passes through.


I CEASE not from desire till my desire
Is satisfied; or let my mouth attain
My love's red mouth, or let my soul expire,
Sighed from those lips that sought her lips in vain.
Others may find another love as fair;
Upon her threshold I have laid my head,
The dust shall cover me, still lying there,
When from my body life and love have fled.

My soul is on my lips ready to fly,
But grief beats in my heart and will not cease,
Because not once, not once before I die,
Will her sweet lips give all my longing peace.
My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh
For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire;
When will that mouth draw near and make reply
To one whose life is straitened with desire?

When I am dead, open my grave and see
The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:
In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;
Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!
Ah, come, Beloved! for the meadows wait
Thy coming, and the thorn bears flowers instead
Of thorns, the cypress fruit, and desolate
Bare winter from before thy steps has fled.

Hoping within some garden ground to find
A red rose soft and sweet as thy soft cheek,
Through every meadow blows the western wind,
Through every garden he is fain to seek.
Reveal thy face! that the whole world may be
Bewildered by thy radiant loveliness;
The cry of man and woman comes to thee,
Open thy lips and comfort their distress!

Each curling lock of thy luxuriant hair
Breaks into barb��d hooks to catch my heart,
My broken heart is wounded everywhere
With countless wounds from which the red drops start.
Yet when sad lovers meet and tell their sighs,
Not without praise shall Hafiz' name be said,
Not without tears, in those pale companies
Where joy has been forgot and hope has fled.


CYPRESS and Tulip and sweet Eglantine,
Of these the tale from lip to lip is sent;
Washed by three cups, oh Saki, of thy wine,
My song shall turn upon this argument.
Spring, bride of all the meadows, rises up,
Clothed in her ripest beauty: fill the cup!
Of Spring's handmaidens runs this song of mine.
The sugar-loving birds of distant Ind,
Except a Persian sweetmeat that was brought
To fair Bengal, have found nought to their mind.
See how my song, that in one night was wrought,
Defies the limits set by space and time!
O'er plains and mountain-tops my fearless rhyme,
Child of a night, its year-long road shall find.
And thou whose sense is dimmed with piety,
Thou too shalt learn the magic of her eyes;
Forth comes the caravan of sorcery
When from those gates the blue-veined curtains rise.
And when she walks the flowery meadows through,
Upon the jasmine's sham��d cheek the dew
Gathers like sweat, she is so fair to see!
Ah, swerve not from the path of righteousness
Though the world lure thee! like a wrinkled crone,
Hiding beneath her robe lasciviousness,
She plunders them that pause and heed her moan.
From Sinai Moses brings thee wealth untold;
Bow not thine head before the calf of gold
Like Samir, following after wickedness.
From the Shah's garden blows the wind of Spring,
The tulip in her lifted chalice bears
A dewy wine of Heaven's minist'ring
Until Ghiyasuddin, the Sultan, hears,
Sing, Hafiz, of thy longing for his face.
The breezes whispering round thy dwelling-place
Shall carry thy lament unto the King.


TITLE: The Song of the Reed
DATE: 07/13/2008 15:54:42

Listen to the song of the reed,
How it wails with the pain of separation:

"Ever since I was taken from my reed bed
My woeful song has caused men and women to weep.
I seek out those whose hearts are torn by separation
For only they understand the pain of this longing.
Whoever is taken away from his homeland
Yearns for the day he will return.
In every gathering, among those who are happy or sad,
I cry with the same lament.
Everyone hears according to his own understanding,
None has searched for the secrets within me.
My secret is found in my lament
But an eye or ear without light cannot know it . . ."

The sound of the reed comes from fire, not wind
What use is one's life without this fire?
It is the fire of love that brings music to the reed.
It is the ferment of love that gives taste to the wine.
The song of the reed soothes the pain of lost love.
Its melody sweeps the veils from the heart.
Can there be a poison so bitter or a sugar so sweet
As the song of the reed?
To hear the song of the reed
everything you have ever known must be left behind.

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved"
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997


as this reed
pipes its plaint
unfolds its tale
of separations:
Cut from my reedy bed
my crying
ever since
makes men and women
I like to keep my breast
carved with loss
to convey
the pain of longing ---
Once severed
from the root
thirst for union
with the source

I raise my plaint
in any kind of crowd
in front of both
the blessed and the bad
For what they think they hear me say, they love me --
None gaze in me my secrets to discern
My secret is not separate from my cry
But ears and eyes lack light to see it.

Not soul from flesh
nor flesh from soul are veiled
yet none is granted leave to see the soul.
Fire, not breath, makes music through that pipe --
Let all who lack that fire be blown away.
It is love's fire that inspires the reed
It's love's ferment that bubbles in the wine
The reed, soother to all sundered lovers --
its piercing modes reveal our hidden pain:
(What's like the reed, both poison and physic,
Soothing as it pines and yearns away?)
The reed tells the tale of a blood-stained quest
singing legends of love's mad obsessions

Only the swooning know such awareness
only the ear can comprehend the tongue

In our sadness time slides listlessly by
the days searing inside us as they pass.

But so what if the days may slip away?
so long as you, Uniquely Pure, abide.

Within this sea drown all who drink but fish
If lived by bread alone, the day seems long
No raw soul ever kens the cooked one's state
So let talk of it be brief; go in piece.

Break off your chains
My son, be free!
How long enslaved
by silver, gold?
Pour the ocean
in a pitcher,
can it hold more
than one day's store?
The jug, like a greedy eye,
never gets its fill
only the contented oyster holds the pearl

The one run ragged by love and haggard
gets purged of all his faults and greeds
Welcome, Love!
sweet salutary suffering
and healer of our maladies!

cure of our pride
of our conceits,
our Plato,
Our Galen!
By Love
our earthly flesh
borne to heaven
our mountains
made supple
moved to dance

Love moved Mount Sinai, my love,
and it made Moses swoon. [K7:143]

Let me touch those harmonious lips
and I, reed-like, will tell what may be told

A man may know a myriad of songs
but cut from those who know his tongue, he's dumb.
Once the rose wilts and the garden fades
the nightingale will no more sing his tune.

The Beloved is everything -- the lover, a veil
The Beloved's alive -- the lover carrion.
Unsuccored by love, the poor lover is
a plucked bird
Without the Beloved's
surrounding illumination
how perceive what's ahead
and what's gone by?

Love commands these words appear
if no mirror reflects them
in whom lies the fault?
The dross obscures your face
and makes your mirror
unable to reflect

-- Mathnawi I: 1 - 34
Translation by Professor Franklin D. Lewis
"Rumi -- Past and Present, East and West"
Oneworld, Oxford, 2000


The Song of the Reed
Mathnawi I: 1-18

Listen* to the reed (flute),* how it is complaining!* It is
telling about separations,*
(Saying), "Ever since I was severed from the reed field,* men and
women have lamented in (the presence of) my shrill cries.*
"(But) I want a heart (which is) torn, torn from separation, so
that I may explain* the pain of yearning."*
"Anyone one who has remained far from his roots,* seeks a return
(to the) time of his union.*
"I lamented in every gathering; I associated with those in bad or
happy circumstances.
"(But) everyone became my friend from his (own) opinion; he did
not seek my secrets* from within me.
"My secret is not far from my lament, but eyes and ears do not
have the light* (to sense it).
"The body is not hidden from the soul, nor the soul from the body;
but seeing the soul is not permitted."*
The reed's cry is fire* -- it's not wind! Whoever doesn't have
this fire, may he be nothing!*
It is the fire of Love that fell into the reeds. (And) it is the
ferment of Love that fell into the wine.*
The reed (is) the companion of anyone who was severed from a
friend; its melodies tore our veils.*
Who has seen a poison and a remedy like the reed? Who has seen
a harmonious companion and a yearning friend like the reed?
The reed is telling the story of the path full of blood;* it is
telling stories of Majnoon's (crazed) love.*
There is no confidant (of) this understanding* except the senseless!
* There is no purchaser of that tongue* except the ear [of the
In our longing,* the days became (like) evenings;* the days
became fellow-travellers with burning fevers.
If the days have passed, tell (them to) go, (and) don't worry.
(But) You remain!* -- O You, whom no one resembles in Purity!
Everyone becomes satiated by water,* except the fish. (And)
everyone who is without daily food [finds that] his days become
None (who is) "raw" can understand the state of the "ripe."*
Therefore, (this) speech must be shortened. So farewell!*

-- From "The Mathnaw��-y�� Ma`naw��" [Rhymed
Couplets of Deep Spiritual Meaning] of
Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard
(with grateful acknowledgement of R.A. Nicholson's
1926 translation)
(c) Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, and

*Listen: states of spiritual ecstasy were induced in sufi gatherings by listening to mystical poetry and music. During such a "mystical concert" [samâ`-- literally, "audition" or "hearing" session] some dervishes would enter a spiritual state of consciousness and spontaneously begin to move. Sometimes they would stand up and dance or whirl. They would listen to the poetry or music as if they were hearing the voice of God, the Beloved. Such gatherings were controversial, were criticized by orthodox Muslim leaders, and were practiced by very few sufi orders-- usually with restrictions and high standards for participants.

*the reed [nay]: a flute made by cutting a length of a naturally hollow reed cane and adding finger holes. "The nay or reed-flute as the poet's favourite musical instrument and has always been associated with the religious services of the Mawlawí ["Whirling Dervish"] Order, in which music and dancing are prominent features." (Nicholson, Commentary). The reed flute symbolizes the soul which is emptied of ego-centered desires and preoccupations and is filled with a spiritual passion to return to its original nearness to God. Rumi said, "The world (is) like a reed pipe [sornây], and He blows into every hole of it; every wail it has (is) certainly from those two lips like sugar. See how He blows into every (piece of) clay (and) into every heart; He gives a need and He gives a love which raises up a lament about misfortune." (Ghazal 532, lines 5664-5665) Rumi also said, "We have all been part of Adam (and ) we have heard those melodies in Paradise. Although (bodily) water and clay have cast skepticism upon us, something of those (melodies) comes (back) to our memory.... Therefore, the mystical concert has become the food of the lovers (of God) for in it is the image of (heavenly) reunion." (Mathnawî IV: 736-737, 742)

*separations: "The point is that while self-conscious lovers complain of separation from the beloved one, and reproach her for her cruelty, the mystic's complaint (shikáyat) is really no more than the tale (hikákat) of his infinite longing for God-- a tale which God inspires him to tell." (Nicholson, Commentary). Rumi said: "I'm complaining [shikâyat mê-kon-am] about the Soul of the soul; but I am not a complainer [shâkê] -- I'm relating words [rawâyat mê-kon-am]. (My) heart keeps saying, 'I'm afflicted by Him!' And I have been laughing at (its) feeble pretense." (Mathnawî I: 1781-82). "Be empty of stomach and cry out, in neediness (neyâz), like the reed flute! Be empty of stomach and tell secrets like the reed pen!" (Divan: Ghazal 1739, line 18239). "Lovers (are) lamenting like the reed flute [nây], and Love is like the Flutist. So, what things will this Love breathe into the reed pipe [sôr-nây] of the body?! The reed pipe is visible, but the pipe-player is hidden. In short, my reed pipe became drunk from the wine of His lips. Sometimes He caresses the reed pipe, sometimes he bites it. (Such) a sigh, because of this sweet-songed reed-breaking Flutist!" (Divan: Ghazal 1936, lines 20374-20376) Nicholson later changed his translation, based on the earliest manuscripts of the Mathnawi, to "Listen to this reed how it complains: it is telling a tale of separations" (from, "Listen to the reed how it tells a tale, complaining of separations." This is what the earliest known manuscript has. (This is the "Konya Manuscript," completed five years after Rumi died, and written by Muhammad ibn Abdullâh Qûnyawî, a disciple of Rumi's son, Sultân Walad, under his supervision together with Husâmuddîn Chelabî -- who was present with Rumi during the dictation of every verse of the Mathnawi.) All manuscripts and editions after the 13th century adopted a changed (and "improved") version of this line: "Listen from the nay, how it tells a story... [be-sh'naw az nay chûn Hikâyat mê-kon-ad / az jodâ'îy-hâ shikâyat mê-kon-ad].

*the reed field [nay-estân]: lit., "place of reeds." A symbol for the original homeland of the soul, when it existed harmoniously in the presence of God. "... referring to the descent of the soul from the sphere of Pure Being and Absolute Unity, to which it belongs and
would fain return." (Nicholson, Commentary)

*in (the presence of) my shrill cries: Nicholson later changed his translation, based on the earliest manuscript, to: "man and woman have moaned in (unison) with my lament" [dar nafîr-am] (from, "my lament hath caused [az nafîr-am] man and woman to moan").

*explain: a pun on the two meanings of the same word [sharH], "explanation" and "torn."

*the pain of yearning: The longing of love is painful, because of separation-- yet also sweet. This is because the longing brings remembrance of the beloved's beauty. Longing for nearness to a human beloved, such as a spiritual master, is a means for the spiritual disciple to increase his longing for nearness to God, the only Beloved. Rumi said: "If thought of (longing) sorrow is highway-robbing (your) joy, (yet) it is working out a means to provide joy.... It is scattering the yellow leaves from the branch of the heart so that continual green leaves may grow.... Whatever (longing) sorrow sheds or takes from the heart, truly it will bring better in exchange." (Mathnawi V:3678, 3680, 3683)

*roots: also means foundation, source, origin.

*union: also means being joined.

*my secrets: "The Perfect Man (prophet or saint) is a stranger in the world, unable to communicate his sorrows or share his mystic knowledge except with one of his own kind; he converses with all sorts of people, worldly and spiritual alike, but cannot win from them the heartfelt sympathy and real understanding which he craves. This is the obvious sense of the passage, and adequate so far as it goes, but behind it lies a far-reaching doctrine concerning the spiritual "Descent of Man.' .... The whole series of planes forms the so-called 'Circle of Existence', which begins in God and ends in God and is traversed by the soul in its downward journey through the Intelligences, the Spheres, and the Elements and then upward again, stage by stage-- mineral, vegetable, animal, and man-- till as Perfect man it completes its evolution and is re-united with the Divine Soul..." (Nicholson, Commentary)

*the light: refers to the ancient Greek theory of Galen, that vision is caused by an "inner light" within the eye. Similarly, the faculty of hearing was believed to be caused by an "inner air" within the ear.

*not permitted: "As the vital spirit, though united with the body, is invisible, so the inmost ground of words issuing from an inspired saint cannot be perceived by the physical senses." (Nicholson, Commentary) The reed flute's speech ends here, and Rumi's commentary begins next.

*The reed's cry is fire: Nicholson, in his Commentary, quotes Rumi's verse (Divan, Ghazal 2994, line 31831): "The flute is all afire and the world is wrapped in smoke; / For fiery is the call of Love that issues from the flute."

*may he be nothing [nêst bâd]: a pun on another meaning of these words -- "it's not wind." It means, "May he experience absence of self so that he may burn with yearning love for the presence of the Beloved." Nicholson interpreted that this means, "The Mathnawí is not mere words; its inspiration comes from God, whose essence is Love. May those yet untouched by the Divine flame be naughted, i.e. die to self!" He said that the words here [nêst bâd] "should not be taken as an imprecation [== a cursing]; the poet, I think, prays that by Divine grace his hearers may be enraptured and lose themselves in God." (Commentary)

*into the wine: "i.e. Love kindles rapture in the heart and makes it like a cup of foaming wine." (Nicholson, Commentary)

*tore our veils [parda-hâ]: a pun on the two meanings of this word, "veils" and "melodies." The meaning of this line is that the sounds of pure yearning from the reed flute tore through the veils covering up the inward spiritual yearning of listening mystics -- the sufis, who have had the capacity to understand the meaning of the reed flute's melodious wails. This is a reference to the "mystical concert"[samâ`] of the Mevlevi ("Whirling") dervishes in which the reed flute is prominent.

*the path full of blood: "the thorny path of Love, strewn with(Díwán, SP, XLIV, 6) 'with thousands slain of desire who manfully yielded up their lives'; for Love 'consumes everything else but the Beloved' (Math. V 588)." (Nicholson, Commentary)

*Majnoon's crazed love: "Majnún: the mad lover of Laylà: in Súfí literature, a type of mystical self-abandonment." Nicholson, Commentary). Majnoon (lit., "jinn-possessed") was a legendary Arab lover whose love for the beautiful Laylà [lit., "of the night"] made him crazy. Majnoon's love for Layla also symbolizes the perception of spiritual realities seen only by mystics, as in Rumi's lines: "The Caliph said to Layla, Are you the one by whom Majnoon became disturbed and led astray? You are not more (beautiful) than other fair ones. She said, Be silent, since you are not Majnoon!"(Mathnawi I: 407-08; see also V:1999-2019, 3286-99) This "craziness" of being an ecstatic mystic lover of God is quite different from the craziness of being psychotic or mentally ill.

*this understanding: "the spiritual or universal reason (`aql-i ma`ád) and transcendental consciousness of those who have escaped from the bondage of the carnal or discursive reason (`aql-i ma`ásh)."(Nicholson, Commentary)

*the senseless [bê-hôsh]: a play on "understanding" (hôsh), and also means devoid of understanding lacking reason, swooned and insensible. The meaning is that no one can understand mystical understanding except one who is able to transcend the intellect.

*that tongue: an idiom for language. The meaning is that only a mystic who is capable of passing beyond the senses and ordinary mind has an "ear" which can understand the "tongue" or language of the heart. Nicholson explained: "i.e. every one desires to hear what is suitable to his understanding; hence the mysteries of Divine Love cannot be communicated to the vulgar" [== ordinary people].(Commentary)

*longing [gham]: lit., "grief." An idiom here, meaning the suffering of longing love.

*evenings [bê-gâh]: An idiom meaning "evening." Means that the days became quickly used-up. Nicholson (1926) erred in translating this idiom too literally as "untimely." (I am indebted to Dr. Ravan Farhadi, an Afghan scholar, for this understanding of the idiom.)

*but You remain: 26. God is addressed directly as "Thou," or perhaps indirectly as "Love." "The meaning is: 'What matter though our lives pass away in the tribulation of love, so long as the Beloved remains?'" (Nicholson, Commentary)

*water (âbash): Nicholson later corrected his translation to, "except the fish, every one becomes sated with water" (from, "Whoever is not a fish becomes sated with His water"). As Nicholson pointed out, the word for "water" here [âbash] is a noun (as in III: 1960-- Commentary). It therefore does not mean "his water" or "water for him" [âb-ash]. Nicholson also explained: "The infinite Divine grace is to the gnostic [== mystic knower] what water is to the fish, but his thirst can never be quenched." (Commentary)

*become long: Nicholson mentions this as "alluding to the proverb, harkih bí-sír-ast rúz-ash dír-ast" [The day are long for whoever is without satisfaction] (Commentary)

*the state of the ripe [pokhta]: refers to the spiriual state of the spiritually mature, experienced, refined. This contrasts to the state of the raw [khâm]-- the unripe, immature, inexperienced, uncooked, the one who bears no fruit. Rumi has been quoted as saying, "The result of my life is no more than three words: I was raw [khâm], I became cooked [pokhta], I was burnt [sokht]." However, this is not supported by the earliest manuscripts (collected by Faruzanfar), only one of which contains the following: "The result for me is no more than these three words: I am burnt, I am burnt, I am burnt (or: I am inflamed, burned, and consumed-- Divan, Ghazal 1768, line 18521). In Rumi's famous story of the man who knocked on the door of a friend, the visitor was asked who he was and he answered, "Me." He was told to go, for he was too "raw" [khâm]. The man was then "cooked" by the fire of separation and returned a year later. Asked who he was, he answered, "Only you are at the door, O beloved." His spiritual friend then said, "Now, since you are me, O me, come in. There isn't any room for two me's in the house!" (Mathnawi I: 3056-63)

*farewell: Here, Rumi's famous first eighteen verses end. Rumi's close disciple, Husamuddin Chelebi had asked him one night: "'The collections of odes [ghazalîyât] have become plentiful.... But) if there could be a book with the quality of (the sufi poet Sana'i's) 'Book of the Divine,' yet in the (mathnawi) meter of (the sufi poet Attar's) 'Speech of the Birds,' so that it might be memorized among the knowers and be the intimate companion of the souls of the lovers ... so that they would occupy themselves with nothing else...' At that moment, from the top of his blessed turban, he [Rumi] put into Chelebi Husamuddin's hand a portion (of verses), which was the Explainer of the secrets of Universals and particulars. And in there were the eighteen verses of the beginning of the Mathnawi: 'Listen to this reed, how it tells a tale...." (Aflaki, pp. 739-741) After that, Husamuddin was present with Rumi for every verse he composed of the Mathnawi during the next twelve years until Rumi's death. The number eighteen has been considered sacred in the Mevlevi tradition ever since.

TITLE: Dream of Colours
DATE: 05/14/2008 09:45:06

Dream of Colours
30 May 2008 / 18.00
The John Thaw Studio Theatre – Martin Harris Centre

Once upon a time she had a colourful dream. First there wasn’t; then there was…! She had a dream of becoming free from all the known and unknown…(b)orders…

Everyone is welcome to the performance, as it is FREE!

Please don’t see this show if you have no dreams; if you know exactly what you want in your life, or if you think everything is alright! If you are fanatic about anything, please don’t show up: Not because you are not invited….! !…BUT because we give you the ‘freedom’ of not seeing, hearing, thinking and feeling in a way you wouldn’t like. We don’t want you to suffer, and protect you from something you wouldn’t enjoy! We respect your likings, and love you even in your ‘a(b)sence’!
We are dreamers. Our apologies if we cannot ‘change’ anything in the real world!
This is all we can offer:
The Freedom of Presence

Please don’t Come and See the show!

Performer: Aida Foroutan
Performance time: 18.00 pm
Running time: 50 mins
Admission Price: £3.00

How to find us

'If you come to visit us,
You will find us behind the realm of naught.
Behind naught there is a place
Where the veins of the air is full of dandelions
Who bring the happy tidings of flowers blossoming at the farthest bush.
Over the sands also you can see the delicate footsteps of the horseman who mounted the anemone hill of ascension at morning.
Beyond the realm of naught, the umbrella of desire has been spread
So that the breeze of thirst can run into the root of the leave,
The siren of the rain resounds.
Some are lonely here,
And in this loneliness the shade of an elm tree stretches to eternity.
If you come to visit us,
Come gently and slowly lest the fragile china
of our solitude cracks.'[1]
Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama
University of Manchester
Bridgeford St, Manchester
GB, M13 9PL

Related Link:

Dream of Colours

[1] The general idea of the poem is taken from Sohrab Sepehri’s poem called: An Oasis in the Moment.