Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Rumi’s Norouz Greeting

Text from the facsimile edition of the oldest extant manuscript of the Masnavi, dated 577 AH/ 1278 AD, folio 281A, in the Konya Mavlānā Museum, published by the Turkish Ministry of Culture, 1993. Image courtesy of Alan Williams.

Now leave this, father, New Year’s Day is come,         
the creatures’ mouths are sweetened by our Maker.
Back to our river came the spirit’s water,                     
our King has come back to our neighbourhood.
Fortune parades herself and trails her skirts,                 
and beats the drum to break vows of repentance.
Once more the flood has swept away repentance,      
our chance has come now sleep has got the watchman.
The drinkers quaffed the wine and all got sloshed!    
Tonight we’re going to wager our possessions!
From ruby life-increasing spirit-wine                               
we’re ruby in a ruby in a ruby.
The place has come alive again – delightful!                
Go burn esfand against the evil eye!
I hear the noise of happy revellers!                               
Beloved, we must always be like this!...

Translated by Alan Williams from the Sixth book of Rumi’s Masnavi, ed. R.A. Nicholson vv. 939-946 (ed. M. Este‘lami 944-951).

Alan Williams is British Academy Wolfson Research Professor 2013-2016 and is also Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester, England. 

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