OH heaven, who makest war on cowering hearts, by thy hand the robe of the world is rent, thou driest up the waters of hope, thou makest blind the eyes of fortune. By thy power the glass of pleasure is hurled against the stony rock, and the cheek of joy made pale; 'tis thou who lettest man lose the thread of life so that none finds the desire of his heart; thy heart is as iron, thou hardenest thy face like stone. Brave art thou in slaying the defenceless: Majnun* lost his heart by thy will and fell in the dust overwhelmed with sorrow. Ferhool* died by thy decree; the hammer that slew him was aimed at thy command; and by thy tyranny, oh unjust one, Valeh was torn from his love. That chosen one of sorrow, for love all heart from head to foot, pierced with the arrow of separation, he rushed from the house like the breaking out of waters, cursing his star, cursing heaven itself. He knew not which way he went, blind and distraught he fled from home and country. Home and country, what were they? He was flying from his love. He knew that he should never meet her again, and that hope was cut off for ever. But in his heart he bore the thought of her as sustenance on the way, sustenance that ever left him hungry and thirsting for love: and when he laid his head on the desert the sand was wet with his tears.

[Here, written in the margin by Valeh's hand: “The way I go is my own. No caravan has left its track behind: and the mark of my footprints none will follow. And I carry no food in my pack; I feed on my own heart's blood”* .]

At every step he called on the name of Hadijeh; he sought the mountains, he called her name among the rocks; the rocks re-echoed it; mountain and vale and wilderness and field, he made all full of her name; when he sat down he wrote it with his finger in the sand; aimlessly he wandered about mountain and plain till evening; when evening came sorrow suffused his heart ever as the evening glow flooded the West. And he cried to his love: “Oh sun of my heart, how didst thou once turn the night of the world to day: and now far from me, like the dying moon, the night has swallowed thee wholly.” And when the morning breeze began to blow, he leapt up to meet it, he opened his arms to it, and with streaming cheeks he called aloud: “Oh, courier of love, oh you who whisper love's message, merchant of rosy cheeks, carrier of all sweet things, Joseph* gave to you, to reward your friendship, his sweetness in charge. You give lamentation wings to fly with, that heart may send tidings to heart, you waft the savour from the heart of the rose, you give wings to the song of the nightingale. By you is the lamp of the tulip bright, and the garden rejoices at your coming: every bud rejoices at your coming, you who scatter life with full hands. To you lovers confide their secrets—to you the consoler of pain, the friend of love; save you they need no friend, in your ears they whisper their hidden sorrows. And I too am a lover, my soul is on my lip, I lived in the full glory of love, a mirror in which he saw his face and was glad: my place was in the garden of my beloved, the skirts of my eyes were laden with roses, my heart was clean from all reproach, if love be no reproach—I kept my heart pure within and had no thought of evil. But they loaded me with the burden of slander and heaped reproach upon my back. And the infection of my fame reached my love and her heart too became heavy; the poison of their tongues was upon her too. And I fled from her presence, and I carried the plague away from her, that it might abide with me and not with her. And now by the hard decree of heaven I am become an exile and a wanderer. I have chosen separation, I have renounced her presence: by my own desire I see what I see. Yesterday my eyes were alight with her presence: to-day I am far from her and my eyes are darkened. Dear friend, I pray you bring me a grain of dust from the house of my beloved that my sore eyes may be healed! If you pass her house give sometimes news of me. Say “he who loves you is blind for longing of your eyes, spare him a grain of dust from before your threshold. If his name be your reproach, yet is your name ever on his lips: the rocks re-echo it, the desert hears it. Oh pity him who is dying for lack of you.’”

[Here is written on the margin in Valeh's handwriting: “For my love's sake I practised faithfulness and truth: for her every little thing in me was made great: and heaven itself was the enemy of the faithful people. Dost thou see what thou hast done to thy own?”]

So spake he to the morning breeze, and when the sun drew back the curtains of the night and showed his face, Valeh cried to him and said:

“Oh eye and light of the day: oh emblem of my beloved face, you are like her, and for your likeness I love you. Who has seen you, who can look into your face, and yet without you we see not. Oh Joseph of the heavens* who sit and sell where the four markets meet, and traffic in the atoms of the world: the sky came like Zuleika and offered you a price, a jewel casket taken from the Pleiades: that casket she gave you and in exchange received the desire of the heart. Oh you who are the friend of all men, the looking-glass of all, through whom we know good from evil, in whom, as in a looking-glass, we see ourselves. They who know that power in you are chosen to be your worshippers.* Oh candle which makes the day light, the light of your face is the day of the world. You are king and the stars your courtiers: the gallery of the heavens is the place of your throne. By you hidden things are made clear: the world is turned to you as the clay to the seal. The world of things is given into your hand: you are the cup of Jamshid* and the ring of Soleiman.* Wherever you go you are the glory of life; yet everywhere you are an unbidden guest; and when door and window are shut you shine upon the roof. Every day in your might you make the circuit of the world, and yet your foot is not weary, though there is not a land which does not know you. I pray you, oh sun (may my life be your ransom) that when you go to Isfahan, you enter the window of my beloved, you crave for an audience of her in her secret chamber, and tell her of my sick heart, and say to her: ‘Oh sun of the heaven of beauty, have you no news of the mote which hovered in your beams?* Have you not heard how it is fallen into the dust of neglect? For in your light he lived, from your cup he drank; and now his life is as death and his love-drunkenness is turned to hunger and thirst, and the desert is as a prison. He is your prisoner, oh unjust one, spare him, hurt him no more, give him one thought of kindness; make your thought your messenger, bid it go and bring tidings of him: for lo! he is sick to death.’”

So spake he to the sun; and when the sun rose high his wanderings ceased not; like a whirlwind he swept over the plain, hither and thither, crying for grief. He told the story of his love to stone and tree and mountain and desert, and he prayed everything he saw to carry a message to his beloved one. He spoke to the dust of her beauty, to the wind of her freshness; the stones under his feet were his poets and prophets. Friendless and comfortless he went from place to place, from village to village, with that ceaseless fire burning in his heart, that restless sea raging in his soul, till his sad fortune stranded the wreck of his life on the shores of India.