IN the name of that Power who implanted in my heart my heart's desire. Now, he makes friends to meet, now he afflicts us with parting; now he roots the memory of me from your heart, now he rejoices my heart with your kind­ness. From him all things revealed have found revelation, in him all things that are inward and outward have their being; he hides behind the curtain, and the curtain is woven of the heartstrings of lovers. When I praise Him, I praise your beauty, why should I speak in dark language, why should I not speak it out clear and plain: In the religion of love there is but one God; in that faith there?? no such word as “mine” and “thine.” Oh thou who art beyond “this and that,” “when and how,” oh thou who art above all my thoughts and too high for my understanding. Oh thou who art manifest in all things and makest manifest all things that are manifest, thou whose being is the cause of all life. I am the slave of thy power. Thy praise has neither bound nor limit, thy nature is pure from signs, for who can point and say, “There He is, or there?” I have been to every country and city; yet never have I met with one who had seen thee. For none can see thee, nor comprehend thee but only Thou thyself.

At one time thou makest thyself a loved one on the crests of the mountains* , at another thou art Shirin of Persia, fair as the garden of paradise* ; at another thou makest thy home on the desert and findest in madness thy glory; again thou art an Arab in her tent, the envy of the sun and desire of the dawn; thou wast Leili sitting in her tent, and thou didst bind the feet of Magnun; and again thou becomest the envy of moon and stars, in the name of Hadijeh, and again, as Valeh, thou art the slave of separa­tion. And though thou dost disdain form and colour* a thousand forms are thine and a thousand colours; though thou art all truth, thy deceits have no end; and therefore it is better that I put on the robe of colour and in secret sell thee to thyself.*

Oh light of my two eyes, oh peace of my soul, oh familiar of my heart, Hadijeh; oh name best lord of all, oh name queen of all names; oh envy of sun and moon and stars, new rose of the garden of chastity, bud from the tree of faith! When the rose plights her faith to the nightingale she swears by the hem of your garment.

Oh queen of the beauties of the world, oh glory of the company of mankind, the cypress cannot bear comparison with you, she is ashamed when you pass by. Your lips are as the water of life, meeting with you is the world and all its men, the dome of heaven is your footstool; and I your slave without end.

[Written above in Valeh's handwriting. Except my love let me have no friend, save her let me seek no refuge, may I be an unbeliever in the religion of the enlightened* , if there be a god save Hadijeh alone. My lady is the moon in the heaven of beauty, My Lady is Queen of Queens in the country of perfection; when an angel bade me cry on God's name, I cried “Lady God,” “Oh Lady God,” and again “Lady God.”]

Your beauty is above all beauties: nay rather, beauty beside you is beauty no more. Like that mole under your curls, my heart is a prisoner in your hair. Your eyes are the wizards of the world; the people tell of their enchantments; your eyelash is a poisoned dagger, your eyebrow the scimitar of Ali: your stature is as a cypress in the garden of paradise, your curls as a harvest of amber. Oh, if I ever saw aught as lovely as your face, may I be disappointed of the kindness of your cheeks—child of the Lesghians, my love, my love, with­out mercy or forgiveness, your love is the spring of my being, the builder of the building of was and is; to be with you is heaven and all the angels, and to be parted from you is hell and the fiends. Your face is my pure Mecca, your forehead ??he Kaabe, to remember you the peace of heaven, to lose the memory of your face is to lose my soul; from you came the wound, from you the medicine. Alas, oh my cousin, for the reproach which fell on you because of my love! A thousand thanks to you that my pain comes from you. You ask for news of my state. I will tell you. I am one whose day has reached the time of sunset. I am one who knows not whether it be spring or autumn; who dares not look in a flower because it is fresh and scented, nor a cypress because it is tall and slender; to whom wine is as blood, and whose voice is the bell of the temple of sorrow. I am like a petal dried up and cast away. I am a lute that once discoursed sweet music, broken now and thrown aside. Whom do you play on now, Hadijeh? Who exults in your presence, while I live shoulder to shoulder with Death; who walks with you in the garden while I am lying among the thorns? Have you not forgotten me, even as I have forgotten myself? For with your memory alone I live, embracing the thought of you. Was not the story of your love written onice? And I have sown the seed of sorrow in my heart. I have loaded all my hopes on a dying camel: the beast falls and the load is shattered. I am sick; you are doctor to another: I am thirsty, and you are the cup of another: I am poisoned, and you give another the antidote. Oh my crown— but on the head of a stranger; oh my treasure—but in a dragon's cave, with whom do you pass your days and nights? Who looks at your fair face? Who hands you the silken napkin? Who spreads the carpets? Who scatters flowers upon your bed? Who toys with your curls, who tells you stories to make you sleep? Who rubs the perfume into your hair, who puts cinnamon upon your eyelashes, who prepares the collyrium for your magic eyes, who bakes the indigo for your eyebrows? Who lays his head in the dust at your feet? Who binds his heart and soul to your promise? Who puts your shoes together: and your lips, with whom do they hold converse? Who listens to your sweet voice, who is made drunk with that sweet wine? Who brings you the wine at table; when you are thirsty, who brings you spring water? Who lays the table near your face? Who brings the ewer and the basin? Who uncurls your hair and unweaves the noose of your locks? Who boasts of the young and slender form? Who puts henna on your feet and washes the henna with rose-water: who bears the lamp before you? Who lights you to your chamber? Oh, cousin Hadijeh, the strength is gone from my body, the misery that I suffer for you—I do not say my friends, but may my enemies not suffer the like. I have no tidings of you—what thought is on your heart, what word on your lips? How is that cypress form? how is the scented lock? That long straying lock, how is it? And that ruby lip, how is it? That little mole under your hair, is it still a prisoner in your locks? What charm are the wizard eyes weaving? And who falls, slain by your eyebrow? How is the scimitar of your brow, and the ivory of your arm? How is the gazelle-glance of your eyes and the little mark beneath the eyes? And the tulip-cheeks, how do they fare; and the look like an eagle's talon? and the nostrils breathing heaven, and the side of the cheek that I remember day and night, and those pearls in comparison with which the treasures of the world are naught. How is the neck, like a candle in a dark night; how is the arm bright as silver? What is the silver arm doing, and the china finger, what sport is it playing? How is the pome­granate growing from the cypress: on whose eyes does its glory shine, who takes light from it? How is the wild white rose of your body?

Oh sun of heaven eternal, or full moon of the peerless sky, I am not stone and iron; how can I live without you? And now for fourteen years that I pine here alone, have you not thought of me till now? Have you only written to me now? I have wrote a hundred letters: I wrote my very heart out; and no answer came: I was not your lover but the dog of your gate, not your friend but your poor slave; and was this the way of your love? Was this the path of your remembrance? A hundred caravans came from Isfahan: oh unconstant one, did you not once think of writing? Did you not once remember me: nor once vouchsafe me one kind service? Yes, once: once came to me a comforter from your presence. When I saw him I fainted, when I awoke from my swoon I kissed his feet and his hands: thousand times: thousand times I prayed for his soul: I made my soul the ransom for his foot, I threw dust on my face.

And when I opened the letter there came to my mind the days of meeting; then I dashed my head against the ground till the blood came. My eyes were full of tears, sighs broke from my heart; I was sick for the sorrow of separation; I was racked by the fever of love; but my heart was renewed with news of you, my spirit left to meet the glad tidings, and in the letter with its amber seal, and in the writing, and the ruby lips my sick heart found its medicine.

And I wrote an answer and gave it to your messenger. I said, “Go to the city of my love and bring it to my queen.” But before your messenger came I had sent a swift runner to you, by name Sayan; I did not threaten him though I bade him speed fast; I promised him my soul as his wage; he took my letter to you, and now, by God's mercy, he has returned.

The sun of hope rose again, and he gave me your second letter, he gave me the writing of faithfulness. I put my head at his feet and said: “Oh hoopoo of the city of friendship, courier of the land of love, the dust of your path is my crown, I am grateful if you set your feet on my head. Say where and how is my love, the envy of the garden and the spring? Where is my familiar friend, my companion of nights and days?” And he answered, “I know not, I tarried not to ask; open the letter and read it, and all shall be plain; oh thou who art drunk with the wine of love.” And straightway I opened the letter. I said no word, but as I read I thought of the joy of meeting, of the pain of parting, of your great mercifulness, and of the tyranny of fate. And a flood of tears fell from my eyes and I cried aloud. “Where is the day when we two sat together and none came in? Where is the day when you were so kind, and the evening and the morning wherein you were my friend? Now you dwell in Isfahan, and I am dying for love in India. Oh God! shall I see you again, shall I sit by your side yet once more? Shall I talk with you of the tyranny of parting, shall I tell you the story of my love? You will lean an ear to my speech—in your ear I will whisper your praises: my hand will be the necklace on your neck and my soul the hem of your garment. Soul to soul we shall embrace. I would swoon, struck by the ruby of the lip; ah lily limbs, ah hand and lip, sometimes I would take kisses from you, sometimes snatch the goblet, and all the time my eyes would drink and drink!

Alas, alas, what am I saying? See where you are, and where I am. I am consumed with the desire of your presence; when shall I meet with you, oh my idol? It may be, perchance, in dreams. Ah, if my evil fortune would grant me this boon, to see you in a vision—then would I unfold my story face to face, yes, by the language of your wizard eyes I swear, I would tell it all. For should I write it, I fear you would weary of me and my long story, for long is the story of love, and the commentary of my sorrow has no end.”

So Valeh wrote, and he gave the letter to the messenger, who sped away as fast as the fiery stones with which the angels drove the devils from the gates of heaven.* And when his soul became vacant of the thought of the letter, it made room for another thought—and night and day he was set in one wish that he might see her once again in a vision.