WHEN the water and the dust of the world were kneaded the seed of love was sown; and when the young plant raised its head the four quarters of the world were troubled; the earth wept, and its tears were Water; the earth sighed, and its breath was Air. The stripling grew and waxed, and bore fruit in season. And its fruit was the hearts of men, and in its fruit it held the seed, the same which was sown at the beginning—that germ which was sown on the first day, in the fulness of time the ripe fruit bore it.

The angels were free of love, but on men it fell like lightning. And in their life love was the beginning and the end, the substance of all that was and is. Love empties the mosque of its priests, the desert of its hermits; the idolater forgets his idol; the believer turns from the Most High.

How long, how long will you speak in riddles? Canst thou tell his nature in words who is as God? For he becomes darker by words; his revelation is in concealment. It were better you told the story which is on your lips, that his wisdom may be made manifest. Look not on the sun without a curtain; through a mist of cloud shall he be seen.