Ode 26

THRICE holy night! O hallowed rising moon!
O waiting trees! O stars that burn so bright!
O radiant planet, was it yours the boon?
This is the night of my first wondering look
Into her eyes, the night she came to me
Right out of heaven—like the holy book;
O bright beginning of felicity,
This is the night.

To-night the Mussulman is at his prayers;
Spinning in solemn fury circle-wise,
The dervish chants; for holy church declares
The Koran like a star shot from the skies—
This very night.

I also shall observe the sacred rites:
Bent low before her on adoring knees,
In a strong circle of my faithful love
I 'll keep her safe as gold in sanctuaries.
O river singing to the stars above!
O Night of Nights!

So beautiful the face of her I love,
Heaven, like a proud and eager tiring-maid,
Holds up the moon as mirror for her gaze;
And O when all her beauty is arrayed,
She is a being so exceeding bright,
Even the burnished sun, with morn ablaze,
Shows like mere dust beneath her courser's feet—
Yea! all her body is so filled with light.
In her all living brightness is complete,
Bounded in her, as in some blinding sphere;
And to the sun himself, till she appear,
Day is as night.

Ah! Sufi, can you dream I will give up
A love like this—for pious platitude,
Or cease to crush the grape into the cup!
I, Sufi, may be wrong, you may be right—
HAFIZ must tread his self-appointed way
And on her red lips find his heavenly food.
If you must talk, O talk some other day—
But not to-night.