Ode 32

'T IS an unstable world: all fades and glides
And surely melts and vanishes away;
Even as the hollow wind we come and go,
Like the obliterating ebb and flow
Of wreck-encumbered shingle-shifting tides,
Forgotten as the iridescent spray.
Hope is a fairy palace built on sand,
And life's own tree is rooted in the wind;
Only this friend I hold here in my hand,
When all the rest have gone, remains behind—
Only the cup abides.

Saki, the servant of that man am I
Who kneels to nobody beneath the blue,
But, firm in spirit, lets the world go by.
Come, fill the cup—I have strange news for you!
How shall I utter what last night befell
Here in this reeking tavern unto me,
Drunk and adream and foolish with old wine.
The Angel of the World Invisible
Stood at my side, in glory like the sun:
“Thou kingly falcon,” said the shape divine,
“Not in this world is nest or rest for thee,
This little planet packed with so great woes,
This star of tears, this country of sad eyes—
What is it, royal HAFIZ, thou hast done
That thou so drear a habitation chose!
Thy place is with the angel Gabriel,
High up within the boughs of Sidra's tree,
Upon the frontiers of Paradise.

“Hark! how thy name makes sweet the empty sky:
Over the brink of heaven the angels lean—
‘HAFIZ, forsake the world,’ I hear them sing;
‘Bride of a thousand bridegrooms hath she been,
This ancient painted woman; the same lie
Hath she told all, nor yet in anything
Hath she kept faith; expect not constancy,
Enamoured nightingale, from such a rose.’”

So spake the angel to HAFIZ—even to me—
Here in the tavern at the evening's close.