Ode 54

I WELL could speak to her had I a mind—
Learnedly speak with Arab eloquence;
But eloquence to her would be unkind—
Wit before beauty is impertinence.
Her brows are like an angel's, but her eyes
Are like some devil's fallen from Paradise;
'T is a strange paradox of Heaven and Hell:
Pondering on such a face the angels fell.

Surely you must not ask of me the cause
Why mortal beauty breaks immortal laws;
No reason can I give, save this alone—
That beauty's self for beauty's sins atone:
Reason enough, though reasonless it seems—
The lonely rainbow reason of our dreams.

Never the greatest man that yet was born
Has plucked a rose so soft it had no thorn.
Mohammed's self—great though his sacred name—
Found foes in friends, and his celestial flame
Was by the smoke of relatives made dim.
His friends took a long pilgrimage to him,
But his most bitter foe from Mecca came.

No barley-water monastery for me!
Monk of the tavern, my refectory
Is the cool silent cellar, snug with jars,
And my green bedroom has a roof of stars;
And when too close to me my sorrow comes,
Aleppo's vines and China's dreaming gums
Change my unhappiness to luxury.

Sufi, if I indeed offended you,
To wine, and not to HAFIZ, is it due;
Always am I offending in this way,
And every night and morning have I sworn
Repentance for last night and for—to-day!
And wished that HAFIZ never had been born.

O Saki, fill the wine-cup once again—
To-day's repentance shall not be in vain.