Ode 16

“LOVE,” I cried, “a little pity
Show to me, a hapless stranger,
Poor and lonely in Love's City.”
But she answered: “Foolish stranger,
Yours the fault, not mine, for losing
Thus your way; 't is your own choosing—
Blame not me, O tiresome stranger.”

“Stay a little—don't refuse me;
Do so much for a poor stranger.”
“Nay,” she answered, “please excuse me.”
All in vain I tried to change her;
How should she on ermine sleeping
Pay attention to the weeping
Of a lorn and outcast stranger;
What though stones should be his pillow,
And his couch of thorns—poor stranger!
She cares nothing for the fellow,
Delicately out of danger.

'Mid your curls and your caresses
Lost lie all our hearts—how strange
Is the network of your tresses!
And that little mole—how strange!
Down your cheek, like Chinese writing,
Steals the dusky down—how strange,
How adorably inviting!
Like a string of ants—how strange
Its soft shadow on the brightness
Of your moon cheek's milky whiteness,
Very white—and very strange;
White—yet just a little flushing
With the daintiest carmine;
Very delicately blushing,
Like a white rose dipped in wine.

Cruel love, I give you warning;
What if Heaven should hear the stranger,
And fulfil his prayers some morning,
Punish you—for this poor stranger;
Knowing well how you denied him
Food and shelter—woe betide him—
Sent away the starving stranger.
Night is falling, black and lonely,
Long and black as your long hair;
Where shall lodge the wretched stranger!
Sweetheart, just for this night only,
'Neath that star-lit tent of hair
Grant a lodging to a stranger.

All in vain I strive to change her,
HAFIZ, all in vain your prayer;
Can you wonder, you poor stranger!
All the world's in love with her.