Zulaikha’s First Dream.

A night it was, sweet as the morning of life,
Joy-augmenting like the days of youth!
Fish and fowl rested from motion,
Business drew its foot within the skirt of its garment.
Within this pleasure-house full of varieties
Naught remained open save the eye of the star.
Night—the thief—robbed the sentinel of his understanding,
The bell-ringer stilled the tongue of the bell;
The hound wound its tail round its neck like a collar,
And in that collar stifled its baying;
The bird of night drew out its sword-like feathers,
And cut off its tuneful reed (its throat) from its morning song;*
The watchman on the dome of the royal palace
Saw in imagination the drowsy poppy-head,
And no longer retained the power of wakefulness;
The image of that poppy-head called him into slumber.*
The drummer no longer beat his tymbal,
His hand could no longer hold to the drum-stick;
The Muezzin from the minaret no longer cried, “Allah! Allah! the ever-living!”
Roll up your mattresses, ye nightly-dead, and neglect not prayer!*
Zulaikha, of the sugar-lips, was enjoying the sweet slumber
Which had fallen on her soft narcissus-like eyes;*
Her head pressed the pillow with its hyacinthin locks,
And her body the couch with its roseate burthen.
The hyacinthin locks were parted on the pillow,
And painted the roseate cheek with silken streaks;
The image-seeing eye was closed in slumber,
But another eye was open—that of the soul:
With that she saw suddenly enter a young man,
Young man, do I say?—rather a spirit!
A blessed figure from the realms of light,
Beauteous as a Houri, borne off from the garden of the seventh heaven,
And had robbed trait by trait of each beauty, excellence, and perfection,
Copying one by one every alluring attraction.
His stature was that of the fresh box-tree;
The free-cypress in its freedom was a slave compared with his;
His hair from above hung down like a chain,
And fettered, hand and foot, even the judgment of the wise;
From his brow shot so resplendent a flash of light,
That sun and moon bent to the ground before him;
His eyebrows, which might have been a high-altar for the saintly,
Were an amber-scented canopy over the sleeper’s eyes;
His face was as the moon’s from its station in Paradise;
From his eye-lashes darted arrows to pierce the heart;
The pearly teeth within the ruby lips
Were lightning flashing from a roseate evening sky;
The smiles of his ruby-lips were sweet as sugar,
When he laughed, his laugh was the lustre of the Pleiades;
The words of his mouth were sugar itself.
When this vision rose before the eye of Zulaikha,
At one glance happened that which needs must happen;
She beheld excellence beyond human limits,
Seen not in Peri—never heard of in Houri.
From the beauty of the image and the charm of its perfection,
She became his captive, not with her one but with a hundred hearts;
Fancy made his form the ideal of her mind,
And planted in her soul the young shoot of love.