Silent Sorrow.

On the morrow, when the raven of night had taken its upward flight,
And the cock was crowing its morning carol,
And the nightingales had ceased their soul-moving chant,
And had withdrawn from the rose-bush the veil of the rose-bud,
And the violet was washing its fragrant locks,
And the jasmine was wiping the night-dew from its face,
Zulaikha still lay sunk in sweet slumber,
Her heart-look still fixed on her last-night’s altar;
Sleep, it was not,—rather a delightful bewilderment—
A kind of insanity from her nocturnal passion!
Her waiting-maids impress the kisses on her feet,
Her damsels approach to give the hand-kiss;
Then she lifteth the veil from her dewy tulip-cheeks,
And shaketh off the sleep from her love-languishing eyes;
She looketh round on every side, but seeth not a sign
Of the roseate image of her last night’s dream.
For a time she withdrew like a rose bud into herself;
In the grief of not beholding that slender cypress-form,
She would have rent the clothes off her body to pieces,
Had not shame withheld her hand in the presence of others,
And restrained her foot within the skirt of patience:
So she kept the secret tight within her bosom,
As in a ruby-mine the hard stone incases the ruby;
And though she was gulping down in her heart the rose-red blood,
She showed not outwardly an action of emotion.
Her lips recounted her stories to her maidens,
But her heart whilst she recounteth them is full of lamentations;
Her mouth to her companions talketh sweetly as sugar,
But her heart like the sugar cane is full of hard knots;
Her tongue to her friends still telleth its tale,
But a hundred sparks flash from the wounds of her passion;
Her looks fall on the figures of rivals,
But her heart remaineth fixed on the only-beloved one.
No longer were the reins of her heart in her own hands,
For wherever she was she was with the heart-stealer.
No longer now hath she a wish beyond her friend,
Nor except with her friend had she any rest.
If she sayeth a word, to her friend she sayeth it,
And if she formeth a wish, from her friend she seeketh it.
A thousand times riseth to her lips the desire of her heart,
That night would come to that day of weariness,
The night which cometh so agreeably to lovers,
The night which keepeth the secrets of lovers;
Therefore all the day the night is their desire,
For this guardeth the veil, and that uplifteth it.
When night came she turned her face to the wall of sorrow,
She stooped her back like a crooked lyre;
She strung her harp with the chords of tears,
And tuned it in concord with her own heart’s sadness;
She rent her bosom with its tuneful wailings,
And runneth thro’ every note of sighs and lamentings;
She setteth her friend in fancy before her face,
And poureth out from her lips and eyes words and pearly tears:
“From what mine dost thou come, thou pure gem,
That hast given me this power of scattering jewels?
Thou hast stolen my heart, but told me not thy name,
Nor left me a sign of the spot where thou dwellest!
I know not of whom I can ask thy name!
I know not whither to go to inquire thine habitation!
If thou art a king, what is thy name?
If thou art a moon, what is thy station?
Forbid it, that another should become captive like me,
For I have no longer in my hand either my heart or my lover!
I saw a vision which has broken my sleep,
And drawn out pure blood from heart and eyes;
Now I no longer know what sleep is,
My heart is consumed by a perpetual glow!
How is it that, as when thou castest water on fire,
Thou too dost not become warm and agitated!
I was a rose from the rosebed of youth,
Moist and fresh as from the fountain of life;
No rough wind had ever blown on my head,
Never had a thorn punctured my foot;
With a single soft glance thou gavest me over to the wind,
Thou hast planted a thousand thorns in my couch!
A body a hundred times softer than a rose-leaf,
How should sleep visit it on a bed of thorns!”
So all the night long she passed in moanings,
Uttering her complaints to the vision of her friend;
But when the night was gone, to avoid suspicion
She washed the tears from her blood-suffused eyes;
On her lips, still moist from the cruel struggle of the night,
She impresseth deeply the seal of silence;
She maketh her bed gay with the fresh rose leaves,
And enliveneth her pillow with the silvery cypress,
In such wise passed she her days and nights,
Nor changed her habit by a single hair.