The Grand-Vizier hears with great delight of the near approach of his bride, and goes out with a large retinue to find a suitable resting place on the journey. There he causes to be erected a magnificent pavilion for her reception. Zulaikha is anxious to behold the object of her dreams, and the nurse, to gratify her, makes a small slit in the curtain. But, says the Poet,—

This ancient sphere is but a cup and ball-juggler,
Quick of foot to discover means of deceiving men:
She bindeth hope round the heart of the dejected,
And then, with hopelessness, severeth the tie!
She sheweth at a distance the fruit of our desire,
And then grieveth us by preventing us from reaching it.
No sooner had Zulaikha peeped through the rent,
Than from her breast was wrung forth a sorrowful sigh;
“Ah! woe is me! what wonderful fate hath befallen me?
This is not the man I have seen in my dreams,
In searching after whom I have suffered so much misery!
This is not he who stole from me reason and understanding!
Who gave over to distraction the reins of my affections!
This is not he who told me his secret,
Who from insanity brought me back to consciousness!
My gentle fortune hath turned to harshness;
The morning splendour of my star is dimmed with misfortune.
I planted date-palms—they have come up brambles;
I scattered the seeds of love—their produce is affliction.
I had hoped from my rose garden to gather roses—
My garment is pierced with the pricks of their thorns.
I am a thirsty man amidst the sands of the desert,
Who hurrieth about on every side in search of water;
My tongue, through dryness, cleaveth to my lips,
My lips are bleeding with the feverish pastules.
Suddenly I seem to see water in the distance:
I hurry towards it, stumbling and rising,
I find in the hollow, in the place of the water—
From the glare of the flashing sun—a sandy salt plain!”*

And so she continues her moan, symbolising her desolation by other images. Then she exclaims,—

“For Heaven’s sake, O Fate, have pity on my sufferings!
Open before my face a door of mercy!
If thou wilt not give into my grasp the skirt of my friend,
Let me not become the captive of another!
Suffer not dishonour to rend my garment!
Allow not my hand to sully my vesture!
I have pledged my faith to the object of my heart,
That with a hundred struggles I would watch o’er my casket;
Consume not with grief one who hath lost all power of hand and of foot,
Give not over to the serpent the disposal of my treasure!”*
So she prolongeth her lamentations deeply into the night,
And each eyelash is tipped with a blood-stained tear;
From her wounded heart and soul she poureth forth her distress,
And groveleth in the dust in the extremity of her anguish.
Then the bird of mercy came on the wing,
And a secret angel answered the complaint:
“O, comfortless one, lift up thy face from the earth,
For out of thy perplexity will come deliverance.
The Grand-Vizier of Egypt is not the goal of thy desires,
But except through him thou canst not reach the goal;
Through him thou wilt behold the beauty of thy friend,
And through him wilt attain the object of thy wishes.
Be not affrighted in thine intercourse with him,
For from him thy silver casket will remain in safety.”

She is conveyed by the Vizier with great distinction to Memphis, and is lodged luxuriously and with every attention, in his palace. But nothing consoles her in her separation from her friend. She is still restless and unhappy, and continues her lamentations.

Such was her condition by night, such by day;
So passed her months and so her years.
When she feeleth her heart straitened in the house,
She rusheth out into the open corn fields.
One while she would erect her tent in the desert,
And there pour out the sighs and moans of her wounded bosom;
At another she would hurry, like the torrent of the valley,
With weeping eyes to the banks of the Nile,
And mingle her tears with its waters,
And throw over the stream the garb of her mourning.
So she spendeth her life, day after day,
Her eye directed on the path of expectation.
By what road will her friend arrive?
When will he rise on her like sun or moon?
Come, Jami, let us fulfil her desire,
Let us bring from Canaan the moon of Canaan;
Zulaikha in her heart is cherishing hope;
Her eye is fixed on the highway of expectation;
The pain of expectation hath passed beyond measure,
Let us offer the remedy—the union with her friend.