Bazigha’s Daughter.

But—says the Poet—not from the eye alone germi­nateth love,
Oftentimes this fortune chanceth through words;
Beauty entereth her bridal chamber through the ear,
And robbeth the soul of rest, and the mind of understanding.

A high-born and wealthy Princess of Egypt hears the report of his attractions, and resolves to behold them for herself. Accordingly she repairs to Mem­phis, inquires his residence, and is distracted on seeing him.

“O thou”—she exclaims—“who art surely the soul of excellence,
Who hath adorned thee with this perfection of beauty!
Who hath lighted-up thy temples like the sun!
What cunning artist hath portrayed thine image!
What gardener hath exalted thy cypress-like stature!
Whose compass hath rounded the arch of thy brow!
Who hath supplied thy fresh roses with moisture,
And nurtured in his garden to so much loveliness!
Who hath taught thee thy graceful walk!
Who hath given to thy lips their eloquent speech!
Who opened thy languishing eyes to see the light,
And roused thee to wakefulness from the sleep of non-existence!”
And Joseph, when he had listened to what she said,
Poured forth from his sweet fountain these soul-refreshing words;
“I am the work of that Workman—he said—
With a single drop from Whose ocean I am quite content.
The heavens are but a dot of His perfect pen,
The earth but a single bud from the garden of His beauty;
The sun is but a speck from the light of His wisdom,
The sphere but a bubble from the ocean of His power;
From atoms of the universe He hath created for us mirrors,
Which cast back to each of us the reflection of His countenance;
His loveliness is free from the suspicion of defect,
Though it be hidden behind the screen of His mys­terious veil;
Whatever to thy sharpened eye appeareth to thee of good,
Is—if thou pierce deeper—but the reflex of His countenance:
If thou see but the reflex, haste to the source,
For before the source the reflex hath no lustre!
God forbid! thou should’st remain at a distance from the source,
For, if the reflex come to an end, thou wilt be left without light:
To the reflex is given no long duration,
Not much is to be trusted the colour of the rose!
Dost thou wish for duration, look to the source!
Wouldst thou rely on the promise, go on to the First-Cause!
Often doth a something puncture the heart’s veins,
Because one while it is, and another it is not.”
When the wise maiden had listened to these deep words,
She rolled up the mattress of her love for Joseph,
And said—“When first I heard a description of thee,
The desire to behold thee stamped itself on my heart:
With this desire I instantly set forth,
My head becoming feet to search for and find thee.
When I looked upon thy face immediately I fell down,
And longed to yield up my life at thy feet;
But thou hast strung for me secrets precious as jewels,
Thou hast thrown up for me a jet from the fountain of light;
Thou hast parcelled out for me to a hair the words of truth,
And thou hast thyself warned me from seeking thy love.
Thou hast removed the veil from the face of my hope;
Thou hast shewn me the way from the atom to the sun.
Now is unclosed to me the door of the mystery;
Now I perceive that to till the field of thy love were an illusion!
Now that mine eyes are opened to the truth,
I at once abandon my vain passion.
God reward thee, that thou hast opened mine eyes,
That thou hast made my spirit the companion of spirits!
Thou hast broken off my heart from a strange affection,
And hast changed my halting-place into an abiding sanctuary.
If each hair of my head were turned into a tongue,
I would unite them all to rehearse thy praises.
How shall I string for thee the pearls of my gratitude!
How shall I rehearse a hair’s-breadth of thy kindness!”
Then she biddeth him farewell, and leaveth him,
And departeth freed from the ferment of passion.

Returning home, she builds for herself a little House of Piety on the banks of the Nile, and re­nouncing for the future all worldly pomp, and clothing herself in mean raiment, she dedicates her­self entirely to works of charity; and—adds the Poet—

When her pious life came to an end,
She resigned it sweetly with the courage of a hero:
And think not that she resigned it in vain;
Resigning it, the face of the beloved-one beamed upon her.
Learn, O my heart, manliness from this woman!
Learn like her to sorrow with a genuine sorrow!
If thou hast not such sorrow, grieve that thou hast it not;
If thou mournest not thus, become a mourner!
Thy life is ending in the worship of semblances;
From semblances thou hast never escaped for a moment:
But every moment taketh something from the fair­ness of the semblance,
Which time keepeth changing from one form to another.
Therefore plant not for ever thy foot in the same stony way;
Sit not for ever on the self-same bough;
Choose thy nest above all time and space,
And build it aloft in the palace of reality!
Reality is unity,—semblance is thousand-fold:
Seek not for unity in the multiplication of semblances.
Numbering is ever connected with disjunction,
Therefore let ONE be thy fortified city:
When thou hast no longer strength against the multitude of thine enemies,
It is well to escape from their grasp into thy fortress.