Questionings and Answerings.

A prey to her passion, and finding it unanswered, Zulaikha now sinks into hopeless despondency. The nurse, full of sympathy for her distress, questions her more closely about its cause, reminding her that the object of her affection is no longer a dream and at a distance, but is constantly near her and in her service.

“O my dear mother,” she replies, “is it possible
That thou still knowest not my entire secret;
That thou art still ignorant what presseth on my heart?
What advantage have I from this life of the world!
True, he standeth before me ready in my service,
But the service he offereth is no service at all!
True, he is never at a distance from me,
But never are his looks bent upon me!
One cannot but weep in sorrow for that thirsty one,
Who liveth on the brink of the stream, and may not drink of it!
When my face is lighted-up by the taper of beauty,
He turneth his away, and fasteneth it on his feet:
And yet I mean not to complain of this,
For fairer is his foot than is my face.
When I fix on him a penetrating eye,
His forehead sheweth only the semblance of folds:
And yet reproach for this would not be right in me,
For in whatever cometh from him no fault is to be found!”

And so she continues in the same strain, till the nurse exclaims,—

“Better the forced separation of the lovely,
Than a union fraught with so much of bitterness and distraction!
Hard, indeed, to bear is the pain of separation,
But a union like this bringeth calamities without number!”