The Poet’s Prayer.

I am the bird whose snare hath been Thy grain,
Whose enchantment in the desert hath been Thy tale!
Thou it is who hast prepared for me the materials of my labour,
It is Thy kindness which opened to me the door of mercy!
It is Thy liberality which hath kindly accepted my service,
And Whose grace hath exalted me from the prostration of devotion.
Through Thee I have rubbed my forehead in the dust of Thy ways,
With Thy collyrium Thou hast sharpened mine eyes to discern Thy paths.
Thou hast given to my tongue the power of praise,
Thou hast touched my heart with the memory of Thy goodness.
Thou hast tipped my tongue with richness and sweetness,
Thou hast put into my mouth a delicate morsel,
The bite of which inflicts no injury on the tooth,
And from the eating of which the throat receives no suffering.
Give me for thankfulness a sugared speech,
Let no bitterness mar the suavity of my acts;
Suffer not my tongue to run into evil speaking,
Let not my tongue become an injury to myself:
Should a sinful letter trickle from my pen,
Before the How and the Why is before me,
Over that sinful letter draw the line of erasure,
Throw me not, like the reed, into the conflict.
I am a blade of grass, nourished in the faith of Thy promises,
Which Thou hast brought out from the clay and the water;
My head waves on every side to the wind,
But my foot is set in the clay of Thy valley;
And the clay of the valley in which my foot is fast
Is better than the rose which has neither colour nor fragrance for Thee:
Make me in this garden like a rosebud of one core;
Mark me like the tulip with Thine own streaks.
In this path no gain is to be made but by singleness of heart;
To be double-hearted is to lose every advantage.
The blooming pistachio sees not two kernels,
Like the double almond, to injure the teeth;
Since the corn-ear nourishes a hundred grains in one bosom,
The sickle cuts down all at a single stroke;
When the single-hearted rosebud shews its face upon the thorn,
It receives not a wound from its thousand daggers.
Although my sins are beyond all measure,
Thy mercy is a thousand times more redundant still!
Nay! tho’ my sin were two hundred sheaves,
Thou couldst burn them up if thou wouldst with the lightning of my sighs;
And tho’ my rebellious acts were to fill a hundred volumes,
Thou art able to wash them out by the waters of mine eyes.
For all eagerness for fame which hath glowed in my eye,
My eye-lids have trickled with drops of blood;
May I wash out from mine eyes all vain dreams of renown;
May the blood-tinged drop suffuse my countenance,
If my looks strain towards the hope of celebrity.
Let a tear be the reputation to which I aspire!
Let my two eyes become two rivers of repentance!
Let this be my glory till the day of resurrection!
Let this be the gain which crowns my ambition,
—To carry my salutation to the ears of the Prophet!