Thus speaks that learned weigher of the word,
He in whose treasure wealth of words is stored:
There was a Western king, renowned of fame,
Who beat the drum of rule; Taimus his name.
Of kingship all the wealth had he obtained;
Of him no heart's wish unfulfilled remained.
Prosperity the crown had from his head;
Firm basis for the throne his foot had laid.
Orion in his host his loins had bound,
And round his sword-knot victory was wound.
He had one child, Zuleikha, fair of face,
Against the world with him who held her place:
No girl—a star she of the royal sign,
A gem did she in royal casket shine.
Not into words can her charms' praise be brought,
I make a simple trial of the thought.
If to her feet I like her hair descend,
To my mind brilliance would her image lend—
I from her pleasant lip assistance seek,
The merits that I know that I may speak.
Her palm-like stature was of grace create,
In sweetness' garden with its head elate,
That from a lordly river water drank,
And bore the palm from cypress on the bank.
The wise became entangled in the snare
Of her not far from musk-beperfumed hair.
In middle placed of head so tender, soft,
Of her fair locks the comb made partings oft.
Cleft the heart's bag of musk that head in two,
And thus the musk-bag's office harder grew.
Her jessamine-scented ringlets, downwards spread,
Threw on the rose's branch at foot a shade.
Of her two ringlets Indian ropes were made,
On her tall box* that like rope-dancers played.
The heavens to describe her beauteous grace,
A silver tablet on her forehead place,
And of that silver tablet by the side
Musk-scented, two inverted Nûns* provide:
Beneath those Nûns of Swáds* a beauteous pair,
Which the Creator's pen had written there.
Down to Mîm's* ring from what the Nûns enclose
Straight as an Aleph drawn the silver nose:
Aleph beyond, by the mouth's Naught's* increased
The evil of the world ten times at least.
Her Sîn* is clear her smiling lip beneath,
When her Mîm's knots she loosens with her teeth.
Her face a type of Iram's garden fair,
Flowers of many kinds are blooming there.
Its mark a mole on every side there shows,
Like a black child upon a bed of rose.
Not liable to tithes* her silver chin,
A well from which life's water springs within.
That chin beneath a wise man wandering round
Had from that well the water flowing found.
Ease for his heart he had not there obtained,
The well a whirlpool and a well contained.
Purer than ivory, her neck was fair;
The deer upon their necks brought tribute there.
Reproach* on jessamine her two shoulders threw;
Hid in its breast itself the rose from view.
Resembling domes of light her two breasts swell,
Or bubble risen up from Káfur's* well.
Two fresh pomegranates growing from one stem,
No daring hand of hope had handled them.
Like silver store her arms her form embrace;
Pure silver by its side is metal base.
On that pure pearl to ward off future ill
The pure on earth at heart poured blessings still.
To make their soul her rue the fair inclined;
With their life's vein her amulet to bind.
Plunder of throned kings diadem that wore,
Her two arms fill her sleeve with silver store.
Full rest to those who toil her hand conveys,
And on each wounded heart a plaster lays.
Of her own fingers she has made a pen
To write her words upon the hearts of men.
To hearts in ev'ry nail of her it seems
Above the full moon that a crescent beams.
With fingers five she struck the moon a blow
From her hand's force that it might trouble know.*
Her waist a hair, a split hair 'twould appear;
Of that hair's fineness aye she had a fear:
She could not bind her loins e'en with a thread
Lest it might chance to break it in the dread.
Her belly like a board with ermine spread,
So soft the midwife had her navel shred.
Her hips a hill, but of pure silver found,
Down from her waist as if a fallen mound:
So soft, if with the hand 'twere gently pressed,
Like dough, 'twould not between the fingers rest.
From golden hand-ball* silent pass away,
Of silver hand-ball* hear what I shall say.
Below the navel to above the knee
Nothing, nor old nor new, be said by me.
To that chaste fortress and forbidden place
I give not fancy e'en the road to trace.
The fashion of her legs should I declare,
Pillars of silver they her charms to bear,
By God! a wondrous nosegay, full of light,
But of all blind ones hidden from the sight.
The mirror that revealed her purity
Fell from respect itself upon its knee.
The mirror thus together with her knelt
That from her face the grace of light it felt.
Whoever knelt down with her on the ground,
The face of fortune there reflected found.
In grace her foot would with her leg, too, vie,
For this in pleasure has no constancy.*
For thus it was, when smart and quick she moved,
Her foot from heel to toe so tender proved,
That if upon a lover's eye 'twere placed,
The tears as bubbles on its sole were traced.
Of gold and gems I know not how to speak:
Whate'er I say my words would still be weak.
Who would that Pari as a jewel praise?
Her beauty would gems' lustre even raise.
Upon her head a jewelled crown she wore:
Each gem the tribute of a province bore.
From pearl and ruby pendant in her ear
From heart and soul sense, joy disappear.
If from her neck a jewel thou shouldst pull,
Both breast and skirt of jewels would be full.
The jewelled band that fastens back her hair
Is worth a thousand knots of jewels fair.
With her own hand should she her wrist not hold,
With fraud to clasp it who would be so bold?
Henceforth can I of gold no tale repeat;
An anklet made of it lay on her feet.
At times upon a couch herself she laid,
Arrayed in Grecian or Chinese brocade;
Graceful at times within the hall she paced
With robes of Syria or Egypt graced.
And every day, when fresh appeared the sun,
Naught but a new robe did she e'er put on.
Twice from one vest her head she did not raise:
Moon-like, each day she took a newer phase.
From kiss of great men she her foot withdrew;
Such fortune 'twas her skirt alone that knew.
And to her shift alone was given grace
To hold her body in its close embrace.
The cypress-formed ones all her nod obeyed:
To her the Pari-faced ones worship paid,
While of her sisters of the Huris' race
Thousands served day and night before her face.
Her heart of sorrow never bore the yoke,
And in her soft foot a thorn never broke.
She had not loved nor had she been beloved,
Nor passion ever had her feeling moved.
At night Narcissus-like her eyes would close,
And in the morn bloom as the smiling rose.
With the young silver-bodied ones in sport,
With fair gazelles there in the palace court,
Her heart no games of fortune to annoy,
In naught but sport would she her time employ.
Thus light of heart and frolicsome was she,
And from all weight of grief and sorrow free.
What fate will on her from fell Time alight?
What from her womb bring forth the pregnant night?