Where'er an arrow shoots of love the bow,
The shield of counsel wards not off the blow.
Inside the house when that dart finds its way
A hundred signs its presence there betray,
And pleasant is this saying of the wise
That love and musk-scent one can not disguise.
If upon musk a hundred folds you lay,
Through many screens the scent will find its way*.
Zuleikha ever kept her love concealed,
Nor grief's seed in her breast sown e'er revealed,
Yet ever from its place 'twould raise its head,
And from within its signs and traces* spread—
Her weeping eyes at times would water shed:
No, not with water, but pure blood they bled—
In every drop that from her eye-lash flowed,
There outwardly a hidden secret glowed.
At times from burning heart she heaved a sigh;
Rising, its smoke was wafted to the sky.
In ev'ry sigh that from her heart she drew,
Of a hot, burning heart the scent they knew.
Sleepless and foodless sometimes day and night,
To yellow tulip turned her red rose bright.
In any garden, (dost thou this not know?)
Without a spot can never tulip grow.
Her waiting maidens, when these signs they knew,
Would their perplexity for aye renew.
Yet what its reason was was never clear,
Nor did what caused her cruel lot appear.
“The like was never seen,” first some one cries;
“Perhaps an evil eye upon her lies.”
Another to this fancy gave belief:
“Some Div or Pari had brought her to grief.”
“No, no! some sorcerer,” would some one say,
“Has tied her skirt-fringe in some magic way.”
“These are all signs of love,” another says:
“'Tis love that on her all this burden lays.
“As she sees no one in her waking hour,
“In sleep this evil holds her in its power.”
Thus of the matter differing thought had each,
All with each other holding varied speech.
Still was the secret of her heart untold,
Nor to one thing could they together hold.
Her nurse a sorceress among the rest;
Of magic she the capital possessed.
The ways of passion she herself had seen,
Sometimes had loved, and sometimes loved had been—
Lover and mistress had to union brought,
And had to differing lovers concord taught.
One night she came, of service to repeat
Her tale, and kissed the ground before her feet.
“O rose-bud of the royal mead,” she cried:
“Glow at thy beauty all the fair with pride.
“Thy lip be full of smiles, thy heart elate,
“Propitious from thy glory be my fate!
“In beauty's garden thou that cypress art
“Whence pheasant turns the parrot of my heart.
“I am the river of that faithful sea,
“Fortune upon whose shore has nourished thee.
“'Twas I that first beheld thy face in life,
“And cut thy cord with my affection's knife—
“I with rose-water bathed thy form and hair,
“And for thy dye* musk-water did prepare.
“Of my heart's veil thy swaddling clothes I wove,
“A hundred tender threads of life I rove.
“My milk did I provide for thee as bread,
“That body nourished with thy spirit fed.
“When night arrived I slept but for thy sake,
“To deck thy face my morning task I'd make.
“As fringe in walking on my shoulders worn,
“And in my arms in sleeping wast thou borne.
“When thy rose-branch to graceful cypress grew,
“Not from thy skirt yet I my hand withdrew.
“Still ever in thy service did I wait,
“Early in thy affairs employed and late.
“Thou couldst in no place that fair cypress find,
“But I as shadow followed close behind.
“When thou didst sit waiting I stood by thee;
“In sleep upon thy feet my head would be—
“In thy affairs employed still as before,
“In all sincerity I still adore.
“The secret of thy heart why dost thou hide,
“And as a stranger hold me from thy side?
“Who into this has thrown thee? Speak at last.
“Who stole thy sense? This load on thee who cast?
“Why so afflicted and thyself beside?
“Why with such grief and pain art thou allied?
“Why does thy red rose yellow turn as gold,
“And thy warm breath become in this way cold?
“Thou art the sun; as moon why sink as yet,
“And in the morning hour desire to set?
“Surely I know, some moon stands in thy way;
“Then who that moon is, to me plainly say.
“If in the heav'n above an angel he,
“And his pure essence formed of light should be,
“Urgent with supplication will I pray,
“Till he from heav'n to earth shall find his way;
“A Pari, if in hill and wood he dwell,
“To read spells for thee's my affair as well—
“By incantations will I him compel
“Shut in a bottle* here with thee to dwell,
“And if he should be born of human kind,
“Quickly with him will I rejoice thy mind.
“With this alliance who would not desire?
“Not slaves alone but those whose place is high'r.”
Zuleikha knew her sympathetic heart,
Her incantations' power and magic art;
And saw no way but to the truth to keep,
And took her moon among the stars to weep.
“Invisible my treasure is,” said she;
“My treasure's door-key, too, is lost to me,
“How can I show of that bird any trace
“That with the Anká has its dwelling-place?*
“This bird, indeed, mankind the Anká call,
“But this my own bird has no name at all.
“To him who's disappointed what delight
“That he his wish's name should know aright!
“In absence disappointment though he meet,
“The name the bitter of his tongue makes sweet.”
Her secret to the nurse then open laid,
Her trust's foundation she far higher made.
Out of her dreaming she awoke her then;
In place of ignorance she made things plain.
When of her book the nurse had read one word,
No remedy to her perplexed occurred.
Of every fancy this the picture true:
'Tis vain to search for what one never knew.
If from the first thou know'st not thy desire,
Of what avail yet farther to enquire?
When from its bonds her heart she could not save,
She loosed her tongue and admonition gave.
At first she said: “This is of Dívs the way;
Dívs' business is to cheat and to betray.
“To men they put on an appearance fair,
“To open them the door of black despair.”
Zuleikha said: “How could a Dív presume
“The form of a beloved one to assume?
“She who malignant tumult would prepare,
“May God forbid that she an Angel bear.”
“It is an evil dream,” the other said:
“For such an ill astray why art thou led?”
The other said: “Then if this dream be ill,
“The pure how should it be misleading still?
“For men of learning clear this maxim state:
“Crooked with crooked goes and straight with straight.”
The nurse replied: “Thou art a clever child;
“Then drive out from thy thoughts this fancy wild.”
Zuleikha answered: “Rested it with me,
“How should this load obtain the mastery?
“The thing can no more by my hand be done;
“The reins of power from that hand are gone.
“Than on the stony rock more deeply yet
“Engraved upon my heart an image set,
“The waves may rage, or howl the wind and storm,
“Yet not efface that deeply graven form.”
The nurse, who saw what force her love had gained,
From words of admonition now refrained,
But told her father secretly her state.
Her father, greatly troubled at the tale,
Since all device appeared of no avail,
Left the whole matter in the hand of Fate.