A scar upon her heart Zuleikha bore:
Despair increased it ever more and more.
Each day will ever clothe its face in white,
Save day of hopelessness, as dark as night.
For Egypt grieved her father saw her mind,
And but one remedy for this could find,
That down to Egypt some wise man should go,
From the Vazír its remedy to know;
That he to him a message might convey,
And for Zuleikha's union pave the way.
He chose a man for wisdom from the Court*,
Gave to his wisdom praise of every sort.
A hundred gifts he gave to him of every kind,
To the Vazír his road with counsel how to find.
“O thou whom time” (he gave for message this)
“Revolving must thy threshold's dust aye kiss,
“May the spheres' favour to thee never cease!
“Thy greatness aye from day to day increase!
“There's in my sign of chastity a sun,
“Whence in her heart the moon a ray has won.
“Higher than is the moon's her base is laid,
“Yet has the sun's eye never seen her shade.
“Purer than pearl that e'er in oyster lay,
“Than star in honour shedding brighter ray.
“Only when veiled will she the moon behold,
“For fear the stars to look on her be bold—
“Only the mirror sees her features fair,
“The comb alone lets loose her flowing hair.
“That hair alone is with the fortune blessed
“At times its head upon her feet to rest.
“When the house-courts she walks in loveliness
“Naught but her skirt may those sweet feet caress.
“Nor does her chin the bride-adorner dress,
“Nor does her lip the cane with finger press:
“Her beauty from the rose her skirt withdrew,
“Whose robe disgracefully was torn in two.
“Nor at her cheek may the narcissus pry:
“It loves the cup and has a wicked eye.
“She walks not in the light of moon or sun,
“Lest in pursuit of her her shadow run.
“She passes not by fountain or by stream,
“Lest her reflection's eye should on her beam.
“Her station ever though within the veil,
“Outside a hundred strifes for her prevail.
“All kings desirous to obtain her hand
“But ruin at her will demanding stand.
“The high from Rome and up to Syria's bound
“Drinking their hearts' blood through her love are found.
“Yet towards no one does she turn her mind,
“In Egypt only can she comfort find.
“At Rome with mind content she would not smile:
“To her are Syria's dust and water vile.
“Towards Egypt only does she long to go;
“Her tears, a second Nile, for Egypt flow.
“Why she for Egypt longs I cannot say,
“Nor who it is that draws her heart that way.
“Her native land as if they there declared,
“Or for her food there royal briefs prepared.*
“If thy exalted mind to this consent,
“She shall to that attractive land be sent,
“By beauty's right should she the throne not share,
“To sweep the house, then, be her service there.”
When Egypt's Vazír heard the grateful word;
With his pride's head-dress were the heavens stirred.
Deeply he bowed and cried: “Then who am I,
“That in my heart such thoughts are sown and lie?
“Yet since the king has raised me from the ground,
“My head may rightly pass the heavens' bound.
“I am that earth which the fair cloud of spring
“Is with its goodness ever watering.
“A hundred tongues should now my body raise
“Like grass, could I enough such goodness praise?
“Yet through the favour that the king now lends,
“My duty is, if fortune me befriends,
“To make my head his foot, my eyes his shoes,
“With head and eye my road to him to choose.
“And yet with Egypt's king, that wisdom's mine,
“So tight the bonds of service me entwine,
“If for one hour only should I absent be,
“With sword of power he would punish me.
“Do ye this service not from me demand;*
“Absolved from pride's suspicion let me stand.
“By way of gratitude, should he allow,
“Two hundred golden litters send I now;—
“A thousand waiting-maids, a thousand slaves,
“Pine-statured, moving as the Tubá waves.
“The slaves of disposition sweet and kind,
“In Paradise no purer could one find;
“From smiling mouths they naught but sweetness breathe,
“While pearls and rubies round their hair enwreathe.
“With girded loins and jaunty caps aside,
“They in their golden saddles smartly ride.
“The waiting-maids of light and bright array,
Huris of earthly water free and clay.
“Their perfumed locks their rosy cheeks adorn,
“With arching eyebrows o'er a moon upborne.
“Of many gems their ornaments they bind,
“In golden litters gracefully reclined.
“With these, too, such as are possessed of wit,
“And skilled in horsemanship, as may befit,
“I send, that her with honour they convey,
“To my retirement gently lead the way.”
When the wise messenger had heard his mind,
Prostrate he kissed his feet, on earth reclined,
And said: “Though Egypt glory great may see,
“Beneficence arises fresh in thee.
“Our sovereign requires not pomp or state;
“Of what thou say'st he has enough to sate.
“The slaves and all the handmaids of his Court
“Would, shouldst thou reckon them, be counted short.
“Those robed with honour* at his banquets found
“More than the leaves upon the trees abound.
“The glittering gems presented by his hand
“Are more in number than the desert sand.
“Acceptable is his desire to thee,
“Happy the man with whom thou dost agree.
“Since now thy table it would seem to suit,
“Towards thee will he quickly send that fruit.”