When on its golden drum the starlit arch
The signal beat for the night's morning march,
The stars their own assembly rendered void*
And joining with the night their burdens tied.
Of that gold-scattering drum was from the light
The peacock's tail with parrot's hue bedight.
With royal pomp the Vazír forward went,
Placed in her litter that moon from her tent.
To right and left, before, behind her, too,
The army he arranged in order due,
With gold umbrellas that o'er beauties' head
Was as of golden trees a shadow made;
A jewelled saddle beneath every tree,
A throne for every fair one there would be.
And in the midst of tree, and shade, and throne,
The fair one sitting there went moving on.
The singers now attuned their voice to song,
The camel-drivers shouting* pushed along.
With sound of melody and Huda shout
Heav'n's vault and desert plain were filled throughout.
From steeds and camels moving on amain
Of moons and crescents full were vale and plain.
At times from every side in headlong pace
The crescent, wounding, cut the full moon's face:
At others, from the full moon rising clear,
The crescent would then wane and disappear;*
Wounded by horses' hoof where earth had bled,
The camel's foot a plaster there would spread.
Drives to their saddle-seat the rampant deer,*
The horses' neigh, as bell resounding clear;
The girls at ease in litters borne along
Follow the camel-drivers' cry and song;
Zuleikha's handmaids were in mirth and glee
That she of separation's fiend was free.
The Vazír, and his people, too, were glad
His house for mistress such an idol had.
Zuleikha, bitter in her litter pent,
The heav'n with cries and lamentation rent.
“O fortune! why hast thou me so oppressed?
“Why hold me so impatient, without rest?
“Nor do I know what I have done to thee
“That thou hast thrown me into misery.
“In visions first didst thou despoil my heart,
“Waking, a thousand woes didst thou impart.
“At times of madness binding with the chain,
“At times in bounty loosing me again.
“When thou didst break me, I myself was free:
“I erred in seeking remedies from thee.
“How should I know that when a cure I sought,
“To exile thou wouldst me have brought?
“Enough for me the pain myself I knew,
“The pain of exile thou hast giv'n me, too.
“Be melting souls a remedy for thee,
“What, God defend us! will that melting be?
“Fraud's snare, upon my road, oh! do not place;
“Nor throw stones on my bowl of patience' face.
“Promise that henceforth thou in happiness
“With ease of life wilt thy own soul possess.
“Well with that promise should I be content:
“Who knows is such a lot for me is meant?”
As thus Zuleikha spoke to Heaven's ear,
The time the baggage to unload came near,
And from the guides there rose the hasty cry:
“Lo! Egypt's city and Nile's bank are night.”
Thousands of souls Nile's margin round about,
On foot and horseback standing raised a shout.
Egypt's Vazír by way of gratitude
With bounteous hand before that litter strewed
Gold caskets full of dirams and of gold,
Caskets of jewels and of pearls untold.*
Jewels the offerers were scattering
As on the flowering mead the clouds of spring,
From gold and gems those many hands that shower,
The litter hid as in a jewelled bower.
From many jewels that men threw around
Upon the road no horse-hoof touched the ground.
Horse-shoes and rubies clashing as they passed,
As stone and iron fire around them cast.
Their presents scattering there mile on mile
The people line in rows the banks of Nile.
And in the Nile pearls deck each fish's ear,
As in the oyster royal gems appear.
Whilst from the dirams* scattered in the stream
The crocodiles themselves all dirams seem.
Thus moving forwards all in kingly state
With pomp they soon drew near the royal gate.
A Paradise on earth the palace reared,
Before it sun and moon mere bricks appeared.
Within that palace had a throne been placed,
Than other thrones with far more beauty graced.
The master goldsmith to that throne applied
Gold by the ass-load, all the gems beside.
To that gold-cradled seat they led her on,
Placed like a jewel on a golden throne.
From her heart's scar she yet was never free:*
Sitting in flames of gold she seemed to be.
A jewelled crown upon her head they placed,
And throne and crown both with her beauty graced.
Beneath that heavy diadem was still
Her heart as weighed down as 'twere 'neath a hill.
Those plenteous jewels poured upon her head
A very rain of sorrow seemed instead,
And from those gems, the envy of the sun,
Naught from her eye but pearls of tears would run.
With separation he whose heart is torn
But for a moment* tow'rds a throne is borne.
Who on that plain wears on his head a crown
Where heads in hundreds go to ruin down?
When fills the eye with tears of sheer despair,
What room is there for pearls and jewels there?