From sight alone will love not always rise:
'Twill come from speech sometimes, as well as eyes.
Through the ear's door will beauty entrance find;
It takes ease from the heart and sense from mind.
No need is there for procuress's art,
That she should tell her tale on beauty's part.
Though through the eye no influence may be,
Love sometimes finds its way in secretly.
There was a girl in Egypt's land, in grace
Who hold the lordship of the Adis' race.
Pearls* from her ruby mouth put on a smile;
With sugar filled her laugh the land of Nile.
And from the sweetness that her smile possessed,
The cane's heart ev'n was with her chain oppressed.
When her sweet lips sweet smiles around her threw,
The cane between its teeth its finger drew.
At her mouth sugar's heart in narrow pass,
And sweets from envy on a stone as glass—
Should pleasure's sweets her saucy lip inflame,
Sweets in the bottle's heart a knot became.
Although the sweets gave to the bottle heart,
Against her lips it could not bear its part.
Wine-bibbers with that mouth could not contend:
In the defeat of brave men it would end.*
That Huri-envied one the world brought strife;
Egypt her sweetness made with tumult rife.
The country's heads her favour all would seek,
The beauties of the town before her weak.
But as her crown in grandeur grazed the heaven,
Equality with her to none was given.
In honour, wealth, and in the pride of place,
Would she tow'rds no one ever turn her face.
When Joseph's tale and all his praise she heard,
Towards that moon-face all her love was stirred.
One on another as the rumours flew,
Her heart in his ideal firmer grew.
From hearing turned her mind to seeing round;
In hearing is the seed of seeing found.
She knew the price that should for him be paid,
Her heart its reck'ning for that payment made.
A thousand camels of high lineage foaled,
Laden with musk, brocade, and gems, and gold,
All kinds of precious things that she possessed,
To offer as his price which she deemed best.
To march on Egypt's road these all prepared,
Of everything her treasury she bared.
The rumour spread she came to Egypt nigh;
Itself in Egypt rose a fresher cry.
She came to Egypt following Joseph's way,
And made enquiries of where Joseph lay.
When news she had obtained of Joseph's place,
Gladly she thither turned her reins and face.
Beauty beyond the range of thought she saw,
A soul of earthly stains* without one flaw.
She never saw his like upon the earth,
Nor had she heard of one of equal birth.
She swooned, unconscious, at the sight away;
Out of her senses from delight she lay.
Back to her sense unconsciousness she brought.
Out of her careless dream she waking sought.
Loosing her tongue in questioning to speak,
Gems from that treasure store she 'gan to seek.
She said: “O thou whom only fitting actions grace,
“Who with such beauty has adorned thy face?
“Who threw the sun's bright ray upon thy brow,
“And of moon-clusters gleans the harvest now?
“Thy form has from what artist's brush been known?
“Thy cypress-fair what gardener has grown?
“Who with his compass thy arched eyebrow lined?
“Who did in graceful curls thy ringlets bind?
“Its water whence did thy moist rose derive?
“With it who made thee in the garden thrive?
“Who taught thy cypress fair its graceful gait?
“Whence learnt thy lips sweet stories to relate?
“Thy moon-face on their tablet who indite?
“The letter of thy locks what pen shall write?
“Who thy narcissus opened to day's beam,
“Of non-existence woke thee from the dream?
“Who thy pearl's casket locked with ruby key,
“That heart and soul of thine might strengthened be?
“And who that dimple in thy chin has made,
“In which life's water to the full is laid?
“Who with that amber mole thy cheek has graced?
“That raven who in that rose-garden placed?”
When Joseph in his ear had heard this word,
Out of his fountain sweet soul's food was poured:
“I am the Great Creator's work,” he cried;
“With one drop from His ocean satisfied.
“The heaven's but one dot from perfection's reed,
“The earth but one bud from His beauty's mead.
“The sun a spark out of His wisdom's light,
“The sphere a bubble from His sea of might.
“Pure is His beauty from all charge of sin,
“Of the invisible the screen within.
“Of the world's atoms He has mirrors made,
“Of His own face on each an image laid.
“Whate'er of good thou seest with thy eye,
“Look well; His own reflection there will lie.
“The image seen, haste to the source away;
“Feeble before the source the imaged ray.
“Forbid God from the source thou far remain;
“The image gone, thou wilt no light retain.
“In but short time the image will have passed;
“One cannot trust the rose's hue to last.
“Have to the original for life recourse,
“And seek faith only at the very source.
“To long for anything may pierce life's vein;
“Sometimes it is—at times 'twill not remain.”
In mysteries when Joseph thus replied,
Joseph's love's carpet, wise, she rolled aside.
“Thy praises hearing,” she to Joseph said,
“To long for thee in pain my heart was led.
“For thee of hoping I pursued the way,
“And on my foot my head in searching lay.
“I saw thy face and headlong there I fell,
“My thought to perish at thy feet as well.
“Of mysteries the pearls then didst thou string,
“And gavest me the sign of light's fair spring.
“With truth of my words hast thou split the hair,
“Nor wouldst thou me permit thy love to share.
“Thou from my face the veil of hope hast riv'n,
“From atoms to my sun the road hast given.
“Now that thy secret's door stands wide to me,
“It were deceit to bandy love with thee.
“Now that truth's way is clear before my eye,
“From longing that 's profane 'twere best to fly.
“May God reward thee that my eye is clear,
“That to the Soul of souls thou bring'st me near.
“From all strange love hast thou withdrawn my heart,
“For holy union set my house apart.
“If every hair of mine a tongue became,
“Thy tale should every one of them declaim.
“Thy pearls of gratitude I cannot string,
“Nor e'er a hair's point of thy praises sing.”
Then bidding him farewell she went away;
Free of desire, she would no longer stay.
Then after she in haste had left him there,
Upon Nile's bank she built a house of prayer.
From rule and from the world and riches freed,
She patronised all such as were in need:
Through these her wealth and kingdom went to waste;
At night there was not left enough to taste.
No crown had she that jewels bright adorn;
Contented with a makna* old and torn,
A golden fillet she no more would bind,
But woollen stockings round her head would wind.
She freed herself from silk and from brocade;
Of felt a garment for herself she made.
As bracelet on her wrist with jewels gay,
As rosary she counted beads of clay,
And in the corner of that praying place
Turned from the world towards that shrine her face.
A sheet of ashes from the furnace brought,
In place of ermine she for bedding sought;
Under her head for pillow laid a stone,
And at her pain the earth would even moan.
Thus in that house of prayer she passed her days,
And firm she made her feet in prayer and praise.
In service when her life was thus complete,
She like a hero joyed her death to meet.
Oh! think not that she gave her life in vain,
To die, her loved one's face seen, was no pain.
Learn, heart, from her a hero's part to take,
And as she mourned thy sorrow true to make.
Swallow the grief, hast thou no cause to groan;
And make thee mourning if thou hast no moan.
Vain show in worshipping thy life has passed;
Thou thoughtest aye of things that do not last.
Each moment outward beauty knows decay,
All things revolving change from day to day.
On other stones place ever not thy feet,
Nor constant change from branch to branch thy seat.
Above the universe aye take thy rest;
Beyond the dome of spirit make thy rest.
There are a thousand forms, but spirit one:
Those who on outward forms count ever shun.
There is in numbers ever misery;
Thy stronghold ever make in unity.
Canst thou not bear the onset of thy foe,
'Twere best thyself safe in a fort to know.