These words the nurse then to Zuleikha said
And she was as the wild hair on her head.
Poured on her cheek her eye-lash her heart's blood,
And her black almonds shed the jujube's flood.
With graceful gait, then, that tall cypress sped,
And threw its shadow on her darling's head,
And said: “Dust at thy feet may my head be,
“And of thy air my heart be never free!
“Void of thy love have I no single hair,
“And of my own hair am I unaware.
“Within myself as soul thy image lies,
“And round my neck thy noose the collar ties.
“Have I a soul? it breathes thy sorrow's air;
“A body? thou dost bring it to despair*.
“What of the state of my heart shall I say?
“Of thy blood-shedding eye it is a spray.
“Deep in the sea of thy love do I drown:
“Immersed in it am I from foot to crown.
“From every vein of mine the bleeder scores,
“Longing for thee, and not my blood, there pours.”
When Joseph heard these words, tears filled his eyes.
“Wherefore this weeping?” then Zuleikha cries.
“Thou art my eye. How can I sit and smile,
“That eye when I see weeping all the while?
“When from thy eye-lash drops of water flow,
“My very soul like fire must be a-glow.
“This of thy beauty's wonders one I know;
“Fire on my soul dost thou with water throw.”
When Joseph heard from her these grievous cries,
Pearls from his lip he shed, as from his eyes.
Weeping, he said: “My heart is aye distressed,
“That no one's love for me is ever blessed.
“On my love's road when first my aunt there came,
“She as a thief's spread in the world my name.
“When my sire's love my brothers greater knew,
“Within their souls the plant of hatred grew.
“Far from my father's side did they me send,
“An exile's days in Egypt's land to end.
“My heart must in this bosom constant bleed,
“Till it see further where thy love may lead.
“For jealous indeed is the lord of love,
“No partner in love's realm can he approve.
“And neither first nor last will he permit
“Another in the same high place to sit,
“Like the tall cypress in its beauty sweet
“That low the shadow casts down at its feet.
“When beauty fair ones' moonlight cheeks illumes,
“The flash of jealousy their sheaves consumes.
“When the sun reaches of the heavens the crown,
“At once towards the West he hurries down.
“When the full moon its form of brilliance gains,
“Seized on by sorrow it in anguish wanes.”
“My eye and lamp,” Zuleikha then replied:
“Enough of brilliance does thy moon provide.
“I do not say that I am dear to thee:
“A handmaid of thy handmaids would I be.
“Oh! of thy handmaid that thou wouldst be fond,
“Of slavery wouldst free her from the bond!
“I am thy handmaid lower than the rest,
“With but a longing heart and burning breast.
“Thee dearer than my life do I not know?
“Why shouldst thou look upon me as a foe?
“None wretched in his life desires to be,
“Nor wishes for his soul calamity.
“My heart is cleft of thy love by the blade:
“Thus of my hatred why art thou afraid?
“Be sweet and from thy lip my wishes grant:
“Subdued awhile, ease in my soul implant.
“Go but one step upon the road with me:
“Behold what love I ever bear to thee.”
“My lady mistress,” Joseph answer found:
“A slave before thee I with bonds am bound.
“Beyond thy service nothing in my hand,
“My duty lies in hearing thy command.
“From thy slave rulership forbear to claim:
“With all this favour bring me not to shame.
“Who am I for thy friendship to be fit,
“That at the Vazír's table I should sit?
“A king that slave would rightly grind to dust,
“Who in the salt with him his hand should thrust.
“'Twere best in any way to busy me,
“That all my days I may devote to thee.
“And in thy service should I ever fail,
“In work a hundredfold I'd make its tale.
“By service only do become slaves free,
“Gladdened with patent of their liberty.
“By faithful service are their hearts made glad,
“Freedom he gains not whose work aye is bad.”
Zuleikha answered: “O propitious star,
“Than slaves before thee I am lower far.
“For every service I of thee require
“A hundred workmen will at once aspire.
“How well 'twould be were I to pass them by,
“And on the work should only thee employ!
“The foot is useful but to tread the earth,
“And 'tis not with the eye of equal worth.
“If on thy foot's path where thou thorns mayst see,
“Thou place thine eye, they'll surely injure thee.”
Then Joseph, when he heard these words, replied:
“Thy heart and soul are with my love allied.
“If thy love pure as morning breezes be,
“On hope's horizon only breath for me
“Since my desire is only thee to serve,
“Strive not against me, nor from friendship swerve,
“For he whose heart is captive to his friend,
“Will further his desire e'en to the end.
“With his own will he sports his friends to meet,
“And his own will he treads beneath his feet.”
Joseph these words for this before her laid,
That he her company might thus evade,
For in her company was fear of ill,
And at a distance he might serve her still.
When fire against it may itself array,
Well for that cotton that can fly away.