Now safety's corner suits not love in pace:
It loves the street of blame and its disgrace.
The pain of love in blame becomes more proud,
And in a tumult is its voice more loud.
Love's markets' guardian will blame ever be,
The polisher of rust to make it free.
The blame from all sides that on love is spent
But serves as whip-thong to the indolent.
When the steed of the road is heavy in pace,
The whip makes it sharp and keen for the race.
Zuleikha's secret's rose to bloom has sprung:
The world in blame 's a nightingale in tongue—
And this when the Egyptian women knew,
To keen reproach they all receptive grew.
For good or bad they all upon her fell,
And in reproach their tongues were loosed as well.
“All shame and honour has she cast aside:
“Her mad heart to this Hebrew slave is tied.
“So has he grasped the marrow of her soul,
“Of faith and sense her hand has lost control.
“From the right path so strangely has she erred
“That in her sight her own slave is preferred:
“And stranger still, that slave from her must fly,
“And shun her friendship and her company.
“Nowhere he casts a look upon her face,
“Nor on the same road moves his foot one pace.
“When she moves on his wish is to stand still;—
“When she would stand to move on is his will.
“When from her cheek she would remove the veil,
“His eyelash shuts his eye as with a nail.
“At every grief he laughs where she would weep;
“All doors she opens he fast closed would keep.
“It may be in his eye she is not good,
“And thence towards her never bends his mood.
“If ever that charmer sat by our side,
“In no place else would he ever abide.
“On road of despair he would never move thus;
“Our wish would he give and gain his from us.
“Acceptance can not every one acquire,
“To be accepted nor can all aspire.
“Many fair cheeked and virtuous though we find,
“Yet towards them men's hearts may not be inclined.
“Full many a Leila, of caressing mood,
“Must pour as from a fountain springs of blood.”
And now, Zuleikha having heard the case,
Determined these unjust ones to disgrace.
Without delay she bade a feast prepare,
And the women of Egypt summoned there.
What a feast in a royal banquet hall!
A thousand luxurious things at call!
What sweetmeats pure of each colour and hue,
Like a light reflected the darkness through!
And in crystal cups whose lip overflows
Is mingled rose-water with attar of rose.
Its ground was decked as with the sun's golden bars:
The silver cups a galaxy of stars.
Flavour and perfume from table and bowl,
Food for the body and strength for the soul.
Things there for eating whatever you wish,
Of bird they had brought together and fish.
Borrowed in place of sweets the fair, and drew
Sugar from lips and from teeth almonds, too,
Sweetmeats on boards of every hue and shade;
Shirín* foundations for that feast had laid.
In place of carpet spread upon the ground
Many gold bricks with candy laid around.
There sugar-eating lips with mouths of grace
Left for luzinah* in the mouth no place.
When to seek lozenges their palates came,
Their tongues of gardens never named the name.*
None seeking wonders could have ever thought
Such baskets out of water could be brought
Of fruit as fresh, as juicy and as rare,
As gardeners with water could prepare.
Handmaids and waiting-boys on every side
In service stood as peacocks in their pride.
Of Egypt there the Pari-faced ones found,
On golden cushions seated all around,
From every table ate what they desired;
And did such things as the right way required.
When from before them all the cloths were raised,
Them all in sugared speech Zuleikha praised.
And for each woman laid with cunning art
A knife and orange by her side apart.
One hand the knife held, sharp its work to do,
Orange the other, gladness to renew.
The orange deepest yellow, yet the while
A famous medicine for curing bile.
Then said she to them: “All ye fair and sweet,
“At beauty's banquet ye who lofty sit,
“Why do ye my desire so bitter taste,
“This Hebrew slave's love that to blame ye haste?
“If full of light his eye ye could but see,
“Ye would in seeing make excuse for me.
“Here will I bring him if ye so decide,
“And for this purpose I will be his guide.”
All cried at once: “In every word we speak,
“This only is the aim that we all seek.*
“Bid that in stately grace he here be led,
“Softly to spread his skirt about our head.
“With heart and soul do we his presence seek,
“Lovers of him, though yet unseen his cheek.
“Thy orange hold we in our hands awhile,
“For us, the bilious, as a cure for bile;
“To cut, his cheek unseen, would not be right,
“And none will cut it till he come in sight.”
Zuleikha sent her nurse to bring him there,
And say: “Come to us here, thou cypress fair.
“Put forth thy foot, that I beneath may fall:
“Before thy beauteous stature I may fall.
“Thy tranquil home shall be my sorrowing breast,
“My eye the carpet on thy road to rest.”
Joseph would at the nurse's word not come,
Nor would the rose with idle talking bloom.
On her own feet, then, thither where he dwelt,
Zuleikha went and down before him knelt.
Weeping she said: “O light of my two eyes,
“Longing in my pained heart for thee must rise—
“At first didst thou thyself inspire me hope;
“For longing now there is no farther scope.
“Disgraced among men have I been through thee,
“And of men's tongues the topic shall I be.
“I take it I am all mean in thy eye,
“And that on me thou never canst rely.
“Though unreliable and base, to shame
“Bring me of Egypt not before each dame—
“To eat thy lip's salt longs my wounded heart;
“To sprinkle salt upon it thy lip's part.
“Oh! of my faithfulness conceive no doubt;
“The rights of that salt do thou carry out.”
Of her enchantments with the fire aflame,
Pliant to come thus Joseph's heart became.
To deck him out she rose up as the wind,
Like cypress garb of green on him to bind.
She hung the ringlets of his perfumed hair
Before his cloak like amber fresh and fair.
Thou wouldst have thought it was of musk a snake,
That wreathed itself around a verdant brake.
Upon his hair-like waist she tightly bound
A golden girdle with gems studded round—
Those jewels' weight, those heavy rubies' pain,
I wonder such a waist could bear the strain.
Upon his head a jewelled diadem,
Delight was beaming forth from every gem.
Shoes on his feet of pearls and rubies full,
A string of pearls the latchets, too, to pull.
A girdle of brocade as chaplet hung,
A hundred hearts and souls on each thread strung.
She placed a golden ewer in his hand,
A gold-wreathed handmaid to before him stand.
A silver dish upon her hand she bore,
And step by step, as shadow walked before.
Thus bright and fresh whoever saw him stand
Of his dear life at once would wash his hand—
Of his look more than this I could not say,—
Beyond my praise he would be far away.
That hidden treasure from the private room
Came out like rosebud in its fullest bloom.
Saw Egypt's dames that rose-bed of delight,
And from that rose-bed plucked one rose of sight.
With that one sight their senses them forsook,
And from their hands the reins of power shook.
At that fair form of his were all amazed,
And, wond ring, all like lifeless bodies gazed.
By that fair vision as was each inspired,
At once to cut her orange she desired.
From her own hand her orange no one knew,
And thus across her hand the knife she drew.
A pen made one her fingers with her sword,
Upon her heat devotion to record;
A reed, which if the sword should strike a blow,
Vermilion from each joint would quickly flow:
Out of her palm a silver page one made,
Where, as in calendars, red lines were laid:
From every line there flowed a stream of blood,
Beyond its banks o'erflowing in a flood—
And when they saw him of such high degree,
They cried aloud: “No mortal man is he,
“Not formed, like Adam, of water and clay:
“An angel pure below has found his way.”
Zuleikha said: “This is that peerless one,
“For whom reproaches I have undergone.
“Your blame through which my very soul was torn,
“All for the love of this fair form was borne.
“Yet was his head not bowed down to my will,
“The hope of all my days he 'd not fulfil.
“My hope in soul and body him I called—
“To union with myself him even called—
“If towards my aim he will not move his foot,
“Him in the prison's corner must I put.
“If in disgrace in jail he still delays,
“And would consume in trouble all his days,
“Let his rebellion in the jail reform,
“And in good habits yet his heart grow warm.
“Nothing the free wild bird will ever tame
“Like that ease in a cage which he can claim.”
As then his face the Egyptian dames beheld,
Their hands cut many with the knives they held.
And of those dames whose hands were cut, a part
Lost wisdom, patience, and all sense and heart.
From his love's sword their souls they could not save,
In that assembly still their lives they gave.
Another part from reason were estranged,
And from that Pari's love became deranged.
Bare both in head and foot they ran around.
Nor e'er again the light of reason found.
And yet a part to reason came at last,
But pained at heart for love their days they passed,
And, like Zuleikha, drunk from Joseph's bowl,
Caught in his snare were those birds of their soul.
Of wine was Joseph's beauty as a pot,
Where each found gain according to his lot.
From inebriety one profit gained;
From thoughts of being one release obtained;
One for his beauty gave her soul for nought:
One dumb remained, absorbed but in his thought.
By her alone should pardon be obtained,
Who from that wine no sort of profit gained.