When there search for goods men of every kind,
The buyer's heart tow'rds them is more inclined.
One maddening lover by one mistress blessed,
Perchance in love may comfort find and rest,
But with him when another lover vies,
A fire to scorch his heart will there arise.
The state of those whom Joseph rendered dumb,
Witness to Joseph's beauty had become.
Zuleikha's heart grew still the more inflamed,
And her soul greater love to Joseph claimed.
“When ye saw Joseph,” to the dames she said:
“Your hands of love were wounded with the blade.
“If now his love ye hold excused in me,
“Let me from your reproach be ever free.
“Enter the door of friendship as my friends,
“Give me your aid until the matter ends.”
Then all upon the harp of friendship played,
And in their song for her excuses made:
“Joseph the lord in thy soul's realm would seem,
“And in that realm his orders are supreme.
“Him having seen, though as a stone he were,
“Refuse his heart to Joseph who would dare?
“For him although thy love distress thy mind,
“Excuse in his perfection mayst thou find.
“Was any ever born beneath heav'n's sphere,
“Who saw his face, and did not mad appear?
“If thou art in love, reproach is not thine;
“Thou in this traffic incurrest no fine.
“Though often round this earth has heaven been,
“But seldom has it such a loved one seen.
“May his stony heart grow soft with thy love;
“And shame his want of affection remove.”
After this they turned towards Joseph round,
And these words of warning for him they found.
“O precious life!” thus him they addressed;
“In the cause of good name is rent thy vest.
“In this garden, where roses with thorns are born,
“Like thee never bloomed a rose without thorn.
“In this sea, of nine spheres each is a shell,
“Four elements, pearls, in thy honour dwell.
“Insist not ever on thy glorious base:
“Descend a little from thy lofty place.
“Pure one, Zuleikha's dust is at thy feet:
“Thy skirt draw thou at times along her street.
“To thee, pure-skirted one, what loss in this,
“Her dust that sometimes that pure skirt should kiss?
“Oh! strive no longer to defeat her aim,
“Permit with thee what is her only claim.
“On freedom from desire tak'st thou thy stand,
“Withdraw not from the needy now thy hand.
“What is thy service due has reached her ear;
“Forget not the dues of her service here.
“Regard her prayer: Do not too much coquet,
“O lofty cypress, this I fear as yet,
“Since thou but to rebellion dost incline,
“But fruit unpleasant will at last be thine.
“She from her heart will wash thy love away:
“Thee at her feet her hand of power will lay.
“A friend in anger, oh! of this beware,
“From his friend's head the skin will basely tear.
“When the floods of fear pass over her face,
“Her child a mother 'neath her feet will place.
“A threat of jail she holds before thy face,
“But for the ill-disposed of ease a place—
“Grave, dark and narrow where oppressed men lie,
“Whence far and away will the living fly.
“The living there can hardly draw their breath;
“'Tis a place for those who await their death.
“The hand of the builder has not made there
“A way that is light or a hole for air.
“With desperation's lock its door they close:
“There in pale pride the morning never rose.
“Its air the source of every plague would yield,
“Of all misfortune is its soil the field:
“Narrow and darksome as of pitch a jar,
“Chains, fetters, the goods of its people are.
“At boards without water and bread they lie,
“Yet sitting there are content to die.
“Jailors of hard face are there them among,
“Neighbours with bitter words upon their tongue.
“Folds to oppress men in their brows you find;
“A hundred knots in each to plague mankind.
“Their tempers as with fire a world provoke,—
“Their faces all are black with that fire's smoke.
“Can such place of sorrow be ever fit,
“For such a chármer as thou art to sit?
“For God's sake, on thyself bestow thy grace;
“Ope her aim's door before Zuleikha's face.
“Pen-like, her head to comfort's line bring near;
“From her heart's tablet wash the point of fear.
“Should discontent with her perchance there be,
“Or shouldst thou in her no great beauty see,
“When thou art free of her be thou our friend,
“Towards us thy secret inclination bend.
“In beauty none with us can ever vie,
“Moons shining are we all in beauty's sky.
“When we our sugar-eating lips unclose,
“Her mouth from pure shame must Zuleikha close.
“So sweet and sugar-eating as we are,
“Above Zuleikha's is our station far.”
When Joseph heard that this their treach'rous talk
Was merely meant Zuleikha's aim to balk—
Faith to forsake, in folly's ways to dwell,
Was not for him but for themselves as well.
At this their converse he was in despair.
His face then turning from their faces there,
To God he lifted supplication's hand:
“Thou, Who dost ever by the needy stand,
“Refuge of those who solitude observe,
“Friend of all those who chastity preserve,—
“The lamp of fortune of all innocence,
“From ev'ry ill a fortress of defence,—
“They in this thing have strangely wearied me;
“'Twere well to be in jail them not to see.
“In jail I'd best a hundred years remain,
“So never on their face to look again.
“To look on the forbidden blinds the heart,
“And from God's presence throws us far apart.
“If thou the crafty fraud turn not away
“Of those from wisdom's road and Faith's who stray,
“My place through them becomes too tight for me.
“Oh! turn them back: if not, oh! woe is me!”
When for a prison Joseph God besought,
God at his own prayer him to prison brought.
But had he asked for freedom from His grace,
Towards the prison He had never turned his face,—
From their calamity had him released,
And all the pains of prison would have ceased.