The heart that by its charmer may be grieved,
Is both of gladness and of woe relieved.
Nor to his skirt another's love is bound,
Nor any gladness hovers him around.
Thus had the world become a sea of woes,
And waves of sorrow like the mountains rose.
Their moisture on his skirt were never known,
Nor by their grief would he be overthrown.
Of joy a banquet if Fate should prepare,
And should eternal pleasure show him there,
He looks not on that feast of loveliness,
Nor wishes his sorrow one hair the less.
Zuleikha, that bird of a plaintive tone,
To her the world's birdcage had narrow grown.
In those days when Fortune to her was good,
And her private house as a garden stood,
The Vazír for her head a shadow made;
And to her loveliness his plant gave shade.
All things collected for her pleasure there,
Her cheek was lit up as a candle fair.
Yet grief for Joseph never left her heart,
Nor would from off her tongue his tale depart.
Of the Vazír when she was then bereft,
And of the goods of wealth was nothing left,
The thought of Joseph's face was still her friend,
And to her wounded heart would comfort lend.
In deserts in his memory would she roam,
And now in sorrow's corner make her home.
In separation she could neither eat nor sleep,
And from her eyes the blood-red tears would weep.
“Happy when I the fruit of Fortune ate,
“And in one house was with my lover set;
“Or, when through trusty eyes still him I saw,
“A hundred times his form might fancy draw;
“When of that wealth my fortune me deprived,
“In jail to shut him wretched I contrived.
“In the dark night I made my way there soon,
“And used to look upon that shining moon.
“The rust I rubbed off from my heart by day,
“And gazed at door and wall wherein he lay.
“To-day from these far distant I remain,
“Apart in body, with my soul in pain.
“I only hold his image in my heart,
“Nor from that image am I e'er apart.
“That image gone, to me what would life be?
“That image in my heart is life to me.”
This tale she told, and mingled it with sighs;
And fire struck sun and moon both in the skies;
Like Aleph's Madd*, the smoke was of her sigh,
Upon her head a black tent spread on high.
From evils of the sun at any place
Of refuge save that tent there was no trace.
Above her head it stood not as a tent,
But to guard heaven from her arrows meant.
Against those darts had heaven no defence,
That vault they would have passed through so immense.
She from her eye-lash blood-red tears* would shed—
Not tears, but drops of blood* I should have said.
When from burnt heart the fever burning grew,
Upon her lip her eyelash water threw.
She washed not from her cheek the tears she shed,
And from her tears her cheek was tinged with red.
From bloody tears her cheek grew crimson hued,
And in her heart the bond of love renewed,—
For that affair as ready cash was brought,
For marriage dowry heart's blood only sought.
With nail she sometimes tore her cheek of rose,
And her eye blood's fountain would disclose.
Each was an inkstand of vermilion bright,
For grief's divorce with which a deed to write.
At times her breast, at times her heart, she tore;
Nought but love's image on her soul she wore.
She struck upon her knee of wild-rose hue,
And brought the water-lily's colour blue.
“Worthy,” she said, “of my friend's love I prove;
“If he's the sun, yet I as lotus move.
“And since the sun is friendly to the West,
“To act as lotus will for me be best.”
Her cone-like heart she struck once and again,
And bit her fingers as 'twere sugar cane.
Her hand, of every gaze that was so shy,
From wounded fingers had a crimson dye.
A pen she of her bleeding fingers made:
Her camphor-palm like book she open laid,
And in that book a word of grief she wrote;
Of any other thing she made no note.
Yet in that book the story that she told,
Unwritten might her lover ne'er behold.
For many wretched years such was her state
At separation, aye disconsolate.
Ageing her troubled youth from Heaven knew,
Her pitch-like hair assumed a milk-white hue.
The morning came: its crew night gathered up,
And poured in camphor to its musky cup.
From Fate's fell arrow had the raven fled,
And in its nest the owl had made its bed.
(No ancient man could this e'er bring to mind,
That in a raven's house an owl you'd find.)
Tears from her eye washed out the dark'ning hue,
In that narcissus bud the jess'mine grew.
When glad beneath this vault of crooked track,
Her eye that saw the world was clothed in black;
When it, then, turned to mourning through despair,
Why turned the blackness into whiteness there?
From India came the pattern of the thing,
That Hindoos love the hue of falcon's wing*.
On her fresh rosy face a trembling fell,
On her wild rose were wrinkles seen as well.
Upon her brow that fold which stood in grace
Fell through old age's sickness on her face.
In this old hermitage none ever knew
The water rippling when no breezes blew.
Now with no wind, or blew the breezes keen,
Rippling like water both her cheeks were seen.
Her cypress crooked must love's burden own;
Ring-like towards her foot her head had grown.
From head to foot her destiny was marred,
And like a ring, of union's feast debarred.
Here where is wet with blood of men the clay,
And vision's capital has passed away,
Her head fell forwards as her back was bent,
As if to find her capital intent.
Thus in that desert months and years passed down,
No anklets wore her feet, her head no crown.
No satin robes upon her back she wore,
And in her ears no drops of pearl she bore;
Upon her neck no jewelled collar borne,
Upon her cheek no gold-wrought veil was worn.
Beneath her side an earthern cushion lay;
Her tender cheek its pillow made on clay.
With Joseph's love yet were her couch on clay
Better than silk bed on which Huris lay.
The brick beneath her face, at thought of him,
A pillow gemmed from Paradise would seem.
To this sad pain, but part of which I've sung,
And to describe a hundred pearls have strung,
No name but Joseph's on her tongue there passed,
And none brought comfort to her soul at last.
Silver and gold stores whilst she yet possessed,
A thousand caskets full of gems the best,
Her Joseph's tale would any then repeat,
She cast her gold and silver at his feet;
Like a casket of gems, his mouth for him
She filled all full of pearls up to the brim:
Thus spending all in her liberal way,
Her gold and silver had all passed away.
With a woollen garment was she content,
The belt a fibre from the palm tree rent.
Those who spoke of Joseph, no more would tell,
But down on the knee of silence they fell.
Passed the time when from the wise she could hear
Of Joseph, and draw soul's food through her ear,
It came to this, that losing all her strength,
A reed house on his road she built at length;
That when his army passed by in its course,
Her soul might from their voice derive fresh force.
Alas! that wretched one no more might stand,
The reins of power fallen from her hand,
From her love's union's board debarred so long,
Unpleasing, out of tune her pleasure's song.
Union with him she loved no power lent;
No strength'ning message from his country sent.
At times to winds would she his secret speak,
And from the birds at times his traces seek.
When on the road she saw that trav'lers passed,
The dust of exile on their faces cast;
She kissed their feet as those of men of name,
And washed those feet that from his province came.
When on that road his course her Sultan took,
On him she had no pow'r to cast a look.
By his road's dust her heart was ever eased,
With his army's voices she sat well pleased.