Zuleikha, lonely, of her life despaired;
A reed house she on Joseph's road prepared,
And this with plaited reeds was fenced around,
That gave forth music with a plaintive sound.
Of separation when she made lament
Was from each reed a plaintive murmur sent.
When separation's fire began to blaze,
Flame in each separate reed her sighs would raise.
Wounded and fallen in that brake she lay,
While arrows pierced her like a hunted prey;
But as she suffered yet from love's sweet pain,
Each arrow was to her as sugar-cane.
In Joseph's stable was a steed Div-bred,
That threw down spheres and raised the heaven's head.
This courser, piebald as the sphere of light,
To-day a thousand segments joined from night.
One could in him both light and darkness see;
As old Time's nights and days combined was he.
In heav'nly Virgo from his tail a cup,
The moon's bowl by his hoof was wrinkled up.
Upon each hoof a golden crescent bound,
And as its nails the stars were fastened round.
As his hoof's wound upon the hard rock rang,
From each of his new moons a planet sprang.
And if there in his course flew off a shoe,
Appeared a moon in heaven that was new.
In the hunting field he aye outstripped the prey
And flew like arrow from its side away.
If there had been a plain from East to West,
Like lightning he'd have crossed without a rest.
The dust around if he raised in his race,
When would the wind of Sarsar reach his face?
On the road though full of his drops of sweat,
On him had no one seen a drop as yet.
His temper such that he would gently go,
Like flood from drops that may begin to flow.
With his own pluck he like a treasure flew,
Nor of a whip's lash the misfortune knew.
Tame had he stayed in stable and content,
The spheres their neck had in his service bent.
If he had so desired, he might have won
In the moon's kettle water from the sun;—
For him had they prepared by night and day
Barley from Virgo, grass from the Milky Way.*
Of silken hair they had prepared a sieve,
Barley by night for moons and years to give.
He chose the Sidrah birds that sing at morn
To come and pick stones for his barley corn.
The “Twins” hung from his saddle down a pair,
His stirrups on each side a crescent fair.
His foot when in the stirrup Joseph placed,
As in the “Twins” the moon, his seat he graced.
When that Canopus* 'neath his thigh he drew,
Tow'rds ev'ry side the courser keener grew.
In ev'ry place whoever heard him neigh
Needed no drum as summons for the way.
Around that monarch all assembled soon,
Like a group of planets around the moon.
Zuleikha, also, when she heard the neigh,
Ran from her hut of reeds upon his way.
In grief she sat of the road by the side,
Lamenting so wildly, where he would ride.
And when without Joseph appeared the crowd,
The boys would call to her in jesting aloud:
“Lo! on the road is Joseph coming on,
“Joseph the envy of the moon and sun.”
Zuleikha said: “Of this Joseph of mine,
“Ye delicate ones, I perceive no sign.
“To my heart with these jests give no more pain,
“For no scent of Joseph comes to my brain.
“On every stage where that charmer goes
“The land full of musk of Tartary grows.
“In any company where he may be
“The breeze of his presence must come to me.”
And with the crowd when Joseph drew more nigh,
And his might moved their hearts, they then would cry,
And say to her: “Oh! Joseph is not here;
“No traces in this crowd of him appear.”
“Strive not to cozen me with this,” she cried;
“And of my friend the coming do not hide.
“That idol to whom souls their kingdom yield,
“How may his coming be from me concealed?
“This breeze to my soul's garden vigour gives,
“Not that alone, but every soul that lives.
“When on the road revived the spirit goes,
“The news of that reviving soul it knows.”
When that distracted, lonely one could hear
The heralds shouting out the road to clear,
“Distant an age!” her cry would rend the air;
“A hundred woes I in this absence bear.
“To bear more absence I have not the pow'r;
“Except by force I will not wait an hour.
“How long must I be absent from my love?
“Now from myself 'twere better I should move.”
Thus saying, often would she senseless fall,
Forgetful even of herself and all.
Oblivion's cup would not then leave her hand,
In her reed hut unconscious she would stand.
Among those reeds when breathed her sadden'd soul,
Cries and complaints arose beyond control.
After this manner passed her ev'ry day,
And of employment gave no other way.