The heaven 's a dragon on itself that turns,
In plaguing us to prove its strength that burns.
All captive in its curling folds are we:
How from its tail shall we be ever free?
Thou seest no one that it does not wound,
And out of hundreds none has mercy* found.
For its oppression no one may avoid,
What breast has this oppressor not annoyed?
In the bright lamp that shines in every star,
On the free heart it aye inflicts a scar.
A thousand scars and not a plaster there,
Yet for this want of salve it has no care.
And there are seen in every gloomy night
A thousand windows in the world of light;
What profit, since on us there falls no gleam,
And on our minds contentment does not beam?
Like lions, it is single-hued by day,
At night a tiger's colours 'twill display,
Except to be oppressed what is our plight
When the day-lion tiger grows at night?
'Tis fit that at our bitter joy I should be grieved,
With lion and with tiger that I am deceived.
From any one who now may be thy friend
In parting surely thy affair must end.
Constant revolved this* vault of heaven green,
In movement moon and sun and stars were seen,
Till all the elements together mixed,
And in a net the soul's bird was fixed.
But this unhappy bird had not as yet
The grain of its desire picked from the net,
When broke the elements each other's chain,
And to its prime source each returned again.
Then must the bird, with bleeding heart, remain
Far from its nest, no water and no grain.
Look on the circling sphere and ardent sun;
For malice they display they shame have none.
Few to their love* like morn their hearts have bound
As twilight red with blood that are not found.
He its banquet who awhile no grief has borne,
For ages long through it occasion had to mourn.
Tread for awhile in spring the garden's bound,
And look upon the streams that flow around:—
Why has the bud its vest asunder thrust?
Why does the green herb basely lie in dust?
Why is the rose's garment torn apart,
Flames in its mouth and full of sparks its heart?
The graceful cypress who, then, has thrown down?
And who the Arghaván in blood would drown?
Why is the fading spikenard sad to view?
Why filled Narcissus' eye with tears of dew?
The mourning violet is clad in blue;*
The tulip washed has scars of bloody hue.
The fir, with heart in many pieces split,
In holes the sun's sword has its body slit.
The rose-bush, back and face, by roses is full scarred,—
Torn by its cruel nail the jess'mine cheek is marred.
Trees in the breeze are mournful dancing still;
The birds' pathetic chant from hill to hill.
The turtle-dove coos ev'rywhere away,
“Where in the world is rest?” as if 'twould say.
“Happy is he,” the nightingales in thousands mourn,
“Who from this garden has but little sorrow borne.”
And by its collar is the dove's neck chained,
Whence freedom ever no head has obtained.
The world and its fair spring thus dost thou see;
Now of its autumn warning take from me.
See of the autumn wind the breath so cold,
Of its vine-leaves the yellow face behold.
Of parting's anguish is this bitter air
That severs friend from friend and pair from pair.
With parting's grief that cheek is pale to see,
For after nearness distance must there be.
Of loveliness and hue the garden shorn,
The black clothed crow has thither come to mourn.
The nakedness of ev'ry branch must show
Beneath the peacock's tail the foot of crow.
From the wild rose's head the veil has fallen down;
The elm has lost its tent-like covering and crown.
Pomegranates their heads' crown have cast below,
From which the garden old fresh youth may know.
Its heart although thou see with laughter thrill,
Blood with a hundred sparks it aye will fill.
Fairer the garden's maiden bare to view,
Than when her beauty's clothed in yellow hue,
Than when her paling cheek 's begrimed with dust,
And from her lovers she afar is thrust,
When the keen frost the water's face with harshness binds,
Cuirass to weave the wind the way no longer finds.
Ravished by frost's cold hand thou seest the plane;
The grove thou hearest of the cold complain.
From fear of cold thyself dost thou not dare
From the bough's sleeve thy hand to render bare.
Such is earth's autumn, aye, and such its spring,
One than the other a more grievous thing.
In grief's abode can one live free of grief,
And can a withered heart ere find relief?
Upon the earth a trace of joy is not,
Or should there be, it is in no man's lot.
Fill not thy head with blandishments of friends,
For all men's fortune in misfortune ends.
No hope of gladness let thy heart retain,
No thought of freedom linger in thy brain.
With unfulfilled hope's scar contented be;
Beneath the yoke of service still be free.
From all with pleasure that thy heart may bind,
Or with its love that may attract thy mind,
Thou wilt be severed full of grief at last,
And thou must taste its parting's pain at last.
Loosen thy hand; break from thy foot the chain;
Undo the bond of what can bring no gain.
For if thou loose it not, He who has bound.
With open hand to break it will be found.
Thou sleep'st the sleep of carelessness, and He
Sudden will take what He bestowed on thee,—
With harshness bring thy foot against a stone,—
In longing's plain will leave the lame alone.
In longing's place seize thou thy staff in hand,
To thee when lame as courser it may stand.
Branch from its root when a fresh wind shall tear,
Not with dry sticks can one its ties repair.
With force it loosed the power of thy grasp,
Seized that desire's cash that thy hand did clasp.
Tow'rds all thou stretchest out thy hand of greed,
But in thy hand will nothing e'er succeed.
When leaves thy hand the power of its strength,
With that hand's force pain not thyself at length.
The coin of brightness from thy eye is gone;
Why blindly Surma dost thou still rub on?
Thy eye has not the quality of sight:
Rub Surma only on the eye that's light.
To blindness' utter straits reduced the eye,
In glasses* canst thou find a remedy?
With silver Síns as thy mouth's Mím is fair to view.
As Lab with Lám and they number thirty-two.*
But in that string has such a breach occurred,
That of a greater none has ever heard.
Silent art thou or dost in folly speak,
In lips a cov'ring for it dost thou seek.
As thou art harsh sometimes and sometimes weak,
In this a hundred failures are to seek.
Thou see'st thy failures from a single place;
In one event thou findest out their trace.
What in thy body or thy soul may lack,
On doubt of earthly things thou fallest back.
This of thyself thou wouldest never say,
That He who gave can also take away.
In this world thou art far too tightly pent:
To reach another hast thou no intent?
Another world than this dost thou not know,
Whence benefit or loss must surely flow?
I fear that when thy death comes on the scene,
Thou wilt not care thy heart from earth to wean.
With spirit full of many kinds of doubt,
Thou from the world wilt pass ignobly out.
When fate's cup-bearer hands death's cup to thee,
Still tow'rds this desert will thy liking be.

* * * * * * *

[The next four Couplets, which are not translated here, contain an anecdote of the physician Galen, omitted in Rosenzweig's edition, which are untranslat­able for their obscenity, and quite incomprehensible to Europeans.]

To that heart-cheering dome prepare a way;
To-morrow's pleasure shalt thou see to-day.
Does it, then, never come into thy mind
To see the state thou in the world mayst find?
Earth's leather 's ever a foot-pinching shoe,
With many sand-like hardships in it, too.
From off thy foot 'twere best it to remove,
Else with hurt foot the road thou mayest prove.
Lift up heav'n's curtain from before thy face;
Henceforth be not forbid the holy place.
Beyond the veil there is unbounded light,
Each beam of which is sun-like in delight.
In that beam let thy ev'ry hope be lost;
And like an atom in the sun be tossed.
Once lost in it, thou then shalt find release;
And parting's pain and absence' grief shall cease.