805 What meaning attaches to wine, torch, and beauty?
What is assumed in being a haunter of taverns?*


Wine, torch, and beauty are epiphanies of Verity,
For it is that which is revealed under all forms soever.
Wine and torch are the transport and light of the ‘knower,’
Behold ‘The Beauty’ for it is hidden from none.*
Here wine is the lamp-shade, torch the lamp,
And Beauty the beam of the light of spirits.
By Beauty were kindled sparks in the heart of Moses,
His wine was the fire, and his torch the burning bush.*
810 Wine and torch are the soul of that flashing light,
Beauty signifies that ‘greatest of signs.’*
Wine, torch, and beauty, all are present,
Neglect not to embrace that Beauty.
Quaff the wine of dying to self, and for a season
Peradventure you will be freed from the dominion of self.
Drink wine that it may set you free from yourself,
And may conduct the being of the drop to the ocean.*
Drink wine, for its cup is the face of “The Friend,”
The cup is His eye drunken and flown with wine.
815 Seek wine without cup or goblet,
Wine is wine-drinker, cupbearer is winecup.*
Drink wine from the cup of “the face that endures,”*
The text “their Lord gave them to drink” is its cupbearer.*
Pure wine is that which gives you purification
From the stain of existence at the time of intoxication.
Drink wine and rid yourself of coldness of heart,
For a drunkard is better than the self-righteous.
The man who dwells far from the portals of “The Truth,”
For him the veil of darkness is better than the veil of light.*
820 Thus Adam found a hundred blessings from darkness,*
And Iblis was eternally cursed through the light.
Though the mirror of the heart be polished,*
What profit is it when only self is seen on its face.
When a ray from His face falls upon the wine,
Many forms are seen on it as it were bubbles.*
World and spirit world are seen on it as bubbles,
Its bubbles are to the saints as veils.
Universal Reason is dazed and beside itself at this,
Universal Soul is reduced to slavery.*
825 The whole universe is as His winehouse,
The heart of every atom as His winecup.*
Reason is drunken, angels drunken, soul drunken,
Air drunken, earth drunken, heaven drunken.
The heavens giddy with this wine are reeling to and fro,
Desiring in their heart to smell its perfume.
The angels drinking it pure from pure vessels,
Pour the dregs of their draught upon this world.*
The elements becoming light-headed from that draught
Fall now into the fire, now into the water.
830 From the scent of its dregs which fell on the earth,
Man ascends up till he reaches heaven.
From its reflection the withered body becomes a living soul,*
From its heat the frozen soul is warmed to life and motion.
The creature world is ever dizzy therewith,
From house and home ever wandering astray.
One from the scent of its dregs becomes a philosopher,*
One from seeing the colour of the pure wine a traditionist.*
One from half a draught becomes righteous,
One from quaffing a cupful becomes a lover.
835 Yet another swallows at one draught
Cup, winehouse, cupbearer and wine drinker.
He swallows them all, yet his mouth remains open.
Well done, O ocean heart, O mighty wine bibber!*
He drinks up existence at one draught,
And obtains release from affirmations and negations.
Freed from dry devotions and empty rites,
He grasps the skirt of the ancient of the winehouse.*


To be a haunter of taverns is to be freed from self,
Self-regard is paganism, even if it be in righteousness.*
840 They have brought you news from the tavern
That unification is shaking off relations.*
The tavern is of the world that has no similitude,
It is the place of lovers that reck not.
The tavern is the nest of the bird of the soul,
The tavern is the sanctuary that has no place.
The tavern-haunter is desolate in a desolate place,
In his desert the world is as a mirage.*
This desert has no end or limit,
No man has seen its beginning or its end.
845 Though you wander about in it for a hundred years,
You will find there neither yourself, nor ‘other.’
They that dwell therein are headless and footless,
They are neither faithful nor infidels.
The wine of alienation from self has got into their heads,
They have renounced alike evil and good.
Each has drunk wine without lips or palate,
Each has cast away thought of name and fame,
Talk of marvels, of visions, and ‘states,’
Dreams of secret chambers, of lights, of signs.*
850 All through the smell of these dregs have they cast away,
Through tasting this self-annihilator they are lying drunken.
Pilgrim's staff, and cruse, and rosary, and dentifrice,
All have they given as ransom for these dregs.
Falling and rising again in the midst of water and clay,*
Shedding blood from their eyes for tears.
Now raised by intoxication to the world of bliss,
Exalting their necks as racers.
Now with blackened faces beholding the wall,
Now with reddened faces impaled on the stake.*
855 Now in the mystic dance of joy in The Beloved,
Losing head and foot like the revolving heavens.
In every strain which they hear from the minstrel
Comes to them rapture from the unseen world.
The mystic song is not those mere words and sound,
For in every note thereof lies a precious mystery.
Putting from off their head their tenfold cloak,*
Being abstracted from every colour and smell;
And washing off in that pure well racked wine,
All colour, black and green and blue.
860 Drinking one cup of that pure wine,
And thence becoming “Sufis” cleansed from qualities;
Sweeping the dust of dung-heaps from off their souls,
Telling not a hundredth part of what they see,
Grasping the skirts of drunkards flown with wine,
Wearied of teachership and discipleship.*
What are devotion and piety? What hypocrisy are these?
What are teachership and discipleship? What bonds are these?*
If your face be still set on great and small,*
Idols, girdles and Christianity are meet for you.*