I ASK not from Heaven that it give
Fortune or power,
I ask but a garden apart,
Where for the brief hour
That we are appointed to live,
Of earth the delight that is nearest divine
Might be mine—
To live in the love of the friends of my heart.
The rapturous nightingale sings,
Wooing the rose
In the midst of the garden new-born:
But only the gardener knows
Of the labour that brings
To the garden its beauty; he toiled in the heat,
And his feet
Have been wounded by many a thorn.
Immortal is beauty, for, see,
Like the sun in his might,
It illumines the worlds and all things that are made
With the joy of its light;
For this be our thanks unto Thee,
And for the great teachers vouchsafed in our need
To guide and to lead,
Their presence to be our safe shelter and shade.
Upon us Thy mercy bestow!
Consider how weak,
How afflicted we are and how sorrowful; then
When we passionate seek
For oblivion, and Thou dost know
How time on our desolate spirit has beat
And brought us defeat—
O save us, nor let us endure it again.
O happy the seer who knows
Good and evil are one,
Who has learned how self-poised he may live,
Who is shaken by none,
To whom spring with its rose
And autumn are equal:—not him canst thou teach
Or, careless one, preach
To him; thou indeed hast no counsel to give.
If perilous love doth thee lead,
If thou enter his track,
In the desert like Majnun thou dwell’st evermore,
Thou shalt never look back;
Nor even take heed
To thy life if thou lose it or keep it, and pain
Shalt disdain,
Nor seek on the limitless ocean of love for a shore.
O Makhfi, as out of the nest
The fledgling birds fall
And fluttering, helpless, are caught in the snares,
So see after all
Thou art caught like the rest,
For, flying too boldly, thy feeble wings fail,
And thou dost bewail
Thy fate, thus enmeshed in the net of thy cares.