SAFELY the kings had kept their regal seat,
Nor ever known the poison of defeat,
Had not the Turks the invading army led,
And the crown toppled from each kingly head:
So were we not, O Master, led by thee
Vain were our struggles, scant our victory!
How strong thou hast become, O moth, how great,
Worshipping thus the flame! this is thy fate—
Vainly to love and die, yet thou canst bear
The burning sparks and ever scorn despair:
Thou knowest, fluttering nearer to the fire,
In death thou shalt be one with thy desire.
O cruel Love,—when on the Judgment Day
Thy tyranny God shall in full repay,
And all the blameless blood that thou hast shed
Shall be revenged upon thy haughty head:
Black shall the place of judging be, no less
Than Kerbela’s accursèd wilderness.
Haply indeed, O Judge, wilt thou be kind,
And pity in thy heart for sinners find;
Think of the memory of their disgrace,
How dark humiliation stains their face,
The shame that stings and goads them to repent—
Will these not be sufficient punishment?
Within the desert of the world astray,
How many weary wanderers lose their way!
But Love with beckoning hand appears, to bless,
Finds them a pathway through the wilderness,
And though, like Majnun, in the wild they roam,
Leads them through toils and tribulations home.