[558] 49


TELL me who can what means this royal train,

Why round the rose the courtier tulips throng.

Pour out the wine: with doubts why vex the brain?

Most sweet in spring are revelry and song.

Where is the host? Why tarries he so long?

Good host! this life reflects the seasons’ flight,

Summer and winter, autumn and green spring;

In all four seasons wine is our delight.

All times are pleasant while we drink and sing;

No one can tell what end the years will bring.

What though we come from nought and end in nought?

The Providence that rules us is benign.

Let the red wine and royal bowl be brought,

The bowl of Jamshed wreathed with eglantine;

Sit here beside the stream and quaff the wine.

All is foredoomed. Why will ye travail yet?

Ascetic, say, what boot thee fast and prayer?

Springtime is come: why should we mope and fret?

Must we in springtime wine and love forbear?

Grant that we sin—there’s grace in heaven to spare.

This world of time is but a pageant, where

Some lead and others follow in the dance,

Where all is false, however seeming fair,

And where pale lovers, wandering as in trance,

Find but scant happiness, and that by chance.

Hush, ye to whom the wine of ecstasy

Is strange, and mystic chants are wearisome;

Hermit and dervish know no more than we;

They seek in vain the silent depths to plumb.

Sceptic! why rail because the heavens are dumb?

The lover hugs the fire within his breast;

The drunkard, drinking, ceases to repine;

Makhfi in lamentations finds a zest;

The monk craves water, Hafiz thirsts for wine;

But what Thou will’st, O God, who shall divine?

NOTE.—In the opening stanza the Rose is the Beloved and the tulips are the lovers; the Rose the Supreme Soul and the tulips the human souls of the seekers. So in 468 c 4, Makhfi says: “In the garden of expectation Thou hast marshalled the tulips with the brand of love in their hearts to contemplate Thee.” And again, in 231 c 4: “In desire of the Rose of Thy face the tulip with the brand on its heart comes forth from the soil.”