Page images

Spake the lofty judge: 'Tis thus I show it-
Burnt be every one who speaks like this,
Misri alone excepted be from bliss ;
For Allah gave his gift to every poet.
Misusing it in traffic of his vices,
Let him expect desert at God's assizes.


HOW great it makes thee that thou endest not,

And never to begin — that is thy lot.

Thy song is circling like the vault of flame,
End and beginning evermore the same,
And what the centre brings to pass is clear
What was at first, what will at last appear.

True poet-fountain of delight thou art,

And waves on waves unnumber'd from thee start.
Mouth ever ready for a kiss,
A lovely flowing bosom-song,
For wine an ever rash abyss,

A heart that pours itself along.

And though the whole world sink to night,

Hafis, with thee, alone with thee

Will I compete! Let both delight

And pain to us twin-brothers be!
To love and wine I 'll be defied
By thee, it is my life and pride.

Breathe out, my song, thy spirit pure,
Thou too art older, thou art newer.



AY I grow wonted in thy art of rhyming,
Thy way
it shall delight me to restore,
My sense with words the fittest for it timing,
Nor echo with a measure used before,

But let to each a special sense be chiming;
For thus, O favored one, didst thou of yore.

And as a spark is able to set blazing

Imperial towns, set flames in wildness roaring
To glow abroad with winds, their own winds raising,
The spark meantime has gone, to heaven soaring,
So forth from thee a glow eternal started

To make a German kindle freshly hearted.

When the thoughts with rhythms fit are gifted,
Talent revels in a happy task,

Yet how quickly they repel if lifted

There's no sense beneath the hollow mask :

Out of its glad mood the soul has drifted
If it fails, when living forms impend,
To make of the dead form a happy end.

Hafis, what most rash of fancies
With thee to compete !

Yet the ship on ocean dances,
Rushes by so fleet,

Feels the wind its sail enhances ;
Brave and proud the ship,
If it meet the wave's mischances
Swims a rotten chip.

In thy song the light, swift fancies
Move in gentle flow,
But anon a fire-wave prances,
Swallows me its glow !

Yet a lucky notion chances

To embolden me;

I have too 'neath sun-land's glances
Lived and loved like thee.


HEY have called thee, holy Hafis,


Poet of the mystic tongue,

But not one of these word-scholars

From that word its sense hath wrung.

Thou dost

pass with them for mystic,
Since 'tis folly that they claim
To be thy meaning; thus their muddy
Wine retailing in thy name.

As they cannot understand thee
Mystic-clear thou art indeed,

Thou, the blest, and yet not pious!
That they never will concede.



ET they are right whom I upbraid; There need no argument be made That just the word alone is stale. Speech is a fan; the sticks between, A pair of glances must be seen; The fan is but a handsome veil, Behind it is the face concealed, And yet the maiden is revealed, Since, chiefest grace she has, her eye Lightens to mine a clear reply.

[ocr errors]


O thee what all would have is shown;
Who understands it better?

For longing holds, from clod to throne,
Us all in strictest fetter.

Such joy succeeds the early ache,

Who ever can resist it?

And though his neck one man may break, The rest have still persisted.

So pardon, since thou know'st the cause
Of my presuming fancies,
Whene'er the passing cypress draws
To follow her my glances.


Like rootlet slips her foot so whist
And courts the ground and presses,
Her greeting melts like stain of mist,
Her breath like East-caresses.

There seizes us a soft surmise

From curls on curls grown crisper Till they to fullest chestnut rise, Then in the breezes whisper.

And now her face is dawning clear
Thy heart therewith to burnish;
Then dawns thy song so true and dear
To house the soul and furnish.

And when her daintier lips would frame
Thy dainty verses better,

At once thy freedom they proclaim
To clap on thee a fetter,

« PreviousContinue »