My lady, that did change this house of mine
Into a heaven when that she dwelt therein,
From head to foot an angel’s grace divine
Enwrapped her; pure she was, spotless of sin;
Fair as the moon her countenance, and wise;
Lords of the kind and tender glance, her eyes
With an abounding loveliness did shine.
Then said my heart: Here will I take my rest!
This city breathes her love in every part.
But to a distant bourne was she addressed,
Alas! he knew it not, alas, poor heart!
The influence of some cold malignant star
Has loosed my hand that held her, lone and far
She joumeyeth that lay upon my breast.
Not only did she lift my bosom’s veil,
Reveal its inmost secret, but her grace
Drew back the curtain from Heaven’s mansions pale,
And gave her there an eternal dwelling-place.
The flower-strewn river lip and meadows fair,
The rose herself but fleeting treasures were,
Regret and Winter follow in their trail.
Dear were the days which perished with my friend–
Ah, what is left of life, now she is dead,
All wisdomless and profitless I spend!
The nightingale his own life’s blood doth shed,
When, to the kisses of the wind, the morn
Unveils the rose’s splendour-with his torn
And jealous breast he dyes her petals red.
Yet pardon her, oh Heart, for poor wert thou,
A humble dervish on the dusty way;
Crowned with the crown of empire was her brow,
And in the realms of beauty she bore sway.
But all the joy that Hafiz’ hand might hold,
Lay in the beads that morn and eve he told,
Worn with God’s praise; and see! he holds it now.
From: Teachings of Hafiz
Translated by Gertrude Bell 1897