THE rose is not fair without the beloved’s face,
Nor merry the Spring without the sweet laughter of wine;
The path through the fields, and winds from a flower strewn place,
Without her bright check, which glows like a tulip fine,
Nor winds softly blowing, fields deep in corn, are fair.
And lips like to sugar, grace like a flower that sways,
Are nought without kisses many and dalliance sweet;
If thousands of voices sang not the rose’s praise,
The joy of the cypress her opening bud to greet,
Nor dancing of boughs nor blossoming rose were fair.
Though limned by most skilful fingers, no pictures please
Unless the beloved’s image is drawn therein;
The garden and flowers, and hair flowing loose on the breeze,
Unless to my Lady’s side I may strive and win,
Nor garden, nor flowers, nor loose flying curls are fair.
Hast seen at a marriage-feast, when the mirth runs high,
The revellers scatter gold with a careless hand?
The gold of thy heart, oh Hafiz, despised doth lie,
Not worthy thy love to be cast by a drunken band
At the feet of her who is fairer than all that’s fair.
From: Teachings of Hafiz
Translated by Gertrude Bell 1897