THE secret draught of wine and love repressed
Are joys foundationless–then come whate’er
May come, slave to the grape I stand confessed!
Unloose, oh friend, the knot of thy heart’s care,
Despite the warning that the Heavens reveal!
For all his thought, never astronomer
That loosed the knot of Fate those Heavens conceal!
Not all the changes that thy days unfold
Shall rouse thy wonder; Time’s revolving sphere
Over a thousand lives like thine has rolled.
That cup within thy fingers, dost not hear
The voices of dead kings speak through the clay
Kobad, Bahman, Djemshid, their dust is here,
“Gently upon me set thy lips!” they say.
What man can tell where Kaus and Kai have gone?
Who knows where even now the restless wind
Scatters the dust of Djem’s imperial throne?
And where the tulip, following close behind
The feet of Spring, her scarlet chalice rears,
There Ferhad for the love of Shirin pined,
Dyeing the desert red with his heart’s tears.
Bring, bring the cup! drink we while yet we may
To our soul’s ruin the forbidden draught
Perhaps a treasure-trove is hid away
Among those ruins where the wine has laughed!–
Perhaps the tulip knows the fickleness
Of Fortune’s smile, for on her stalk’s green shaft
She bears a wine-cup through the wilderness.
The murmuring stream of Ruknabad, the breeze
That blows from out Mosalla’s fair pleasaunce,
Summon me back when I would seek heart’s ease,
Travelling afar; what though Love’s countenance
Be turned full harsh and sorrowful on me,
I care not so that Time’s unfriendly glance
Still from my Lady’s beauty turned be.
Like Hafiz, drain the goblet cheerfully
While minstrels touch the lute and sweetly sing,
For all that makes thy heart rejoice in thee
Hangs of Life’s single, slender, silken string.
From: Teachings of Hafiz
Translated by Gertrude Bell 1897