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Poems from the Divan of Hafiz, by Getrude Lowthian Bell, [1897], at


Stanza 3.—When God had created man and made him wiser than the angels, he bound him to himself by a solemn treaty. "Am I not thy Lord who has created thee?" he demanded, and man answered "Yes." But the Arabic word bala, which signifies assent, means also sorrow, and they say that the first of our fathers knew full well what a terrible gift was that life which he had received from his Lord, and sealed the treaty with a seal of grief. Therefore since the earliest day, life and sorrow have gone hand in hand, bound together by the first great pact between God and man.

Stanza 4.—Compare François Villon's rough and powerful treatment of the same theme:—

"Où sont de Vienne et de Grenobles
Le Dauphin, les preux, les senés?
Où de Dijon, Sallin et Dolles,
Les sires et les fils aînés?
Où autant de leurs gens privés,
Hérauts, trompettes, poursuivants?
Ont-ils bien bouté sous le nez? . . .
Autant en emporte le vent!"

Solomon, the type of human greatness, is the King whose mastery has left nothing behind. He harnessed the wind as a steed to his chariot, he spoke with the birds in their own tongue, and the wise and magnificent Assaf was his minister. Upon his seal was engraved the name of God which is unknown to men and before which the Jinn and the Angels must bow down. It was with this seal that he fastened up the bottles in which he imprisoned the Jinn—-those bottles which those fishermen in the "Arabian Nights" pull up in their nets.

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