Salaman and Absal, by Jami, tr. Edward Fitzgerald, , at sacred-texts.com
Six days Salámán on the Camel rode,
And then Remembrance of foregone Reproach
Abode not by him; and upon the Seventh
He halted on the Seashore, and beheld
An Ocean boundless as the Heaven above,
That, reaching its Circumference from Káf
To Káf, down to the Back of Gau and Mani
Descended, and its Stars were Creatures’ Eyes.
The Face of it was as it were a Range
Of moving Mountains; or as endless Hosts
Of Camels trooping from all Quarters up,
Furious, with the Foam upon their Lips.
In it innumerable glittering Fish
Like Jewels polish-sharp, to the sharp Eye
But for an Instant visible, glancing through
As Silver Scissors slice a blue Brocade;
Though were the Dragon from its Hollow roused,
The Dragon of the Stars would stare Aghast.
Salámán eyed the Sea, and cast about
To cross it—and forthwith upon the Shore
Devis’d a Shallop like a Crescent Moon,
Wherein that Sun and Moon in happy Hour
Enter’d as into some Celestial Sign;
That, figured like a Bow, but Arrow-like
In Flight, was feather’d with a little Sail,
And, pitcht upon the Water like a Duck,
So with her Bosom sped to her Desire.
When they had sail’d their Vessel for a Moon,
And marr’d their Beauty with the wind o’ th’ Sea,
Suddenly in mid Sea reveal’d itself
An Isle, beyond Description beautiful;
An Isle that all was Garden; not a Bird
Of Note or Plume in all the World but there;
There as in Bridal Retinue array’d
The Pheasant in his Crown, the Dove in her Collar;
And those who tuned their Bills among the Trees
That Arm in Arm from Fingers paralyz’d
With any Breath of Air Fruit moist and dry
Down scatter’d in Profusion to their Feet,
Where Fountains of Sweet Water ran, and round
Sunshine and Shadow chequer-chased the Ground.
Here Iram Garden seem’d in Secresy
Blowing the Rosebud of its Revelation;
Or Paradise, forgetful of the Day
Of Audit, lifted from her Face the Veil.
Salámán saw the Isle, and thought no more
Of Further—there with Absál, he sat down,
Absál and He together side by side
Rejoicing like the Lily and the Rose,
Together like the Body and the Soul.
Under its Trees in one another's Arms
They slept—they drank its Fountains hand in hand—
Sought Sugar with the Parrot—or in Sport
Paraded with the Peacock—raced the Partridge
Or fell a-talking with the Nightingale.
There was the Rose without a Thorn, and there
The Treasure and no Serpent to beware—
What sweeter than your Mistress at your side
In such a Solitude, and none to Chide!
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