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The Secrets of the Self, by Muhammad Iqbal, tr. by Reynold A. Nicholson, [1920], at

p. 141


An invocation.

O Thou that art as the soul in the body of the universe,
Thou art our soul and thou art ever fleeing from us.
Thou breathest music into Life's lute;
Life envies Death when death is for thy sake. 1620
Once more bring comfort to our sad hearts,
Once more dwell in our breasts!
Once more let us hear thy call to honour,
Strengthen our weak love.
We are oft complaining of destiny, 1625

p. 142

Thou art of great price and we have naught.
Hide not thy fair face from the empty-handed!
Sell cheap the love of Salmán and Bilál! 1
Give us the sleepless eye and the passionate heart,
1630 Give us again the nature of quicksilver!
Show unto us one of thy manifest signs,
That the necks of our enemies may be bowed!
Make this chaff a mountain crested with fire,
Burn with our fire all that is not God!
1635 When the people let the clue of Unity go from their hands,
They fell into a hundred mazes.
We are dispersed like stars in the world;
Though of the same family, we are strange to one another.

p. 143

Bind again these scattered leaves,
Revive the law of love! 1640
Take us back to serve thee as of old,
Commit thy cause to them that love thee!
We are travellers: give us devotion as our goal!
Give us the strong faith of Abraham!
Make us know the meaning of "There is no god," 1645
Make us acquainted with the mystery of "except Allah"!
I who burn like a candle for the sake of others
Teach myself to weep like the candle.
O God! a tear that is heart-enkindling,
Passionful, wrung forth by pain, peace-consuming, 1650
May I sow in the garden, and may it grow into a fire
That washes away the fire-brand from the tulip's robe!

p. 144

My heart is with yestereve, my eye is on to-morrow:
Amidst the company I am alone.
1655 "Every one fancies he is my friend,
But my secret thoughts have not escaped from my heart."
Oh, where in the wide world is my comrade?
I am the Bush of Sinai: where is my Moses?
I am tyrannous, I have done many a wrong to myself,
1660 I have nourished a flame in my bosom,
A flame that seized the furniture of judgement,
And cast fire on the skirt of discretion,
And lessoned with madness the reason,
And burned up the existence of knowledge:
1665 Its blaze enthrones the sun in the sky,
And lightnings encircle it with adoration for ever.
Mine eye fell to weeping, like dew,

p. 145

Since I was entrusted with that hidden fire.
I taught the candle to burn openly,
While I myself burned unseen by the world's eye. 1670
At last flames breathed from every hair of me,
Fire dropped from the veins of my thought:
My nightingale picked up the spark-grains
And created a fire-tempered song.
Is the breast of this age without a heart? 1675
Majnún trembles lest Lailá's howdah be empty.
It is not easy for the candle to throb alone:
Ah, is there no moth worthy of me?
How long shall I wait for one to share my grief?
How long must I search for a confidant? 1680

p. 146

O Thou whose face lends light to the moon and the stars,
Withdraw thy fire from my soul!
Take back what Thou hast put in my breast,
Remove the stabbing radiance from my mirror,
1685 Or give me one old comrade
To be the mirror of mine all-burning love!
In the sea wave tosses side by side with wave:
Each hath a partner in its emotion.
In heaven star consorts with star,
1690 And the bright moon lays her head on the knees of Night.
Morning touches Night's dark side,
And To-day throws itself against To-morrow.
One river loses its being in another,
A waft of air dies in perfume.
1695 There is dancing in every nook of the wine-house,
Madman dances with madman.

p. 147

Howbeit in thine essence Thou art single,
Thou hast decked out for Thyself a whole world.
I am as the tulip of the field,
In the midst of a company I am alone. 1700
I beg of Thy grace a sympathising friend,
An adept in the mysteries of my nature,
A friend endowed with madness and wisdom,
One that knoweth not the phantom of vain things,
That I may confide my lament to his soul 1705
And see again my face in his heart.
His image I will mould of mine own clay,
I will be to him both idol and worshipper.




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142:1 Salmán was a Persian, Bílál an Abyssinian. Both had been slaves and were devoted henchmen of the Prophet.