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Salaman and Absal, by Jami, tr. Edward Fitzgerald, [1904], at


When Night had thus far brought me with my Book,
In middle Thought Sleep robb’d me of myself;
And in a Dream Myself I seem’d to see,
Walking along a straight and even Road,
And clean as is the Soul of the Sufi;
A Road whose spotless Surface neither Breeze
Lifted in Dust, nor mix’d the Rain to Mire.
There I, methought, was pacing tranquilly,
When, on a sudden, the tumultuous Shout
Of Soldiery behind broke on mine Ear,
And took away my Wit and Strength for Fear.
I look’d about for Refuge, and Behold!
A Palace was before me; whither running
For Refuge from the coming Soldiery,

p. 7

Suddenly from the Troop a Sháhzemán,
By Name and Nature Hasan—on the Horse
Of Honour mounted—robed in Royal Robes,
And wearing a White Turban on his Head,
Turn’d his Rein tow’rd me, and with smiling Lips
Open’d before my Eyes the Door of Peace.
Then, riding up to me, dismounted; kiss’d
My Hand, and did me Courtesy; and I,
How glad of his Protection, and the Grace
He gave it with!—Who then of gracious Speech
Many a Jewel utter’d; but of these
Not one that in my Ear till Morning hung.
When, waking on my Bed, my waking Wit
I question’d what the Vision meant, it answered;
"This Courtesy and Favour of the Shah
Foreshadows the fair Acceptance of thy Verse,
Which lose no moment pushing to Conclusion."
This hearing, I address’d me like a Pen
To steady Writing; for perchance, I thought,
From the same Fountain whence the Vision grew
The Interpretation also may come True.

p. 8

Breathless ran a simple Rustic
To a Cunning Man of Dreams;
"Lo, this Morning I was dreaming—
"And methought, in yon deserted
"Village wander’d—all about me
"Shatter’d Houses—and, Behold!
"Into one, methought, I went—and
"Search’d—and found a Hoard of Gold!"
Quoth the Prophet in Derision,
"Oh Thou Jewel of Creation,
"Go and sole your Feet like Horse's,
"And returning to your Village
"Stamp and scratch with Hoof and Nail,
"And give Earth so sound a Shaking,
"She must hand you something up."
Went at once the unsuspecting
Countryman; with hearty Purpose
Set to work as he was told;
And, the very first Encounter,
Struck upon his Hoard of Gold!

Until Thou hast thy Purpose by the Hilt,
Catch at it boldly—or Thou never wilt.

Next: IV. The Story