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


Soon as the Lord of Heav’n had sprung his Horse
Over the Horizon into the Blue Field,
Salámán rose drunk with the Wine of Sleep,
And set himself a-stirrup for the Field;
He and a Troop of Princes—Kings in Blood,
Kings too in the Kingdom-troubling Tribe of Beauty,
All Young in Years and Courage, Bat in hand
Gallop’d a-field, toss’d down the Golden Ball
And chased, so many Crescent Moons a Full;
And, all alike Intent upon the Game,
Salámán still would carry from them all
The Prize, and shouting "Hál!" drive Home the Ball.
This done, Salámán bent him as a Bow
To Shooting—from the Marksmen of the World

p. 18

Call’d for an unstrung Bow—himself the Cord
Fitted unhelpt, and nimbly with his hand
Twanging made cry, and drew it to his Ear:
Then, fixing the Three-feather’d Fowl, discharged.
No point in Heaven's Azure but his Arrow
Hit; nay, but Heaven were made of Adamant,
Would overtake the Horizon as it roll’d;
And, whether aiming at the Fawn a-foot,
Or Bird on wing, his Arrow went away
Straight—like the Soul that cannot go astray.

When Night came, that releases Man from Toil,
He play’d the Chess of Social Intercourse;
Prepared his Banquet Hall like Paradise,
Summon’d his Houri-faced Musicians,
And, when his Brain grew warm with Wine, the Veil
Flung off him of Reserve. Now Lip to Lip
Concerting with the Singer he would breathe
Like a Messias Life into the Dead;
Now made of the Melodious-moving Pipe
A Sugar-cane between his Lips that ran
Men's Ears with Sweetness: Taking up a Harp,
Between its dry String and his Finger fresh
Struck Fire; or lifting in his arms a Lute

p. 19

As if a little Child for Chastisement,
Pinching its Ear such Cries of Sorrow wrung
As drew Blood to the Eyes of Older Men.
Now sang He like the Nightingale alone,
Now set together Voice and Instrument;
And thus with his Associates Night he spent.

His Soul rejoiced in Knowledge of all kinds;
The fine Edge of his Wit would split a Hair,
And in the Noose of Apprehension catch
A Meaning ere articulate in Word;
His Verse was like the Pleiads; his Discourse
The Mourners of the Bier; his Penmanship,
(Tablet and running Reed his Worshippers,)
Fine on the Lip of Youth as the First Hair,
Drove Penmen, as that Lovers, to Despair.

His Bounty was as Ocean's—nay, the Sea's
Self but the Foam of his Munificence,
For it threw up the Shell, but he the Pearl;
He was a Cloud that rain’d upon the World
Dirhems for Drops; the Banquet of whose Bounty
Left Hátim's Churlish in Comparison—

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