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


Heaven's Dome is but a wondrous House of Sorrow,
And Happiness therein a lying Fable.
When first they mix’d the Clay of Man, and cloth’d
His Spirit in the Robe of Perfect Beauty,
For Forty Mornings did an Evil Cloud
Rain Sorrows over him from Head to Foot;
And when the Forty Mornings pass’d to Night,
Then came one Morning-Shower—one Morning-Shower
Of Joy—to Forty of the Rain of Sorrow!—

p. 41

And though the better Fortune came at last
To seal the Work, yet every Wise Man knows
Such Consummation never can be here!
Salámán fired the Pile; and in the Flame
That, passing him, consumed Absál like Straw,
Died his Divided Self, and there survived
His Individual; and, like a Body
From which the Soul is parted, all alone.
Then rose his Cry to Heaven—his Eyelashes
Dropt Blood—his Sighs stood like a Smoke in Heaven,
And Morning rent her Garment at his Anguish.
He tore his Bosom with his Nails—he smote
Stone on his Bosom—looking then on hands
No longer lockt in hers, and lost their Jewel,
He tore them with his Teeth. And when came Night,
He hid him in some Corner of the House,
And communed with the Fantom of his Love.
"Oh Thou whose Presence so long sooth’d my Soul,
"Now burnt with thy Remembrance! Oh so long
"The Light that fed these Eyes now dark with Tears!

p. 42

Oh Long, Long Home of Love now lost for Ever!
"We were Together—that was all Enough—
"We two rejoicing in each other's Eyes,
"Infinitely rejoicing—all the World
"Nothing to Us, nor We to all the World—
"No Road to reach us, nor an Eye to watch—
"All Day we whisper’d in each other's Ears,
"All Night we slept in one another's Arms—
"All seem’d to our Desire, as if the Hand
"Of unjust Fortune were for once too short.
"Oh would to God that when I lit the Pyre
"The Flame had left Thee Living and me Dead,
"Not Living worse than Dead, depriv’d of Thee!
"Oh were I but with Thee!—at any Cost
"Stript of this terrible Self-solitude!
"Oh but with Thee Annihilation—lost,
"Or in Eternal Intercourse renew’d!

Slumber-drunk an Arab in the
Desert off his Camel tumbled,
Who the lighter of her Burden
Ran upon her road rejoicing.
When the Arab woke at morning,
Rubb’d his Eyes and look’d about him—
"Oh my Camel! Oh my Camel!"
Quoth he, "Camel of my Soul!—
"That Lost with Her I lost might be,
"Or found, She might be found with Me!"

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