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


The Incomparable Creator, when this World
He did create, created First of All
The First Intelligence—First of a Chain
Of Ten Intelligences, of which the Last
Sole Agent is in this our Universe,
Active Intelligence so call’d; The One
Distributor of Evil and of Good,
Of Joy and Sorrow, Himself apart from Matter,
In Essence and in Energy—his Treasure
Subject to no such Talisman—He yet
Hath fashion’d all that is—Material Form,
And Spiritual, sprung from Him—by Him
Directed all, and in his Bounty drown’d.
Therefore is He that Firmán-issuing Shah
To whom the World was subject. But because
What He distributes to the Universe
Himself from still a Higher Power receives,
The Wise, and all who comprehend aright,
Will recognise that Higher in The Sage.

p. 51

His the Prime Spirit that, spontaneously
Projected by the Tenth Intelligence,
Was from no Womb of Matter reproduced
A Special Essence called The Soul—a Child
Fresh sprung from Heaven in Raiment undefiled
Of Sensual Taint, and therefore call’d Salámán.

And who Absál—The Lust-adoring Body,
Slave to the Blood and Sense—through whom The Soul,
Although the Body's very Life it be,
Does yet imbibe the Knowledge and Desire
Of Things of Sense; and these united thus
By such a Tie God only can unloose,
Body and Soul are Lovers Each of other.

What is The Sea on which they sail’d?—The Sea
Of Animal Desire—the Sensual Abyss,
Under whose Waters lie a World of Being
Swept far from God in that Submersion.

And wherefore was it Aiwa in that Isle
Deceived in her Delight, and that Salámán
Fell short of his Desire?—That was to show
How Passion tires, and how with Time begins
The Folding of the Carpet of Desire

p. 52

And what the turning of Salámán's Heart
Back to The Shah, and looking to the Throne
Of Pomp and Glory? What but the Return
Of the Lost Soul to its true Parentage,
And back from Carnal Error looking up
Repentant to its Intellectual Throne.

What is The Fire?—Ascetic Discipline,
That burns away the Animal Alloy,
Till all the Dross of Matter be consumed,
And the Essential Soul, its raiment clean
Of Mortal Taint, be left. But forasmuch
As any Life-long Habit so consumed,
May well recur a Pang for what is lost,
Therefore The Sage set in Salámán's Eyes
A Soothing Fantom of the Past, but still
Told of a Better Venus, till his Soul
She fill’d, and blotted out his Mortal Love.
For what is Zuhrah?—That Divine Perfection,
Wherwith the Soul inspir’d and all array’d
In Intellectual Light is Royal blest,
And mounts The Throne, and wears
The Crown, and Reigns
Lord of the Empire of Humanity.

This is the Meaning of This Mystery
Which to know wholly ponder in thy Heart,
Till all its ancient Secret be enlarged.
Enough—The written Summary I close,
And set my Seal:

     The Truth God only Knows.

Next: Appendix