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Selections from the Poetry of the Afghans, by H.G. Raverty, [1868], at

p. 5






Behold! such an Omnipotent Being is my God,
That He is the possessor of all power, authority, and will.

Should one enumerate all the most mighty, pure, and eminent,
My God is mightier, purer, and more eminent than all.

No want, nor requirement of His, is dependant upon any one;
Neither is my God under obligation, nor beholden to any.

Out of nothingness He produced the form of entity;
In such wise is my God the Creator, and the Nourisher of all.

He is the artist and the artificer of all and every created thing:
My God is, likewise, the hearer of every word and accent.

That which hath neither type nor parallel anywhere,
Its essence and its nature, its material and its principle, my God is.

All the structures, whether of this world or of that to come,
My God is the architect, and the builder of them all.

He is the decipherer and the construer of the unwritten pages—
The unfolder and the elucidator of all mysteries my God is.

p. 6

Apparent or manifest; hidden or obscure; intermediate or intercalary;
My God is cognizant of, and familiar with, all matters and things.

He hath neither partner nor associate—His dominion is from Himself alone
A sovereign, without colleague or coadjutor, my God is.

Not that His unity and individuality proceed from impuissance;
For, in His one and unique nature, He is infinite, unlimited.

They have neither need nor necessity of the friendship of others,
Unto whom my God is beneficently and graciously inclined.

Wherefore then the occasion that I should seek Him elsewhere,
Since, in mine own dwelling, my God is ever at my side?

O Raḥmān! He is neither liable to change, nor to mutation—
My God is unchangeable and immutable, for ever and ever!


My weeping for the beloved hath passed beyond all computation;
Yet the dear one is in no way affected at the sight of my tears.

Though every one of my words should be pearls of great price,
Still she doth not account them at all worthy of her ears.

Were she overcome by sleep, I would arouse her by my cries;
But though fully awake, my loved one is asleep unto me.

Like unto a writing, I speak, though with mouth covered;
But my silence surpasseth my wails and my lamentations?

When is there security for the crop of love in scorching ground!
It requireth a salamander to exist in this desert of mine.

p. 7

This is not my love that separation hath parted from me:
’Tis my soul, which hath become separated from this body of mine.

I, Raḥmān, desire naught else than the beloved of my heart,
Should my prayer be accepted at the threshold of the Almighty.


There is no return for thee, a second time, unto this world!
To-day is thy opportunity, whether thou followest evil or good!

Every thing for which the opportunity is gone, is the phœnix of our desires;
But the immortal bird hath never been caught in any one's net.

The stream, that hath left the sluice, floweth not back again!
The hour, which hath passed away, returneth to us no more!

For time is, alas! like unto the dead in the sepulchre's niche;
And no one hath brought, by weeping, the dead to life again.

If thou hast any object to attain, be quick, for time is short:
Flatter not thyself on the permanency of this brief existence!

Each target, of which, in thy heart, thou considerest thyself sure,
Through pride and vanity, thou wilt surely miss thine aim of.

Over-sanguine hope hath rendered many desponding:
Be not off thy guard as to the deceit and fraud of time!

When thy mouth becometh shattered by the stroke of death,
In what manner wilt thou then offer praises with it?

The bereaved woman, who giveth utterance to her bewailings,
Lamenteth over thee, if thou understandest what she says.

Thou art not a child, that one should teach thee by force:
Thou art wise and intelligent, and arrived at maturity's years.

p. 8

Exercise, then, thine own understanding as to good and evil,
Whether thy well-being lieth in this, or in that.

Conceal thy face beneath thy mantle, and open thine eyes:
Fly not far away on the winds of vanity and ambition!

Soar not unto the heavens with thy head in the air,
For thou art, originally, from the dust of the earth created.

At the last day, inquiry will not be made of thee,
As to whether thou art the son or grandson of such an one.

To the bride, who may not be handsome in her own person,
What signify her mother's or her grandmother's good looks?

Practise goodness in thine own person, and fear evil!
Presume not on the virtues of thy father or thy mother!

These precepts, O my friend! I urge upon myself:
Be not then grieved that I have made use of thy name.

I use thine and those of others, but speak to myself alone:
With any one else, I have neither motive nor concern.

Whatever I utter, I address the whole unto myself:
All these failings and defects are only mine own.

Had I a place for these sorrows within my own breast,
Why should I give utterance unto these declamations?

Since the racking pains of mortality are before thee,
Why dost thou not die, O Raḥmān! before they come?


No one hath proved any of the world's faithfulness or sincerity;
And none, but the faithless and perfidious, have any affection for it.

p. 9

They who may lay any claim unto it, as belonging to them,
Speak wholly under delusion; for the world is no one's own.

Fortune is like unto a potter—it fashioneth and breaketh:
Many, like unto me and thee, it hath created and destroyed.

Every stone and clod of the world, that may be looked upon,
Are all sculls; some those of kings, and some of beggars.

It behoveth not that one should place a snare in the world's path;
For the capture of the griffin and the phœnix cannot be effected.

Who can place any dependence upon this fleeting breath?
It is impossible to confine the wind with the strongest chain!

Whether the sun or the moon, the upshot is extinction:
Doth the flower always bloom? Nothing can exist for ever!

Walk not, O Raḥmān! contrary to the ways of the enlightened;
Since the love of the world is not approved of by any wise man.


If one seek a charmer in the world, this is the one:
This is the dear one, who is the ornament of the universe.

There will hot be such another lover in it as myself;
Nor will ever such a beloved one be created like thee.

I had shown patience under thy harshness and cruelty;
But, in the place of lamentation, joy and gladness cannot be.

I will never consent to be separated from thee,
So long as my soul is not separated from this body of mine.

Like unto the congregation behind, with the priest before,
In such wise have I imitated and followed thee.

p. 10

I am not the only one—the whole world loveth thee!
Whether it be the beggar, or the sovereign of the age.

Would that thou wouldst grant me a deed of protection,
Since thou puttest me off with the promise of to-morrow!

’Tis not that of mine own accord I am smitten with thee:
’Twas a voice from thy direction that reached me.

Indeed, from all eternity, I am devoted unto thee—.
It is not that to-day only, I have a beginning made.

When with the sword of thy love it shall be severed,
Then will the neck of Raḥmān have its duty performed.


The godly are the light and the refulgence of the world:
The pious are the guides and the directors of mankind.

If any one seek the way unto God and his Prophet,
The devout are the guides to point out the path.

The alchemist, that searcheth about for the philosopher's stone,
Will find it the bosom companion of the sanctified.

In the society of the enlightened, he will turn to red gold,
Though a person may be as a stone or a clod of the desert.

The ignorant are, as it were, like unto the dead:
Verily, the wise are like unto the saints themselves.

The enlightened are, comparatively, like unto the Messiah;
Since, from their breath, the dead return to life again.

He who may not possess some portion of wisdom
Is not a man: he is, as it were, but an empty model.

p. 11

I, Raḥmān, am the servant of every enlightened being,
Whether he be of the highest, the middle, or the lowest degree.


Come, do not be the source of trouble unto any one;
For this short life of thine will soon be lost, O faithless one!

No one is to be a tarrier behind, in this world:
All are to be departers, either to-day or to-morrow.

Those dear friends, who to-day bloom before thee,
Will, in two or three short days, fade and decay.

If the sight of any be pleasing to thee, cherish them:
After they wither and die, when will they again revive?

The leaves of autumn, that fall from the branch,
By no contrivance can the sage attach them again.

When the rain-drops fall from the sky upon the earth,
They cannot again ascend unto the heavens whence they came.

Imagine not, that those tears which the eye sheddeth,
Shall e’er again return to the eyes they flowed from.

This is a different sun that riseth every morn:
The sun, that setteth once, riseth not again.

Though paradise is not gained by devotion, without grace;
Still, every man his neck from the debt must release. *

Shouldst thou incur a hundred toils for the flesh's sake,
Not one shall be of any avail to-morrow unto thee.

p. 12

Shouldst thou gorge thy stomach with the world itself,
Thou wilt not be remembered, either in blessings or in prayers.

Shouldst thou give but a grain of corn unto the hungered,
Verily, it will be hereafter thy provision in eternity.

Shouldst thou bestow but a drop of water on the thirsty,
It will become an ocean between thee and the fire of hell.

Shouldst thou once bow thy head in the road of the Almighty,
Thou shalt, at the last day, be more exalted than any.

This world, then, is the mart, if one be inclined to traffic;
But in that world there is neither barter nor gain.

If friends comprehend aught, to-day is their time,
That one friend may show self-devotion to another.

If there is any real existence here, of a truth ’tis this,
That in some one's society it should in happiness pass.

May God protect us from such a state of existence,
Where thou mayst speak ill of others, and others of thee.

Poison even, is pleasant, if it be in peace and in concord;
But not sugar, combined with sedition and with strife.

The belly, filled with rubbish, is well, if free from sorrow;
But not so, though gorged with confection of the dregs of woe.

The back, bent from toil, is indeed estimable;
But not from a purse of ill-gotten money round the waist. *

A blind man, who seeth nothing, is truly excellent;
Better than that he should set eyes on another man's wife.

p. 13

A dumb person is far better without palate or tongue,
Than that his tongue should become the utterer of evil words.

A deaf man, who cannot hear, is preferable by far,
Than that his ears should be open to scandalous tales.

Demon or devil, that may come upon one, is agreeable;
But let not the Almighty a bad man before thee bring!

Than to bear the society of a fool, it is more preferable
That a fiery dragon should become one's bosom friend.

If there be a real difficulty, it is the healing of hearts;
But the profit and loss of the world are trifling affairs.

Its advantages, or its detriments, are trivial matters—
God forbid that any one become infamous for despicable things!

Forbid that any such desire of thine be accomplished,
Whereby the heart of thy brother or relation be grieved!

Should one eat delicious food, and another be eyeing it,
Such is not victuals, it is mere poison, so to speak.

It behoveth at times to respect other's wishes, at times thine own;
But thine own good pleasure is not to be regarded always.

The wise concern not themselves in such matters,
In which there's constant grief, and not an hour's pleasure.

It is incumbent on judges to administer justice;
But not to give their ears unto venal things.

Thoughts and ideas of all sorts enter into man's mind;
But it is not meet to account them all right and just.

The devout should have a constant eye towards their faith;
For some thoughts are virtues, whilst others are sins.

p. 14

God forbid that iniquity proceed from any one's hands!
What affinity is there between sin and innocence—evil and good?

It is not that all men are equally on a parity together;
For some are eminent, some indifferent, some vile and base.

The dignity of every one lieth within its own degree:
It idiot meet that the groom should the noble's rank acquire.

I, Raḥmān, neither thank, nor complain of any one;
For I have no other friend or enemy but myself.


He hath obtained happiness and felicity in this world,
Who in it hath acquired contentment and peace.

The dominion of Solomon, for a thousand years,
Equaleth not an hour's devotion, in this world.

One breath, in remembrance of the Deity, is more inestimable
Than the whole wealth of the universe, in this world.

They have found advantage and emolument in it,
Who occupied themselves in piety, in this world.

If there be any blessing, truly, it is that of devotion:
Consider that there is no greater good, in this world.

If there be any toils and troubles, verily they are religion's:
No other labours and trials are of avail, in this world.

All, all is transitory, and perisheth, save the Almighty,
Whether it be pleasure, or whether it be beauty, in this world.

p. 15

Even the monarch, he goeth down unto the dust at last:
Then what is glory, and what is .fame, in this world? *

There will be no greater blockhead therein, than he
Who seeketh for happiness or tranquillity, in this world.

Thou, who desirest in this life a short period of repose,
Say, hath any one yet obtained it, in this world?

Relentless fate will make it like unto the shifting sands, 
Whoever buildeth up a structure, in this world.

It is not a whit less than the stumbling of the drunkard,
Man's brief stability and continuance, in this world.

Come near the running stream—here behold life!
There are many such like emblems, in this world.

Every one that approacheth the graveyard of the dead,
Should consider it a sufficient admonition, in this world.

These massive courts, these firm and compact mansions,
Will certainly at last be desolate, in this world.

The insatiable eyes of destiny, indeed, are not such
That they suffer any one to be in safety, in this world.

p. 16

Whatever cometh into it, departeth from it again:
All creatures are merely travellers, in this world.

When the judgment cometh, austerities cannot be practised:
He is the man, who hath mortified the flesh, in this world.

Since to-morrow he will rise again with the same qualities,
Let not God give any one an evil nature, in this world!

That will, verily, be unto him a harvest after death,
Whatever he may have sown in the field of this world.

Although that world cannot be seen here below;
Yet I can perceive its signs and its omens, in this world. *

There will be no reciprocity of viaticum in the last day;
For I have myself beheld doomsday, in this world.

They will go down into the tomb as a deposit also,
Whoever may exist as a deposit, in this world. 

Virtue is present bliss; but propitious fortune is necessary,
That one may acquire felicity, in this world.

Good habits, virtuous actions, and a noble disposition,
Are paradise and happiness, too, in this world.

Contrariety and opposition plunge a man's life in torment:
Such antagonism is of no avail, in this world.

The hand to the forehead, and on the breast,  to every one:
This, indeed, is greatness and distinction, in this world.

p. 17

If exalted rank be of advantage unto any one,
A high place is justice and equity, in this world.

No other regrets can be taken out of it by us,
Save those of affection and kindness, in this world.

The whole of that world's traffic is carried on in this,
If one desire to follow commerce, in this world.

If man's good fortune may not have become inverted,
The truth is by no means hidden from him, in this world.

It behoveth that good be rendered for good, evil for evil,
If any one seek after holiness, in this world.

The Almighty hath bestowed sanctity upon them,
Who have shown stedfastness and constancy, in this world.

Should all created beings combine in union together,
They will not be able to change their lot, in this world.

If any one here below can be called a man, verily ’tis he
Who may have neither need nor necessity, in this world.

Since solicitude on its account is the cause of all sin,
How can people show such a hankering, for this world?

Over Raḥmān, indeed, this life hath passed away,
Even as a short hour glideth away, in this world.


Consider not the wise of this world shrewd and sagacious;
For foolish and silly are all the wise ones of this world.

The light of wisdom is prohibited unto those hearts,
On which may rest the dirt and dust of this world.

p. 18

What one of the world saith, is all nonsense and absurdity:
Emptiness and folly are every word and speech of this world.

They merely play and gambol, after the manner of infants,
Who occupy themselves with the affairs of this world.

Like unto babies, with their mouths filled with milk,
Are all the subtle and the experienced of this world.

He will ever continue to be a dolt and an idiot,
Who may be drunk from the intoxication of this world.

In truth, the toper's inebriation will not be so great
As will be that of the drunken with the wine of this world.

There is a medicine in the world for every sick person;
But, alas! there is no physic for the sick of this world.

The cure of every one that hath been burned can be effected;
But not that of the scorched from the fiery sparks of this world.

Whatever thou throwest into the fire consumeth away;
And satiated will never become the seeker of this world:

He will ever be as a captive, sunk in distress and sorrow;
Then God forbid one should become the slave of this world!

He will be for ever immersed in lurid gloom and darkness,
Whoever may be the captive of the infidel of this world.

Whether it be adoration unto the idol, or unto the world,
Still, idolators all, are the worshippers of this world.

He is the true Muslim amongst the whole of the Faithful,
Who hath burst asunder the Hindū cord * of this world.

p. 19

Headless behind, his body remaineth, but the head will go;
How, then, is the possessor of a head, a head-man of this world? *

They make their sons and daughters orphans, and desert them—
All are unnatural—the fathers and the mothers of this world.

There will be a load of misery for ever upon his head,
Round which may be wrapped the turban of this world.

All is affliction; whether it be bought, or whether it be sold;
For there is nought else whatever in the bāzār of this world.

They cheat and impose—the whole fraternity are knaves—
All the buyers, and all the sellers of this world.

They will never show the least affection towards it,
Who may be acquainted with the secrets of this world.

He whose regard may be directed to religion and piety,
Fostereth not any hopes or expectations of this world.

He who quaileth at the sight of a precipice or an abyss,
Will never travel upon the dangerous path of this world.

The whole of its friends and associates are impostors—
What dependence can be placed on the deceivers of this world?

Its old and its young, alike, are all rivals of each other—
Where is the true friend in the region of this world?

Whatever may be created, the whole shall fade and perish—
Draw near! behold the raids and ravages of this world!

Unto whom it cometh, from him it again departeth;
For I have well observed the gait and movements of this world.

p. 20

One hour it may be spring—in another, autumn will come;
For no permanence whatever, hath the spring of this world.

Though thousands of props should be placed to support it,
Without foundation, notwithstanding, is the wall of this world.

Though thou shouldst raise round thyself a fortress of iron,
Still consider but as glass all the bulwarks of this world.

In the same manner as the sun's shadow shifteth,
So likewise there is nowhere permanence in this world.

Entertain thou no hope of pre-eminence by its means;
For incessant and perpetual is the littleness of this world.

Without shears they sever the thread of man's existence,
Both the nights and the days of this world.

After death, an account will be required of every man,
As to the number and magnitude of the sins of this world.

They will be but a mere handful of dust at the last day,
The rosy-cheeked and the rosy-bodied of this world.

They will arise on an equality with the beggar together,
Both the princes and the sovereigns of this world.

There will be a brand impressed upon the miser's breast
By every darham and every dīnār * of this world.

Let them be an oblation to the contentment of the contented,
All the wealth and the wealthy ones of this world.

Themselves, after death, will become the injured and oppressed—
All the tyrants and the oppressors of this world.

p. 21

They may enumerate tens and hundreds until doomsday,
But no one hath completed the numeration of this world.

When the time for the winding-sheet and the ablution cometh, *
Unveiled and exposed become the veiled and modest of this world.

They will be brought forth on the bier from their privacy,
Both the coy and the bashful of this world.

More than any other person the Prophet would have enjoyed,
Had there been any thing like propinquity in this world.

One even of its iniquities cannot be fully explained by Raḥmān;
For beyond all computation, is the wickedness of this world.


Since thou passest thy days in jollity, and thy nights in slumber,
When, O unfortunate! wilt thou bring the Almighty to mind?

Thy departure, if thou art aware, will be extremely precipitate—
Be not, then, unmindful of the exceeding shortness of life!

Thy breath and thy footsteps here are all, all computed;
Therefore step not on this path inconsiderately and in error.

In the book, the Almighty hath sent a statement of the account:
See, then, thou make thyself with both account and book acquainted.

I am fully aware that, originally, thou art of the earth;
Why then, with thy finger, removest thou the dust from thy person?

Not until thy thirst for this world shall have become quenched,
Shalt thou, at the judgment, become satiated with the water of life.

p. 22

To the same extent thy inside shall be filled with fire,
As, to-day, it is gorged, with wine and with roasted meat.

Weigh thou, then, with thine own hands, this good and evil,
As to how much thy wicked actions do exceed the good.

In that world, after what manner will thy answer be,
Seeing that in this, thou art wholly unable to reply?

To-day that thou runnest to the shade for shelter from the sun:
When it stands but a spear's height * above thee, what wilt thou do?

Acquiesce not, O Raḥmān! in causing affliction unto any one,
If thou desirest salvation from the torments to come.


In this world, the countenance of the beloved is the object—there is naught else;
Whatever it is, the sight of the adored-one is desired, and naught else.

When I contemplate separation and association with the beloved,
The one is torment, the other a paradise of flowers, and naught else.

Each of the eyelashes of the beloved pierceth me to this degree,
That I declare it is the two-edged sword of Æali,  and naught else.

p. 23

It requireth a hero to raise the tresses around her face:
The last is a treasure-hoard, the others are snakes; * and naught else.

How shall I recite the praises of the charms of the fair!
I speak briefly—they are innumerable, and naught else.

In whatever direction I listen, with the ears of the heart,
I find it is all love's market in a bustle, and naught else.

The whole of the world's factories, that one seeth around him,
They all belong unto the empire of love, and naught else.

Every physician before whom I present myself saith,
"Thou art sick through love; indeed, it is naught else."

Should poor Raḥmān place his affections on any other save thee,
He will assuredly be deserving of death, and naught else.


From how long since am I a purchaser of thy face!
I am gone beyond life and goods, in the mart of thy face.

There is naught else before mine eyes save the light of it;
To this degree am I sunk, in the refulgence of thy face.

Under the pretext of tobacco, I exhale the smoke of my sighs;
For I burn and emit smoke for ever, in the fire of thy face.

All other folks whatever occupy themselves in the world's affairs;
But I am sunk in expectation of beholding thy face.

Thanks, that thou hast delivered me from obligation to others;
And, head bent in adoration, I am beholden to thy face.

p. 24

Where’er I, Raḥmān roam, for the heart's diversion;
I have no other object—I am the seeker of thy face.


If I say aught regarding separation, what shall I say?
Of this agony, without a remedy, what shall I say?

I have no power to breathe in the dear one's presence:
Since I have no power, powerless, what shall I say?

When I gaze upon her, I forget myself entirely—
When I know nothing of myself, what then shall I say?

Of the state of my own heart, unto her I cannot speak—
Of that, without name or vestige, what shall I say?

Of love's mystery, that hitherto no one hath explained—
Of the inexplicable and indescribable, what shall I say?

I am o’erwhelm’d in tears, through grief for my beloved—
Concerning such a flood as this, what then shall I say?

I, who have sunk down upon the furnace of separation—
Of the rose-bower of conjunction, what shall I say?

She plundereth one of life and goods, and stealeth the heart—
Regarding such a heart-ravisher, what then shall I say?

He calleth the crows, and driveth the nightingale from the garden—
Of the gardener of this world, what then shall I say?

She is still far better than all that I can explain—
What then of the loved-one shall I, Raḥmān, say? *

p. 25


The garden of existence will not bloom for ever!
The market-place of life will not be in bustle always!

Like as the river Abā Sīnd * boundeth along in its course,
With such like exceeding precipitation is the progress of life.

Just as the lightning, that showeth itself and is no more;
So swift, without doubt, is the swift course of life.

It is violent and impetuous to such a degree,
That no one is able to command the bridle of life.

Since its swift steed hath neither curb nor rein,
The brave cavalier of life must have a fall at last.

In a single hour it severeth the friendships of years—
In such wise, unfaithful is the friend of life.

I will neither leave my house, nor will I travel;
For, without going a journey, I pass over the road of life.

It will, in the end, be severed by the shears of fate—
It will not remain for ever connected—this thread of life.

He should view his own self with the bubble's eye,
If, in his heart, one would compute the length of life.

O Raḥmān! there is no opportunity in this world again
For him, over whom hath passed away the period of life.


This is the adored one—that is the rival:
This is the rose—that is the thorn.

p. 26

This is the rose—that is the thorn:
This is Manṣūr *—that the gallows-tree.

This is the beloved—that the malicious: 
This is the treasure—that is the snake.

This is wisdom—and that is love:
This is anguish—that the consoler.

This is separation—that is conjunction:
This is autumn—that the fresh spring.

This is devotion—that is sinfulness:
This is refulgence—but that is fire.

This is the wise man—that is the fool:
This is awake—but that is asleep.

This is Raḥmān—that is the adored:
This is the sick—that is the physician.


So fast our friends depart unto the grave,
As the kārwān,  with speed, returneth home.

So very promptly doth death deal with us,
As the reaper cutteth down the ripe corn.

p. 27

Like as the moving sand * is quickly commingled,
So speedily is this world together huddled.

The human frame as rapidly decayeth,
As the tulips, in the autumn, wither away.

So swiftly passeth away this sweet life,
As the rapid river boundeth along in its course.

A twinkling of the eye, indeed, will not be so speedy,
As Raḥmān's hasty departure from the world.


At times the body burneth from heat; sometimes, it trembleth from the cold:
At others, it dieth from thirst and hunger; at others, from excess of food.

All, all who have come into the world, are in tumult and in uproar:
Neither is that hungry one at peace, nor that cloyed one in tranquillity.

At times, they raise the hand to the head, and act civilly to each other;
Sometimes they stretch out the hand to the dagger and the sword.

When the angels mixed the dust of the first Adam together,
They combined, along with it, all manner of pains and woe.

What matters it, though this very hour one be beaten or be bound?
His time, too, will come likewise, to strike and to pinion others.

For how long will this crazy foundation of our's continue firm?
With plastering and propping it so continually I am quite worn out.

p. 28

’Tis possible, perhaps, that after death one may laugh in the tomb,
Who may, in this life, have mourned and lamented over himself.

I perceive all are departers—there are none to be tarriers behind:
Travelling upon this road is necessary, alike, for young and for old.

It is the flowing ringlets of the beloved that every one seeketh after,
Whether it be the young or old, the great or small, the rich or poor.

Supremely happy is he who hath been accepted at her threshold;
But woe and misery for him who hath been driven from it.

Like unto me, Raḥmān, hundreds were her nightingales;
But which that dark-eyed one hath chosen, God only knoweth!


When the black eye-lashes become submerged in the heart's moisture,
Then both property and effects become engulfed in the ocean of the heart.

Thou speakest vainly of the heart's disquiet unto the "Father of Desire:" *
What know children of the deep, deep sorrows of the heart?

Unto every other countenance than that of my own beloved,
I have permanently closed, altogether, the eyes of the heart.

That the highest canopy of heaven is beneath its shadow,
In the same degree, the more supernal is the banner of the heart.

This sanctuary is more sacred than Abraham's tabernacle,
If one would restore the desolated sanctuary of the heart.

p. 29

Though others should set itself, feet upon the earth's surface,
I have on the empyrean itself, placed the foot of the heart.

That spot, which lieth midway ’twixt the firmament and world,
Is a place of seclusion—’tis the very staircase of the heart.

From whom, then, shall I crave it, save from thee my God,
Since the world's physicians cannot prepare the salve of the heart?

There are, indeed, very many extrinsic friends in the world;
But Raḥmān nowhere findeth, a single friend of the heart.


I am ever sitting, with heart dried up, in the moisture of my tears:
Love showed unto me, in my own retreat, both ocean and land.

Like as when, with my lips, I kissed the wound of thy sword,
I have never since, from any salve, such soothing experienced.

Majnūn, that laid his head at the feet of Laylā, his beloved, *
Became exalted in Arabia, and in all foreign lands.

The powerful will always be triumphant over the weak;
And I am preserved from other misery by my grief for thee.

Like unto myself, for thee, thus in wretchedness o’erwhelmed,
Of the whole race of Adam there will be no other similar.

Like as a carcass, that may be fallen amongst the living,
In such wise am I, whilst in it, separated from the world.

From the breathings of the charmers I obtain no alleviation;
For this reason, indeed, that my breath is dependent on thine.

p. 30

I have neither inquiry nor research to make, save after thee:
Thou art my object every moment, and at every step.

Should it be my good fortune to obtain the platters of thy dogs,
I would no more cast mine eyes, even upon Jamshed's cup. *

So completely have I gambled away my heart upon thy curls,
As when a little button falleth, and, in murky darkness, is lost.

All ensanguined in blood, like unto red roses hang,
A thousand hearts in every ringlet of thy curly hair.

I, Raḥmān, withdrawn from the world, was happy indeed;
But looking towards thee, hath brought man's censure on me.


The fair face turneth like unto a smoky pot in old age:
The upright-statured becometh like a bent stick, in old age.

Like unto the candle in the morning, or the sun in winter,
One turneth pale, and wanteth warmth, in the time of old age.

If a person place his foot in one direction, he goeth in another;
The whole body becometh quite a stranger to us, in old age.

One's limbs are laid out, as if accounted among the dead,
Although he is still palpably beheld alive, in old age.

p. 31

A defunct is much better off, for after death he liveth again;
But it is not so that one may again grow young, in old age.

If he take any thing, it disagreeth with him, like poison;
For one cannot eat, nor can one drink, in old age.

That is youth, in which one both heareth and seeth something;
But nothing can be heard, and nothing seen, in old age.

O Raḥmān! verily, old age is such utter helplessness,
That, were it Rustam * himself, he deserveth pity, in old age.


He who placeth any hope upon the fabric of this world,
Embarketh, on a tour of the ocean, in a paper boat.

No one hitherto hath successfully run the steed of the sky 
How can one practise horsemanship on the back of the wind?

Neither can the wolf be instructed in the art of humanity,
Nor can any reliance be placed on the forbearance of fate.

Fortune revolveth equally with Islām and with idolatry—
When doth the blind make distinction ’twixt white and black?

With mine own eyes have I viewed the portents of destiny:
It createth thousands every moment, and destroyeth them too.

I am unable to place any such trust in fate's revolutions,
As that when its time cometh, it will grant exemption to me.

No one, indeed, will have experienced in his whole lifetime,
Such severity as the beloved-one, hourly, wreaketh upon me.

p. 32

Should I venture to place in my turban a bud of the rose,
From it, my evil destiny produceth a thorn therein.

If I stretch forth my hand unto gold, it turneth into dust:
If I manifest desire for dust, it treateth me with scorn.

Separation from God is a great calamity, unbearable to me:
My distressed heart ever yearneth for society with Him.

When hath any lover acquired such an amount of patience,
That he putteth off, until to-morrow, the promise of to-day?

O heart ravisher! if thou shouldst even clothe me in fire,
In my sight, the garment will become me like gold brocade.

If, with regard to my love, any one should speak evil of me,
To myself I consider, that he is uttering my praise.

’Tis right that reproaches be heaped on the lover, the rule is such:
It is ever the custom of the healthy to laugh at the sick.

Honour and love are widely separated from each other—
How can one perpetrate a robbery in the light of day?

Raḥmān, this ode reciteth in reply to that which Dawlat * wrote—
"Should the beloved present me continually the wine of her love!"


If any one should account me an ascetic, an ascetic am I;
If any one should consider me a noble, a noble am I.

I desire the whole world as an oblation unto the beloved:
It is not that, for myself, I care ought about it.

p. 33

’Tis hard sustaining the dignity of the cowl: were it not so,
Every moment I incline unto the Darwesh's calling.

I take advice from every one, and give counsel unto all:
I am, at once, the disciple of some, and the apostle of others.

In separation the thoughts of the beloved ever follow me:
Along with Yūsuf, * I am a companion in imprisonment.

At the time of laughing, my weeping is like unto the taper's:
In the world, I am totally concealed, yet in fear of my life.

But what freedom, what independence is greater than this?
That I am a captive in the fetters of the locks of the beloved.

What other happiness is there more inestimable than this?
That for the sake of the beloved I am ever plunged in grief.

Khushḥāl Khān and Dawlata  are but slaves of mine;
For, of the Pus’hto tongue, I, Raḥmān, am the Æalam-gīr. 


Where the lips of the beloved? where affliction of heart and soul?
Where the nightshade's red berry? where the ruby of Badakhshān?

Pure and free is true love from all proneness to carnality
Where is the well of the stomach? where the dimple of the chin?

There is not a little difference ’twixt the libertine and the recluse—
Where are youths and maidens? where are widows and orphans?

p. 34

They are all fools, who barter their religion for the world—
Where are fifty days? where eternity and everlasting life?

Let ambition and desire be a sacrifice unto contentment
Where is the land of Egypt? * where the Hamlet of the Slaves? 

In one village, the Darwesh and murderer cannot dwell—
Where is Æazīz Khān? where is Mullā Æabd-ur-Raḥmān?


Though kings and princes have made their exit from the world,
It hath not become, in anywise, imperfect or defective thereby.

Though thousands, every moment, perish and pass away,
Thousands, likewise, every instant, are into it brought.

Of their exits and their entrances there is no computation:
They are like unto the fathomless ocean that rolleth along.

At another's sorrows, man doth not become affected:
He is alone sensitive of what happeneth to himself.

One, so illustrious as the Prophet, passed from the world away;
Yet this world did not become ruined by that separation.

When such like eminent people have gone down to the dust,
How shall be remembered, by any one, such dogs as thou and I?

p. 35

Shouldst thou sift, over and over, the whole world's dust,
Thou wilt not again discover either Dārā or Shāh Jahān! *

Not even a trace remaineth of their names or their records,
Who laid claim unto glory, and sought, from posterity, fame?

Go thou, and see for thyself, if I speak falsely—
Look upon the graves of thy father, and grandfather too!

Behold! what have those mouths and lips become,
Which, on both thine eyes, were wont to kiss thee fondly?

They who used to hail thee with "Thy sacrifice, thy sacrifice," 
Let them now call out unto thee, "Thy sacrifice am I!"

I am quite amazed with the glowing words of Raḥmān,
That in the collection of his odes, fire hath not burst out.


The chiefs and the monarchs of the world,
At last, abject and confounded, depart.

They are fastened to the link-rope of fate,
Like as captives together are chained.

Sweet existence departeth front him,
And the king hath neither power nor control.

Though he give away wealth and lands,
He obtaineth neither quarter nor mercy.

p. 36

He hath neither friend nor defender:
Both pain and agony overcome him.

Helpless, in his presence, will be standing,
Both his ministers and his envoys too.

No remedy can be prescribed for him;
And doctors, nonplussed, hang their heads.

His dominions remain behind him;
And from regret and sorrow his heart breaketh.

When the soul hath deserted his body,
His family weep, and bewail his loss.

For an hour or so, they mourn over him;
Then the poor creatures grow calm again.

They then remove him for the ablution, *
And place him naked on the stretcher.

Then of his garments, become covetous,
The washers and the bathers of the dead,

On the return home from the grave,
The heirs share, and carry the effects away.

Both his friends, and his enemies, alike,
To his throne and country lay claim.

His handmaidens and concubines, they
Are carried off by the dead man's compeers.

Both name and vestige of him are lost,
As if, indeed, he had never existed.

p. 37

Not even a record of him remaineth;
Not even his title, to future times.

The world, verily, is like a running stream,
Upon which no impression can remain.

Though one may people a thousand spots,
Still, all, at last, must desolate become!

Like as the wind cometh and passeth by,
So rolleth away the course of time!

This exposition was long and lengthy,
But Raḥmān hath condensed and abridged it.


My black eyes have turned white, from the weeping of separation;
And again, have become coloured, from the blood of the heart.

I was wont to say, "Even yet, I will go and visit my friends;"
For I did not know that the time of their departure was fixed.

Some, like unto the moth, cast themselves into the fire:
Some, alive, like the nightingale, the glowing rose upon.

The abjectness of death hath come before the dead;
And the living become woe-begone, though yet in existence.

The soldiers of destiny have so put forth their hands to plunder,
That a thousand Khasraus and Shīrīns * have been trampled to dust.

p. 38

They who, in their gaiety, placed their feet upon the heavens—
Such tenderly nourished ones have now sunk into the grave.

They who were wont to repose upon ermine and velvets,
Without bed and without pillow now in the cold earth lie.

Why, then, should not the heart of Raḥmān be sorrowful,
When such numbers of his friends have been severed from him?


Whomsoever one's own affections have made abject, contemptible, account not;
For love is sympathy's clouds: as mere clouds of dust, account them not.

At times, the curls become dark spikenards; at others, amber and musk:
Although they are like unto snakes, as such, account them not.

One of its phases is destruction, whilst another is reconstruction:
Indeed, love, radically, is fire; but as such, account it not.

Many awake, are fast asleep, like the statue, with eyes open:
Though it regard thee with staring eyes, awake, account it not.

The object to be conveyed by the faces of the fair, is a certain emotion:
That which produceth not such impression, a face, account it not.

The thorn, which is along with the rose, is among roses reckoned:
What matter though ’tis termed a thorn? as such, account it not.

The wise are those, who confess themselves wanting in wisdom—
They who account themselves sage, as such, account them not.

p. 39

He, indeed, is sinful, unto whom his own sins are not evident:
Whoever considereth himself evil, as such, account him not.

He, who hath confessed the power of his beloved one's dark locks,
Will be disturbed for ever; then tranquil, account him not.

Let him, who seeketh perfection, practise the lowliness of Raḥmān:
That is the expedient: any other plan, successful, account it not.


Would to heaven that I were the dust and ashes at thy door!
Would that thy foot were, for ever, placed upon my head!

By all means, let thee and me meet face to face;
Then let my breast be the target for thine arrows!

Let my whole body, like antimony, be ground to powder; *
For then, at least, one glance of thy dark eyes will be mine.

Were the society of the fair dependent on gold or silver,
I had acquired it, by my sallowness, and my silvery tears.

Wherefore, indeed, had reproaches been uttered against me,
If any one had been aware of thy heart-ravishing ways?

Should I tell them of the dignity thy love hath brought me,
The angels, all, would cry, "O that we were human too!"

If I were the heart-ravisher, and thou, like me, the heart-ravished,
The spectacle of my condition would then be manifest to thee.

p. 40

It will not be equal unto the bloody torrent from mine eyes,
Though one's face, all over, might sharp sword-gashes bear.

O that I were the nightingale, or the zephyr of the morn,
That my path might lie amongst thy fragrant bowers!

’Midst the agonies endured for thee, to Raḥmān, the physician saith—
"Thou wouldst be better were thy state even worse than it is."


If this, thy heart's affection, be bestowed upon a rival,
For thy sake, this rival shall be my friend also.

He who may be fascinated with one fair countenance,
From that one, a thousand other faces will be acceptable to him. *

Whosoever may have entered into the service of kings,
Must, necessarily, be under obligation unto the janitor.

Against thy malicious guardians, how shall I complain?
It is usual for the thorns to be associated with the rose.

Until a hundred thorns shall have pierced his breast,
How shall the nightingale unto the rose ever gain access?

He will spread the prayer-carpet in the cupbearer's path—
Every Ṣūfi who may be, towards his countenance, prepossessed.

p. 41

He will lose his senses, entirely, through the phrenzy of love,
Though he may be as wise, indeed, as Iflātūn * himself.

He will, in no wise, cast censures upon Raḥmān,
Whoever may be cognizant of thy beauty and grace.


Though they may have been a hundred times by each other's side, and in each other's arms;
Still, all the loving-ones of this world will be separated from each other.

They, who, at present, are dwelling together in the same abode;
At the last, will all have separate dwelling places.

These fragrant flowers, whose proper place is in the turban,
All, all of them will fade away, and be trodden under foot.

These fair-faced ones, with bright countenances like the sun's—
The black hair, like a forest, will overspread their cheeks.

This delicious sherbet, which is the society of our friends,
Will, in separation, and in absence, to deadly poison turn.

Through disjunction from a friend, I myself have witnessed,
The wisest of the age become, wholly, of reason bereft.

He setteth not his foot, for dread, on the ground of society,
Who is, already, cognizant of the dread slough of separation.

In what manner shall one devise a fit remedy for this,
Unto which, neither human wisdom, nor conjecture reach?

p. 42

To such a degree hath anguish rusted Raḥmān's heart;
But the goblet of pure wine will its furbisher become.


The face of the beloved, the sun, and the moon, are all three one:
Her stature, the cypress, and the pine, are all three one.

I have not the least need, either of honey, or of sugar;
For, the lips of the beloved, honey, and sugar, are all three one.

When I am reclining upon my couch, without her by my side,
Fire, thorns, and this couch of mine, are all three one.

When I cast mine eyes toward her dwelling's door and walls,
A garden, a parterre of flowers, and they, are all three one.

When I am soiled with any dust of the alley she dwelleth in,
This dust, and musk, and amber, are all three one.

O God! make no one acquainted with absence from his love;
For invasion, massacre, and such absence, are all three one!

The very moment that man biddeth adieu unto the world,
Dust, and silver, and gold, unto him, are all three one.

Should the monk, in reality, follow a life of austerity,
The sovereign, the chief, and the monk, are all three one.

It is not right that one should roam in foreign lands;
Therein, he who can see, the blind, and dumb, are all three one.

That town, in which there may be neither sweetheart nor friend,
That town, the ocean, and the desert, are all three one.

p. 43

At the shops of the sightless dealers in jewels,
The kaurī, * the ruby, and the pearl, are all three one.

Let not these saintly monitors hold my love in scorn;
For the true lover, the saint, and the father, are all three one.

Through the despotic severity of tyrannical rulers,
The grave, and fire, and Pes’hour,  are all three one.

What matter, though he may praise himself unto Raḥmān?
Still, the fool, the ox, and the ass, are all three one.


Thy fair face, and thy musky mole, are associated together,
Or Maḥmūd and Ayāz are sitting together, bosom friends. 

What matter, though thy countenance is hidden by thy curls?
The water of immortality itself is, in total darkness, concealed.

From thy curls, thy ruby lips, and thy face, are produced
The night, the glow of sunset, and the dawn of day.

Is it the teeth, in thy sweet mouth, that shine so lustrously,
Or are there glittering dewdrops in the bud of the rose?

’Tis not that my heart, alone, is pierced by thy glances:
The knife and the flesh, of old, are hostile to each other.

Without floods of tears, the dark eye deigneth not to look on one:
The opening of the narcissus dependeth on the rivulet's humidity.

Peace, without trouble and affliction, no one hath acquired;
But thy cruelty, and thy constancy, are blessings unto me.

p. 44

Through the good fortune attendant on the meed of thy beauty,
Throughout the world resoundeth the fame of Raḥmān's rhymes.


If there be any essential duty in this world, verily ’tis that of religion;
And for the followers of this avocation, there is due meed of praise.

Unto whose lot have fallen the gifts of godliness and piety,
The shadow of felicity and happiness ever followeth after them.

Contentment hath so filled their palates with savour,
That, in their mouths, the dry crust is like honey unto.

Without elephants and camels, they wield the sceptre of royalty,
Though a small worn-out piece of mat is their only carpet.

When they, in their necessities, raise their hands in supplication,
The very angels of heaven say, Amen! to their requests.

They, who, in this life, accept indigence and privations,
Their advantage and good in that are infallible indeed.

The lowliness and humility of the meek are, in themselves, dignity:
Their hearts are clean, though their ragged garments be soiled.

The water of the higher ground floweth ever unto the lower—
The Almighty hath raised to perfection, the humble, and the meek.

The heads of the stubborn and scornful reach the heavens now;
But, after a few short days, their place is in the dust!

They, who follow the dictates of presumption and arrogance,
Deserve not mercy—they are abominable and accursed.

p. 45

What, though their human forms may be termed men?
Men they are not, in reality—they are children of the devil.

Though Raḥmān possesseth none of this world's pelf,
Thank Heaven! neither presumptuous, nor self-conceited is he.


There is a different scar branded upon every one's breast,
Whether he be the beggar, or the sovereign of the land. *

There is no obtaining satiety from this fountain of the world;
And its thirsty-ones are, severally, in dissension and in strife.

A. little peace is obtained, only after much pain and trouble—
A mere straw of this world, without it, is unlawful and unmeet.

This life's joys are not attainable, without bitterness and woe—
From the miser's house, ever so little alms, is a misfortune.

Why then may not tranquillity be prohibited unto them,
Who have entered within the caravansary of this world?

As to the state of Majnūn, why should any one inquire?
The whole world, house by house, is Majnūn and Laylā too! 

Love hath breathed upon the entire universe a spell, so potent,
That the lover, though keen-sighted, is to all things blind.

The Almighty hath accorded unto every one a different lot;
And every man's own portion is, separately, determined.

p. 46

Giving and taking—buying and selling—all are in others’ hands
There is, I perceive, no opening here, either for thee or for me.

All matters, if in accordance with the will of the master,
Though unlawful towards the bondsman, are legal and right.

Willing or unwilling—whether it be one's wish, or whether it be not—
The fulfilment of one's destiny, agreeable, or hateful, is inevitable.

Life and faith, it behoveth to intrust, entirely, unto Him,
Whose decrees have gone out upon every human being.

Into the hands of whomsoever the ruler hath delegated authority,
The whole world boweth unto his wishes and his views.

O Raḥmān! if the Most High should not be one's companion,
Though armies may be with him, he still is all alone!


That friend, who is false and faithless, is no friend at all!
The affair, which hath not stability, is no matter at all!

Though laying down one's head is difficult, for thee and for me;
Yet ’tis an easy matter in love, and difficult by no means.

Care and solicitude awaken a man from his slumbers;
And he who hath no anxiety, though awake, is fast asleep.

To the lover, if there is aught in life, ’tis the society of his beloved—
The life of separation cannot be reckoned as existence.

It increaseth and groweth less, in the twinkling of the eye—
Reliance on the revolutions of fortune is no reliance whatever.

p. 47

If one be the father of a hundred sons, what shall he do with them?
The ignorant, foolish son, is not the son of his father.

Unto their lovers, the beloved ones ever manifest their caprices;
But the beloved of Raḥmān causeth him no disquietude.


In the name of that Deity of mine, this is my meed of praise—
Him, of whose many appellations, one, "The Most Glorious" is.

Those things, which, unto all others, are insuperable,
The whole of these matters are easy, and feasible unto Him.

He is the sovereign over all the rulers of the earth:
Over the head of every monarch, He is also the King.

Is any one able to place a sun in the firmament?
Yet He, in the heavens, hath elevated this glorious orb.

Can any one spread out a veil over the disc of the sun?
But, see! He hath entirely concealed it, in the veil of clouds.

Who is there capable of producing a moon, to light the night?
He hath created many moons, to illumine the nocturnal gloom.

Can any one pour down a single rain-drop from the sky?
Yet He hath rained, upon us, the genial showers of spring.

Who is there-equal to give vitality, even to a mosquito
Yet He hath given life to the whole creation of the earth.

Hath any one the ability to give the red tinge to stone? .
But He hath coloured it with the Arghowān's * rich hue.

p. 48

Can any one cause a single flower to grow from out the earth
Yet He hath made to bloom gardens of sweetest flowers.

Hath any one the power to produce water from fire?
He, from the fire of summer, hath produced the winter rains.

Hath any one the ability to impart religion unto man?
Yet He, upon all His servants, hath faith and religion bestowed.

Can any one ascend from earth to Heaven?
Yet this potent power, He hath, unto Jesus Christ, assigned.

Who is there. that can hold converse with the Almighty
Yet, to this degree, He hath the patriarch Moses exalted.

Who is mighty enough to place a saddle on the steed of the wind?
Whilst He hath, high in air, the throne of Sulīmān set up. *

What man, with snowy beard, can, unto the Last Day, live?
Yet, upon Khizr,  this great favour hath He conferred.

Hath any one power to produce gems from out the rain-drops?
Whilst He, from out the rain-drops, hath produced pearls.

Who is there can supply food unto all creatures?
Yet He, unto all created things, is the giver of daily bread.

p. 49

That which He can perform, none else can accomplish:
All the most powerful are impotent, before His omnipotence.

He hath founded the house of stone in the midst of the waters,
In which He hath given, unto fire, security and protection. *

The earth hath bowed down its head in His adoration;
And the firmament is bent over in the worship of Him.

Every tree, and every shrub, stand ready to bend before Him:
Every herb and blade of grass are a tongue to utter his praises.

Every fish in the deep praiseth and blesseth His name:
Every bird, in the meadows and in the fields, magnifieth Him.

All things are occupied in offering thanksgiving unto Him,
Whether mankind, or the genii, or the beasts of the field.

The created things themselves have not held Him in such estimation,
As the great love and regard they are held in by Him.

No one hath discovered the extent of His omniscience—
His knowledge and perception such a boundless ocean is.

Neither doth any one bear likeness or similitude unto Him,
Nor doth He bear likeness or similitude unto any one.

With Him, there is neither deficiency, detriment, nor decline:
He is, wholly, without defect, without decline, or deterioration.

He hath neither simile, nor similitude, nor hath He place:
He is without semblance, without comparison, without abode.

From all form, structure, or configuration, He is exempt;
Yet all figure, lineament, and formation, from Him proceed.

p. 50

No one beholdeth Him with his eyes, nor can He be looked upon;
And yet, ineffable and inscrutable, He is manifest to all.

If any one should say, He cannot be seen, verily, He cannot:
And should he so say, He is, in truth, apparent unto all.

Without doubt and without distrust, consider Him immaculate
In all things soever, of which people are hard of belief.

No one hath lauded Him equal unto His just deserts;
Neither hath any one-sufficiently resounded His praise.

Out of the thousands of His excellencies and His perfections,
Deem not, that one, by Raḥmān, hath been adequately expressed.


11:* See Mīṛzā, Poem VI., second note.

12:* It is customary in the East to carry money in a purse or belt, fastened round the waist.


"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
 And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
 Await alike th’ inevitable hour.
 The paths of glory lead but to the grave."

15:† The Reg-i-rawān, or "Moving sand," situated forty miles north of Kabūl, towards the mountains of Hindū Kush, and near the base of the mountains. It is a sheet of pure sand, in height about 400 feet, and 100 broad, and lies at an angle of 45°. This sand is constantly shifting, and they say that in the summer season a sound like that of drums may be heard issuing from it. See "Burnes's Cabool."

16:* That is to say, the signs and omens of the approach of the end of the world.

16:† The deposit or pledge for the observance of faith and obedience unto God. See Mīrzā, Poem VI., second note.

16:‡ The mode of salutation in Eastern countries is, by raising the right hand to the forehead, or by placing it to the breast.

18:* The Brāhmanical cord. Also a belt, or cord more particularly, worn round the middle by the Eastern Christians and Jews, and by the Persian Magi. It was introduced a.d. 839, by the Khalīfah Mutawakkil, to distinguish them from Muḥammadans.

19:* The play upon the words 'head' and 'head-man' here is almost lost in the translation.

20:* Names of Arabic coins. The darham is of silver, and the dīnār of gold.

21:* Referring to the custom, in the East, of washing the bodies of deceased persons before dressing them out in their grave-clothes.

22:* According to the Muḥammadan religion, the sun at the resurrection will be no further off than a mile, or (as some translate the word, the signification of which is ambiguous) than the length of a spear, or even of a bodkin.

22:† Zu-l-fiḳār, the name of the famous two-edged sword of Æali, the son-in-law of Muḥammad, and which the latter reported he had received from the angel Gabriel.

23:* In the fables and traditions of the East, it is supposed that wherever there is a hidden treasure,-there is a serpent, or serpents, to guard it.

24:* This ode is very popular as a song; but the singers are, probably, not aware of the depth of meaning beneath.

25:* Abā Sīnd, the "father of rivers," the name given by the Afghāns to the Indus.

26:* Al Manṣūr, the name of a Ṣūfi, who was put to death at Bāghdād, some centuries back, for making use of the words "I am God."

26:† The Arabic word here used in the original, and very commonly made use of by poets, is scarcely to be translated by an equivalent word in the English language. The Spanish word duenna gives the signification, but the Afghāns apply it to both sexes.

26:‡ Commonly "caravan," a company of travellers or merchants associated together for mutual defence and protection, and conveyance of merchandize, in the East.

27:* See Reg-i-rawān, note at p. 15.

28:* Desire itself, called also the "Parent of Desire."

29:* The loves of Majnūn and his mistress Laylā are the subject of one of the most celebrated mystic poems of the Persian poet Niz̤āmī, and famous throughout the East.

30:* Jam or Jamshed, the name of an ancient Persian king, concerning whom there are many fables. The cup of Jamshed, called jām-i-jam, is said to have been discovered, filled with the Elixir of Immortality, when digging for the foundations of Persepolis, and is more famous in the East than even Nestor's cup among the Greeks. It has furnished the poets with numerous allegories, and allusions to wine, the philosopher's stone, magic, enchantment, divination, and the like.

31:* The Persian Hercules.

31:† The steed of the sky—the firmament, the revolving heavens, fortune, destiny, fate, etc.

32:* The name of an Afghān poet, a cotemporary of Raḥmān's. His poems are not to be met with in the present day.

33:* The patriarch Joseph.

33:† The name of Afghān poets.

33:‡ Æalam-gīr—"The world-conquering"—the name assumed by Aurangzeb, Emperor of Hindūstān.

34:* Muḥammadans consider the land of Egypt the peculiar country of presumptuous and ambitious rulers, who, like Pharaoh, laid claim to divinity.

34:† The name of a village near Ḳandahār, on the Tarnak river, and, for centuries past, in ruins. It is proverbially used in reference to a place utterly desolate and deserted.

35:* Dārā, the Persian name of Darius; Shāh-i-Jahān, "the Emperor of the Universe," the title assumed by the fifth Mughal, sovereign of Hindūstān.

35:† Equivalent to the reply of "Thy sins be upon me" of Scripture, a common mode of reply in Afghānistān and Persia.

36:* See Raḥmān, Poem IX., second note.

37:* Khasrau, King of Persia (contemporary with Muḥammad), having been driven from his kingdom by his uncle, took refuge with the Greek Emperor Maurice, by whose assistance he defeated the usurper, and recovered his crown. Whilst at Maurice's court, Khasrau married his daughter Irene, who, under the name of Shīrīn, signifying 'sweet,' is highly celebrated in the East, on account of her singular beauty; and their loves are the subject of the celebrated Persian poem by Niz̤āmī.

39:* Black antimony, ground to powder, is commonly used in the East, as a collyrium for the eyes.

40:* "There are such wild inconsistencies in the thoughts of a man in love, that I have often reflected there can be no reason for allowing, him more liberty than others possessed with phrenzy, but that his distemper has no malevolence in it to any mortal. The devotion to his mistress kindles in his mind a general tenderness, which exerts itself towards every object as well as his fair one."—Steele, Spectator, No. 336.

41:* Plato.

43:* Cypræa moneta.

43:† Peshāwar, sometimes written as above.

43:‡ Maḥmūd, Sult̤ān of Ghaznī, who was much attached to his servant Ayāz.

45:* "There is a skeleton in every house."

45:† See note, page 29.

47:* The name of a tree, whose fruit and flowers are of a beautiful red colour—the Cercis Siliguastrum, of botanists, probably.

48:* According to the Muḥammadan belief, Solomon succeeded his father David when only twelve years old; at which age the Almighty placed under his command all mankind, the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air, the elements, and the genii. The birds were his constant attendants, screening him from the inclemencies of the weather, whilst his magnificent throne was borne by the winds whithersoever he wished to go.

48:† The name of a prophet, who, according to Oriental tradition, was Wazīr, or Minister, and General of Kaykobād, an ancient King of Persia. They say that he discovered and drank of the fountain of life or immortality, and that, in consequence, he will not die until the sounding of the last trumpet, at the Judgment Day.

49:* As fire can be produced by striking stones together, the Muḥammadans suppose that fire is inherent in stone, and that water protects it.

Next: Introduction