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The Secret Rose Garden, by Florence Lederer, [1920], at

p. 88




THE Light which is manifest
Leads all hearts captive,
Now as the minstrel, now as the cupbearer.

What a singer is He who, by one strain of sweet melody,
Burns the harvests of a hundred devotees!
What a cupbearer is He who, by a single goblet,
Inebriates two hundred threescore and ten!

Entering the Mosque at dawn,
He leaves there no wakeful man;
Entering the cloister at night,
He makes a fable of Sūfīs' tales;
Entering the college veiled as a drunkard,
The professor becomes hopelessly drunken.

p. 89

Devotees go mad for love of Him
And become outcasts from house and home,
He makes one faithful, another an infidel,
Disturbing the world.
Taverns have been glorified by His lips,
Mosques have become shining by His cheek.

All I desire I have found in Him,
Gaining deliverance from self,
My heart was ignorant of itself,
Veiled from Him by a hundred veils
Of vanity, conceit, and illusion.


ONE day at the dawn
The fair idol entered my door
And woke me from my sleep
Of slothful ignorance.
The secret chamber of my soul
Was illumined by His face,
And my being was revealed to me
In its true light.
I heaved a sigh of wonder
When I saw that fair face.
He spoke to me, saying,

p. 90

"All thy life thou has sought
Name and fame;
This self-seeking of thine
Is an illusion, keeping thee back from Me.
To glance at My face for an instant
Is worth a thousand years of devotion."

Yes, the face of that world-adorner
Was shown unveiled before mine eyes;
My soul was darkened with shame
To remember my lost life,
My wasted days.


THEN that moon
Whose face shone like the sun,
Seeing I had cast hope away,
Filled a goblet of Divine Knowledge
And, passing to me, bade me drink,
Saying, "With this wine,
Tasteless and odourless,
Wash away the writing
On thy being's tablet."

p. 91


INTOXICATED from the pure draught
Which I had drained to the dregs,
In the bare dust I fell.
Since then I know not if I exist or not,
But I am not sober, neither am I ill or drunken.
Sometimes, like His eye, I am full of joy,
Or, like His curl, I am waving;
Sometimes, alas! from habit or nature,
I am lying on a dust heap.
Sometimes, at a glance from Him,
I am back in the Rose Garden.

Next: Epilogue