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The Diwan of Zeb-un-Nissa, by Magan Lal and Jessie Duncan Westbrook, [1913], at

p. 25



        To Thee, first,
From the clouds of Whose mercy is born
The rose of my garden, I look!
Let the praise of Thy love the beginning adorn
    Of the verse of my book.

For Thy love are my body and soul;
Like Mansur the grains of this clod,
My body, cry out—They are parts, Thou the whole,
    Themselves they are God.

        The waves
Of Thy deluge of love o’er the boat
Of mortality roll;
No Noah could lift from the deeps till it float
    My love-drownèd soul.

p. 26

        As slaves
The powers of the darkness for me
Will obedient fly;
If a word of my praise be accepted by Thee,
    Like Suleiman I.

        And now
No more do the ready tears start
As laments from my tongue,
For like pearls the blood-drops that are drawn from my heart
    On my lashes are hung.

        Bear thou,
O Makhfi, with patience thy pain,
It is endless, and leave thou the night
Of thy passions; for then shall not Khizr attain
    Such a spring of delight.

p. 27


O Thou Who all things mortal and divine
Hast fashioned, and by Whom alone we live,
    May there still shine
The torch of hope that Thou to us didst give!

Within us stirs the leaven of Thy love,
As streams of water of Thy mercy run.
    Look from above
And bless Mahmoud and all that he hath done.

Whether it be in Mecca's holiest shrine,
Or in the Temple pilgrim feet have trod,
    Still Thou art mine,
Wherever God is worshipped is my God.

The morning I shall greet with tears and sighs,
And from my heart that burns with holy fire
    A breath shall rise
To burnish thus my mirror of desire.

Give me thy tears, O Makhfi, let them rain
In quenching torrents on my burning heart;
    So hot its pain
At every sigh I breathe the flames outstart.

p. 28


    O Prophet, o’er the world
Thy soul-compelling banner is unfurled:
    See how thy faith hath spread
Till Iran and Arabia are led.
    Thy lips unclose
Like petals of a newly-budded rose,
    And from them flow
Thy words of wisdom, till not only know
    The sons of men,
But birds within the garden sing again
    Thy words of gold.
O thou whose beauty I with joy behold,
    Nature in truth
Made never loveliness like to thy youth.
    Snared me it hath
Till fain would I renunciation's path
    With patience tread,
And follow where thy holy feet have led.
    But how can I
My cherished joys to my poor heart deny,
    Or, even more,
My cherished sorrows can I yield, for sore
    My heart doth bleed
Where cruel love hath wounded it indeed.

p. 29

    Look thou and see
Where from my wounds there drops continually
    A crimson flood;
But fragrant flowers are springing from my blood,
    And every thorn
Wherewith my weary wandering feet are torn
    Turns to a rose.
O Makhfi, if the Kaaba keeper close
    To thee his door,
Complain not: thou possessest even more
    A holy place;
For look into the Well-Belovèd Face,
    Over His Eyes
Arches more fair than Kaaba gates arise;
    Thy heart shall bend,
Itself an archway welcoming the Friend.

p. 30


My eager heart a pang of rapture stings
   When the long-wandering wind unto me brings
      The perfume of thy presence on its wings.

And so I wait in this my sorrow's night,
   Until thou givest to my weary sight
      Thy beauty for my longing eyes' delight.

The world through Islam light in darkness saw
   And walked safe guided by thy Scroll of Law,
      Bowing to God in hope and holy awe—

To God, Who sinners can forgive and lead,
   Inscrutable Himself, yet Who can read
      The hidden heart and comprehend its need.

O Prophet, shining like a lonely gem,
   The fairest of Heaven's highest diadem,
      Look on men's need and intercede for them.

Thou art the veil through which the light doth shine,
   Nay, thou thyself the very torch divine—
      Naught else behold these dazzled eyes of mine.

p. 31


Here is the path of love—how dark and long
    Its winding ways, with many snares beset!
Yet crowds of eager pilgrims onward throng
    And fall like doves into the fowler's net.

Now tell me what the grain that drew the dove?
    The mole it was upon a cheek so fair.
Tell me of what was wove the net of love?
    The wandering curls of the Belovèd's hair.

The festival of love is holden here,
    The goblet passes; drink thou of this wine,
Yea, drain it to the lees, and never fear
    Intoxication that is all divine.

How easy ’tis to sigh and to complain!
    All the world weeps to give its woe relief;
But proudly in thy heart conceal thy pain,
    And silent drink the poison of thy grief.

Here is the source of light, the heavenly fount,
    Here is the vision of eternal grace;
Brighter than Moses thou, when from the Mount
    He came, God's radiance shining in his face.

p. 32

The wine at night unto the morning lends
    Its exaltation, morning to the night
Its dream bequeaths in turn: so never ends
    The sequence of the happy soul's delight.

But, Makhfi, tell me where the feast is made?
    Where are the merry-makers? Lo, apart,
Here in my soul the feast of God is laid,
    Within the hidden chambers of my heart.

p. 33


My heart is looted of its treasure, left
Careless and unprotected, to my shame,
And thus I weep, feeling myself bereft,
      Knowing myself to blame.

With mine own hands the altar-fire I lit;
As flame within a lamp my heart afire
Glows even through the body casing it,
      And burns it with desire.

Could I my foolish heart to ashes burn
Then might I rest, my sorrow then might cease;
Unto the ocean of Thy love I turn
      To find within it peace.

I sink within its waters, nor above
Its surface can my weary limbs uplift,
Deep-drownèd I within the sea of love
      Lapped by its waves must drift.

A wilderness this lonely heart of mine
Till love transformed it to another guise,
And now it shines as fair as the divine
      Gardens of Paradise.

p. 34

I would that I my longing might outpour,
My grief might turn to hymns, my pain might tell
In psalms like that sweet singer sang of yore,
      David of Israel.

Unto the fields like pecking birds I go
To gather up the ears of golden grain,
But only tears, not corn, I gather—lo,
      They fall in floods like rain.

O wise one, at the feast of love be glad,
But careful too, and guard thy cup of wine;
In ecstasy I drank the share I had,
      O Sage, take heed of thine.

With slumber, Makhfi, heavy are thine eyes,
And though thy tale has not attained its close,
So deep a languor on thy spirit lies;
      Seek thou for it repose.

p. 35


As at the coming of the spring-tide rains
Rivers of sap through growing trees upstart,
So runs Thy love throughout my very veins,
Yea, to the tender tendrils of my heart.

I beat my flinty heart till from it flies
The spark divine of the eternal fire,
And from the flashing gleams I see arise
The lightning of Thy love—my heart's desire.

Come, O ye weak in faith, for help is here,
Behold these flashes from our hearts that fly,
Had ye the eye of faith they would appear
Like the white light that gleamed on Sinai.

Come to the feast of love, for it is spread;
Share ye the wine-cup where we drink so deep;
Behold the wine—the tears that we have shed,
The wine-cups are our eyes that ever weep.

But, as we drink, upon us falls the spell,
The dream, the vision, and the ecstasy;
The wine of pain turns blood, nor can we tell
If we exist, or if we cease to be.

p. 36

Within the jungle of this world of woe
The lion of desire stalks ravenous.
Girded with faith let us as hunters go:
If we resist him he will flee from us.

Ofttimes my heart can sing and can rejoice,
Pouring forth hymns throughout my rapturous days;
Alas, that powers of evil choke my voice,
And blast my thoughts, and burn my psalms of praise!

p. 37


From the glance Thou bestowed, O Belovèd,
    flows beauty no words can express;
My life—it were little to offer in thanks for Thy
How shamed were the pious assembly, how
    grieved in their hearts when they heard
That for love of Thy fluttering tresses the utter-
    most nations were stirred.
My heart is riven in fragments, ravaged by tears
    of my grief,
But to one whom Thy lashes have wounded never
    there cometh relief.
At Thy feet, O haughty Belovèd, I lay down the
    pride of my brow,
I am near to Thy heart as Thy raiment; why
    sayest "A stranger art thou"?
O Makhfi, walk boldly like Majnun in the valley
    of grief undismayed,
Girt round with thy new dedication, the promise
    of love thou hast made.

p. 38


      O Saki, do thy task;
    Into this moon-like goblet pour
The golden wine that, shining like the sun,
      From out the dusky flask
    Comes till my goblet bubbles o’er,
As from the clouds the dawn when night is done.

      Behold my luckless heart,
    So broken, so dissolved by pain,
It even flows in tears between my lashes;
      And yet how can I part
    With it, while still to me remain
Its shards—I wait till it is burnt to ashes.

      I knew long, long ago,
    Your promises were less than naught,
I blotted them for ever from my mind.
      Why was I born to know
    An age above all others fraught
With love ungrateful and with fate unkind?

      But grasp thy joy; who knows,
    Makhfi, what may to thee befall?
The firm foundations of the earth may shake,
      The breeze that blows
    May, if this empty life be all,
The bubble of our vain existence break.

p. 39


    I Ask not from Heaven that it give
      Fortune or power,
    I ask but a garden apart,
      Where for the brief hour
    That we are appointed to live,
Of earth the delight that is nearest divine
          Might be mine—
To live in the love of the friends of my heart.

    The rapturous nightingale sings,
      Wooing the rose
    In the midst of the garden new-born:
      But only the gardener knows
    Of the labour that brings
To the garden its beauty; he toiled in the heat,
          And his feet
Have been wounded by many a thorn.

    Immortal is beauty, for, see,
      Like the sun in his might,
    It illumines the worlds and all things that
          are made
          With the joy of its light;
    For this be our thanks unto Thee,

p. 40

And for the great teachers vouchsafed in our need
      To guide and to lead,
Their presence to be our safe shelter and shade.

    Upon us Thy mercy bestow!
      Consider how weak,
    How afflicted we are and how sorrowful;
      When we passionate seek
    For oblivion, and Thou dost know
How time on our desolate spirit has beat
      And brought us defeat—
O save us, nor let us endure it again.

    O happy the seer who knows
      Good and evil are one,
    Who has learned how self-poised he may live,
      Who is shaken by none,
    To whom spring with its rose
And autumn are equal:—not him canst thou
      Or, careless one, preach
To him; thou indeed hast no counsel to give.

    If perilous love doth thee lead,
      If thou enter his track,
    In the desert like Majnun thou dwell’st
      Thou shalt never look back;
    Nor even take heed

p. 41

To thy life if thou lose it or keep it, and pain
      Shalt disdain,
Nor seek on the limitless ocean of love for a shore.

    O Makhfi, as out of the nest
      The fledgling birds fall
    And fluttering, helpless, are caught in the
      So see after all
    Thou art caught like the rest,
For, flying too boldly, thy feeble wings fail,
      And thou dost bewail
Thy fate, thus enmeshed in the net of thy cares.

p. 42


Awake, arise, my soul, for it is spring;
    Let the narcissus, with its scent divine,
Cast its bewitchment, let the Saki bring
    His idol, for indeed he worships wine.

To the forbidden path turn not aside,
    And, tyrannous Belovèd, let thine eye
Look on thy victims trampled in thy pride,
    Who for a glance from thee would gladly die.

Some pay their worship at the Kaaba shrine,
    Some pray within the Temple courts apart,
But, Makhfi, think what secret joy is thine,
    To bear thine idol ever in thy heart.

p. 43


Friends had I, many friends, who shared with me
       Days glad and sad,
But mine they are no more, I am cut free
      From all I had.

Dust falls within the cup of Kaikobad
       And King Jamshid,
Nor reeks the world if they were sad or glad,
      Or what they did.

Only to-day have we, and through the sand,
      With feet that tire,
We march, but never reach the promised land
      Of heart's desire.

I follow on where Wisdom's feet have led,
      And firmly hold,
The while this hard and thorny path I tread,
      Her garment's fold.

How many hearts, O Love, thy sword hath slain,
      And yet will slay!
They bless thee, nor to God will they complain
      At Judgment Day.

p. 44

When in the mosque to seek thine idol there
      Thou wendest, may
Thy steps fall gently, Makhfi, lest thou scare
      The birds away.

p. 45


Why should I argue that on Sinai
    Celestial radiance glows?
I cannot reason; though the world deny,
    My heart enlightened knows.

My heart is hot within me, yea, has burst
    In flames of love the while
So fierce that like a drop to slake my thirst
    Were all the floods of Nile.

So deep in sin am I—I cannot wend
    Where holy pilgrims fare
To Mecca, even if Abraham, God's friend,
    Should come to lead me there.

I tire of wisdom's kingdom which is mine,
    I tire of reason's sway:
Passion of love, O carry me to thine,
    A hundred miles away.

Lo, when I come unto the water's side
    The obedient waves retire,
My flaming heart exultantly shall guide
    Like Moses' torch of fire.

p. 46

Though evil days are mine, of joy bereft,
    With pain that never ends,
Fate, do with me your worst, there still is left
    The Friend beyond all friends.

Tell me, O Makhfi, is it I who sin?
    Is this my sin I bear?
Is it the body's or the soul's within
    That lived and sinned elsewhere?

p. 47


      O Foolish heart,
Thy carelessness how can I comprehend?
Hast thou no strength, no will, to tear apart
The barrier that divides me from my Friend?

      See how the budding flower,
Emerging fair from out her torn green dress,
Is beauteous in the garden for her hour,
As Yusuf in his youthful loveliness.

      Go, breeze of spring,
Haste to tell Yakub, blinded by his tears,
The tidings that shall end his sorrowing
And lift the darkness from his troubled years.

      Treading love's path so long,
Under such heavy burdens did I bow,
At last my chastened heart has grown so strong,
No task, no pain, can bend my spirit now.

      O fortunate,
More blessed than Alexander's lot is mine.
Come to me, O ye thirsty: this my fate—
To know the giver of celestial wine.

p. 48


I have wiped clean my heart
From actions, yea, and from desires as well,
And yearn alone for peace, to have no part
At Judgment Day, either in Heaven or Hell.

p. 49


    Behold the fire renewed within my heart,
My sighs have lashed it with their breath until
      the flames outstart;
    Nor may this feeble cage, my body, stay
The fluttering of this bird, my soul, that longs to
      fly away.
    The rocks would melt, and into tears would
Could they but hear the never-ending murmur
      of my woe;
    For in the dark foreboding of my heart
There sounds the warning bell that calls the
      caravan to start:
    O Love, I have bewailed for all these years
Thy tyranny, but none has heard my voice
      except my tears.
    Behold how poor I am, but yet so proud,
I would not sit at Hatim's table with the eager
    See, I have watched throughout the lonely
Of separation, when there never came my heart's

p. 50

    And in my desolation tears of blood
Gushed from my stricken, widowed heart in
      never-ending flood:
    Yet to me, purged by grief, does hope arise,
My withered chaplets change to fragrant flowers
      of Paradise.
    Love holds me in these cruel fetters bound,
My faithfulness to Thee: beside Thy feet, a
      beaten hound,
    I crouch and fawn for crumbs of love from Thee.
O Makhfi, if thy sighs could reach the bosom of
      the sea,
    Even within the cold and lightless deep
Caught from thy heart a quenchless flame should

p. 51


    O Love, I am thy thrall.
As on the tulip's burning petal glows
A spot yet more intense, of deeper dye,
So in my heart a flower of passion blows;
See the dark stain of its intensity,
    Deeper than all.

    This is my pride—
That I the rose of all the world have sought,
And, still unwearied in the eager quest,
Fainted nor failed have I, and murmured not;
Thus is my head exalted o’er the rest,
    My turban glorified.

    O blessèd pain,
O precious grief I keep, and sweet unrest,
Desire that dies not, longing past control!
My heart is torn to pieces in my breast,
And for the shining diamond of the soul
    I pine in vain.

    Behold the light
That from Thy torch of mercy comes to bless
The garden of my heart, Beloved One,
With the white radiance of its loveliness,
Till my wall's shadow shall outvie the sun,
    And seem more bright.

p. 52

    I humbly sit apart;
The Kaaba courts the true believers tread,
I dwell outside, nor mix my praise with theirs;
Yet every fibre of my sacred thread
More precious is to God than all their prayers—
    He sees the heart.

    O Makhfi sorrowing,
Look from the valley of despair and pain;
The breath of love like morning zephyr blows,
Pearls from thine eyelids fall like gentle rain
Upon the garden, summoning the rose,
    Calling the spring.

p. 53


The wine of my delight has lost its taste;
The earth of my existence turns a waste,
No wholesome grass grows there, but only weed;
My flaming spring of life has passed indeed.
I searched for joy, but never found the end;
My empty hands, outstretched, can greet no friend;
And if God's pardon never come to me,
Then less than withered grass my prayers must be.

But, Makhfi, look with a discerning eye—
Deeper than thy despair thy bliss may lie;
Though on the path of love thy feet may tire,
New strength shall come to thee, and new desire.

p. 54


Tyrannical Love, that goads me and gives me no rest,
As proud as thine arrogant self is this heart in my breast,
        It will keep in its pain
Its faithfulness, though it be trampled beneath thy disdain.

This mirror, my heart, is broken against my desire;
O Heaven, give me not of your pity, nay, rather admire
        My soul that is proud;
My head, though I beat it in sorrow, has never been bowed.

Think not that with joy and with ease I pursue my desire;
With heart that is weary, with footsteps that lag and that tire,
        I follow my quest,
To attain through the difficult way to the kingdom of rest.

p. 55

Yet, Makhfi, look up from thy desolate region of night,
And see how the army of sorrow has taken to flight;
        Dawn comes, and despair
Has vanished before the miraculous arrows of prayer.

p. 56


    Desolate one, O when
Shalt thou the shining garden see again?
Keep thou within thee, holy and apart,
    The garden of thy heart;

    As the long-prisoned bird,
Forgetting that it ever flew, and heard
Songs of the wild, and pinions wide unfurled,
    Makes of the cage its world.

    No fear indeed thou hast,
O heart within the net of love held fast,
Of separation's bitter agony—
    Thy love is one with thee.

    Sadly we wait and tire,
And sight of the Belovèd Face desire
In vain, till in our hearts the hope is born
    Of Resurrection morn.

    O heart, thine be no less
Than the ascetic Brahman's faithfulness,
The knotted veins his wasted body bears
    As sacred thread he wears.

p. 57

    What is a lover's fate?
What shall befall to him unfortunate?
The world shall cry, to please its idle whim,
    "Crucify him!"

    Why dost thou then complain
That on thy feet there drags this heavy chain?
Nay, it befits thee well such weights to wear;
    Much hast thou learned to bear.

    As, far upon the hills,
Despairing Ferhad, weary of life's ills,
Welcomed kind Death, and wept, so for relief
    Weep thou and salve thy grief!

    And see the thorny waste
Whereon thy bruisèd feet their pathway traced,
This wilderness, touched by thy blood that flows,
    Blooms fragrant as the rose.

    O Love, shall I repine
The noose of death around my neck to twine
At thy behest? Nay, if thy glory gain,
    Proud am I in my pain.

    O Makhfi, if thy fate
Be that, without the garden, desolate
Thou dwell—reck not of it; life is a dream,
    And we, that seem
To live and move and love, no more at all
    Than shadows on a wall.

p. 58


    Safely the kings had kept their regal seat,
    Nor ever known the poison of defeat,
    Had not the Turks the invading army led,
    And the crown toppled from each kingly head:
So were we not, O Master, led by thee
Vain were our struggles, scant our victory!

    How strong thou hast become, O moth, how great,
    Worshipping thus the flame! this is thy fate—
    Vainly to love and die, yet thou canst bear
    The burning sparks and ever scorn despair:
Thou knowest, fluttering nearer to the fire,
In death thou shalt be one with thy desire.

    O cruel Love,—when on the Judgment Day
    Thy tyranny God shall in full repay,
    And all the blameless blood that thou hast shed
    Shall be revenged upon thy haughty head:
Black shall the place of judging be, no less
Than Kerbela's accursèd wilderness.

    Haply indeed, O Judge, wilt thou be kind,
    And pity in thy heart for sinners find;

p. 59

    Think of the memory of their disgrace,
    How dark humiliation stains their face,
The shame that stings and goads them to repent—
Will these not be sufficient punishment?

    Within the desert of the world astray,
    How many weary wanderers lose their way!
    But Love with beckoning hand appears, to bless,
    Finds them a pathway through the wilderness,
And though, like Majnun, in the wild they roam,
Leads them through toils and tribulations home.

p. 60


Unto the garden of attainment ne’er
        Our pathway led,
And never were our eyes anhungered fed
With vision of Thy blessèd countenance,
        Never a glance
Attained we of that face for ever fair.

Wherefor my tears fell down in floods like rain,
        And as I sighed
I thought of my desires unsatisfied,
And memory summoned up with vain regret
        The garden where we met,
But meet no more, I tell my heart with pain.

What have I then to do with high estate?
        Fortune I lay aside
And all wherein the world has taken pride:
Yet in this day of my humility
        Precious to me
As wine of kings I hold my cup of fate.

p. 61

Despair not, sorrow-laden Makhfi, though
        No grass appears
Within this desert watered by thy tears.
Why with their arguing do learnèd men
        Question God's mercy, when
His works His infinite compassion show!

p. 62


Green is my garden, watered by my tears,
    And through my soul the perfume of the rose
    Kindling my heart with its enchantment flows;
O Saki, bring the cup, for there appears

Gleaming within the garden through the night
    A radiance fair our feasting to illume;
    What is this glamour shining through the gloom?
My heart's blood, glowing, yields the heavenly light.

O, I have drunk my cup of cherished grief,
    And love the torment of my wounded heart;
    As the scars heal I tear their lips apart,
And in my pain find rapturous relief.

Why should I then permit the winds of care
    To ruffle thus my soul, as airs of spring
    Through the Belovèd's tresses wantoning?
For I have risen to fortune from despair.

O fear not, if within the house of prayer
    The feeble camphor candle fails and dies;
    From out the flaming furnace of my sighs
Will rise another light, more fierce, more fair.

p. 63

The perfumed winds that with the dawn arise,
    Have they not, Makhfi, caught thy soul away
    And drenched it with delight, so all the day
There cling about thee airs of Paradise?

p. 64


For my love's madness all the world on me
    Hath heaped its scorn; so from its ways I flee,
        To find a refuge from its cruelty.

A hermitage, with peace my soul to bless,
    Here in a corner of the wilderness,
        Unseen by secular eyes shall I possess.

Who is the man who boasts to be Love's slave,
    And yet this petty life of his would save?
        Poor Love, whose votaries are not more brave!

When I was young I asked, and Love gainsaid;
    What slips, what wanderings, on Love's road I made,
        Until I summoned Wisdom to my aid!

The mirror of my heart I burnish bright
    Until, reflected fair for my delight,
        The Self's eternal beauty greets my sight.

Like Yaqub blinded by his agony,
    No face in all the world is aught to me;
        What use have eyes except to look on Thee?

p. 65


    How long, O burning heart,
Canst thou keep hidden! see how flames outstart,
    And vapour from thy sighs
Will darken e’en the stars within the skies.
    Driven by my love I must
Wander like Majnun, where the desert dust
    Falls on his weary head,
Eternally for Leila doomed to shed
    His unavailing tears.
The soul by Love enlightened never fears
    The unseeing world that says
He must be mad who treads within Love's ways;
    But joyful he and wise,
For Love has given new vision to his eyes.

    See, Makhfi, cruel Love,
How in his haughtiness he rides above
    The hearts of men, how red
His sword with lovers' blood that he has shed!

p. 66


When I behold the garden in the spring,
Rejoicing like a nightingale I sing;
And if the cruel gardener, with his guile,
Try to ensnare me—like a rose I smile.

The morning breeze that from the garden flies
Can give no joy, no gladness, to my eyes;
For, useless breeze, never to me he brings
The fragrance of Thy garments on his wings.

But here before the garden door I wait;
Why should I deem myself unfortunate?
For by Thy holy threshold shall I stay,
And with my lashes sweep its dust away.

This bird, my heart, is taken in Thy net
And flutters unavailingly; but yet,
Thy captive though it be, how canst Thou keep
Prisoned the sighs that from my bosom leap?

O rare and precious Phœnix of the soul,
Vainly I sought for thee; beyond control
My heart has yearned for thee; ever thy wings
Have hung above my soul's imaginings.

p. 67

Thou Enemy, that hold’st me from my quest,
If even in the sea thou enterest
When from my anger thou dost seek to flee,
My burning soul will find and conquer thee.

O bulbul, glad within the garden sing,
’Tis Makhfi who has won for thee the spring
That blossoms in thy heart; but in her own
The barren winds of lonely autumn moan.

p. 68


O Love, tell me what is Thy nature, that out of
    my kingdom of pride,
Thou canst ravish my soul and canst hold it,
    and keep it enslaved at Thy side;
Who knows of Thy infinite wisdom, who knows
    what Thy lovers have borne
When madmen the world has proclaimed them
    and cast them derision and scorn?

To drink of my blood I am thirsting, to shed it
    abroad like a sea,
To sacrifice all am I seeking, to die as a victim
    for Thee.
My heart through the anguish of loving has
    swooned ’neath the load of its grief,
Come thou with thy magic, O music, and give
    to my spirit relief.

Like Ayub I sit in the ashes o’erwhelmed by the
    wrath of the skies,
Yet out of the night of my sorrow shall hope
    like the morning arise:

p. 69

To the desolate mountains, like Ferhad, by sorrow
    and longing possessed,
I have wandered with pain and with yearning,
    with hope and despair in my breast.

Yet, Makhfi, unveiled is thy secret, abroad all
    thy passion is told:
Who saw not the beauty of Yusuf when he in
    the market was sold?

p. 70


    I Have no need for wine:
To me the languorous and magic scent
Breathed by the flowers within the garden, lent
Intoxication that is more divine.

    Forgive me then, I pray,
That I no wine in the assembly quaffed,
For I have drunk of a diviner draught,
Its fragrance ever haunts me, night and day.

    My heart a bird doth seem
That never joyfully can soar and sing,
For, shut within its cage of sorrowing,
It sees the garden only in a dream.

    Shall I not then complain
When every atom of my body cries
Against your tyranny, O cruel skies,
That yield me days so dark and full of pain?

    Grant me, O Fate, this boon,
Give me a little day of joy, of spring,
When even in its cage my heart might sing
Glad as a bird: Death comes, thou knowest, soon.

p. 71

    Although I seem so poor,
Pity me not for empty-handedness;
My haughty eagle soul I still possess,
And I have had the courage to endure.

    How many, many years
Within the prison walls of lonely grief
Shall I remain and never know relief,
Like Yaqub, blinded by my useless tears?

    Though my proud soul
Torn from its saddle low into the dust
May be by cruel hands of fate downthrust,
I know my feet will somehow reach the goal.

    As through life's desert fare
Love's pilgrims, Makhfi, may it be thy pride
Unto Love's realm their caravan to guide,
Thy footsteps be the bell to lead it there.

p. 72


How uselessly and long I struggled hard
    With thee, mine Enemy, nor from the fight
Aught have I won; my trait’rous heart I guard,
    And turn away for ever from thy sight.

What wonder if the fire within me rise
    Into a flame outleaping fierce and swift,
And that the heavy vapour of my sighs
    Unto the darkened eyes of Heaven should drift!

Think not, though at the feast no more I sit,
    That I have done with joy: there still remains
The dream that once was mine—I cherish it,
    Like wine its memory courses in my veins.

What though within this valley of Despair
    From sorrow I can never find surcease,
May I be given, in answer to my prayer,
    One day at least of rest, one night of peace!

So sad my fate that, though I long and toil
    Until my forces flag and faint and tire,
I cannot burnish off the stains that soil,
    The rust that dims my mirror of desire.

p. 73

Though poor I am indeed, yet weak am I
    And cannot dare with my irresolute will
The purse that holds my treasure to untie,
    Its golden harvest in my lap to spill.

And yet, O Makhfi, if with eyes made clear,
    Freed from the world's illusion, thou shalt see,
Lo, the faquir's torn garments shall appear
    More regal than the robes of majesty.

p. 74


Impatient were my hands, and in their haste
Never could they untie the knot of fate,
So vain it is to wail my life laid waste,
    My hours unfortunate.

And strange it is that even in my heart
The sweet tormenting flame of my desire
Is quenched; impatiently I pulled apart
    The brands and killed the fire.

And never did the blossoms of success
Within my hope's enchanted garden bloom,
And my fair beacon-light of happiness
    Is sunk in gloom.

Faithless Belovèd, many friends are Thine;
So many love and have been loved by Thee,
They give their hearts, what carest Thou for mine?
    What need hast Thou of me?

p. 75


O Rival, snatch not from my lips away
The cup that holds the wine of my delight;
The mirror of my joy turns cold and grey,
    Darkened before my sight.

As through the gloom the radiant sun above
Comes brightening the world, and shades depart,
So do I burnish with the oil of love
    The rust from off my heart.

I vainly stretch imploring hands that long
To touch Hope's gleaming garment as she flies;
Though my desire may fail, yet Hope is strong
     And keen, and never dies.

When on the cup that held the drink divine
Of last night's feast the light of morning falls,
The joy of night, the magic of the wine,
    The goblet's sight recalls.

Like thee, O Ferhad, in my loneliness
Toiling upon the mountains I have been,
But never drank the sherbet of success,
    Sweet as thy lips, Shirin.

p. 76

Mortals we are, and, fashioned thus of earth,
Vain, Makhfi, is this world in which we trust,
Dust is the rank of kings, the pride of birth,
    Yea, thou thyself art dust.

p. 77


Down in the dust and sunken in disgrace
    My honour lies for all the world to see,
But why should I bear shame upon my face?
    What is the honour of the world to me?

Although the times on my unhappy head
    Have heaped the burdens I can hardly bear,
I have not wept; I smile in pride instead;
    Upon my brow are graved no lines of care.

For many years hath sorrow dwelt with me,
    Yet I repine not, and so fiercely wage
My war against despair, it turns to flee—
    I am the Rustum of this later age.

Though callous Fate upon me vengeance wreak,
    O breezes blowing from the heavens above
Bring unto me what I, like Yaqub, seek—
    The perfume of the garments of my Love.

p. 78


    Hasten, O Saki, bring
The wine that it may grant its quickening
To my dead heart; and to the withered flowers
    Come like the showers
That give the resurrection of the spring.

    What weary days
Are these, that never in the perfumed ways
The bulbul sings among the cypress trees;
    Only the morning breeze
Finds entrance there, and with the roses plays.

    Masiha, thou canst heal,
Thou wise Physician, hear our heart's appeal!
Give us the bitter draught to cure our grief,
    And grant relief;
Blame not the shrinking from thy cup we feel.

    Glimmer not, pearly dawn,
Let not the veil of night be yet withdrawn;
I long to send, with arrows of my sighs,
    Unto the skies
My eager prayers before the night be gone.

p. 79

    I craved release
From griefs that burn and pains that never
But all my cries to Heaven were empty breath;
    Not even Death
Coming at last, could give my spirit peace.

    If, on the Judgment Day,
Grieving for my transgressions, I shall pray
For mercy for the evil I have done,
    O Self-Existent One,
Grant that my tears shall wash the sin away.

    O Makhfi, for thy fate
Be not thou fearful nor disconsolate;
Higher, upon the Day of Reckoning,
    Faquir than king,
There shall be then none lowly and none great.

p. 80


    Cast not, Beloved, on me
Such angry looks from thy narcissus eyes,
Already conquered by their sorcery
Before thy feet my heart a captive lies.

    Knotted within my heart,
The very chords that answered to thy touch,
My heart-strings at thy presence thrill and start,
For I have sighed and have lamented much.

    O ye who sleep in peace,
You know not of the troubles Love can send,
The days whose tribulations never cease,
The weary nights that drag without an end.

    Where, then, does Mecca lie?
Here is the Kiblah where I make my prayer:
Tell me the physic for my malady—
The anodyne for grief is everywhere.

    O Love, where dost thou lead,
Upon what travel fares our caravan?
By Hedjaz desert shall thy footsteps speed,
The longest journey since the world began.

p. 81

    So poor, indeed, my fate,
Never to me did Love his secrets tell
As to those others, high and fortunate,
Who near his inmost shrine for ever dwell.

p. 82


Why should we but in the assembly pray?
    Only when friends are gathered call for wine?
Lo, I have done with this hypocrisy,
    And ever pray and drink the cup divine.

The fountain of my spirit has run dry,
    So that in tears no more my sorrow flows,
Mute is the heart that wailed continually,
    Silent the bulbul in the garden-close.

Here, as we tread the pilgrim's way, we find
    The torch of inspiration like a fire,
Men see it not, so dull they are and blind,
    They yearn not for the garments of desire.

To each was given on the Creation-day
    His fitting portion, his appointed share,
Why should’st thou then demand from destiny
    More joy than others have, less pain to bear?

O Makhfi, for thy counsel all have come,
    Their secrets thou hast kept concealed, apart,
But why should’st thou, who for their sakes art
    Tell shamelessly the secrets of thy heart?

p. 83


How long upon this soul that dwells in pain
Thy vengeance, O Tormentor, shalt thou pour?
Could I the Land of Love in peace attain,
Thy poisoned sting should torture me no more.

No unguent salves these wounds upon my heart,
The diamond lancet's healing pang I crave,
So keen my pain I tear my scars apart,
Come with thy kindly cruelty, and save!

From out my keeping has my heart been reft,
Why, let it go then: wherefore should I weep?
Over the empty hut a faquir left
No watchman comes his careful guard to keep.

Hearken, the time of parting sounds for thee.
How long, O Makhfi, wavering like the fire,
A Kafir shall thy restless spirit be,
Blown like a flame, tormented by desire?

p. 84


    How hard to read, O Soul,
The riddle of life here and life beyond!
As hard as in the pearl to pierce a hole
Without the needle-point of diamond.

    Chide not that ’mongst the flowers
The bulbul doth ecstatically sing;
His passion, yea and his delight, are ours,
Along the garden paths meandering.

    We, by our pain made brave,
Seek not despair nor hope; neither outlast
Their little day. We take but what Fate gave,
Not as Zuleikha, brooding o’er the past.

    O careless ones, in vain
The treasure of your life has passed away,
Heedless that nothing of your years remain,
You talk like children of another day.

    How vain the tears you weep!
Your sorrow fruitless, your remorse too late;
The threshold with your lashes wherefore sweep,
When, Makhfi, see, the shrine is desolate?

p. 85


When thou unveil’st thy shining countenance,
Burnt are my lashes by thy lightning glance,
And all the night I passionately weep
While o’er my heart tempests of longing sweep;
And if I see it not, desiring it,
My heart is darkened like a lamp unlit.

I have no hope, no comfort, anywhere,
Caught by the fluttering tresses of thy hair.

No flower can open in my garden bed
Until my heart's blood dyes its petals red,

Sing softly of thy love, or silent be,
O Makhfi, lest the Hunter secretly
Shall come and hear thy voice, and capture thee.

p. 86


The love of Thee the bulbul sings,
The moth that burns its silken wings
    Thy love has drawn into the fire,
    And, see, the wine of Thy desire—
On every goblet's lip it clings.

No ease, no respite anywhere
Is now for me, for in Thy snare
    Blindly or willingly I fall,
    No liberty have I at all,
Bound by the fetters of Thy hair.

So many tears mine eyes have shed,
Such streams of blood my heart has bled,
    That now mine eyes can weep no more,
    Nor can the failing fountains pour,
For dry the source from which they fed.

Thou, Makhfi, in the burning fire
Of love and unassuaged desire
    Tossing in wild remorse, shalt dwell;
    Love's secrets weakly didst thou tell,
So thou shalt pay with penance dire.

p. 87


Not fierce enough, O moth, the flame to burn
    those yearning wings of thine,
Not bright enough the torch of love within our
    palace halls to shine.
Mine eyes have scattered pearls of tears, no
    consolation did they gain;
The matchless jewel of my soul is given away,
    and all in vain;
Long is my bitter tale of grief, of separation
    from my Friend,
Unfinished is it even yet, although my life has
    reached its end:
Useless, O Saki, is thy cup, no wine of comfort
    flows for me
Who drink alone the wine of blood; to others
    give thy remedy:
Tale after tale of love is told, linked all together
    like a chain.
The fetters hold my heavy heart, of liberty I
    dream in vain:
Under the angry storms of death my boat of
    life has foundered deep,
My house is fallen, round its dust winds of
    annihilation sweep.

p. 88

Yet, Makhfi, if within thy heart the flame of
    heavenly love arise,
Thy lonely desert shall be fair as garden groves
    of Paradise.

p. 89


If from the spot upon my heart the veil
Should fall, and all the world should know my tale,
    How would the roses burn with envious light
        Knowing themselves less bright!

Though all the day the leaping fire of sighs
May from my fast-consuming heart arise,
    Winds of mischance so blow and scatter it,
        My torch is not yet lit.

I leave the world, and to the woods I fly,
But in the forest hunted still am I;
    I seek the silence of the lake and hill,
        But Love pursues me still.

The malady of Love has turned my brain,
For all my life I have abode with pain;
    Then why should I from sorrow seek to flee?
        Sorrow is kin to me.

Here in the dwelling of unhappiness,
My silent, desolate sorrow I possess;
    For how can shining love with me remain
        Within this house of pain?

p. 90

Behold the pages of my book of life!
Blotted its record, black with sin and strife,
    As if the woe of all the world should be
        Ever pursuing me.

O Makhfi, from this goblet thou shalt gain
No exaltation, no surcease from pain;
    For tears of blood that flow from eyes grown dim
        Fill it unto the brim.

p. 91


Thou bringest never, long-lost happiness,
To still my heart's distress
The remedy I crave. Why to the crowd
Should I thus voice aloud
My sadness, drawing scorn upon my name,
Telling the world my shame?
If in the close-hung darkness of the night
There shine no thread of light,
What matter? Though no torches flame for me,
My sorrowing heart can see
Illumined by the fire of grief it bears.
Why tangled in the cares
Of worldly hopes, O heart unsatisfied,
Restless wilt thou abide,
Seeking those things that thou shalt never gain?
Help askest thou in vain
From useless friends, and far into the skies
Peace like the Phœnix flies.
Behold, no herb of sweet content has grown;
For we have only sown
In far-off springs the seeds of our disgrace.
How could we bear to face
The direful Judgment Day, did we not bring
Our idol, witnessing

p. 92

That by this Kafir worship which we give
We true believers live?
Upon the sea of bliss our boat is set,
But comfort comes not yet;
Over the soul waves of the tempest rise
Menacing to the skies.

So weary, Makhfi, are thine eyes with tears,
Darkened the world appears,
Nor can they tell, by grief and watching worn,
The rosebud from the thorn.

p. 93


    O Self-Existent, give
Unto Thy faithful ones their heart's desire,
And visit not with Thy consuming fire
O’er-burdened souls, too sorrowful to live.

    No longer can I bear
The separation and the bitter grief;
Afflicted am I—grant my soul relief!
Weary and broken—look on my despair!

    O Thou, whose praise we tell,
Sever the tyrant bonds, give to the slave
His freedom, save him, Lord, as Thou did’st save
Yusuf, the Moon of Canaan, from the well!

    My tears fail, for they must;
The spring that fed their fountains has run dry;
Give me Thy peace, O Lord; for what am I?
Only a handful of afflicted dust.

    But flowers of hope return
To bloom within my garden of desire,
For God can call even from flames of fire
Tulips like torches to arise and burn.

p. 94


On my tormented heart appears
    Another deep and glowing stain,
Again there dawns my day of tears
    Of misery, of weary pain.

So much of mine own blood I shed,
    So long the journeys I have done,
So difficult the path I tread,
    To catch the garment of the sun!

New balm within my heart is borne,
    New lightnings from my glance arise,
Why then your anger, and the scorn
    Flashing from your narcissus eyes?

Out of my heart you reft away
    The life, my heart from out its place
You ravished, and I can but pray—
    O lift the veil that hides your face!

p. 95


    Long, long am I denied
The vision of thy face, for o’er it flows
The musky darkness of thy waving hair,
As though a temple-curtain should enclose
The Kaaba, and our hearts, unsatisfied,
    Could never see it there.

    O Reason, that can speed
A runner in the valley of desire,
We need not strength like thine, for we possess
A remedy to cure us when we tire;
The thorns and brambles are the salves we need
    For pain and weariness.

    Night after endless night
I sat in lonely grief remembering thee;
Tears fell into my heart disconsolate.
How long have I, in striving to be free,
Broken my bleeding nails, but never quite
    Untied the knot of fate!

p. 96

    Lo, where the feast was spread,
What better could I offer to my guest
Than wine and music when we revelled long?
Of all the wines the wine of tears was best,
One song of sorrow to another led,
    Making continual song.

    Thou shalt attain success,
O happy lover, walking on the height;
Thy shadow greater shall be evermore
Than King Jamshid's, and plumes and pinions bright
As hath the Phœnix, shall thy soul possess,
    Arrogantly to soar.

    By sorrow crucified,
A true believer lost his life for thee,
And yet did not attain what I attain:
This new delight which is bestowed on me
Even the friends who travelled by my side
    Could never know nor gain.

    Red with its fount of tears
Thy rosy face doth like a tulip show,
To tell what dreams within thy heart arise.
My tears have washed with their unceasing flow,
The magic cup wherein the world appears
    Displayed before mine eyes.

p. 97

    Stronger my love shall grow:
Bearing the bonds of sorrow for thy sake,
More patient and more proud my heart shall be,
Like the imprisoned bird who tries to make
His cage a garden, though his wild heart know
    He never shall be free.

    Behold Love's path—it seems
So long, O Makhfi; but be strong to tread
Its toilsome way, and come, nor look behind;
The temple where thou canst bow down thy head,
The idol fairer than thy fairest dreams,
    Thou shalt desire, and find.

p. 98


    No way of joy and ease is mine to tread,
The road of shame and madness joyfully I choose
    And from my heart such streams of blood
      shall pour
Upon the Day of Judgment, that the Desert
      crimsoned o’er
    Shall all the rosy hues of heaven outvie,
And Paradise be darkened, envious of its flaming
    If, penitent, I shed one tear of shame,
Then shall be cleansed the follies and the sins that
      stained my name;
    For God shall show compassion in that day,
My record of transgressions shall be wholly swept
    The tree of World's Desire has set its roots
Deep planted in the darkness; sin and shame its
      bitter fruits;
    Then barter not the wealth contentment
For all the wide dominions of a thousand mighty

p. 99

    If from my heart I loose my heavy sighs
Black whirling from the Desert shall the blinding
      dust arise.

    Though, Makhfi, God shall pardon at the last,
The Skirt of Intercession hold within thy fingers

p. 100


    O Give me, friends, your care,
Lest in my madness loudly I proclaim
The secrets of the Lord, that all may know.
Like wax I melt within Love's eager flame,
But in my breast a heart of stone I bear,
      Mocking its glow.

    Down unto death I went,
The Heavens upon me showered their cruel blows.
Pity me, O ye Chosen Ones of God!
O Enemy, when shall I gain repose,
How long shall I groan under chastisement,
      Wince ’neath the rod?

    How darkened is my fame!
Extravagantly have I spent my store,
And empty-handed in the market stand;
A dervish am I, and can give no more,
No emperor, with glory round my name
      And lavish hand.

p. 101

    Foundered my boat of life;
Vainly upon the ocean of despair
I ventured out, seeking the tranquil shore
And the Beloved. No farther can I dare—
I bow to Fate, I turn me from the strife,
      I scheme no more.

    The time of spring is past,
The rose-leaves in the garden drift apart,
Among the trees the bulbul sings no more.
How long, O madness, shalt thou hold my heart?
How long, O exaltation, shalt thou last
      Now spring is o’er?

    How uselessly is spent
And cast away the treasure of my life,
In bitter separation from my Friend!
Surely, O cruel Heavens, might now my strife
My grief, my pain, my weary discontent,
      Attain the end!

    O King, O Teacher, see
E’en in the tale of Alexander's fate,
Most fortunate of mortals, thou canst read
Of Dara, broken and disconsolate;
Yea, sorrowful his shadowed history
      Appears indeed.

p. 102

    Upon the feasting day
Friends joyfully in the assembly meet,
But Makhfi in the lane of sorrow goes
Slowly and loth, with melancholy feet,
No rest, no ease, no peace upon the way,
      The faquir knows.

p. 103


Unto the garden floats the wandering air
To tell the roses that are waiting there
The tidings of thy coming; soft and sweet
Their petals open as they kiss thy feet.

If from thy moon-like face the veil arise,
No more will Yusuf turn regretful eyes
Homeward to Canaan: he will only see
Thy face, and offer all his love to thee.

No remedy can heal the heart's distress
Except the vision of thy loveliness.
Here, suffering souls, the solace that you need!
Tear not your wounds, no longer make them bleed.

How difficult the hunted deer to find,
Although his scent be left upon the wind;
How hard to reach thee, though thine every tress
Breathes musk of Khotan through the wilderness!

O happy Makhfi! fortunate thy day!
For thou at the Belovèd's feet may lay
Thy song in homage; happier still, if thou
Sing rapturously evermore as now!

p. 104


    So tyrannous thine eyes,
Even the morning breeze is hot with wrath,
No soft assuagement in its breath it hath,
    It only faints and dies.

    Like Khizr, strong and fair,
Whose soul is steeped in the immortal spring,
The well of life, thou shalt be worshipping
    With holy words of prayer.

    Born to the Khalif's place,
None other heired such high estate as thine,
Thou hast the beauty that is all divine,
    Fairer than peri's grace.

    From hope I turned in hate;
No further now false hope can cozen me.
I know the cruel Heavens conspired with thee
    To darken thus my fate.

    Makhfi, thy life flows fast,
The days from out thy hand drop evermore;
O turn no weary traveller from thy door,
    Give him what cheer thou hast.

p. 105


Let not thy curl, whose loveliness
Maddens the world, bring new distress
Upon thy lovers, floating free,
Tossed by the wind, that all may see
And fall beneath thy sorcery.

Let not the valley of thy love
A place of bitter torment prove
For dolorous souls, already worn
By all the penance they have borne,
Betrayed by love, and left forlorn.

No flower, no nightingale am I,
So from the garden mournfully
I go. O breezes, free to stray,
Back to her garden find your way,
And greeting to my Love convey.

Exiled and driven from thee I pass
Upon my journey; like the grass
And patient reeds I bend and shake,
As my despairing road I take,
Leaving the body for thy sake.

p. 106

Before the soul who understands
Be silent: in the desert sands
He learnt his lore. Break not the rest
Of the afflicted and oppressed
With poisoned arrows in his breast.

p. 107


O Might I have as surma for mine eyes
The dust that on her happy threshold lies,
And there might waiting kneel to kiss at last
Her feet like those of angels fluttering past!
My soul has girt around it suffering
And wears it as the garment that a king
Gives to his servant, decking him with pride.
O Enemy that waitest by my side,
How long shall I be bent beneath thy rod,
And walk the path of pain my friends have trod?
The storm sweeps round my house, its ramparts fail,
Its deep foundations sway before the gale.
I am a bird, who, flying home to rest,
Finds that the waters have o’erwhelmed his nest.

Sell not the jewel of thy soul so cheap,
No friends can help thy heart its wealth to keep.

O King of all the roses, be thou kind
Unto the bulbul, whose unquiet mind
Makes him a mad faquir in loving thee;
For even kings who ride in majesty

p. 108

Will stop their chariots e’er a faquir stir.
Blessèd is Makhfi: God has given to her
The pearl of words, jewel of song divine,
Fairer than spoils of ocean or of mine.

Next: Notes