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Medieval Sourcebook:
Hafiz (1325-1389 CE):
Verses in Praise of God, c. 1370 CE


[Horne Introduction]

The name "Hafiz" means "strong-memoried," and was given as a phrase of honor to the poet when, as a young boy, he recited the entire Qur'an by heart. He was born at Shiraz, in southern Persia, in 1325, and died there in 1389. Hafiz was one of the world's greatest masters of lyric verse. Both he and Jami are Sufis, but in a very different mood. The Sufism of Hafiz is like that of Umar Khayyam, i.e., Hafiz confines himself so wholly to the praise of wine and love, that questions arose whether he was always thinking about the joys of the spirit.


In Praise of His Own Verses

The beauty of these verses baffles praise:
What guide is needed to the solar blaze?
Extol that artist by whose pencil's aid
The virgin, Thought, so richly is arrayed.
For her no substitute can reason show,
Nor any like her human judgment know.
This verse, a miracle, or magic white---
Brought down some voice from Heaven, or Gabriel bright?
By me as by none else are secrets sung,
No pearls of poesy like mine are strung

.

A Persian Song

Sweet maid, if thou wouldst charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck enfold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarkand.

Boy, let yon liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate'er the frowning zealots say:
Tell them, their Eden can not show
A stream so clear as Rocnabad,
A bow'r so sweet as Mosellay.

Oh! when these fair perfidious maids,
Whose eyes our secret haunts infest,
Their dear destructive charms display,
Each glance my tender heart invades,
And robs my wounded soul of rest,
As Tartars seize their destined prey.
In vain with love our bosoms glow:
Can all our tears, can all our sighs,
New luster to those charms impart?
Can cheeks, where living roses blow,
Where Nature spreads her richest dyes,
Require the borrowed gloss of art?

Speak not of fate:---ah! change the theme,
And talk of odors, talk of wine,
Talk of the flow'rs that round us bloom:
'Tis all a cloud, 'tis all a dream;
To love and joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.

Beauty has such resistless pow'r,
That ev'n the chaste Egyptian dame
Sighed for the blooming Hebrew boy:
For her how fatal was the hour
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely and so coy!

But ah! sweet maid, my counsel hear
(Youth should attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage)
While music charms the ravished ear,
While sparkling cups delight our eyes,
Be gay, and scorn the frowns of age.

What cruel answer have I heard?
And yet, by Heav'n, I love thee still:
Can aught be cruel from thy lips?
Yet say, how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which naught but drops of honey sip?

Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like Orient pearls at random strung;
Thy notes are sweet, the damsels say,
But oh! far sweeter, if they please
The Nymph for whom these notes are sung.

.

The Feast of Spring

My breast is filled with roses,
My cup is crowned with wine,
And by my side reposes
The maid I hail as mine.
The monarch, wheresoe'er he be,
Is but a slave compared to me!

Their glare no torches throwing
Shall in our bower be found;
Her eyes, like moonbeams glowing,
Cast light enough around:
And well all odors I can spare,
Who scent the perfume of her hair.

The honey-dew thy charm might borrow,
Thy lip alone to me is sweet;
When thou art absent, faint with sorrow
I hide me in some lone retreat.
Why talk to me of power or fame?---
What are those idle toys to me?
Why ask the praises of my name?
My joy, my triumph is in thee!

How blest am I! around me, swelling,
The notes of melody arise;
I hold the cup, with juice excelling,
And gaze upon thy radiant eyes.
O Hafiz!---never waste thy hours
Without the cup, the lute, and love!

For 'tis the sweetest time of flowers,
And none these moments shall reprove.
The nightingales around thee sing,
It is the joyous feast of spring.

.

Mystic Ode

In wide Eternity's vast space,
Where no beginning was, wert Thou:
The rays of all-pervading grace
Beneath Thy veil flamed on Thy brow.
Then Love and Nature sprang to birth,
And Life and Beauty filled the earth.
Awake, my soul! pour forth thy praise,
To that great Being anthems raise---
That wondrous Architect who said,  
"Be formed," and this great orb was made.  
Since first I heard the blissful sound---

"To man My Spirit's breath is given";
I knew, with thankfulness profound,
His sons we are---our Home is heaven.
Oh! give me tidings that shall tell
When I may hope with Thee to dwell,
That I may quit this world of pain,
Nor seek to be its guest again.

A bird of holiness am I,
That from the vain world's net would fly;
Shed, bounteous Lord, one cheering shower
From Thy pure cloud of guiding power,
Before, even yet, the hour is come,
When my dust rises toward its home.

What are our deeds?---all worthless, all---
Oh, bring Devotion's wine,
That strength upon my soul may fall
From drops Thou mad'st divine.
The world's possessions fade and flee,
The only good is---loving Thee!

O happy hour! when I shall rise
From earth's delusions to the skies,
Shall find my soul at rest, and greet
The traces of my loved one's feet:
Dancing with joy, whirled on with speed,
Like motes that gorgeous sunbeams feed,
Until I reach the fountain bright
Whence yonder sun derives his light.

.

Earthly And Heavenly Love

A being, formed like thee, of clay,
Destroys thy peace from day to day;
Excites thy waking hours with pain;
Consumes thy sleep with visions vain.
Thy mind is rapt, thy sense betrayed;
Thy head upon her foot is laid.
The teeming earth, the glowing sky,
Is nothing to her faintest sigh.

Thine eye sees only her; thy heart
Feels only her in every part.
Careless of censure, restless, lost,
By ceaseless wild emotions tossed;
If she demand thy soul, 'tis given---
She is thy life, thy death, thy heaven.

Since a vain passion, based on air,
Subdues thee with a power so rare,
How canst thou marvel those who stray
Tow'rd the true path are led away,
'Till, scarce the goal they can descry,
Whelmed in adoring mystery?

Life they regard not; for they live
In Him whose hands all being give:
The world they quit for Him, who made
Its wondrous light, its wondrous shade:
For Him all pleasures they resign,
And love Him with a love divine!

On the cupbearer gazing still,
The cup they break, the wine they spill.
From endless time their ears have rung
With words, by angel voices sung;
"Art thou not bound to God?" they cry;
And the blest "Yes" whole hosts reply.

They seem unmoved, but ceaseless thought
Works in their minds, with wisdom fraught.
Their feet are earth, but souls of flame
Dwell in each unregarded frame.
Such power by steady faith they gain,
One yell would rend the rocks in twain;

One word that cities could o'erthrow,
And spread abroad despair and woe.
Like winds, unseen, they rove all ways;
Silent, like stone, they echo praise:
So rapt, so blest, so filled are they,
They know not night---they see not day!

So fair He seems, all things who made,
The forms He makes to them are shade;
And, if a beauteous shape they view,
'Tis his reflection shining through.  
The wise cast not the pearl away,
Charmed with the shell, whose hues are gay;
To him pure love is only known,
Who leaves both worlds for God alone.

.

The Divan

I

"Ala ya ayyuha's-Saki!"---pass round and offer thou the bowl,
For love, which seemed at first so easy, has now brought trouble to my soul.

With yearning for the pod's aroma, which by the East that lock shall spread
From that crisp curl of musky odor, how plenteously our hearts have bled!

 
Stain with the tinge of wine thy prayer-mat, if thus the aged Magian bid,
For from the traveler from the Pathway no stage nor usage can be hid.

Shall my beloved one's house delight me, when issues ever and anon
From the relentless bell the mandate: A>Tis time to bind thy litters on"?

The waves are wild, the whirlpool dreadful, the shadow of the night steals o'er,
How can my fate excite compassion in the light-burdened of the shore?

Each action of my froward spirit has won me an opprobrious name;
Can any one conceal the secret which the assembled crowds proclaim?

If Joy be thy desire, O Hafiz,
From Him far distant never dwell.

"As soon as thou hast found thy Loved one,
Bid to the world a last farewell."

.

II

Thou whose features clearly beaming make the moon of Beauty bright,
Thou whose chin contains a well-pit which to Loveliness gives light.

When, O Lord! shall kindly Fortune, sating my ambition, pair
This my heart of tranquil nature and thy wild and ruffled hair?

Pining for thy sight my spirit trembling on my lip doth wait:
Forth to speed it, back to lead it, speak the sentence of its fate.

Pass me with thy skirt uplifted from the dusty bloody ground:
Many who have been thy victims dead upon this path are found.

How this heart is anguish-wasted let my heart's possessor know:
Friends, your souls and mine contemplate, equal by their common woe.

Aught of good accrues to no one witched by thy Narcissus eye:
Ne'er let braggart vaunt their virtue, if thy drunken orbs are nigh.

Soon my Fortune sunk in slumber shall her limbs with vigor brace:
Dashed upon her eye is water, sprinkled by thy shining face.

Gather from thy check a posy, speed it by the flying East;
Sent be perfume to refresh me from thy garden's dust at least.

Hafiz offers a petition, listen, and "Amen" reply:
"On thy sugar-dropping rubies let me for life's food rely."

Many a year live on and prosper, Sakis of the court of Jem,
E'en though I, to fill my wine-cup, never to your circle come.

East wind, when to Yazd thou wingest, say thou to its sons from me:
"May the head of every ingrate ball-like 'neath your mallbat be!"

"What though from your dais distant, near it by my wish I seem;
Homage to your Ring I render, and I make your praise my theme."

Shah of Shahs, of lofty planet, Grant for God what I implore;
Let me, as the sky above thee, Kiss the dust which strews thy floor.

.

V

Up Saki!---let the goblet flow;
Strew with dust the head of our earthly woe!

Give me thy cup; that, joy-possessed,
I may tear this azure cowl from my breast.

The wise may deem me lost to shame,
But no care have I for renown or name.

Bring wine!---how many a witless head
By the wind of pride has with dust been spread!

My bosom's fumes, my sighs so warm,
Have inflamed yon crude and unfeeling swarm.

This mad heart's secret, well I know,
Is beyond the thoughts of both high and low.

E'en by that sweetheart charmed am I,
Who once from my heart made sweetness fly.

Who that my Silvern Tree hath seen,
Would regard the cypress that decks the green?

In grief be patient,
Night and day,

'Till thy fortune, Hafiz,
Thy wish obey.

.

VI

My heart no longer brooks my hand: sages, aid for God my woe!
Else, alas! my secret-deep soon the curious world must know.

The bark we steer has stranded: O breeze auspicious swell:
We yet may see once more the Friend we love so well.

The ten days' favor of the Sphere---magic is; a tale which lies.
Thou who wouldst befriend thy friends, seize each moment ere it flies.

At night, 'mid wine and flowers, the bulbul tuned his song:
"Bring thou the morning bowl: prepare, ye drunken throng!"

Sikander's mirror, once so famed, is the wine-filled cup: behold
All that haps in Dara's realm glassed within its wondrous mold.

O bounteous man, since Heaven sheds o'er thee blessings mild,
Inquire, one day at least, how fares Misfortune's child.

What holds in peace this twofold world, let this twofold sentence show:
"Amity to every friend, courtesy to every foe."

Upon the way of honor, impeded was my range;
If this affect thee, strive my destiny to change.

That bitter, which the Sufi styled "Mother of all woes that be,"
Seems, with maiden's kisses weighed, better and more sweet to me.

Seek drunkenness and pleasure 'till times of strait be o'er:
This alchemy of life can make the beggar Kore.

Submit; or burn thou taper-like e'en from jealousy o'ermuch:
Adamant, no less than wax, melts beneath that charmer's touch.

When fair ones talk in Persian, the streams of life outwell:
This news to pious Pirs, my Saki, haste to tell.

Since Hafiz, not by his own choice,
This his wine-stained cowl did win

Shaikh, who hast unsullied robes,
Hold me innocent of sin.

Arrayed in youthful splendor, the orchard smiles again;
News of the rose enraptures the bulbul of sweet strain.

Breeze, o'er the meadow's children, when thy fresh fragrance blows,
Salute for me the cypress, the basil, and the rose.

If the young Magian dally with grace so coy and fine,
My eye shall bend their fringes to sweep the house of wine.

O thou whose bat of amber hangs o'er a moon below,
Deal not to me so giddy, the anguish of a blow.

I fear that tribe of mockers who Lopers' ways impeach,
Will part with their religion the tavern's goal to reach.

To men of God be friendly: in Noah's ark was earth
Which deemed not all the deluge one drop of water worth.

As earth, two handfuls yielding, shall thy last couch supply,
What need to build thy palace, aspiring to the sky?

Flee from the house of Heaven, and ask not for her bread:
Her goblet black shall shortly her every guest strike dead.

To thee, my Moon of Canaan, the Egyptian throne pertains;
At length has come the moment that thou shouldst quit thy chains.

I know not what dark projects those pointed locks design,
That once again in tangles their musky curls combine.

Be gay, drink wine, and revel;
But not, like others, care,

O Hafiz, from the Qur'an
To weave a wily snare!

.

XII

Oh! where are deeds of virtue and this frail spirit where?
How wide the space that sunders the bounds of Here and There!

Can toping aught in common with works and worship own?
Where is regard for sermons, where is the rebec's Tone?

My heart abhors the cloister, and the false cowl its sign:
Where is the Magian's cloister, and where is his pure wine?

'Tis fled: may memory sweetly mind me of Union's days!
Where is that voice of anger, where those coquettish ways?

Can a foe's heart be kindled by the friend's face so bright?
Where is a lamp unlighted, and the clear Day-star's light?

As dust upon thy threshold supplies my eyes with balm,
If I forsake thy presence, where can I hope for calm?

Turn from that chin's fair apple; a pit is on the way.
To what, O heart, aspir'st thou? Whither thus quickly? Say!

Seek not, O friend, in Hafiz
Patience, nor rest from care:

Patience and rest---what are they?
Where is calm slumber, where?

 

XIV

At eve a son of song---his heart be cheerful long!---
Piped on his vocal reed a soul-inflaming lay.

So deeply was I stirred, that melody once heard,
That to my tearful eyes the things of earth grew gray.

With me my Saki was, and momently did he
At night the sun of Dai by lock and cheek display.

When he perceived my wish, he filled with wine the bowl
Then said I to that youth whose track was Fortune's way

"Saki, from Being's prison deliverance did I gain
When now and now the cup thou lit'st with cheerful ray.

"God guard thee here below from all the haps of woe;
God in the Seat of Bliss reward thee on His day!"

When Hafiz rapt has grown,
How, at one barleycorn,
Should he appraise the realm,
E'en of Kaus the Kay?

.

XVI

I said "O Monarch of the lovely, a stranger seeks thy grace this day."
I heard: "The heart's deceitful guidance inclines the stranger from his way."

Exclaimed I then: "One moment tarry!" "Nay," was the answer, "let me go;
How can the home-bred child be troubled by stories of a stranger's woe?"

Shall one who, gently nurtured, slumbers with royal ermine for a bed,
"Care if on rocks or thorns reposing the stranger rests his weary head?"

O thou whose locks hold fast on fetters so many a soul known long ago,
How strange that musky mole and charming upon thy cheek of vermil glow!

Strange is that ant-like down's appearance circling the oval of thy face;
Yet musky shade is not a stranger within the Hall which paintings grace.

A crimson tint, from wine reflected, gleams in that face of moonlight sheen;
E'en as the bloom of syrtis, strangely, o'er clusters of the pale Nasrin.

I said: "O thou, whose lock so night-black is evening in the stranger's sight,
Be heedful if, at break of morning, the stranger sorrow for his plight."

"Hafiz," the answer was, "familiars
Stand in amaze at my renown;

It is no marvel if a stranger
In weariness and grief sit down."

.

XVII

'Tis morn; the clouds a ceiling make:
The morn-cup, mates, the morn-cup take!

Drops of dew streak the tulip's cheek;
The wine-bowl, friends, the wine-bowl seek!

The greensward breathes a gale divine;
Drink, therefore, always limpid wine.

The Flower her emerald throne displays:
Bring wine that has the ruby's blaze.

Again is closed the vintner's store,
"Open, Thou Opener of the door!"

While smiles on us the season's boon,
I marvel that they close so soon.

Thy lips have salt-rights, 'tis confessed,
O'er wounds upon the fire-burnt breast.

Hafiz, let not
Thy courage fail!

Fortune, thy charmer
Shall unveil.

.

XIX

Lo! from thy love's enchanting bowers Rizvan's bright gardens fresher grow;
From the fierce heat thine absence kindles, Gehenna's flames intenser glow.

To thy tall form and cheek resplendent, as to a place of refuge, fleet
Heaven and the Tuba-tree, and find there--- "Happiness--- and a fair retreat."

When nightly the celestial river glides through the garden of the skies,
As my own eye, it sees in slumber, naught but thy drunk narcissus eyes.

Each section of the spring-tide's volume makes a fresh comment on thy name,
Each portal of the Empyrean murmurs the title of thy fame.

My heart has burned, but to ambition, the aim, still wished for, is denied:
These tears that tinged with blood are flowing, if I could reach it, would be dried.

What ample power thy salt-rights give thee (which both thy mouth and lips can claim),
Over a breast by sorrow wounded, and a heart burnt within its fame!

Oh! think not that the amorous only are drunk with rapture at thy sway:
Hast thou not heard of zealots, also, as reckless and as wrecked as they?

By thy lips' reign I hold it proven that the bright ruby's sheen is won
By the resplendent light that flashes out of a world-illuming sun.

Fling back thy veil! how long, oh tell me! shall drapery thy beauty pale?
This drapery, no profit bringing, can only for thy shame avail.

A fire within the rose's bosom was kindled when she saw thy face;
And soon as she inhaled thy fragrance, she grew all rose-dew from disgrace.

The love thy countenance awakens whelms Hafiz in misfortune's sea;
Death threatens him! ho there! give help, ere yet that he has ceased to be!

While life is thine, consent not, Hafiz,
That it should speed ignobly by;

But strive thou to attain the object
Of thy existence ere thou die.

.

XX

I swear---my master's soul bear witness, faith of old times, and promise leal!---
At early morning, my companion, is prayer for thy unceasing weal.

My tears, a more o'erwhelming deluge than was the flood which Noah braved,
Have washed not from my bosom's tablet the image which thy love has graved.

Come deal with me, and strike thy bargain: I have a broken heart to sell,
Which in its ailing state outvalues a hundred thousand which are well.

Be lenient, if thou deem me drunken: on the primeval day divine
Love, who possessed my soul as master, bent my whole nature unto wine.

Strive after truth that for thy solace the Sun may in thy spirit rise;
For the false dawn of earlier morning grows dark of face because it lies.

O heart, thy friend's exceeding bounty should free thee from unfounded dread;
This instant, as of love thou vauntest, be ready to devote thy head!

I gained from thee my frantic yearning for mountains and the barren plain,
Yet loath art thou to yield to pity, and loosen at mid-height my chain.

If the ant casts reproach on Asaf, with justice does her tongue upbraid,
For when his Highness lost Jem's signet, no effort for the quest he made.

No constancy---yet grieve not, Hafiz---
Expect thou from the faithless fair;

What right have we to blame the garden,
Because the plant has withered there?

.

XXII

Veiled in my heart my fervent love for him dwells,
And my true eye holds forth a glass to his spells.

Though the two worlds ne'er bowed my head when elate,
Favors as his have bent my neck with their weight.

Thine be the lote, but I Love's stature would reach.
Sigh like his zeal ascends the fancy of each.

Yet who am I that sacred temple to tread?
Still let the East that portal guard in my stead!

Spots on my robe---shall they arouse my complaint?
Nay! the world knows that he at least has no taint.

My turn has come; behold! Majnun is no more;
Five days shall fly, and each one's turn shall be o'er.

Love's ample realm, sweet joy, and all that is glad,
Save for his bounty I should never have had.

I and my heart---though both should sacrificed be,
Grant my friend's weal, their loss were nothing to me.

Ne'er shall his form within my pupil be dim,
For my eye's cell is but a chamber for him.

All the fresh blooms that on the greensward we view,
Gain but from him their scent and beauty of hue.

Hafiz seems poor;
But look within, for his breast,

Shrining his love,
With richest treasure is blest.

.

XXIII

Prone at my friend's high gates, my Will its head lays still:
Whate'er my head awaits is ordered by that will.

My friend resembles none; in vain I sought to trace,
In glance of moon or sun, the radiance of that face.

Can morning's breeze make known what grief this heart doth hold,
Which as a bud hath grown, compressed by fold on fold?

Not I first drained the jar where rev'lers pass away:
Heads in this work-yard are naught else than wine-jars' clay.

Meseems thy comb has wreathed those locks which amber yield:
The gale has civet breathed, and amber scents the field.

Flowers of verdant nooks be strewn before thy face:
Let cypresses of brooks bear witness to thy grace!

When dumb grow tongues of men that on such love would dwell,
Why should a tongue-cleft pen by babbling strive to tell?

Thy cheek is in my heart; no more will bliss delay;
Glad omens e'er impart news of a gladder day.

Love's fire has dropped its spark
In Hafiz' heart before:

The wild-grown tulip's mark
Branded of old its core.

.

XXV

Breeze of the morn, if hence to the land thou fliest---Of my friend,
Return with a musky breath from the lock so sweet---Of my friend.

Yea, by that life, I swear I would lay down mine in content,
If once I received through thee but a message sent---Of my friend.

But---at that sacred court, if approach be wholly denied,
Convey, for my eyes, the dust that the door supplied---Of my friend.

I---but a beggar mean---can I hope for Union at last?
Ah! would that in sleep I saw but the shadow cast---Of my friend.

Ever my pine-cone heart, as the aspen trembling and shy,
Has yearned for the pine-like shape and the stature high---Of my friend.

Not at the lowest price would my friend to purchase me care;
Yet I, a whole world to win, would not sell one hair---Of my friend.

How should this heart gain aught,
Were its gyves of grief flung aside?

I, Hafiz, a bondsman, still
Would the slave abide---Of my friend.

.

XXIX

Who of a Heaven on earth can tell, pure as the cell---Of dervishes?
If in the highest state you'd dwell, be ever slaves---Of dervishes.

The talisman of magic Might, hid in some ruin's lonely site,
Emerges from its ancient night at the wild glance---Of dervishes.

When the proud sun has run his race, and he puts off his crown apace,
He bows before the pomp and place which are the boast---Of dervishes.

The palace portal of the sky, watched by Rizvan's unsleeping eye,
All gazers can at once descry from the glad haunts---Of dervishes.

When mortal hearts are black and cold, that which transmutes them into gold
Is the alchemic stone we hold from intercourse---Of dervishes.

When tyranny, from pole to pole, sways o'er the earth with dire control,
We see from first to last unroll the victor-flag---Of dervishes.

There is a wealth which lasts elate, unfearful of decline from fate;
Hear it with joy---this wealth so great is in the hands---Of dervishes.

Khosraus, the kiblahs of our prayer have weight to solace our despair,
But they are potent by their care for the high rank---Of dervishes.

O, vaunter of thy riches' pride! lay all thy vanity aside,
And know that health and wealth abide but by the will---Of dervishes.

Korah lost all his treasured store, which, cursed of Heaven, sinks daily more,
(Hast thou not heard this tale of yore?) from disregard---Of dervishes.

The smiling face of joy unknown, yet sought by tenants of a throne,
Is only in the mirror shown of the clear face---Of dervishes.

Let but our Asaf's eye request, I am the slave of his behest,
For though his looks his rank attest, he has the mind---Of dervishes.

Hafiz, if of the tide thou think, which makes immortal those who drink,
Seek in the dust that fountain's brink, at the cell door---Of dervishes.

Hafiz, while here on earth, be wise:
He who to empire's rule would rise

Knows that his upward pathway lies
Through his regard---Of dervishes.

.

XXXI

In blossom is the crimson rose, and the rapt bulbul trills his song;
A summons that to revel calls you, O Sufis, wine-adoring throng!

The fabric of my contrite fervor appeared upon a rock to bide;
Yet see how by a crystal goblet it hath been shattered in its pride.

Bring wine; for to a lofty spirit, should they at its tribunal be,
What were the sentry, what the Sultan, the toper, or the foe of glee?

Forth from this hostel of two portals as finally thou needs must go,
What if the porch and arch of Being be of high span or meanly low?

To bliss' goal we gain not access, if sorrow has been tasted not;
Yea, with Alastu's pact was coupled the sentence of our baleful lot.

At Being and Non-being fret not; but either with calm temper see:
Non-being is the term appointed for the most lovely things that be.

Asaf's display, the airy courser, the language which the birds employed,
The wind has swept; and their possessor no profit from his wealth enjoyed.

Oh! fly not from thy pathway upward, for the winged shaft that quits the bow
A moment to the air has taken, to settle in the dust below.

What words of gratitude, O Hafiz
Shall thy reed's tongue express anon,

As its choice gems of composition
From hands to other hands pass on?

.

XXXV

Now on the rose's palm the cup with limpid wine is brimming,
And with a hundred thousand tongues the bird her praise is hymning

Ask for a song-book, seek the wild, no time is this for knowledge;
The Comment of the Comments spurn, and learning of the college.

Be it thy rule to shun mankind, and let the Phoenix monish,
For the reports of hermit fame, from Kaf to Kaf astonish.

When yesterday our rector reeled, this sentence he propounded:
"Wine is a scandal; but far worse what men's bequests have founded."

Turbid or clear, though not thy choice, drink thankfully; well knowing
That all which from our Saki flows to his free grace is owing.

Each dullard who would share my fame, each rival self-deceiver,
Reminds me that at times the mat seems golden to its weaver.

Cease, Hafiz! store as ruddy gold
The wit that's in thy ditty:

The stampers of false coin, behold!
Are bankers for the city.

.

XLII

'Tis a deep charm which wakes the lover's flame,
Not ruby lip, nor verdant down its name.

Beauty is not the eye, lock, cheek, and mole;
A thousand subtle points the heart control.

.

XLIII

Zealot, censure not the toper, guileless though thou keep thy soul:
Certain 'tis that sins of others none shall write upon thy scroll.

Be my deeds or good or evil, look thou to thyself alone;
All men, when their work is ended, reap the harvest they have sown.

Never of Eternal Mercy preach that I must yet despair;
Canst thou pierce the veil, and tell me who is ugly, who is fair?

Every one the Friend solicits, be he sober, quaff he wine;
Every place has love its tenant, be it or the mosque, or shrine.

From the still retreat of virtue not the first am I to roam,
For my father also quitted his eternal Eden home.

See this head, devout submission: bricks at many a vintner's door:
If my foe these words misconstrue--- "Bricks and head!" ---Say nothing more.

Fair though Paradise's garden, deign to my advice to yield:
Here enjoy the shading willow, and the border of the field.

Lean not on thy store of merits; know'st thou 'gainst thy name for aye
What the Plastic Pen indited, on the Unbeginning Day?

Hafiz, if thou grasp thy beaker
When the hour of death is nigh,

From the street where stands the tavern
Straight they'll bear thee to the sky.

.

XLV

O breeze of morn! where is the place which guards my friend from strife?
Where is the abode of that sly Moon who lovers robs of life?

The night is dark, the Happy Vale in front of me I trace.
Where is the fire of Sinai, where is the meeting-place?

Here jointly are the wine-filled cup, the rose, the minstrel; yet
While we lack love, no bliss is here: where can my Loved be met?

Of the Shaikh's cell my heart has tired, and of the convent bare:
Where is my friend, the Christian's child, the vintner's mansion, where?

Hafiz, if o'er the glade of earth
The autumn-blast is borne,

Grieve not, but musing ask thyself:
"Where has the rose no thorn?"

.

LIX

My Prince, so gracefully thou steppest, that where thy footsteps fall---I'd die.
My Turk, so gracefully thou glidest, before thy stature tall---I'd die.

"When wilt thou die before me?"---saidst thou. Why thus so eagerly inquire?
These words of thy desire delight me; forestalling thy desire---I'd die.

I am a lover, drunk, forsaken: Saki, that idol, where is he?
Come hither with thy stately bearing! let me thy fair form see, ---I'd die.

Should he, apart from whom I've suffered a life-long illness, day by day,
Bestow on me a glance, one only, beneath that orb dark-gray---I'd die.

"The ruby of my lips," thou saidst, "now bale, now balsam may exhale":
At one time from their healing balsam, at one time from their bale---I'd die.

How trim thy gait! May eye of evil upon thy face be never bent!
There dwells within my head this fancy; that at thy feet content---I'd die.

Though no place has been found for Hafiz
In Love's retreat, where hid thou art,

For me thine every part has beauty,
Before thine every part---I'd die.

.

LXIII

My heart has of the world grown weary and all that it can lend:
The shrine of my affection holds no Being but my friend.

If e'er for me thy love's sweet garden a fragrant breath exhale,
My heart, expansive in its joy, shall bud-like burst its veil.

Should I upon love's path advise thee, when now a fool I've grown,
'Twould be the story of the fool, the pitcher, and the stone.

Go! say to the secluded zealot: "Withhold thy blame; for know,
I find the arch of the Mihrab but in an eyebrow's bow."

Between the Kaaba and the wine-house, no difference I see
Whatever the spot my glance surveys, there equally is He.

'Tis not for beard, hair, eyebrow only, Kalandarism should care:
The Kalandar computes the Path by adding hair to hair.

The Kalandar who gives a hair's head,
An easy path doth tread:

The Kalandar of genuine stamp,
As Hafiz gives his head.

.

LXIX

My heart desires the face so fair---Of Farrukh;
It is perturbed as is the hair---Of Farrukh.

No creature but that lock, that Hindu swart,
Enjoyment from the cheek has sought---Of Farrukh.

A blackmoor by Fortune blest is he,
Placed at the side, and near the knee---Of Farrukh.

Shy as the aspen is the cypress seen,
Awed by the captivating mien---Of Farrukh.

Saki, bring syrtis-tinted wine to tell
Of those narcissi, potent spell---Of Farrukh.

Bent as the archer's bow my frame is now,
From woes continuous as the brow---Of Farrukh.

E'en Tartar gales which musky odors whirl,
Faint at the amber-breathing curl---Of Farrukh.

If leans the human heart to any place,
Mine has a yearning to the grace---Of Farrukh.

That lofty soul
Shall have my service true,

That serves, as Hafiz,
The Hindu---Of Farrukh

.

LXXI

When now the rose upon the meadow from Nothing into Being springs,
When at her feet the humble violet with her head low in worship clings,

Take from thy morn-filled cup refreshment while tabors and the harp inspire,
Nor fail to kiss the chin of Saki while the flute warbles and the lyre.

Sit thou with wine, with harp, with charmer, until the rose's bloom be past;
For as the days of life which passes is the brief week that she shall last.

The face of earth, from herbal mansions, is lustrous as the sky; and shines
With asterisms of happy promise, with stars that are propitious signs.

In gardens let Zor'aster's worship again with all its rites revive,
While now within the tulip's blossoms the fires of Nimrod are alive.

Drink wine, presented by some beauty of Christ-like breath, of cheek fair-hued;
And banish from thy mind traditions to Ad relating, and Thamud.

Earth rivals the Immortal Garden during the rose and lily's reign;
But what avails when the immortal is sought for on this earth in vain?

When riding on the windy courser, as Solomon, the rose is found,
And when the Bird, at hour of morning, makes David's melodies resound,

Ask thou, in Solomon's dominion, a goblet to the brim renewed;
Pledge the Vizier, the cycle's Asaf, the column of the Faith, Mahmud.

O Hafiz, while his days continue, let joy eternal be thine aim;
And may the shadow of his kindness eternally abide the same!

Bring wine; for Hafiz, if in trouble,
Will ceaselessly the help implore

Of him who bounty shall aid ever,
As it has aid vouchsafed before.

 

LXXVII

Upon the path of Love, O heart, deceit and risk are great!
And fall upon the way shall he who at swift rate---Shall go.

Inflated by the wind of pride, the bubble's head may shine;
But soon its cap of rule shall fall, and merged in wine---Shall go.

O heart, when thou hast aged grown, shows airs of grace no more:
Remember that such ways as these when youth is o'er---Shall go.

Has the black book of black locks closed, the album yet shall stay,
Though many a score the extracts be which day by day---Shall go.

 

LXXXV

To me love's echo is the sweetest sound
Of all that 'neath this circling Round---Hath stayed.

 

LXXXVI

A beggar am I; yet enamored of one of cypress mold:
One in whose belt the hand bides only with silver and with gold.

Bring wine! let first the hand of Hafiz
The cheery cup embrace!

Yet only on one condition---
No word beyond this place!

 

LXXXVII

When beamed Thy beauty on creation's morn,
The world was set on fire by love new-born.

Thy cheek shone bright, yet angels' hearts were cold:
Then flashed it fire, and turned to Adam's mold.

The lamp of Reason from this fiame had burned,
But lightning jealousy the world o'erturned.

The enemy Thy secret sought to gain;
A hand unseen repelled the beast profane.

The die of Fate may render others glad:
My own heart saddens, for its lot is sad.

Thy chin's deep pit allures the lofty mind:
The hand would grasp thy locks in twines entwined.

Hafiz his love-scroll
To Thyself addressed,

When he had canceled
What his heart loved best.

 

LXXXVIII

The preacher of the town will find my language hard, maybe:
While bent upon deceit and fraud, no Muslim is he.

Learn drinking and do gracious deeds; the merit is not great
If a mere brute shall taste not wine, and reach not man's estate.

Efficient is the Name Divine; be of good cheer, O heart!
The div becomes not Solomon by guile and cunning's art.

The benisons of Heaven are won by purity alone:
Else would not pearl and coral spring from every clod and stone?

 

CI

Angels I saw at night knock at the wine-house gate:
They shaped the clay of Adam, flung into molds its weight.

Spirits of the Unseen World of Purities divine,
With me an earth-bound mortal, poured forth their 'wildering wine.

Heaven, from its heavy trust aspiring to be free,
The duty was allotted, mad as I am, to me.

Thank God my friend and I once more sweet peace have gained!
For this the houris dancing thanksgiving cups have drained.

With Fancy's hundred wisps what wonder that I've strayed,
When Adam in his prudence was by a grain betrayed?

Excuse the wrangling sects, which number seventy-two:
They knock at Fable's portal, for Truth eludes their view.

No fire is that whose flame the taper laughs to scorn:
True fire consumes to ashes the moth's upgarnered corn.

Blood fills recluses' hearts where Love its dot doth place,
Fine as the mole that glistens upon a charmer's face.

As Hafiz, none Thought's face
Hath yet unveiled; not e'en

Since for the brides of Language
Combed have their tresses been.

 

CXV

Lost Joseph shall return to Canaan's land---Despair not;
Affliction's cell of gloom with flowers shall bloom: Despair not.

Sad heart, thy state shall mend; repel despondency;
Thy head confused with pain shall sense regain: Despair not.

When life's fresh spring returns upon the dais mead,
O night-bird! o'er thy head the rose shall spread: Despair not.

Hope on, though things unseen may baffle thy research;
Mysterious sports we hail beyond the veil: Despair not.

Has the revolving Sphere two days opposed thy wish,
Know that the circling Round is changeful found: Despair not.

If on the Kaaba bent, thou brave the desert sand,
Though from the acacia's thorn thy foot be torn, Despair not.

Heart, should the flood of death life's fabric sweep away,
Noah shall steer the ark o'er billows dark: Despair not.

Though perilous the stage, though out of sight the goal,
Whithersoe'er we wend, there is an end: Despair not.

If Love evades our grasp, and rivals press our suit,
God, Lord of every change, surveys the range: Despair not.

Hafiz, in thy poor nook---
Alone, the dark night through---

Prayer and the Qur'an's page
Shall grief assuage---Despair not.

 

CXXIX

Endurance, intellect, and peace have from my bosom flown,
Lured by an idol's silver ear-lobes, and its heart of stone.

An image brisk, of piercing looks, with peris' beauty blest,
Of slender shape, of lunar face, in Turk-like tunic drest!

With a fierce glow within me lit---in amorous frenzy lost---
A culinary pot am I, in ebullition tossed.

My nature as a shirt's would be, at all times free from smart,
If like yon tunic garb I pressed the wearer to my heart.

At harshness I have ceased to grieve, for none to light can bring
A rose that is apart from thorns, or honey void of sting.

The framework of this mortal form may rot within the mold,
But in my soul a love exists which never shall grow cold.

My heart and faith, my heart and faith---of old they were unharmed,
'Till by yon shoulders and yon breast, yon breast and shoulders charmed.

Hafiz, a medicine for thy woe,
A medicine must thou sip,

No other than that lip so sweet,
That lip so sweet, that lip.

 

CXXXIV

Although upon his moon-like cheek delight and beauty glow,
Nor constancy nor love is there: O Lord! these gifts bestow.

A child makes war against my heart; and he in sport one day
Will put me to a cruel death, and law shall not gainsay.

What seems for my own good is this: my heart from him to guard;
For one who knows not good from ill its guardianship were hard.

Agile and sweet of fourteen years that idol whom I praise:
His earrings in her soul retains the moon of fourteen days,

A breath as the sweet smell of milk comes from those sugary lips;
But from those black and roguish eyes behold what blood there drips!

My heart to find that new-born rose has gone upon its way;
But where can it be found, O Lord? I've lost it many a day.

If the young friend who owns my heart my center thus can break,
The Pasha will command him soon the lifeguard's rank to take.

I'd sacrifice my life in thanks,
If once that pearl of sheen

Would make the shell of Hafiz' eye
Its place of rest serene.

 

CXXXV

I tried my fortune in this city lorn:
From out its whirlpool must my pack be borne.

I gnaw my hand, and, heaving sighs of ire,
I light in my rent frame the rose's fire.

Sweet sang the bulbul at the close of day,
The rose attentive on her leafy spray:

"O heart! be joyful, for thy ruthless Love
Sits down ill-tempered at the sphere above.

"To make the false, harsh world thyself pass o'er,
Ne'er promise falsely and be harsh no more.

"If beat misfortune's waves upon heaven's roof,
Devout men's fate and gear bide ocean-proof.

"Hafiz, if lasting
Were enjoyment's day,

Jem's throne would never
Have been swept away."

 

CXLV

Breeze of the North, thy news allays my fears:
The hour of meeting with my Loved one nears.

Prospered by Heaven, O carrier pigeon, fly:
Hail to thee, hail to thee, come nigh, come nigh!

How fares our Salma? What Zu Salam's state?
Our neighbors there---are they unscathed by Fate?

The once gay banquet-hall is now devoid
Of circling goblets, and of friends who joyed.

Perished the mansion with its lot serene:
Interrogate the mounds where once 'twas seen.

The night of absence has now cast its shade:
What freaks by Fancy's night-gang will be played?

He who has loved relates an endless tale:
Here the most eloquent of tongues must fail.

My Turk's kind glances no one can obtain:
Alas, this pride, this coldness, this disdain!

In perfect beauty did thy wish draw nigh:
God guard thee from Kamal's malefic eye!

Hafiz, long will last
Patience, love, and pain?

Lovers' wail is sweet:
Do thou still complain.

 

CXLVI

O thou who has ravished my heart by thine exquisite grace and thy shape,
Thou carest for no one, and yet not a soul from thyself can escape.

At times I draw sighs from my heart, and at times, O my life, thy sharp dart:
Can aught I may say represent all the ills I endure from my heart?

How durst I to rivals commend thy sweet lips by the ruby's tent gemmed,
When words that are vivid in hue by a soul unrefined are contemned?

As strength to thy beauty accrues ev'ry day from the day sped before,
To features consummate as thine, will we liken the nightstar no more.

My heart hast thou reft: take my soul! For thine envoy of grief what pretense!
One perfect in grief as myself with collector as he may dispense.

O Hafiz, in Love's holy bane,
As thy foot has at last made its way,

Lay hold of his skirt with thy hand,
And with all sever ties from today.

 

CXLIX

Both worlds, the Transient and Eterne, for Saki and the Loved I'd yield:
To me appears Love's satellite the universe's ample field.

Should a new favorite win my place, my ruler shall be still supreme:
It were a sin should I my life more precious than my friend esteem.

 

CLV

Last night my tears, a torrent stream, stopped Sleep by force:
I painted, musing on thy down, upon the watercourse.

Then, viewing my Beloved one's brow---my cowl burnt up---
In honor of the sacred Arch I drained my flowing cup.

From my dear friend's resplendent brow pure light was shed;
And on that moon there fell from far the kisses that I sped.

The face of Saki charmed my eye, the harp my ear:
At once for both mine ear and eye what omens glad were here!

I painted thine ideal face >till morning's light,
Upon the studio of my eye, deprived of sleep at night.

My Saki took at this sweet strain the wine-bowl up:
I sang to him these verses first; then drank to sparkling cup.

If any of my bird-like thoughts from joy's branch few,
Back from the springes of thy lock their fieeting wings I drew.

The time of Hafiz passed in joy
To friends I brought

For fortune and the days of life
The omens that they sought.

 

CLVII

Come, Sufi, let us from our limbs the dress that's worn for cheat Draw:
Let us a blotting line right through this emblem of deceit---Draw.

The convent's revenues and alms we'd sacrifice for wine awhile,
And through the vintry's fragrant flood this dervish-robe of guile---Draw.

Intoxicated, forth we'll dash, and from our feasting foe's rich stores
Bear off his wine, and then by force his charmer out of doors---Draw.

Fate may conceal her mystery, shut up within her hiding pale,
But we who act as drunken men will from its face the veil---Draw.

Here let us shine by noble deeds, lest we at last ashamed appear,
When starting for the other world, we hence our spirit's gear---Draw.

Tomorrow at Rizvan's green glade, should they refuse to make it ours,
We from their halls will the ghilrnam the houris from their bowers---Draw.

Where can we see her winking brow, that we, as the new moon of old,
At once may the celestial ball, as with a bat of gold, Draw?

O Hafiz! it becomes us not
Our boastful claims thus forth to put:

Beyond the limits of our rug
Why would we fain our foot---Draw?

.

CLIX

Aloud I say it, and with heart of glee:
"Love's slave am I, and from both worlds am free."

Can I, the bird of sacred gardens, tell
Into this net of chance how first I fell?

My place the Highest Heaven, an angel born,
I came by Adam to this cloister lorn.

Sweet houris, Tuba's shade, and Fountain's brink
Fade from my mind when of thy street I think.

Knows no astrologer my star of birth:
Lord, 'neath what plant bore me Mother Earth?

Since with ringed ear I've served Love's house of wine,
Grief's gratulations have each hour been mine.

My eyeball's man drains my heart's blood; 'tis just:
In man's own darling did I place my trust.

My Loved one's Alif-form stamps all my thought:
Save that, what letter has my master taught?

Let Hafiz' tear-drops
By thy lock be dried,

For fear I perish
In their rushing tide.

 

CLXVI

Knowest thou what fortune is?
'Tis Beauty's sight obtaining;

'Tis asking in her lane for alms,
And royal pomp disdaining.

Sev'rance from the wish for life an easy task is ever;
But lose we friends who sweeten life, the tie is hard to sever.

Bud-like with a serried heart I'll to the orchard wander;
The garment of my good repute I'll tear to pieces yonder;

Now, as doth the West-wind tell deep secrets to the Flower,
Hear now of Love's mysterious sport from bulbuls of the bower.

Kiss thy Beloved one's lips at first while the occasion lingers:
Await thou else disgust at last from biting lip and fingers.

Profit by companionship: this two-doored house forsaken,
No pathway that can thither lead in future time is taken.

Hafiz from the thought, it seems,
Of Shah Mansur has fleeted;

O Lord! remind him that the poor
With favor should be treated.

 

CLXXIII

With my heart's blood I wrote to one most dear:
"The earth seems doom-struck if thou art not near.

"My eyes a hundred signs of absence show:
These tears are not their only signs of woe."

I gained no boon from her for labor spent:
"Who tries the tried will in the end repent."

I asked how fared she; the physician spake:
"Afar from her is health; but near her ache."

The East-wind from my Moon removed her veil:
At morn shone forth the Sun from vapors pale.

I said: "They'll mock, if I go round thy lane."
By God! no love escapes the mocker's bane.

Grant Hafiz' prayer:
"One cup, by life so sweet!"

He seeks a goblet
With thy grace replete!

.

CLXXX

O thou who art unlearned still, the quest of love essay:
Canst thou who hast not trod the path guide others on the way?

While in the school of Truth thou stay'st, from Master Love to learn,
Endeavor, though a son today, the father's grade to earn.

Slumber and food have held thee far from Love's exalted good:
Wouldst thou attain the goal of love, abstain from sleep and food.

If with the rays of love of truth thy heart and soul be clear,
By God! thy beauty shall outshine the sun which lights the sphere.

Wash from the dross of life thy hands, as the Path's men of old,
And winning Love's alchemic power, transmute thyself to gold.

On all thy frame, from head to foot, the light of God shall shine,
If on the Lord of Glory's path nor head nor foot be thine.

An instant plunge into God's sea, nor e'er the truth forget
That the Seven Seas' o'erwhelming tide, no hair of thine shall wet.

If once thy glancing eye repose on the Creator's face,
Thenceforth among the men who glance shall doubtless be thy place.

When that which thy existence frames all upside-down shall be,
Imagine not that up and down shall be the lot of thee.

Hafiz, if ever in thy head
Dwell Union's wish serene,

Thou must become the threshold's dust
Of men whose sight is keen.

.


Source.

From: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VIII: Medieval Persia, pp. 331-378.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, September 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu