No light demand I make,
What answer will you grant that I may live?
If on the last dread Day of Reckoning
I think of you, and in my heart there shine
The beauty of your face,
God's Beatific Vision shall be mine.
Once I had friends, now none are left to me ;
I see none else but you, because my heart
Has wholly fled to you,
And thus I walk the ways of Earth apart.
I, Asif, am the chief of sinners held,
This dark dishonour will I not deny,
But glory in my shame;
Where is another sinner such as I ?
changing Wheel of Fate, still let there last
Before our eager eyes, still let there burn,
This vision of the world ; when we have passed
There shall be no return.
1 thought that, leaving thee, rest would be mine,
My lost tranquillity I might regain,
But separation brings no anodyne,
And kills me with its pain.
How can I traffic in Love's busy mart ?
Thou hast won from me more than stores of gold ;
That I may bargain, give me back the heart
Thy cruel ringers hold.
O heart desirous, in Love's perilous way
Thy journey take and in his paths abide,
And thou mayst find 1 perchance, lest thou should' stray,
Awaiting thee, a guide.
O Weaver of Excuses, what to thee
Are all the promises that thou hast made,
The truth derided, and the faith (betrayed,
And all thy perfidy ?
Sometimes thou sayest Come at eventide :
And when the evening falls, thou sayest Dawn
Was when I called thee. IDven when night is gone
I wait unsatisfied.
When in thy haughty ear they did commend
Me as the faithfullest of all thy train,
Thou saidst I hold such lovers in disdain,
I scoff at such a friend.
O Mischief-maker, passing on thy way
So lovely is thy mien, all creatures must
Cry out It is debarred to things of dust
To walk so winningly.
Why shouldst thou keep from tyranny anew?
Why shouldst thou not betray another one?
What matter if he die? Thou hast but done
What thou wast born to do.
Who cares not for his heart nor for his creed
Is the idolater. His worthless name
Is Dagh. O Fair Ones, look upon his shame !
He is disgraced indeed.
Thy love permits not my complaint to rise,
It reaches to my lips, and then it dies.
Now, helpless heart, I cannot aid thee more,
And thus for thee God's pity must implore.
Seest thou not how much disgrace and pain
The scornful world has heaped upon us twain,
On thee for beauty and the sins thereof,
On me for this infirmity of love.
Oft-times she will not speak to me at all,
Or if she deign to speak, the words that fall
Cold from her haughty lips are words of blame :
I know thee not I have not heard thy name !
Deep in my memory was graved the trace
Of all I suffered since I saw thy face ;
But now, Beloved, thou hast come to me,
I have erased the record utterly.
With empty hands all mortal men are whirled
Through Death's grim gate into the other world :
This is my pride that it is granted me
To carry with me my desire for thee.
They say when I complain of all I bore
It is thy kismet, what would'st thou have more ?
My rivals also bear thy tyranny,
Saying It is her custom and must be !
I met you and the pain of separation was forgot,
And all I should have kept in mind my heart remembered
What cruelty and scorn I in your bitter letters knew !
No love was there ; O Gracious One, have you forgotten too?
Strange is the journey that my soul by wanton Love was
Two steps were straight and clear, and four forgotten were
There was some blundering o'er my fate at the Great
You have forgot, O Keeper of the Record, many a thing.
You took my heart, but left my life behind : O see you not
What thing you have remembered, and what thing you
To meet Annihilation's sword is the most happy lot
That man can gain, for all the joys of earth has he forgot.
A Muslim on the path of Love beside a Kafir trod,
And one forgot the Kaaba, one the Temple of his God.
What happiness is to the lover left
Of peace bereft,
What freedom for his captive heart remains
Held in her chains?
Sometimes unto the mountain peaks he goes
Driven by his woes,
Sometimes within the barren wilderness
Hides his distress.
Curses on Love, and may his home disgraced
Be laid in waste !
To me the world and all the joys I sought
Are less than naught.
Gladly, O Executioner, to Death
I yield my breath ;
And only wonder who shall after me
Thy victim be !
If you should meet the Loved One as you stray,
O give my letter secretly to her,
Then haste away
And do not tell my name, O Messenger.
O Morning Winds that from the garden blow,
Should you meet one like me forlorn and sad,
On him bestow
The peace and solace I have never had.
O Eyes that weep and weep unsatisfied,
That shed such floods, yet never find relief,
O stem your tide
Jvest you should drown the world in seas of grief.
She need not have one anxious doubt of me,
She, need not fear my further wanderings
How can I flee ?
How can a bird escape, deprived of wings ?
How difficult is the thorny way of strife
That man hath stumbled in since time began,
And in the tangled business of this life
How difficult to play the part of man.
When She decrees there should exist no more
My humble cottage, through its broken walls,
And cruelly drifting in the open door,
The frozen rain of desolation falls.
O mad Desire, why dost thou flame and burn
And bear my soul further and further yet
To the Beloved ; then, why dost thou turn
To bitter disappointment and regret?
Such light there gleams from the Beloved's face
That every eye becomes her worshipper,
And every mirror, looking on her grace,
Desires to be the frame enclosing her.
Unhappy lovers, slaves of cruel chance,
In this grim place of slaughter strange indeed
Your joy to see unveiled her haughty glance
That flashes like the scimitar of Ede.
When I had hardly drawn my latest breath,
Pardon she asked for killing me. Alas,
How soon repentance followed on my death,
How quick her unavailing sorrow was !
I grant you will not utterly forget,
I hold you not unheeding and' unjust,
But ere you hear my prayer
I shall be dead and turned to senseless dust.
How little can one eager sigh attain
To touch thine icy heart to tenderness !
Who can live long enough
To win the beauty of thy curling tress?
The high ambition of the drop of rain
Is to be merged in the unfettered sea ;
My sorrow when it passed all bounds of pain,
Changing, became itself the remedy.
Behold how great is my humility !
Under your cruel yoke I suffered sore ;
Now I no longer feel thy tyranny
I hunger for the pain that then I ibore.
Why did the fragrance of the flowers outflow
If not to breathe with benediction sweet
Across her path ? Why did the soft wind blow
If not to kiss the ground before her feet ?
I had a thousand desires, for each of them I would have
And what did I gain ?
So many indeed are fulfilled, but how many beside
Insatiate remain !
We have known of the tale of how Adam to exile was
More shameful in truth
Is my fate to be cast from the garden more favoured than
Where she walks in her youth.
That living and dying in love are but one I have proved ,
This only know I
That I live by the sight of the beauty of her the Beloved!
For whom I would die.
How long will she thus stand unveiled before me,
Shrinking and shy in maidenly distress,
How long, my dazzled eyes, can ye contemplate
Her blinding loveliness !
No rest is for my heart by love tormented,
It cannot even win the peace of death ;
How long shall it endure with resignation
The pain it suffereth !
Like shifting shadows come the great and mighty,
And live their splendid day, and hurry past;
And who can tell how long the changing pageant
Of fleeting life shall last !
O look on me, unhappy Asif, driven
As dust 'before the wind across the street ;
How long has Love ordained that I should suffer
Beneath the passing feet.
I call on Death, for Life is my distress,
And I myself a load of weariness
Weighing upon myself. Helpless am I ;
Dared I to weep, then never would run dry
The fountains of my grief : I cannot speak :
Even the occupation that I seek
Goads me and wearies me. A jungle drear
This world and all its moving crowds appear,
And I the loneliest of all things on Earth,
Yea, lonely in the household of my birth.
Tired am I of my suffering through the years,
Even as mine eyes are wearied of their tears.
Spring comes again and brings the cooling breeze,
And Autumn with the rain among the trees,
Fair Summer with its moonlit nights of gold,
And Winter with its sweet and gentle cold ;
These come and go, with morn and even-fall,
How can I tell how I have passed them all ?
Well, I have borne them all !
Hope gleamed awhile, but fled unsatisfied,
The flower sprang- up. but drooped and fruitless died
The silver bow of Ede shone above all,
But never came the looked-for Festival :
I saw the splendour of the season wane,
Never the benediction of the rain
Fell on my parched heart : the thunder loud
Pealed from the bosom of the darkened cloud,
But never came the long-desired rain :
I sought the fruit upon the tree in vain,
The thorn smote deep into my heart instead :
Across the desert wastes of sands I sped
Seeing the silver watercourses gleam,
But it was all a vision and a dream,
And thirsting in the desert I was left
Lone and bereft.
Like silver torrents flow thy words to me,
But ah I have no voice to answer thee.
My heart thy words have burnt with whips of fire,
Do they not burn thy lips, O Heart's Desire?
Thy promises are broken every day,
Yet See my faithfulness ! I hear you say.
Candle-like wastes my body all these days
My flame-like tongue endures to sing thy praise.
O Hasan, I have spoke and sighed and sung,
Yet never from my heart my tale was wrung,
My secret grief can never find a tongue.
I cannot rise to follow her,
Here in the dust is my abode,
For I am but her foot-print left
Lying forgotten in the road.
Where are repose and patience gone ?
Where is my honour, held so fair ?
All these are naught to me I dwell
In the black chambers of Despair !
How can I win that Hidden One
Who sits within the secret place ?
For even in my very dreams
She wears the veil upon her face.
What heart is there in all the world
Can bear thy cruel tyranny?
Keep then this broken heart of mine
That thus thou mayst remember me !
What kind of comforter art thou to me ?
What help and solace in calamity ?
No wound is there upon my bruise'd heart
But thou hast touched to make it sting and smart !
But yet, Beloved One, I ask in pain
When is the hour when thou wilt come again ?
My soul cries out to thee in bitter need
When wilt thou come or wilt thou come indeed ?
O Saki, do not pass my goblet by,
Although the feast is spread its lip is dry.
Be careful, O my tears, lest you should tell
The world my secret that you know too well.
O Sorrow, in thy tangled paths I go,
The Kaaba's gateway I no longer know,
But bend my head wherever I see rise
The arch that curves o'er the Beloved's eyes.
To whom shall I relate
The weary story of my sorrowful love?
Friend, this is my fate,
This is the record of the pain thereof.
1 prayed in vain to her ;
She said You weary me, I hear thy prayer,
It is thy messenger,
But when it pleads with me I do not care.
I said Never again
Canst thou forget my faithfulness to thee ;
She answered in disdain
What mean thy love and faithfulness to me?
Life called to me
Telling me earth is full of hope and bliss,
Now undeceived I see
How foolish I to seek a world like this.
Even in the Kaaba courts my heart was moved,
Brooding upon the idol that I loved,
Mourning its loss. Now like a bird am I,
That painted in a picture cannot fly
Nor move nor sing ; my heart is so outworn
With all the lingering sorrow I have borne.
Within my heart thy presence I have felt,
Within mine eyes, Beloved, thou hast dwelt
For long long days. Who taught thee for a shrine
To choose a heart so desolate as mine ?
Long time I told my friends my bitter grief,
And in the telling sought to find relief ;
In silence now instead I take my rest,
And find that peace and loneliness are best.
Wherever the Belov6d looks she stirs
Trouble and longing sore and eager breath
And deep desire in all her worshippers,
And some for her have drunk the cup of Death.
O Night of Separation, darkest night
Of deepest grief, thy cruelty shall cease ;
To-morrow I shall greet the dawning light
Within the city of Eternal Peace.
O threatening Whirlwind rolling on thy way,
I shall unloose thy knot, if thou but dare
With angry gusts to toss and disarray
A single curl of the Beloved's hair.
Sometimes her beauty goads and maddens me,
I cannot bear her cruel loveliness,
But turn her mirror that she may not see ;
Why should I let her double my distress?
Heaken, O Momin, all thy life is done !
In idol-worship at the Temple thou
Hast spent thy days, and thus thy years have run :
How canst thou call thyself a Muslim now ?
I, like a wandering bubble,
Am blown here and there
Shifting and changing and fashioned
Of water and air.
Thou turnest thy face, O Beloved,
I cannot tell why,
Art thou shy of a mirror, Beloved?
Thy mirror am I !
When over her face she unloosened
The dusk of her hair,
What need had the world of the cloud-wreaths,
They fled in despair.
No man hath ever passed
Into the Country of Eternal Rest
With every longing stilled.
Who hath not lingering cast
Long looks behind, and in his eager breast
Held many a secret yearning unfulfilled ?
Ah, Mushafi, to thee
Silence and thought in solitude are best,
For thou hast known
That laurel crowns are idle vanity ;
There is no worldly rank thou covetest,
And what to thee is Suleiman's high throne?
Where has my childhood gone, where are its placid years ?
For cruel youth hath brought passion and bitter tears.
To the Creator now I from the dust complain
Beauty, the thing he made, brings with it only pain.
Long I desired and dreamed, waiting with eager breath,
But ere she came to me, Fate sent the sleep of Death.
To God as servitor I my devotion gave,
Now Ix>ve hath taken me, bound me to be his slave.
I, Muztar, die with grief, yearning unsatisfied,
Still hangs the purdah's fold I cannot draw aside,
Nor lift the needless veil woven of shame and pride.
The fire of love I for my idol know
Within my bosom hides,
As in the mountain 'neath its crust of snow
The flame abides.
Ixmg have I yearned in vain to kiss her feet,
I lay my weary head
Down in the dust, that thus my lips may greet
Where she may tread.
No wealth have I, but like the moth I live :
Since love demands a price,
I, like the moth, have but my life to give
How has my bird-like soul been stricken low,
Pierced to the very heart !
My love has used instead of bolt and bow
A deadlier dart.
The wound upon my heart glows bright and clear
With such a steady and unwavering light
That in the darkness I shall have no fear
And need no lamp to guide my steps aright.
When of the darkness of the grave I hear,
The night of death, and all the pangs thereof,
I reck not, for one thing alone I fear
The night of separation from my Love.
Shall I or shall I not console my heart
And win relief ?
Or shall I sit in solitude apart
Nursing my grief?
O hear, while of my life now nearly done
Some sparks remain !
Soon I may be, who knows, O Cruel One,
Speechless with pain.
How can I to the fisher speak my thought ?
Her snares are set,
My fish-like heart is by her lashes caught,
As in a net.
Look on my sorrowful mien, O Love, and tell
None of the manifold troubles that befell
Can I express.
Fair is the garden, Sauda, to thy view,
More fair appears
Her dwelling; let me all its ways bedew
With happy tears.
I am no singer rapt in ecstasy,
Nor yet a sighing listener am Ij,
I am the nightingale that used to sing
In joy, but now am mute, remembering.
I know the drop within the ocean hides,
But know not in what place my soul abides :
I cannot read the hidden mystery
Whence came I, whither go I, what am I.
My friends have paid due reverence at my grave,
And held my dust as sacred, for I gave
My humble life to the Beloved's sword',
Killed by her beauty, martyred by her word.
I deemed life was tranquillity and rest,
I find it but a never-ending quest ;
And I, who sat in quietude and peace,
Toil on a journey that shall never cease.
Repent not, for repentance is in vain,
And what is done is done;
What shouldst thou reck of me and all my pain ?
For what is done is done.
They said to her Behold him, he is dead !
How did he lose his life, unhappy one?
O bury him deep in the grave, she said,
For what is done is done.
This is the pain of love that I have caught,
And what is done is done ;
A thousand remedies avail me naught,
And what is done is done.
For love I gave the honour of my name,
And Good and Evil are to me as one ;
Let all the world chastise me with its Mame,
For what is done is done.
The dust of Taban we could find no more,
But yet nor rest nor respite hath he won ;
His breath, his soul, floats round thee as before,
And what is done is done.
O Lovely One, when to the ravished sight
Thou wilt unveil that radiant face of thine,
Each atom of the worlds, catching thy light,
Reflecting thee, bright as a sun shall shine.
Walk not, my flower, within the garden close,
Lest thou should give the the bulbul new distress j
For at thy glance each blossom turns a rose
To lure him with her cruel loveliness.
Victorious One, thou hast unsheathed thy sword,
The scimitar of thy beauty gleams again,
So over all thy lovers thou art Lord,
Holding dominion in the hearts of men.
Art thou serene and calm and unafraid
When thou considerest thy tyranny?
Think of the reckoning that shall be made
Between thy heart and mine at Judgment Day.
O ask not frigid Piety to dwell
In the same house with Youth and warm Desire;
It were as idle as if one should tell
Water to be a comrade of the Fire.
say not only that the Loved One left
My lonely heart, and fled byond recall ;
But I of rest and patience am bereft,
And losing Her I am deprived of all.
Take heed, O Hunter, though within thy net
Thou hold this bird, my soul, with many bands,
1 struggle sore, for Freedom lures me yet,
And may escape from out thy cruel hands.
Thou shouldst have given to me the robe and crown
And made me king of kings,
Or dressed) me in the tattered darwesh gown,
Poorest of earthly things.
O that I were thy fool to do thy will,
Simple and led by thee !
What meaning have my knowledge and my skill,
They have no worth to me.
Ix>, thou hast made me as the dust that flies
Unheeded in the street,
O were I that which in her pathway lies,
Trodden beneath her feet !
My heart is as it were to fringes shred,
Such wounds it had to bear ;
Would that it were the comb, to touch her head,
To tend her perfumed hair !
Long have I known that it was thy design
To burn my soul outright ;
O may at least the happy fate be mine
To 'be the Tavern light !
Mine eyes were shut
And yet I saw the shining vision gleam ;
Now that mine eyes are opened, know I not
Was it a thought that held me or a dream ?
Long to myself I said It will be well,
When I can see her, I will tell my pain :
Now she is here, what is there left to tell ?
No griefs remain.
Faithless she is to me, and pitiless,
Despotic and tyrannical she is,
I looked for love, I looked for tenderness,
I leant on vain impossibilities.
I listened to thy voice that stole to me
Across the curtain where thou satst apart,
Desire came like a restless ecstasy,
A sorcery that fell upon my heart.
When I had burst my prison, and was free,
I saw no fetters held me, and I found,
O Zafar, that these chains that shackle me
Are ties of self wherewith my soul is bound.
I care not if no rest nor peace remain,
I have my cherished pain,
I have my rankling love that knows no end,
And need no other friend.
I yearned with all my heart to hold her fast,
She laughed, and fled, and passed !
Lakhs of enchantments, scores of spells I wove,
But useless was my love.
I would have given my life to. make her stay,
She went away, away, she went away.
Though I effaced myself in deed and thought
And brought myself to naught,
The dark and sundering curtain hangs between
I cannot pierce the screen.
And still I know behind the veil she hides,
And naught besides
In all this changing Universe abides!
That I should find her after weary years,
And that mine eyes should keep from happy tears,
That is not nossible, this is not possible.
If she should come after these many days,
And if my wondering eyes forget to gaze
That is not possible, this is not possible.
Sometimes I long to kiss my idol's face,
Sometimes to clasp her in my wild embrace
That is not possible, this is not possible.
How can I let her seek my rival's door,
How can I bear the friends I loved before
That is not possible, this is not possible.
O Zafar, does she bid me to return,
And dare I, for I tremble and I burn
That is not possible, this is not possible.
Whence did the yearning of the soul arise,
The longing to attain the Heavenly Sight ?
Before what mortal eyes
Was manifested the Eternal Light ?
When the soul understands and wakes to find
Thou hast within the heart of man Thy throne,
It sees how arrogant and 'blind
The self that but its mortal self hath known.
Thou and I also were the seer and seen,
When none beside existed. Thou and I
Have Lover and Beloved been
Before this era of mortality.
How strange the turns in Love's unending game,
For neither Lover nor Beloved lit
The ever j burning flame :
Whence was the spirit that enkindled it ?
The road that leads where pious pilgrims bow
In Kaaba or in Temple, Thou hast laid ;
And first of all wert Thou
To tread the road that thou Thyself hadst made.
beauty flashes like a sword
Serene and keen and merciless ;
But great as is thy cruelty,
Even greater is thy loveliness.
It is the gift of God to thee
This beauty rare and exquisite ;
Why dost thou hide it thus from me,
I shall not steal nor sully it.
And as thy beauty shines, in Heaven
There climbs upon its path of fire
The star that lights my rival's way,
And with it mounts his heart's desire.
Even in thy house is jealousy,
Thy youth demands the lover's praise
Over thy beauty, which itself
Is jealous of thy gracious ways.
I died with joy when winningly
I heard the Well-Beloved call
Zahir, where is my beauty gone,
Thou must have robbed me after all.
O Tyrannous One, when from my heart was drawn
The fatal arrow, like a scarlet flood
My life gushed forth ; but yet the one word Hope
Was written in my blood.
Why should the Cosmos turn its wheel of worlds
If not to search for thee eternally ?
Why should the tireless Sun arise each morn
If not to look for thee?
Alas my fate ! before you came to me
Already had I felt the touch of Death,
Nor was I spared before thy worshipped feet
To offer up my breath.
For long, throughout the world, I sought for thee,
Through weary years and ages of unrest ;
At last I found thee hidden in my arms
Within my breast !
Each morn I see the Sun in majesty
Come back to shine thy rival as before,
But O what ages has it taken thee
To come to me if thou wilt come once more !
Through Love did I the joy of life attain,
And walking in the way that He hath led
I found the remedy to heal all pain ;
Why therefore is my pain unremedied ?
O burnish well the mirror of thy heart
And make it fair,
If thou desire the image of thy Love