The merchant hath stuffs of price,
And gems from the sea-washed strand,
And princes offer me grace
To stay in the Syrian land;
But what is gold for, but for gifts?
And dark, without love, is the day;
And all that I see in Bagdat
Is the Tigris to float me away.
I said to heaven that glowed above,
O hide yon sun-filled zone,
Hide all the stars you boast;
For, in the world of love
And estimation true,
The heaped-up harvest of the moon
Is worth one barley-corn at most,
The Pleiads’ sheaf but two.
If my darling should depart,
And search the skies for prouder friends,
God forbid my angry heart
In other love should seek amends.
When the blue horizon’s hoop
Me a little pinches here,
Instant to my grave I stoop,
And go find thee in the sphere.
Bethink, poor heart, what bitter kind of jest
Mad Destiny this tender stripling played;
For a warm breast of maiden to his breast,
She laid a slab of marble on his head.
They say, through patience, chalk
Becomes a ruby stone;
Ah, yes! but by the true heart’s blood
The chalk is crimson grown.
Thou foolish Hafiz! Say, do churls
Know the worth of Oman’s pearls?
Give the gem which dims the moon
To the noblest, or to none.
Dearest, where thy shadow falls,
Beauty sits and Music calls;
Where thy form and favor come,
All good creatures have their home.
On prince or bride no diamond stone
Half so gracious ever shone,
As the light of enterprise
Beaming from a young man’s eyes.
FROM OMAR KHAYYAM
Each spot where tulips prank their state
Has drunk the life-blood of the great;
The violets yon field which stain
Are moles of beauties Time hath slain.
Unbar the door, since thou the Opener art,
Show me the forward way, since thou art guide,
I put no faith in pilot or in chart,
Since they are transient, and thou dost abide.
FROM ALI BEN ABU TALEB
He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to
And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.
On two days it steads not to run from thy grave,
The appointed, and the unappointed day;
On the first, neither balm nor physician can save,
Nor thee, on the second, the Universe slay.
FROM IBN JEMIN
Two things thou shalt not long for, if thou love a
A woman to thy wife, though she were a crowned queen;
And the second, borrowed money,—though the smiling lender say
That he will not demand the debt until the Judgment Day.