Why, with wine, should anxiety be boiled up also;
To battalions of sorrows, resistance we cannot show;
The newness of your moustache shows greenness in you,
On the green grass why not drink wine – joyfully so.
|It is inevitable that we start our pages of renderings from the Persian
mystical tradition, with some verses from the sublime and magnificent
Hafiz Shirazi, the doyen of lovers of pure love poetry. May he smile on
our efforts from his abode in the Ninth Heaven.
We commence with some of his Rubaiy - four line verses exhibiting a
single sustained thought. These have been translated by Dr Sharib in
His book The Rubaiyat of Hafiz and we have leaned heavily on these
in trying to grasp and convey the implication of the thought, and are
eternally indebted to him for the same. All the English versions below
are essentially re-translations and not translations. We have,
however, also consulted Iranian lovers of Hafiz in rendering a more
anglicised version and we are indebted to Samaneh Gheysari (Shiraz
and Maryam Nazari (Tehran) for their labours in this respect, but it is
thanks to the enduring labours of Maryam Moghadam (Shiraz) in
particular that much of the work is indebted. May Hafiz Saheb reward
them for the same..In addition we have been greatly helped by
consulting the works of Mr Wilberforce Clarke, and a more recent
attempt at translation by Paul Smith and we are grateful to them both
for this and for other translators such as Mr Bicknell and Mr Arberry. A
recent work by Mr Peter Avery has also proved helpful and our
thanks to him for this.
O place that hunting hawk, whose prey is joy, on my hand,
And give that goblet, like the loved one, into my hand,
And that curling lock, spiraling round itself like a chain,
Due to my madness, wrap it like a band round my hand.
With my witty, pretty, darling and with the Barbat and Ney,
In secure corner esconced, carafe perfectly placed this way,
With a warming wine coursing through the veins and limbs,
We need pay heed to nothing, not even a Hatim Tai today.
Hafizia - Shiraz, Fars, Iran. Photos: Samaneh Gheysari
Disposer of heaven and hell, solution show,
You will never let us be lost or brought low.
How long will the wolfish ones predominate?
O, Lion of God, turn away the savage foe.
O breeze, whisper in that ear, my sad history,
Convey the secrets of this heart so very subtly;
That there may be no cause given for melancholy,
Weave them into many a fair and fine story.
Coloured by cunning deceit your eyes purposelessly,
Shoot forth the sharp arrows of war, repeatedly;
Are you so soon tired of the company of friends?
Ah! From the stony heart what but stones should there be.
O beloved! The hidden bud is for sure shy, of thee,
The narcissus, tipsy with wonder, is ashamed before thee,
Compared, with thee, even the rose itself surely cannot be,
It is lit by moonlight that the moon receives from thee.
My life, wasted in following vain desires is,
I know not of what value my being alive is,
Those towards whom I professed affection,
Became enemies, so say where friendship is.
In my vision only your face appears,
My path leads only to yours it appears,
Sleep, happily, comes so timely to all,
But to close my eyes, it never appears.
O that old rustic wine, pray give it to me,
And life’s short span will gain new vitality;
Make me so unmindful of this old world’s state,
O fine man, that I may tell you its mystery.
The use of the capital Y for You (implying Divinity) we have changed to you (in italics) to
retain ambiguity where appropriate
If, in this net, you have been trapped, like me,
The wine and the cup must all-sufficient be.
We are absorbed, reclusive lovers, world burners,
Do not sit with us or notorious you will be.
|The Poetry of Khawaja Hafiz Shirazi
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