The Poems of Goethe
Part 10 out of 11
From the pangs which an unseen destiny fastens upon us.
You are happy and merry. How then should a jest ever wound you?
But the slightest touch gives torture to those who are suff'ring.
Even dissimulation would nothing avail me at present.
Let me at once disclose what later would deepen my sorrow,
And consign me perchance to agony mute and consuming.
Let me depart forthwith! No more in this house dare I linger;
I must hence and away, and look once more for my poor friends
Whom I left in distress, when seeking to better my fortunes.
This is my firm resolve; and now I may properly tell you
That which had else been buried for many a year in my bosom.
Yes, the father's jest has wounded me deeply, I own it,
Not that I'm proud and touchy, as ill becometh a servant,
But because in truth in my heart a feeling has risen
For the youth, who to-day has fill'd the part of my Saviour.
For when first in the road he left me, his image remain'd still
Firmly fix'd in my mind; and I thought of the fortunate maiden
Whom, as his betroth'd one, he cherish'd perchance in his bosom.
And when I found him again at the well, the sight of him charm'd me
Just as if I had-seen an angel descending from heaven.
And I follow'd him willingly, when as a servant he sought me,
But by my heart in truth I was flatter'd (I need must confess it),
As I hitherward came, that I might possibly win him,
If I became in the house an indispensable pillar.
But, alas, I now see the dangers I well nigh fell into,
When I bethought me of living so near a silently-loved one.
Now for the first time I feel how far removed a poor maiden
Is from a richer youth, however clever she may be.
I have told you all this, that you my heart may mistake not,
Which an event that in thought I foreshadow has wounded already.
For I must have expected, my secret wishes concealing,
That, ere much time had elapsed, I should see him bringing his bride home.
And how then could I have endured my hidden affliction!
Happily I am warn'd in time, and out of my bosom
Has my secret escaped, whilst curable still is the evil.
But no more of the subject! I now must tarry no longer
In this house, where I now am standing in pain and confusion,
All my foolish hopes and my feelings freely confessing.
Not the night which, with sinking clouds, is spreading around us,
Not the rolling thunder (I hear it already) shall stop me,
Not the falling rain, which outside is descending in torrents,
Not the blustering storm. All this I had to encounter
In that sorrowful flight, while the enemy follow'd behind Us.
And once more I go on my way, as I long have been wont to,
Seized by the whirlpool of time, and parted from all that I care for.
So farewell! I'll tarry no longer. My fate is accomplish'd!"
Thus she spoke, and towards the door she hastily turn'd her,
Holding under her arm the bundle she brought when arriving.
But the mother seized by both of her arms the fair maiden,
Clasping her round the body, and cried with surprise and amazement
"Say, what signifies this? These fruitless tears, what denote they?
No, I'll not leave you alone! You're surely my dear son's betroth'd one!"
But the father stood still, and show'd a great deal of reluctance,
Stared at the weeping girl, and peevishly spoke then as follows
"This, then, is all the indulgence my friends are willing to give me,
That at the close of the day the most unpleasant thing happens!
For there is nothing I hate so much as the tears of a woman,
And their passionate cries, set up with such heat and excitement,
Which a little plain sense would show to be utterly needless.
Truly, I find the sight of these whimsical doings a nuisance.
Matters must shift for themselves; as for me, I think it is bed-time."
So he quickly turn'd round, and hasten'd to go to the chamber
Where the marriage-bed stood, in which he slept for the most part.
But his son held him back, and spoke in words of entreaty
"Father, don't go in a hurry, and be not amniote with the maiden!
I alone have to bear the blame of all this confusion,
Which our friend has increased by his unexpected dissembling.
Speak then, honour'd Sir! for to you the affair I confided;
Heap not up pain and annoyance, but rather complete the whole matter;
For I surely in future should not respect you so highly,
If you play practical jokes, instead of displaying true wisdom."
Thereupon the worthy pastor smilingly answer'd
"What kind of wisdom could have extracted the charming confession
Of this good maiden, and so have reveal'd all her character to us?
Is not your care converted at once to pleasure and rapture?
Speak out, then, for yourself! Why need explanations from others
Hermann then stepped forward, and gently address'd her as follows
"Do not repent of your tears, nor yet of your passing affliction;
For they perfect my happiness; yours too, I fain would consider.
I came not to the fountain, to hire so noble a maiden
As a servant, I came to seek to win you affections.
But, alas! my timid gaze had not strength to discover
Your heart's leanings; it saw in your eye but a friendly expression,
When you greeted it out of the tranquil fountain's bright mirror.
Merely to bring you home, made half of my happiness certain
But you now make it complete! May every blessing be yours, then!"
Then the maiden look'd on the youth with heartfelt emotion,
And avoided not kiss or embrace, the summit of rapture,
When they also are to the loving the long-wish'd-for pledges
Of approaching bliss in a life which now seems to them endless.
Then the pastor told the others the whole of the story;
But the maiden came and gracefully bent o'er the father,
Kissing the while his hand, which he to draw back attempted.
And she said:--" I am sure that you will forgive the surprised one,
First for her tears of sorrow, and then for her tears of true rapture.
O forgive the emotions by which they both have been prompted,
And let me fully enjoy the bliss that has now been vouchsafed me!
Let the first vexation, which my confusion gave rise to,
Also be the last! The loving service which lately
Was by the servant promised, shall now by the daughter be render'd."
And the father, his tears concealing, straightway embraced her;
Lovingly came the mother in turn, and heartily kiss'd her,
Warmly shaking her hand; and silently wept they together.
Then in a hasty manner, the good and sensible pastor
Seized the hand of the father, his wedding-ring off from his finger
Drawing (not easily though; so plump was the member that held it)
Then he took the mother's ring, and betroth'd the two children,
Saying:--"Once more may it be these golden hoops' destination
Firmly to fasten a bond altogether resembling the old one!
For this youth is deeply imbued with love for the maiden,
And the maiden confesses that she for the youth has a liking.
Therefore, I now betroth you, and wish you all blessings hereafter,
With the parents' consent, and with our friend here as a witness."
And the neighbour bent forward, and added his own benediction;
But when the clergyman placed the gold ring on the hand of the maiden,
He with astonishment saw the one which already was on it,
And which Hermann before at the fountain had anxiously noticed.
Whereupon he spoke in words at once friendly and jesting
"What! You are twice engaging yourself? I hope that the first one
May not appear at the altar, unkindly forbidding the banns there!"
But she said in reply:--"O let me devote but one moment
To this mournful remembrance! For well did the good youth deserve it,
Who, when departing, presented the ring, but never return'd home.
All was by him foreseen, when freedom's love of a sudden,
And a desire to play his part in the new-found Existence,
Drove him to go to Paris, where prison and death were his portion.
'Farewell,' said he, 'I go; for all things on earth are in motion
At this moment, and all things appear in a state of disunion.
Fundamental laws in the steadiest countries are loosen'd,
And possessions are parted from those who used to possess them,
Friends are parted from friends, and love is parted from love too.
I now leave you here, and whether I ever shall see you
Here again,--who can tell? Perchance these words will our last be.
Man is a stranger here upon earth, the proverb informs us;
Every person has now become more a stranger than ever.
Ours the soil is no longer; our treasures are fast flying from us;
All the sacred old vessels of gold and silver are melted,
All is moving, as though the old-fashion'd world would roll backwards
Into chaos and night, in order anew to be fashion'd.
You of my heart have possession, and if we shall ever here-after
Meet again over the wreck of the world, it will be as new creatures,
All remodell'd and free and independent of fortune;
For what fetters can bind down those who survive such a period!
But if we are destined not to escape from these dangers,
If we are never again to embrace each other with raptures
O then fondly keep in your thoughts my hovering image,
That you may be prepared with like courage for good and ill fortune!
If a new home or a new alliance should chance to allure you,
Then enjoy with thanks whatever your destiny offers,
Purely loving the loving, and grateful to him who thus loves you.
But remember always to tread with a circumspect footstep,
For the fresh pangs of a second loss will behind you be lurking.
Deem each day as sacred; but value not life any higher
Than any other possession, for all possessions are fleeting.'
Thus he spoke; and the noble youth and I parted for ever:
Meanwhile I ev'rything lost, and a thousand times thought of his warning.
Once more I think of his words, now that love is sweetly preparing
Happiness for me anew, and the brightest of hopes is unfolding.
Pardon me, dearest friend, for trembling e'en at the moment
When I am clasping your arm! For thus, on first landing, the sailor
Fancies that even the solid ground is shaking beneath him."
Thus she spoke, and she placed the rings by the side of each other.
But the bridegroom answer'd, with noble and manly emotion
"All the firmer, amidst the universal disruption,
Be, Dorothea, our union! We'll show ourselves bold and enduring,
Firmly hold our own, and firmly retain our possessions.
For the man who in wav'ring times is inclined to be wav'ring
Only increases the evil, and spreads it wider and wider;
But the man of firm decision the universe fashions.
'Tis not becoming the Germans to further this fearful commotion,
And in addition to waver uncertainly hither and thither.
'This is our own!' we ought to say, and so to maintain it!
For the world will ever applaud those resolute nations
Who for God and the Law, their wives, and parents, and children
Struggle, and fall when contending against the foeman together.
You are mine; and now what is mine, is mine more than ever.
Not with anxiety will I preserve it, or timidly use it,
But with courage and strength. And if the enemy threaten
Now or hereafter, I'll hold myself ready, and reach down my weapons.
If I know that the house and my parents by you are protected,
I shall expose my breast to the enemy, void of all terror;
And if all others thought thus, then might against might should be measured,
And in the early prospect of peace we should all be rejoicing."
Who the song would understand,
Needs must seek the song's own land.
Who the minstrel understand,
Needs must seek the minstrel's land.
THE Poems comprised in this collection are written in the
Persian style, and are greatly admired by Oriental scholars, for
the truthfulness with which the Eastern spirit of poetry is
reproduced by the Western minstrel. They were chiefly composed
between the years 1814 and 1819, and first given to the world in
the latter year. Of the twelve books into which they are divided,
that of Suleika will probably be considered the best, from the
many graceful love-songs which it contains. The following is
Hanoi's account of the Divan, and may well serve as a substitute
for anything I could say respecting it:--
It contains opinions and sentiments on the East, expressed in a
series of rich cantos and stanzas full of sweetness and spirit,
and all this as enchanting as a harem emitting the most delicious
and rare perfumes, and blooming with exquisitely-lovely nymphs
with eyebrows painted black, eyes piercing as those of the
antelope, arms white as alabaster, and of the most graceful and
perfectly-formed shapes, while the heart of the reader beats and
grows faint, as did that of the happy Gaspard Debaran, the clown,
who, when on the highest step of his ladder, was enabled to peep
into the Seraglio of Constantinople--that recess concealed from
the inspection of man. Sometimes also the reader may imagine
himself indolently stretched on a carpet of Persian softness,
luxuriously smoking the yellow tobacco of Turkistan through a
long tube of jessamine and amber, while a black slave fans him
with a fan of peacock's feathers, and a little boy presents him
with a cup of genuine Mocha. Goethe has put these enchanting and
voluptuous customs into poetry, and his verses are so perfect, so
harmonious, so tasteful, so soft, that it seems really surprising
that he should ever have been able to have brought the German
language to this state of suppleness. The charm of the book is
inexplicable; it is a votive nosegay sent from the West to the
East, composed of the most precious and curious plants: red
roses, hortensias like the breast of a spotless maiden, purple
digitalis like the long finger of a man, fantastically formed
ranunculi, and in the midst of all, silent and tastefully
concealed, a tuft of German violets. This nosegay signifies that
the West is tired of thin and icy-cold spirituality, and seeks
warmth in the strong and healthy bosom of the East."
Translations are here given of upwards of sixty of the best
Poems embraced in the Divan, the number in the original exceeding
I. MORGAGNI NAME.
BOOK OF THE MINSTREL.
GOD is of the east possess'd,
God is ruler of the west;
North and south alike, each land
Rests within His gentle hand.
HE, the only righteous one,
Wills that right to each be done.
'Mongst His hundred titles, then,
Highest praised be this!--Amen.
ERROR seeketh to deceive me,
Thou art able to retrieve me;
Both in action and in song
Keep my course from going wrong.
THE FOUR FAVOURS.
THAT Arabs through the realms of space
May wander on, light-hearted,
Great Allah hath, to all their race,
Four favours meet imparted.
The turban first--that ornament
All regal crowns excelling;
A light and ever-shifting tent,
Wherein to make our dwelling;
A sword, which, more than rocks and walls
Doth shield us, brightly glistening;
A song that profits and enthrall,
For which the maids are list'ning!
WHEN by the brook his strain
Cupid is fluting,
And on the neighboring plain
There turns the ear ere long,
Loving and tender,
Yet to the noise a song
Soon must surrender.
Loud then the flute-notes glad
Sound 'mid war's thunder;
If I grow raving mad,
Is it a wonder?
Flutes sing and trumpets bray,
Waxing yet stronger;
If, then, my senses stray,
Wonder no longer.
SONG AND STRUCTURE.
LET the Greek his plastic clay
Mould in human fashion,
While his own creation may
Wake his glowing passion;
But it is our joy to court
Great Euphrates' torrent,
Here and there at will to sport
In the Wat'ry current.
Quench'd I thus my spirit's flame,
Songs had soon resounded;
Water drawn by bards whose fame
Pure is, may be rounded.+
(+ This oriental belief in the power of the pure to roll-up water into a
crystal hail is made the foundation of the Interesting Pariah Legend,
that will be found elsewhere amongst the Ballads.)
II. HAFIS NAME.
BOOK OF HAFIS.
SPIRIT let us bridegroom call,
And the word the bride;
Known this wedding is to all
Who have Hafis tried.
THAT thou can't never end, doth make thee great,
And that thou ne'er beginnest, is thy fate.
Thy song is changeful as yon starry frame,
End and beginning evermore the same;
And what the middle bringeth, but contains
What was at first, and what at last remains.
Thou art of joy the true and minstrel-source,
From thee pours wave on wave with ceaseless force.
A mouth that's aye prepared to kiss,
A breast whence flows a loving song,
A throat that finds no draught amiss,
An open heart that knows no wrong.
And what though all the world should sink!
Hafis, with thee, alone with thee
Will I contend! joy, misery,
The portion of us twain shall be;
Like thee to love, like thee to drink,--
This be my pride,--this, life to me!
Now, Song, with thine own fire be sung,--
For thou art older, thou more young!
HAFIS, straight to equal thee,
One would strive in vain;
Though a ship with majesty
Cleaves the foaming main,
Feels its sails swell haughtily
As it onward hies
Crush'd by ocean's stern decree,
Wrecked it straightway lies.
Tow'rd thee, songs, light, graceful, free,
Mount with cooling gush;
Then their glow consumeth me,
As like fire they rush.
Yet a thought with ecstasy
Hath my courage moved;
In the land of melody
I have lived and loved.
III. USCHK NAME.
BOOK OF LOVE.
LIST, and in memory bear
These six fond loving pair.
Love, when aroused, kept true
Rustan and Rad!
Strangers approach from far
Joseph and Suleika;
Love, void of hope, is in
Ferhad and Schirin.
Born for each other are
Medschnun and Lily;
Loving, though old and grey,
Dschemil saw Boteinah.
Love's sweet caprice anon,
Brown maid + and Solomon!
If thou dost mark them well,
Stronger thy love will swell.
(+ Brown maid is the Queen of Sheba.)
ONE PAIR MORE.
LOVE is indeed a glorious prize!
What fairer guerdon meets our eyes?--
Though neither wealth nor power are thine,
A very hero thou dost shine.
As of the prophet, they will tell,
Wamik and Asia's tale as well.--
They'll tell not of them,--they'll but give
Their names, which now are all that live.
The deeds they did, the toils they proved
No mortal knows! But that they loved
This know we. Here's the story true
Of Wamik and of Asia too.
LOVE's torments sought a place of rest,
Where all might drear and lonely be;
They found ere long my desert breast,
And nestled in its vacancy.
IV. TEFKIR NAME.
BOOK OF CONTEMPLATION.
WHAT makes time short to me?
What makes it long and spiritless?
What brings us to debt?
To delay and forget!
What makes us succeed?
Decision with speed
How to fame to ascend?
Oneself to defend!
FOR woman due allowance make!
Form'd of a crooked rib was she,--
By Heaven she could not straightened be.
Attempt to bend her, and she'll break;
If left alone, more crooked grows madam;
What well could be worse, my good friend, Adam?--
For woman due allowance make;
'Twere grievous, if thy rib should break!
OH world, with what baseness and guilt thou art rife!
Thou nurtures, trainest, and illest the while.
He only whom Allah doth bless with his smile
Is train'd and is nurtured with riches and life.
THE mirror tells me, I am fair!
Thou sayest, to grow old my fate will be.
Nought in God's presence changeth e'er,--
Love him, for this one moment, then, in me.
V. RENDSCH NAME
BOOK OF GLOOM.
IT is a fault oneself to praise,
And yet 'tis done by each whose deeds are kind;
And if there's no deceit in what he says,
The good we still as good shall find.
Let, then, ye fools, that wise man taste
Of joy, who fancies that he s wise,
That he, a fool like you, may waste
Th' insipid thanks the world supplies.
VI. HIKMET NAME.
BOOK OF PROVERBS.
CALL on the present day and night for nought,
Save what by yesterday was brought.
THE sea is flowing ever,
The land retains it never.
BE stirring, man, while yet the day is clear;
The night when none can work fast Draweth near.
WHEN the heavy-laden sigh,
Deeming help and hope gone by,
Oft, with healing power is heard,
Comfort-fraught, a kindly word.
How vast is mine inheritance, how glorious and sublime!
For time mine own possession is, the land I till is time!
UNWARY saith,--ne'er lived a man more true;
The deepest heart, the highest head he knew,--
"In ev'ry place and time thou'lt find availing
Uprightness, judgment, kindliness unfailing."
THOUGH the bards whom the Orient sun bath bless'd
Are greater than we who dwell in the west,
Yet in hatred of those whom our equals we find.
In this we're not in the least behind.
WOULD we let our envy burst,
Feed its hunger fully first!
To keep our proper place,
We'll show our bristles more;
With hawks men all things chase,
Except the savage boar.
BY those who themselves more bravely have fought
A hero's praise will be joyfully told.
The worth of man can only be taught
By those who have suffer'd both heat and cold.
"WHEREFORE is truth so far from our eyes,
Buried as though in a distant land?"
None at the proper moment are wise!
Could they properly understand,
Truth would appear in her own sweet guise,
Beauteous, gentle, and close at hand.
WHY these inquiries make,
Where charity may flow?
Cast in the flood thy cake,--
Its eater, who will know?
ONCE when I a spider had kill'd,
Then methought: wast right or wrong?
That we both to these times should belong,
This had God in His goodness willed.
MOTLEY this congregation is, for, lo!
At the communion kneel both friend and foe.
IF the country I'm to show,
Thou must on the housetop go.
A MAN with households twain
Ne'er finds attention meet,
A house wherein two women reign
Is ne'er kept clean and neat.
BLESS, thou dread Creator,
Bless this humble fane;
Man may build them greater,--
More they'll not contain.
LET this house's glory rise,
Handed to far ages down,
And the son his honour prize.
As the father his renown.
O'ER the Mediterranean sea
Proudly hath the Orient sprung;
Who loves Hafis and knows him, he
Knows what Caldron hath sung.
IF the ass that bore the Saviour
Were to Mecca driven, he
Would not alter, but would be
Still an ass in his behavior.
THE flood of passion storms with fruitless strife
'Gainst the unvanquished solid land.--
It throws poetic pearls upon the strand,
And thus is gain'd the prize of life.
WHEN so many minstrels there are,
How it pains me, alas, to know it!
Who from the earth drives poetry far?
Who but the poet!
VII. TIMUR NAME.
BOOK OF TIMUR.
THE WINTER AND TIMUR.
So the winter now closed round them
With resistless fury. Scattering
Over all his breath so icy,
He inflamed each wind that blithe
To assail them angrily.
Over them he gave dominion
To his frost-unsharpened tempests;
Down to Timur's council went he,
And with threat'ning voice address'd him:--
"Softly, slowly, wretched being!
Live, the tyrant of injustice;
But shall hearts be scorch'd much longer
By thy flames,--consume before them?
If amongst the evil spirits
Thou art one,--good! I'm another.
Thou a greybeard art--so I am;
Land and men we make to stiffen.
Thou art Mars! And I Saturnus,--
Both are evil-working planets,
When united, horror-fraught.
Thou dost kill the soul, thou freezes
E'en the atmosphere; still colder
Is my breath than thine was ever.
Thy wild armies vex the faithful
With a thousand varying torments;
Well! God grant that I discover
Even worse, before I perish!
And by God, I'll give thee none.
Let God hear what now I tell thee!
Yes, by God! from Death's cold clutches
Nought, O greybeard, shall protect thee,
Not the hearth's broad coalfire's ardour,
Not December's brightest flame."
FITTING perfumes to prepare,
And to raise thy rapture high,
Must a thousand rosebuds fair
First in fiery torments die.
One small flask's contents to glean,
Whose sweet fragrance aye may live,
Slender as thy finger e'en,
Must a world its treasures give;
Yes, a world where life is moving,
Which, with impulse full and strong,
Could forbode the Bulbul's loving,
Sweet, and spirit-stirring song.
Since they thus have swell'd our joy,
Should such torments grieve us, then?
Doth not Timur's rule destroy
Myriad souls of living men?
VIII. SULEIKA NAME.
BOOK OF SULEIKA.
ONCE, methought, in the night hours cold,
That I saw the moon in my sleep;
But as soon as I waken'd, behold
Unawares rose the sun from the deep.
THAT Suleika's love was so strong
For Joseph, need cause no surprise;
He was young, youth pleaseth the eyes,--
He was fair, they say, beyond measure
Fair was she, and so great was their pleasure.
But that thou, who awaitedst me long,
Youthful glances of fire dost throw me,
Soon wilt bless me, thy love now dost show me,
This shall my joyous numbers proclaim,
Thee I for ever Suleika shall name.
NOT occasion makes the thief;
She's the greatest of the whole;
For Love's relics, to my grief,
From my aching heart she stole.
She hath given it to thee,--
All the joy my life had known,
So that, in my poverty,
Life I seek from thee alone.
Yet compassion greets me straight
In the lustre of thine eye,
And I bless my newborn fate,
As within thine arms I lie.
THE sun appears! A glorious sight!
The crescent-moon clings round him now.
What could this wondrous pair unite?
How to explain this riddle? How?
May this our joy's foreboder prove!
In it I view myself and thee;
Thou calmest me thy sun, my love,--
Come, my sweet moon, cling thou round me!
LOVE for love, and moments sweet,
Lips returning kiss for kiss,
Word for word, and eyes that meet;
Breath for breath, and bliss for bliss.
Thus at eve, and thus the morrow!
Yet thou feeblest, at my lay,
Ever some half-hidden sorrow;
Could I Joseph's graces borrow,
All thy beauty I'd repay!
O, SAY, 'neath what celestial sign
The day doth lie,
When ne'er again this heart of mine
Away will fly?
And e'en though fled (what thought divine!)
Would near me lie?--
On the soft couch, on whose sweet shrine
My heart near hers will lie!
HOLD me, locks, securely caught
In the circle of her face!
Dear brown serpents, I have nought
To repay this act of grace,
Save a heart whose love ne'er dies,
Throbbing with aye-youthful glow;
For a raging ETA lies
'Neath its veil of mist and snow.
Yonder mountain's stately brow
Thou, like morning beams, dost shame;
Once again feels Hatem now
Spring's soft breath and summer's flame.
One more bumper! Fill the glass;
This last cup I pledge to thee!--
By mine ashes if she pass,
"He consumed," she'll say, "for me."
THE LOVING ONE SPEAKS.
AND wherefore sends not
His heralds hither
Each day, unfailing?
Yet hath he horses,
He writes well.
He waiteth Tali,
And Neski knows he
To write with beauty
On silken tablets.
I'd deem him present,
Had I his words.
The sick One will not,
Will not recover
From her sweet sorrow;
She, when she heareth
That her true lover
Grows well, falls sick.
THE LOVING ONE AGAIN.
WRITES he in Neski,
Faithfully speaks he;
Writes he in Tali,
Joy to give, seeks he:
Writes he in either,
Good!--for he loves!
THESE tufted branches fair
Observe, my loved one, well!
And see the fruits they bear
In green and prickly shell!
They've hung roll'd up, till now,
Unconsciously and still;
A loosely-waving bough
Doth rock them at its will.
Yet, ripening from within.
The kernel brown swells fast;
It seeks the air to win,
It seeks the sun at last.
With joy it bursts its thrall,
The shell must needs give way.
'Tis thus my numbers fall
Before thy feet, each day.
WHAT is by this stir reveal'd?
Doth the East glad tidings bring?
For my heart's deep wounds are heal'd
By his mild and cooling wing.
He the dust with sports doth meet,
And in gentle cloudlets chase;
To the vineleaf's safe retreat
Drives the insects' happy race,
Cools these burning cheeks of mine,
Checks the sun's fierce glow Adam,
Kisses, as he flies, the vine,
Flaunting over hill and plain.
And his whispers soft convey
Thousand greetings from my friend;
Ere these hills own night's dark sway,
Kisses greet me, without end.
Thus canst thou still onward go,
Serving friend and mourner too!
There, where lofty ramparts glow,
Soon the loved one shall I view.
Ah, what makes the heart's truth known,--
Love's sweet breath,--a newborn life,--
Learn I from his mouth alone,
In his breath alone is rife!
THE SUBLIME TYPE.
THE sun, whom Grecians Helms call,
His heavenly path with pride doth tread,
And, to subdue the world's wide all,
Looks round, beneath him, high o'er head.
He sees the fairest goddess pine,
Heaven's child, the daughter of the clouds,--
For her alone he seems to shine;
In trembling grief his form he shrouds,
Careless for all the realms of bliss,--
Her streaming tears more swiftly flow:
For every pearl he gives a kiss,
And changeth into joy her woe.
She gazeth upward fixedly,
And deeply feels his glance of might,
While, stamped with his own effigy,
Each pearl would range itself aright.
Thus wreath'd with bows, with hues thus grac'd,
With gladness beams her face so fair,
While he, to meet her, maketh haste,
And yet, alas! can reach her ne'er.
So, by the harsh decree of Fate,
Thou modest from me, dearest one;
And were I Helms e'en, the Great,
What would avail his chariot-throne?
ZEPHYR, for thy humid wing,
Oh, how much I envy thee!
Thou to him canst tidings bring
How our parting saddens me!
In my breast, a yearning still
As thy pinions wave, appears;
Flow'rs and eyes, and wood, and hill
At thy breath are steeped in tears.
Yet thy mild wing gives relief,
Soothes the aching eyelid's pain;
Ah, I else had died for grief,
Him ne'er hoped to see again.
To my love, then, quick repair,
Whisper softly to his heart;
Yet, to give him pain, beware,
Nor my bosom's pangs impart.
Tell him, but in accents coy,
That his love must be my life;
Both, with feelings fraught with joy,
In his presence will be rife.
CAN it be! of stars the star,
Do I press thee to my heart?
In the night of distance far,
What deep gulf, what bitter smart!
Yes, 'tis thou, indeed, at last,
Of my joys the partner dear!
Mindful, though, of sorrows past,
I the present needs must fear.
When the still-unfashion'd earth
Lay on God's eternal breast,
He ordain'd its hour of birth,
With creative joy possess'd.
Then a heavy sigh arose,
When He spake the sentence:--"Be!"
And the All, with mighty throes,
Burst into reality.
And when thus was born the light,
Darkness near it fear'd to stay,
And the elements with might
Fled on every side away;
Each on some far-distant trace,
Each with visions wild employ,
Numb, in boundless realm of space,
Harmony and feeling-void.
Dumb was all, all still and dead,
For the first time, God alone!
Then He form'd the morning-red,
Which soon made its kindness known:
It unravelled from the waste,
Bright and glowing harmony,
And once more with love was grac'd
What contended formerly.
And with earnest, noble strife,
Each its own Peculiar sought;
Back to full, unbounded life
Sight and feeling soon were brought.
Wherefore, if 'tis done, explore
How? why give the manner, name?
Allah need create no more,
We his world ourselves can frame.
So, with morning pinions bright,
To thy mouth was I impell'd;
Stamped with thousand seals by night,
Star-clear is the bond fast held.
Paragons on earth are we
Both of grief and joy sublime,
And a second sentence:--"Be!"
Parts us not a second time.
WITH what inward joy, sweet lay,
I thy meaning have descried!
Lovingly thou seem'st to say
That I'm ever by his side;
That he ever thinks of me,
That he to the absent gives
All his love's sweet ecstasy,
While for him alone she lives.
Yes, the mirror which reveals
Thee, my loved one, is my breast;
This the bosom, where thy seals
Endless kisses have impress'd.
Numbers sweet, unsullied truth,
Chain me down in sympathy!
Love's embodied radiant youth,
In the garb of poesy!
IN thousand forms mayst thou attempt surprise,
Yet, all-beloved-one, straight know I thee;
Thou mayst with magic veils thy face disguise,
And yet, all-present-one, straight know I thee.
Upon the cypress' purest, youthful bud,
All-beauteous-growing-one, straight know I thee;
In the canal's unsullied, living flood,
All-captivating-one, well know I thee.
When spreads the water-column, rising proud,
All-sportive one, how gladly know I thee;
When, e'en in forming, is transform'd the cloud,
All-figure-changing-one, there know I thee.
Veil in the meadow-carpet's flowery charms,
All-checkered-starry-fair-one, know I thee;
And if a plant extend its thousand arms,
O, all-embracing-one, there know I thee.
When on the mount is kindled morn's sweet light,
Straightway, all-gladdening-one, salute I thee,
The arch of heaven o'er head grows pure and bright,--
All-heart-expanding-one, then breathe I thee.
That which my inward, outward sense proclaims,
Thou all-instructing-one, I know through thee;
And if I utter Allah's hundred names,
A name with each one echoes, meant for thee.
IX. SAKE NAME.
THE CONVIVIAL BOOK.
CAN the Koran from Eternity be?
'Tis worth not a thought!
Can the Koran a creation, then, be?
Of that, I know nought!
Yet that the book of all books it must be,
I believe, as a Mussulman ought.
That from Eternity wine, though, must be,
I ever have thought;
That 'twas ordain'd, ere the Angels, to be,
As a truth may be taught.
Drinkers, however these matters may be,
Gaze on God's face, fearing nought.
YE'VE often, for our drunkenness,
Blamed us in ev'ry way,
And, in abuse of drunkenness,
Enough can never say.
Men, overcome by drunkenness,
Are wont to lie till day;
And yet I find my drunkenness
All night-time make me stray;
For, oh! 'tis Love's sweet drunkenness
That maketh me its prey,
Which night and day, and day and night,
My heart must needs obey,--
A heart that, in its drunkenness,
Pours forth full many a lay,
So that no trifling drunkenness
Can dare assert its sway.
Love, song, and wine's sweet drunkenness,
By night-time and by day,--
How god-like is the drunkenness
That maketh me its prey!
X. MATHAL NAME.
BOOK OF PARABLES.
FROM heaven there fell upon the foaming wave
A timid drop; the flood with anger roared,--
But God, its modest boldness to reward,
Strength to the drop and firm endurance gave.
Its form the mussel captive took,
And to its lasting glory and renown,
The pearl now glistens in our monarch's crown,
With gentle gleam and loving look.
BULBUL'S song, through night hours cold,
Rose to Allah's throne on high;
To reward her melody,
Giveth he a cage of gold.
Such a cage are limbs of men,--
Though at first she feels confin'd,
Yet when all she brings to mind,
Straight the spirit sings again.
IN the Koran with strange delight
A peacock's feather met my sight:
Thou'rt welcome in this holy place,
The highest prize on earth's wide face!
As in the stars of heaven, in thee,
God's greatness in the small we see;
For he whose gaze whole worlds bath bless'd
His eye hath even here impress'd,
And the light down in beauty dress'd,
So that e'en monarchs cannot hope
In splendour with the bird to cope.
Meekly enjoy thy happy lot,
And so deserve that holy spot!
ALL kinds of men, both small and great,
A fine-spun web delight to create,
And in the middle they take their place,
And wield their scissors with wondrous grace.
But if a besom should sweep that way:
"What a most shameful thing," they say,--
"They've crush'd a mighty palace to-day."
IT IS GOOD.
IN Paradise while moonbeams play'd,
Jehovah found, in slumber deep,
Adam fast sunk; He gently laid
Eve near him,--she, too, fell asleep.
There lay they now, on earth's fair shrine,
God's two most beauteous thoughts divine.--
When this He saw, He cried:--'Tis Good!!!
And scarce could move from where He stood.
No wonder, that our joy's complete
While eye and eye responsive meet,
When this blest thought of rapture moves us--
That we're with Him who truly loves us,
And if He cries:--Good, let it be!
'Tis so for both, it seems to me.
Thou'rt clasp'd within these arms of mine,
Dearest of all God's thoughts divine!
XI. PARIS NAME.
BOOK OF THE PARSEES.
THE BEQUEST OF THE ANCIENT PERSIAN FAITH.
BRETHREN, what bequest to you should come
From the lowly poor man, going home,
Whom ye younger ones with patience tended,
Whose last days ye honour'd and defended?
When we oft have seen the monarch ride,
Gold upon him, gold on ev'ry side;
Jewels on him, on his courtiers all,
Thickly strewed as hailstones when they fall,
Have ye e'er known envy at the sight?
And not felt your gaze become more bright,
When the sun was, on the wings of morning,
Darnawend's unnumber'd peaks adorning,
As he, bow-like, rose? How each eye dwelt
On the glorious scene! I felt, I felt,
Thousand times, as life's days fleeted by,
Borne with him, the coming one, on high.
God upon His throne then to proclaim,
Him, the life-fount's mighty Lord, to name,
Worthily to prize that glorious sight,
And to wander on beneath His light.
When the fiery orb was all defined,
There I stood, as though in darkness, blind,
Beat my breast, my quicken'd members threw
On the earth, brow-foremost, at the view.
Let this holy, great bequest reward
Brotherly good-will and kind regard:
SOLEMN DUTY'S DAILY observation.--
More than this, it needs no revelation.
If its gentle hands a new-born one
Move, then straightway turn it tow'rd the sun,--
Soul and body dip in bath of fire!
Then each morning's favour 'twill acquire.
To the living one, commit the dead,
O'er the beast let earth and dust be spread,
And, so far as may extend your might,
What ye deem impure, conceal from sight.
Till your plains to graceful purity,
That the sun with joy your labours see;
When ye plant, your trees in rows contrive,
For he makes the Regular to thrive.
E'en the floods that through the channel rush
Must not fail in fulness or in gush;
And as Senderud, from mountain high,
Rises pure, in pureness must it die.
Not to weaken water's gentle fall,
Carefully cleanse out the channels all;
Salamander, snake, and rush, and reed,--
All destroy,--each monster and each weed.
If thus pure ye earth and water keep,
Through the air the sun will gladly peep,
Where he, worthily enshrined in space,
Worketh life, to life gives holy grace.
Ye, by toil on toil so sorely tried,
Comfort take, the All is purified;
And now man, as priest, may boldly dare
From the stone God's image to prepare.
When the flame burns joyously and bright,
Limbs are supple, radiant is the night;
On the hearth when fire with ardour glows,
Ripe the sap of plants and creatures grows.
Dragging wood, with rapture be it done,
'Tis the seed of many an earthly sun;
Plucking Pambeh, gladly may ye say:--
This, as wick, the Holy will convey.
If ye meekly, in each burning lamp,
See the nobler light's resplendent stamp,
Ne'er will Fate prevent you, void of feeling,
At God's throne at morningtide from kneeling.
This is Being's mighty signet, then,
God's pure glass to angels and to men;
Each word lisped the Highest's praise to sound,
Ring in ring, united there is found.
From the shore of Senderud ascendeth,
Up to Darnawend its pinions bendeth,
As He dawns, with joy to greet His light,
You with endless blessings to requite.
XII. CHULD NAME.
BOOK OF PARADISE.
THE PRIVILEGED MEN.
AFTER THE BATTLE OF BADE, BENEATH THE CANOPY OF HEAVEN.
[This battle was fought in the second year of the Hegira (A.A.
623), between the followers of Mahomet, who numbered three
hundred and thirteen, possessing two horses and seventy camels,
and the 'idolaters,' or Meccans, whose forces amounted to nine
hundred and fifty, including two hundred cavalry. The victory
remained with Mahomet, who lost fourteen men, while seventy of
the enemy were slain. A great accession of strength ensued in
consequence to the Prophet, who pretended that miracles were
wrought in his behalf in the battle, God having sent angels to
fight on his side, and having also made his army to appear larger
to the enemy than it really was.--See the Koran, chapter viii.,
and ABULFEDA'S Life of Mahomet.]
LET the foeman sorrow o'er his dead,
Ne'er will they return again to light;
O'er our brethren let no tear be shed,
For they dwell above yon spheres so bright.
All the seven planets open throw
All their metal doors with mighty shock,
And the forms of those we loved below
At the gates of Eden boldly knock.
There they find, with bliss ne'er dream'd before,
Glories that my flight first show'd to eye,
When the wondrous steed my person bore
In one second through the realms on high.
Wisdom's trees, in cypress-order growing,
High uphold the golden apples sweet;
Trees of life, their spreading shadows throwing,
Shade each blossoming plant, each flow'ry seat.
Now a balmy zephyr from the East
Brings the heavenly maidens to thy view;
With the eye thou now dost taste the feast,
Soon the sight pervades thee through and through.
There they stand, to ask thee thy career:
Mighty plans? or dangerous bloody rout?
Thou'rt a hero, know they,--for Thourt here,
What a hero?--This they'll fathom out.
By thy wounds soon clearly this is shown,
Wounds that write thy fame's undying story;
Wounds the true believer mark alone,
When have perish'd joy and earthly glory.
To chiosks and arbors thou art brought,
Fill'd with checkered marble columns bright;
To the noble grape-juice, solace-fraught,
They the guest with kindly sips invite.
Youth! Thou'rt welcome more than e'er was youth
All alike are radiant and serene;
When thou tak'st one to thine heart with truth,
Of thy band she'll be the friend and queen.
So prepare thee for this place of rest,
Never can it now be changed again;
Maids like these will ever make thee blest,
Wines like these will never harm thy brain.
THE FAVOURED BEASTS.
Or beasts there have been chosen four
To come to Paradise,
And there with saints for evermore
They dwell in happy wise.
Amongst them all the Ass stands first;
He comes with joyous stride,
For to the Prophet-City erst
Did Jesus on him ride.
Half timid next a Wolf doth creep,
To whom Mahomet spake
"Spoil not the poor man of his sheep,
The rich man's thou mayst take."
And then the brave and faithful Hound,
Who by his master kept,
And slept with him the slumbers sound
The seven sleepers slept.
Abuherrira's Cat, too, here,
Purrs round his master blest,
For holy must the beast appear
The Prophet hath caress'd.
THE SEVEN SLEEPERS.
Six among the courtiers favour'd
Fly before the Caesar's fury,
Who would as a god be worshipp'd,
Though in truth no god appearing,
For a fly prevents him ever
From enjoying food at table.
Though with fans his servants scare it,
They the fly can never banish.
It torments him, stings, and troubles,
And the festal board perplexes,
Then returning like the herald
Of the olden crafty Fly-God.
"What!"--the striplings say together--
"Shall a fly a god embarrass?
Shall a god drink, eat at table,
Like us mortals? No, the Only,
Who the sun and moon created,
And the glowing stars arch'd o'er us,
He is God,--we'll fly!"--The gentle,
Lightly shod, and dainty striplings
Did a shepherd meet, and hide them,
With himself, within a cavern.
And the sheep-dog will not leave them,--
Scared away, his foot all-mangled,
To his master still he presses,
And he joins the hidden party,
Joins the favorites of slumber.
And the prince, whom they had fled from,
Fondly-furious, thinks of vengeance,
And, discarding sword and fire,
Has them walled-up in the cavern,
Walled-up fast with bricks and mortar.
But the others slumber ever,
And the Angel, their protector,
Gives before God's throne this notice
"To the right and left alternate
Have I ever cared to turn them,
That their fair and youthful members
Be not by the mould-damp injured;
Clefts within the rocks I open'd,
That the sun may, rising, setting,
Keep their cheeks in youthful freshness."
So they lie there, bless'd by Heaven.
And, with forepaws sound and scatheless,
Sleeps the dog in gentle slumber.
Years come round, and years fly onward,
And the youths at length awaken,
And the wall, which now had moldered,
From its very age has fallen.
And Jamblika says,--whose beauty
Far exceedeth all the others,--
When the fearful shepherd lingers:--
"I will run, and food procure you,
Life and piece of gold I'll wager!"--
Ephebus had many a year now
Own'd the teaching of the Prophet
Jesus (Peace be with the Good One!)
And he ran, and at the gateway
Were the warders and the others.
Yet he to the nearest baker's,
Seeking bread, went swiftly onwards.--
"Rogue!" thus cried the baker--"hast thou,
Youth, a treasure, then, discover'd?
Give me,--for the gold betrays thee,--
Give me half, to keep thy secret!"--
And they quarrel.--To the monarch
Comes the matter; and the monarch
Fain would halve it, like the baker.
Now the miracle is proven
Slowly by a hundred tokens.
He can e'en his right establish
To the palace he erected,
For a pillar, when pierced open.
Leads to wealth he said 'twould lead to.
Soon are gather'd there whole races,
Their relationship to show him.
And as great-grandfather, nobly
Stands Jamblika's youthful figure.
As of ancestors, he hears them,
Speaking of his son and grandsons.
His great-grandsons stand around him,
Like a race of valiant mortals,
Him to honour,--him, the youngest.
And one token on another
Rises up, the proof completing;
The identity is proven
Of himself, and of his comrades.
Now returns he to the cavern,
With him go both king and people.--
Neither to the king nor people
E'er returns that chosen mortal;
For the Seven, who for ages--
Eight was, with the dog, their number--
Had from all the world been sunder'd,
Gabriel's mysterious power,
To the will of God obedient,
Hath to Paradise conducted,--
And the cave was closed for ever.
SONGS FROM VARIOUS PLAYS, ETC
YE shadowy forms, again ye're drawing near,
So wont of yore to meet my troubled gaze!
Were it in vain to seek to keep you here?
Loves still my heart that dream of olden days?
Oh, come then! and in pristine force appear,
Parting the vapor mist that round me plays!
My bosom finds its youthful strength again,
Feeling the magic breeze that marks your train.
Ye bring the forms of happy days of yore,
And many a shadow loved attends you too;
Like some old lay, whose dream was well nigh o'er,
First-love appears again, and friendship true;
Upon life's labyrinthine path once more
Is heard the sigh, and grief revives anew;
The friends are told, who, in their hour of pride,
Deceived by fortune, vanish'd from my side.
No longer do they hear my plaintive song,
The souls to whom I sang in life's young day;
Scatter'd for ever now the friendly throng,
And mute, alas! each sweet responsive lay.
My strains but to the careless crowd belong,
Their smiles but sorrow to my heart convey;
And all who heard my numbers erst with gladness,
If living yet, roam o'er the earth in sadness.
Long buried yearnings in my breast arise,
Yon calm and solemn spirit-realm to gain;
Like the AEONIAN harp's sweet melodies,
My murmuring song breathes forth its changeful strain.
A trembling seizes me, tears fill mine eyes,
And softer grows my rugged heart amain.
All I possess far distant seems to be,
The vanish'd only seems reality.
PROLOGUE IN HEAVEN.
THE ARCHANGELS' SONG.
THE sun still chaunts, as in old time,
With brother-spheres in choral song,
And with his thunder-march sublime
Moves his predestined course along.
Strength find the angels in his sight,
Though he by none may fathomed be;
Still glorious is each work of might
As when first form'd in majesty.
And swift and swift, in wondrous guise,
Revolves the earth in splendour bright,
The radiant hues of Paradise
Alternating with deepest night.
From out the gulf against the rock,
In spreading billows foams the ocean,--
And cliff and sea with mighty shock,
The spheres whirl round in endless motion.
And storms in emulation growl
From land to sea, from sea to land,
And fashion, as they wildly howl,
A circling, wonder-working band.
Destructive flames in mad career
Precede Thy thunders on their way;
Yet, Lord, Thy messengers revere
The soft mutations of Thy day.
Strength find the angels in Thy sight,
Though none may hope to fathom Thee;
Still glorious are Thy works of might,
As when first form'd in majesty.
CHORUS OF ANGELS.
CHRIST is arisen!
Mortal, all hail!
Thou, of Earth's prison
Dreary and frail,
Bursting the veil,
Proudly hast risen!
CHORUS OF WOMEN.
Rich spices and myrrh,
To embalm Him we brought;
His corpse to inter
His true followers sought.
In pure cerements shrin'd,
'Twas placed in the bier
But, alas! we now find
That Christ is not here.
CHORUS OF ANGELS.
Christ is arisen!
Speechless His love.
Who to Earth's prison
Came from above,
Trials to prove.
Now is He risen!
CHORUS OF YOUTHS.
Death's gloomy portal
Now hath He rended,--
Freed from His anguish,
Sees He God's throne;
We still must languish,
Now that He's reft us,
Heart-sad we pine;
Why hast Thou left us,
CHORUS OF ANGELS.
Christ is arisen,
Death hath He slain;
Burst ye your prison,
Rend ye each chain!
Songs of praise lead ye,--
Love to show, heed ye,--
Hungry ones feed ye,--
Preaching, on speed ye,--
Coming joys plead ye,--
Then is the Master near,
Then is He here!
CHORUS OF SPIRITS.
VANISH, dark clouds on high,
Offspring of night!
Let a more radiant beam
Through the blue ether gleam,
Charming the sight!
Would the dark clouds on high
Melt into air!
Stars glimmer tenderly,
Planets more fair
Shed their soft light.
Spirits of heav'nly birth,
Fairer than sons of earth,
Quivering emotions true
Yearning affections, too,
In their train move.
See how the spirit-band,
By the soft breezes fann'd,
Covers the smiling land,--
Covers the leafy grove,
Where happy lovers rove,
Deep in a dream of love,
True love that never dies!
Bowers on bowers rise,
Soft tendrils twine;
While from the press escapes,
Born of the juicy grapes,
Foaming, the wine;
And as the current flows
O'er the bright stones it goes,--
Leaving the hilly lands
Far, far behind,--
Into a sea expands,
Loving to wind
Round the green mountain's base;
And the glad-winged race,
Rapture sip in,
As they the sunny light,
And the fair islands bright,
Hasten to win,
That on the billows play
With sweet deceptive ray,
Where in glad choral song
Shout the exulting throng;
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