Have ever you pondered, O Muslim youth,
On deep and serious things?
What is this world in which this you
Is only a broken star?
You came of a stock that nourishes you
In the close embracing of love,
A stock that trampled under foot
Dara who wore the crown.
Civilization’s grace they forged
To a world‐disposing law,
Those folks that came from the Arab sands
That cradled their camel‐men.
The simple life was the pride they had
In their deeds of glorious show.
How does the lovely face feel need
Of rouge and mole and art?
In pure plain life and in fear of God
They lived their modest way.
Those God‐fearing men held such pride even in poverty
that the rich dared not give alms to the poor
In short, in words can I tell to you
What were these desert men?
Holders, Keepers, Saviours, Adorners
Of what we call the world.
If I should draw the sketch aright
Limning the form in words,
The vision I’d draw would be better far
Than all your fancy paints.
There is no standard by which to judge
Yours and your father’s worth.
You utter words but they did deeds.
They roamed: you stay at home.
We have despoiled the inheritance
That we from our fathers won.
The heaven from the zenith has dashed it down
And cast it on the ground.
What is this weeping at ordered things
That it is the affair of a day?
Except the help of all‐certain law
The world has no other plan.
But if those pearls of learning’s lore,
Those books our fathers wrote
We see in Europe made scholar’s joy,
The heart is rent with grief.
Rich man8, behold the darkened day
Kinan’s old man once knew,
That the light of his eyes to Zuleikha’s eyes
Might bring the brightness of sight.
[Translated by H.T. Sorley]