Sick of this world and all this world’s tumult
I who had lived fettered to dawn and sunset,
Yet never fathomed the planet’s hoary laws,
Taking provisions for my way set out
From earth, and angels led me where the Prophet
Holds audience, and before the mercy‐seat.
‘Nightingale of the gardens of Hijaz! each bud
Is melting,’ said those Lips, ‘in your song’s passion‐flood;
Your heart forever steeped in the wine of ecstasy,
Your reeling feet nobler than any suppliant knee.
But since, taught by these Seraphim to mount so high,
You have soared up from nether realms towards the sky
And like a scent comes here from the orchards of the earth—
What do you bring for us, what is your offering worth?’
‘Master! there is no quiet in that land of time and space,
Where the existence that we crave hides and still hides its face;
Though all creation’s flowerbeds teem with tulip and red rose,
The flower whose perfume is true love—that flower no garden knows.
But I have brought this chalice here to make my sacrifice;
The thing it holds you will not find in all your Paradise.
See here, oh Lord, the honour of your people brimming up!
The martyred blood of Tripoli, oh Lord, is in this cup.’
[Translated by V.G. Kiernan]