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WHEN the world-illuming sun rushed, upon Night like a brigand,
My weeping bedewed the face of the rose.
My tears washed away sleep from the eye of the narcissus,
My passion wakened the grass and made it grow.
The Gardener tried the power of my song, 5
He sowed my verse and reaped a sword.
In the soil he planted only the seed of my tears
And wove my lament with the garden, as warp and woof.
Tho' I am but a mote, the radiant sun is mine:
Within my bosom are a hundred dawns. 10
My dust is brighter than Jamshid's cup-23
It knows things that are yet unborn in the world.
My thought hunted down and slung from the saddle a deer.
That has not yet leaped forth from the covert of non-existence.
Fair is my garden ere yet the leaves are green: 15
Unborn roses are hidden in the skirt of my garment.
I struck dumb the musicians where they were gathered together,
I smote the heart-string of the universe,
Because the lute of my genius hath a rare melody:
Even to comrades my song is strange. 20
I am born in the world as a new sun,
I have not learned the ways and fashions of the sky
Not yet have the stars fled before my splendour,
Not yet is my quicksilver astir;
Untouched is the sea by my dancing rays, 25
Untouched are the mountains by my crimson hue.
The eye of existence is not familiar with me;
I rise trembling, afraid to show myself.
From the East my dawn arrived and routed Night,
A fresh dew settled on the rose of the world. 30
I am waiting for the votaries that rise at dawn;
Oh, happy they who shall worship my fire!
I have no need of the ear of To-day,
I am the voice of the poet of To-morrow
My own age does not understand my deep meanings, 35
My Joseph is not for this market.
I despair of my old companions,
My Sinai burns forsake of the Moses who is coming.
Their sea is silent, like dew,
But my dew is storm-ridden, like the ocean. 40
My song is of another world than theirs:
This bell calls other travellers to take the road,
Many a poet was born after his death,
Opened our eyes when his own were closed.,
And journeyed forth again from nothingness, 45
Like roses blossoming o'er the earth of his grave.
Albeit caravans have passed through this desert,
They passed, as a camel steps, with little sound.
But I am a lover: loud crying is my faith
The clamour of Judgment Day is one of my minions. 50
My song exceeds the range of the chord,
Yet I do not fear that my lute will break.
Twere better for the water drop not to know my torrent,
Whose fury should rather madden the sea.
No river will contain my Oman:24 55
My flood requires whole seas to hold it.
Unless the bud expand into a bed of roses,
It is unworthy of my spring-cloud's bounty.
Lightnings slumber within my soul,
I sweep over mountain and plain. 60
Wrestle with my sea, if thou art a plain;
Receive my lightning if thou art a Sinai.
The Fountain of Life hath been given me to drink.
I have been made an adept of the mystery of Life.
The speck of dust was vitalised by my burning song: 65
It unfolded wings-and became a firefiy.
No one hath. told the secret which I will tell
Or threaded a pearl of thought like mine
Come, if thou would'st know the secret of everlasting life
Come, if thou would'st win both earth and heaven. 70
Heaven taught me this lore,
I cannot hide it from comrades.
O Saqi arise and pour wine into the cup!
Clear the vexation of Time from my heart
The sparkling liquor that flows from Zemzen25 75
Were a beggar to worship it, he would become a king.
It makes thought more sober and wise, it makes the keen eye keener,
it gives to a straw the weight of a mountain,
And to foxes the strength of lions. 80
It causes dust to soar to the Pleiades
And a drop of waters well to the breadth of the sea.
it turns silence Into the din of Judgment Day,
it makes the foot of the partridge red
with blood of the hawk.
Arise and pour pure wine into my cup, 85
Pour moon beams into the dark night of my thought,
That I may lead home the wanderer
And imbue the idle looker on with rest less impatience;
And advance hotly on a new quest
And become known as the champion of a new spirit: 90
And be to people of insight as the pupil to the eye,
And sink into the ear of the world, like a voice;
And exalt the worth of Poesy
And sprinkle the dry herbs with my tears."26
Inspired by the genius of the Master of Rum.27 95
I reherarse the sealed book of secret lore.
His soul is the flaming furnace,
I am but as the spark that gleams for a moment.
His burning candle consumed me, I the moth;
His wine overwhelmed my goblet. 100
The master of Rum transmuted my earth to gold
And set my ashes aflame.
The grain of sand set forth from the desert,
That it might win the radiance of the sun.
I am a wave and I will come to rest in his sea, 105
That I may make the glistening pearl mine own.
I who am drunken with the wine of his song.
Draw life from the breath of his words,
'Twas night my heart would fain lament.
The silence was filled with my cries to God. 110
I was complaining of the sorrows of the world.
And bewailing the emptiness of my cup.
At last mine eye could endure no more,
Broken with fatigue it went to sleep.
There appeared the Master, formed in the mould of Truth, 115
Who wrote the Koran in Persian.28
He said, "O frenzied lover,
Take a draught of love's pure wine.
Strike29 the chords of thine heart and rouse a tumultuous strain.
Dash thine head against the goblet and thine eye against the lancet! 120
Make thy laughter the source of a hundred sighs.
Make the hearts of men bleed with thy tears
How long wilt thou be silent, like a bud?
Sell thy fragrance cheap, like the rose!
Tongue-tied, thou art in pain: 125
Cast thyself upon the fire, like rue!
Like the bell, break silence at last, and from every limb.
Utter forth a lamentation!
Thou art fire: fill the world with thy glow!
Make others burn with thy burning! 130
Proclaim the secrets of the old wine seller;30
Be thou a surge of wine, and the crystal cup thy robe!
Shatter the mirror of fear,
Break the bottles in the bazaar
Like the reed-flute, bring a message from the reed-bed 135
Give to Majnun a message from the tribe of Laila!31
Create a new style for thy song,
Enrich the assembly with thy piercing strains
Up, and re-inspire every living soul
Say 'Arise !' and by that word quicken the living 140
Up, and set thy feet on another path
Put aside the passionate melancholy of old !
Become familiar with the delight of singing; bell of the caravan, awake!"
At these words my bosom was enkindled 145
And swelled with emotion like the flute;
I rose like music from the string
To prepare a Paradise for the ear.
I unveiled the mystery of the Self
And disclosed its wondrous secret. 150
My being was an unfinished statue,
Uncomely, worthless, good for nothing.
Love chiselled me: I became a man.
And gained knowledge of the nature of the universe.
I have seen the movement of the sinews of the sky. 155
And the blood coursing in the veins of the moon.
Many a night I wept for Man's sake
That I might tear the veil from Life's mysteries.
And extract the secret of Life's constitution
From the laboratory of phenomena. 160
I who give beauty to this night, like the moon,
Am as dust in devotion to the pure Faith (Islam)
A Faith renowned in hill and dale.
Which kindles in men's hearts a flame of undying song:
It sowed an atom and reaped a sun, 165
It harvested a hundred poets like Rumi and Attar.
I am a sigh: I will mount to the heavens;
I am but smoke, yet am I sprung of fire.
Driven onward by high thoughts, my pen
Cast abroad the secret behind this veil, 170
That the drop may become co-equal with the sea
And the grain of sand grow into a Sahara.
Poetising is not the aim of this Masnavi.
Beauty-worshipping and love-making is not its aim.
I am of India: Persian is not my native tongue; 175
I am like the crescent moon: my cup is not full.
Do not seek from me charm of style in exposition.
Do not seek not from me Khansar and Isfahan.32
Although the language of Hind is sweet as sugar,
Yet sweeter is the fashion of Persian speech. 180
My mind was enchanted by its loveliness.
My pen became as a twig of the Burning Bush.
Because of the loftiness of my thoughts,
Persian alone is suitable to them.
O Reader I do not find fault with the wine-cup. 185
But consider attentively the taste of the wine.


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