A GHAZAL
( Ode on love, wine, flowers, etc. Possibly spiritual allegory. )

HAFIZ ( Shems-ed-Din Muhammad ).
Early fourteenth century - c1388.

Literal prose translation by Lieutenant Colonel H. Wilberforce Clarke.

IF that bold one of Shiraz gain our heart,
For his dark mole I will give Samarkand and Bukhara.

Saki! give the wine remaining, for in Paradise thou wilt not have
The bank of the water of Ruknabad nor the rose of the garden of Musalla.

Alas! These saucy dainty ones, sweet of work, the torment of the city,
Take patience from the heart even as the men of Turkistan take the tray of plunder.

The beauty of the Beloved is in no need of our imperfect love;
Of Iuster and color and mole and tricked line (of eyebrow) what need hath the lovely face?

By reason of that beauty daily increasing that Yusuf had, I knew that love for him would bring
Zulaikha forth from the screen of chastity.

The tale of minstrel and of love utter; little seek the mystery of time;
For this mystery, none solved by skill and shall not solve.

0 Soul! hear the counsel of the Murshid (or pious wise man);
For dearer than the soul hold happy youths the counsel of the wise old man.

O Murshid! thou spakest ill of me; and now I am happy.
God Most High forgive thee, thou spakest well:
The bitter reply suiteth the ruddy lip, sugar-eating.

Thou utterest a ghazal, and threadest pearls (of verse).
HAFIZ, come and sweetly sing,
That on thy verse the sky may scatter the cluster of the Pleiades.




A GHAZAL OF HAFIZ
The same ( ! ): translated by Sir William Jones.

Sweet maid, if thou would charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck enfold,
That rosy cheek, that lily hand
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarkand.

Boy, let yon liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate'er the frowning zealots say:
Tell them their Eden cannot show,
A stream so clear as Ruknabad,
A bower so sweet as Mosellay.

Oh! when these fair, perfidious maids,
Whose eyes our dearest haunts infest,
Their dear, destructive charms display;
Each glance my tender heart invades
And robs my wounded soul of rest
As Tartars seize their destined prey.

In vain with love our bosoms glow;
Can all our tears, can all our sighs,
New luster to those charms impart?
Can cheeks, where living roses blow,
Where Nature spreads her richest dyes,
Require the borrowed gloss of Art?

Speak not of Fate! Ah! change the theme,
And talk of odors, talk of wine,
Talk of the flowers that round us bloom:
'Tis all a cloud, 'tis all a dream;
To love and joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.

Beauty hath such resistless power,
That even the chaste Egyptian dame
Sighed for the blooming Hebrew boy;
For her how fatal was the hour
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely and so coy!

But, ah! sweet maid! my counsel hear
(Youth should attend when those advise,
Whom long experience renders sage):
While music charms the ravished ear,
While sparkling cups delight our eyes,
Be gay, and scorn the frowns of age.

What cruel answer have I heard!
And yet, by heaven,-- I love thee still:
Can aught be cruel from thy lip?
Yet say, how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which naught but drops of honey sip?

Go boldly forth, my simple lay;
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like orient pearls at random strung:
Thy notes are sweet the damsels say;
But, oh! far sweeter, if they please
The nymph for whom these notes are sung.






MEDITATIONS

By HAFIZ

Translated by E. H. Palmer.

0 CUPBEARER! fill up the goblet, and hand it around to us all!
For to Love that seemed easy at first these unforeseen troubles befall.

In the hope that the breeze of the South will blow yon dark tresses apart
And diffuse their sweet perfume around, 0 what anguish is caused to the heart!

Ay! sully your prayer mat with wine, if the elder encourage such sin!
For the traveler surely should know all the manners and ways of the inn.

What rest or what comfort for me can there be in the Loved One's abode,
When the bell is incessantly tolling to bid us each pack up his load?

The darkness of night and the fear of the waves and the waters that roar:
How should they be aware of our state, who are roaming in safety ashore?

I yielded me up to delight, and it brought me ill fame at the last.
Shall a secret be hidden which into a general topic has passed?

Wouldst thou dwell in His presence? then never thyself unto absence betake!
Till thou meetest the One whom thou lovest, the world and its pleasures forsake!






POEMS OF FRANC0IS VILLON
( born 1431 )


Joan of Arc

THE BALLAD OF DEAD LADIES

(Rossetti's Translation.)

TELL me now in what hidden way is
Lady Flora the lovely Roman?
Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thais,
Neither of them the fairer woman?
Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
Only heard on river and mere, --
She whose beauty was more than human? --
But where are the snows of yesteryear?

Where's Heloise, the learned nun,
For whose sake Abeillard, I ween,
Lost manhood and put priesthood on ?
(From Love he won such dule and teen !)
And where, I pray you, is the Queen
Who willed that Buridan should steer
Sewed in a sack's mouth down the Seine?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?

White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies,
With a voice like any mermaiden,
Bertha Broadfoot, Beatrice, Alice,
And Ermengarde the lady of Maine,
And that good Joan whom Englishmen
At Rouen doomed and burned her there,
Mother of God, where are they then?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?

Nay, never ask this week, fair lord,
Where they are gone, nor yet this year,
Except with this for an overword, --
But where are the snows of yesteryear?






To DEATH, OF HIS LADY

(Rossetti's Translation.)

Death, of thee do I make my moan,
Who hadst my lady away from me,
Nor wilt assuage thine enmity
Till with her life thou hast mine own;
For since that hour my strength has flown
Lo! what wrong was her life to thee,
Death?

Two we were, and the heart was one;
Which now being dead, dead I must be,
Or seem alive as lifelessly
As in the choir the painted stone,
Death!






HIS MOTHER'S SERVICE TO OUR LADY

(Rossetti's Translation.)

Lady of Heaven and earth, and therewithal
Crowned Empress of the nether clefts of Hell,
I, thy poor Christian, on thy name do call,
Commending me to thee, with thee to dwell,
Albeit in naught I be commendable.
But all mine undeserving may not mar
Such mercies as thy sovereign mercies are;
Without the which (as true words testify)
No soul can reach thy Heaven so fair and far.
Even in this faith I choose to live and die.

Unto thy Son say thou that I am His,
And to me graceless make Him gracious.
Sad Mary of Egypt lacked not of that bliss,
Nor yet the sorrowful clerk Theophilus,
Whose bitter sins were set aside even thus
Though to the Fiend his bounden service was.
Oh help me, lest in vain for me should pass
(Sweet Virgin that shalt have no loss thereby!) The blessed Host and sacring of the Mass.
Even in this faith I choose to live and die.

A pitiful poor woman, shrunk and old,
I am, and nothing learned in letter lore.
Within my parish cloister I behold
A painted Heaven where harps and lutes adore,
And eke an Hell whose damned folk see the full sore.
One bringeth fear, the other joy to me.
That joy, great Goddess, make thou mine to be,
Thou of whom all must ask it even as I;
And that which faith desires, that let it see.
For in this faith I choose to live and die.

0 excellent Virgin Princess! thou didst bear
King Jesus, the most excellent comforter,
Who even of this our weakness craved a share
And for our sake stooped to us from on high,
Offering to death His young life sweet and fair.
Such as He is, Our Lord, I Him declare,
And in this faith I choose to live and die.






BALLADS OF OLD-TIME LORDS

(Translated by John Payne.)

I

Where is Calixtus, third of the name,
That died in the purple, whiles ago,
Four years since he to the tiar came?
And the King of Aragon, Alfonso ?
The Duke of Bourbon, sweet of show,
And the Duke Arthur of Brittaine?
And Charles the Seventh, the Good? Heigho!
But where is the doughty Charlemagne?

Likewise the King of Scots, whose shame
Was the half of his face (or folk say so),
Vermeil as amethyst held to the flame,
From chin to forehead all of a glow?
The King of Cyprus, of friend and foe
Renowned; and the gentle King of Spain,
Whose name, God 'ield me, I do not know?
But where is the doughty Charlemagne?

Of many more might I ask the same,
Who are but dust that the breezes blow;
But I desist, for none may claim
To stand against Death, that lays all low.
Yet one more question before I go:
Where is Lancelot, King of Behaine ?
And where are his valiant ancestors, trow?
But where is the doughty Charlemagne?

ENVOI

Where is Du Gueselin, the Breton prow?
Where Auvergne's Dauphin, and where again
The late good Duke of Alencon? Lo!
But where is the doughty Charlemagne?

II

Where are the holy Apostles gone,
Alb-clad and amice-tried and stoled
With the sacred tippet and that alone,
Wherewith, when he waxeth overbold,
The foul fiend's throttle they take and hold?
All must come to the selfsame bay;
Sons and servants, their days are told:
The wind carries their like away.

Where is he now that held the throne
Of Constantine, with the hands of gold?
And the King of France, o'er all kings known
For grace and worship that was extolled,
Who convents and churches manifold
Built for God's service? In their day
What of the honor they had? Behold,
The wind carries their like away.

Where are the champions everyone,
The Dauphins, the counselors, young and old?
The barons of Salins, Dol, Dijon,
Vienne, Grenoble? They all are cold.
Or take the folk under their banners enrolled,
Pursuivants, trumpeters, heralds, (hey!
How they fed of the fat and the flagon trolled!)
The wind carries their like away.

ENVOI

Princes to death are all foretold,
Even as the humblest of their array:
Whether they sorrow or whether they scold,
The wind carries their like away.






SEEMLY LESSON OF VILLON TO THE GOOD-FOR-NAUGHTS

(Translated by John Payne.)

Fair sons, you're wasting, ere you're old,
The fairest rose to you that fell.
You, that like birdlime take and hold,
When to Montpippeau or Ruel
(My clerks) you wander, keep you well:
For of the tricks that there be played,
Thinking to 'scape a second spell,
Colin of Cayeulx lost his head.

No trifling game is this to play,
Where one stakes soul and body too:
If losers, no remorse can stay
A shameful death from ending you;
And even the winner, for his due,
Hath not a Dido to his wife.
Foolish and lewd I hold him who
Doth for so little risk his life.

Now all of you to me attend:
Even a load of wine, folk say,
With drinking at last comes to an end,
By fire in winter, in woods in May.
If you have money, it doth not stay,
But this way and that it wastes amain:
What does it profit you, anyway?
Ill-gotten good is nobody's gain.






BALLAD OF VILLON IN PRISON

(Translated by John Payne.)

Have pity, friends, have pity now, I pray,
If it so please you, at the least, on me!
I lie in fosse, not under holm or may,
In this duresse, wherein, alas! I dree
III fate, as God did thereanent decree.
Lasses and lovers, younglings manifold,
Dancers and mountebanks, alert and bold,
Nimble as quarrel from a crossbow shot;
Singers, that troll as clear as bells of gold, --
Will you all leave poor Villon here to rot?

Clerks, that go caroling the livelong day,
Scant-pursed, but glad and frank and full of glee;
Wandering at will along the broad highway,
Harebrained, perchance, but wit-whole too, perdie:
Lo! now, I die, whilst that you absent be.
Song singers, when poor Villon's days are told,
You will sing psalms for him and candles hold;
Here light nor air nor living enters not,
Where ramparts thick are round about him rolled,
Will you all leave poor Villon here to rot?

Consider but his piteous array,
High and fair lords, of suit and service free,
That nor to king nor kaiser homage pay,
But straight from God in heaven hold your fee!
Come fast or feast, all days alike fasts he,
Whence are his teeth like rake's teeth to behold;
No table hath he but the sheer black mold:
After dry bread (not manchets), pot on pot
They empty down his throat of water cold:
Will you all leave poor Villon here to rot?

ENVOI

Princes and lords aforesaid, young and old,
Get me the king his letters sealed and scrolled
And draw me from this dungeon; for, God wot,
Even swine, when one squeaks in the butcher's fold,
Flock round their fellow and do squeak and scold.
Will you all leave poor ViIlon here to rot?






THE EPITAPH

IN BALLAD FORM, THAT VILLON MADE FOR HIMSELF AND HIS COMPANIONS, EXPECTING NO BETTER THAN TO BE HANGED IN THEIR COMPANY.

Brothers, that after us on life remain,
Harden your hearts against us not as stone;
For, if to pity us poor wights you're fain,
God shall the rather grant you benison.
You see us six, the gibbet hereupon:
As for the flesh that we too well have fed,
'Tis all devoured and rotted, shred by shred.
Let none make merry of our piteous case,
Whose crumbling bones the life long since bath fled:
The rather pray, God grant us of his grace!

Yea, we conjure you, look not with disdain,
Brothers, on us, though we to death were done
By justice. Well you know, the saving grain
Of sense springs not in every mother's son:
Commend us, therefore, now we're dead and gone,
To Christ, the Son of Mary's maidenhead,
That he leave not his grace on us to shed
And save us from the nether torture place.
Let no one harry us; for sooth, we're sped:
The rather pray, God grant us of his grace!

We are whiles scoured and soddened of the rain,
And whiles burnt up and blackened of the sun;
Corbies and pyets have our eyes out ta'en,
And plucked our beard and hair out, one by one.
Whether by night or day, rest have we none:
Now here, now there, as the wind shifts its stead,
We swing and creak and rattle overhead,
No thimble dinted like our bird-pecked face.
Brothers, have heed and shun the life we led:
The rather pray, God grant us of his grace.

ENVOI

Prince Jesus, over all empowered,
Let us not fall into the Place of Dread,
But all our reckoning with the Fiend efface.
Folk, mock us not that are forspent and dead;
The rather pray, God grant us of his grace!






To home page