3 Poems Of Love and Life From The Persian Poet Hafiz

Not All The Sums Of Earthly Happiness

Not all the sums of earthly happiness
Is worth the bowed head of a moment’s pain,
And if I sell for wine my dervish dress,
Worth more than what I sell is what I gain!
Land where my lady dwells, thou holdest me
Enchained; else Fars were but a barren soil,
Not worth the journey over land and sea,
Not worth the toil!

Down in the quarter where they sell red wine,
My holy carpet scarce would fetch a cup-
How brave a pledge of piety is mine,
Which is not worth a goblet foaming up!
Mine enemy heaped scorn on me and said:
“Forth from the tavern gate!” is my fallen head
Not worth the dust?

Wash white that travel-stained sad robe of thine!
Where word and deed alike one colour bear,
The grape’s fair purple garment shall outshine
Thy many-coloured rags and tattered gear.
Full easy seemed the sorrow of the sea
Lightened by hope of gain-hope flew too fast!
A hundred pearls were poor indemnity,
Not worth the blast.

The Sultan’s crown, with priceless jewels set,
Encircles fear of death and constant dread;
It is the head dress much desired-and yet
Art sure ’tis worth the danger to the head?
‘Twere best for thee to hide thy face from those
That long for thee: the Conqueror’s reward
Is never worth the army’s long drawn woes,
Worth fire and sword.

Ah, seek the treasure of a mind at rest
And store it in the treasury of ease;
not worth a loyal heart, a tranquil breast,
Were all riches of thy land and seas!
ah, scorn, like Hafiz, the delights of earth,
Ask not one grain of favour from the base,
Two hundred sacks of jewels were not worth
Thy soul’s disgrace.





What though a thousand enemies purpose
To slay me,
With thee my loving friend, how shall my foes
Affray me?

This is my hope of life, to hold thee nigh
To cherish;
Absent, it is my constant fear that I
Must perish.

(Each breath the breeze brings not to me her scent
I languish,
E’en as the mournful rose, whose robe is rent
In anguish)

Shall slumber drowse my senses, and mine eyes
Not view thee?
Or, being far, my heart not agonize
To woo thee?

Better than others’ balm, thy blade to endure
Doth please me;
Thy mortal poison, than another’s cure
To ease me.

Slain by the sword, eternal life is min
To inherit;
To does for the, where benison divine
Of spirit.

Swerve not thy steed; spare not only thy lance’s tip
Nor falter;
My head shall be my mark, my hand yet grip
Thy halter.

(Yet how shall every sight attain to thy
True being?
For as the mind doth know, so much the eye
Hath seeing.)

All men shall say that Hafiz hath renown
Whene’er his head gaineth its dusty crown,
Thy portal.



The Riddle Of Life


With last night’s wine still singing in my head,
I sought the tavern at the break of day,
though half the world was asleep in bed;
The harp and flute were up and in full swing,
And a most pleasant morning sound made they;
Already was the wine-cup on the wing.
“Reason”, said I, “’tis past the time to start,
If you would reach your daily destination,
The holy city of intoxication.”
So did I pack him off, and he depart
With a stout flask for fellow traveller.

Left to myself, the tavern-wench I spied,
And sought to win her love by speaking fair;
Alas she turned upon me scornful-eyed,
And mocked my foolish hopes for winning her.
She said, her arching eyebrows like a bow:
“Thou mark for all the shafts of evil tongues!
Thou shalt not round my middle clasp me so,
Like my good girdle-not for all thy songs!-
So long as thou in all created things
Seest but thyself the centre and the end.
Go spread thy dainty nets for other wings-
Too high the Anca’s nest for thee, my friend.”

Then I took shelter from that stormy sea
In the good arc of wine; yet woe is me!
Saki and comrade and minstrel all by turns,
She is the maiden of compendium
Who my poor heart in such a fashion spurns.
Self, HAFIZ, self! That must though overcome!
hearken the wisdom of the tavern-daughter!
Vain little baggage-well upon my word!
Thou fairy figment made of clat and water,
As busy with thy beauty as a bird.

Well, HAFIZ, life’s a riddle-give it up:
There is no answer to it but this cup.

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