To Linger in a Garden Fair
MIRTH, Spring, to linger in a garden fair,
What more has earth to give? All ye that wait,
Where is the Cup-bearer, the flagon where?
When pleasant hours slip from the hand of Fate,
Reckon each hour as a certain gain;
Who seeks to know the end of mortal care
Shall question his experience in vain.
Thy fettered life hangs on a single thread–
Some comfort for thy present ills devise,
But those that time may bring thou shalt not dread.
Waters of Life and Irem’s Paradise–
What meaning do our dreams and pomp convey,
Save that beside a mighty stream, wide-fed,
We sit and sing of wine and go our way!
The modest and the merry shall be seen
To boast their kinship with a single voice;
There are no differences to choose between,
Thou art but flattering thy soul with choice!
Who knows the Curtain’s secret? . . . Heaven is mute
And yet with Him who holds the Curtain, e’en
With Him, oh Braggart, thou would’st raise dispute!
Although His thrall shall miss the road and err,
‘Tis but to teach him wisdom through distress,
Else Pardon and Compassionate Mercy were
But empty syllables and meaningless.
The Zealot thirsts for draughts of Kausar’s wine,
And Hafiz doth an earthly cup prefer–
But what, between the two, is God’s design?
From: Teachings of Hafiz
Translated by Gertrude Bell 1897