From the Persian of Hafiz I
"Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Note in original: The Poems of Hafiz are held by the Persians to be mystical and allegorical. The following ode, notwithstanding its anacreontic style, is regarded by his German editor, Von Hammer, as one of those which earned for Hafiz among his countrymen the title of "Tongue of the Secret." )
from: Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Early Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York, Boston, Thomas Y. Crowell & Company: 1899. Introduction by Nathan Haskell Dole.
Butler, fetch the ruby wine,
Which with sudden greatness fills us;
Pour for me who in my spirit
Fail in courage and performance;
Bring the philosophic stone,
Karun's treasure, Noah's life;
Haste, that by thy means I open
All the doors of luck and life.
Bring me, boy, the fire-water
Zoroaster sought in dust.
To Hafiz revelling 'tis allowed
To pray to Matter and to Fire.
Bring the wine of Jamschid's glass
That shone, ere time was, in the Néant.
Give it me, that through its virtue
I, as Jamschid, see through worlds.
Wisely said the Kaiser Jamschid,
This world's not worth a barleycorn.
Bring me, boy, the nectar cup,
Since it leads to Paradise.
Flute and lyre lordly speak,
Lees of wine outvalue crowns.
Hither bring the veiled beauty
Who in ill-famed houses sits:
Lead her forth: my honest name
Freely barter I for wine.
Bring me, boy, the fire-water,
Drinks the lion—the woods burn.
Give it me, that I storm heaven,
Tear the net from the arch-wolf.
Wine, wherewith the Houris teach
Angels the ways of Paradise.
On the glowing coals I'll set it,
And therewith my brain perfume.
Bring me wine, through whose effulgence
Jam and Chosroes yielded light:
Wine, that to the flute I sing
Where is Jam, and where is Kauss.
Bring the blessing of old times;
Bless the old departed Shahs;
Bring it me, the Shah of hearts.
Bring me wine to wash me clean,
Of the weather-stains of care,
See the countenance of luck.
While I dwell in spirit-gardens,
Wherefore sit I shackled here?
Lo, this mirror shows me all.
Drunk, I speak of purity,
Beggar, I of lordship speak.
When Hafiz in his revel sings,
Shouteth Sohra in her sphere.
Fear the changes of a day:
Bring wine which increases life,
Since the world is all untrue,
Let the trumpets thee remind
How the crown of Kobad vanished.
Be not certain of the world;
'Twill not spare to shed thy blood.
Desperate of the world's affair,
Came I running to the wine-house.
Give me wine which maketh glad,
That I may my steed bestride,
Through the course career with Rustem,
Gallop to my heart's content.
Give me, boy, the ruby cup
Which unlocks the heart with wine,
That I reason quite renounce,
And plant banners on the worlds.
Let us make our glasses kiss,
Let us quench the sorrow-cinders:
To-day let us drink together.
Whoso has a banquet dressed,
Is with glad mind satisfied,
'Scaping from the snares of Dews.
Alas for youth! 'tis gone in wind,—
Happy he who spent it well.
Give me wine, that I o'erleap
Both worlds at a single spring,
Stole at dawn from glowing spheres
Call of Houris to mine ear;
"O happy bird! delicious soul!
Spread thy pinion, break the cage;
Sit on the roof of the seven domes,
Where the spirit takes repose."
In the time of Bisurdschimihr,
Menutscheher's beauty shined,
On the beaker of Nushirvan,
Wrote they once in eider times,
"Hear the Counsel, learn from us
Sample of the course of things;
Earth, it is a place of sorrow,
Scanty joys are here below,
Who has nothing, has no sorrow."
Where is Jam, and where his cup?
Solomon, and his mirror where?
Which of the wise masters knows
What time Kauss and Jam existed?
When those heroes left this world,
Left they nothing but their names.
Bind thy heart not to the earth,
When thou goest, come not back.
Fools squander on the world their hearts.
League with it, is feud with heaven;
Never gives it what thou wishest.
A cup of wine imparts the sight
Of the five heaven-domes with nine steps:
Whoso can himself renounce,
Without support shall walk thereon.
Who discreet is, is not wise.
Give me, boy, the Kaiser cup,
Which rejoices heart and soul;
Under type of wine and cup
Signify we purest love.
Youth like lightning disappears,
Life goes by us as the wind:
Leave the dwelling with six doors,
And the serpent with nine heads;
Life and silver spend thou freely,
If thou honorest the soul.
Haste into the other life;
All is nought save God alone.
Give me, boy, this toy of dæmons.
When the cup of Jam was lost,
Him availed the world no more.
Fetch the wine-glass made of ice,
Wake the torpid heart with wine.
Every clod of loam below us
Is a skull of Alexander;
Oceans are the blood of princes;
Desert sands the dust of beauties.
More than one Darius was there
Who the whole world overcame;
But since these gave up the ghost,
Thinkest thou they never were?
Boy, go from me to the Shah,
Say to him: Shah crowned as Jam,
Win thou first the poor man's heart,
Then the glass; so know the world.
Empty sorrows from the earth
Canst thou drive away with wine.
Now in thy throne's recent beauty,
In the flowing tide of power,
Moon of fortune, mighty king,
Whose tiara sheddeth lustre,
Peace secure to fish and fowl,
Heart and eye-sparkle to saints;
Shoreless is the sea of praise,—
I content me with a prayer.
From Nisami's poet-works,
Highest ornament of speech,
Here a verse will I recite,
Verse as beautiful as pearls.
"More kingdoms wait thy diadem,
Than are known to thee by name;
May the sovran destiny
Grant a victory every morn!"