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77 . •? 


The Odes 

Sheikh Muslihud-Din Sa'di Shirazi, 

Edited and translated by 
Sir Lucas White King, Kt, C. S. 1, LL. D. 

Sometime Professor of Arabic and Persian 
in the University of Dublin. 

With an Introduction by R. A. Nicholson Esq. 

D. Litt., Hon. LL. D. (Aberdeen), 
Lecturer in Persian in the University of Cambridge. 

Printed and Published by the Kaviani Art Printing Press, Berlin. 


All rights reserved by the Printers. 

When Sir Lucas King asked me to write an introductory 
note to his translation of Sa'di's Odes, I agreed to do so on the 
understanding that my remarks should be entirely general in 
character. It is not for me to discuss questions with which an 
editor is expected to deal, and any adequate literary crticism 
would involve research in directions hitherto unexplored. But I 
have read the greater part of these poems and will attempt to 
say, in a few words, what 1 think of them. 

Although their subject matter has much in common with that 
of the Gulistan and Bustan, the proportion between the ethical 
and mystical elements is not the same. Here Mysticism predo- 
minates, and wordly wisdom falls into the background. Yet 
Sa'di's ruling passion, the desire to instruct and please, seldom 
fails to make its influence felt. Many of the Odes are purely 
didactic meditations on old age, false friends, the vanity of human 
wishes, and so forth; and even in the mystical poems this ten- 
dency is very marked. It leads naturally to a terse and epi- 
grammatic manner of expression, in which Sa'di shows consu- 
mate skill. Unlike Horace, he seems to have found it easy to 
say old things in a new way (proprie coinmiinia dicere), a fact 
which may explain why the Odes are so highly valued by Per- 
sian critics, who have always regarded originality of form as 
supremely important. European readers should bear in mind that 
point of view; otherwise they are likely to be dissatisfied. The best 
mystical poetry is not produced by men of Sa'di's type. Where 
he draws from his mature experience and his varied knowledge 
of the world the results are admirable. His philosophy may be 
shallow, his morality often unedifying, and his veracity under 
suspicion, but we are eager to listen to a man who has lived 

/W/so largely, and whose conversation affords such excellent and 
/ profitable entertainment that we can forgive him everything. 
When he comes forward as a mystical poet, the case is altered, 
and we have the right to ask whether the Odes in which he sings 
of Divine Love express his true feelings and aspirations, or 
whether they only serve to display the versatility of his genius. 
It is certain, at any rate, that Sa'di, though he had studied 
the doctrine of Sufism and was thoroughly familiar with the 
ideas and imagery of Sufi poetry, was not a Mystic in the 
sense in which 'Attar and Jalalu'ddin Rumi were. He was too 
fine an artist to leave enthusiasm out of the picture, but "God- 
intoxicated" is the last epithet one would think of applying to 
him. His poems do not suggest that he knew the higher sta- 
ges of the mystical life except by hearsay, and his treatment of 
the subject must seem conventional and superficial to those who 
compare him with the great Mystics of his own country, includ- 
ing Hafiz. While granting that he may have been sincere in 
his sentiments, personally I cannot do more than give him the 
benefit of the doubt. On the other side, the literary merit of 
the Odes is beyond dispute. They contain some of the most 
exquisite poetry in Persian literature, and if they lack the deepest 
inspiration, they abound in moral and spiritual ideas created, per- 
haps, by others, but moulded into perfect shape by a masterhand. 

Reynold A. Nicholson. 


Ode 1&2 Line 13 Read Sa'di for Sadi. 

2 „ 4 Omit the comma after mue in Note 2. 

3 „ 3 Read face for fa. 

4 „ 8 In Note 3 Gulshani raz should be in 

7 „ 10 Add of after snare. 

8 „ 2 Omit the before kings. 
11 J, 1 Insert a comma after city. 

14 „ 3 Read Atabeg for Ata Beg and fitnah 
and fattan in Note 2. 

15 „ 11 Change full stop to comma after 

16 „ 10 Read fit inmate for fitinmate, and in 
Note 3 Her for his. 

1 & 2 Read Her for her. 

Read traveller for travaller in Note 3. 

Omit the brackets at the end of note 2 

Are after MuraVain in Note 1 should 

be in Roman. 

Read Jurjani for Turjani in Note 2. 

Read fallen a prey to. 

Read celestial for celstial in Note 2. 

Omit the exclamation mark in 


Read adab, and mii'amilat in Note 2. 

Insert a comma after enemies. 

Omit the Note number in this line. 

Add Note number 5 to this line. 

























Insert a comma after said. 

Read which for wich in Note 2. 

In Note 2 read Byzantine for Byzan- 


In Note 4 read a truce for a true. 

In Note 2 read sar darva for sadarva. 

In Note 4 read black for block. 

In Note 7 the last sentence should 

be read as part of the previous Note. 

Read that for thaat. 

Read chattels for chatties. 

Insert a comma after memory. 

Insert a bracket before from. 

Supply Note number 1 to this line. 

Supply Note number 2 to this line. 

Supply Note number 1 to this line, 

and change sail to hasil in Note 1, 
122 „ 7 The bracket should enclose (= the 

Beloved) only, 
129 „ Change the Note numbers in this Ode 

as follows, 5 to 6, 6 to 7, 7 to 5. 

Read Bahram for Shahpur in Note 1. 

Read powerless for powerful. 

Omit the second own. 

Add a bracket at the end of this line. 

Add a bracket after buhar in Note 2. 

Read vampire for vaimpire. 

Omit the comma after boor, and 

place it after is. 

























































— 1 — 

1. Praise be to God, the Lord of both worlds, for His abundant 
bounty! May His name be honoured and glorified! 

2. He is the surety for (His creature's) sustenance by reason 
of His beneficence, and liberality, whether they do good deeds, 
or not. 

3. How wonderful is the greatness, the power, and the ever- 
lastingness of Him, who is the Creator of mankind, genera- 
tion after generation! 1 

4. Genii, men, and all created beings collectively prostrate them- 
selves before Him in adoration and abasement. 2 

5. Blessed is he, who seeks Him, and cursed is he, who for- 
sakes Him! May perdition befall him, who adopts a substi- 
tute for Him! 

6. How many indications are there of His might among creat- 
ed beings, and in the Heavens too there are verily signs 
for the possessor of wisdom, 

7. Which are clear to him, whose eyes are anointed with the 
knowledge of the merciful God. 

8. He drives along the clouds, when the hills are sterile, caus- 
ing them to become fresh spring pastures after being dry. 

Q. He has in His mercy produced trees from seeds, and by 
His power has created man from a clot. 3 
10. He is a Patron, before whose comprehension the power of 
the imagination is baffled and helpless, and to whose appre- 
hension people cannot find the right way. 

1. Several of the titles given here to the Deity are included the 
QQ names of God {AsmaiUhasna), such as, al'Khaliq, al'Azim, 
al'Qadir, as'Samad, al'Aziz, al'Muhaiman etc. 

2. An excellent article on Genii may be consulted in Hughes's 
Dictionary of Islam. 

3. Cf. Alquran Surah xvi— 3. 

1 / 

U. There are no bounds to the obligations incurred by created 
beings for His bounty, and can the Angels be ever wearied 
of singing His praises? 

12. God, the Protector, is too exalted for His real nature to be 
understood: you cannot make comparison with Him, who is 
beyond compare (= peerless). 

13. O, Sadi! let this suffice you, and cut short your extravagant 
language. Do not give expression to claims, which will 
only entail shame. 


1. O you, who deny (the reality of) the mystic's sphere, you 
cannot understand the mad passion that obsesses their minds! 

2. The corner of (spiritual) freedom, and the treasure of con- 
tentment are a realm, which a king cannot acquire by the 
sword. 1 

3. The wise man does not seek after transitory glory: he is 
really wise, who is anxious about the issue (of his life). 

4. They who enjoy the unreal (= material) world, have not got 
the sense of reality, (and), whatever they possess (here), they 
leave with regret. 2 

5 The one leaves this garden (of pleasure) sore and sad at 

heart, while the other breaks his prison with joyful arms 

(= joyfully). 3 
6. (The mystic) has no wealth, which might cause him anxiety 

about the day of reckoning. He is like a water fowl, for 

which the storm has no terrors. 

1. I. e. freedom from "carnal ordinances" and contentment de- 
rived from the consciousness of the truth. 

2. An here signifies the feeling of reality {haqJqat). Hafiz uses 
It In the same sense In the following line; Dilbaran rust kl 
mile, miyane darad — Bandahe tal'ate an bash kl ane darad, 

3. By bagh is meant the present world, while zindan signifies 
the body, the prison house of the soul. The poet is con- 
trasting the materialist with the mystic. 

7. The Angel of death carries off by force the soul of the alien 
(to Love); but there is no need of violence in the case of 
the soul-sacrificing lover. 4 

8. The aspiration of the gnostic, who is a frenzied and dis- 
traught lover, are not centered in the present world, nay, 
nor in the world to come. 

Q. It was on the first day of creation thaf the Pact of Divine 
Love was offered to mankind, and the (Perfect) man would 
not break the Covenant even though his life were to pay 
the forfeit. 5 

10. 1 saw a helpless lover, consumed with passion, (and) said 
to him, "O my friend! do not harrow yourself by anxious 

IL The poor wretch heaved a deep sigh on account of his 
pain, and said "Let me be, helpless that I am"! 

12, "1 hear your attractive (= well meaning) advice; but alas! of 
what use is a cure to me, who am yearning for the pain". 6 

13. O Sadi! life is precious, (so) do not waste it in neglect: it 
is only the fool who "misses the tide". 


1. Our longing and patience in (the anguish of) Thy Love have 
been limitless. (So) heal our distracted hearts with (the ano- 
dyne of) Thy Union. 

4. i. e. The mystic welcomes death to self as being eternal life 
in God. 

5. The paimani muhabbat is an allusion to the passage in the 
Quran (Surah XXXIII-72), which refers to "the trust" being 
accepted by man after the earth, the Heavens, and the 
mountains had refused to bear it. According to the Sufi it 
was the trust of spiritual Love that was offered to man. 

6. He yearns for the presence of the Beloved, although Her 
cruelty will, he knows, wring his soul with anguish. 


2. The ordinary physician does not understand the cure of the 
pain of lovers. It is only Leilah that can assuage the 
anguish of the distracted Majnun. 

3. If Thou will not sympathise with Thy wretched, sorrow 
stricken, (lovers), Thou shouldst not have shown us Thy 
lovely fa in the first instance. 

4. Since Thou didst display it, and deprive our reason of stab- 
ility, and our hearts of patience. Thou oughtest now to suc- 
cour this impatient (lover of Thine). 

5. Formerly my mind was free from the desire for lovely Belles, 
but, as soon as I saw Thee, I chose the path to madness. 

6. My (sole) desire from the Here and Hereafter is Thy Union: 
or else, in Thy absence, this world and the next have no 
value in my eyes. 

7. O Beloved! I long so for a sight of Thee, that, if some day 
a sigh should escape my heart, it would burn up the seven 
seas. 1 

8. Come to me, so that for a while today we may be happy 
together in secret communion; for none knows in (this) world 
what may happen tomorrow. 

Q. O Sa'di! you continue to give utterance to sweet poetry in 
despite to your foes (= rivals); but how can the dropsical 
patient appreciate the taste of sweets? 2 

The names of the Seven Seas are as follows :- 

Al Bahrul akhzar = The Indian Ocean. 

Al Bahrul abyaz = The Mediterranean Sea. 

Al Bahrul aswad = The European Sea. 

Al Bahrul azraq = The Persian Gulf. 

Al Bahrul ahmar = The Red Sea. 

Al Bahrul Lut = The Dead Sea. 

Al Bahrul Khizar = The Caspian Sea. 

Dropsical patients dislike sweets because their consumption 

increases their thirst. The meaning is that Sa'di's poetry only 

serves to intensify the lover's fruitless longing for Union. 



1. This silly old fool is merry in a young person's company, 
though it is folly for the aged to measure his strength with 
the youthful. 1 

2. How strange it is that I, who have not the strength even to break 
a hair, should try issues with one who can snap a chain! 

3. When the cypress statured, silver bodied, (Beloved) takes the 
bow in her hand, 1 long to become a target for Her arrows. 

4. If the eyes of the prey should light on that hand and bow 
(of hers), it would advance till it fell into the snare of its 
own accord. 

5. Noone has ever seen a human being with sweeter speech 
than Thine. Was it sugar or milk that Thou didst drink 
from Thy mother's breasts? 

6. The period of youth's halcyon days lasts only a short time; 
(so) enjoy the passing hour, dear boy, for it is disastrous to 
delay. 2 

7. O you, who have warned me to close my eyes to the sight 
of Beauties! I can apply your advice as a resource against 
everything but fate. 

8. Our asceticism has been manifested, and our infidelity con- 
cealed for a long time; but we have now thrown off from 
our heads the veil of all this dissimulation. 3 

1. Sarkhush (= tipsy), or the first of the five stages of intoxi- 
cation, the other four being tardimagh, mast or sarmast, si- 
yahmast, and kharab. 

2. Bazar here signifies "splendour". The construction of naqd 
ra bash is puzzling. Naqd means "life", and the literal trans- 
lation seems to be, "belong to, or cleave to, life" = make the 
most of it {carpediem in fact). The line, if taken in its eso- 
leric sense, may refer to the Sufi doctrine that "the Mystic 
must live in the present, regarding neither yesterday nor to- 

3. Ziihd = orthodoxy. Kufr is here used in the Sufistic sense 
of unification, Cf. Galshani raz lines 878— 7Q; — Bazer'i 
kiifr Tmani ast pinhan — Hamesha kiifr az tasblhe haqq ast. 


9. O Sa'di! even if you were to lay your head in homage at 
at the Beloved's feet, you must still crave pardon for your 
shortcomings. 4 

— 5 — 

1. O cup bearer! Give me that bottle of liquid ruby (=red v^ine): 
ruby wine what of it (= why drink it)! Give me that wine 
which is food for the soul. 1 

2. Let the old father take the lead in quaffing cup after cup of 
wine, so that imposters may not find fault with the young- 
sters. 2 

3. You cannot bear the burden of the Beloved's love, unless you 
are intoxicated: verily it is the rutting camel that carries a 
heavy load. 

4. O Thou, whose face is the heartsease of mankind! it is not 
fitting that people should look upon the world without it 
(= exercise the faculty of vision in its absence). 

5. How can one describe Thy physical and spiritual charms? 
(For) Thy beauty has tied the tongue of praise. 

6. Beloved! even the bee wears stitched (on its shoulder) the 
infidel's badge of yellow, for the sake of the honey of the 
lips of Thee, whose waist is as slim as a wasp's. 3 

4. Sar dar paye kase nihadan = to submit to someone's will, 
as a disciple to his Pir, and also to die. 

1. The poet here contrasts the wine of the grape with spirit- 
ual wine, or the wine of Divine Love. He plays finely on 
the word qut and yaqut and the double meanings of ravan. 

2. The "old father" = the spiritual director: imposters = preten- 
ders to Divine Love: youngsters = novices. 

3. Asali was a patch of yellow cloth which the non- Muslims 
in Persia were compelled to wear on their shoulders by way 
of distinction. The meaning is obscure, but the poet seems 
to imply that even an insignificant creature like the bee adopts 
the cult of the infidel in order to taste the honey of the 

7.' Inasmuch as (the sight of) Thy face deprives me of my 
heart (= courage), I fear that in the end I shall be unable 
to save my life from Thy power. 

8. Either strike my wounded heart with the arrow of destruc- 
tion, so that 1 may resign my life (to Thee), or give me "the 
arrow of security". 4 

9. And when Thou art going to shoot me with Thine arrows, 
give me notice first, so that 1 may kiss beforehand Thy hand 
and Thy bow. 

10. Sa'di has suffered so much grief through Thy separation, 
that he cannot forget it even in the joy of Union. 

11. (For) if an arrow inflicts a wound, and it gets healed up, the 
scar cannot be effaced from the seat of the injury. 


1. Who has given such skill in archery to that delicate armed 
Beloved that an arrow of Her amorous glances is enough 
to kill a deer as prey? 1 

2. The prey of a thousand hearts will return to face Thine 
arrow, if shot from this kind of eyebrow bow that Thou 

3. Thou indeed hast no need of a cuirass or horse armour, 
as, on the day of battle. Thou canst don the armour of 
Thy tresses. 

4. The realm of India, and the empire of the Turks will be 
surrendered to Thee (by their rulers), when they see Thy 
lovely eyes and raven tresses. 

Beloved's h'ps, "infidel" being used in the Sufistic sense. Cf. 

Gulshan-i-raz line 872; — Miisiilman gar bldanisti ki but dust: 

bidanisti ki din dar biitparasttst. 
4. TTr-T-aman was an arrow inscribed with the king's name, which 

was handed to a surrendering enemy to ensure his safety, 
1. Kaman 5«^//^ literally means a "strong bow", but it is used here 

in its secondary signification, tamam literally = "is the end of". 


5. Surely the Magian priests, who attend on idols in Farkhar, 
cannot have seen the lovely sweetheart (= the Beloved that 
we serve). 2 

6. Do not subject the fortifications of the rebel's stronghold to 
bombardment with the balista, but just throw over the roof 
of the citadel the noose of Thy curls. 

7. Thou hast captured me, who have all my life continued to 
observe the seclusion of the griffin, as a falcon does a quail. 3 

8. I looked on thy (red) lips, and blood stained tears fell from 
my eyes: Thou gavest utterance to speech, and the value of 
pearls was depreciated. 

9. The lustre of Thy face has depreciated the market of the 
Sun and the Moon, just as the miraculous power of Moses 
overcame the magic spells of (Pharaoh's) sorcerers. 4 

10. Treasure cannot be gained by exerting useless toil; for to 
Fortune belongs predominance, and not to strength of arm. 

11. O Sa'di! it is only he, who can put up with a fickle dispo- 
sition, that surrenders his heart to the love of a fair face. 

-7 — 

1. If my moon (= Beloved) should unveil Her face the Sun 
would hide itself by reason of Her beauty. 

2. Farkhar was a city in China celebrated for the beauty of its 
inhabitants and the number of its idols. Sa'di was of course 
wrong in locating Magian (= fire worshipping) priests in 

3. The Anqa, or Simiirgh, is a mysterious bird, which was said 
to be "known as to name but unknown as to body", and 
hence the phrase anqa shudan = to disappear. It is some- 
times identified in Sufi literature with the unknown God. 

4. Cf. for this incident Quran (Surah vii— 101— 123 and Exodus 
chapter vii verses 8 — 13). According to the Bible it was Aaron, 
not Moses, whose rod swallowed up the rods of Pharoah's 


2. One might say that Thy two fascinating recluse-alluring eyes 
had deprived my eyes of sleep by the spell of their magic. 

3. The very first glance (at Her beauty) took the reins of wisdom 
from my control, and how can he who has lost his reason 
follow the right course? 

4. I thought that, perhaps, through Union 1 might win release 
from (the pangs of) Love; (but) the drinking of water brings 
no relief to a dropsical patient. 1 

5. Your claim to Love is void unless you are prepared to drink 
pure poison from the loved one's hands as readily as eaii 

6. Love is an attribute of Humanity, (and), if you do not possess 
this mystic sense, you are but a partner with beasts in eat- 
ing and sleeping. 2 

7. Bring the fire (of Love and ecstasy) and burn up the granary 
(= phenomenal existence) of the spirtually free (= mystics), 
that the king may not demand taxes on what is destroyed. 3 

8. I am always afraid that I shall be consumed by the ardour 
of my love. For how long can meat (for roasting) be left on 
the fire? 4 

9. Some folk are drunk with wine, but lack a mistress; whereas 
I am so intoxicated with Her (love) that I have no need of 

\. Union only serves to intensify his love, just as the drinking 
of water makes a dropsical patient more thirsty. 

2. Zaiiq, or the faculty of distinguishing between truth and 
falsehood by the light of Divine grace, is the characteristic 
of human beings, and if a man does not possess it, he is 
no better than an animal. 

3. The esoteric meaning of the last hemistich is "so that God 
may not find anything of Self to punish with the penalty of 
separation from Him". 

4. Kabab by a metaphor, which sounds strange to European 
ears, is frequently used in Persian as the symbol for a heart 
burning with love. 


10. O Sa'di! did I not warn you against wali<ing into the snare 
Love? For the arrow of Her glance would (even) overthrow 
Afrasyab. 5 



1. Our longing and patience have passed all limits, if Thou 
hast the power of self restraint, our strength to endure is 

2. Look but once with the eyes of kindness on our (pitiful) 
state; for (even) the beggar gets relief from the table of the 

3. A king has the power to get angry with his courtiers, but 
there is a limit to his cruelty. 

4. I care not for life without Thee; for there is no pleasure in 
prolonging our existence in the Beloved's absence. 

5. When I die of thirst, what good is it then to water the grass 
of my grave with tears? 

6. The state of my misery baffles description. When Thou dost 
return I will tell Thee of my condition. 

7. Come back and take my precious life from me as a gift; for 
what other provision for a guest can a poor beggar offer? 

8. O God! grant the lover respite and security, till he sees 
once more the face of his Beloved. 

9. In the eyes of Beauties, O brother! neither the power of a 
king, nor the asceticism of a devotee has any value. 

10. O would that the veil might fall from the face of Leilah, so 
that noone may be left to oppose the claims of (=criticise) 
the afflicted Majnun! 1 

5. Afrasyab was a famous warrior king of Turan, who overcame 
Nauzer of the Peshdadian dynasty, and ruled over Persia for 
twelve years. He was defeated by Kai Khusro, the founder 
of the Kaianian line of kings. 

1. In other words the people who critcised Majnun for his 
folly in loving Leilah would change their views when they 
beheld her unveiled beauty. Majnun's real was Qais, 


11. O Sa'di! Misery and happiness are predestined (by God), so 
whatever lot befalls you, submit to your fate- 2 



1. I (never) beheld a face (endov^ed) v^ith such beauty and love- 
liness (as Thine), nor have any tresses the charm and attrac- 
tiveness (of Thine). 

2. If the hard-hearted, delicate bodied, (Beloved), were to hide 
Her face, (it would not matter), as musk is a tell tale and 
cannot conceal its fragrance. 

3. O Thou, who art equally attractive in respect of outward 
form and spiritual reality! I have not beheld so beautiful a 
face, nor so charming a nature, as Thine, as long as 1 have 
had eyes to see. 

4. if I should become dazed through my helplessness, do not 
blame me; since it is Thou that dost wield the bat, the ball 
is not in fault. 

5. He who has sometimes experienced rapture (= ecstasy), and 
on occasion, intoxication, delights in the cries of drunken 
revellers, and their shouts of joy (= noisy mirth). 1 

6. We seek reproach with all our hearts in the market of Love: 
the corner of seclusion is (only) for pious ascetics. 2 

and he is supposed to have lived in the reign of Hisham 
about 721 A. D. 
2. Predestination {taqdlr) is the sixth article of the Muhamme- 
dan creed, and forms a very important feature in the Mus- 
lim system. Cf. Quran (IV — 49) "All things have been created 
by fixed decree", and (IX— 51) "By no means can aught be- 
fall us but what was destined for us". 

1. The rapture and intoxication referred to here are those in- 
duced by Divine Love. Mystics, who engage in the circu- 
lar dance {sama), utter frenzied ejaculations {haya huye) in 
their ecstasy. 

2. Worldly censure is welcomed by mystics. Cf. Hafiz 11.4Q6. 
6, as quoted by Nicholson (Shams i Tabriz pp 23); 


7. The garden needs nothing else to enhance its beauty: nay, 
(I am wrong), it lacks a cypress like Thee on the banks of 
the stream, 

8. O sweet scented Rose! if spring time should recur for a 
hundred years, you would never see another sweet-tongued 
nightingale like me. 3 

9. O Sa'di! if you cannot imprint a kiss upon Her hand, your 
only alternative is to rub your face on Her foot. 

— 10- 

1. What good would a volume of wisdom be to a reckless 
lover? The mind of a man crazed with love cannot bear 
being preached to. 

2. If your wOrds can mingle water with fire, they cannot join 
Love to patience. 1 

3. The use of the eye is to see the Beloved, and if it does not 
look at Her, of what avail is vision? 

4. Lovers are indifferent to the rebukes of friend and foe: (so) 
either endure the torture of the Beloved's love, or the tor- 
ment of disgrace. 2 

5. Every one knows that 1 love the green down (on the Beloved's 
face), and not, like other animals, the verdure of the plain. 

"1 said they blame my fond pursuit of thee. 
Whoever loved and lived from slander free"? 
3. The Beloved is the Celestial Rose, whose praises are sung 
by Sa'di. 

1. Sa'di appears to be addressing here the preacher referred to 
in the previous lines and telling him that, though he may 
attempt the impossible task of mixing fire with water, he 
cannot by his advice make him endure the agony of love 
with patience. 

2. In other words he must endure love's anguish in silence, 
or put up with the reproaches of friends if it is divulged. 


6. On the day that 1 was ensnared by that sweet-heart of Yagh- 
ma, I gave up to plunder (= surrendered) my heart and my 
patience, 3 

7. I grant that the cypress possesses symmetry and stately 
stature; (but) tell it to look at the movements of my grace- 
ful (Beloved). 

8. If Thou shouldst drive (Thy lover) away, he would not go, 
or, if he did, he would return; for the fly cannot dispense 
with (= leave) the confectioner's counter. 

9. Noone can excel Thee in beauty, nor rival me in poetry; for 
my style, and Thy loveliness are unsurpassable. 

10. O Sa'di! the drummer, whose turn of duty it was tonight, 
has not sounded the morning drum, or, perhaps, there is no 
dawn to follow (this) night of loneliness. 

— 11 — 

1. If Thou wert to throw off Thy veil in the midst of the city 
Thou wouldst consign to torment a thousand sincere belie- 

2. Who has the power to look upon Thy auspicious face, (which 
is) of such a character (= so dazzling in beauty) that Thou 
canst ravish hearts behind the veil? 1 

3. Our hearts do not remain for a single instant void (of Thy 
love): now that Thou hast conquered the city, do not per- 
mit its destruction. 

4. Thou hast fettered the feet of my heart with thy plaited hair, 
O blest (Beloved)! when Thou hast finished plaiting Thy 
hair, do not avert Thy face from me, 2 

3, Note the pun on the double meaning of Yaghma, 

1. The veil of phenomena cannot altogether occlude the divine 
influence from the mystic's heart. 

2. The only point in this line is the play on the double mean- 
ing of taftan. 


5. The tale of my love falls flat on Thine ears (= makes no 
impression on Thee); for Thou dost not realise, O dew-dren- 
ched Rose! the condition of Thy thirsty (lover). 

6. if the lamp is blown out, what does the zephyr care, and 
if fine lawn is disintegrated, what does it matter to the moon 
beams? 3 

7. I have blessed Thee, aud if Thou shouldst abuse (= curse) 
me it would be easy to bear; for it is pleasant to converse 
with sweet-spoken dear ones (on any terms). 

8. O you, who reproach and taunt us, how can you do it? 
For you are (safe) on the shore, while we are plunged in 
the whirlpool. 

Q. It is useless for one who is in the bonds of misfortune to 
curse his luck: (but), if help for you is forthcoming, take ad- 
vantage of it. 

10. Although it is impossible for me to feel resigned to the ab- 
sence of the Beloved's face, (still) 1 must of necessity exercise 
the same patience that a fish out of water does. 

11. O Sa'di! you are again boasting of your self restraint, (say- 
ing) that you would not surrender your heart to any one; 
but "every boaster is a liar". 4 


1. The dust of the Beloved's street is my water of life, and, 
if the Here and Hereafter are blissful to others, we are devo- 
ted to the love of the Beloved's face. 

2. There is no (cause for) tumult in the city save the curls of 
the sweet-heart's locks: There is no (source of) mischief in 
the Universe but the curve of the Beloved's eye-brows. 

3. Kattan is linen of so fine a texture that even moonbeams are 
said to spoil it. The poet means that Her lover's destruc- 
tion means nothing to the Beloved. 

4. This is an Arabic proverb. 


3. What is the drink of (ardent) admirers? It is poison from 
the sweet-heart's hands. What is the salve for devoted 
lovers? It is the wound (inflicted) by the Beloved's arm. 1 

4. If the Beloved were to accept me as Her slave, here is my 
ear, and the ring, (as a token) of bondage to Her, till the 
Judgment day. 2 

5. (Even) if my dust were scattered over the world (= my body 
were reduced to dust), the wind could not blow it away 
from the Beloved's street. 

6. If my doom should overtake me (= I should die) on the 
night of separation, I would pitch my tent by the Beloved's 
side on the day of Resurrection. 

7. Each Ode of mine is an epistle, which contains the story 
of my love; (but) what is the use of writing a letter which 
does not reach the Beloved? 

8. O Sa'di! indulge not in (vain) boasts. Your poetry is indeed 
magical, but magic will not buy (= win) you a single enchan- 
ting glance from the Beloved. 3 


1. Every city is a home for him, who has no abiding place: 
wherever night overtakes the Derwesh, there he makes his 
abode. 1 

2. Call not the homeless (wanderer), who possesses nought 
but God, a beggar; for his beggary is empire. 

1. "True spirituality (to quote Juan de la Cruz) seeks in God 
the bitter more than the agreeable, and prefers suffering to 
solace" (Nicholson Shamsi Tabriz ode VI — 1). 

2. A ring in the ear was the symbol of servitude in the East, 

3. This line develops the idea expressed in the previous verse 
that his poetry, however beautiful it may be, makes no im- 
pression on the Beloved's cruel heart. 

1. Under the symbol of the wandering monk Sa'di typifies the 
character of the mystic. 


3. The man of God is not an alien either in the East or West; 
for, however far he travels, it is all his Lord's domain. 

4. He who has become a stranger to (= estranged from) wealth, 
greatness, and power, is a friend to every one he meets. 

5. The short sighted seek ease, but the gnostic desires afflic- 
tion, for his real comfort lies in suffering. 2 

6. When the lover finds an opportunity of seeing the Beloved, 
every one he looks upon afterwards is a dragon (= disagree- 
able) in his eyes. 

7. Abandon all you possess, and pass on; for this transitory 
life, which is terminable by death, is of no account. 

8. The kingdom of delight and everlasting bliss wil be the 
blood-wit of him, who has fallen a victim to the sword of 
Love. 3 

9. Whatever is vouchsafed you from the Beloved's hands is 
sweet, O Sa'di! (So) seek not your own pleasure, since such 
is Her will. 4 

— 14- 

1. God bless Thy soul! For how sweet are Thy lips and teeth! 

2. Let him, who has lost his Joseph=like heart, look for it in 
the pit (dimple) of Thy chin! 1 

3. No sedition arises in Pars save from Thy seductive eyes. 2 

2. The mystic regards the trials {bala) of this world as a pro- 
bation for the joys of the next. Vide note 1 of ode 12. 

3. Khunbaha is the sum paid to the heirs of a murdered man 
in commutation of retaliation {qisas). 

4. Selflessness is the key of the mystic's creed. 

1. He has lost his heart to the Beloved, just as Joseph was 
lost to his father Jacob. In the second hemistich there is a 
reference to the well into which Joseph was thrown by his 

2. A subtle compliment to the Ata Beg Ruler of Pars. Note 
the pun on fltna and fattan. 


4. Even if the cypress were able to walk, it could never attain 
Thy grace of movement. 

5. Thy night is like the day to other folk; for in Thy bedcham- 
ber the sun is (shining). 3 

6. O garden of spirituality! how long must we complain against 
Thy gardener? 4 

7. We are Thy nightingales (= lovers), so let us plain for a 
while in Thy garden. 

8. if Thou shouldst practise a thousand acts of cruelty and 
harshness (against me), I would still love Thee a thousand 
times as much. 

Q. We have tested the strong arm of Patience, (and) it is (like) 
a glass vessel on the anvil (of Thy Love). 

10. Whether Thou remainest faithful, or not, we will carry out 
our pact (of fidelity) to Thee. 

11. Accept from me the good tidings of the joy of Union, if 1 
should die through the pain of Thy separation. 5 

12. O Sa'di! you will become a live (= great) gnostic, if your 
life should come to an end in this quest. 6 


— 15- 

1. The station of the spiritually free (= mystics) is fixed on Her 
polo-ground, in the curve of whose bat my heart lies like 
a ball. 

3. i, e. the radiance of the Beloved's face illumines Her cham- 
ber even at night. 

4. By gardener is meant the raqJb, or guardian, or to use the 
language of the Sufis, the veil of phenomena, which hides Ood 
from his eyes. 

5. Sa'di means that by dying to self he will live eternally in 
God. The same idea is developed in the next line. 

6. According to some authorities ma'rifat is the fourth stage in 
the Sufi's journey, the others being: 

(1) 'ubudiyat, (2) 'ishq, (3) ziilid, (5) wajd, (6) haqJqat, and 
(7) fana. 

2 17 

2. There is no road that people (-= lovers) can traverse outside 
the Beloved's street: for the masses of Her dishevelled tresses 
are fetters for their feet. 1 

3. How long will those, who are ignorant (of Love), counsel me 
to exercise patience? O Sage! Patience is no cure for my 

4. Whether She bestows a glance on poor me, or not, She is 
the mistress (to command), and I am Her obedient slave. 

5. If She should slay me for no fault of mine, it would only 
be my usual bad luck, and, if She were to cherish me with 
Her favour, it would be extreme kindness on Her part. 

6. I have no inclination for the garden, nor any love for the 
(garden) cypress. If any cypress is estimable, it is Her grace- 
ful figure. 2 

7. How can he sit still (in peace and comfort), who has lost 
his heart, or how can he escape, who is in bondage to Her? 

8. The spirtually blind reproach the ardent lover for his bewil- 
derment; (but) he, who is not bewildered by Her, has no 
part or lot in Love. 3 

9. No one has seen a rose like Thee in the garden of the Age, 
especially when a bird like me is the nightingale of Her 

10. If skilful archers were to shoot every bird with their arrows, 
alas for the nightingale, which gives utterance to all these 
melodious songs! 4 

IL O Sa'di! if you are in quest of the Beloved, tread the (Mys- 
tic) Path, and endure affliction; for the Beloved's face is 
your Ka'bah. and Patience is its desert. 5 

L The play on the words jama' and pareshan may be noted. 

2. By garden and cypress are meant material joys. 

3. Because the mysteries of divine Love can only be apprehen- 
ded in a state of ecstasy. 

4. If the Beloved is out to slay Her lovers by Her amorous 
glances, Sa'di cannot hope to escape. 

5. The way-farer on the Mystic Way must be prepared to un- 
dergo trials and dangers, like pilgrims on the way to Mecca, 
before he reaches his journey's end in the Ka'bah of Union- 



1. O Thou, whose mouth contains my water of life, the arrow 
aimed at my manifest (=certain) destruction is (fixed) in Thy bow ! 

2. Thou wilt be responsible for the death of every one in the 
city, unless Thou lettest down a veil over this beauty of Thine. 

3. 1 will not compare Thy face with the Sun, for that would 
be praising the Sun, and not enhancing Thy status. 

4. If Thou wouldst grant us one look with the corner of Thine 
eye, (it would be a favour), and if not, it is Thine to com- 

5. Most people think of a (new) friend and companion every 
day, (while) our heads are still laid on Thy threshold. 1 

6. Many fruit-laden trees have we seen, but none better have 
we beheld than those in Thy garden. 

7. If the lover's hands cannot reach the fruit, what fault is it 
of the garden? it is Thy gardener who is to blame for pre- 
venting it. 2 

8. Many thoughts have flitted through my mind; (but) the pic- 
ture (= impression) that never leaves my heart is of Thine 

9. if Thou, O Beloved! shouldst display enmity to me a thou- 
sand times, my heart would never cease to love Thee. 

10. O Sa'di! cherish a wish for Union in proportion to your 
worth: our Phoenix (= Beloved) is not a fitinmate for your 
crow's nest. 3 

1. i. e. his love for the Beloved never wanes. 

2. The gardener is the Beloved's guardian, who prevents him 
from culling the fruit of the tree of Love. In other words 
his evil passions obscure his vision of God. 

3. The Simurgh is often used by Sufis to represent God. Sa'di 
means that the Beloved is too sublime to make his abode 
with him in the dark world of phenomena. 

2* 19 

-17 — 

1. O Beloved! if it be Thy will that we should be will-less, 
then the fulfilment of our desire is not permissible without 
Thy consent. 1 

2. Whether Thou dost receive us, or drivest us from Thy side, 
to oppose Thy will is contrary to our creed. 

3. if Thy kindly feeling towards us has undergone a change, 
the love for Thee which we feel is flawless. 

4. Thou wilt not hurt my feelings by whatever Thou doest to 
me: (for) whatever the Beloved approves of in regard to Her 
lover is legitimate. 

5. Although there was hatred and strife among the Arab tribes, 
there was love and amity between Leilah and Majnun. 2 

6. A thousand enmities arise through the words of slanderers, 
(while) between the lover and Beloved friendship is main- 

7. I am devoted to the figure of that blouseclad Sweet-heart, 
for the love of whose face a thousand garments are rent. 3 

8. I cannot be patient even for a little while without the Be- 
loved; for I can never forego the wish for life. 4 

Q. Her beauty is ever before my eyes, but my passion (for 

1. In the first four lines of the Ode the poet discusses the ques- 
tion of free will. Cf. Qulshani raz section ix of Whinfield's 
Preface; — "the illuson of free will must be shaken off in the 
conviction that the only free agent is *'the Truth", and man 
a passive instrument in His hands. Man's true glory lies in 
abandoning self-will, and finding his true will in the will 
of God". 

2. He means that although the Arab tribes to which Leilah and 
Majnun respectively belonged were at feud, their love for 
each other remained unaltered. 

3. The pun on the double meaning qaba may be noted. 

4. He means that the Beloved is his life, which he is not willing 


Her) remains the same: if the beggar were given the whole 
world he would still be a beggar (= crave for more). 5 

10. Faults and virtues make no difference in the eyes of gene- 
rous friends, when the object is really to please (= conciliation). 

11. I reck not of reproach on account of Thy love, and if peo- 
ple revile me, 1 am not alone in that respect. 

12. Every one, who sees such a charming personality (as the 
Beloved), will certainly say that she exactly resembles a cyp- 

13. You said it was wrong to look on the face of Beauties: it is 
not wrong, and I consider that this notion of yours is mis- 

14. Sa'di is happy in spite of the anguish of separation from 
the Beloved, for although pain wrings his heart, he is hope- 
ful of a cure. 

15. Misery and distress weigh on the Mystic's heart today (=in 
this present life) ; (but) he is happy on that account, for he 
has hopes of mercy tomorrow (-at the Resurrection). 6. 

— 18 — 

1. O Thou, whose figure is more agile than the moving (=grace- 
ful) cypress! My heart through the sight of Thy face feels 
more joyous even than Thy face (appears). 

2. I fear no more the cruel dart of death; for it is not more ter- 
rible than thy murderous glance. 

3. The garment of spiritual Reality has always fitted me well ; 
but it sits still more gracefully on Thy lovely figure. 

5. He can never be satiated with the Beloved's beauty, just 
like the beggar who, in spite of getting all the world can 
give, still craves for more. For this meaning of gada Cf. 
Shamsi Tabriz Ode x — 11 (Nicholson's edition); 'Svhatking 
but is a beggar of Thee with heart and soul". 

6. He regards the trials of this life as a probation to fit him 
for the joys of the Hereafter. 


If my enemies cavil at the purity of my glance, the Beloved's 

skirt (Praise be to God!) is purer than that. 1. 

Since the Rose of Thy face has bloomed in the garden of 

beauty, the veil of my patience has been more completely 

rent than the petals of an (opening) rose. 

If Thou desirest to strut along proudly, set Thy feet on 

Sa'di's eyes; for they are a hundred times more lowly than 

the dust of thy door. 2. 


1. She is kind to everyone (else), and spiteful to me; but what 
can I do, for such is my fate ! 

2. O my soul! you ought not to measure your (puny) strength 
again with a silvery (= delicate) arm? 

3. He, who is prudent, does not put down his foot, till he ex- 
amines the ground. 1. 

4. Wise folk, who are in bondage to love, resemble a foolish 
boy playing with a pretty coloured snake. 2. 

5. He, who is afflicted with the pain of separation sleeps only 
on the night when the grave is his pillow. 

1. i.e. the Beloved's purity is beyond cavil, however much the 
purity of my glance may be criticised. 

2. The meaning seems to be, '^if Thou wilt reveal Thyself, let 
the overwhelming vision of Thy beauty fall on Sa'di's eyes, 
which on account of their lowliness are worthy to receive 
that vision''. The vision of God is granted only to those who 
are as dust=lowly. Cf. the phrase, Allahu 'Inda qulub il 

1. A poetical rendering of the English proverb "look before 
you leap". 

2. A reference to the eternal conflict between Reason and Love. 
The wise man unwittingly succumbs to the power of Love, 
just like a bo^, who, unconscious of the danger, plays with 
a snake and is bitten. 


6. Let people not lament over my destruction; for this is not 
the first time that it has occurred. 

7. I must endure all this cruelty; for my love is a thousand 
times as great. 

8. Although a man may capture a lion in his noose, when he 
gets caught in Her snare he is utterly helpless. 

9. If thou shouldst give me a thousand bitter answers, my belief 
would still be that they were sweet. 

10. O Sa'di! submit (=be resigned) to annihilation; for that is 
the only resource against the strong armed (Beloved). 3. 

11. My heart is gone and my eyes are suffused with blood, while 
only my poor life remains, and that is left merely in order 
that I may sacrifice it for the Beloved. 

— 20 — 

1 . O auspicious footed courier, who holds the Beloved's letter ! 
tell me nothing but her heart alluring message. 1. 

2. How pleasant it is to hear of her condition from the Belo- 
ved's lips, or from one who has heard it from Her lips! 

3. O my familiar friend! Where is the standard of the caravan, 
so that I may lay -my head at the feet of the Beloved's camel- 
driver? 2. 

3. NJstJ=fana, or self annihilation, which is "to die spiritually 
so far as the senses are concerned during life (Juan de la 
Cruz), and which- is attained by absorption in the glory of 
the Creator, and by contemplation of the Truth" (Sliaiusi- 
Tabriz Ode 1 — 4, Nicholson's Edition). 

1. Nishan bears here its secondary signification of a Prince's 

2. The leading camel of a caravan used to carry a flag to dis- 
tinguish it. The cameldriver=the spiritual director, and sar- 
nihadan dar qadam'i kase=io die at someone's feet, and here 
to die to self. The spiritual director is represented as bring- 
ing a message of solace from the Beloved to Sa'di's heart. 


4. If our contemporaries scatter gold as a mark of devotion, 
we will sacrifice our heads (—lives) at the feet of the mess- 
age bearer. 

5. Alas and alack for my helplessness! For it is beyond my 
power to seize the Beloved's reins. 

6. I am so afflicted by the Beloved's love, that, whoever sees 
me, pities my condition save only the Beloved's cruel heart. 

7. Whether the Beloved slays her slave or cherishes him, sub- 
mission is the duty of the slave, and authority the right of 
the Beloved. 

8. If the Beloved's sleeve should not fall within my grasp, 1 
will still keep my head on Her threshold as long as 1 live. 

9. No one leaves the world without regret save the martyr to 
Love, (who is slain) by an arrow from the Beloved's bow. 3. 

10. Since Thy departure, nothing has passed through (-occupied) 
Sa'di's mind, and is there anyone in the world who can take 
the Beloved's place there? 



1. Whence did this ministrel come, who has uttered the Be- 
loved's name? (Tell me), so that I may give my body and 
soul for the sake of a message from her. 1. 

2. My heart revives through the hope of the Beloveds' fidelity : 
my soul dances (with joy) at hearing her words. 

3. Whoever has succumbed to the intoxication of Love through 
(drinking) the Beloveds' cup, wilT not return to his senses 
till the blast of the last trump. 2. 

3. The Mystic welcomes death for the Beloved's sake as a spi- 
ritual resurrection. 

1. The Minstrel is the spiritual director, who is inspired to de- 
liver the Divine message of hope to Mystics. 

2. The ecstasy, or loss of personal consciousness, induced by 
drinking the wine of Divine Love, will last till the Judgment 
Day, or, in other words, noone, who has once experienced 
the rapture of Union with God, will return to normal, non- 
mystical, consciousness till the Resurrection. 


4. After this if I should travel abroad, I shall not bring (home) 
any souvenir save a greeting from the Beloved. 3. 

5. The love sick one will not recover but through the Beloveds' 
fragrance and, if he must perish, he will not die save with the 
Beloveds' name on his lips. 

6. Once I used to be the ruler of my Kingdom (=master of 
myself) ; but now I am in bondage to the Beloved in respect 
of my will and purpose. 4. 

7. If the Beloved cares for another (lover), and is indifferent 
to me, I have no one else to take Her place. 

8. If it is not possible for me to set my foot on the Beloveds' 
terrace, the only alternative is to lay down my head (= die) 
on the ground below it. 

9. Who dares to mention a beggar in the presence of a king? 
(For) there is a vast difference between my poverty and his 

10. And if it is the Beloved's will to slay Sa'di unjustly, to die 
in fulfilment of Her wish is life enough (=indeed) for him. 


-22 — 

1. The world was thrown into such a tumult by Thy beauty, 
that it was impossible to raise ones' eyes from Thee even 
for an instant. 

2. What anguish: has been wrought in the hearts of Thy kindly 
lovers by the mischief of Thine unkind (=cruel) and mur- 
derous glances ! 

3. I was divorced from reason and wellbeing on the day when 
the people began to talk about Thee. 

3. Armagham is literally a present that a travaller brings to his 
family or friends, after a journey. He implies that the Be- 
loveds' greeting is the most precious of gifts. 

4. He means that formerly he was selfwilled, but that now he 
has abandoned his selfwill, and finds his true will in the will 
of God. 


4. Nothing was left of the garden or orchard^when the cypress 
tree of Thy figure grew, and threw them both into a tumult 
of perturbation. 1. 

5. Be friendly towards us, and take care not to cast us from Thy 
sight; for the enemy has defamed us on Thy account. 

6. I swear by Thine eyes that it would be a pity if the eyes that 
were withdrawn from Thee should be directed to the moon 
of the sky. 

7. Some day this story will reach (the ears of) Thy friends that 
Sa'di went in quest of the Beloved, and laid down his life for 
Her sake. 

— 23 — 

1. O cupbearer! What a number of hearts hast Thou stolen with 
(the charm) of thy mischief-provoking eyes. Ah! would that I 
might snatch a few kisses from that heart-ravishing chin of 

2. How long will the arrows of Thy amorous glances be darted 
in secret? (For) Reason has surrendered to Thee on account 
of their murderous fire. 

3. Thou dost associate with us, and then forsakest us: Thou 
dost manifest Thyself to us, and then snatchest Thyself 
away. Alas for that anger of Thine that is covered (=camou- 
flaged) with (outward) kindness, and that poison of Thine 
that is mixed with sugar! 

4. If Shirin had seen Thy sweet lips in speech, she would (still) 
have been under an obligation to Thee, had she even offered 
Thee the Kingdom of Parwiz. 1. 

1. Cf. the line in the Lubbl lubab; — 

Ay naiibehare husne baharan mashau babagh, 
ta chand niz raunaqe giilzar nashikanad. 
1. i. e. the Kingdom of Persia would have been too small a 
price to pay for such a treat. Khusru Parwiz, the king of 
Persia, was the husband of Shirin, who was in love with 


5. The world might have rest for a while from turmoil and 
tumult, were it not for Thy city-disturbing face and mis- 
chievous eyes, 

6. How could a person care anj longer for sobriety, if he saw 
Thy hand in the bosom of early-rising drunkards? 2. 

7. O Sa'di! quaff cup after cup of the pure wine (of Divine 
Love) ; for your asceticsm and abstinence are out of tune 
with the drunkards of the convivial assembly. 3. 

-24 — 

1. There is no Beauty equal in coquettishness to my heart- 
ravishing sweetheart: the Prankish necklet is not be com- 
pared to her curly locks. 1. 

2. Although you may not be able to see her mouth except 
when speaking, still, if you look at it carefully, you will 
find it is not so constricted (=sad) as my heart. 2. 

3. Thou slayest a whole army of lovers with Thy murderous 
glances. Slay on! for no opponent can stand up against 

4. I have firmly seized in my grasp the skirt of Her Union; but 
what use is it, since Fortune is not gained by tightness of 

2. By ^'drunkards" are meant mystics, who are intoxicated with 
the wine of Divine Love, and in intimate communion with the 
Beloved. They rise early to quaff the morning draught of 
wine (subuh). 

3. "Drunkards of the convivial assembly"^Mystics of the 
Circle. Sa'di is enjoined to abandon conventional reh'gion 
and join them. 

1. The halqah firangi was a gold necklet, worn by European 
Christians, composed of a number of interlaced rings. 

2. A reference to the small size of the Beloved's mouth. 


5. And if She does not favour me, it would (indeed) be strange; 
for there is no slave of Sa'd Abu-Bakr, (son of) Sa'd Zangi, 
(as loyal) as Sa'di. 3. 


1. What face is that which precedes the caravan? Perhaps it 
is a candle (=torch) in the Camel-driver's hand. 

2. You might say it was Solomon seated in his litter, whose 
throne is moving (=borne) on the Eastern breeze. 1. 

3. The beauty of her moonlike (Hovely) face, seated on high, 
resembles the moon of Heaven. 

4. A heavenly face it is inside the litter, like the sun occupy- 
ing a zodiacal sign. 

.5. O ye sages! behold this phenomenon; namely a sun under 
a canopy. 

6. Like a lotus in the water, and the sun behind a cloud, Her 
fairylike face is concealed under a silken veil. 

7. She, who is hidden behind a veil, has suddenly disclosed 
my love-secret. 2. 

8. The camel has outstripped me in speed, because I am carry- 
ing a heavier load than it. 3. 

3. In this line by a common rhetorical trick the subject of SaMi's 
eulogy is changed from the Beloved to his patron, Abu Bakr, 
who reigned in Shiraz for 34 years from 1226 to 1260 A. D. 
He compliments his patron by saying that his devotion to 
him is the best reason why the Beloved should favour him. 

1. Solomon had a carpet of green silk, on which his throne 
was placed, being of prodigious length and breadth, and 
sufficient for all his forces to stand on. When all was in 
order the wind transported it with all that were upon it, 
wherever he pleased. 

2. Literally="Iifted the veil from the face of my love affair"' 

3. i.e. the burden of his love. 


9. How perfidious and faithless is that cruel unkind (sweet- 
heart) ! 

10. If this be the extent of Thy regard for us, our fidelity and 
loyalty remain the same as ever, 

11. O Cameldriver! please stop for a while your litter; (for) 
this is the last moment of the time for Union. 4. 

12. We have been faithful to our pact, but Thou hast acted 
treacherously. Be off, Sa'di! for this is your requital for 
that. 5. 

13. Did you not know that the last stage of old age is not the 
time to measure one's strength with the young? 6. 


— 26- 

1. Thine eyes, sword-wise, have flashed forth murderous glan- 
ces, so that they all at once deprive mankind of reason and 

2. Thy love has completely sapped the foundations of Reason: 
Thy cruelty has altogethei closed the door of Hope. 

3. The lover, by reason of the anguish Thou causest him, has 
given vent to lamentations: the true Believer on account of 
his love for Thee has donned the idolater's girdle. 1. 

4. Sa'di entreats his spiritual director to put him en rapport 
with the Divine Beloved, as ''now is the accepted time, now 
is the day of salvation". 

5. i.e. the Beloved's perfidy is a requital for his fidelity. 
This is a remark made by one of Sa'di's critics, into whose 
mouth the next line is also put. 

6. Sa'di speaks here as a very old man, and this may have been 
one of his last Odes. 

1. Cf. the following verses from the Gulshani raz:- 
885. "The knotted girdle is the emblem of obedience". 
Q30."Form accords not with true obedience, 
Practise true obedience and abandon form". 


4. A tumult has occured in the Monastery through the descrip- 
tion of Thy face, (and) the Mystic has betaken himself to 
the Tavern. 2. 

5. I am told by everyone I consult about that sweetheart's 
cruelty that I ought to wean my heart from this (love) affair. 

6. I can free my mind from solicitude about my life, but I 
cannot refrain from looking at the Beloved. 3. 

7. Sa'di has been often sorely grieved in secret; (but) on this 
occasion he has thrown off the veil from (=divulged) his 
(love) secrets. 4. 

— 27 — 

1. He is a king who assorts with Shirin: he is in Paradise 
(=state of bliss), who has a black eyed Hun as abed-fellow. 1. 

2. (True) felicity is that which affords the possibility of free- 
dom from care (=enjoyment) : to recline on a mateless pillow 
fails to give one sufficient opportunity for it. 

3. Everyone tells stories of the idols of China; but our idol 
(=-Sweetheart) is one, in every twist of whose hair there lies 
a China (=a whole country of idols). 

4. If She, who wears silver rings in Her ears, were to unveil 
Her face, everyone would say that the latter was the moon, 
and the former the Pleiades. 

2. The Mystic, as soon as his heart is illumined by the ''inner- 
light", abandons the external forms of religion, and the ill- 
usion of self, and becomes "a haunter of taverns, which is 
to be freed from self.". Cf. (line 839 of the Gulshani raz). 

3. He must die to self before he can behold the Beloved's beau- 


4. He can no longer sorrow in secret, but must divulge his 
hidden love by lamentation, 

1. Shirin and hRniVain are symbols for the Beloved. Note the 
pun on the double meaning of Khusru, and the play 
on bihisht and hiir. 


5. Even if I did not love Her, all the world (11 everyone else) 
does. See what a Weisa (=my Beloved) is, who has Ramlns 
(Hovers) all around Her! 2. 

6. Of Thy kindness, pray, turn towards us the hair's breadth 
of a (^slight) glance, O Thou in every tip of whose hair 
there lie the hearts of a hundred poor (-=lovers) ! 

7. My eyes are only open to look on Thy face: one might say 
that through love of Thee, 1 hate everyone in the world. 

3. Whoever styles Thee the moon (-beauty) of Khutan, and 
a moving (=graceful) cypress, only pays regard to the ex- 
ternal aspect of Thy face and figure. 

U. Call me Thy slave, for I would attain kingship thereby: 
the fly, which Thou causest to soar upwards, would indeed 
be a royal falcon. 3. 

10. Sa'di's fame for gallantry has penetrated everywhere, and 
this is no sin on his part: nay, in our creed it is a praise-; 
worthy practise. 4. 

11. The infidel is devoted to his idolworship, the true Believer 
to his prayers, (and) I to (spiritual) Love: everyone you 

. see has a religion in accordance with his views. 

— 28 — 

1. The sun is canopied under the shade of Her night-black 
locks: the Tuba tree of Paradise is a slave to (=ravished by) 
Her figure, which sways like a firtree. 1. 

2. Fakhrud din As'ad Turjanl, or, according to Daulat-Shah, 
Nizame UruzT, wrote a romance on the loves ofWeisa andRamln, 
based on an old Pahlavi original. This was written in 1048 A. D. 

3. Parwaz in the language of Sufis is a stage in the Divine 
life. Sa'di means that a lowly creature like himself would 
indeed be exalted, if by the Divine guidance he were to 
attain a further stage in the journey up to God. 

4. ShahidbazT must be taken in a good sense here - love for 
the Divine Beloved. 

1. i.e. Her face, radiant as the sun, is hidden behind the cloud 
of Her raven tresses. 


2. Can that be a figure? Nay, it is indeed (a personification 
of) the Day of Resurrection; for it is like the confusion 
of Doomsday to me when she gets up. 2, 

3. The idea of death is pleasing to my mind in this (Love) 
affair; for the Water of life is contained in Her ruby lips. 3. 

4. Is it the fragrance of spring that is exhaled, or the morn- 
ing-breeze? Is it the Northwind, which passes, or a message 
from Her (that reaches my heart)? 4. 

5. My heart has boasted that it was a wise bird; (but) look! 
it has a fallen prey to Her snare-like tresses. 

6. I have always been helpless in Her snare, and lo! I am re- 
duced to poverty, for it is Her wish. 5. 

7. The heart in my bosom is tormented every moment through 

its anxiety to know, whose slave (=dariing) she is, whose 
slave is Sa'di. 

— 29 — 

1. Last night the vision of Thy face kept passing before my 
eyes, and my stricken body became senseless through love. 

2. The Phoenix of my body, away from its happy nest, was 
rolling in the dust like a throat-severed bird. 1. 

2. Note the word play in qamat, qiyamat and qiyam. 

3. He welcomes death to self which implies eternal life in God. 
Cf. Whinfield's Gulshani raz, line 746- ''His ruby lip is heal- 
ing to the sick heart". Cf. also Hafiz (Ode 305) — 
''Since first Hafiz learned to tell the story of Thy lips. 
From his pen the eternal fount of life is flowing evermore" 

4. The northwind is cool and refreshing, and is often taken to 
symbolise the Divine inspiration in the Mystic's heart. 

5. By gharJbJ is meant here poverty of self in the Sufi sense. 
1. A grandiloquent way of expressing the mental torture he 

underwent. The next line expresses the same idea in an 
equally oriental manner. 


3. My feeble heart heaved bloodreeking (=anguished) sighs, be- 
cause it was immersed in a torrent of blood from my liver. 

4. Such groans did I utter through the pain of my love that 
(even) the planet Venus mourned in sympathy with me. 2. 

5. The carpet (=surface) of the dust was watered by my tears, 
(and) the ears of the sky were deafened by the noise of my 

6. Guess what kind of Love's arrow must have pierced my 
heart, that my life should have become a shield against the 
darts of Thy separation. 

7. Be patient! O Sa'di! and submit to (=steel your heart against!) 
this pain ; for at the very beginning this day was present to 

my mind (=1 saw this day coming). 



1. Alas that Fate should have disturbed our long-standing friend- 
ship and abrogated the claims of our intimacy! 

2. Two friends never enjoyed (mutual) comfort from their lives 
for an instant, that Fate did not put a sudden end to their 
period of amity. 1. 

3. Since hearts must perforce be broken, and love ties severed, 
happy is he, who was not attached to anyone (=fancyfree) 
from the beginning. 

4. Our hearts cannot withdraw from the love of that company 
(of friends), who have disengaged their hearts from (attach- 
ment to) us. 

5. The means of enjoyment were at the disposal of congenial 
friends; but Fate was not favourable to our behests. 

2. Zuhrah, or the celstial Venus, is situated in the third Heaven. 
She was an auspicious planet, and therefore mourning was 
repugnant to her. 

N.B. In this Ode Sa'di laments the breach in some friend- 
ship, which he ascribes to the malignity of Fate, and not 1o 
any fault on his part. 

1. Du aspali takhtan literally means "to charge at full gallop". 


6. Sa'di gave up indulging in the society of people from the day 
that he realised the infidelity of the sky's revolution {=per- 
fidy of Fate). 

7. if Fortune should hug you to her bosom like a harp (=favour 
you), do not place much reliance on her; for she is really 
punnishing you, when she seems to be treating you kindly. 2. 


— 31 — 

1. The agony of Love is a pain for which there is no physician: 
(so) if one tormented by Love should cry out, it would not 
be strange. 

2. The wise know that those who are madly in love care 
naught for the advice of the counsellor, or the words of the 

3. He who has not drunk the wine of Love, nor (drained) the 
lees of pain, has no part or lot in the life of the world. 1. 

4. There is no sweeter smell than the fragrance of the Beloved, 
even in comparison with the perfumes of musk, aloes, am- 
bergris, and similar scents. 

5. It would be strange if the prey were to escape from (Her) 
noose; but it would be no matter for surprise if it should 
die in the snare. 

6. If the Friend (only) knew what I suffer, I would not mind 
the cruelty of the enemy, nor the oppression of the guardian. 

7. The eyes (even) of my enemy shed tears over the story (of 
my woes) ; (it was a case of) ''Kindness from a stranger and 
perfidy in a relation". 2. 

2. This is a musical metaphor. The small Persian harp was 
pressed to the player's breast, and he struck the chords after 
tuning it. Note the play on the double meanings of nawakh- 
tan and zadan. 

\. Love and pain are synonymous in Sufistic poetry. 

The Mystic has to undergo a period of probation in order to 
attain Union, and a loveless life is not life at all. 

2. This is a Persian Proverb. 


8. The rose was so convulsed with laughter, that it did not no- 
tice the perturbation of the nightingale. 3. 

9. How can Sa'di make a complaint against the Beloved? He 
must 'een put up with the Beloved, since he cannot do with- 
out Her. 



1. Who has seen a heart that keeps on courting danger, or wa- 
stes like a candle, and wanders from door to door (=here 
and there) like a moth? 

2. (And though) a thousand kinds of sorrow assail it on every 
side, it still continues running in hot pursuit of other griefs. 

3. Its head is ever intoxicated with the tumult of Love's wine, 
and on that account it is always on the look out for (fresh) 
trouble and mischief like a drunkard. 

4. Through illfortune it passed its life, unprincipled, lawless, 
and helpless; on account of Love it became dejected, bereft 
of peace of mind, and without (desire for) food or sleep. 

5. After the manner of the love-sick, it is wholly occupied with 
the business of love, and, like fools, it turns aside altogether 
from the path of wisdom. 

6. A thousand times I offered it advice before this, (saying), 
**do not pursue vain fancies so much", but it only followed 
them the more. 

7. Do not give it advice in any form whatever; for it only be- 
comes worse by (listening to) the words of admonishers. 



1. One can do without everything (else) that exists; (but) to 
dispense with the Beloved is impossible. In accordance with 
the dictum of everyone in the world, (I adjure you) not to 
withdraw your love from Her. 

3. The Beloved (=the rose) is represented as laughing at the per- 
turbation of the lover (=the nightingale). Baqafa baz ufta- 
dan literally means to fall on one's back. 


2. If you are accepted as a slave and an inferior, be grateful; 
(for) even that would be a great boon on the Beloved's part. 

3. If you were offered everything in the world in exchange for 
the Beloved, do not agree to it; for any chattel would be 
valueless in comparison with Her. 

4. The world and all it contains with the added bliss of Heaven 

would not be riches enough to draw away (=tempt) the Dar- 
wish ( =Mystic) from the Beloved. 

5. It is not a case of offering thanks and no more in the event 
of your acceptance by Her; for, if you should die (for Her 
sake), you would still be under an obligation to Her. 

6- it would be wrong for me, who have raised my eyes to look 
at Her face, to wince at the arrows that the Beloved shoots 
at me. 1. 

7. And if so be that it becomes possible to flee from Love, 
where should I go, since I could not dispense with the Be- 
loved ? 

8. One can ransom the prisoner of an infidel somehow or other, 
but to ivideem a captive from the Beloved is impossible. 2. 

9. Who in all creation can enter my thoughts, when I have not 
yet ceased to think of the Beloved? 

10. Thou indeed hast no peer; but suppose, for example, Thou 

hadst, 1 am not one to take an exchange, or substitute, for 
the Beloved . 

11. O Sa'di! Seek to please the Beloved, and exercise patience-, 
for (true) Love does not consist in lamentation and complaint 
of the Beloved's treatment. 

1. By tir (=tJn ghamzah) is meant here a frown, as an expres- 
sion of anger. Cf. Gulshaniraz line 757; — "One frown from 
Him and we yield up our lives". 

2. According to some authorities the release of infidel captives 
in exchange for property was sometimes permitted, as the 
Prophet released the captives taken at Badr for a ransom, 
but the general rule was to slay infidel captives or make them 
slaves. Cf. the passage in the Quran ''Slay idolaters where- 
ever ye find them'". 



1. (The duration of) our separation has exceeded all limits, O 
Beloved! Come back, come back, for I am Thy slave (=de- 
voted to Thee) ah! come back to me, Beloved! 

2. What does it matter if I sacrifice myself to (suffering) 
the chastisement of rebuke; for the backbiting of the enemy 
is really a kindness, O Beloved! 1. 

3. If Thou shouldst walk with such a graceful gait, Thou wilt 
destroy the world: if Thou art thirsting for the blood of Thy 
afflicted lover, here it is for Thee, O Beloved! 

4. My condition is such by reason of the brand (=pain) of Love, 
that, if I should die, the bloodwit would be exacted from 
Thee according to the divine law, O Beloved! 2. 

5. Observe fidelity to Thy pact, and forego cruelty in consider- 
ation of the fact that I am not an unfaithful lover, O Beloved ! 

6. If Thou wert to return to me a thousand years after my death, 
a cry of welcome would rise up to Thee from my grave, O 

7. Thy Love has triumphed, and my eyes shed tears of blood. 
Act not thus, Beloved, for, if Thou dost, I will raise my 
hands in supplication to God. 

1. Cf, Nicholson's rendering of Hafiz ii-496-6;-"I said, they 
blame my fond pursuit of Thee. Whoever loved and lived 
from slander free"? 

The poet probably means that those who blame the Mystic 
for his love must necessarily mention the name of the Be- 
loved, and he is grateful to them for causing him to hear 
Her name. The same idea often occurs in the Odes of Ibn-ul- 

2. The poet means that she would be held responsible for his 
death. Shara'' means literally *'the right way", and hence 
"the law of Muhammad". It may be divided into five sec- 
tions; I'tiqadat (^beliefs), adab (=moralities), 'ibadat (=de- 
votions), mu'amilat (transactions), and 'uqilbat (=punish- 
ments). Bloodwit, or the commutation of retaliation, comes 
under the last section. 


8. If Thou hast come to drink {=shed) my blood, here I am! 
Arise, (and work Thy will). And if Thou hast come to take 
my life, come, (take it and welcome), O Beloved! 

9. O my darling! Sympathise with me, (who am) afflicted and 
powerless. Have pity on me, (who am) poor and helpless, 
O Beloved.! 

10. If Thou wilt not listen to Sa'di's tale (of love), what can he 
do? For one cannot speak (of this matter) to enemies O 
Beloved.! 3. 

— 35 — 

1. My heart through the power of Thy Love has betaken itself 
to the desert. Although Thy heart may be estranged from 
me, I will not renounce Thy love. 1. 

2. Why has Thy musky mole become altered in colour on my 
account? Perhaps Thy face has become clouded through the 
smoke (=sighs) of my heart! 2. 

3. Last night when the torch of Thy (Love's) pain kindled the 
world, it cast a shadow upon my heart, which pervaded 
every atom of it. 3. 

3. The mysteries of Divine Love cannot be divulged to the un- 

1. Sahra seems to mean here the desert of Absolute Being, or 
fana fl wujud ul Haqq. 

2. In the language of Sufis ''mole" means "the point of Unity, 
single in itself, but embracing all phenomena" (Whinfields 
Gulshaniraz note 4 pp.77) Cf. also the following line from 
the same; "I know not if the mole is the reflection of my 
heart, or my heart the reflection of the mole on His fair 

3. The idea seems to be that Sa'di's heart was filled with the 
dark shadow of separation, while the rest of the world was 
illumined with the radiance of Union. 


4. Every lamp that was lit on the earth from the heart of (Lo- 
ve's) red wine was extinguished by my cold morning sighs. 4. 

5. O hard hearted one! The cry for help from me, Thy afflicted 
lover, has no effect on Thee, though it would make a heart 
of stone bleed. 

6. Our distracted heart is our whole world of thought, and 
all that world (=my heart) is so tormented by desire for 
Thee, that it has fallen into a tumult. 

7. The grief Thou causest me has robbed me of patience, and 
robbed it well : The sorrow (occasioned by Thy love) has 
deprived me of life, and well has it done it. 

8. Sa'di's heart always shrinks from troublous times, (so) I 
cannot conceive what emboldened him to take hold of Thy 
tresses. 5. 


O how happy is the companion of a cypress-statured figure 
like Thee! For on him is bestowed the Divine favour and 

Whoever in his whole life has won a moment in Thy society, 
has gained it in vain, if after that he has any other wish. 

i.e. every light of earthly passion was extinguished by his 

prayers at dawn. 

The esoteric meaning of ''curl" is "plurality veiling the face 

of Unity (^Qod) from its lovers" (Whinfield's Gulshani raz 

Note 4 pp. 74). Cf. the following line from the same; 

''Therefore is my heart troubled by that curl, 

Because it veils my burning heart from His face". 

The meaning seems to be that Sa'di is too rash to try and 

draw back the veil that hides the Unity. 

N.B. This is a highly mystical Ode, and the meaning is not 

very clear. 


3. Faulty is that man's judgment, who has ascertained Thy 
views, and then draws a single breath (=does the least thing) 
of his own volition. 1. 

4. He is not a (real) lover, whose eyes are directed hourly to 
a (different) mistress: he is not a (sincere) gnostic, whose 
thoughts wander daily in a (different) direction. 2. 

5. Leave me to my memories of Thee, and a lonely corner 
(=secluded life), for noone is lonely who is in communion 
with Thee. 

6. One cannot voluntarily exercise patience in Thy absence ; but 
necessity might enforce patience, if it has to be. 

7. The sight of Thy face each morning is like a New years' 
Day: the night of Thy separation, whenever it happens, re- 
sembles the longest night in winter. 3. 

8. O God! grant release to all captives, save to him, who is a 
prisoner in the noose of a Beauty (=the Beloved). 

Q. Look at the sage, who has manifested (= succumbed to) Love- 
madness! But the sage, who has lost control of his heart, 
is (no longer a sage, but) a madman. 
10. But one can excuse the feet of Sa'di; for they are not the 
first that have sunk into this morass (of Love). 


1. We have bowed our heads in submission to Thy behest and 
Thy good pleasure: let us see what Thy world-adorning 
judgment may conceive (=decide about us). 

2. Wherever Thou hast alighted and pitched Thy tent, noone 
else can take Thy place there. 

1. The poet inculcates the doctrine of the annihilation of self- 
will and the submission of man's will to the will of God. 

2. The true Mystic must not waver in his devotion to the Divine 

3. Nauroz, or New Years Day, in Persia is the day on which 
the Sun enters Aries, and ushers in the season of spring. 


3. One can never be satiated with the contemplation of Thy love- 
increasing (beauty), any more than a dropsical patient's 
thirst can be assuaged by drinking at a spring of clear fresh 

4. I have been fostering Thy love in my mind for a longtime, 
but I would rather part with my life than Thy love. 1. 

5. I do not possess (even) the worth of the dust on whrch 
Thou treadest, because it is always kissing Thy feet. 

6. My friends reproach me, saying that I could not have been 
in my senses to let my experienced feet sink into the morass 
(of Love). 

7. But of what use are the eyes in a person's head, or the soul 
in his body, if they do not contemplate Thy soul-solacing 

8. There is not another (in the world) on whom we could fix 
the love we feel for Thee. We can see (Thy match) indeed 
in the mirror, but (then) it is Thine own reflection. 

9. It is a day when the people repair to the pleasure ground. 
Arise, then, so that the cypresss may become abashed before 
Thy graceful figure. 

10. Last night I saw in a vision that the Beloved was saying 
to me, ''O Sa'di! lend not your ears to the words of your 
enemies". 2. 

11. "You will (only) then become a true lover of my face, when 
you are indifferent to the Here and Hereafter." 3. 

12. '*A (real) seeker of the Beloved is he who turns not aside 
from the obstacles (in his path) : it is never fight that your 
resolution should waver through (fear of) the sword". 4. 

1. The only point in this otherwise pointless line is the pun 
on the double meaning of sar. 

2. By enemies are meant evil passions, which veil God from 

3. The phenomenal world, and "even Heaven, in so far as it 
rests on a phenomenal basis, are obstacles to Union with 
the Absolute" (Nicholson's Shamsi Tabriz Ode 11—12). 

4. Ta with the negative often has the meaning of "Never". 


— 38- 

1. The coils of the Beloved's hair are the noose of calamity's 
snare: whoever is not caught by this noose is indifferent to 
the business (of Love). 1. 

2. If I should be pitilessly slain in Her presence, (it would 
not matter, for) one glance from Her would be a (sufficient) 
bloodwit for a hundred like me. 2. 

3. If our lives should be sacrificed in the quest of the Beloved's 
Union, it would not matter, as the Beloved is dearer than 
our lives. 

4. The Divine law does not require any evidence of the lover's 
claim ; for his pale face is a proof, and his bitter lamenta- 
tions a testimony of it. 

5. A continent man's standby is the strength of his wisdom, 
and patience ; but Wisdom is caught in the (snare of) Love 
and Patience is upset by Passion. 

6. The foot bound (=helpless), heart-sick (lover), whose soul 
is ensnared (by Love), durst not ask the reason for this, or 
the why of that. 

7. The Lord of the kingdom of existence is the supreme ar- 
biter: nothing he does is the outcome of tyranny, and if 
you complain, it is unjust (on your part). 

8. Draw the sword from its sheath, and pour poison into the 
cup, for we are agreeable and content (therewith). 

9. And whether Thou dost cherish me with kindness, or leavest 
me in anger, Thy orders cannot be gainsayed, and Thy re- 
proaches are just. 

1. The Beloved's curls seem to connote a double meaning here. 
In the first hemistich they are described as a calamity, be- 
cause they symbolise worldly illusions, which veil God from 
man, while in the second they typify the true lover as spell- 
bound in contemplation of the mysterious beauty of God. 
(Nicholson's Shamsi Tabriz Ode xxi^4). 

2. Khiuibaha is the commutation in cash of retaliation for mur- 


10. Whoever forgets his promise (of fidelity) on account of 
the guardians oppression, or the Beloved's cruelty, is a faith- 
less impostor. 3. 

11. Only good can result from the Beloved's nature; (so) let 
Her abuse me in every possible way. (It does not matter), 
as it would seem a blessing from Her sweet lips. 


1. It is a happy fate for the beggars of the Beloved's street to 
sit on the dust of the road in the hope of (seeing) Her face. 

2. I thought to sit in a secluded corner, but my heart cannot 

rest, as my thoughts are drawn (=gravitate) towards the Be- 

3. Patience in the absence of the Beloved's face is for me im- 
possible; but do you know in what way I can put up with 
Her whims? 

4. His affairs must of necessity be disordered like the Beloved's 
hair, who has surrendered his heart to the love of Her face. 1 

5. The season of spring draws my heart to the garden, so that 
1 may sit by the side of a rose that possesses the Beloved's 

6. Tomorrow when the dead are raised up at the Resurrection, 
seek not my dust, O breeze! save in the Beloved's street. 2. 

7. Sa'di extinguishes the lamp on the night of separation, lest 
his eyes may open on something other than the Beloved's 

3. The Mystic must regard the worldly illusions that veil his 
soul from God, and the occultation of the Divine manifes- 
tation, as a probation, which he must undergo before he 
gains Union with the Absolute. 

1. Karash baham baramadah bashad= "he must be distracted". 

2. Literally = "when they make the dust of the dead into human- 



1. O my heart! possess yourself in patience. Patience is the 
ornament of the Brethren of purity, the cure for Love is for- 
bearance, (and) the duty of affection is fidelity. 1. 

2. She (=the Beloved) is the supreme arbiter, (and) whatever 
She does (we must submit to, for) She is the sovereign Lord. 
If She should kill us, She is our ruler, and were She to 
cherish us, it would be right (for Her to do so). 

3. Although She may summon us (to Her presence), the hand 
of impatience is still uplifted in prayer, and, if She should 
drive us away, the face of our hope still looks back. 2. 

4. The bright lightining has flashed, and the spring breeze has 
blown; (but) Majnun's strength is exhausted and he en- 
quires ''where is Leilah's tent"? 3. 

5. In the opinion of philosophers it is a mistake to neglect 
the (halcyon) days of Love. The dawn is breaking. Wake 
up! for the end of the world is annihilation. 4. 

6. The society of the precious Beloved is the sole object of our 
term of existence: both worlds are the price for a moment- 
ary glimpse of Her face. 

7. If the heart-pain of Thy lovers is pleasing to Thee, it is 
agreeable (to us) ; our dearest wish is to accomplish Thy 

1. By "Brethren of purity" are meant Mystics. 

2. He means that, if the Beloved should summon him, he 
is impatient for a meeting, and prays God to hasten it, and, 
if She repelled him, he would still look back in the hope of 
Her recalling him. 

3. YamanT is the adjective of yatnati^ light,or splendour. It 
is the season of Love, but Majnun still wanders distracted 
in search of his Shirin. The poet is referring to his vain quest 
of the Beloved. . 

4. This line has probably an esoteric meaning. Miihaqlq= a 
Mystic, who has reached the degree of haqlqat, and fana = 
"self annihilation, which is attained by absorption in the 
glory of the Creator, and by contemplation of the Truth." 


8. What claim can the slave make? It is for the master to com- 
mand. If Thou plantest Thy foot (on the ground), behold 
me ready to put my right eye down (for Thee to tread 
upon) ! 

9. Drive me not away from Thy door ; for that is not the way 
to show fideh'ty. In every city there are strangers, and in every 
country beggars are (found). 5. 

10, In spite of all my faults I still have hopes (of pardon): 
notwithstanding all my fears (of punishsment), I am still 
sanguine (of mercy) ; for if my coin is base, Thy grace is 
the elixir to turn it into gold. 

11. O Sa'di! if you are a (real) lover, why do you cherish the 
idea of Union? For he, who endeavours to please the Belo- 
ved, seeks not his own interests. 6. 


1- Love (for the Beloved) has remained fixed in my heart, 
while She has forsaken me. O friends! help me, for I am 

2. It would indeed be strange, if I should realise my heart's 
desire. How can I accomplish it since Fortune has abandon- 
ed me? 

3. I possessed good fortune, wisdom, power, and wealth. Alas 
that through this love (for Her) all four are lost to me! 

4. Love, passion, and desire, all remained fixed in my mind, 
while patience, tranquility, and peace of mind, all deserted 

5. Sa'di represents himself as a beggar for the Beloved's boun- 
ty, and it is not the custom in any town or country to send 
such empty away. 

6. The Mystics' highest aim is to desire nothing, and to resign 
his own will to God. Cf. Ode xi— 8 in Nicholson's Shamsi 
Tabriz; — 

Har kas ki be-murad slnid o cluln miindi fust, 
Besumti miirad miiradash miiyassar ast. 


5. I am only half alive, for She drains my (heart's) blood; but 
this heart of mine has been out of control many a time, 

6. If I should perish, it does not matter, for a hundred thousand 
better than I have succumbed (to Her charms). 

7. What is the use of giving rein to the steed of passion, since 
the reins of its control have left my hands? 

8. O Sa'di! Love was easy in the Beloveds' society; remain 
then firm (in Her love) now that She has gone. 


— 42 — 

1. The society of friends is pleasant, but it is pleasanter on 
the banks of a stream. The pleasure of wine is enhanced by 
listening to the singing of the sweet voiced nightingale. 

2. The morning sleep is a delight by the side of a jasmine bed: 
nay, it is pleasanter in the embrace of a jasmine-scented 
dear one. 

3. The pleasure of sleep, induced by luscious wine drunk in 
the morning, is enhanced, (if it is enjoyed) on a bed of wild 

4. Turn not your attention from the Beloved's beauty to the 
pleasure ground; for it is a pleasanter to be face to face 
with (=in the company of) a faithful companion. 

5. A fig for the sound of the harp, and the sweet singing mins- 
trel! To us the conversation of a sweet-natured companion 
is pleasanter. 

6. If the verdure around the rose-garden is lovely, the down 
on the cheeks of a rosy faced sweetheart is more attrac- 
tive still. 

7. The water, which, through the blowing of the wind, has 
become, (as it were), clothed in chain armour (=rippled), 
is a pleasant sight, but it is pleasanter to fall a victim to 
the Beloved's tresses, which cover Her like a coat of mail. 1. 

1. Cf. for the metaphor the following line from the Arabic ver- 
sion of Abdul HamTd's Kaiilah o Dimnah ; — 
Iza a'latha (alma'a) assaba abadat lalid habakan 
misal III jawashJn masqulan liavasliJha. 


8. The fountain of Kausar and the garden of Paradise are plea- 
sant enough, but to us it is pleasanter to stay in this street 
(of Hers). 2. 

Q. O Sa'di! How can you appreciate the value of a mistress with- 
out experiencing Her cruelty? (For) the accomplishment of 
the hearts' desire through strenuous effort enhances its plea- 


1. I thought that perhaps I might behold a vision of the Beloved 
in a dream; (but) lo! in the morning my eyes lighted on Her 
beauty (itself). 

2. People look (with eager joy) on the new Moon of the 'Id 
while in our opinion the (true) 'Id is (marked) by those two 
eyesbrows of the Beloved, which resemble the crescent 
Moon. 1. 

3. We will not again pay any regard to the tall cypress by rea- 
son of our love for the cypress-stau.ed figure of the Beloved. 

4. I am lost to personal consciousness for this reason that a 
sincere lover is unconscious of self through his absorption 
in the (Divine) Beloved. 2. 

5. O sleep! Visit no more the eyes of Sa'di; (for) in his eyes 
■ there is only room for sleep, or the Beloved's image. 

2, Kausar is a lake in Paradise known as Hauz ul-Kausar, or 
"the Lake of abundance". 

1. The 'Tdul Fitr is celebrated on the first day of the month of 
Shawwal and marks the end of the Ramazan fast. The fast 
can be broken as soon as the New Moon of Shawwal is 

2. Selflessness and absorption in the love of the Divine Beloved 
are cardinal tenets of the Sufi's creed. 


— 44 — 

1. If any one has ever heard of a cypress that walked, or of a 
fir tree with a silvern ear-lobe and bosom, it is She (=the 

2. Is it not (only) Her apparent height that you perceive? For 
Her (real) stature is beyond the ken of shortsighted folk. 1 

3. Far be it that sleep should come nigh my eyes in Thy time! 
(For) Love is not the business of a head that lies on a pillow. 

4. All others have gone to rest, and night has passed the mid- 
night hour; but the eyes of poor me are wide awake. 2. 

5. Granted that it is (rank) idolatry to look at the face of Beau- 
ties (=the Beloved) ; but I will not abjure this (practise), 
since such is my creed. 

6. It is the season when people repair to the pleasure ground, 
especially now that it is spring time and the month of March. 

7. The garden is like Paradise today; but Thou dost not enter 
it, so that people might say, ''there is a black-eyed Huri". 

8. Whatever we have said in describing the Beloved's perfec- 
tion is jUst as if we had said nothing, for it is a hundred 
times as much. 

9. The falcon's talons are not used with such violence against 
a pigeon, as Thy delicate grip has exerted against Sa'di. 

10. I do not care to write any more poetry, because the flies 
would worry me, on account of the sweetness of my compo- 
sition. 3. 


1. If Thou wouldst demand my life as a sacrifice for Thine, the 

answer to Thy test would be easy. 

1. The Divine Majesty is beyond the finite comprehension of 

2. Literally =''but that which has not gone to sleep are the 
eyes of poor me". 

3. By ''flies" are meant here rival poets. 


2. I swear by Thy soul that I would not part with a single hair 
of Thine in exchange for all the world contains. 

3. In spite of the fact that Thou cherishest no love for anyone, 
there is noone who is not in love with Thee. 

4. And notwithstanding this intention of Thine (not to love 
any one), O cruel one! Many a life is sacrificed on Thy 

5. Many are the tumults that arise on the earth by reason of (the 
beauty of) Thy face, which resembles the moon of Heaven. 

6. I can never overtake Thee by (dint of) strennous effort; for 
Thou surpassest the wind in swiftness. 

7. I never cease to remember Thee for one moment, so that I 
should have to recall Thee (to my mind) at another. 

8. It is a pity that the short-sighted shouldcompare Thee to the 
garden cypress. 

Q. Thy eyebrows, O fairy-born Beauty! (are sufficiently deadly, 
so) what need is there for a bow (to kill) Thy prey? 

10. You might say that Sa'di's emaciated frame was a model 
taken from Thy (slim) waist. 

11. If Thou hadst not occasion to speak, one could not imagine 
that Thou hadst a mouth. 

12. There could not be any thing sweeter than this poetry (of 
Sa'di's), unless it be Thy sugar-scattering mouth. 


1. Thy teacher has instructed Thee in every Kind of charm and 
blandishment: he has taught Thee cruelty, coquetry, raillery, 
and tyranny. 

2. I am devoted to Thy smiling lips, and fascinating eyes, that 
taught the wiles of magic to Zuhhak and Samari. 1. 

1. The pun on the double meaning of Zuhhak may be noticed. 
Zuhhak was a cruel tyrant who conquered Jamshid and be- 
came king of Persia. He was versed in masic, and two snakes 


3. Surely the violet-scented breeze that blows in the garden 
must have acquired its fragrance from those musky locks 
of Thine! 

4. Where could Thy teacher have learned all this charm, unless 
he went elsewhere, and acquired the art of magic (there) ? 2 

5. Thy mouth must surely have acquired its straitness (=angu- 
ish) from my heart, and my body its slenderness (=emacia- 
tion) from Thy waist! 

6. O my idol (=darling) ! why shouldst Thou have recourse to 
a teacher? For (even) the idolmakers of China repair to the 
coils of Thy tresses, and learn (the art of) idol- making 
there. 3. 

7. Thousands of love-distraught melodious nightingales must 
have learned from Thee to speak pure Persian. 4. 

8. The calamity of Love has so sapped the foundations of con- 
tinence and piety, that (even) the Mystic has adopted the 
Qalander's loose code of morals. 5. 

were said to grow out of his shoulders, whose hunger noth- 
ing would appease but the brains of human beings. Samari 
was the magician, who made the golden calf for the children 
of Israel. 

2. By ''elsewhere" the poet hints that the Beloved's teacher 
acquired the art of dilbamll from a heavenly, not an earthly 

3. The clever pun on the double meaning of chin cannot be 
rendered in English. 

4. By "nightingales" are meant poets. Dari was one of the 
three surviving dialects of the seven anciently spoken in 
Persia. It was said to prevail chiefly in Balkh, Bukhara, and 
Badakhshan, and was called the language of the court, and 
of Paradise (Steingass). 

5. The Qalander is an itinerating monk with shaven head and 
beard, who abandons everything and is pledged to a life 
of perpetual travelling. As they pay scant attention to the 
outward observances of religion they came to be regarded as 
impious vagabonds. The order was founded by Yusuf-al-An- 
dalusi, a native of Spain. 


Q. I never saw a human being (endowed) with such a form and 
disposition, or such a figure and temperament (as Hers). 
Perhaps She acquired those characteristics from a fairy.? 

10. The popularity of the market of the Sun and Moon has de- 
parted, because customers have learned the way to Thy shop. 

11. All my family were adepts in religion, (but) I was instruct- 
ed in poetry with Thy love as a teacher. 6. 

12. Noone, who has gained propinquity to Thy street, will re- 
solve to travel again, or call to mind his native country. 

13. She (=the Beloved) has imbrued Her hands in people's blood, 
(pretending) that it is henna. I do not know who can have 
taught Her such cleverness in committing murder! 

14. If you should have occasion to cross the stream of Sa'di's 
tears, you must first learn to swim. 7. 

— 47 — 

1. Surely the morning breeze must exhale the fragrance of my 
Beloved's tresses, for it brings ease to my afflicted heart. 

2. The eyes of my fortune will not taste sleep throughout my 
whole life, if in my dreams I should see Her locked in my 
embrace. 1. 

3. And if 1 should see plainly that She had designs on my life, 
(it would not matter, for) to grudge my life to sweethearts 
is not my practise. 

4. The truth is that my precious life is not (an offering) worthy 
of Her (acceptance) ; but it is all that I can give. 2. 

6. i.e. Divine Love inspired his poems. 

7. The stream made by Sa'di's tears is so deep as to be un- 

1. i.e. my happiness will be ensured for ever. Cf. the phrase 
bedarbakht =one whose fortune is awake, and, therefore, a 
lucky person. 

2. Literally ="but it is conformable to my power and ability". 


5. This is not a matter of my choice; (for) the Beloved's will 
must take precedence of my wishes. 

6. If my heart should suffer a thousand pangs through Her 
cruelty, I am still Her (devoted) slave; for She is the dis- 
peller of my cares (=my dear friend). 

7. There is no room for strangers within (the sanctuary of) 
our privacy; (so) be off; for, "whoever is not my friend is 
a burden (=trouble) to me" (there). 3. 

8. O cruel one! Sa'di's heart has been sorely afflicted in Thy 
quest, (though) Thy heart has not been touched (by the 
knowledge) that Thy poor (lover) is hopeful (of Union), 

Q. And if it be Thy wish that I should be wishless, it does not 
matter, since it is the Beloved's will. 4. 
10. My heart is not attracted by the tulip-bed and the rose 
garden; for the memories of the Beloved are my rose-garden 
and tulip-bed. 5. 

— 48 — 

1. What do I care if there be a pleasure-ground outside the cily? 
For to be near the Beloved, wherever She may be, is a place 
of pleasure for me. 

2. I am surprised that any one who has seen Thy face, should 
ever again in all his life care for (worldly) amusements. 

3. If you are too concerned with self to remember the Beloved, 
do not cherish hopes of Union, nor even think about Her. 1 

4. Since the armies of Love have conquered the realm of your 
heart, be on your guard; for they will plunder it every 

3. Marchl na yarl manast ban manast is a Persian proverb. 

4. Bemuradi also means "disappointment". 

5. By *'tulip-bed and rose-garden" are meant material joys. 

1. He, who has not become selfless, cannot hope for Union 
with the Beloved. 


5. I take pleasure (=revel) in the breeze by reason of the frag- 
rance of Thy tresses (that it wafts), although I am reproached 
for my folly. 2. 

6. How canst Thou, every twist of whose curls is a noose for 
the wise (=sane),have time to spare for the company of the 
mad?. 3. 

7. Whereever I go to escape the tyranny of Thy Love, I experi- 
ence the same distress and torment. 4. 

8. A thousand cypresses cannot attain (the standard of) Thy 
figure in point of inner significance, although, in respect 
of outward form, the cypress has a lofty stature. 5. 

9. Who (=what true lover) said to Thee,''give me sweets by the 
hand of the guardian"? (Nay) give them to me with Thine 
own hand; for then even poison would taste like a sweet- 
meat. 6. 

10. It is not me especially whom Love has assailed in the world; 

for every one you see is pledged to Her Love. 
It. How can you justly reproach Sa'di, seeing that you are on 

the shore, while he is in the midst of a whirlpool. 

2. Badpaima literally means "measuring the air", and hence 
''essaying an impossible task", or "committing a foolish 
act". The pun is obvious. 

3. By divanagan are meant those who are infatuated with the 

4. Dast bar sar nihadan=''{o place the hand on one's head in 
token of distress", and khar shikastali dar pae kase=\o have 
a thorn broken in one's foot", and hence" to suffer pain''. 

5. Sumt =phenomenal appearance, as opposed to ma'ni =spirit- 
ual reality. 

6. The guardian denotes any thing that stands between the lover 
and Beloved, e. g. the intellectual faculties {=aql). The Mystic 
should deal with God directly, and regard as sweet what- 
ever comes from Him. .# 

7. Sa'di seems to be addressing his critics here. 



1. Thou art the utmost limit of my desire in the world. May a 
thousand precious lives be sacrificed to Thy soul, O Beloved! 

2. The bird of my heart is so attached to Thy snare, that it no 
longer remembers its nesting time, O Beloved! 1. 

3. If Thou dost not open the door to me, where can I go? Let 
me die on Thy threshold, O Beloved? 

4. Tell me, Beloved! to bring Thee a broken heart, and a life 
devoted to Thee, and I will reply, "yes, take them (and 
welcome)". 2. 

5. (Even) if my body should rot, and my dust be scattered to 
the winds, my love for Thee would still cling to my bones, 
O Beloved! 

6. Dont be cruel, O Beloved! for grandees do not act in such an 
inconsiderate and arrogant manner on account of a trivial 
fault on the part of their slaves. 

7. If in Thy kindessThou wouldst drink my blood (=afflict me), 
it would be proper; but drive me not away in anger from 
Thy sight, O Beloved! 

8. Thou shouldst utter speech befitting those ruby lips of Thine; 
(for) a bitter answer from Thy (sweet) mouth would in- 
deed be strange, O Beloved! 

Q. I must work Thy will and reck naught of my own life: if it 

is Thy wish to slay me, then set me free, O Beloved. ! 3. 
10. Who said that Sa'di would shun the misery of Love? I swear 
by Love that he was under a wrong impression O Beloved! 

1. The comparison of the heart, or soul, to a bird is frequent 
in Persian mystical poetry. Cf. Nicholson's Shamsi Tabriz 
Ode X— 7) ;— 

Mubarikast hawai tii bah hamah murglian, 
Chi namubank murghe ki dar hawai tu nist! 

2. Jan bar kaf nihadan (=literally "to place one's life on the 
palm of one's hand") has the secondary signification of ''be- 
ing ready to sacrifice one's life for somebody", 

3. Wanhandan means to release the soul from the prison of 
matter=phenomenal existence. 


11. Because, although I am reduced to the last extremity by my 
enemies, I will still not repent of my love for Thee, O Be- 
loved.! 4. 


— 50- 

1. He, who pays court to a (different) person every morning, 
entertains a (fresh) ambition each evening. 

2. Rely not on the fidelity of his friendship, for such a person 
has many like you for his companions. 

3. He cherishes affection and friendship (for you), as long as 
you possess position and means. 

4. And says " if I have an intimate companion, and a congenial 
friend today in all the world, it is you". 

5. (But) he again addresses another in the same strain, (say- 
ing), ''without you this world is like a cage for my heart". 1. 

6. Like a bee he runs about from door to door, and wherever 
there is sugar, he (sticks to it like) a fly. 

7. He is full of false professions, and devoid of sense. The 
truth is he is just like a hollow bell. 2. 

8. In that one's presence he disparages this one, saying "he 
is a stupid ass": before this one he finds fault with that one, 
calling him "a mean wretch". 

9. Whenever you see such a person, pay no attention to him; 
for he is a worthless creature. 

— 51- 

1. If a thousand troubles should assail me, they would be easy 
(to bear) ; for my love and devotion are a thousand times 
as great. 

4. By "enemies" is meant the veil of phenomena which hides 
man from God. 

1. Or, in other words, 'T feel bored in your absence"! 

2. Jarase mian tihi ="a gas bag" in modern slang. 

N.B. This is a didactic Ode on the fickleness of false friends. 


2. The journey does not seem long to the feet of one who seeks 
the Beloved; for the thorns of Love's wildermess are like 
roses and sweet basil (to him). 1. 

3. If Thou wouldst illtreat me, it would not be cruelty but 
kindness. If Thou wert to brand (=wound),me it would not 
be a wound, but (rather) a cure. 

4. I am far away from Thy side. It is no wonder (then) that 
I should be ill at ease, since (I am seared by) the brand 
of separation. 

5. The wonder is why those twisted ambergris-scented ringlets 
of Thine are so disordered (^distracted), since they are lying 
on Thy bosom. 2. 

6. People of right judgment are amazed at my lack of wisdom; 
for in their view to surrender my heart into Thy hands 
(involves) resistance (to Thee) in (the matter of taking) 
my life. 3, 

7. Not to say my honor, if Thou wishest to shed my blood, I 
would not say Thee nay. I will 'een carry out Thy behests. 

8. The class of people, who do not understand what spiritual 
love is, nor make any distinction between beasts and human- 

9. Imagine that, in the garden of beauty, Sa'di's eyes are di- 
rected to the apple of the (Sweetheart's) chin, and the po- 
megranates of Her breasts. 4. 

10. (In this matter) it is indeed best for me to preserve silence; 
for in the opinion of the wise ignorance is the excuse of 
fools. 5. 

1. A reference to the perils of the pilgrim's journey to Mecca. 

2. The point of the line is the double meaning of panshan. 

3. i.e. if you surrender your heart to the Beloved, She will 
seek to take your life, whereupon you will resist, and so be 
guilty of disobedience. Hence Sa'di replies in the next verse 
that, if She should wish to shed his blood, he would not re- 
sist Her. 

4. Sa'di draws a distinction here between material and spirit- 
ual Love. 

5. This line is explained by the preceding verse. Sa'di has been 


11. Besides, I do not exculpate myself, nor declare myself to be 
pure (-guiltless) ; for whatever is related of human beings 
is (only) contingent. 6. 


— 52- 

1. Whatever is said about the beauty of Thy face is (right), 
and whatever is stated in regard to the sauciness, and love- 
liness of Thine eyes is (appropriate). 

2. Many a cypress have I seen in the garden, and observed them 
closelv, but they do not possess a figure as alluring as Thine. 

3. O Thou, whom no nightingale can rival in melodious utter- 
ance! it cannot be said that the parrot equals Thee in sweet 
ness (of speech). 

4. Thou art as indifferent to poor me, as the smiling (=full 
blown) rose is to the distraction of the passionate nighting- 

5. You truly said that if I exercised patience, I should win 
happiness: patience is doubtless a boon to any one, who 
has the power (to practise it). 

6. Did you ever hear of any one bearing with patience the 
absence of the Beloved? (Nay), there is no (real) love in 
the heart that is patient. 

7. Whoever worries himself about ignominy or disgrace, never 
had, nor will have, in all his life any knowledge of Love. 1 

8. He is not (really) alone, who is companioned by memories 
of Thee ; (so) never say that I am able to endure (the tor- 
ment of) loneliness. 

accused of pretending to love God, when his real object 
is earthly beauty. So, he says, it is best to leave that charge 
unanswered; for, if he has erred in this way he has erred 
in ignorance, and ignorance is a good excuse. 
6. An example of '*pied verse" (mulamma'). He means that all 
the actions, for which we are praised or blamed, belong to 
the world of contingent being (-phenomenal existence), and 
have no absolute worth or reality. 


9. The eyes of all are directed to Thy face, but it cannot be 

said that every one has the seeing eye. 1. 
10. Thou hast stated that every one is (the embodiment of) 
hypocrisy, deceit, and fraud, Sa'di is not such a one; but, 
since Thou sayest it, it must be so. 4. 


1. My friend is he, whom the grace of God befriends, to whose 
authority are committed justice and tyranny, and the exer- 
cise of autocratic power. 

2. The ocean of Love indeed has no shore, and if it had, it is 
his bosom according to the opinion of Mystics. 1. 

3. In the days of Leilah all these mad lovers did not exist, nor 
had this trouble (then) arisen, which has appeared in his 
time. 2. 

4. There is no long^er a Mystic, who, in this season of sjjring, 
is not in love with the Rose, and wounded by its thorn. 3 

5. Do you know of what dust I am jealous? It is the blessed 
dust that lies upon his path. 

1. It is only the ad\anced Mystic, who can comprehend the mani- 
fold attributes of Absolute Being. 

2. Fisils literally means leading astray, or seducing a person. 
N.B. This Ode is addressed to the poet's spiritual director. 

1. By ahli haqjqat are meant those who are versed in the mys- 
teries of Divine Love. 

2. There is a play, of course, on the double meaning of Maj- 
nun. He means that Leilah had one lover, whereas the ob- 
ject of his eulogy has crowds of disciples, and the love he 
inspires is much more intense. Fitnah also means ''madness". 

3. As the result of the Pir's inspired teaching, all the Mystics 
of his circle are absorbed in love for the Divine Beloved, 
and suffer the pangs of separation (=occultation of the Di- 
vine influence). 


6. Do not believe that it was his phenomenal form that bereft 
me of reason; (nay), it was his Creator that deprived me 
of it. 

7. If others turn their gaze on (his) beautiful face, our atten- 
tion is directed to the omnipotence of his Protector. 

8. Even this concession suffices me, (namely), that I may die 
on his threshold, so that I may be referred to as his acolyte. 

Q. Love is no concern of his, who cannot patiently endure cruel- 
ty, disappointment, poverty, and death. 
10. O Sa'di! seek the Friend's pleasure, and not your own happi- 
ness; (for) the (faithful) slave fulfils his masters behests. 

— 54 — 
1..0 cruel Beloved with the silvery chin! how long, prithee, 
wilt Thou be estranged from us, and till when shall we be 
distracted by Thee? 

2. How long must we look at the rose with longing from afar, 
while our feet are pierced with the thorns? Till when must 
wc return thirsty from the Fount of Life? 1. 

3. Till when shall our ears be maddened by Thy sweet-speech? 
How long shall our eyes be bewildered by Thy charming 

4. I am always afraid that I shall give vent to a cry of distress. 
How long must my patience be evident, while my anguish 
is concealed? 2. 

5. Thou indulgesl in coquetry every day. How long shall we be 
distracted through Thy cruelty? 3. 

1. Chashmahe halvan is an euphemism for the Beloved's lips. 

2. He is anxious to conceal his love, which a cry of distress 
would reveal. 

3. *'To keep the head of anxiety in one's collar" is a circum- 
locution to express distraction. 


The (red) color of Thy hands is not (produced) by henna, 
but rather from our heart's blood: how long wilt Thou drink 
the heart's blood of ( = afflict) people by Thy trickery? 4. 
Sa'di will succumb some day to Thy power. How long will 
he have the strength to bear the burden of Thy cruelty, and 

— 55 — 

1. They have surely been created in pure mercy; for they are 
our soul's solace, our heart's comfort, and the light of our 

2. Benevolence is a divine sign that marks them, while pride 
and arrogance fit them like a garment cut to their figure. 

3. Their ruby lips still exhale the smell of milk, (though) it 
is not (only) milk, but sugar (as well), that these sweet- 
lipped ones have tasted. 2. 

4. I think they are (like) the musk scented deer of Tartary; 
but they must have grazed beneath the shade of the Tuba 
tree (of Paradise). 

5. The Porter of Paradise must surely have opened the closet 
(= inner sanduary) of Heaven, so that these black-eyed Huris 
might find their way to the world's wide spaces. 3. 

6. The water of life is in their lips : in my opinion they must 
have imbibed it from the conduits of the fountain of Kausar. 

4. The play on dast and dastan may be noticed. 

1. By Inan are meant spiritual directors, who guide the Mystics 
on their ^'journey upward". 

2. i.e. they are as innocent of evil, as the suckling child, and 
sweet-natured as well. He means that they have lately come 
from the spiritual world. 

3. Khazldan literally means "to creep stealthily". This line, 
like the one before and the one after it, points to the heaven- 
ly origin of the Plrs. 


7. It is seldom that the head of the beggar reaches the apples 
of this company's chins; for they are like first fruits that 
have just matured. 4. 

8. The (garden) rose is picl<ed from (ordinary) rose-bushes 

day by day; but from these rose trees no rose has surely yet 
been picked. 
Q. The Hindus, who worship stone idols, may be excused 
(for their idolatry) ; as perhaps the poor creatures have 
never seen the Silver Image (=the Beloved). 

10. Behold this divine grace that has been kneaded into the 
clay of human-beings, and observe this soul that has been 
breathed into the bodies of mortals! 6. 

11. How well have these mole-spots (of theirs) been arranged, 
and how charmingly have those lines of green down been 
drawn! 7. 

12. You might say that their eye-brows over the perfect symmet- 
ry of their figures were (a pair of) crescents curved above 
a straight cypress. 

13. The tall cypress and the pine-tree are guilty of impertinence 
in comparing themselves with these lofty figures that sway 
gracefully like fir-trees. 

14. Their ejes, and hair and ear-lobes (work) magic. Alas, that 
these true Believers should have followed (-practised) overt 
sorcery! 8. 

4. Awwal rasTdah may mean the first fruits of the Season 
which are expensive, and hard to buy. But it more 
probably signifies ''just arrived from the invisible world," 
By gada is apparently meant a taltb, or tyro, who is under- 
going his novitiate in Mysticism, and therefore seldom en- 
joys the intimacy of the spiritual director. 

5. The disciples are not sufficiently advanced on the Mystic 
way to take full advantage of their spiritual director's ins- 

6. The spiritual director is here represented as a super-man. 

7. "Mole" and "down" must be taken here in their esoteric sense, 

8. Because sorcery was forbidden in the Quran. GiravJdan is 


15. One's desire can only be attained at their hands by offering 
them our heart's blood ; for that is what they have been nou- 
rished on since childhood. 9. 

16. What do these possessors of heart-entrancing beauty, whose 
trains proudly sweep the ground, care, if their distracted 
ioveii rend the collars of their garments? 10, 

17. The garden of Divine Art (=Creation) contains no fairer trees 
than these, (and so) the birds of the hearts, (=souls of their 
lovers), have taken flight from their bodies through (the 
violence of) their passion. 

1 8. Many have fallen victims to (the love of these) alluring beau- 
ties, and heart-entrancing coquettes, and few have escaped 

19. I have never heard of a company of people, to whom my story 
of Love had been revealed, listening again to advice. 

20. Beware of looking at that speck of a mole! Dont move! for 
the snare (of a charmer's) tresses is spread over it. 

21 . Since Beauties rob us of reason in secular and religious con- 
cerns, ,(then) why have ascetics sought solitude? 11. 

22. Seldom has a hand gripped the skirt of desire for (=has one 

desired) their Union, that it (=he) did not in the end regret 

23. Wonder not at Sa'di's sitting in the dust of their path; (for 
perfect) men would wallow in blood, to say nothing of the 
dust, (for their sakes). 

a somewhat unusual word, meaning ''to follow or believe 
in any one as a disciple". 
Q. Ba khiini jigar has the twofold meaning of (a) through great 
sacrifice, and (b) with unremitting care. 

10. By gireban dandan is meant ''to be reduced to despair". 

11. Since Beauties (^manifestations of Divine Love) rob us of 
reason not only in the worldly life, but in the religious life 
as well, what is the use of abandoning the world, and taking 
refuge in religion as ascetics do? 



1. It would be impossible for the constellations which pass be- 
fore our gaze at night to appear before the Sun. 1. 

2. In the same way in comparison with Thee, all (earthly) Bel- 
les are of no account, although people may regard them as 
pretty and beautiful. 

3. People deliberately flee from a murderer to save their lives; 
but (spiritual) lovers (=Mystics) purposely court death at 
Thy hands. 2. 

4. Never reproach the company of profligates, if they behold 
Thy beauty and raise a clamour Gn consequence). 3. 

5. If some day Thou wert to come out of the monastery, mov- 
ing gracefully, the Mystics would flock from (every) door 
and terrace to (see) the spectacle. 

6. Send the mendicant's habit (=patched cloak), and the prayer- 
carpet of (=which denotes regard for) wordly reputation 
to the Tavern, so that Thy disciples may (be moved to) join 
in the circular dance, and show (a sincere) desire (for God). 4 

7. Banish from the hypocritical Mystic's mind (the idea of) 
Duality; for it beseems people to enter this path (=Mystic 
Way) with a belief in Unity. 5. 

1. He means that the star's feeble light would be extinguished 
by the dazzling glory of the Sun, and in the same way the 
Beloved outshines all earthly Beauties. 

2. i.e. death to self, which he regards as a spiritual resurrection. 

3. By ''profligates" are meant Mystics, who are regarded as 
dissolute by the world at large on account of their contempt 
for the outward observances of religion, but who are real- 
ly devoted to the cult of Divine Love. 

4. The patched cloak is the emblem of hypocrisy. Cf. Ode 1 
verse 2 of Nicholson's Divani Shamsi Tabriz; 

''Know that reputation is a great hinderance in the path". 

Sajjadahe namus also means the Masters' (or Pirs') prayer- 

5. Cf. the Masnavi 21 — 1 

"There is no 'two', unless you are a worshipper of Form", 
"Before Him, who is without Form, all become one". 


8. We reck not of Hell, nor yearn for Heaven; for wherever 
Thou dost pitch Thy tent, there Mystics will congregate. 

9. The sighs of SaMi have wrung with aiiguish the hearts of 
ascetics. Happy the day when they come out of their cells, 
(and repair) to the desert of Love! 6. 


1 . If Thou shouldst break off connection with Thy lovers, they 
would still greet Thee; for cruelty is a custom that is em- 
ployed with slaves. 

2. Even though a thousand wounds in succession should befall 
(Her lovers), it would be wrong for them to exact revenge 
from the Beloved. 1. 

3. If Thou shouldst mercilessly strike them with the sword and 
turn away, they would pay Thee honor, when Thou shouldst 
look back again. 

4. Cast not Thy noose around me, for I am Thy captive of my 
own free will: the nose twitch is only fixed on the heads of 
unruly horses. 

5. Throw stones at me, as if I were a tame fowl, and I will re- 
turn to Thee. I am not a wild bird that a snare should be 
set to catch me. 

6. Regard us just a little with the corner of Thine eye; for 
(even) kings sometimes look at common folk. 

7. Who said (pray), that it is not permissible to look upon a 
fair face? (Nay), it is wrong that this should be held unlaw- 
ful for lovers. 

6. Sa'di seems to imply that narrow-minded priests will become 
more broad minded, and spirtually free, under the influence 
of his Mystical poetry. Ah may also be taken to mean suppli- 
cations to God. 

1. For retaliation (qisas) short of life, see the Quran (v.4Q)== 
''there is retaliation in case of wounds". 


8. Ask me to pronounce a judgment anent the creed of Love. 
(It is) that people should gaze for ever on Thy (sweet) face. 2 

9. Whenever Thy ruby lips smile, the breath of the Zephyr shuts 
the mouth of the rosebud. 3. 

10. It would not be surprising, if strangers from East and West 
settled in our city to cultivate Thy friendship. 4. 

11. I shall not turn my face from Thee; for it is the duty of Love's 
votaries to seek (the object of) their desire, and ignore re- 
12. O Sa'di! do not grudge your life for your friends; for it is 
not (real) friendship to do things by halves. 5. 

— 58 — 

1. It would be an easy (task) for the Beloved's lovers to tra- 
verse a thousand deserts, if they were buoyed up with the 
hope that some night they might find rest in Her seraglio. 

2. It is the custom (for the votaries) of Love to suffer cruelty 
and make a sacrifice of their lives; there is no other resource 
left them, when the> cannot resist a powerful antagonist. 

3. If the Beloved with the star-like brow should appear on the 
terrace, She would be pointed out, as if She were the New 
Moon of the 'Id. 

4. The door of escape is not closed; (but) where can the foot- 
bound captives (of Love) go from Her presence? 

2. Fatwa is a religious or judicial sentence, pronounced by a 
Mufti or Qazi, and is generally reduced to writing. 

3. i.e. when the Beloved smiles, the rose is abashed to open its 
petals. Cf. the phrase gull khandan 

4. Note the play on the double meaning of gharJb, as well as 
on the words gharlb and ashnai. 

5. Natamam kardan literally means "to do something incom- 


5. There is no substance in my body more precious than blood, 
(and) I ofier it freely to the Beloved, if She would (care to) 
soil Her hands (with it). 1. 

6. Haply in Thy household no attachment is formed with 
friends: perchance in Thy city no pity is shewn to lovers. 

7. May my life be a sacrifice to Thee! if Thou shouldst require 
it, (for) the devoted slave does what he is bidden. 

8. A thousand swaying (=graceful) cypresses could not in very 
truth vie with Thy figure, even if their heads touched the 

9. A thousand Leilahs and Majnuns could not better the story 
of Thy beauty, or the tale of my love. 

10. Sa'di resembles aloes; (for) until you burn it, people will 
not be momentarily refreshed by the sweetness of its per- 
fume. 2. 


1. O my darling! all (earthly) Beauties count as nothing, when 
Thou art present: Princes at the door of Thy Love are but 
dust beneath Thy feet. 

2. A whole city is consumed in the flame of passion through 
its desire for Thee: a whole people are drowned in the sea 
of Love in their quest for Thee. 

3. O beauteous one! Thou hast shed the blood of Mystics. 
(Prithee), who has ever held their slaying lawful, since they 

are game, which belong to the sacred precincts? 1. 

L Azlzan may be taken here to mean the Divine Beloved, (the 
plural being used for the singular like janari), but it also 
signifies perTected saints=spiritual directors. It is introduced 
here for the sake of the pun on 'azJz in the first hemistich. 

2. i.e. people enjoy his poetry, because in it he gives expression 
to his love-agony. 

1. Within the sacred boundaries of Mekkah {harami Mekkah) 
it was unlawful to carry arms, fight, pick thorns, cut grass, 
or molest game. 


4. The idol and the cross are worshipped in partibus infideUuni; 
(but) under Islam Thy tresses and face are (regarded as) 
cross and idol (=objects of worship). 2. 

5. Pass occasionally by the ranks of Thy heart-sick (lovers), 
so that they may sing Thy praises, and breathe (=-invoke) 
blessings on Thee. 

6. Every twist of Thy disordered curls is the prison of a heart; 
(so) never say that the captives of Thy noose are few (in 

7. The symmetrically arranged lines of down around Thy face 
are, as it were, characters (inscribed) with black musk on 
a sun (=deep red) rose. 

8. In the garden the cypress stands erect, and the fir tree re- 
mains silent (=motionless),so that if Thou shouldst display 
Thy lovely figure (there), they may bow down (before Thee). 

9. One cannot complain against these Queens of beauty, which 
you see set over the people; for they are (themselves) the 

10. Thy slaves cannot escape nor avoid Thy award. They are 
helpless; (for) whether Thou slayest or cherishest them, they 
are Thy servants, (and must obey Thy behests). 

11. The cruelty of the foe will (surely) slay the seeker of the 
Friend; for treasure, and snakes, roses, and thorns, joy and 
sorrow, are always found together. 

12. I will not divulge to Thee my heart's agony; for Thou art so 
joyous of spirit, that Thou canst not understand that Thy 
afflicted (lovers) are suffering pain, 

13. How canst Thou who are lightly laden (-light hearted), and 
strong, know that the weak (=helpless) victims of Thy love 
are laden with the (heavy) burden of oppression. 

2. Cf. Whinfield's Gulshani raz line 931 ;— 

''In Christianity the end I see is purification from self, 

Deliverance from the yoke of bondage". 

and, again, lines 867 and 973; — 

'Idol worship is essentially Unification". 

'Idols are the Light made manifest". 

5* 67 

14, O SaMi! the true lover does not shun trouble: it is only such 
as disregard: their pledge of Love that shrink from reproach. 


1. Thy two languorous eyes, when they awake from their morn- 
ing sleep excite a thousand tumults in every corner (=on every 

2. Why should not rational beings become attached to Thee, 
when even wild animals do not flee from Thy bow and 

3. Just as it is not permissible to look at the faces of (other) 
Beauties, it is unlawful for people to abstain from gazing 
at Thee, 

4. I am entirely devoted to that (Being), before whom, on ac- 
count of Her grace and beauty, (every) head should bow 
low. 1, 

5. Thou dost not appreciate Thine own worth; (so) ask of 
Thine afflicted (lovers) what (copious) tears they shed in 
their ardent desire for Thy beauty, 

6. The stability of (our) reason has been shaken, and the power 
of (our) patience exhausted, because Thy figure and face 
are so immeasurably charming. 

7. Give me not counsel; for Love and austerity are two states 
of mind that do not harmonise with each other. 

8. O Sa'di! Choose submission to the decrees of Fate; for it is 
not consistent with comrrion sense to resist a powerful anta- 
gonist, 2, 

1. Sar pae literally means "from head to foot", and sar ba 
pae barkhastan, = 'ihe head should stand on its feet". 

2. Sfwrt literally means "duty" or "obligation"— 



1. Whoever drank wine in your company made an uproar (Host 
his head) : he who saw your face fell in love (with you). 1. 

2. If you were to pour poison down my throat, it would be pro- 
per to swallow it like sugar in your company. 

3. May the blessing of Ood rest on the father, who has reared 
a darling child like you! 

4. A carpet is not fit for your service: (one's) face should be 
spread for those feet (of yours). 

5. I wished to say that I was the dust of your feet; but Wisdom 
at once counselled me, 

6. Saying, "be not dust in the Beloved's path, lest he be vexed". 2. 

7. My enemies are hot (=eager) in their hostility to me; but the 
fire of my (love) does not grow cold (on that account). 

8. If a lover should flinch from the arrows of misfortune, call 
him not a man. 

9. Tell him who does not intend to be wishless, to be off, and 
not to wander in the street of Love. 3. 

10. O Sa'di! if we are not given the pure wine of Union, let us 
drink the draught of pain to the very lees. 4. 

N.B. This Ode is addressed to the spiritual director. 

1. 'Arabdah generally, means *'a drunken brawl", but here ar- 
abdah kardan = io get out of hand. *'Wine" of course refers 
to the wine of Divine Love. 

2. Ki nah gard bar daman nishashtan literally means, "lest dust 
should settle on Her skirt", but the phrase is here used in a 
secondary sense. 

3. Barg has the meaning here of ''intention" or ''purpose", 

and be muradi = "se\i-\essness". 

4. This li'erally runs "let us be associated with the lees drinkers 
of the assembly of pain". Sa'di means that, if he cannot 
attain to Union, he should not shrink from any suffering 
in seeking to win it. The pun on dard and dnrd may be 


— 62- 

1. Woe is me! if my heart's desire (for Union) is unfulfilled, 
or, if my heart is not restored to me (free) from the bondage 
of Thy love. 

2. Distribute the anguish of separation more equally than Thou 
hast done, so that my soul may not have to bear the whole 
brunt of it alone. 

3. O my cypress-statured Beloved! if Thou shouldst pass by the 
orchard, the cypress (there) would not equal Thy lovely 
figure in symmetry. 

4. Release my imprisoned heart from the dungeon (of separa- 
tion) before its sighs, induced by the pain of Thine absence, 
ascend to Heaven. 

5. It is impossible for one like me to come under the notice 
of the likes of Thee: this connection (between us) may oc- 
cur at the Resurrection, or not at all. 1. 

6. I pass by Thy door, so that a glance of Thine may fall on me. 
The mote will not reach the Pleiades till the Sun looks at 
it. 2. 

7. The hand of a mendicant, like me, can at least (be stretched 
out to) beg (a morsel) at the table of Thy lips, if it cannot 
reach the tray of plunder. 3. 

1. Literally="the two ends of the thread may be joined to- 

2. The poet compares himself to the mote, and the Beloved to 
the Sun. He means that the mote travels upward with the 

sunbeam, and so cannot reach the exalted station of the Plei- 
ades (=third lunar Mansion and here the symbol of Union), 
until it is caught in the rays of the Sun. In other words he 
cannot gain Union until the Divine inspiration illumines the 
darkened chambers of his heart. 

3. i.e. he can at least beg a kiss, if he cannot attain the bliss of 
Union. In Sufistic language ''kiss'' means Divine mercy and 
kindness. Cf. Whinfield's Gulshaniraz. line 756; — ''By a 
kiss he ever and anon revives the soul". 


8. If my blood-raining eyes should pour tears in torrents like 
this, I should be surpri3ed if a flood (from them) does not 
reach the sea. 

9. I will endure Thy separation, if Union is not attainable ; for 
if my hand cannot reach the date fruit, I will ('een) bear 
the (pain of the) thorn. 

10. O Sa'di! the pinnacle of Union is indeed a high (goal of 
aspiration) : your hand cannot reach there, unless you trample 
on (=destroy) your individual existence (=-3elfhood). 4. 


— 63- 

1. Whatever you receive from the Beloved^s hands is sugar 

(=sweet), whereas conserve of roses from the hand of anyone 
else would be (like) an axe (=death). 

2. If the enemy were to scatter a sleeveful of roses in my face, 
it would seem worse than a rocket arrow, or a slingstone. 

3. If the eyes of the ardent lover were anointed with the dust 
of the Beloved's feet it would act like collyrium to his sight. 

4. Love prescribes that, when the sword is drawn by the dear 
Beloved, your precious life should be presented as a shield 
before it. 

5. O God! compass not my destruction save by the Beloved's 
hands, so that I may meet my death in Her pres-en-cer^- - 

■ 6. Whether you give up your life, or fall helpless at thfe Belo- 
ved's feet, whatever you do, it would be inadequate (=fall 
short of your duty). 
7. We have bowed our heads in submission to Thy will: it is 
within Thy discretion to crown them, or cut t'lem off with the 
sword. (It matters not, for) the sword, which a moon-faced 
Beloved wields, would be a crown for our heads. 1. , 

4. You cannot attain the bliss of Union, unless you die to self, 
and become spiritually reborn. 

1. This is a curious Persian construction=/j//5/z/ falU (or oetiolo- 
gy). The sentence, if literally translated, would run thus; — 
"Thou knowest and the sword and the crown". 


8. To the ardent lover the day, on which his life is sacrificed to 
the Beloved's love, is a day of felicity, victory, and triumph. 

9. We bade good bye to life at the very beginning of this (love) 
affair: it is only he who holds his life dear that is fearful 
(about it). 

10. He who shuns misfortune, and is afraid of death, is a reason- 
ing being: the habits of a mad (lover) are different. 2. 

11. The mysteries of Divine Love cannot be revealed to semi- 
initiates: the uninitiated (=novice) knows nought of the tor- 
ments, which the initiated (=Mystics) suffer. 

12. O my darling! have some regard for Sa'di's broken heart; 
for Thou knowest that the sighs of those consumed by Love 
are not without effect. 3. 


1. That is not (real) Love which finds expression in the tongue 
from the heart, nor is he a (true) lover, who is reduced 'to 
despair by his mistress. 1. 

2. Let him, who gives vent to lamentation on account of reproa- 
ches, seek safety in seclusion. 2. 

3. I have not heard that the boat of one, who has fallen into 
this deadly whirlpool (of Love), has ever reached the shore. 

4. Nor is any news heard, nor trace discovered, of the traveller, 
who has wandered distraught in this desert (of Love). 

5. Close not again the eyes of longing, which you have once 
opened on the Beloved's face, even if you are confronted by 
spears and arrows. 

2. Here the intellectual faculty of Reason is contrasted with the 
spiritual faculty of Love. 

3. i.e. God listens to the prayers of his heart-broken suppliants. 

1. i.e. which expresses in language what the heart feels. 

2. Dar pase zanue salamat nishastan is an idiomatic phrase, 
wich literally means "to retire to the corner of safety". 


6. He is a (real) lover, who, lost in ecstasy through rapture at 
the Mystic song, advances dancing ( = with eager joy) to meet 
the sword of calamity. 

7. God forbid that I should turn away from an arrow, if I 
know that it was shot by that hand and bow of Hers ! 

8. People see Love's victim; but they cannot identify his slayer; 
for this arrow (of Hers) is shot without their seeing it. 

9. My heart is so deeply attached to Thee, that I feel a loathing 
for all the people of the world (in consequence). 

10. It is an obligation (imposed) by Love that no complaint 
should be made against the Beloved; but through eagerness 
to tell the story (of my Love), it (ever) rises to the tongue. 

11. O Sa'di! all these lamentations must be the outcome of your 
anguish; (for) there can be no smoke without fire. 3. 


1. Let us see what will happen to me from this foolish attach- 
ment, and what my body will suffer at the hands of Her, who 
has shed my heart's blood (=sorely afflicted my heart). 

2. The ardent lover cannot overtake the dust of Her charger's 
hoofs, so that he might kiss Her hand. How then can he reach 
Her mouth? 

3. Whatever I suffer is all m\- own faulty so let us see what 
will befall me at my own hands. 

4. Come hither! for if my hand were to reach the collar of my 
life, I should not only rend it, through the ardour of my love, 
but the (whole) tunic of my existence. 1. 

3. Literally this runs, ''(for) it is a fire from which smoke ari- 
ses". Dud means "sighs" as well as "smoke". By faryad of 
course is meant his lyrical poetry. 

1. Literally ="let us see what will happen to its tunic". He 
means that he would not be satisfied with anything but com- 
plete annihilation (fana). 


5. Who has ever seen the petals of an orange flower with the 
colour of Thy cheek, which puts the rose to shame, much less 
the jasmine? 

6. The guardian is of no account; for, into what takes place 

between us, when we are alone, an angel dare not intrude, 
much less a demon. 

7. However beautiful and attractive plants may be, they can- 
not attain the grace and symmetry of that delicate-bodied 

8. Since Khusru fails to achieve his desire from Shirin's lips, 
consider what success can Farhad, the moutain hewer, at- 
tain!— 2. 

9. There are many claimants for the alms of Thy ruby lips (=kiss 
es). Among all these suppliants, what can I hope to obtain? 

10. Sa'di's lamentations have reached (the ears of) every one 
in the Universe; (for) if aloes is not burned how would the 
assembly be refreshed by its fragrance? 3. 



1. Even if the cypress had a stature like Thine, it would not 
possess the charming figure that Thou hast, 

2. And if the Sun were to take a seat in the assembly, I do not 
believe that it could rival Thee, 

3. And if the whole cycle of creation were begun afresh, it 
would be impossible for a child to be born with features 
like Thine. 

?. Shirin, the daughter of the Byzantive emperor, Maurice, was 
the wife of Khusru Parviz, king of Persia, but loved the 
humble Farhad. Sa'di says, if so exalted a personage as 
Khusru failed to win Shirin's love, how could Farhad expect 

to succeed. The poet compares himself to Farhad, and Shirin 
of course symbolises the Divine Beloved. 
3. Literally 'Svhat would reach the assembly"? He means that 
his poetry, which has a world wide fame, could only have 
been written under the influence of a hopeless passion. 


4. Who in the whole army has a bow that is like Thy beautiful 

5. And, if (which God forbid!) Islam were plundered, the whole 
of Shiraz would fall to Thee as booty. 1. 

6. It is not fitting that we should enjoy Union with Thee to 
please ourselves, (so) we will do without it, until it be Thy 
good pleasure. 2. 

7. We have banished altogether (every thought of) the Here 
and Hereafter from our afflicted hearts, in the hope that they 
may become Thy abiding place. 3. 

8. Just one "today" is in my power for life's enjoyment. How 
can I have the patience to await your ''tomorrow". 4. 

9. Pleasant is the madness in my distracted brain, if it be pas- 
sion for Thee! 

10. If Sa'di must lose his head (=life), it had better be at Thy 

- 67 - 

1. I shall not withdraw my heart from Thee, as long as I ha.e 
a heart and soul (=as long as I live) : I shall endure Thy 
cruelty, as long as I possess the capacity and power. 1. 

1. Sa'di means to pay a compliment to his native city by im- 
plying that Shiraz is the choicest spot in the Moslem empire, 
and the worthiest to fall to the share of the Beloved. 

2. ''Complete Union involves the identification of subject and 
object", (see Nicholson's Shamsi Tabriz xxv — 9), and this 
cannot be achieved unless the Mystic loses the illusion of 
desire, and becomes selfless. 

3. i.e. he has expelled all thoughts of this world and the next 
from his mind, so that the Beloved may reign there supreme. 

4. Naqdi ayyam literally=-"the ready cash of time". Sa'di may 
be referring to the Sufi doctrine that the Mystic must be 
absorbed in the "eternal now" of Divine energy. 

1. Dil-o-jan also means "courage and fortitude", if taken in 
its esoteric sense dil signifies, according to Vullers, virtus 


If Thou wert to cherish me, what greater happiness than this 
could I obtain? And, if Thou shouldst slay me without pity, 
what greater felicity could I enjoy than that? 
Since Thy love restrains me from all wordly desires, why 
should I care about the rebukes of anyone in the world? 
If Thou wert to smite me with the sword of Thine anger, it 
would be a support to my soul: If Thou shouldst give me 
a cup of poison (to drink), it would be food for my spirit. 2. 
When I uplift my head from the dust of the tomb at the Re- 
surrection, the fragrance of Thy love will be found on the 
the skirt of my soul. 3. 

If Thou hast no love for me, send me (at least) a vision of 
Thyself, so that it may for a night become the confidant of 
my hidden secrets. 

Every one cherishes a vain desire for Thy lips; (whereas) I 
indeed have not the good fortune to possess a tongue (to 
express my wish). 4. 

I would willingly sacrifice my life, if Thou wouldst call me 
Thy SaMi. That is my desire, if I (only) had the good fortune 
to achieve it. 

quaedam divina qua qui praeditus ad veram et perfectam Dei 
cognitionem pervenit, and it is in this sense that it is used 
in the phrase sahibdil. 

The poet plays here on the words qavvat and qat "The true 
Mystic seeks in God the bitter more than the agreeable and 
prefers suffering to solace". 

Gard has the unusual meaning of "fragrance" here, and it is 
used on account of its appropriateness to khak in the preced- 
ing hemistich. Sa'di means that his soul will be found steep- 
ed in the fragrance of Divine Love on the Day of Resurrec- 

He is tongue-tied and too bewildered by Her beauty to ex- 
press even a wish for a kiss from Her lips='*divine mercy 
and kindness in granting Union". 



1. Thou canst not talk without scattering sugar from Thy lips 
(=uttering sweetness) : Thou canst not walk that the branch 
of the Tuba tree does not shed its fruit in emulation (of Thy 
graceful gait). 1 

2. There is no nature (=noone) who is inspired by Thy love 
that does not risk his life for Thee: no bird flies after Thee 
that does not shed its feathers. 2. 

3. My heart through its love for Thee cannot cease lamenting 
(even) for a while: my eyes cannot stop shedding tears of 
regret (even) for a moment. 

4. Since by reason of my love for Thee I cannot save my life 
(from destruction), let me be slain by Thee; for noone else 
is better fitted to shed my blood. 

5. The words of Sa'di are pearls picked from the surface oT 
the sea of spiritual Reality. What can one do with a skirtful 
of (such) pearls but scatter them over the Beloved? 3. 


1. She has passed by, and again burned up the granary of my 
peace of mind: a sea of fire has dashed waves of blood into 
my eyes. 1. 

1. i.e. the boughs of the Tuba tree sway in emulation of Thy 
graceful gait, and the consequence is that they shed their 

2. Par rekhtan (=to moult) has the secondary signification of 
''growing weak and helpless". 

3. In other words compose Odes of mystical significance in 
Her honour. There is a reference here to the Oriental cus- 
tom of scattering jewls, or small coins, over guests at wed- 
dings and other festivals. 

1. An Oriental circumlocution to express the fact that the fire 
of Love had suffused his eyes with blood and filled his heart 
with anguish. 


2. I have for a long time kept concealed this pain of Love in 
my heart; but the frenzy of despair has now forced my ton- 
gue to divulge it. 

3. My spirit causeda commotion in the garden of Angels (=Pa- 
radise), whenever it smote the azure vault of Heaven with 
the stone of my sighs. 

4. (At first), indeed, Her love devastated the environs" (=outer 
fortifications) of my heart, and, then, by a night attack des- 
troyed the kingdom (=citadel) of my soul. 

5. Her heart-alluring face has shed the flowers of the Judas 
tree at my feet: Her soul-refreshing speech sounds like mu- 
sic in my ears. 2. 

6. She is wont to bind Her mad lovers in the chains (of Her 
love), and, even, if there be a sane being among them, he, 
too, would pretend to be insane on the spot. 3. 

7. O God! how did the hand of Lo\t pitch the tent of passion 
for Thee in a heart where there is no room for thought of 

8. O Sa'di! if you are a man ( = fit) to tread the path of Love, 
get rid of self; for only he, who has become selfless, can 
get there. 4. 


-70 — 

1. For God's sake walk with a graceful gait, so that the zephyr 
may tear up the pine tree's root! Throw off Thy veil, so that 
Paradise may tear off their jewls from its Huris. 1. 

2. He simply means that the Beloved's face resembles the pink 
flower of the Judas tree. Arghanun literally="an organ". 

3. The intellectual faculty of Reason would succumb to the 
spiritual power of Love. 

4. This line develops the idea of the preceding verse. Until 
the heart is purified of all tainti of self, the Love of God 
cannot enter there, as self veils it from God. 

1. Or in other words the Beloved excels the pine t:ce in grace, 
and the Huris in beauty. 


2. Draw back the silken veil from that heart-alluring face and 
mole of Thine, so that the sky in the presence of Thy face, 
may get rid of its mole-like stars. 2, 

3. A whole host of people like me, are disordered (-distracted), 
like Thy dishevelled locks, at the sight of Thy face; (but) 
only he can set foot in Thy' street, who has given up all de- 
sire for his head (=-life). 

4. Lo! O rosy faced Darling! the thorn of Love has entered the 
foot of my soul; but then who cares for his life (so much) 
that he should extract that lancet from his foot? 

5. The rose no longer possesses either scent or color by rea- 
son of (=in comparison with) that auspicious face (of Hers). 
Let the finger of jealousy gouge out the eyes of the nar- 
cissus. 3. 

6. Is Thy visage the Moon or an angel? Are Thy lips sugar- 
candy or salt? Display Thy face so that the sky may aban- 
don its affection for the constellation of Gemini. 4. 

7. If sometime Thou shouldst walk towards the desert (of Love) 
in a coquettish and heart-ravishing manner, the snow-cock 
would become distracted, (and) the peacock would pluck 
out its wing feathers. 5. 

8. Since Sa'di has become Thy slave, let not Thy fragrance leave 
his side till the Resurrection Morn. 

2. The stars that dot the face of the sky are likened to moles. 

3. i.e. the cheeks of the Beloved are so full of scent and color 
that they make the rose scentless and colorless in compari- 
son. In other words phenomena are only a faint reflection 
of the attributes of Reality. 

4. Qand is symbolical of sweetness and nimak of wit. Dupaikar 
--Castor and Pollux, or the Twins. 

5. The snow-cock (tetragallus caspiiis) is a bird of great beau- 
ty allied to the ramchikor of Kashmir (T. himalayensis). 



1. Reproach not the sage, who has fallen a victim to Love. Where 
is there room for Wisdom when Love steps in? 

2. It is the certain doom of him, who becomes enamoured of the 
Sun (=Beloved), that,, like the mote in a sunbeam, he should 
for ever remain captive to Her love. 1. 

3. To suffer patiently is the only cure for Love, whether you 
have strength to do so, or not; for to put up with the caprices 
of a sweetheart is like enduring (the worries of) a king's 
court. 2. 

4. He, who is devoted to pretty faced Belles, is never afraid of 
slanderers; (so), if you have the face(=courage) for that, 
come along; for their taunts will be (uttered) behind your 

5. If Qarun some night should alight in a household of Belles, 
they would prey on him to such an extent that night that 
next morning he would be penniless. 3. 

6. O Breeze of the spring! ! Waft to us a breath from the garden 
of felicity; for its ambergris scented fragrance resembles 
the perfume of our Beloved. 

7. Thou art engaged in play and diversion, so how canst Thou 
be expected to take pity on me? (But) surely pity should be 
shewn by a sweet-heart, who is parted from Her lover! 

N.B. There is double maqVa in this Ode, which is unusual. 

1. In this beautiful line the poet indulges in very clever word 
play on khurshJd, mlhr, and hawa. Girlftari hawa means 
= "captive to Love", as well as "caught up in the air", (as 
a mote in a sunbeam). 

2. Bar has the double meaning of "a burden" (="caprice" here), 
and a Royal court. 

3. Qarun, the Korah of the old Testament, (Numbers xvi— 1) 
was reputed to be a nephew of Moses, and the leader of a 
rebellion against him. He was proverbial for his opulence 
and avarice. He is mentioned thrice in the Quran (Surahs 
xi— 24— 25; xxviii— 78— 82, and xxin— 38). The meaning of 
the line seems to be that wealth is powerless against the 
power of Love. 


8. Do but give me an answer, and' Thou canst chide me as bit- 
terly as Thou wishest; for abuse from Thy ruby lips would 
be like the sweetest blessing. 

9. I know of no other door, to which 1 can turn from Thee. Dep- 
rive not my soul of its asylum, lest my pain remain unassu- 
aged. 4. 

10. The vain reprover will not understand Sa'di's pain, until in 
some street he falls a victim to a (pretty) face (himself). 

11. If at the corner of every street were seated an idol (faced 
Beauty) like Thee, I do not think that there is a single soul, 
who would remain true to his religion, except the Qazi. 5. 

12. (I mean) Ruknuddin, the ornament of the court of justice, 
and the assembly (of Theologians), the Doctor of the Divine 
Law, by the power of whose judgment, the practise of reli- 
gion has come to resemble (what it was) in the time of Mus- 
tafa (=the Prophet). 6. 

13. The perfection of his excellent policy has so adorned the 
world that praise and eulogy will be his meed during the 
revolution of Eternity (=for ever). 

14. All the world invokes blessings on him, and Sa'di, the hum- 
blest (of his eulogists), prays, (saying), ''May he be spared 
in this kingdom to all eternity" ! 

4. Zlnhar khurdan generally means "to break a true", or "refuse 
protection" as zlnhar dadan "to give quarter". 

5. i.e. every one would become an idolater. 

6. This Qazi Ruknuddin is mentioned by Masse, in his Essalsur 
le poete Sa'di pp.96, as one of the high officials to whom 
Sa'di paid court, and in whose honour this Ode was written, 
but nothing is known abut him. He is also mentioned by Ba- 
cher in his Aphorismen (p. 48 n.3). He was probably the 
chief Qazi under Hulaku (died 1265), or his son Abaqa Khan 
(died 1282). 


— 72 — 

1. It is never Thy wish to fare to the desert (of Love) for a 
while in my company. Thou only carest to travel in solitary 
(state) like the Sun. 

2. Through pride (in Thy beauty) Thou keepest Thy two eyes 
straight in front, (and) takest no notice of the beggar (at 
Thy side). Perhaps it is through (admiration of) Thine own 
loveliness that Thou dost not deign to cast a glance at us, 

3. Art Thou an angel, or the fountain of light (=the Sun)? Art 
Thou a fairy, or a lovely Huri, who surpasses in beauty the 
red (sun) rose on its stalk? 1. 

4. Thou art fairy faced, as fair as the Moon, fragrant as jasmine, 
and with a silver-bright bosom. It would indeed be strange 
if Thy face did not create a furore in the world. 

5. Since one cannot do without Thy face, one must 'een put up 
with Thy whims ; for we cannot hold up our heads away from 
Thy street. 2. 

6. Do not wander here, there, and everywhere, lest Thy poor 
lovers may be unaware (of Thy coming) ; for noone sees Thee 
suddenly that does not become distraught (by Thy beauty). 3. 

7. A whole world lies distracted at Thy feet, weeping blood in- 
stead of tears. I should be surprised if the desert did not be- 
come like a sea (in consequence). 

8. Every night I entertain a violent desire, hoping for the fulfil- 
ment on the morrow of Thy promise (of Union) ; but per- 
haps there will be no tomorrow for SaMi's night of passion. 

9. I wept so copiously on the soil of this place that it turned to 
mud; but my sighs do not melt Thy heart of iron. 

1. Lu'bat literally means a doll or puppet, and hence anything 
beautiful. The siiri is a red rose of remarkable beauty and frag- 

2. Darwa is an unusual word which means "with head raised". 
Sadarwa dashtan ="to hold the head erect". Sa'di means 
that he cannot be comforted away from the Beloved's abode. 

3. A reference to the belief that people become mad at the sight 
of a fairy. 


— 73 — 

1. O my darling! how long must my heart carry the load of 
loneliness?. I am afraid that on account of this loneliness 
(=absence from Thee) my (love) affair may end in disgrace. 1. 

2. How is patience possible now that wisdom has deserted us? 
For it needs a wise man to exercise that virtue. 

3. O my cypress=statured (graceful) Beloved! if rose like, Thou 
shouldst appear in the garden, the nacissus would anoint 
its clear sighted eyes with the dust of Thy feet. 

4. Display Thy Tajik-like (=lovely) face, so that Heaven (=Fate) 
may sear the faces of the Turks ofYaghma with the brand of 
slavery (=brand them as Thy slaves). 2. 

5. Thou pourest forth honey, when Thy lips utter sweet words: 
Thou excitest a tumult when Thy tresses are nicely dressed. 3 

6. Thy tiny smiling red mouth is as yet only a point; but wait 

till time draws round it a circle of caerulean blue (--down). 4. 

7. After this noone's heart would be left to him, even if it were 
made of iron; for the magic of Thine eyes would draw it 
away from him by the magnetic power of their beauty. 

8. O Sa'di! Say nothing (=dont object) if people call you mad: 
for Love, even if it arises in the heart of a Mystic, drives him 
to madness. 

1. i.e. he might give vent to cries of anguish, which would re- 
veal his secret. 

2. Tajik means a person who is neither Turk nor Arab, and 
generally a Persian. It connotes here the idea of beauty. The 
Turks of Yaghma were celebrated for their good looks. 
Habshi =a negro and hence a slave. 

3. Sar ba r'anal kashand literally means "raise their heads in be- 
auty'^ The phrase may also be taken to signify ''rebel wan- 
tonly". Cf. our "rebellious curls". 

4. Pistah literally =a pistachio nut, but has come to mean a sweet 
heart's mouth on account of its small size and sweetness. 
The poet means that, when the nascent down enhances the 
beauty of Her mouth, there will be no limit to Her charms. 


— 74 — 

1. You cannot engage in the Mystic dance, because you have 
not experienced the anguish of (spiritual) Love. Do not ima- 
gine that sighs ever arise from the (heart of a) novice. 1. 

2. Since every thing that comes from the Beloved's (hands is 
welcome), it makes no difference whether it be a sweet 
draught, or a poisoned sword. 

3. The breath of the Eastern breeze is perfumed with the frag- 
rance of my Beloved: after this I will travel like the wind in 
Her quest. 2. 

4. The Beloved passed by, and I (furtively) glanced at Her with 
the corner of my eye, so that I might snatch (=steal) a look 
at Her, but She snatched me from myself (=distracted me). 

5. I wished to conceal my love affair by the exercise of patience; 
but I could no longer hide what was manifest (=my anguish) 3 

6. Who is the rider of Reason (-wise man), who will not turn 
his back (=take to flight) in that place where the king of Love 
has shown his face (=appeared)? 4. 

7. Who will convey my message to Her presence to say that our 
pleasure consists in submission to Her will, whether She 
wounds (=afflicts) us, or makes us happy? 5. 

8. Every night that passed, Sa'di said, in consequence of Love's 
anguish, ''another night has come, and how will it become 
day (=how shall I get through it) without Thee? 

1. True spirituality entails suffering, and for this reason gham 
and ^ishq are interchangeable in meaning. The primary sig- 
nification of the second hemistich is, "do not imagine that 
smoke will ever arise from unburnt (=green) wood". 

2. There is a pun on the double meaning of buT, which means 
"fragrance, hope, and quest". 

3. Aftab ba gil andadan=\\iera.\\y "to plaster, or cover up, the 
Sun with clay" has the secondary signification of "trying 
to conceal what is manifest". 

4. A reference to the eternal conflict between Love and Rea- 

5. Selflessness is the keynote of Mystic philosophy. 


— 75 — 

1. Thou hast a head that will not bend down for us: I have a 
heart that is incapable of patience. 1. 

2. Is there anyone whose eyes beheld Thy face all his life long, 
and had not his cheeks bedewed with tears? 

3. One cannot point to any defect in Thy beauty (of mind), save 
only this that kindliness is absent from Thy nature and dis- 

4. What cruelty is there that is not inflicted on Thy poor ball- 
like victim by the curve of the bat of Thy raven tresses? 

5. If a thousand fortunes assailed his wounded heart at Thy 
hands, he would not be a (real) lover who would deny -that 
(the matter) had turned out well. 2. 

6. And, if I should cut short the tongue of my hope from talking 
of (-praising) Thee, (saying) that no advantage would ac- 
crue from such discourse, 3. 

7. People would think that the fire of spiritual reality had died 
out of the censer of my breast, since no perfume was exhaled 
from it. 

8. Who (pray) is that (spiritual) lover whose cries are not full 
of pain? What assembly (=circle of Mystics) is that, from 
which exclamations of frenzied joy do not proceed? 4. 

1. Sar ba kase faro amadan is a metaphor taken from the wrest- 
ling ground, and means that the victor bends down the head 
of the vanquished. Here the meaning is "Thou wilt not yield 
to us". 

2. in modern slang nikii mmyad might be translated "it was 
a good job". 

3. i.e. if I should cease to utter praise of Thee in the hope (of 
the boon of Union). HadJs in this line, and bil in the next 
refer to his lyrical poetry. 

4. The poet is referring to the ecstatic ejaculations of dancers 
engaged in the Mystic dance (sama'). 


9. Surely Sa'di must have imbibed the fx'-enzy of Love with his 
mother's milk; for he has become aged, and is still unchan- 
ged. 5. 


— 76 — 

1. What can a slave do but endure cruelty with patience? (For), 
although his heart may be sad, his love undergoes no change. 

2. My heart and my religion have been lost in Thy (love) affair; 
but they are of little account. Demand (even) my life and soul, 
(and I will gladly give them, for) one, who is mad (with love), 
does not hesitate (about such trifles). 

3. It is said that magic is unlawful in this age; but Thine eyes 
have done what Harut could not achieve in Babylon. 1. 

4. Immersed in the ocean (of Thy Love), I am uneasy lest in 
course of time I may be cast upon the shore. 

5. I shall not repair to the rose garden as long as Thou art 
(locked) in my embrace: if the nightingale should chance to 
see Thy face, it would not seek the rose. 2. 

6. Noone else will again appear before his mind's-eye, who, 
like Sa'di, has secured one happy moment with the Beloved. 

— 77 — 

1. What cypress is this that displays such a graceful stature, and 
snatches the reins of control from (so many) hearts? 

2. Who can have produced this form, so fair of face? I have no 
idea what effect such a form as Her's will produce (in the 

5. This is perhaps one of Sa'di's later Odes, as he refers to him- 
self as a very old man. 

1. Harut and Marut were the fallen angels, who were great tea- 
chers of magic, and are mentioned in the Quran (Surah ii-96) , 
and in the Traditions (Mishkat xxi— 3). 

2. *'Rose-garden" here means material pleasures. 


3. If I should see Her, who resembles the Sun's bright disk, a 
hundred times, my eyes would overflow with tears (every 

.4. There is noone like Her in our age; but I fear She will not 
make a (love) pact with us. 1. 

5. On that (=Thy) side there is indifference as much as Thou 
pleasest(=beyond count), while on this (=my) side Love con- 
tinues to increase. 

6. The tale of the Beloved's love cannot be expressed, and, if 
you should try to describe it, you must get a sympathetic 
ear to hear it, 2. 

7. Enquire from the sleepless about the length of the night; for 
to those, who are sleepy, it appears (too) short. 

8. I have no power of escape from Her hands, whether She 
binds me (in Her chains), or sets me free. 

9. Let the weak wretch fall, who measures his (puny) strength 
with powerful (athletes). 

10. It is not proper to shed Sa'di's blood unjustly; but, since 
it is the Beloved's will, it is permissible. 

— 78 — 

1. Your beauty will not remain like this for ever: he, who Is 
intoxicated (by your charms), will not always suffer from 
the effects of his drunken ess. 

2. O Thou smiling (=full blown) rose, lately come to bloom! be 
mindful of the nightingale's feelings; for the spring is not 

3. Your heart-ravishing beauty is like a hand stained with henna, 
the dye will not remain on it till Doomsday (=for ever). 

1. The only point in this line seems to be the pun on the double 
meaning of ^ahd. 

2. The mysteries of Divine Love, if divulged at all, can be re- 
vealed only to one whose ear is attuned to the Infinite. 


4. In the end nothing remains of us but dust; (so) beware that 
no heart is distressed by you! 1. 

5. Your experience of joy and sorrow last year is a thing of the 
past, (and) this year too will pass away, and vanish like 
the last. 

6. The revolution of Time may grant you your heart's desire, 
and, if not, (what does it matter, for) Time's cycle itself 
will come to an end. 

7. O Sa'di! why are you so distracted and perturbed in quest of 
a thing, which lacks stability? 2. 

8. People of discernment (=culture) can cultivate the habit of 
Love, or not, as they please; but, when Fate intervenes, no 
option is left them. 


— 79 — 

1. He, who fears for his own life, has no (real) love for the 
Beloved: if he succeeds in gaming Union with Her at the 
price of his life, it would be dirt cheap. 1. 

2. What are Mimosa thorns that they should turn the pilgrim 
from the Ka'bah? Star thistles are like a silken carpet on the 
lover's path. 2. 

3. Noone has dealings with Thee save the distraught (lover), 
whose love Tor Thee Is planted deep in his soul, and whose 
lips are sealed. 3. 

N.B.This is a didactic Ode on the vanity of human wishes. 

1. The poet plays finely here on the double meaning o\ ghubar. 
Ghubarl khat'ir =disturbance of mind, or anxiety. 

2. He refers to the murad of the previous line, and implies that 
it is foolish to let the pursuit of worldly pleasure disturb 
one's peace of mind. 

1. Raygan literally means any thing picked upon the road, and 
hence something acquired without labour or expense. 

2. The spiritual lover should not be daunted by the trials he 
must encounter in his quest for the Beloved. 

3. In other words his love is too deep for utterance. 


4. O fairy faced (Beloved) ! Why art Thou hidden from the pu- 
pils of my eyes, (^ut of course) it is the habit of fairies to 
conceal themselves from mankind, 4. 

5. I do not wish to leave the v^^orld (=die) save at the foot of 
Thy wall, so that when I come to give up my life, my head 
may be laid on Thy threshold. 

S. If I were to run counter to Thy good pleasure, 7 should be 
niggardly and ungenerous. Ask of me my soul, and Thy com- 
mand shall be obeyed. 

7. I am immersed in the ocean of Thy Love, (and) shun all man- 
kind, (just as) a man flees from a foe, wfio hofds an arrow 
in his bow. 

8. People are bewildered by Thee, and indeed it is an occasion 
for surprise that they should see the Moon on the earth, 
for the Moon's place is in the sky. 

9. If Thou wert to measure Thy waist and Thy hair in a hundred 
different ways, Thy waist would prove slenderer than a hair, 
and Thy hair would reach Thy waist. 

10. (Even the menace) of the sword could not make me turn 
away my heart from Thee, and, if Thou shouldst blind me, 
my desire for Thee would still be the same. 5. 

11. Sa'di, like Farhad, will leave the world (=die) with bitter 
regret; but his sweet lamentations (Hove poetry) will last 
as long as the world endures. 6. 

4. The poet plays here on the double meaning of mardum. 
Fairies were supposed to be usually invisible to mortals, 
though they sometimes displayed their beauty to entice them 
to their doom. 

5 MU was a red hot iron used in blinding offenders. The pun 
on mil and mail is obvious. 

6. The word play in this line is particularly clever. 


— 80 — 

1. My sweet sleep, dear boy, has become a trick of the imagina- 
tion: the ready cash of my life's hope has been (wasted) 
in the quest of Union. 1. 

2. If Love for Her had not overcome my patience and wisdom, 
why should the latter have been overpowered, and the for- 
mer trampled under foot (=exhausted) ? 

3. It would not be strange if Thy Union were forbidden me; 
but it is a matter for wonder that the shedding of my blood 
should be lawful for Thee. 

4. If the Sun's rays turn a crescent to a full moon, why has the 

full moon of my body (= phenomenal existence) become a 
crescent through beholding Thee. 2. 

5. It is fitting that Thou, who hast a thousand Josephs as slaves 
to (minister to) Thy dignity and affluence, should demand 
the kingship of the heart's empire of Egypt. 3. 

6. Do not think it strange if I should emit a cry of rapture from 
my heart; for, when the fire of the heart flares up, it can 
no longer exercise patience. 

7. If Sa'di should take a look at Thee, do not suspect him of 
evil ; for he is not in love with tresses and moles, as is the 
custom of other folk. 4. 


1. His sleep has become an idle fancy i.e. he cannot sleep beca- 
use he is separated from the Beloved, and has failed to re- 
alise his hope of Union. 

2. By ''the full moon of his body" is meant his hale and hearty 
frame, and by "his body becoming a crescent" he implies that 
it is emaciated. Nazar also means ''love". 

3. Joseph was ruler of Egypt under the Pharoahs and a type 
of manly beauty. The meaning is, "it is fitting that Thou, 
who art loved by every soul, shouldst claim the empire of 
my heart; for Joseph possessed the empire of Egypt, whereas 
a thousand like Joseph are Thy slaves"- 

4. In other words his love is spiritual not material. 


— 81 — 

1. My heart will not renounce its passion for the Beloved: it 
cannot pursue the way of sensible folk. 

2. O God! release our souls from the calamity of Love; for they 
will not abandon this business (of their own accord). 

3. I keep on burning (with Love), and trying to make the best 
of the situation ; but it is (only) patience that can prevent me 
from violating the secrets (of Love). 1. 

4. My infirm body, crushed under the weight of Heaven's tyr- 
anny, cannot support the additonal load of the Beloved's 
cruelty. 2. 

5. It behoves the Beloved not to pretend to be on terms of 
affection with Her lover, if She does not lift the burden of 
sorrow from his heart. 

6. If She, in fulfilment of Her promise, allows me to embrace 
Her, what would it avail, unless She destroys me altogether 
(=deprives me entirely of reason and self control) ? 3. 

7. Sa'di is consumed in the fire of Hell through Her absence; 
but still he does not lose hope of the joy of seeing Her. 

— 82 — 

1. A cypress like you is needed to adorn the garden, and it 
would be fitting if there were no (other) cypress in the 
park. 1. 

2. Reason cannot conceive, nor imagination fancy, that, from 
human seed, such a child (as Thou) could be born. 

1. Literally this sentence runs, "keep the veil from being lifted 
off the face of my secrets". 

2. Basarbar is literally an additional load, which is carried on 
the head. 

3. True love of God involves complete loss of self in farm. 
1. Baghisfan means the vineyards and gardens, or parks, that 

surround a palace. 


3. Thy ruby lips have stolen so many lover's hearts, that now, 
in the whole city, there is not one left for them to plunder. 

4. Every one else has some craze, or desire, while I am but an 
obedient slave. So let us see what the Beloved orders, (and 
I will obey). 

5. If my head (=life) should some day fall {=be sacrificed) at 
Her lovely feet, it would be easy (of accomplishment) ; but 
I fear She will not defile Her hands (with my blood). 

6. In very truth I do not want the world without the Beloved; 
for what use would it be, if my heart were distracted. 

7. There is many a head, which is striking against the (Belo- 
ved's) door, like a knocker, through this passion (for Her). 
Let us see to whom Her door will be opened by auspicious 

8. I fear that (my) Leilah will always be inclined to treat (Her) 
Majnun unkindly, till the blood of his heart is poured from 
his eyes. 2. 

9. That obdurate hard hearted (Beloved) feels no pity for Her 
wounded (lover), (though) perhaps on Her return She may 
take compassion on him when he is dead.. 

10. O Cup-bearer! give (me wine), and take from this world all 
the joy it can give; for this life is not lasting and this age 
is transitory. 3. 

11. People say, '*0 Sa'di! why do you not refrain from Love"? 
(but) I am drunk (with Love's wine), and a man must be 
sober to adopt this course. 


— 83 — 

1. The moment when that walking cypress (=graceful figure) 
returned through my door, the spirit, you might truly say, 
came back to my body. 

2. By Leilah and Majnun are meant the Beloved, and Her lover, 
the poet. 

3. The cup-bearer is the Beloved, and the sense is "let me have 
all the spiritual joy that is possible in this brief life". 


2. And auspicious Fortune, which used to be inimical to me, re- 
entered my door in the morning in a concih"atory spirt. 

3. The Friend came back to me, and the enemy collapsed (help- 
lessly, like one crushed) by misfortune. The breeze of Spring 
has returned in spite of the Autumn. 1. 

4. I had aged through the tyranny of fate, and Time's revolu- 
tion ; but now my hoary head has become rejuvenated. 2. 

5. Congratulate me, O my soul! for (the time of) distress has 
passed away: be not cast down, O my body! for life has re- 
turned to you. 

6. I cannot believe my good Fortune that that cruel, harsh. Mis- 
tress, has returned through my door in a kindly frame of 

7. O Solace of my soul! as soon as Thou didst return through 
the gate-way of the invisible world, every one renounced 
any desire he may have cherig'hed in his mind. 3. 

8. The love of Thy face is forbidden to all but Sa'di ; for he, 
on account of his passion for Thee, has given up every one 
in the world. 

^. O friends! do no't find fault with, or reproach me; for this 
is a story I cannot help telling. 

— 84 — 

1. Behold the sweet mouth of that mischievous darling! Look 
at the pearls twixt Her ruby- red, sugar-scattering, lips! 

r. The spring'breeze is a symbol for the Beloved, because it re- 
freshes the soul. By Autumn is meant the enemy, or, I'n other 
words, man's evil passions, which veil him from God, 

2. This may be a later Ode, as Sa'di speaks of himself as aged 
and hoary headed. 

3. i.e. every one became selfless, and lost his own will in that 
of the Beloved. 


2. Behold the garden of Her cheeks full of jonquils, violets, 
and pomegranates, which is the heart's pleasure ground.! 1. 

3. She carries off from us a thousand hearts by a single glance; 
(but what wonder, for) observe the lustre of Her face and 
the splendour of Her beauty! 2. 

4. Although trouble is rare in the reign of our just king; (yet) 

look at those drunken (=languorous) eyes of Hers, and the 
murderous glances (they shoot forth). 3. 

5. Today the Beloved's face is far lovelier than it was yester- 
day; (but) consider how much worse my love affair is this 
year than last. 

6. Observe (how) hyacinths are arranged over a deep red (surl) 
rose: see (how) ambergris is scattered round a jasmine bed !4 

7. The moment She lets down the curls of Her disordered hair, 
you will see a hundred hearts (laid low) beneath Her robber 
tresses. 5 . 

8. Listen to Her (sweet) speech, (though I know that She in- 
deed will not speak to any one by reason of Her arrogance), 
and watch Her (graceful) gait. 

1. Cf. the lines in R. Allison's An Howre's Recreation in Mu- 
sic (1606);— 

'There is a garden in her face, 
''Where roses and white lilies grow. 
"A heavenly Paradise is that place, 
"Wherein all pleasant fruits do grow. 

2. The word play in this line is exceedingly clever. The line may 
also be translated thus; "In exchange for a single look She 
takes from us a thousand hearts, (and what wonder, for) 
observe Her solvency, and the briskness of Her market"! 

3. This is a subtle compliment to the reigning Prince of Pars, 
who may have been the Atabeg, Abu Bakr (1226 — 60), Sa'- 
di's patron. He implies that the Beloved is the only source 
of trouble in the whole kingdom. 

4. i.e. Her block scented ringlets surround Her pink and white face. 

5. Tarrar \s used because Her tresses steal men's hearts by their 
charm. It is interesting to note that tirar is the plural of tur- 
rah (=ringlet), while tarrar means a cut purse. 


Q. The pearl casquet enclosed within that boy's twin carnelian 
lips is a treasure; (but) look at the snake that lies coiled 
over it! 6. 

10. Her eyes with the sword of their murderous relentless glan- 
ces have conquered a whole city, (so) consider the power 

of (those) languorous orbs. 7. 

11. Yesterday Her glance said to me, ''O Sa'di! I am Thine"! 
(but) observe once more these false blandishments of Hers! 


1. What scheme can I devise to make an impression on Thee? 
Where can I go to rid my heart of (Love for) Thee? 

2. I have lost caste in men's eyes, (but) it is not possible for 
my impudent eyes to avoid making love. 

3. My weak heart has not the power to make Patience a shield 
against the arrows of Thy love. 

4. When Thou hearest of my life's bitterness, break into smi- 
les; for if Thou wert to smile, the world would become 
sweet. 1. 

5. If Thou shouldst pass by Thy wounded (=heart-sick) lover, 
he would be restored to health: if Thou shouldst look upon 
Thy dead (= victim), he would come to life again. 

6. The pen has shed tears by reason of my heart-rending (==pa- 
thetic) words (--poetry); for a blazing fire quickly kindles 
a reed. 2. 

6. He means that the Beloved's pearly teeth are enclosed within 
red lips, which are surmounted by an incipient moustache. 

7. Blmar is often used to express the languorous eye of a Mist- 
ress. The pun on the double meaning of blmar is obvious. 
Note a reference to the legend of a snake guarding treasure. 

1. Cf. Whinfield's Gulshani raz line 753; — 

''By a smile on his lips he cheers the soul". 

2. The "tears of the pen'' is an euphemism for ink. 


7.. Thy two languorous eyes subdue a whole city by one glance: 
Thy amorous ogling captivates a world by a single look. 

8. If I should sit (moping) in a corner of my house by reason 
of Thy cruelty, Thy image would ruthlessly drive me from 
door and roof. 3. 

9. Do not act as Thou art doing; for the day of Thy beauty will 
come to an end, if Sa'di should some night grip the skirt 
of the dawn with the hand of prayer. 4. 

— 86 — 

1. Does any one desert his Beloved, save he, whose heart is 
harder than a stone? 

2. Who can say thaat he knows any thing of the reality of Love? 
He is a liar (for saying so), if he is conscious of self. 1. 

3. God forbid that he, who regards the Beloved with purity of 
heart, should care ought for the Here and Hereafter! 2. 

4. We shall perish in the desert of Love, so where is the man, 
who desires to undertake the journey in our company? 3. 

5. Though an arrow should menace him in front, and a sword 
from behind, he is not a (real) lover, who is concerned about 
the danger (to his life) 

3. i.e. Thy image would haunt me and allow me no rest. 

4. i.e. if he prays all night to God. Prayers at dawn are sup- 
posed to be specially efficacious. The idea may be that, if 
Sa'di prays at dawn ^ all his wishes will be granted, and 
consequently there would be no further need for the Beloved 

to manifest Her jatnal (=mercy and kindnesss). 

1. Sa'di means that noone can comprehend the mysteries of 
Divine Love, who is not selfless. 

2. As Nicholson observes ''the phenomenal world and even Hea- 
ven, so far as it rests upon a phenomenal basis is an obsta- 
cle to Union with the Absolute" (Divani Shamsi Tabriz ii-12. 

3. By halak budan is meant "dying to self". 


6. And (even) if Paradise were painted (in glowing colours) 
for the Gnostic, it would not be proper for him to look at 
anything but the Beloved. 

7. Among the chatties that are scattered at the feet of sweet- 
hearts, 1 have a head (=life) to offer; but I know not what 
Her wish may be (on the subject). 

8. It would be a pity for the Beloved to set Her feet on the 
dust. Why does She not walk over our heads and eyes.? 

9. The common herd reproach me for being a lover all my life; 
(but) what fault, pray, is it on Sa'di's part to practise this 

10. May it be forbidden him to cast a glance at Thy face, who 
has another sweet-heart besides Thee in the whole world. 

— 87 — 

1. Does any one (voluntarily) abandon his country and friends? 
(But) of course he must do so, when Fortune turns against 

2. I do not blame a faint-heart, who cannot endure the pain 
inflicted by the Rose, if he shuns (the prick of) the thorn. 1. 

3. If one who Is fighting with the enemy, 'fails in stratagem, 
he must perforce take to his heels like one reduced to help- 

4. The bird of my heart has become thirsty (-longs) for the wa- 
ter (=keen edge) of the sword of doom. How long must it 
wallow, half dead, in its blood? 

5. What resource remains for one (crushed) under the stone 
of misfortune, save to roll from side to side like a wounded 

1. "Rose" may mean the reigning Prince of Fars, whose anger 
the friend had incurred, and ''thorn" the punishment he eva- 
ded by exile. 


6. I have no heart left on account of the quantity of blood, 
which is poured from it, and flows back into my two ruby- 
raining eyes. 2, 

7. Although Sa'di has become wearied of his country on account 
of his loneliness, do not imagine that he will (ever) really 
turn away from (=desert) his friend, 3. 


— 88 — 

1. That saucy silver (= delicate) bodied Sweetheart will event- 
ually be the death of me; (for) She will snuff me out some 
day in the assembly like a burnt out candle. 

2. If She were to walk along with graceful gait. She would steal 
away a thousand hearts: were She to fight vengefully, She 
would slay a thousand bodies (=people). 

3. Although the Water of Life is in Her mouth and lips, it would 
not surprise me if that mouth and those lips were to prove 
the death of me. 

4. If an antagonist were to make a stand against Her, he would 
become a captive to Her Love, and, if he should flee, Her ab- 
sence would hunt him down and slay him 

5. How will the calamity of Love, that can slay the mountain- 
piercing Farhad, spare me, who have not the strength of a 
straw. 1. 

2. He means that the blood from his heart turns into tears, and 
that therefore his heart is pulseless. Yaqut-bar -shedding 
blood-stained tears, a sign of intense grief. Kih in the sec- 
ond hemistich = "and". 

3. By walishat is meant the feeling of loneliness and the dis- 
tress caused thereby. Cf. the French etre desole. 

N.B. This Ode appears to have been written by Sa'di in a 
fit of depression, occasioned by the exile of one of his pat- 
rons from Shiraz for whom he professes profound attach- 
1. Kali (= straw) and kuh (= mountain, which are written alike 
in Persian, are often opposed. 


6. People chide me, advising me to abandon Love; (but), 
if Love does not kill me on the spot, these words would. 

7. If, according to the Divine Law, an idol worshipper must die, 
what need is there to execute me; for the Idol (=Beloved) her- 
self will slay me. 2. 

8. I complained to a friend of Her saucy eyes, and he replied 
that it would not be strange, if a drunken swordsman slew 
me. 3. 

9. Jealousy will soon put an end to my existence, because the 
Friend associated for a moment with strangers. 4. 

10. She said with a smile, ''O Sa'di! I am the light of the assemb- 
ly (=circle of Mystics), what do I care if a moth should com- 
mit suicide (in my flame)."? 

— 89 — 

1. Let down Thy tresses, so that they may fall in such disorder, 
that the tumult (excited by) the beauty of Thy face may con- 
vulse the world.! 

2. If Thou wert to flit, fairy like, across people's mind, it would 
occasion a turmoil in the bodies of (= among) human beings. 

3. My heart has fallen a victim to Thy (charms). Lend it a help- 
ing hand. Beloved! Do not throw it down (= destroy it), for 
such a heart is rarely found. 

4. That poor wretch, who has drawn the sword of his glance 
(=looked) at Thy face, will surely be shot down, like me, 
by the arrow of Thy cruelty. 1. 

2. Idolatry was condemned as an unpardonable sin in the 
Quran (Surah ii — 51 — 116). 

3. By masti teghzan are meant the Beloved's languorous eyes, 
which flash forth amorous glances. 

4. Aghyar = those who are not initiated in the mysteries of Di- 
vine Love. 

1. Miihkam iiffadan is an unusual phrase, which literally means 
''to fall down flat". 


Do not break my heart; for it is the casquet that holds Thy 

hidden secrets, (and) I fear lest these may fall into the 

hands of one who is not to be trusted. 2. 

The time has come for Thee to approach me, and place Thy 

lips on mine. How long must I suffer agony in my quest 

of Thee? 3. 

O Sa'di ! endure with patience the wounds (inflicted) by the 

Beloved's cruelt}', till the chance of securing a balm for them 

befalls you. 

— 90 — 

1. Do not fall asleep; for, if Thou didst happen to see a vision 
of Thyself in a dream, it would deprive Thine eyes of sleep. 

2. The power of my endurance and the extent of my patience 
have reached their limits. Delay no longer (to come to me) ; 
for the duration of all this (endurance and patience) is not 

3. What traveller's souvenir is more' acceptable than the sight 
of one's friends? Come to me (then )Thyself; for I want 
nothing else. 

4. Although there are many Beauties in the world, (there are 
none to equal Thee, for) after the Sun rises the stars do not 

2. The heart is a mirror, which reflects the Divine attributes. 
Cf. Divani Shamsi Tabriz Ode xxviii — 2 (Nicholson's edi- 
tion) ; — 

giift kl m khanahe dil pur hamah naqsh ast chira? 

giiftam kin 'aksi tu ast ay naqshi tii shama'i chighil. 
Mahram literally means ''one who enjoy's free access to 
the haranV\ and hence a confidant". 

3. Dam bar dam aftadan hterally = to pant or gasp from ex- 


5. The tire woman gave up painting Thy face; for she was asha- 
med to adorn the Sun. 1. 

6. You will never see in the (whole) world a Sweetheart en- 
dowed with the grace of my Beloved, who practises hostility 
(towards Her lovers), and yet augments Love (in their 

7. It is not only the living who feel love and affection for Thee; 
for even the dead man's spirit is revived by Thy breath. 2. 

8. I do not grudge (spending) all I possess in (prosecuting) 
Thy quest; (for) of what value is a heart, or of what account 
is a soul (in such a ploy) ? 

Q. The why and the wherefore do not come within the purview 
of the afflicted lover, but only (unquestioned) obedience 
to the Beloved's commands. 
10. If the sighs from Sa'di's breast could only reach the presence 
of the Friend, to say nothing of affecting Her, they would 
even move the enemy to pity. 

— 91-- 

1. Surely the morning zephyr exhales the fragrance of my Be- 
loved; for it affords solace to my expectant heart. 1. 

2. The tulip and the rose are lying at the feet of the cypress: 
perchance it possesses the (graceful) characteristics of my 
own Beloved's figure. 

3. Ask not from me the track of the way to safety; for Love 
holds the reins of my will, which lacks the power of control. 2 

1. i.e. it was a hopeless task for her to try to enhance the Be- 
loved's beauty. 

2. An allusion to the quickening breath of Jesus, which is call- 
ed Rah ullahl (Quran Surah iv. 169). 

1. By the Beloved's fragrance is meant Divine inspiration. 

2. i.e. I cannot guide you on the road to safety, as Love forces 
me to take another route. 


4. O rose and O fresh orange-flower! your cheeks do not pos- 
sess the freshness of my rose, nor the fragrance of my or- 
ange-flower (=the Beloved). 3. 

5. My head can never lie on the pillow of peace again, (con- 
sumed as) my poor brain is with this desire (for Union). 

6. I have vainly spent my life in thinking of Her, while She 
has no consideration for me, or for my fate. 

7. Surely the sighs of my heart have reduced me to the last ex- 
tremity. O God! by whose favour will my distress be reliev- 
ed? 4. 

8. Beneath Thy load Sa'di is reduced to despair like an ass in 
the mire; (but) is Thy heart untouched by the thought that 
it is Thy burden (of Love) the poor wretch bears? 

— 92- 

1. What can I throw at Thy feet that would be worthy of Thine 
acceptance? (Even) my life would not be a fitting offering 
to lay there. 

2. Happy is the face that faces (=looks on) Thee for ever; but 
this can only happen when it is Thy good pleasure. 

3. There is not an atom in the whole of my poor body that is 
not devoted to Thy Love. 1. 

4. Since Thou, O graceful cypress, hast been planted in my 
heart, I do not wish anyone (else) to occupy Thy place 

5. I swear by Thy love, that if bricks were made from my clay, 
my affection and love for Thee would still continue the same 
in my heart. 

3. Literally = "are you one whose cheeks possess" etc. 

4. Literally = "what skirt of favour will hold my dust"? 

1. There is an ingenious pun in this line, as zarrahe mu^allaq 
ba hawal tii also means "the mote that is suspended in Thy 


6. Our aspiration is to die in the prosecution of Thy love-affair. 
We have no fear of death, since Thou livest eternally. 2. 

7. O lamp of Chigil! if I were to burn moth-like in Thy pre- 
sence, it would be my fault and not Thine. 3. 

8. It would (indeed) be strange for one, who has seen Thee and 
heard Thy conversation, not to be desirous all his life of com- 
munion with Thee. 4. 

9. The lamentations of heart-afflicted lovers, that are the out- 
come of their pain, affect them pleasantly, especially if it 
be a pain, for which there is hope of a cure at Thy hands. 

10. Sa'di's ambition would not be realised by the empire of the 
whole world. The sovereignty that would satisfy him consists 
in being Thy beggar. 5. 

11. For ages the v^orship point of Mystics will be (fixed) on the 
ground, which has been trodden by the soles of Thy feet. 6. 


— 93 — 

1. This is not a night when any thing can find room between 
us. I swear by the dust of Thy feet that not even a particle 
of ether shall be contained (between us). 

2. Doff Thy crown of arrogance and pride, (and) loosen Thy 
girdle; for I have never seen a cypress (^graceful figure) like 
Thee that could be contained in a tunic. 

2. i.e. by dying to self he lives eternally in God. 

3. Cf. Divan Shamsi Tabriz Ode xxviii— 2 (Nicholson's edition); 
guftamkJn'aksttiiastay nikliitu sham'i Chigil, which means, 
according to Nicholson, ''the radiant beauty of Thy face illu- 
mines even Chigil in Turkestan, the home of beauty". 

4. By liqa (literally = meeting face to face) the poet seems to 
mean intimate communion (kliilwat) with God. 

5. By gada, which is opposed to padshahi, is meant a poor man 
in an esoteric sense, "who wills, knows, and desires nothing". 

6. This verse is copied by Hafiz, who transposes the couplets. 


3. Ask me not for an account of our separation on the night of 
Union. Whose reproach can intrude on the privacy of our re- 

4. Do not offer me sugar (=-sweets), nor scatter roses at our pla- 
ce of meeting; for it is not fitting that anything should inter- 
vene between us (to mar our joy). 

5. The happiness of Waisa and Ramin had no need of roses 
(to enhance it). What room was there for sugar (= sweets) 
between Khusru and Shirin? 1. 

6. When the tumult of Love superveues, Reason is dethroned. 
How can two kings find room (to reign) in one empire? 

7. There is no longer any scope in Sa'di's mind for music and 
song. Is there a chance (then) for a pious man's advice to 
get a footing there again? 2. 

— 94 — 

1 . A wise man ought to avoid Love ; but to my nature Wisdom 
is repugnant. 

2. He, who has a heart adorned with spiritual Reality, would 
cast both the Here and Hereafter at the Beloved's feet, 
if he possessed them. 1. 

3. If a flood of reproach should overtake him, the frenzied (lo- 
ver) has no fear, and, if the arrows of misfortune should 
rain on (=assail) him, the mad (wooer) would not avoid 

1. The pun on the double meaning of Shakar may be noted. 
Shakar was the name of Shirin's rival in the affections of 

2. i.e. Sa'di is so absorbed in the rapture of Love that he has no 
inclination to listen to music, much less to the advice of 
pious well-wishers. 

1. Yake is here used to mean the Beloved. Arastahe m'ani= 
"endowed with the knowledge of spiritual truth". 


4. Anyhow I am not alone in the desert of Passion; for the 
love of Her sweet lips excites many a tumult (in the world). 

5. With Fortune in arms against me, what device can I have 
recourse to in order to enjoy the fruits of Thy Union? (But) 
a beggar is helpless, however much he may strive. 

6. It would be a kindness on Thy part to call me (to Thee) : 
it would be just for Thee to drive me away. He who shuns 
Thy chiding is not worthy of Thy Love 

7. Since I have attached my heart to Thee, I have closed the 
road (thither) to everyone (else). Wherever Thou sittest 
down, many is the tumult that rises up. 

8. Sa'di will never take his eyes off Thy face, and if Thou 
shouldst turn Thy face from him, he would still cling to Thy 

— 95 — 

1. This is the time when weakness (=helplessness) supervenes, 
and strength departs, and the power of the poet's sweet 
utterance wanes. 

2. All of a sudden the blast of Autumn comes, and sweeps away 
all this brilliance and beauty that you see from the wild rose- 

3. My feet will soon lose their power of motion. Happy is he, 
who is circumspect, and treads the path of virtue. 

4. God knows that, if I should weep (over my wasted oppor- 
tunities), a stream would run from my eyes, till the day 
when the water, that has flowed away, returns to the river- 
bed (=for ever). 

5. How can I hope for Paradise with such a (scani^) ctocV- of 
(good) works to my credit? Who would allow the devil to 
enter Heaven? 

6. All Sa'di's stock in trade consists in his sweet poetry, and 
this will survive him. I do not know what will go (=what 
he will take) with him. 


(But) what is the use of all this poetry and eloquence to 
me, who have been burning all my life like aloes, so that their 
fragrance might pervade the world? 1. 

— 96 — 

1. O charming Mistress! O heart-ravishing Moon (=sweetheart)! 
One can do without everyone else; but he cannot dispense 
with Thee. 

2. Since Thy image has been imprinted on my sincere heart, 
there is no room left for any other idea in my mind. 

3. People reproach me saying, ''how long will you run after 
Beauties"? (But) how should anyone, whom they take cap- 
tive, fail to follow them like slaves? 

4. He who is bound in the chain of Thy tresses, does not quick- 
ly get free. It takes a long time, and a great effort, for anyone 
who has sunk in pitch, to extricate himself. 1. 

5. If a sweet- heart with a graceful figure and silvery (=delicate) 
limbs like Thine should pass by, he who does not look at 
Her, must be dead or blind. 

6. If I do not mention the Beloved's name, (it does not matter, 
for), who is there that resembles Her, (and), it goes without 
saying that one, who is peerless, must practise arrogance. 

7. The beautiful figure of the cypress, on which so much praise 
is lavished, (although) apparently lofty, is in reality low 
(in stature when compared with Her). 

N.B. In this devotional Ode Sa'di deplores his waning powers, 
anri c.-vpresses remorse for his wasted life. 

1. The poet means that the anguish of Love has found expres- 
sion in his poetry, which has world wide circulation, but 
brings him no advantage. 

l.^'The chains of the Beloved's tresses" may be taken here to 
mean phenomena which veil God from man. 


8. Everyone, who is in quest of Thee, will not shrink from 

the sword, and he, who is in love with Thee, will not be 

turned aside by arrows. 
Q. Let me imprint kisses, slave-wise, on Thy feet, and, if my 

life be forfeited in this desire, do not blame a helpless 


10. O Sa'di! if your life and property be spent in (the quest of) 
Union, the price would be a paltry one for you to pay for 
such a high honor. 

11. Although Thou art independent of us, and art in need of 
noone, nevertheless we seek support from Thee (alone), 
and lack all else. 

— 97 — 

1. O Patience! be firm; for my Beloved has broken Her pact. 
I am undone and have failed to win my sweet-heart. 

2. (Anguished) sighs have risen from my heart, and my eyes 
have become suffused with blood. My God! what have I 
done that the Beloved should refuse me Her companionship. 

3. In my love for the Beloved I grudge neither gold nor silver; 
but it is tears and anguish that companion me. 1. 

4. The Beloved had no pity on my bow-like form, but darted 
away suddenly from my side like an arrow. 2. 

5. For a whole life-time I placed the face of adoration on the 
Beloved's threshold. I thought that perhaps She might open 
a door for me (to Her heart), but (instead of that) She 
closed it. 3. 

1. It will be noticed that abi chashm is appropriate to 5////, and 
ataslii d'll to zar. 

2. tiamchun kaman ="bent down with grief". 

3. By rue fa'bbiid nihadan is meant "to prostrate oneself (be- 
fore God) in adoration". 


6. Does an enemy act as Thou hast done towards a friend? 
In short, is he a (true) friend, who is on friendly terms with 
the foe? 

7. O Sa'di! since the perfidy of your Beloved has been estab- 
lished, break off hope in your heart, for She has broken Her 
pact (with you). 

— 98 — 

1. Every night I plan fresh schemes, and new designs, to escape 
from Thee on the morrow to some other place. 1. 

2. (But) in the morning, when I place one foot outside Thy 
house, my loyalty does not permit me to set the other (there). 

3. Every one longs for something, and yearns for someone; 
(but) we desire nothing but Thee, 

4. Because no other face or figure is ever pictured with such 
clearness as Thine in the mirror of my imagination. 

5. There was (once) a Wamiq who was madly in love with an 
Azra. Today Thou and I are (like) a second Wamiq and 
Azra. 2. 

6. It is the season when the rose and the hyacinth bloom in the 
desert, (and) people have fared forth, each party to a differ- 
ent pleasure ground, 

7. (So) come out in the morning (with us) to enjoy a prome- 
nade in the garden, since we cannot dispense with Thy com- 
pany to take part in any other amusement. 

8. Every morning a Xfresh) grief confronts me through the re- 
volution of Time, (and) I say to myself, ''must I add this 
to my other sorrows"? 

1. i.e. away from Thy cruelty. 

2. Wamiq and Azra were the hero and heroine of a well known 
Romance no longer extant, based on a Pahlavi original, and 

first versified in Persian by UnsurT, and later by FasThT of 


9. Again I say ''lay it there" (=add this grief to my former 
sorrows), for all this revolution of the sphere (= earthly life) 
comes to naught. O Sa'di! have patience today, and for one 
more tomorrow. 3. 

— 99 — 

1. He is highly favoured by Fortune, through whose door Thou 
returnest. Come, ah, come! for Thou wouldst be welcome. 
Where art Thou now? 1. 

2. Why didst Thou show that face (of Thine), away from which 
peace of mind is unimaginable, and displayest it not again? 

3. What have I done that Thou dost not open to my face again 
the double-lidded doors of Thy saucy heart-entrancing eyes? 

4. Whether Thou carest for us, or art unsympathetic towards 
us, I shall not be faithless and forsake Thee. 

5. The wane of Thy Union has been in the throat of my soul 
from Eternity. Even now I am still intoxicated with that cup 
of (Divine) Love. 2. 

6. He, who loses his wounded (=broken) heart in Thy street, 
will surely find it again by the light of Thy face. 3 . 

7. It certainly behoves Thee to move to another city; for there 
is no heart still left in this city for Thee to ravish. 

3. This verse carries out the idea of the previous line. The mean- 
ing is ''bear the nevV sorrows like the old, since life is all va- 
nity, and will soon be over". 

1. i.e. where art Thou hiding once more from me? 

2. The soul was united with Ood before Creation. The mean- 
ing is that the soul is still conscious of its pre-existence (Cf. 
Plato's doctrine of reminiscence), and of being loved by God 
before its descent to this earth. 

3. The Mystic, who loses his (phenomenal) self in God, will see 
his true self by the light of Divine Reality. 


8. The common herd (= uninitiated) reproach the Mystic, (say- 
ing), "why do you not refrain from this (vain) desire, and 
control your (way-ward) nature"? 

9. (I reply) ''O sober one! if you did but taste the sweetness 
of intoxication, you would not think again of temperance". 

10. ''If, like Sa'di, you were given a morsel from this door, you 
would never relinquish the habit of begging: so be off (and 
leave me alone)". 4. 

— 100 — 

1. The garden cypress feels abashed before Her lofty stature: 

Her noose-like curls are for ever capturing prey. 1. 

2. The zephyr became angry when it saw the tree of Her (gra- 
ceful) figure, and tore up by the roots every cypress that 
grew in the orchard. 

3. "Surely it is in vain that the Sun boasts of comparison with 

Her! How dares the new moon aspire to be the horse-shoe 
of Her steed? 

4. My weak frame is so helpless that it is incapable of cure 
by counsel or restraint. 

5. If I had (sufficient) firmness of purpose to disengage my 
heart from the Friend, I should not hear such disagreeable 
language (^reproaches) from the enemy. 

6. Sa'di's sweet w^ords(= poetry) produce no effect on Thee. 
There are many parrots (=eloquent poets), like him, who are 
as flies before Thy candy. 2. 

4. By ''morsel from this door" is meant Divine grace that is 
vouchsafed to the earnest seeker after Truth. 

1. "The heart entangled in the Beloved's tresses here typifies 
the lover spell-bound in contemplation of the mysterious 
beauty of God" (Nicholson's Divani Shamsi Tabriz xxi — 4) 

2. The poet means that he cannot hope to move the Beloved 
by the charm of his poetry, and the efforts of other poets, 
who flock round Her like flies on candy, are equally vain. 


7. Refrain from exercisng cruelty and oppression (against Thy 
lovers) ; for Thou art the Queen of beauty. Beware of the 
beggar and his suppliant hands! 3. 

— 101 — 

1. Pleasant is the pain for which there is a hope of cure: the 
wilderness which has an end does not seem long. 

2. If you are in love with the bow of the Beloved's eye-brows, 
it is your duty to make your life a shield against its rain of 

3. The lover who yearns for the Rose-garden, must needs put 
up with the gardener. 1. 

4. May the winning of Union with the Soul of the world be 
forbidden to him, who pays any regard to this world, or to 
his own soul! 2. 

5. One should not turn away in despair from the (quest of the) 
Ka'bah. Why, it is only a paltry sacrifice for us to perish 
in its wilderness! 3. 

6. Although I am stupid and foolish, this much I know, (name- 
ly), that my glass is no match for Her anvil. 

7. But in spite of all Her faults, one bears with the dear Be- 
loved, so how can Her separation not be endured? 

8. If a thousand arrows should assail me at Thy hands, it would 
be wrong for me to flicker even an eye-lash at their points. 

9. The rival(=enemy), who fears for his own life, only indulges 
in empty boasts of love for the Friend. 

3. The Beloved is compared to an earthly ruler, and Her lovers 
to beggars or suppliants at his court. She is warned not to 
be harsh to them, or She will incur the Divine displeasure. 

1. Rose garden here typifies the Beloved, and by the gardener 
are meant wordly illusions, which veil man from God. 

2. By jani jehan is meant God. 

3. A reference to the perils involved in the pilgrim's journey 
to Mecca. 


10. Do not expect prudence and understanding from a philoso- 
pher, who has lost his heart, and become helpless. 

11. (Even) if it were possible (to see) a rose like Thy face in 
the world, do not hope to find a nightingale like Sa'di (to 
sing its praise). 

— 102 — 

1. O friend! your life is precious, (so) make the best of it, (and) 
carry off from its polo-field any ball of good deeds that falls 
within your power. 

2. How long will dominion last? For the upshot (= point) is 
this that (even) Heaven in spite of all its power will not 
last for ever. 

3. It is only Ood almighty, the eternal Lord of might, whose 
everlasting kingdom suffers no change. 

4. This life of ours is a subject for tears (=pitiful), for like a 
rose-bud, its smiling lips last onl}^ a short while. 

5. Mother nature does not give its child a mouthful (= sip) of 
milk without sucking his life blood another time. 

6. You possess knowledge, and a stock of (earthly) goods. 
(But) what could be better than eternal felicity? (So) give 
up (the one) and take (the other). 

7. Fortunate is he, who today (=in this life) heals the pain of 
a wounded heart; for after his death he will not be able to 
cure it. 

8. He, who does not scatter grain on the earth during the win- 
ter cannot expect to reap the harvest in the summer. 

Q. Clutch the skirt of (= become a disciple of) Perfect Men 
(=saints), and be not apprehensive; for, whoever associates 
with Noah, need have no fear of the Deluge. 
10. May you be fortunate! and, to tell the truth, he is fortunate, 
whose end is praise-worthy 


11. If you erect a building to live in, well and good; but, if it 
is only to use as a temporary lodging, do not trouble to fur- 
nish it. 1. 

12. Sa'di's metier is to give advice. How can he help it? He 
has musk, and is unable to conceal it. 

— 103 — 

1. What a miracle (of delight) that graceful figure is in one's 
embrace. The wine of Salsabil flows from that fountain of 
life (=Her lips). 1. 

2. Whose minion (= Beloved) is that sweetheart, who has made 
us Her servants and devoted slaves? 

3. She is a fairy-faced darling,through the spell of whose eyes 
my eyes were deprived of sleep last night. 

4. She (=the Beloved) is not always recurring to my memory 
for indeed She is never forgotten. 

5. If She should shed my blood, may it be permitted Her! For 
it is pleasanter that my head should roll at Her feet than re- 
main on my shoulders. 

6. Our admonisher has no sense. Go and tell him to mind his 
own business. 

7. A drum under a blanket cannot be hidden from people, nor 
fire under a snood of fine muslin. 2. 

8. Come to me, O friend! and if the enemy should see (us to- 
gether), what can he do? Let him look and boil with rage. 

N.B.This is a didactic Ode in SaMi's happiest vein. 
1. He refers to the world as a temporary place of sojourn on 
the road to Eternity. 

1. Salsabil is a river, or spring, of wine in Paradise, which is 
mentioned in the Quran (Surah Lxxvi — 10) 

2. Sa'di means that as a blanket cannot deaden the sound of 
a drum, so his love for Her cannot elude discovery by any 
subterfuge. Diihiil zeri gillm pinhan kardan is a proverb 
which means *'to try and conceal what is obvious". 


9. Thou art indifferent to us, though we are Thy companions. 
We cry out (in pain), (but) Thou art silent. 3. 
10. Ask for a description of Thy beauty from someone else; for 
Sa'di is too dazed and bewildered by Thee (to reply). 

— 104 — 

1. Whether Thou acceptest me (as Thy lover), or drivest me 
away from Thy presence, I will not turn away from Thee 
even at the sacrifice of my life. 

2. Thou knowest best whether Thou shouldst cherish ^ or afflict 
me. Do whatever seems good to Thee in accordance with 
Thine enlightened judgment. 

3. I derive no benefit from the advice of strangers, for I am 
content to endure illtreatment at the hands of my own tyran- 
nical (Beloved). 1. 

4. Although to cast a look in our direction would be a favour 
and a meritorious deed (on Thy part), still Thou wouldst 
cherish (thereby) Thy slave and servant. 2. 

5. Even if Thou shouldst imperatively prohibit my seeing Thee 
face to face, I will never permit the image of Thy face to 
leave my mind. 

6. The story of my patience in the absence of Thy face is best 
illustrated by the forbearance of the suckling child away from 
its mother's breast. 3. 

7. Thou wouldst be quite justified in driving all mankind (=every- 
one) from Thy sight; for Thou wilt never see anyone en- 
dowed with Thy beauty of aspect. 

3. By hamrahe is meant that God is omnipresent. 

1. /C/zivZs/z here may connote the meaning of "one who is in in- 
timate communion with", as opposed to beganeh in the pre- 
vious hemistich. 

2. Sawab is a good deed that deserves a recompense. 

3. i.e. his impatience at the absence of the Beloved's face is 
like the inquietude of an infant away from its mothers breast. 


8. I thought I would sacrifice my life for the love of Thy face, 
and then I felt ashamed at the paltriness of my offering. 

9. It is out of the question that Thou shouldst entertain the 
idea of associating with Sa'di. What a foolish thought for 
me to have imagined.! 

10. Do you know what this overpowering (feeling of) Love en- 
tails on me? It is just what the ant suffers from its load. 4. 

--105 — 

1. If I am not to enjoy the world, what do I care for that dust- 
bin? I am the Eagle of magnanimity. I do not desire the 
crow's nest for my abode. 1. 

2. If all my wishes were gratified, half a loaf would satisfy 
(all my desires), and if the course of my life is run,' I do not 
want to be half dead. 

3. I am lying, like the dog of the Companions of the cave, at 

the door of (Perfect) Men (=saints.) I do not wander from 
door to door, (and) have no use for the bones (I get there) 2. 

4. The pearls of spiritual Reality are strung on the thread of 
form: I am not narrow-eyed (=covetous), like a needle, (so) 
the thread may be dispensed with (=broken for all I care). 3 

4. Literally bar sar award, and bar sar amad mean "what it 
brings on my head", and 'Svhat came on its head". 

1. By dunya are meant material joys. Khdkdan is an expres- 
sion used for the world. 

2. The word ustukhwan is introduced here as being appropriate 
to saz. The companions of the cave referred to were the Seven 

Sleepers of Ephesus (Quran xviii). 

3. Thread is of course appropriate to needle. The poet means 
that he is not concerned with form (^phenomena), and that 
spiritual Reality is the only matter that is of any moment 
to him. 


5. When sleep overtakes you, lay down your head at the base 
of the wall of poverty: it matters not if you have no ladder 
to climb to the terrace of wealth. 4. 

6. When I have put greed aside, I do not require anyone's assis- 
tance. Since I have ceased to speak, I need no interpreter. 5. 

7. How wonderful it is that my tumultuous passion has set the 
world on fire! (But) since I have fallen into the fire (of 
Love) myself, the world may cease to be (for all I care). 6 

8. If I am to burn in Hell, let my vile body be consumed.! If 
I fail to enter Heaven, I dont care if there be no paradise! 

9. If I am nothing in the garden of Paradise, it is no matter 
to me that even a dry leaf does not grow (there) : if I am of 
no account in the sovereign's kingdom, what do I care if 
there is no watchman? 

10. O Sa'di! what is the use of your obeisance at the gate of 
glory? Let not the dust of a defiled (worshipper) soil the 
Holy threshold.! 

— 106 — 

1. I am exalted to the heavens by reason of my good fortune; 
for I am one who has taken the road to the desert (of Love) 
in Thy company. 

2. I have spent ages in Thy quest, seeking a means (to win 
Thee) : I have wandered for years, devising some scheme 
to escape Thy cruelty. 

4. i.e. be resigned to poverty, and do not hanker after riches. 

5. Pae mardi gil makhJz literally means, "let no helper arise". 

6. He means that his love poetry has created a furore in the 

7. i.e. he is unworthy to be even a dry leaf in the verdant glades 
of Paradise, or a watchman in the Sovereign's (=God's) king- 

N.B. This is another example of Sa'di's didactic Odes, but 
written in a pessimistic vein. 


3. Today I have fully attained my aspiration : today my wishes 
have been fulfilled in accordance with the desire of my af- 
flicted heart. 1. 

4. How did I win Thee, O Ocean-reflecting drop? How didst 
Thou fall to my lot, O Thou morsel, that art beyond my ca- 
pacity? 2. 

5. A regal crown is on my dust soiled head : a royal pavilion 
is pitched on the beggar's plot of ground! 3. 

6. I will not place any one else's balm on the sword-wound 
of Thy Love: I am a golden bowl, and I cannot be mended 
with glue. 4. 

7. If Sa'di should gain the honey of Thy Union, it would not be 
ground for surprise, since he has been stung for years by 
the bee of Thy (bitter) speech. 

— 107 — 

1. Patience and the power of endurance are still possessed by 
him, who can go to sleep in the absence of his Beloved. 

2. One cannot expect sleep from those eyes, which have been 
drowned in a flood of tears. 1. 

3. Love's victim does not move of his own volition: another 
drags him along (as) with a fish-hook. 

1. Payam faro raft baganjlnahe kani literally means "my foot 
has sunk deep in the treasure of desire". 

2. The spiritual Director is compared to a drop that reflects 
the ocean of Being =the attributes of the Absolute. 

3. Literally this line runs ''a regal throne and yet the dust-soiled 
head: a royal pavilion and yet a beggar's plot of ground". 
In other words he has attained the utmost limit of happiness 
through Union. 

4. i.e. the wound of Love must be cured by the Beloved herself. 
1. Literally -"from whose head a flood has passed (or flowed)". 


4. What can that man do, who is in bondage to the Love of 
a sweetheart, to avoid the cruelty of Her attendants? 2. 

5. He who wants to approach a king's court must needs put up 
with (the rebuffs of) the door-keeper. 

6. He has to accept whatever is offered him, bitter or sweet, 
date or thorn, poison or rose-sherbet. 

7. This proverbial saying is current {apropos of my condition), 
namely, that the Tigris will not quench (the thirst of) the 
dropsical patient. 3. 

8. The night of separation from the Beloved is pitch-black, how- 
ever bright the moonlight may be. 4. 

9. The afflicted lover's spirit may leave his body; (but) the 
seal (= imprint) of Love for the Beloved is never effaced from 
his soul). 

10. O Sa'di! to whom can the sheep of sacrifice complain against 
its butcher? 5. 

— 108 — 

1. Let not the man, who cares for his own life, boast of his 
affection for the Beloved. 

2. By attendants or companions are meant worldly illusions, 
which veil God from man. The same idea is developed in the 
succeeding line. 

3. He means that nothing will satisfy his longing for the Be- 

4. The literal translation is, ^'although a thousand moonlights 
may appear to him". 

5. i.e. There is no appeal against the Beloved's cruelty. There 
is a reference here to the sacrifice of animals at the 'Idul- 
Azha or 'Idi-Qurban, which is founded on an injunction in 
the Quran (Surah xxii — 33 — 38). 

1. Unless a man dies to self he cannot aspire to win the Be- 
loved's love. 


2. It is the physician, who is the cause of my pain, (so) from 
whom can I seei^ a cure or remedy for it? 

3. Whoever has his head in Her noose cannot move save by 
Her orders. 

4. What can the poor contemptible slave do but obey his mas- 
ter's commands. 

5. It is inevitable that a passionate lover must bear with the 
reproaches of his friends. 

6. (But) what difference does a shower of rain make to one 
who is drowning in the Red Sea? 

7. The rose has reached its perfection, (so) let the nightingale, 
(its lover), plain. 2. 

8. Although Reason has a thousand arguments (against yield- 
ing to passion), Love puts forward a claim to refute them. 

9. To whomsoever's lot this arrow (of Love) has fallen, its 
point will rankle in his wound. 3. 

10. He cries out like a weeping child whose hidden pain is not 
understood. 4. 

11. Take care! do not discourse of Love, or, if you do, adduce 
a proof of it. 5. 

12. The wise man does not enter the water without first ascer- 
taining its depth. 6. 

13. O Sa'di! if you are offered the Here and Hereafter in ex- 
change for one moment of the Beloved's company, do not 
accept them. 

2. The rose has qitted the garden, and her lover, the night- 
ingale, is left disconsolate. 

3. A reference to the ancient practise of drawing lots by arrows. 

4. The lover of God moans like an infant, which cannot explain 
what is the matter with it. In other words the lover cannot 
reveal the full measure of his sufferings. 

5. i.e. do not boast of your love, unless you can prove that you 
are a sincere lover. 

6. i.e. he does not embark on the quest of Union till he has 
counted the cost. 


— 109 — 

1. That sweetheart, in whose absence patience and peace of mind 
are impossible, has passed by, and dipped Her ten fingers 
in my blood. 

2. She asked "how do you fare in your grief at the cruelty of 
Fate"? I replied '^I am not one about whom it can be said, 
how I am." 

3. From the time that Thy face became the worship point of 
my eyes, I am bearing patiently a sore weight of slander. 1. 

4. Do not believe that I, who am like a broken down wall(=-weak 

and helpless), have ever suffered cruelty from anyone save 
in Thy street. 

5. When I write the particulars of the pain of Thy Love, there 
is danger of my pen catching fire through the burning (=angu- 
ish) of my heart. \ 

6. (Pray) tell those, who deemed me sane and sober, to record 
this as evidence of my madness. 

7. Uplift Thy sword (O Beloved!), (and say) that the life of 
Sa'di is Thine object, (and), if I should fail to lay my head 
at Thy feet, I should, indeed, be a despicable lover. 

-110 — 

1. This is not a night on which the lover's eyes can go to sleep: 
the blessed denizens of Heaven never sleep in the garden 
of Paradise. 1. 

2. The genial influence of the spring breeze revives the earth: 
he must indeed be a stone, whose heart is not quickened by 
the zephyr. 

1. Literally the second hemistich runs thus; "On account of 
the violence (= calumny) of tongues, I am like a pillar in 

1. He means that, as he is enjoying the Beloved's society, he 
cannot go to sleep. 


3. I smell the scent of the lost Joseph (=the Beloved); (but), 
if I should say so, all would exclaim, "it is the old delusion"! 

4. The lover is not one to listen to counsel: my pain is not one 
to be cured by the treatment of a physician. 

5. People advise me to repent of caring for the Beloved; (but) 
that would not be repentance at all : nay, it would be a deadly 

6. O fellow travellers! keep your hands off me (=let me be), 
for I wish to sit posted at the Beloved's door. 

7. O brother! regard the pain of Lov^e, as the fire of Nimrod: 
to me this flame feels as it did to Abraham. 3. 

8. If Thou wert to pass over his bones, when they were rotten, 
the dead would arise dancing (=joyfully) from the dust of 
the grave. 4. 

9. I long for Thy Union, and dread separation from Thee: I 
have neither hope nor fear in regard to any thing in the world 
except these. 

10. There is no cause for surprise at the victim, who lies slain 
at the door of the Beloved's tent: the wonder would be over 
one who survived, as to how he escaped in safety. 

2. A reference to the story of Joseph in the Quran (Surah xii) ; 
''and when the company of travellers had gone forth (from 
EgypO, their father (Jacob) said verily I perceive the smell 
of Joseph. Were it not that ye think I dote (ye would believe 
me). They replied By God, Thou art surely in Thine old 

3. i.e. the fire of Love seems pleasant to him. There is a refer- 
ence here to the story in the Quran (Surah xxi — 68 — 69). 
According to the Muhammadan commentators, when Abra- 
ham was cast into the fiery furnace by Nimrod's orders, the 
fire miraculously lost its heat, and became an odoriferous 
air, while the pile changed to a pleasant meadow. 

4. Cf. Tennyson's Mand; — 

My dust would bear her and beat, 
Had it lain for a century dead", 


11. O Sa'di! (true) Love and lust do not harmonise: the accursed 
Devil cannot approach the Angel choirs, singing God's prai- 
ses. 5. 

— Ill — 

1. The load of separation from the Beloved weighs heavy on 
my heart: (I am ready to) go on; but the camel under my lit- 
ter will not move. 1. 

2. The camel flings down her load when she reaches the halting 
stage; (but) the load (of Love) on my heart is still the 
same, though I have to carry it for a hundred stages. 

3. O Thou, who puUest the nose-string! exercise patience and 
go gently; for, while on one side Thou drawest me on, I 
am held on the other by the chains (of material desires). 2. 

4. Weighed down under the load of cruelty, my love secrets 
exposed, a (long) journey in front, and my heart left be- 
hind: (under such circumstances) my condition is fraught 
with difficulty. 

5. How can distance prove a bar to our friendship? Although 
absent in body, Thou art ever present in spirit before me. 

6. Thou art my ultimate object, and the goal of my endeavour, 
and my desire. Until I reach Thee, I shall not withdraw the 
hand of Hope from Thy skirt. 

7. How can my tongue forego Thy praise, or my mind cease 
to think of Thee, since Thou hast penetrated my veins and 
joints (=every atom of my body) ? 

5. 'Ishq = spiritual Love, and shahwat = material Love. RajTm 
(="the pelted one") is a name given to Satan in the Quran 
(Surah iii— 31). 

1. i.e. the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. 

2. He appeals to the Beloved to deal gently with him in his 
struggle to free his soul from the bondage of worldly illu- 


8. I am so occupied with thoughts of Thee, that I can think of 
nothing else: I am so absorbed in Thee that I am indifferent 
to all other people. 

9. If Thou wouldst but cast one glance at me, the tilth of my 
patience would become green with verdure, and, if this is 
impossible, what fruit can be produced from the root of 
my vain hopes? 3. 

10. O Sa'di! will you never abandon the path of Love? How 
pray, can a habit, that was kneaded with my clay, leavT my 
mind? 4. 

11. In spite of all my learning I am unable to supply a cure for 
the pain of desire : I know of no resource in love affairs not- 
withstanding all my wisdom. 


— 112 — 

1. Thou art concealed behind a curtain (= veiled from our view), 
while we are shedding our heart's blood (=suffering agonies). 
O, if only the veil were thrown off, what a tumult would we 

2. Others are concerned about their lives, while we in, our 
frenzy, are ready to surrender them at Thy bidding. 1. 

3. People (generally) avoid a commotion. They fail to under- 
stand how we, in our yearning for Thee, ardently desire 
the advent of the Resurrection. 2. 

4. It is evident that we, who have jeopardised our frenzied 
hearts, and exposed our lives to danger, will not flee from 
the arrows of calamity. 

3. i.e. his long suffering would be turned into joy by one 
glance from Her. 

4. i.e. how can I renounce a habit that is ingrained in my 

1. Jamehdar =one who rends his garments under the stress of 
strong emotion. 

2. RastakhTz, like qiyamat, has the secondary signification of 
any thing wonderful, and hence the Beloved, as here. 


5. Paint not for us in glowing colours the garden of Heaven; 
for we, Mystics, have no desire to cling to the skirts of the 
Virgins of Paradise. 3. 

6. If Thou shouldst drive us away, what floods of tears would 
we shed on the fires of Hell in the hope of Thy (relenting), 
and not through fear of torment. 4. 

7. Since it is really Thou, who hast blended the colors of good 
and evil in the invisible world, how can we (hope to) dece- 
ive Thee? 5. 

8. O Sa'di! a claim devoid of truth cannot be established. We 
are slow to act, but how swift we are to speak! 

— 113 — 

1. Ever since Thou hast been the subject of my thoughts, noone 
else has found entrance to my heart. Who is there in the 
world like Thee, that I should abandon Thy love? 

2. When I pass to the other world slain by the pain of Love, 
every thing that grows from my dust will be a cure for Love. 

3. I am passihg away, but Thy name still passes (=lingers) on 
my tongue: I may crumble to dust, but Thy love will still 
remain in all my joints (=-every atom of my body). 

4. I have spent the harvest (=best part) of my life in the quest 
of Thy Union; (but) if, in spite of all my endeavours. Thou 
shouldst deny me access to Thyself, what profit have I gained? 

3. Rind = one who is drunk with the wine of spiritual Love, and 
hence a Sufi. He means that the joys of Paradise do not 
appeal to him. 

4. As the previous line deals with Heaven, Hell is referred to 
in this verse, and by Hell he means separation from the 

5. Ba kase rang amekhtan is a phrase which means to deceive 
anyone, and is introduced here for the sake of the pun. 

1. The point of this line is the pun on sail. 


5. All my yearnings in the quest of my heart's desire will have 
been in vain, if the cycle of favoring Fortune does not come 
to my assistance. 

6. I am not worthy of Thy service: I am lacking in merit and 
worth; (but) if Thou wouldst accept it, I should be a para- 
gon of virtue in spite of all my defects. 

7. If Thou wert to slay me without a cause, noone would put 
forth a claim for my blood-wit against the likes of Thee, 
for I am the slayer's slave. 2. 

8. My boat got wrecked in the ocean (of Love), and sank: if 
the morning breeze carries any thing to the shore, it will 
only be my bones. 

9. The cypress and the garden have faded entirely from my 
mind's eye; but the fir-tree never leaves it, as it has taken 
root in my heart. 3. 

10. How can I think about the quest of Union with Thee? I am 
always commemorating Thee, but am still (really) forgetful 
of Thee. 4. 

11. O Sa'di! the army of Love is plundering (=-destroying)' your 
reason, in order that you may not again imagine yourself 
to be wise. 

— 114 — 

1. As long as I think of Her, I am unconscious of self: with Her 
existence (in view) I cannot say that I exist. 1. 

2. Under Muhammadan Law a man cannot be called to account 
for the murder of his slave. 

3. Sarv o biistan = material joys: sanaubar = the Beloved. 

4. i.e. I am always thinking of Thee, yet, in spite of all this 
I am really forgetful of Thee, because I am unable to com- 
memorate Thee, as Thou deservest. 

1. "Seif annihilation (fana) is attained by absorption in ihe 
glory of the Creator and by contemplation of the Truth" 
(Juan de la Cruz as quoted by Nicholson in Divani Shamsi 


2. I rend my garment every moment through the intensity of my 
passion, because She has become my whole body, while I 
am its garment. 

3. O guardian! do not get in such a rage, nor seek a quarrel 
with me. I would rather tear out my eyes than take them off 

4. I adopted (this course, namely), that I should say nothing 
about having a love affair, (so that) neither friend nor foe 
might guess (my true state) from my words. 

5. There is no meeting assembled in any part of the city, in 
which I am not a by-word for my love of Her. 

6. She deserted me and was indifferent to my heart's pain; 
(but) I am not one who could break off relations with Her. 

7. If the same anguish companions poor me "in the grave (as 
I now endure), you would see my shroud burned up, if you 
exhumed my body. 

8. If Thou art a-thirst for my blood, lo! here is my head! I 
dont mind (if Thou dost cut it off), as it is better for it (to 
hang) on Thy saddle-strap than (to rest) on my body. 

Q. Let men and women (=every one) arise to speak ill of me. 
I should not be a man, but rather a woman (=weak]ing), if 
I were to forego Thy love (on that account). 

10. It would be unreasonable for men not to avoid an arrow; 
(but) I would not flicker an eye-lash, if it were shot by 
Thy hand. 

11. The fear is that as soon as Thy sweet mouth opened to 
speak, I would throw the world into an uproar. 2. 

12. How far removed are Sa'di's lips from Thy mouth! Let this 
much suffice me, (namely), that the praise of Thy lips may be 
(ever) on my tongue. 

Tabriz i — 4). In the Divine presence Tie is, as it were, non- 
2. i.e. his bewilderment at Her eloquence would find expression 
in verse, which would create a furore in the world. Note 
the apposition of shor and slurln, and the pun on the double 
meaning of shor. 


— 115- 

1. rn the mfcfst of the anchorite's cell, I am only a pretentious 
hypocrite: I am clad in a Darwish's patched cloak, devoured 
by false pride, and devoid of spiritual Reality. 1. 

2. I am an idolater of phenomenal form in the house of deceit 
and fraud (=the world), and a worshipper of Manat, Sawa', 
Lat, and 'Uzza. 2. 

3. I shamelessly boast of my manliness, but have prostituted 
my soul like a public dancer (=-harlot). 

4. Under (the cloke of) this old patched garment I am, by rea- 
son of my hypocrisy, the Pharaoh of this Age, and yet I 
claim to be the Moses on the Mount Sinai of Her Love. 3 

5. I entered the idol temple and saw its inmates; but I was 
an idolater among a congregation, who make the profession 
of Faith (=believers). 4. 

6. O SaMi! be like me through (drinking) the pure wine (of Di- 
^i^e Love): it is through (the intoxication induced by) this 
wine that I am loved by His Holiness the Master. 5. 

L By khirqah push is meant a hypocrite. 

2. These were the names of idols worshipped by the ancient 
Arabians. Al lat, al 'uzza, and Manat are mentioned in the 
Quran (Liii— 19). 

They symbolise here the pleasures of the material world. A 
worshipper of idols means one who is devoted to the cult 
of objects other than God = worldly ambitions and the like. 

3. According to the views of the Muslims, Pharaoh was an 
arch-hypocrite, and the personification of wickedness. 

4. The Arabic word istisncl is used here in a peculiar sense, and 
refers to the exceptive clause in the Muhammadan creed illa- 
'lahJ. Qaumi istisna =the people who make the profession 
of Faith=Believers. Sa'di means that he is such a hypocrite 
that even idolaters may be regarded as Muslims when com- 
pared with him. 

5. tiazratl Mania may refer to the Prophet, or the spiritual di- 
rector. Sa'di represents his spirit as so overcome with ecs- 
tasy that it addresses him, and says, "follow my example, 
in order that you may be approved by the Master". 


-116 — 

1. It is a long time since I have been in love with Thy face, 
without a place to sleep in but the dust of Thy street. 

2. I swear by Thy two tresses which are more dishevelled than 
my fortune (is disturbed), that I have been more distracted 
by Thy face than Thy hair (is disordered). 

3. The cash (=value) of every (atom of) understanding that I 
had in the purse of my imagination, (=wh.ich I imagined 
myself to possess), turned out to be less than nothing in Thy 
scales (= estimation). 

4. I have no intimate friend that would repeat one word of 
Thine to me: I have no confidant, who would convey news 
of me to Thee. 

5. A (real) lover does not turn aside his face from the arrow 
of doom ; (but) I am afraid on this account that it may pierce 
my eye, and make me blind to Thy face. 

6. All mankind are disciples (=admirers) of my poetry for this 
reason that I am a devout worshipper at the prayer niche of 
Thy two eyebrows. 

7. The hand of death will uproot the peg of my life's pavilion, 
if good Fortune does not pitch my tent near Thee. 

8. Do not imagine that I will leave Thy door by reason of 
reproach; for, even if Thou shouldst smite me with a sword, 
I should still be devoted to Thy arm, (which slays me). 

9. How sweetly does Sa'di sing to ''the tune of the lovers"! 
O sweetheart mine! Throw off Thy veil, for I am Thy de- 
voted slave. 1. 

1. Pardahe 'ushshaq is the name of a tone or tune in music. 
Note the pun on the double meaning of pardahe, and the 
play on Turk and Hindue. 


-117 — 

1. Everyone longs for a loving companion, and an intimate 
friend, and so do 1. 

2. To look at Beauties is an established custom : it is not an 
innovation that 1 have introduced into the world. 

3. If you claim to be abstinent, I will believe you, and God 
knows best (if it is true). 

4. (But) if you say that you have no inclination (to Love), I 
will not admit your assertion. 

5. If you say it is a sin to talk of Love, well ! the first to sin 
were Adam and Eve. 

6. He, who is a captive in the snare of Beauties, is indifferent 
to praise or blame. 

7. I do not know any salve in the world like a sweetheart's 
hand on a wounded breast, 

8. O Cup-bearer! Keep on circulaling the brimful cup: learn 
from the sky (the lesson of) perpetual motion. 

Q. If you realise that the world is not worth a care, (then) re- 
joice and be happy in the presence (=-corapany) of your 

10. If you understand that each day which passes, is a day less 
in your remaining (span of) life, count it as gain(=take ad- 
vantage of it). " ■ 

11. O Sa'di! set not your heart on the permanence of life; for 
its foundation is unstable. 

12. O heart depressing friend! go your way, (and) be happy. 
Since ultimately vou will turn to dust, refrain from giving 
way so much to grief. 


1. My heart ravishing Sweet-heart has broken the pact of affec- 
tion: my perfidious Beloved has severed the bond of love 
and fidelity. 


2. I swear by the precious dust of Thy feet, that, through my 
love for Thee, I have banished from my heart all desire 
for the Here and Hereafter. 

3. The tyranny which Thou hast practised against me in (the 
guise of) friendship, I would not approve of even against 
my blood-thirsty (=bitterest) foe. 

4. Although Thou hast severed (the bond of) Love, and broken 
Thy pact, I am still faithful to my covenant, my promise, 
and my oath. 

5. O drunken Cupbearer! bring hither the goblet of the wine of 
(Divine) Love, and give it to me in despite to the admonish- 
ers, who offer me counsel. 1. 

6. I am not prone to listen to the admonitions of the wise, (so) 
let my father call me a shameless son (for all I care) ! 2. 

7. I swear by the dust of Thy feet, and the souls of the live- 
hearted (=-Mystics) that I long to die at Thy feet. 

8. Come, ah! come to me, my Idol (=Beloved) ; for, on ac- 
count of my distraction. Thy tresses are my only fetters. 3. 

Q. (The Beloved) said laughingly to me, "O Sa'di! flee from 
the danger (that threatens you)". (I replied) ''whither can 
I go, since I am confined in the prison of Love". 

— 119 — 

1. If I had a thousand lives I would sacrifice them all at Thy 
blessed feet. 

2. O Beloved! prithee, pass over me, and regard me as the dust 
of Thy threshold. 

1. The cupbearer is the spiritual director, who is intoxicated 
with the wine of Divine Love. 

2. tiifaz in Arabic means a feeling of shame, or a nice sense of 

3. i.e. I am so distracted with love for Thee, that nothing will 
keep my heart quiet, unless it is fettered in the coils of Thy 


3. All (other) orders of Thine against me would be easy (of 
execution) ; but do not drive me away from Thy (dear) self. 

4. Thou indeed hast no desire for our Union: I am fully aware 
of the (way-ward) nature of my Fortune (to expect other- 

5. How impossible it is that a Royal falcon, like Thee, should 
honour my (humble) nest (with its presence) ! 

6. If Thy name should be uttered in my presence, a cry of an- 
guish would issue from my soul. 

7. Not a night passes that I do not cry to Heaven on account 
of my separation from Thy face. 

8. If my house is (too) dark and mean for Thee (to enter), I 
will set Thee on my two bright eyes. 

9. Prithee, were we not pledged to mutual love, Thou and I? 
But Thy pact has been broken. 

10. I will not scatter the dice of Thy Love, save when my bones 
fall asunder (=as long as I live). 1 

11. It will only be through the separation of my soul from my 
body that I could abandon (the quest of) Thy Union. 

12. 1 should be mad (majmin) if I accepted the kingdom of 
Arabia, and Persia, as the price of my Leilah (= Beloved). 

13. Thou art indeed the Shirin (=Sweetheart) of the time, while 
I am the slave of the Khusru (=sovereign) of the Age. 2. 

14. You are a king, who has the right to say, 'T am the Lord 
of the great ones of the world (=the sovereign Lord)". 

1 5. His lofty Palace says to the heavens, "you are the earth, 
while I am the sky". 

16. You know that he does not allow oppression, (so) do not 
let him hear my complaint. 

1. Muhrah nkhtan here means to throw away the dice , and cease 
from playing the game of Love. 

2. Under the guise of the protagonists of the Romance of Shirin 
and Khusru, the poet eulogises his Beloved, and pays a sub- 
tle compliment to his patron the Atabeg ruler of Pars. He 
continues the panegyric of the king in the succeeding three 

)* 131 

17. Every one(=every prophet) has lived in his own epoch; but 
I am Sa'di of the final Age. 

— 120 — 

1. How I wish that perfidious Beloved, whose victim I am, had 
passed by me again, so that She might revive me by Her 

2. She has deserted me; but I cannot forsake Her. What can 
I do? I have not a heart like Hers, composed of iron and 

3. As long as I have feet, I will stumble along in Her quest: as 
long as I have breath, I will enquire my way, and hasten 
after Her. 

4. What a (vain) fancy, and (foolish) desire of mine it is to 
hope that Her lips should (ever) be pressed on mine, save 
(only) when the potter makes a goblet from my dust! 

5. O Queen of Beauties! why dost Thou inflict the wound of 
separation on me alone? For I am not the only one, who is 
like a ball within the curve of Thy bat. 

6. Wherever there is a possessor of beauty, I have praised 
and eulogised her; (but) Thou art so lovely that I do not 
know w^hat to say (=how to sing Thy praises). 

7. Last night She said to me '*0 Sa'di! do not cherish a vain 
love for me any more" ; (but) She does not realise that, 
even if my life w^re to pay the forfeit, I would not give 
Her up. 



1. I became a free man from the day I was in bondage to Thee: 
I am a king since I fell a captive in Thy snare. 1. 

1. The perfected Sufi advances from the state of bondage (taq- 
iTd) to that of absolute liberty (itlaq), and the conscious- 


2. All the sorrows of the world have no effect on me, in as 
much as I am gladdened by (a sight of) Thy dear face. 

3. So happy will that day be when I die in Thy quest that my 
friends will come to congratulate me. 

4. I, who had not pitched anywhere the tent of Love, have 
settled down near Thee, and fixed my heart there. 

5. Dost Thou know what is the hope I entertain from the felicity 
of Thy Union? (It is that) thoughts of Thee may obliterate 
from my mind (any idea of) my own interests. 2. 

6. I swear by Thy love that from the day on which Thou didst 
captivate my heart, I have not fixed my heart on anyone 
(else), nor opened its door (to her). 

7. As long as the image of Thy figure and stature is before 
my eyes, I am like a free-growing cypress (=indifferent to 
all), even though all mankind were to become cypresses. 3 

8. Words fail to express the sweetness of Thy mouth, and the 
wonder is that Thou art the Shirin to my Farhad. 4. 

9. I have no wealth that I can throw like dust at Thy feet: in 
short lam like an empty drum full of air (=a vain boaster). 

10. It looks as if the tyranny of Heaven (= Fate) will not let go 
my skirt (=2ease to persecute me), until it ruins me. 

11. And if I do not patiently endure the oppression of Time, 
what can I do? There is no judge who will grant me redress 
against it. 

ness of truth (tahqlq). Cf. line 109 of the Gulshani raz 
(Whinfield's edition p. 18);— 

Kalami ku nadarad zauql taiiliTd 
Bah tank! darast dz ghaiml taqlld. 

2. i.e. he will become selfless through being absorbed in con- 
templation of the Divine Beauty. 

3. He means that he would not regard anyone's figure with 
admiration, however symmetrical it might be, as long as the 
Beloved's stature was before his mind's eye. 

4. It is a matter for wonder that he should aspire to love one, 
who was possessor of such ineffable beauty. 


12. I am quite tired of the society of Shiraz, (so) this is "a time 
when you had better ask me news of Baghdad. 5. 

13. I have not the least doubt that my cry for aid will reach 
there, and I should be surprised if the Chancellor did not 
succour me. 6. 

14. O Sa'di! although '*love of home'\=-patriotism) is an authen- 
tic tradition (of the Prophet), still you cannot (be expected 
to) die of want (in a place), because you happen to be born 


— 122 — 

1. I cannot bring myself to turn away from the Beloved, (So), 
leave me to my fate, good sir! for my power and strength 
have failed me. 

2. My body is wasted, and I am bereft of reason, while my love 
remains the same, and if I should grudge my life, I am no 
(real) lover, but rather an impostor. 

3. O lovely Cupbearer! bring me, I will not say how many, 
goblets (of wine) ; for, if Thou wert to pour me out the 
ocean (to drink). Thou wouldst not satisfy me. 1. 

5. This line is copied by Hafiz in one of his Odes. 

6. Sa'di at the period of this Ode, when he was a very old man, 
seems to have fallen on evil times, probably through the 
death of his patrons at Shiraz. The sahlbi divan referred to 
here was probably Shamsuddln Juvaini, who succeeded Na- 
siruddln Tusi as the prime minister of Hulaku Ka'an, his 
brother Alauddln Ata Malik, being governor of Baghdad. 
Some time after the conquest of Baghdad (1258), the nominal 
capital, Hulaku transferred his residence to Tabriz, and Sa'di 
is said to have paid a visit there to the two brothers, who had 
befriended him. Alauddln was executed by the orders of 
Sultan Arghun in 1283, and Shamsuddin shared the same 
fate in the following year. 

1. By Cupbearer is meant the Divine Beloved, whom he asks 
to give him the wine of spiritual Love without stint. 


4. Thy face is my worship-point in the country of Believers, 
and even if (I had to face) a Tartar spear point, it would 
not turn me aside from (that) prayer niche. 

5. My desire from the Here and Hereafter is just this, and 
nothing else, namely, to pass one moment with the Beloved 
before I pass away from the world. 

6. O friend! close my door against everyone (else) in the world; 
for my heart is absorbed in the Beloved, and I cannot bear 
the thronging (of outsiders). 2. 

7. Owing to my helplessness I thought to wander in distraction 
through the world; (but) then fidelity to the pact with my 
friends (=the Beloved fetters my feet). 

8. Didst not Thou say, O faithless Beloved! that Thou wouldst 
bring solace to our hearts? Oh! if Thou art going to succour 
me, come (now) ; for the water has already passed over my 

9. It is winter and the leafless season. Come then to me, O 
Breeze of the spring! The desert is (before me), and darkness 
(all around), so, come out(=appear) O Disk of the moon! 3. 

10. It is life for Sa'di to die on the dust of Thy door: I know 
no other door, (so) exclude me not from this one. 4. 

— 123 — 

1 . O Thou, through looking at whom my universe-comprehend- 
ing eyes are enlightened! Prithee, wilt Thou not show some 
pity on my sad heart? 

2. i.e. his heart is so occupied with the contemplation of the 
Divine Beloved that he cannot bear other thoughts to in- 
trude there. 

3. He asks the Beloved to revive his dead soul, and dispel 
its darkness, by Her inspiration. 

4. The poet regards death as a spiritual resurrection. 


2. I have fallen, moth-like, burning (=in anguish) at Thy feet; 
(but) Thy heart forsooth does not burn candle-wise at my 
bed-head. 1. 

3. As soon as I saw Thee enveloping the S un (=Thy face) 
with the constellation Virgo (=Thy tresses), the sky became 
dazzled by my tears, which resembled the Pleiades. 

4. If the orange flower, the tulip and the wild rose, cease to 
grow, I dont care; (but) O my orange flower, tulip, and 
wild rose (= Beloved), remove for me Thy veil (=-disclose 
Thy beauty) ! 

5. If Thou wert to appear in (all) Thy beauty, alas, for my 
patience (=self restraint), and reason! And if Thou shouldst 
strut along coquettishly, woe to my wisdom and religion! 

6. How long shall I suffer the (pain of the) thorn (=pangs of 
separation)? Plant Thou a tulip in the garden of my hope. 
How long must I endure the wound (of unrequited love) ? 
(Apply then) a salve to my aching spirit. 2. 

7. I have neither cherished any hope from my friends, nor felt 
any fear of my foes, since I adopted the role of a Qalandar 
in the street of Love. 3. 

8. Neither the sour face of the enemy, nor the bitter words of 
the friend, serve to lessen the exuberance of my sweet- 
speeched (= poetic) genius. 

9. People often were moved to pity at my lamentations; (where- 
as) Thou, forsooth, dost not even say ''how much does my 
poor Sa'di lament'M 

1. i.e. Thy hard heart does not melt at my misery. 

2. Lalah has the secondary signification of the lips of a mistress. 

3. Qalandar was an itinerating monk, who abandoned everything 
to wander in the world. As he was regardless of religious 
conventions, he bore a bad reputation. In Sufistic parlance 
Qalandar means, as here, a Mystic, who abjures religious 
forms and observances to worship God in spirit and in truth. 


— 124 — 

1. When the hand cannot reach the neck of the comely cypress 
(=Beloved), there is no alternative but to look thereon, and 
feel regret. 

2. The man, who is in quest (of the Beloved), but lacks the 
power (to win Her), must forsooth exercise patience, 
whether he possesses that virtue or not. 

3. What can the foot-bound (lover) do but exercise patience? 
It is the duty of Love(=-the lover) to suffer calamity and re- 
main unmoved. 

4. You must only rub your face on the dust of the Beloved's 
door, if you cannot bring it near Her face (to kiss). 

5. What good is half a life (such as mine) that a lover should 
fail to offer it to the Beloved? For one must not risk vexing 
Her at the cost of a hundred lives. 

6. The harsh words that Beauties utter are easy (to bear) : the 
cruelty of sweet-lipped Dear Ones is not hard to endure. 

7. I have no doubt whatever that the musk deer of Tartary 
would feel abashed at Thy musky down and gazelle-like 

8. Some day I will sacrifice my precious life for Thy sake, 
since after all I must die in Thy exalted presence. 

9. O Sa'di! to refrain from looking at a lovely face is not so 
(beneficial) as surrendering your heart, and fostering your 

— 125 — 

Yesterday my sweet-speeched cypress (=-graceful Beloved) 
fared to the garden, lest the rose might glory 'in its color 
and fragrance. 

The petals of the red rose are the Beauties of the festival 
of spring; (but) my rosy-faced Beauty dims the lustre of 
the rose-garden. 


3. The shield slipped from the hand of Wisdom, as soon as 
my Sweetheart, clothed in a cuirass of Her tresses, drew 
the sword of cruelty from the ambush of rebuke. 

4. Since the fore arm of my heart lacked the strength of the 
upper-arm of patience, the hand of Her love crushed my 
powerful grip (=got the better of me). 1. 

5. I advanced towards Her many times in the street of Love; 
but She never cast even a kind glance in my direction. 

6. Slave wise I endure Her cruelty, and if She should slay me. 
She is the Mistress: Her business is ''to slay the innocent 
blood", while my habit is to put up with Her caprice. 

7. O sweet-scented Rose of mine! Thou will remember me later, 
(and say), ''Poor Sa'di was my sweet voiced nightingale". 

8. Love has plundered the chattels of my h eart's patience : 
ill-fortune will not pitch its tent away from my side. 

— 126 — 

1. May separation from lovers and friends be the lot of him, 
who has parted us from our Beloved! 

2. My body is worn out in the bondage of loneliness, like the 
nightingale in a cage during the season of Spring. 

3. My destruction wsls regarded as lightly (by the Beloved), 
as the killing of an ant under the hoofs of horsemen. 

4. In the cortege of everyone that I approach for protection, 
I find none but such as have broken their promise to defend 
me. 1. 

1. The fore arm (sa'id) is not so powerful as the upper arm 
(baza). The meaning is that his heart being weak like the 
fore arm, had not the power to endure the heavy burden of 
patience, which is like the upper-arm in its strength.. 

\. This is a round about way of saying that the Beloved had 
broken Her promise to protect, and befriend him. The same 
idea is developed in the following line:- 
zlnhar khwastan =to seek protection, and zlnhar khurdan = 
to break a truce, or a promise of protection. 


5. I did not realise that, after our long friendship, this was the 
way in which those, who had obligations to discharge, ful- 
filled their promises (=1 should be so ruthlessly treated). 

6. I had found a royal (^priceless) treasure, but I did not rea- 
lise that treasures (=were guarded by) snakes. 2. 

7. O my heart! if you possess a single friend, you must inevi- 
' tably put up with the tyranny of a thousand (enemies). 

8. O Sa'di! it is contrary to the duty of Love to turn away on 
the day of the arrows-shower (=danger). 

9. How happy is the head which yields up its life with sin- 
cerity and devotion at the Beloved's feet! 

— 127 — 

1. The fast flowing tears on my pale face are a faithful witness 
to my (heart's) pain. 

2. Have pity on the plaining of Thy nightingales, O tenderly 
nurtured Rose of mine! 

3. For, if our separation continues like this, the wind will waft 
my dust to Thy presence. 

4. Who has ever seen such a fire, as that from which my cold 
sighs arise? 

5. My complaints are not directed against Thy cruelty, but ra- 
ther against my own congenital fate. 

6. I am not worthy to be Thy slave, while Thou art infinitely 
worthy to be my Mistress. 

7. I do not know what object the foolish illwisher (may he be 
discarded!) hopes to gain by Thy rejection of me. 

8. And if indeed I am one, who deserves this punishment, for- 
give and call me not to account, O my generous-hearted 

2. By ^'treasure" is meant the Beloved, who is always repre- 
sented as being under the protection of guardians (=theveil 
of phenomena). The play on ganj and ganj'idan may be noted. 


9. Do then, in Thy bounty, hold me excused, if, through any 

deed of mine, I have been guilty of sin. 
10. Thou feelest no pain Thyself (may no pain come nigh Thee!) 
and hence Thou hast no knowledge of my pain. 

N.B. This Ode lacks a maqta\ 

-128 — 

1. It is wrong to wander in the garden without Thee; for it 
is better for me to pull a thorn in Thy company, than to 
pick a rose in Thy absence, 

2. And, if in a convivial assembly from which Thou art absent, 
I should stretch out my hand for a goblet, it would be abso- 
lutely unlawful for me to drink wine (from it) save in Thy 

3. The curls of Thy two side locks (falling) coil upon coil 
over the tulip flower (of Thy face) have taught even the hard 
flint to make love. 

4. If the people of China were to see Thy face, O my idol! 
they would all repent of idol worship. 

5. The depreciaton in (the value of) sugar would be apparent 
in the world, when Thou openest Thy mouth to smile. 

6. The garden cypresses would wither on the spot, if they saw 
Thy figure in a walking pose. 

7. How can a beggar like me aspire to (kiss) Thy lips? What 
felicity it would be (even) to kiss the dust of Thy feet! 

S. I take pleasure in love making, intoxication, and disgrace, 
for the practise of asceticism has no relish in association 
with Love. 1. 

1. MastJ in the language of Mystics means spiritual rapture, 
or ecstacy, in contemplation of the Divine Beauty. RuswaT 
=bad reputation, which the Sufi incurs through his indiffer- 
ence to religious forms. By zuhd warzldan is meant the rigid 
practise of religion, which according to Sufis only serves 
to keep alive the illusion of Duality. 


9. The ascetic delights in practising various forms of piety and 
devotion: the joy of the Gnostic consists in looking at the 
eyebrows of Beauties (=the Beloved). 2. 
10. If Thy favour is vouchsafed to Sa'di's soul, what need he 
fear, (and) why should he be concerned about the weighing 
of sins on the Day of Resurrection? 3. 

— 129 — 

1. What is (the essence of) love making? It is to lose one's 
head (=life) at the Beloved's feet; (for) one must be headless 
to practise love in the sweetheart's street. 1. 

2. My soul has caught fire from the burning of the incense of 
secret communion. I repent of nourishing a hidden passion. 

3. I caracole my steed manfully on the polo ground of evil 
reputation: one cannot any longer ply the bat and ball at 
home (=play the game of Love in secret.) 2. 

2. Arched eyebrows from their shape are often likened to a 
mihrab, or prayer niche, and such is the meaning here. 

3, In the account of the Resurrection, as given in the Traditions, 
mention is made of the nuzan, or balance, in the scales of 
which the books containing men's words and actions will 
be thrown, and according as those, in which good or evil 
deeds are recorded, shall preponderate, sentence will be 
given. (Hughes). 

1. According to Nicholson (Divan Shamsi Tabriz pp. 295) ''head 
lessness in mystical language, is equivalent to self annihi- 
lation (fana) = utter absorption in the Deity". Cf. Hafiz 
1.534 .4;— 

"How wonderful is the path of Love, 
where the headless one lifts up his head" ! 

2. i.e. he is indifferent to the public disclosure of his love, and 
the disgrace (i.e. the reputation for heterodoxy) he incurs 


4. Do you know what characterises the saints of the Mystic 
way? It is the staking of their lives at the very first on the 
backgammon board (of Love). 3. 

5. Asceticism is vain, unless it involves the renunciation of 
wealth and position : Love is a losing game unless it implies 
the abandonment of Faith and Unbelief. 4. 

6. If you are a player at the backgammon board of Love, then 
wager your goods, your religion, and your life on it; for 
every child can play without a stake. 5. 

7. In one hand there is the glass of the religious Law, and in the 
other the anvil of (spiritual) Love: it is not every lover that 
can play them (one against the other). 6. 

8. O Sa'di ! Mystics play the chess game of the Perfect Way. Go 
and watch the spectacle, for you cannot play the game as 
they do. 7. 

3. Nadob is a term used in the game of backgammon (iiard)^ 
in which a stake is laid on seven throws. Pakbaz has also the 
secondary signification of one who loses all in gambling. 

4. Shashdar is a point on the board in the game of backgammon, 
from which the player; cannot extricate himself. He means 
that there is no use in engaging in spiritual Love, unless you 
are prepared to abandon all illusions that savour of Duality. 
Bakhtan means both to play and to lose at play. 

5. He means that it is not easy to harmonise conventional re- 
ligion with the cult of spiritual Love, as the former must 
in the end give way to the latter. Cf. Whinfield's remark 
(pp.xii introduction to the Gulshaniraz) ; — "the Law is as a 
husk, and the holy state of identity with the Truth the kernel, 
and, when the kernel is ripe, it bursts the husk". 

6. Khllwat-nishinan means here those who hold mystic commu- 
nion with God = Sufis. 

7. i.e. you must be prepared to sacrifice every thing the world 
holds dear, and become utterly selfless, if you wish to seek 
Union with God. 

N.B. The metaphors in this clever Ode are all taken from the 
game of backgammon. 


-130 — 

1. Alas, that Thy image never leaves my mind! Let us see what 
my state will ultimately be in my passion for Thee. 

2. The (sound of my) wailing, which is pitched in a low plain- 
tive key, grows sadder and sadder every moment, inasmuch 

- as Thy love is punishing me with separation. 1. 

3. Thy sun-like face robs the stars of their brilliancy, while 
my figure, (slender) as the New Moon, is a pointing-stock 
for people. 2. 

4. My (weeping) eyes with mute eloquence disclose to Thee 
my (sad) condition; so be merciful, since the language of 
my tongue makes no impression, on Thee. 

3. The rays of light, (that are reflected) from Thy face, reach 
everyone else continually; but my turn for Union never comes 

6. If Thou art so bent on (shedding) my blood, the heart of 
my illwisher will 'een attain its desire. 

7. Thou passest by without looking at me. (Ah) !) look back 
at me, because my poverty and Thy wealth will pass away 
(=cease), and my patience, and Thy cruelty too. 3 

8. The sky heard my sighs and said; — 'Svail no more, O Sa'di, 
for your sighs dim the mirror of my beauty" ! 

1. Sa'di compares Love to a musician, and himself to the ins- 
trument, whose notes become more and more plaintive as 
Love strikes the strings with the plectrum of separation. 

2. A reference to the New Moon, which ushers in the month 
of Shawwal at the close of the fast of Ramazan, when the 
people, who are the first to see it, point at it to show that 
the fast is over. 

3. He means that he will soon die, and the existing relations 
between them, in which She is independent and he needy, 
She cruel and he patient, will pass away. In other words, he 
asks Her to have some pity on him before he dies. 


— 131 — 

1. It would be flying in the face of truth to oppose the views 
of Darwishes (= Mystics) : if you have a proper spirit pros- 
trate yourself at their feet. 1, 

2. If you require a mirror in which to see the light of Truth, 
you will look at nothing anywhere save the faces of Dar- 

3. A robe on the body of kings is not so beautiful as this dust- 
soiled, thread-bare (=-ragged), mantle on the figure of Dar- 

4. Will Darwishes condescend to abide in a (material) mansion? 
God forbid! And if there is a Paradise, it is the abode of 
Darwishes. 2. 

5. Can anyone attempt to injure the Darwishes? No, by God! 
For, even if you were to offer them poison, it would prove 
like a sweetmeat to them. 

6. You possess gold and silver and property, and (the pleasures 
of) life, and interest and capital. How can you, absorbed as 
you are in all these interests, care for Darwishes? 

7. For they see Truth, speak Truth, and seek Truth, and every 
spiritual idea that crosses their minds is Truth. 

8. What are the Here and Hereafter that they should have 
any value in their eyes? There is no idea of Dualism in the 
minds of Darwishes, whose creed is Oneness. 3. 

1. Sar da pay nihadan also means to kiss the feet in token 
of homage. Here it seems to connote the idea of submitting 
one's will to that of another. By Darwish is meant the high- 
est grade of Mystic, or the Perfect Man, 

2. Jannati mava, or Paradise, was said to be located in the 
Fourth Heaven. 

3. This hemistich can also be translated thus; ''there is no in- 
sincerity in the single minded hearts of Darwishes" ; but 
here the meaning is that Darwishes have shaken off such 
illusions of Dualism, as are implied in the Here and Here- 
after. Cf. the Masnavi, 21, 1 ;— 

"There is no ''Two", unless you are a worshipper of Form: 
Before Him, who is without Form, all become one". 


9 O Sa'di! be prepared to lose houses, silver, gold, wisdom, your 
life and heart; for these will be your opponents, if you think 
of doing any business with Darwishes. 4. 

— 132 — 

1. What kind of face, hair, earlobe, down, and mole are these? 
What sort of figure, shape, gait, and symmetry are here? 

2. He who, throughout his life, has contemplated these quali- 
ties (of Hers), is never able to look at another, or even 

3. Everyone that I asked about the perfection of Thy physical 
beauty replied that it could not be surpassed. 

4. If anyone were to see Thy two eyebrows on the terrace at 
evening prayer time, he would say ^'surely this must be the 
New Moon"! 

5. Thy lips are dyed red with Thy lover's blood, which Thou 
aost drink: Thou sayest Thyself that it is blood which Thou 
drinkest; but is it lawful to do so? 

6. I am so happy in thinking of Thee, that, through (the in- 
tensity of) my love, I cannot discriminate whether this is 
separation, or Union. 1. 

7. One night I thought I would see a vision of Thee in my 
sleep : but how vain the idea that I could sleep when obsessed 
with thoughts of Thee! 2. 

4. Dar bakhtan literally means to stake, or lose at play. The 
poet means that, if one wishes to be a disciple of perfect 
men, he must be prepared to give up all his material posses- 
sions and all lusts of the flesh, as it is his desire for these 
which will obstruct his ''journey upward" to God. 

1, This is the last stage oi fana or self-annihilation. 

2. The poet plays prettily in this line on the double meaning 
of khayal. 

10 145 

8. O friend! ask of the eyes of afflicted (lovers) about the 
length of the night (of separation), whether it is only one 
night, or a thousand years. 

Q. The pen, through memories of Thee, drops pearls (of poet- 
ry) from my hand: it is not ink that flows from it, but pure 
sweet water (=f lowing verse). 
10. Some people prate idly about Sa'di's distracted state (in- 
duced) by the pain of Love; but they do not realise what 
this condition really is. 


1. O Thou, whose face has surpassed in its fresh beauty the 
highest Paradise! Thy aspect is unique in the world's pic- 
ture gallery. 

2. Although Mani's fingers could never paint a picture like 
Thee, Thy face always points out the defects in his pic- 
tures. 1. 

3. In my eyes Thou art fairer than a rose, the moon, or a fairy: 
is it a rose, or the moon, or a fairy that has robbed me of my 
heart? Nay, it is Thy face. 

4. The mart of beauty would become dull for the daughters 
of Egypt, if, like Joseph, Thy face were to be unveiled as 
a challenge (to the loveliness of Egyptian women.) 2. 

5. The Moon and the Pleiades would hide their faces through 
shame, if Thy face were to shine, sunlike, at night. 

1. Mani was a celebrated painter, who lived in the 3rd century 
A.D. He founded the sect of the Manichaeans, and was put 
to death by Shahpur, king of Persia. 

2. A reference to the well known story of Joseph and Zuleikha. 
The latter's friends would not believe her tale of his beauty, 
till he appeared before them. 


6. My eyes, through weeping, are like Farhad's, while Thy lips 
resemble Shirin's (in sweetness). My reason, through my 
agitation, is like Majnun's (--distraught), while Thy face re- 
sembles Leilah's (in beauty). 

7. The blind man, by reason of his passion, would tear away 
-the film that covers the pupils of his eyes, if Thy face were 

to enter the field of his vision. 

8. Thou hast become the undisputed sovereign in the kingdom 
of Beauty, ever since Thy face produced such embellished 
writing. 3. 

9. It is wrong to describe the face of every beautiful Belle as 
being like the Moon: if one must call a face the Moon, then 
of course it should be Thine. 

10. The hermits, through enmity, criticised me, until Thy face 
was manifested in the mart of piety. 4. 

11. Since we are bound to die through some cause or other, one 
ought to seek the best occasion, (and) the fittest is Thy face. 

12. My judgment prescribes the usage of piety in love making; 
but Thy face beats the drum of plunder in the realm of 
piety. 5. 

13. O Beloved! do not cavil at Sa'di, for it is no small matter 
(=not an occasion for criticism) to burn in Love's (fire), and 
then put up with the separation from Thy face. 


— 134 — 

1. I said to wisdom that I would withdraw my feet from Her 
shackles; (but) no effort of mine can afford me the means 
of escape from Her noose. 

3. Khatte muzavvar refers to the down on the Beloved's face, 
a mark of beauty in the opinion of the Persians. 

4. Khirgah bar kase dashtan is an unusual phrase meaning "to 
criticise anyone". Mrf = enmity is also a rare expression 
in Persian. Sa'di is sneering here at hypocritical pietists. 

5. i.e. the conventions of orthodox religion do not harmonise 
with the cult of spiritual Love. 



2. O heart of mine! you are deserving of censure; (for) Wis- 
dom often warned you, but you would not adopt her advice. 

3. She is a garden of sweet fruits, whose lofty tree the hand 
of my endeavour can only reach with dificulty. 

4. I thought I would seize the reins of Her Arab steed; but 
I could not even reach the dust of (=overtake) Her charger. 

5. She entirely blinded my eyes to the whole world, so that 
Her afflicted (lover) might see noone but Herself. 

6. (To escape) from Her power, I would have wandered in the 
world (=gone into exile); (but) how can one, who is captive 
to Her charms, flee from Her city? 

7. If She were even to smite it with a sword instead of a fan, 
where could the poor fly go from Her sweets? 

8. I do not despair even of Her giving me a medicinal draught, 
or else there is no means of cure for Her afflicted (lover). 

9. Perhaps out of kindness She might of Her own accord be- 
come our Mistress, or else what service can we perform 
that would merit Her approval? 

10. O Sa'di! since you cannot be resigned to Her absence, it 
is best for you to endure patiently the pain She causes you. 

— 135 — 

1. I cannot move away in any direction from the hand (=range) 
of Her eye-brow's archers. 

2. My two eyes are dazzled by the brilliance (that I see) : I 
know not whether it (emanates from) the Sun's disk, or Her 

3. It is Paradise I see, and not a face: it is a noose which She 
has, and not curls. 

4. Her ruby lips resemble pigeon's blood, and the raven black- 
ness of Her tresses is like the swallow's wing. 

5. The grip, which that saucy deceiver possesses, is not one that 
can be overcome by (strength of) arm. 


6. She demands the whole soul of Her ardent lovers; She has 
no smaller weight to put in the scales (of Her estimation). 

7. (Ordinary) breath does not possess the fragrance (that She 
exhales); (so), perhaps She keeps a musk pod in Her pocket. 

8. Do not pearls come from salt water (=the sea)? But Her 
pearls (=teeth) are found in sweet water (=the saliva of Her 

9. A very popular stranger has turned up, (1 mean), a black 
mole (has appeared) in the Beauty-land of Her face. 1 

10. It would indeed be strange, if when She stands up in the 
garden, the cypress does not kneel before Her. 

11. One ought not to call Her sweetly smiling, sweet-speeched, 
lips by any name but that of the enchanter, Zahhak. 2. 

1 2. If She were to walk gracefully in a public assembly, many, 
an exclamation (of admiration) would be uttered. 

13. All night I feel a thorn in my side through (=1 am tortured 
by) the memories that are evoked by the rose-scented face 
of the rose-bodied (Beloved). 

14. O Sa'di! bear the Beloved's cruelty patiently, for illtreat- 
ment by Beauties is an excusable fault. 

— 136 — 

1. Is that henna with which Thou hast dyed Thy lovely finger- 
nails, or is it the blood of Thy heart-sick lovers, that Thou 
hast slain in Thy toils? 

2, Nowhere else have I seen a human being (endowed) with 
Thy grace: surely Thou must be a Virgin of Paradise, and 
not a being formed of Adam's clay! 

1. There is clever word play in this line. Turkestan was a coun- 
try famed for its beautiful women. 

2. The point of this verse is the pun on the double meaning 
of Zahhak. He means that the Beloved's sweet lips have the 
magical power of the sorcerer Zahhak. 


3. And this is stranger still that ever since my heart has been 
afflicted by Thee, it has never been present (in my breast), 
while Thou hast never been absent (from my mind). 1 

4. There is no circle in which Thou art not mentioned: there 
is no place in w^hich Thou hast not sown the seed of Love. 2. 

5. We have inscribed a scroll with the story of our love for 
Thee, while Thou, O cruel one! hast rolled it up. 3. 

6. There is a limit to human beauty and blandishments! This 
physical form, and those (mental) attributes that Thou poss- 
essest must belong to an angel. 

7. Those musk-scented tresses, which Thou hast let down to 
Thy feet, have surpassed (in fragrance) ambergris and fresh 

8. I am too bewildered to describe Thy beauty; (for) there 
are limits to beauty, and Thou hast exceeded them. 

9. The Gnostics of Persia fall prostrate before (=yield obedience 
to) Thy mandate. Surely Thou must have quoted in it a 
couplet from Sa'di's poetry! 

— 137 — 

1. O Thou whose face is the treasury of the gems of spiritual 
Reality! We have in our hearts the treasure trove of Thy 
Love's brand (=pain). 
. 2. Thou knowest that the sighs of those consumed by love 
(=Love's victims) are effectual; (so) let not anguished cries 
arise from my breast. 

1. i.e. he has lost his heart to the Beloved, who is ever present 
in his thoughts. 

2. This line is quoted as Sa'di's in a parody by Obeid Zakkan. 

3. The pun on navishta and dar navishtah may be noted. He 
means that he has poured out his soul in verse, which She 
regards with indifference. 


3. Thy sole ornament consists of two rows of pearls (=teeth), 
and a rich ornament of hair (that covers) Thy bosom and 

4. I would not bow (= pay court) to the soverigns of the Age, 
if (only) I could be the meanest of Thy slaves. 

5. It would be wrong if I were to look at anything but Thy 
' face, and the moment that I pass in Thy absence is a (sheer) 

loss (=waste of time). 1. 

6. We have no resource (against Her), but to throw down 
our shields (^surrender) ; for our antagonist has a stone in 
Her hand, while we are (like) a glass goblet (=fragile). 2 

7. It would be permissible for him to boast of Love for the 
Beloved, who drives from his heart (all ideas of) Love and 
Hate. 3. 

8. It is not only in this town, but in every city, that Sa'di is un- 
surpassed in the arts of gallantry. 

9. His poetry flows (=circulates) like water throughout the 
whole world; for his boat (=volume of poems) travels from 
Fars to Khorasan. 4. 

— 138 — 

1. O Thou. whose face shines like a mirror! beware of my burn- 
ing sighs. 1. 

L GhabTnah is a legal term, which means an overcharge for 
which damages are claimed. 

2. i.e. She is invincible. 

3. Because all such feelings keep alive the illusion of self, which 
it is the Mystics duty to destroy. 

4. The play on the double meaning of safinah may be noticed. 
By the phrase "from Fars to Khorasan" is meant the length 
and breadth of Persia. 

1. i.e. lest they may dim its brilliance. Ahi mani siikhtah liter- 
ally means "the sighs of me consumed (in the fire of Love".) 


2. The jealousy, which is proper to Thy sovereign beauty, has 
blindfolded my eyes to everyone else, like those of a falcon. 2. 

3. Old Reason bears a cruel burden; (for) it is always learning 
lessons from young Love. 

4. Alas! whatever wisdom had been amassed by me during 
a- whole life time, has all been wasted in a moment. 

5. I have purchased sorrow in exchange for Thy Love: I have 
bartered my soul for desire of Thee. 

6. The lamp of Thy Love is in Sadi's heart: it is a torch which 
has been kindled for all eternity. 

— 139 — 

1. O Thou, who hast drawn the sword of cruelty over our heads ! 
Thou hast failed to distinguish or discriminate between friend 
and foe. 

2. O my darling! I am not at all occupied with myself, heed- 
less of Thee. To whom hast Thou attached Thy heart re- 
gardless of me? 

3. Many a night have I passed in longing for Thy face, whereas 
Thou hast never once enquired about my welfare, nor treated 
me with kindness. 

4. I had thought of withdrawing my heart from Thy control, 
but then I found that Thou hadst seized me in Thy powerful 
grip. 1. 

5. Thou hast made bows and arrows of Thy eyebrows and 
eyelashes, so that no prey might escape froni the snare of 
Thy tresses. 

6. Of course there is no heart left as a prey in the whole uni- 
verse that Thou hast not hunted down with Thy bows and 

2. The poet here refers to the custom of stitching up the eyes 

of a falcon for the purpose of training it to hunt. 
1. i.e. it was useless to resist. 


7. The Sun and Moon, fairies and human-beings, all feel aba- 
shed in Thy presence, for Thou art exalted above them all. 

8. In spite of all the splendid display of the peacock, and 
the graceful gait of the partridge, (which Thou dost mani- 
fest), Thou hast this fault, (namely) that Thou art more un- 
feeling than the ring dove. 2. 

9. Everyone who sees me exclaims, '' O Sa'di! what sorrow is 
weighing on you on account of your love that you grieve so 

10. I am afraid of being checkmated in this foolish game (of 
Love) ; (but) what can I do, (since) Thou hast won by play- 
ing unfairly. 3. 

— 140 — 

1. One night I passed by the Tavern, wearing a patched cloak 
like that used by the wandering Darwishes, (and) the wine- 
bibber's cell was illumined by spiritual intercourse (with 
God). 1. 

2. There is a chamber for spiritual communion (=a sanctuary) 
in the mansion of the heart, so that the palace of the brain 
may be secure from the voices of strangers. 2. 

2. I fail to understand the reference in this line to the hard- 
hearted ringdove, which is generally described as devoted 
to its mate. 

3. Dast burdan (= to win) is a metaphor taken from the game 
of back-gammon. 

1. Tavern = Unity, and wine-bibbers = Mystics, who are freed 
from self, having drunk ''the wine of alienation from self", 

2. He means there is a sanctuary within the inmost depths of 
the Mystic's heart, and, when he withdraws thither, no dis- 
quieting worldly thoughts distract his mind. 


3. When the skinker began to circulate the wine in the assembly 
saying, "drink your fill" ! people foolishly observed, "the 
philosopher first" ! 3. 

4. He (=the vintner) said sharply, "I have indeed drunk the wine 
of an assembly, around whose candle the Moon (itself) durst 
not be a moth". 

5. "How can the ear of high aspiration (=-highly tuned ear) of 
the heart, which has heard the Mystic song of Truth from 
the world of Unity, listen again to poetry and fiction"? 

6. I thought they were novices, and so discoursed to them about 
spiritual leadership. The vintner replied to me bravely, (say- 
ing), 4. 

7. "The Light of the Empyrean plane (=t:he Heavenly Light) 
shines continually (on all). You see it in the hermit's cell, 
and I in the nook of the wine-tavern". 5. 

8. "Whoever enters this sanctuary (of Divine Communion) 
supported by a spirit of sincerity, what does it matter whe- 
there he be a devout, ascetic, religious leader (=pietist), or 
a drunken, mad, profligate (=Mystic)". 6. 

9. A door to spiritual Truth was opened within the soul of 
Sa'di when the key of dawn turned the wards of Heaven's 
lock. 7. 

3. The farzanah is the vintner {^^Piri kharabatJ) referred to la- 
ter, who is here disrespectfully described as a philosopher 
by some of the company. 

4. Mardaneh here means "like one who had the courage of his 

5. i.e. the light of godhead can illumine every soul, whether 
it be a cloistered monk, who adheres to the rigid practises 
of religion, or a mystic, who pursues the cult of Unity, in- 
different to religious conventions. The same idea is develop- 
ed (in the following line. 

6. Yakrangl here means sincerity in the sense of entire and 
absolute devotion to God. 

7. When day dawned, Sa'di's soul was illumined by the light 
of the Truth. 


— 141 — 

1. If you were to offer a thousand lives as a present to the Be- 
loved, it would be a paltry (gift), and you should not (even) 
mention it. 

2. To talk of one's life in the presence of the Beloved is just 
-like bringing gold to the mine, or roses to the garden. 1 

3. O Sunfaced darling! has it not yet crossed Thy mind to 
throw the cooling shade of Thy favour on Thine affectionate 

4. What dost Thou care if I fail to sleep through my love for 
Thee? How canst Thou, who art a sovereign, call to mind 
the watchman? 

5. I fear for the religion of the people, lest through the beau- 
ty of Thy face. Thou mayest introduce a heresy (into the 
world), which (so far) has not existed. 2. 

6. Noone takes a side glance at Thy face, whom in the end Thou 
dost not draw into Thy society by its beauty. 

7. It is incumbent on the sober to guard themselves against 
Thy drunken (=languorous) eyes, but (then) Thou makest 
secret inroads on them. 

8. Do not hesitate to utter whatever bitter answer you have 
(in store) for me, as it would seem pure honey (=-sweet), if 
it came from Thy mouth. 

9. And if Thou shouldst smile, let alone (its efficacy as) a 
wound salve. Thou couldst revive even a dead body (by 
smiling). 3. 

10. Listen to a bon-mot from me, namely that you may travel 
through the world, and bring back curios from ocean and 

1. i.e. it goes without saying that the spiritual lover is willing 
to sacrifice his life for the Beloved's sake. Cf. the English 
proverb ''to bring coals to Newcastle". 

2. He means that people might worship the Beloved's face in- 
stead of God. 

3. Cf. Gulshani raz (Whinfield's edition line 754) ; — 

'*By a smile on His lips He cheers the soul". 


11. (But) if you have not the Badayi' (=cunning Odes) of Sa'di 
among your baggage, what other trav^eller's gift (worth the 
offering) can you present to the adepts? 4. 

— 142 — 

1. Even if Thou shouldst cast me forth a hundred times, I 
would still be hopeful of being cherished with Thy favour 
another time. 

2. The oppression exercised by Thy love against my Reason 
is comparable to the tribute, which Moslem warriors impose 
on infidels. 1. 

3. When Fate is unfavourable you cannot quarrel with it: (so) 
you must needs put up with (=be resigned to) it. 

4. Alas, for the strong arm (=power) of piety, when Thy silvery 
(=delicate) hand makes play with its fingers to slay me! 2. 

5. We have often contemplated the pictures of the world; (but) 
Thou surpassest in beauty everything we see. 

6. What does it matter to Thee, who art lapped in luxury, 
and delicately pampered, if a thousand like me should suffer 
trouble and hardship? 

7. 1 should not have divulged to the common herd the (sad) 
tale of my love (for Thee), if the shedding of my tears 
had not informed against me. 

4. Here for the first time Sa'di refers to the Badayi' by name. 
Ahli qarabat = those who are nigh to God, and hence adepts, 
or mystics. 

1. SarguzTt was the capitation tax levied on non-Muslims 
(Christians and Jews) by Believers. Ghazl one who fights 
for the faith. 

2. i.e."how powerful piety is"! Bah sari angiisht bazT kardan 
has the meaning here of making a sign with the fingers in a 
playful or coquettish manner, as though the killing were 
a trifle. 


8. What a fine horseman Thou must be, that Thou canst carry 
off a hundred hearts by one amorous glance, and run down 
in a single charge a hundred quarries! 

9. If Thou wouldst have a thrall like Sa'di, how would it harm 
Thee to possess a Shirazi servant for Thy groom? 3. 

10. If Thou wert to drive him away in anger, he would (still) 
return (to Thee) by reason of his benign nature; for gold 
always remains the same, even though you melt it again 
and again. 

11. The Persian idiom runs on his tongue like water (=fluently) 
by reason of the power of his genius : it is not a steed that 
can be out-paced by an Arab (horse). 4. 

— 143 — 

1. Ah! sick at heart (=distracted) am I (like) a ball in the curve 
of Thy bat: useless am I in Thine eyes like a foolish babbler. 

2. The thirst (=longing) of my bold eyes does not diminish 
in spite of the fact that I have poured out a stream of (co- 
pious tears) from both my eyelashes. 1 . 

3. O Thou, the arrow of whose love's pain, has slain a victim 
by its wounds, wherever it has reached him, since Thy bow 
is double stringed! 

3. Literally "at Thy stirrup", because the groom in Persia runs 
by the side of his master's horse with his hand on the stir- 
rup. Sa'di asks the Beloved to make him Her groom, a 
menial occupation of the lowest grade. 

4. A roundabout way of saying that the Persian language, as 
he writes it, is superior to Arabic. 

1. Muzli or inuzhah also means a dark rain cloud, which is ap- 
propriate here. 


4. The hand of Autumn would not spoil the feast of flowers, 
if the breeze (but) wafted to the garden a whiff of frag- 
rance from Thy locks. 

5. We are single hearted (^sincere in our devotion) while Thou 
art not ashamed to indulge every moment in a (new form of) 
perfidy, and to practise each day a (fresh) caprice. 

6. Still I would not deem it strange, if Thou wert to cherish me 
again, for ''goodness from the good" would not be surpris- 
ing. 2. 

7. O Sa'di! do not renounce Her love, even if She should not 
favour your wishes, for where could one get in all the world 
an equal to Her? 

— 144 — 

1. O morning breeze! tell me news of my heart-ravishing (Be- 
loved) : give me a description of that unkind Sweetheart's 

2. Leave musk alone, and bring me (instead) the perfume of 
Her tresses: do not mention sugar, (but) repeat to me a 
speech from that (sweet) mouth of Hers. 

3- Like the ant I am engaged heart and soul in the love for Her 
waist: if you find an opportunity, broach this subject to 
Her. 1. 

4. Tell the wing-singeed (=helpless) nightingales of my heart, 
the message of those two sugar-scattering parrots (=Her 
sweet eloquent lips). 

5. I know that you (O Breeze!) will pass again over Her tresses, 
(so), if She will give ear to you, tell Her my tale (of love) 
in secret, 

2. NikuJ ZL nlkuT is a well known Persian proverb. Cf. our 

''sweets from the sweet". 
1. The ant is regarded as the embodiment of energy and stren- 

nous endeavour. Kamar bastan literally - "to gird the loins 

in preparation for a difficult task". 


6. Saying, **0 Thou, who hast robbed the heart from my 
breast! it is Thine to command, even if, for example, Thou 
shouldst tell me to give up my life". 

7. The secrets of my heart spring every moment to my tongue: 
my heart is perturbed, (saying), ''your life has passed (in 
keeping the secret of your love), let it out (now), and tell 
it". — 

8. The secrets of my heart will never be disclosed by my tongue 
unless my heart consents, (saying), "O tongue! speak out''. 

9. Sa'di has been ruined through the wiles of Fate. (So) tell 
this tale of him to his friends. 2. 

— 145 — 

1. If there were a rose like Thy cheek in the garden, the earth 
would be exalted above the Heavens by its perfect beauty. 

2. Thy assembly-adorning beauty might be compared to the 
garden cypress, if there were in the garden a cypress endow- 
ed with the power of speech and movement. 

3. How sweet it would be, if I only had the power to fold in 
my embrace (a Beloved), gifted with a lovely face, fragrant 
locks, a sweet disposition, and a silvery (=delicate) body! 

4. You might then say that in all my life this good fortune 
had been vouchsafed to me, (namely), to win from life my 
(heart's) desire even though it be only for a little while. 

5. i know of no fault in Thee save this that Thou art a per- 
fidious and cruel Sweetheart, charming by reason of (all) 
this beauty, (but) slow to kindness. 

6. Sugar in my throat without Her sweet face would taste bitter, 

and even if it seemed like a sweet meat, surely poison must be 
mixed with it. 

2. The only point in -this poor line consists in the play on the 
words dastCui, dastan, and diistan. 


7. One moment in the company of the angel-natured, fairy- 
faced, Beloved, would be like Paradise, if (only) there were 
hopes of its continuance. 

8. I shall be faithful to Her, not only as long as life is in my 
body, but while my body is in the grave, even though it 
were (a handful of) bones. 

9. People say to Sa'di that his pain is a secret one, but news of 
it would not be circulated in the East and West (=far and 
wide), if it were hidden. 1. 

10. Every heart that possesses a spiritual companion in secret 
resembles an Oratory in a garden. 2. 


-146 — 

l.O Thou, (endowed) with the stateliness of whose figure, I 
have never seen a straight cypress, if Thou shouldst practise 
every kind of enmity against me, Thou wouldst still be better 
than all my friends! 

2. Deal harshly with me (at Thy pleasure) ; for masters ill- 
treat their slaves. The lion that is foot-bound (=entangled in 
the snare) must needs yield to a fox. 

3. Where can he (= Thy lover) go from Thy sight, and, if he 
does. Thou art ever with him (in spirit) : he departs, but 
Thou dost not set him free: he comes back, but Thou dost 
not let him approach Thee. 

4. O Thou, who art cognisant of my pain, it would be fitting 
on Thy part to cast one glance at me, and, if Thou failest to 
do so, my morning sighs, wrung from an anguished heart, 
may prove efficacious. 1. 

1. Sa'di means that his ardent devotion to the Beloved is ex- 
pressed in his poetry, which has an universal vogue. 

2. i.e. he holds secret communion with the spiritual Beloved 
in his heart's inner sanctuary. 

1. The prayers offered up by the sorrow-laden suppliant in 
the morning hours are supposed to reach the throne of God. 


Thou payest no regard at all to anyone, be he Sa'di, or 
'Umar, or Zaid (=anyone else), while he (=Sa'di) is indulg- 
ing in all this vain-glory like a hollow drum. 2. 

— 147 — 

1. O distracted Mystic! you are in bondage to a good reputa- 
tion. Until you drink the cup (of Divine Love) to the dregs, 
you will gain no relief from this pain. 1. 

2. What gain or loss can accrue to the kingdom of Eternity 
(=God), whether you are a Hafiz of the Quran, or a worship- 
per of idols? 2. 

3. Of what use is asceticism to you, if you end by being an out- 
cast from the court (of God)? What harm will infidelity do 
you, if your latter end be good? 3. 

2. 'Umar o Zaid is a stock phrase in Arabic and Persian to 
denote any unspecified person. Cf. John Doe and Richard 
Roe in legal parlance. 

N.B In this didactic Ode the doctrine of predestination is 

1 . Sa'di refers here to the hypocritical Mystic, who is concerned 
about his good name, which would be lost, if he abandoned 
the conventions of religion, that only foster the illusion 
of duality. Cf. Divan Shamsi Tabriz (Nicholson's edition Ode 
1 — 2) "know that reputation is a great hindrance to the 

2. Hafiz = one who knows the whole Quran by heart, and hence 
a pietist. By worshipper of idols is meant the Mystic, who 
adores idols=*'the Light made manifest" (Cf. Gulshani raz 
line 973). 

3. /Cw//- is used here in its esoteric sense. Cf. Whinfield's Gul- 
shani raz line 879; — 'Tnfidelity is ever giving praise to the 


4. Both the righteous and the wicked are hopeless of Divine 
grace: both the gnostic and the ignorant (novice) are help- 
less against the Divine decree. 

5. O Thou prey that art caught in the gin, no effort of Thine 
will make you free! O Thou bird that art captured in the 
snare, thine attempts (at flight) are of no avail to thee! 

6. How can the glass goblet remain secure (=unbroken) in the 
path of a stone? The revolution of the sky(=Fate), good sir, 
is the stone, and you the glass goblet. 

7. This power of yours must fail even though you were the 
Emperor of Rum, and this day of yours must turn to night 
(= you must die), even if you were the Ruler of Syria. 4. 

8. Count as naught, O Sa'di! all desire for this (material) 
world, since we must inevitably leave it for another world, 
disappointed of our hopes (=with hopes unrealised). 

9. If you are wise, and prudent, and understand (the potenti- 
alities of) your soul, lo! I will call you a human being, or 
else you are lower than the beasts. 5. 

— 148 — 

1. Oh! how I long to see Thee some night in my arms, dead 
drunk, heavy with sleep, and bemused with wine. 

2. Bright day would appear (=shine) in the murky night of 
separation, if at early dawn I should see Thy sun-like face. 

3. If Thy love has slain me by reason of the harsh treatment 
(I have had to endure), so much (suffering) was easy 
(to bear) ; (but) would that I might see a small measure of 
softness (= kindness) in Thy speech! 

4. By Rum is meant the Greek kingdom of Byzantium. The 
pun on the double meaning of sham may be noticed. 

5. Dil is used here in its esoteric sense =the power of disting- 
uishing between good and evil. 


4. The pen would drop pearls (=tears) over my pitiful (=poig- 
nant) letter, if I should see but once the hope of reconcili- 
ation in Thy reply. 

5. The truth is it would be right for you to shun me, if I were 
to look at Thee with sinful eyes, like squint-eyed (=evil-mind- 
£d) people. 

6. I wish I could see Thee some time like a rose in the garden, 
or jasmine in the parterre, or a lotus in the water. 

7. And if I cannot behold Thee (shining in Thy full splendour) 
like the sun, would that I might see Thee once like the new 
Moon, a little of it open to view, and the rest veiled from 
sight. 1. 

8. I know there is no barrier between me and Thee save fear of 
the guardian. I wish I could see Thee concealed from the 
guardian behind a screen. 2. 

9. (But) how can this desire of mine be attained in a state of 
wakefulness? Would that I might go to sleep, so as to see 
Thee in a dream! 


— 149 — 

1. I have not the good fortune of the mirror, in which Thou be- 
holdest (Thyself) : I am less than the dust of the market, 
on which Thou treadest. 

2. I am so much in love with Thy face, that I am lost to personal 
consciousness: Thou art so charmed with Thyself (=absorb- 
ed in Thine own charms) that Thou art indifferent to us. 

3. To what shall I liken Thee in all the Universe, for Thou art 
fairer than my wildest dreams? 

1. i.e. catch a fleeting glimpse of the Divine glory "as through a 
glass darkly", and not face to face. 

2. He expresses a wish that the veil of phenomena may not con- 
ceal the Divine Beauty entirely from his view, and thus de- 
velops the idea of the preceding line. 


4. Such a face as Thine should not be unveiled; for Thou steal- 
est the hearts of all mankind by every side-long glance. 

5. Blindness is the only disease that can be ascribed to the eye, 
which is not enamoured of Thy face. 

6. I thought to wander in the world(= become an exile) by rea- 
son of the suffering entailed by Thy Love; (but) how can 
I do so, since wherever I roam. Thou art present to my 
(mind's) eye. 

7. The morning sighs (that arise) from my breast reach (the 
ear of) Heaven, while Thou dost not (even) open Thine 
eyes from their morning sleep. 

8. Sleepers know naught of the distress endured by the sleep- 
less. Thou canst not sympathise with (suffering) people, 
until grief befalls Thee. 

9. Whatever is said in praise of (Thy) beauty is (true) : Thy 
fault is that Thy temper changes every day (=Thou art fickle). 

10. If Thou shouldst unveil and display Thy face. Thou wouldst 
divulge the secrets of all recluses. 1. 

11. The person, who does not know Thee, will not excuse Sa'di 
(for his love-madness, since) he, who has not seen a fairy, 
does not understand the plight of such as have lost their 
reason. 2. 

— 150 — 

1. The novice must travel widely to become an adept (=initi- 
ate): the Mystic does not become pure (=sincere), until he 
drinks to the dregs the cup (of Divine Love). 1 

1. By pardah nishJnan are meant mystics, or initiates, in the 
mysteries of Divine Love. 

2. A reference to the belief that mortals, who are unfortunate 
enough to see a fairy, become mad, or blind, if they do not 
lose their lives. 

1. The poet plays here on the words 5/7//, and safi. He seems 
to favour the derivation of sufl from safa (=purity), which 
is generally considered erroneous. 


2. Whether you are a reh'gious leader, devoted to prayer (=piet- 
ist), or a rake from the tavern (=Mystic), to each his end is 
predestined by God. 2. 

3. Tomorrow (=at the Resurrection) when the court of retribu- 
tion will be held for mortals, everyone (else) will have good 
works (to show), (while) we can (only) hope for the Divine 
beneficence (=mercy). 

4. O nightingale! if you plain, I will be your song mate: you 
are in love with the rose, and I with Rose-body (=the Be- 

5. Those who have not seen the cypress (=the graceful Beloved) 
on the edge of the terrace, exclaim, "how beautiful is a (gar- 
den) cypress on the banks of a stream" ! 

6. Some day you will see my life offered as a sacrifice in Her 
street, and this is a festival which is observed every few 
days. 3, 

7. O Thou, whose love is fixed in my stricken heart like a 
soul in the body! at least mention, (even) in terms of abuse, 
one who blesses Thee. 

8. Perchance some day Thou wilt Thyeslf enquire about our 
welfare, or else, who alas! will convey a message from us 
to Thee? 

9. Although the night of ardent lovers is dark, still they ought 
not to despair of the morning's dawn. 

10. O Sa'di! how will you obtain pearls on the ocean's shore? 
Enter the crocodile's throat if you seek (fulfilment of) your 
desires. 4. 

2. Miinajat are extempore prayers, usually taken from the Qur- 
an, or Hadis, which are offered after the usual liturgical 
forms have been recited. By pJr\s meant here the head of a 
monastic establishment, who is a slave to the external ob- 
servances of religion. 

3. i. e. not only at the 'Id uz zuha, which is an annual festival 

4. i.e. be prepared to jeopardise your life in your love quest. 


-151 — 

1. If Thou wouldst (only) return to me, I am resolved to forfeit 
my life at Thy feet, as it would not be fitting to sacrifice 
any thing of less value there. 

2. I hope Fortune may vouchsafe me such a lease of life that 
a shower of rain from the clouds of Thy bounty may fall 
again on my thirsty (=parched) dust. 

3. Even if a desert intervened between the lover and Beloved, 
a Judas tree would spring up there in place of each Mimosa 
bush. 1. 

4. Surely my Leilah (=Beloved) does not realise that without 
Her auspicious face the world^s broad expanse would seem 
as narrow as a prison to Her Majnun (= lover) ! 

5. Alas! that I did not realise the value of the time(=halcyon 
days) of happiness: you will only appreciate the value of 
Union, when you have been afflicted by separation. 

6. It is not only I that am caught in the snare of Her dishevelled 
tresses; for She holds in Her toils a heart in each disordered 

7. What charm is in Thine eyes that steals the hearts (of men) ? 
If there be a charmer in Shiraz in our day, it is Thou. 2. 

8. It is not right to shed Sa'di's blood unjustly; but, come, it 
is easy (of accomplishment), if you. hold a mandate in the 
master's hand. 3. 

9. The season that has passed away will return; but patience 
is needed, for spring will not bloom again without a winter. 4 

1. He means that to a lover the desert would seem like a garden, 
if his pilgrimage ended in the Mecca of Union. The Judas 
tree (Cercis siliquastrum) has attractive purple flowers. The 
Mimosa {M. arabica) is a thorny bush of the Arabian desert. 

2. The only point in this line is the pun on fitnali and fattan. 

3. i.e. a death warrant signed and sealed by the Beloved. 

4. He must endure the winter of separation before he can enjoy 
the spring of Union. Mustakhlas literally means "set free". 


— 152 — 

1. O fairy-faced (Darling)! today Thou art so beautiful that 
Thou surpassest the moon in loveliness. 

2. Thou dost appear, and Thy distracted lovers run after Thee 
in every direction : 

3. Look at me and the black infidels! Behold Thyself with Thy 
two magic-working pupils (=eyes) ! 1. 

4. She has put magical glances into Her eyes, (and) given a 
mischievous (=coy) twist to Her hair. 

5. And to hunt down hearts She has fixed the arrow of Her 
eyes in the bow of Her eye-brows. 

6. The value of roses and rose conserve has become depreciated 
(by competition with) that lovely face, and those heart en- 
trancing lips (of Hers). 

7. The king of the constellations (=the Sun) has become Thy 
slave: Leo has become the dog of Thy street. 2. 

8. Saturn has become Thy black watch-man on the terrace of 
Thy beauty's Palace. 

9. Thy cheek, speaking symbolically, resembles a petal of the 
eglantine: Thy figure, if one were to describe it, is like a wild 

10. Tell me with what (sort of comb) Thou hast dressed Thy 
hair, or with what (kind of) water Thou hast washed Thy 
face I 

11. For Thou lendest color to the tulip from Thy face, and Thou 
givest fragrance to musk from Thy locks. 

12. A hundred thousand nightingales (= poets), like Sa'di, sing 
lays to the rose-garden of Thy face. 

1. The line is obscure, but Sa'di seems to mean "here I am, 
entangled in Thy raven-black tresses, while Thou art ogling 
me with Thy magical eyes". 

2. There is a star in Leo called Kalb-ul'awa, and hence perhaps 
the pun on sag-i-kiii. 


— 153 — 

1. The spring season has come, when the mind longs every 
hour for the garden ; and every bird bursts into an ecstasy 
of song like the nightingale. 

2. You might imagine the morning breeze of the New Year 
(=spring) to be the breath of Jesus, which restores "rest and 
fragrance" to the dead dust. 1. 

3. The garden cypress has assumed a swaying pose, and moves 
with grace. O spiritual cypress! do Thou for once display 
Thy graceful action too. 

4. In every lane one finds a fairy-faced (Beauty), plying the 
ball with her bat: Thou too forsooth hast a chin for a ball, 
(so) make a bat of Thy tresses. 

5. In spite of the skill and artifice with which I have surpassed 
all others (in the art of poetry, still) such a ball as Thy chin 
does not fall to my bat. 2. 

6. O gardener! bring me (if you can) a cypress (endowed) 
with the figure of my Hearts-ease (=Beloved); for 1 have 
never once seen such a rose in any garden. 3. 

7. O my deer-eyed (Darling)! Thou wilt not release me from 
Thy power, until, like a deer, 1 wander in (=flee to) the desert 
on account of Thy cruelty. 

8. I cannot describe the perfect beauty of Thy face; for I am 
bewildered by it, (and) what can a distracted man say? 

9. If there is any rest or peace for my heart, it will be (acquired 
through) Thy Union: if there is any end or limit to my 
grief, it will be on Thy breast. 

10. The physician was at his wit's end about me (saying), "O 
Sa'di! cut short your story, for I know of no remedy for 
your pain save patience". 

1. This seems to be a quotation from the Quran (LVIII — 89); 
fa riihun o raihamin wa Janata na'Jm (="and then rest and 
fragrance, and the garden of bliss".) The "breath of Jesus" 
was supposed to have a curative and reviving influence. 

2. He means that it is beyond his poetic powers to describe 
adequately the beauty of Her chin. 

3. i.e. a rose as sweet and beautiful as the Beloved's face. 


— 154 — 

1. O fire of passion! how long will you continue to rise to my 
head? O bitter wailing! how long will you keep welling up 
from my heart? 

2. O thou fount of quick silver(= tears), which art (fixed) in 
-mine eyes! How long wilt thou pour down on my gold-like 

(= pale) cheeks by reason of my love for the Beloved? 

3. O image of the Beloved! if some night Thou wouldst (only) 
withdraw from my path (= leave me), my eyes might in- 
dulge in sleep for a little while. 1. 

4. O heart of mine! why hast Thou been turned to blood in my 
breast? It must soon happen that thou too wilt disappear 
from my view. 2. 

5. O bird of dawn! by what science art thou able to announce 
the time of day, if it is not my matutinal sighs that arouse 
thee every morning. 3. 

6. O Sorrow, by the continual companionship with which my 
heart is sick! does it never occur to thee that for God's sake 
thou mightest leave my mind? 

— 155 — 

1, Why art Thou so cruel and stubborn in spite of such a kindly 
nature and so much charm? 

2. I fixed my heart on Thee entirely in preference to the world 
(=material pleasures): I did not know that Thou wouldst prove 
false to Thy promise (of love). 

1. i.e. if he could cease conjuring up a vision of the Beloved 
before his mind's eye. 

2. His heart will waste away, and he will lose it, just as he has 
lost the Beloved. 

3. Naubat were the kettle drums, which were beaten over the 
portal of a Prince's house at stated intervals. 


3. The dark night of separation has tormented me. O bright 
light! enter, candle-wise, through my door. 

4. I hold my life in readiness for surrender, so that I may sac- 
rifice it at Thy feet, when Thou dost enter it. 1. 

5. It would be quite wrong (on my part) to discuss with Thee 
the beauty of the belles of Tartary. 2. 

6. Thou art a sweetheart much beloved and very acceptable, 
but Thou art cold and faithless. 

7. O heart of mine! if thou art in love, be ever prepared to 
experience hardship and bear the trials of cruelty. 

8. And if you lack the power (to bear) the master's cruelty, 
be off, O Sa'di! for you are not fit for His service. 

— 156- 

1. O fairy-born (Beloved) ! I know not whence Thou hast come; 
for Thou canst not be of human origin (endowed as Thou 
art) with such beauty. 

2. To say sooth it is not right for every one to see a face like 
Thine, nor is it fitting that Thou shouldst not display it to 
any one. 

3. The cypress cannot claim an equality in stature with Thy 
beautiful figure in the Court of the garden. 

4. I adjure Thee by God not to shed the blood of poor me; for 
I am not worthy that Thou shouldst besmear ( = soil) Thy 
hands (with it). 

1 . Sar dar kaffi dast dashtan (h'terally = "to keep one's life 
on the palm of the hand'') expresses a readiness to jeopar- 
dise one's life. 

2. i.e. the Beloved is so inmeasurably superior to the belles 
of Tartary in beauty that it would be absurd to mention their 
charms in the same breath with Her. Tartary was famed 
for the beauty of its women. The pun on the double meaning 
of khata is the only point in the line. 


5. In the absence of Thy face I have no eyes to see the world. 
I adjure Thee by Thy two eyes not to leave my sight, O 
Thou, who art my sense of vision! 1, 

6. However great the cruelty I suffer at Thy hands, Thou seem- 
est (still) sweeter and more beautiful in my eyes. 

7. -There is noone else whom one can love like Thee. We know 
of no alternative but loneliness after Thou hast gone, 2. 

8. And if Thou wert to drive us away with ignominy from Thy 
door, we would thank Thee just the same, for Thou art 
dear to us. 

9. I will not turn away from this door (of Thine) by reason 
of Thy cruelty, whether Thou dost shut it in our faces, or 
openest it . 

10. What can the faithful slave do, who is not acceptable (to 
his master) ? We are eager for Thy service, but Thou givest 
us no orders. 

11. O Sa'di! your poetical genuis will steal many a heart, since 
you adorn (your work) with such jewels of spiritual reality 
(= inner meaning). 3. 

12. The breeze of the New Year (=spring) which has (= wafts) 
the perfume of the rose and the hyacinth, does not possess 
the fragrance that Thou dost exhale. 

1. The poet means that he has no eyes to see anything but the 
Beloved, through whom he exercises the faculty of vision. 

2. i.e. There is noone to take Thy place when Thou leavestme. 

3. Dukhtarl anfas (literally ="the daughter of breaths") has 
the secondary signification of genius. 


— 157- 

1. You have not fallen into (the Beloved's) snare, and may 
(therefore) be held excused (for failing to love Her). Are 
you on that account proud of the strength of your own 
own arm? 1. 

2. If She, who has burned up our granary, should become attach- 
ed to you, it would no longer be possible for you to combine 
love-making with self-restraint. 2. 

3. My heavenly-faced (Beloved) is that fairy-cheeked darling, 
(endowed) with whose beauty there is no Huri in Paradise. 

4. Fearfully I said to Her, ''O cypress-statured, silver-bodied, 
(Beloved)! (although no cypress exists that is crowned by 
a SurT rose"), 3. 

5. Harshness and perfidy are not acceptable at Thy hands; for 
Thou art a lovely and attractive Mistress". 

6. in the eyes of people of enlightened mind (=Mystics), Thou 
(shinest) among mortals like a flash of light in a dark night. 

7. If the Universe contained a physician as beautiful as Thee, 
noone would desire from God the cure of his disease. 

8. Thou makest such play with the pupils of Thine eyes on 
account of Thine arrogance and coquetry, that I might im- 
agine Thee to be intoxicated without (the agency of) wine. 

9. I will not forsake Thee on account of Thine infidelity, (so) 
commit any fault Thou pleasest, and Thou wilt be forgiven. 

1. i.e. he has no cause for self satisfaction, as the fact of his 
being fancy-free is not due to his own strength of will, but to 
the Beloved's indifference. 

2. Khirman siikhtan = to destroy one's stock of happiness, or 
ruin him. The second hemistich means you cannot be a lover 
and pious too. 

3. Sun is a beautiful red and fragrant rose like our Provence 
rose. Here of course it refers to the Beloved's rosy face. 
This verse is connected with the succeeding couplet, and 
the second hemistich is parenthetical. 


10. Conversation was engaged in on various topics, and the sub- 
ject of love-making, poverty (of self), and separation were 
broached between us. 

11. She said to me with a smile, '*0 SaMi! cut short your speech 
(for) the empty (headed) chatter-box is like a guitar". 

12. -''He who, like a shadow, has no substance (=real worth), is a 
mere nobody. What do I care if you are as conspicuous 
(=famous) as the Sun!" 4. 

— 158 — 

Why dost Thou obstinately turn away from me? Do not 

act thus, for Thou wilt make me go round the world (after 

Thee) willy-nilly. 

Some day on account of Thy cruelty I will change (even) 

my religion (for Thy sake). What harm would it do Thee 

if Thou wert to change Thine unkind heart? 1. 

If haply Thou wouldst not make the effort to approach us, 

what would it matter, if Thou wouldst take the trouble to 

remember us? 

Do not imagine that we will withdraw our hands from Thy 

saddle strap (^abandon Thee), however much Thou may est 

shun us. 

My body is bowed humbly in submission to Thy mandate 

like a pen: I would not turn away (from Thee even), if Thou 

shouldst make me revolve on my head just like it (=drive 

me distracted). 

His fame as a poet is of no account in the Beloved's eyes, 
as the illusions of self esteem and personal merit only serve 
to veil the Oneness of Ood. 

By changing his religion Sa'di means that he would become 
an infidel, and worship the Beloved like an idol (in the eso- 
teric sense). 


6. If Thou wert to withdraw from an impatient (lover lii<e) 
me, or turn away Thine eyes from such a helpless creature 
as I am, 

7. I do not know where Thou couldst get a shield with which 
to avert the arrows of my sighs from Heaven. 

8. Whether Thou destroyest utterly my peace of mind, or dost 
reduce me to despair by Thy reproaches, 2. 

9. Do not ever imagine that Thou couldst divert Sa'di's love 
from Thy threshold till the Day of Judgment. 


1. Is it speech or sugar that Thou keepest in Thy mouth? I do 
not think that there is anyone in all the world to equal Thee 
in piquancy. 

2. The lover is not to be held guilty for his pursuit of Thee: 
(nay), the guilt is Thine for possessing so charming a face. 

3. O Thou, who art dowered with such tresses, earlobes, cheeks, 
and figure, do not enter the (public) garden, for Thou hast 
a garden at home. 1. 

4. Thou dost possess the beauty of the Sun's face (=disc), and 
the figure of the graceful cypress, so that, if Thou shouldst 
put forward a claim (to these attributes), Thou hast the 

5. O girdle! I do not know how you can be woi-thy of so much 
glory, as to keep your hand round the waist of such a Beauty. 

2. The phrase az paye salamat kase basar dar andakhtan liter- 
ally means ''to cast someone down headlong from the foot 
of safety". 

1. He asks the Beloved to enter his heart and illumine its 
darkened chambers, and not to disclose the Mysteries of 
Divine Love to all and sundry. 


It is long since I sought that lost heart of mine; but Thine 
eye-brows gave me a clue to its possession by Thee. 2. 
(Endowed) as Thou art with such attributes, my heart is not 
a fit place for Thy presence. So come nearer, for there is 
a path (open to Thee) right to the centre of my soul. 
By reason of Thy (proud) gait like the peacock, it is not only 
my dove cote(=heart) that Thou hast for Thy nest, but the 
whole Universe. 

If Thou shouldst place Thy foot outside Thy house, plant it 
firmly, for Thou hast Sa'di's blood-stained tears on Thy 

— 160- 

1. I wish to be distraught and long to be reckless, for patience 
and dejection are of no avail. 

2. I will lower my head to enter the wine-cellar of reproach 
(= demean my self to bear the shame of repoaches); (so) 
let the patched cloak on my breast (=body) remain un- 
clean. 1. 

3. Every moment Thou hast flung a thirsty (lover) into the 
whirlpool (of passion) : every instant Thou hast suspended 
a victim on Thy saddle strap. 

4. Thy thirst is quenched, but how many thirsty hearts are there 
around Thee! Thou art happy, but how many tearful eyes 
are there about Thee? 2. 

2. i.e. Her eyebrows intimated to him by a sign that She had 
possession of his lost heart. 

1. The poet means that he is too absorbed in his passion for 
the Divine Beloved to regard religious conventions, and so 
he has abandoned the cant and hypocrisy of pietists. 

2. This is an example of the figure talniV = the introduction of 
an Arabic couplet into the text. 


5. O God! this must be the water of life, so sweet is it. O 
Lord! that must be the graceful cypress, ( the Beloved) so 
agile is it. 

6. That cloth is too wide for the workshop of contingent Be- 
ing: that morsel is too big for the capacity of comprehension 3 

7. Alas for my heart! which, in the coils of Thy tresses, has 
become the prey of two serpents, through that Zuhhak-like 
cruelty of Thine. 4. 

8. Will the breeze ever carry my sighs to Thine ears? No! 
because we are on the earth, while Thou art in the Heavens. 

9. I cry for help from Thee, who art both my pain and its 
anodyne! I appeal for protection from Thee, who art both 
my poison and its antidote! 

10. O Sa'di! there is enough water (to quench) the fire of your 
passion: do not engage in a profitless venture, for you are 
(only) a handful of dust. 5. 

3. Nicholson explains in his edition of the Divan Shamsi Tabriz 
(Ode ii — 7) that when Not-Being i^adam) reflects the quali- 
ties of Being {Haqq), and thus loses to a certain extent its 
own negative and phenomenal character, it receives the name 
of Contingent Being {imkan). The poet means that Abso- 
lute Being (=God) is too exalted to be circumscribed by 
phenomenal existence, and too great to fall within the scope 
of human comprehension. 

4. Sa'di compares the Beloved's tresses to the two serpents 
which grew out of Zahhak's shoulders, and had to be nou- 
rished on human brains. Zahhak was notorious for his cruel- 
ty, and so zahhaki may be taken to mean cruelty here. 

5. Abe refers to the Beloved's cruelty and disdain, by which 
She threw cold water on Sa'di's passion. 

Nole the introduction here of the four elements, fire, water, 
earth, and air. 



1. O God almighty! what sort of face is that, which one might 
call the sun, and, if the moon had any sense of modesty, 
it would veil itself for shame (before it). 

2. And, if the rose had eyes like the narcissus, so that it could 
see the world, it would plunge itself (=hide itself) in the 
water, like the lotus, through shame at the colour of Her 

3. At night I cannot sleep, and by day I have neither peace nor 
rest, by reason of Her languorous, wine coloured, eyes, which 
you might imagine to be asleep (=drowsy). 

4. If that Sweetheart that I know were to display Her face 
to everyone, the theologian would fall into an ecstacy from 
dancing, and the preacher would become dead drunk from 
(drinking) wine. 1. 

5. I am so intoxicated that you might imagine there was no 
longer any hope of my becoming sober: Majnun would have 
returned to his senses, if he were only drunk with wine. 2. 

6. If the hero, Rustam, had that (powerful) forearm of Hers, 
he would have overthrown even Afrasyab in an hour. 

7. O doll (=darling) of a skinker! bring us wine, whether it 
be bitter or sweet; for from Thy hands it would taste like 
sugar (=-sweet) even though it were pure poison. 

8. There is nothing that mars the perfect beauty of Thy face 
save Thy own capricious disposition. Ah! if only a sweet 
answer would proceed from those sweet lips! 

1. i.e. the theologian would join in the Mystic dance, and the 
preacher would become intoxicated with the wine of Divine 
Love. By theologian and preacher are meant pietists who 
are devoted to the cult of religiosity. 

2. Majnun was distracted by the love of Leilah, as the poet is 
by the Divine Beloved, and so there is no hope of their res- 
toration to a normal frame of mind. 


9. If Thou shouldst discover that, as long as I live, I fixed 
my eyes on anyone but Thee, then indeed it would be merit- 
orious on Thy part to treat poor me with cruelty. 3. 

10. If there were as much (water) in the clouds as tears in 
my eyes, the thirsty (= parched) earth would not need (any 
more) rain after this. 

11. I feel jealous of the ground on which Thou treadest; for 
how (exalted) would Sa'di be, if he were even the dust 
beneath Thy shoes! 

— 162 — 

1. Thou openest a window from Paradise for him, to whom 
Thou dost show Thy face at early dawn. 

2. Mother nature will never produce a child better (=-more at- 
tractive) than Thee in all her life, for Thine is the very limit 
of beauty. 

3. It is as a dark night to him, whose presence Thou leavest: 
it is like the dawn of an auspicious day for him, through 
whose door Thou comest back. 

4. Noone, who has enjoyed Union with Thee for a little while, 
can ever be patient afterwards. 1. 

5. By reason of the excessive delicacy of Thy body, Thou ap- 
pearest inside Thy garments like clear (= transparent) water 
in a glass. 

6. I am unable to say any more in Thy praise, for the perfec- 
tion of Thy beauty tongue-ties the speaker. 

7. I have shunned the babble of the vulgar herd, (saying) that 
henceforth I would retire into seclusion; 

3. Nazar is also sometimes used in an esoteric sense to mean 

1. i.e. he longs impatiently for another period of Union. 


8. (But) fidelity to friendship with the Beloved whispered in 
my souPs ear, (saying), "you are not a real lover if you shun 
disgrace". 2. 

9. Whatever sufferings I have endured have been caused by 
Thy love, and I am still waiting to see what (further) or- 
ders Thou wilt give. 3. 

10. May the few remaining days of my life be sacrificed for 
Thy soul, if Thou wouldst subtract them from my life, and 
add them to Thine! 

11. If (the Beloved) does not regard you, O Sa'di! with a kindly 
eye, your efforts to win Her favour would be fruitless; 
(so) take care not to attempt such a useless undertaking. 4. 


1. I saw a full Moon (=Beauty) upon the earth moving with 
the graceful gait of a cypress along the highway 

2. It was as if a door had been opened for me in the morning 
from the Paradise of God, 

3. I have never seen indeed in all my life a full moon on the 
top of a cypress, if you have. 1. 

2. This line is connected with the preceding verse. Sa'di means 
that to adopt a hermit's role is not the way to win the Be- 
loved's favour. To gain that he must abjure the conventions 
of religion, (which foster the illusion of duality and entail 
disgrace), and worship the One in spirit and in truth. 

3. He is waiting to see what further trials he will be called 
upon to bear. 

4. Bad palmiidan (=to weigh the wind), and bad ba dastl kase 
(=wind in someone's hand) both mean "to essay a fruitless 
task" Ta has the signification here, so common in the Odes, 
of ''beware"! 

1. i.e. a lovely face on a graceful figure. 

12* 179 

4. Or have you ever heard of a sun being produced by any father 
or mother? 

5. I thought to shut Her from my sight, in order that I might 
not incur any danger through my eyes(=by what I had seen). 

6. She walked along with graceful gait, saying sotto voce, "the 
Mystic is on his guard against temptation", (and aloud), 

7. ''Since one look (of mine) does not suffice (to satisfy you), 
your only resource is patience and resignation under separa- 

8. *'0 SaMi! against the arrows of our glances you will need 
a better shield than piety". 

— 164 — 

1. Thou hast departed (from my sight), but Thou art still 
present in my thoughts : it is just as if Thou wert pictured 
before my eyes. 

2. The (conception of the) extent(=magnitude) of Thy beauty 
is beyond my power of thought; for Thou art fairer than any 
thing I can imagine. 

3. The moon has never walked upon the earth, nor has a fairy 
ever upraised her veil, so that I might think Thy face to be 
(like) the moon, or a fairy. 

4. Thou must indeed be an angel, and not moulded from this 
(human) clay (of ours). If mortals are formed of earth and 
water. Thou surely must be compact of musk and ambergris. 

5. If we have a complaint against Thee, it must 'een be laid 
before Thyself; for one cannot lodge an accusation against 
Thee before anyone else. 

6. In the Beloved's company the corner of poverty (=a humble 
abode) resembles Paradis?, and the Garden (of bliss) : in fier 
absence wealth and riches may be (accounted) poverty. 

7. You cannot enjoy any pleasure as long as the Beloved is 
not in your embrace in fulfilment of your heart's desire. 


8. If I were to lose my eyes through weeping in my love for 
Thee, it would not matter, for Thou art dearer than the 
eyes in my head. 
Q. We have hastened in our quest (of Thee) to the full extent of 
our efforts; but what can our endeavours avail, since Fortune 
does not favour us? 
10. O Sa'di! as you cannot attain Union with the Beloved, pass 
at least a little while in thinking of Her. 

— 165 — 

1. The living man, who sleeps in his home without a Beloved, 
is like a corpse in a shroud. 

2. Pleasure cannot be called pleasure in Thine absence: what 
would the body be without the spirit's existence? 

3. The zephyr has not found a cypress like Thee in the flower- 
beds ever since it has been blowing over the garden, 

4. It seems an utter impossiblity for a sun to rise from the 
collar of a blouse. 1. 

5. And those massed coils of Her 'hair! Surely a calamity lurks 
beneath everyone (of them). 

6. There is a market in the street of Love, in which a thousand 
lives would not command any price. 

7. If Thou wouldst exercise Thy bounty, this is Thy opportu- 
nity; for Thou wilt not find anyone poorer than myself. 2. 

8. The seven regions of the world w^ill not convene an assembly 
today without (listening to) the sayings (=poetry) of SaMi.3 

9. One has the choice of these two alternatives, (namely), either 
Thy heart is a stone, or my words do not reach Thine ears. 

1. The poet means that the Beloved's radiant face peeping out 
of the collar of Her blouse is like the sun. 

2. Faqr is used here in its esoteric sense of poverty of self. 

3. The inhabited world was divided into seven climes, and so 
haft iqllni, or haft kishwar means the whole universe. 


— 166 — 

1. The cypress-statured (Beloved) in the midst of the assembly 
is fairer than seventy cypresses in the orchard. 1. 

2. It would be folly to abandon the Beloved's society in ex- 
change for the pleasure (afforded by) the tulip and the 

3. O Thou, w^ho hast never seen Thine own equal in beauty 
save in the mirror! 

4. When Thou lookest upon Thine own equal (there), of course 
Thou wouldst not regard the likes of me. 

5. Thy frame (when) enveloped in a tunic resembles a spirit 
that has entered the body. 2, 

6. I will say nothing about Thy mouth ; for it is too small even 
for (the utterance of) a word, 

7. And whoever sees Thy body uncovered imagines it to be a 
tunic stuffed with roses. 3. 

8. In Thy presence it would be wrong to look at the Belles of 
Khata, or Khutan. 4. 

9. If the wind were to blow over me, it would carry me away; 
for I have no body left under my clothes. 5. 

10. Your only resource, O Sa'di! is lack of resource (=-resigna- 
tion), since no remedy or device remains (for you to adopt). 

— 167- 

1. Thou movest with (such) surpassing grace all at once(=-so 
swiftly) that the eye is dazzled by Thee. 

1. Haftad is used to denote any large number. 

2. i.e. Her body is so ethereal that it resembles a soul. 

3. The poet is refering to the rosy complexion of Her skin. 

4. Khata (Northern China) and Khutan (Tartary) were cele- 
brated for the beauty of their women. 

5. His body was so emaciated by suffering that a puff of wind 
would blow it away. 


It would be right for Thee to show such a face as Thine 
to a fairy, so that she might learn what a fairy (=beautiful) 
face is like. 

The pack animal of him, who has slipped in Thy presence, 
would not be able to rise again under its load. 1. 
Thy drowsy eyes are drunk like me all the year round with- 
out drinking wine, 

Patience is no longer possible for Thy wounded (lovers) ; 
so either cure them, or kill them outright. 
So long as Thou wiliest, the Friend is kind to us, (and) 
the envious are confounded. 2. 

O SaMi! be submissive to Her orders; for the lover has no 
resource but helplessness (=-resignation.) 

— 168 — 

1. The cypress had better remain standing when Thou art 
moving: the parrot had better remain silent, when Thou 
art talking. 

2. Noone voluntarily surrenders his heart to Thy love: it is 
Thou, who settest the snare, wherewith to captivate it. 

3. What a plague Thou art to plunder the reason of sober folk 
with Thy lovely, drunken (= languorous), eyes! 

4. By reason of the love I bear Thee, and the jealousy I 
feel (on Thy account), I am angry that Thou shouldst 
cast glances (= make eyes) at strangers. 

5. Thou saidst it was wrong to look at Thee; but Thou stealest 
my heart, (and) is that right? Thou hast committed an of- 
fence Thyself, and prelendest that (other) folk are guilty. 

1. i.e. anyone, who offends against the majesty of the Beloved, 
will be crushed beneath the weight of Her displeasure. 

2. "Thou" may refer to God, and "the Friend" to the Prophet, 
or the spiritual director. 


6. Wilt Thou never forget the record of Thine enmity that 
Thou dost wrangle so with Thy friends? 

7. Thy hands are dyed with the fresh blood of Thy helpless 
(victims). Does anyone ever act as Thou art doing, O per- 
fidious one'! 

t?. Thou art friendly to our enemies (=rivals), while Thou show- 
est anger to Thy friends. This is not (real) love, which Thou 
dost make to Thy lover. 

Q. As long as I hear the Mystic song, I shall not listen to 
advice. O pretender to love! you are only giving me useless 

10. If Thou drawest Thy sword, here is my body for a shield! 
There is peace on the side which Thou dost oppose (=on my 

11. Never turn away your face from the Beloved to look at 
the sun ; for (in so doing) you would (as it were) be turning 
from the Sun to (look at) a wall! 1. 

12. O Sa'di! beware of Her stony cruel heart. What does an 
infidel care about your appeal for quarter? 2. 

— 169 — 

1. Does this night not wish the Sun to rise? (= tonight seems 
endless). How many thoughts have passed through my mind, 
but not a wink of sleep has crossed (=-visited) my eyes. 

1. i.e. the Sun is much inferior to the Beloved's face as an 
object of attention. 

2. The poet plays here on the double meaning of kafir. The 
infidel is supposed to be so cruel that he never allows quarter. 


2. Why have you delayed (your coming) so long, O morning! 
that I am reduced to (such) despair? You have neglected a 
religious duty, and the callers to prayers have failed to earn 
their (due) reward for a meritorious action. 1, 

3. Has the cock choked that it does not crow the summons of 
- Dawn? Are all the nightingales dead, and is it only the raven 

that remains alive? 2, 

4. Do you know why I love the fragrant breeze of Dawn? It is 
because it(=-the Dawn) resembles my Beloved's face when 
She throws off Her veil. 3. 

5. My head wishes to God that it might fall at Her feet; for 
it is better to be drowned in water than (to die) of longing 
for it. 4. 

6. My heart is not fit to triumph in the struggle with Her 
love. How can a fly overcome an eagle? 

7. I am not so guilty that Thou shouldst hand me over to my 
foe. If Thou must punish me, (then) do it with Thine own 
hand. 5, 

8. O Beloved! it would (indeed) be strange if Thy stony heart 
were not moved by Sa'di's tears, for they would (even) turn 
a mill. 

9. Be off, poor beggar! and seek another door, for you have 
petitioned a thousand times (at Her door) without receiving 
any reply. 6. 

\. Jan baramad = ihe soul was tired out from waiting. Sa'di 
represents the morning as having committed a sin {bazah) 
by delaying its advent, and thus preventing the Muazzins 
from calling to prayer at the prescribed time. Sawab is a 
meritorious deed which earns a divine reward. 

2. The nightingales are called subhkhwan because they sing 
at break of day. 

3. A sweetheart's face is compared to the fresh beauty of the 
Dawn, besides connoting the idea of its fragrance. 

4. The last hemistich is a well known Persian proverb. 

5. By diishman are meant wordly thoughts, and evil passions. 

6. Sa'di addresses himself here as a third party {tajnd). 


— 170 — 

1. Night time, a candle, a singer, and a beautiful (sweet-heart) : 
I have no other wish in all the world (but these). 

2. (Even) an angel would be jealous of the splendour of my 
convivial meeting, if it were graced by (the presence of) an 
assembly-adorning Beauty like Thee. 

3. Another Wamiq like me, enmeshed in the toils of Love, will 
not be found (again) in the world, nor an Azra like Thee. 

4. To endure affliction, and suffer cruel treatment at the hands 
of one, who is peerless in beauty, is inevitable. 

5. It is the Day of Resurrection that has appeared in our time. 
In very truth She (= the Beloved) is a calamity, and not a 
shapely figure. 1. 

6. If you were to turn away your face from Her, what else 
would you look at? For there is no fairer sight than She 
in all the world. 

7. There is no heart in Her time that has not succumbed to 
Her charms, nor a head (=person), which does not enter- 
tain a violent passion for Her. 

8. If you look at Her, do it at a distance, for you might en- 
danger your life by approaching too near. 

9. So openly does She rob me of my heart, that you might 
think the Emperor had proclaimed a feast of table-plunder. 2 

10. She is not afraid of vexing the hearts of Mystics lest they 
should raise a clamour before the Chancellor; 

11. For all are agreed that there is not today in all the world 
any goal of aspiration, or refuge, save his court. 3. 

1. By qiyamat Sa'di means that the Beloved is a source of per- 
turbation in the world such as the Day of Doom will be. 
In the second hemistich he makes pretty word play on the 
words bala andihola. 

2. Padshah was the title given to the king of the Turks, and 
the mstitution known as the "table of plunder" {yaghma) 
was a Turkish custom, which has been explained before. 
He is probably referring to Hulaku, the Chancellor's Master. 

3 ihe poet is evidently alluding to 'Ala uddTn Ata Malik 
Juvaini, the celebrated minister of Hulaku and his successor^ 


12. He is the most excellent (Minister) on the face of the globe; 

for Heaven stands ready to render him service, like a slave 

with loins girt before his master. 
13; Do you understand O philosopher! the object of this remark 

of mine? (It is to illustrate the proverb), ''if one gives a 
.greeting it is for the sake of a demand" (=to get something)4 

14. To God are due, O guardian of the Age! (thanks for) the 
boons and favours (vouchsafed) to the people of the whole 
earth in your time. 

15. Thank God! I have this merit, in spite of all my faults, that 
my high spirit does not cringe to everyone. 

16. People take their ships to sea, and gain profit (thereby), 
but there is no ship (=volume of poems) like Sa'di's, nor a 
sea (of generosity) like you. 5. 

— 171 — 

Would that the love for sweethearts had never existed in 

the world, or, if it did, would to God it had abounded less 

in my heart! 

I have experienced the pain of Love's brand (=agony) a 

thousand times. Would that the Beloved had felt it once like 


I do not sleep because I see not Her vision in my dreams. 

O God! that my weeping eyes might close in sleep (even) 

for one night! 

whom Sa'di is said to have visited at Tabriz in his old age. 
He was the author of the famous history known as Tarikhi 
Jehangusha. He was born in 1226 A. D. and died in 1284 A. D. 
A reference to the proverb salami nistaJ betama' rust. This 
Ode was probably sent to the Chancellor in the hope of ex- 
tracting a present from him. 

The poet introduces in this line a favourite pun of his on the 
double meaning of safJnah = a ship, and a volume of poems. 


4. Why does not that heart-alluring [Beloved] show me Her 
face? I am willing to barter (a sight of Her face) for my 
life. How I wish She would show me Her face.! 

5. I am always saying that my sweet-heart has robbed me of 
- my heart (=broken my heart.) by the brand (=pain) of Her 

love, and the grief of separation.. Would that She had de- 
prived me of life! 

6. Perchance everyone does not hear my piteous cries. Would 
that She might listen to my bitter lamentations for one night! 

7. Sa'di swears in all sincerity, and says to his heart (=-to him- 
self), would that She had shown fidelity even once to Her 


— 172 — 

1. Is that a rose (I see), or an idol, or a moon, or can it be 
a face? Is that night (I behold) or jet, or musk, or can it 
be hair? 

2. I know Thy lips are (like) rubies, and that Thy body (resem- 
bles) silver, (but) I do not know whether Thy heart is stone 
or brass (= cruel). 

3. I do not think that a cypress, as stately as Thou art, grows 
on the streamlet's marge in the garden of Paradise. 

4. How sweet are those eloquent lips of Thine, the description 
of which baffles the poet! 

5. We cry out in wonder at the perfume (that is exhaled, say- 
ing), O breeze! whence did you waft such fragrance? 

6. Ho! Thou lovely rosy-faced cup-bearer! wash off (=-destroy) 
my reason with the water of wine. 

7. O perverse Charmer, what a disturber of the city's peace 
Thou art! O Rose-petal, decked with Thy native beauty, 
what an ornament of the feast Thou art! 

8. O heart of mine! Since you have fallen on the polo-field 
of Love, you must of necessity become distracted like a ball. 


9. O my heart! if you are in love, then burn (=suff er pain), and 
endure. O my body! if you are a seeker (of the Beloved) ask 
your way, and speed on (to your goal). 

10. (The Beloved said) "in this path (of Love) give up your life, 
or abandon (all thoughts of) me: lay down your head(=-die) 

' at this door (of mine), or seek another than me'\ 

11. My ill-wishers reproach me saying, ''how long will you'i 
bear with your ill-natured Sweet-heart"? 

12. (But) it is impossible for Sa'di ever to give up his Be- 
loved; (so) O my enemy (=rival) ! give Her up yourself, if 
you so desire. 

— 173 — 

1. Noone (else) will gain access to my heart, as long as Thou 
occupiest my thoughts: Thou dost not pitch Thy tent outside 
(= leave) my inmost heart for a single instant. 

2. Thou mayest tear up the tree of Love by the roots, but the 
love-plant of the troth, which 1 plighted to Thee, will (never- 
theless) grow ever more fresh and flourishing. 1. 

3. If Thou drivest me from Thy door, noone will count me of 
any worth; but I should be acceptable to both worlds, if Thou 
wouldst receive me. 

4. It would be a pity if a person of surpassing beauty like Thee 
were to break the pledge of fidelity to Her lovers without 
any cause for resentment. 

5. My patience can no longer bear the burden of Thy love. How 
can a grain, and a hundred man weight, keep level (in the 
scales) ? 

1. The mandrake root {jiiandr agora autumnalis) is supposed 
to stimulate the passion of Love. Sa'di means that he will 
love the Beloved more and more even if She has no love for 


6. I avoided all else until I gained peace with Thee. Whatever 
is sundered by Thee can never be joined together again. 2. 

7. O heart! if separation from Her, and the passion Her love 
inspires, make no impression on you, you are not a heart (at 
all), but a piece of iron. 

8. It is even Thy door that I have approached for redress against 
Thyself; for Thou art both defendant and judge. There is no 
resource for the foot-bound (captive) but submission. 

9. What does it matter O Sa'di! whether you complain or not; 
for what does the expert archer care if your armour is thin? 3 

— 174 — 

1. If I should even lose a head(=-life) at every step I take on 
my way to see Thee, I am not able to leave Thy door for any 
other. — 

2. In order that my love for Thee may undergo no change in 
my heart, I do not (even) turn my eyes on(=-regard) myself, 
much less anyone else. 1. 

3. There is indeed no Azur in existence (now), and if there 
were, he would not be able till Dooms-day (=ever) to fashion 
an idol as beautiful as Thee, who hast a face of rare loveli- 
ness. 2. 

2. Literally = "naught that Thou hast scattered can ever again be 
collected". The poet means that the Mystic, whom God has 
once divorced from wordly interests, will never return to 
them again. 

3. Sakht kainan (literally = strong-bow) is an epithet of the 

1. Ta here ="let us see", a frequent idiom in the Odes. Ja 
chih rasad hadJgare literally means "let us see what happens 
to another". 

2. Azur, the father of Abraham, and son in law of Nimrod, was 
reputed to be a skilled carver of idols. 


4. I have never seen in any country a moving cypress (=grace- 
ful figure) save Thee. I have never heard of a moon being 
born to any parents (but Thee). 

5. If a star like Thee were to appear on the horizon, the Sun 
would hide its face with a veil from the sight of it. 3. 

6. 'Thine ears and neck need neither gold nor silver, nor jewels, 
nor (the tinctures of) antimony and indigo, nor the perfumes 
of 'ablr and ambergris, (to enhance their beauty and fragrance. 

7. The strength of a rank-breaking warrior would be powerless 
in fighting, if Thou wert to attack an army with this revela- 
tion (of Thy beauty), 

8. Thou hast closed the door of my straitened (=sorrow-stricken) 
heart to (other) people, so that 1 might not direct a side-long 
glance of the eye, or turn my attention, to anyone (else but 

9. Although Thou art the best, and I the least of all mankind, 
(still) it beseems a noble to cast a glance at a menial. 

10. O Sa'di! do not fear if your life is forfeited as a sacrifice (to 
the Beloved) ; for whoever attains to greatness gives up 
trifles. 4. 

— 175 — 

1. Who will help the thirsty soul with water? O kind-hearted 
folk! pray do a meritorious deed (and come to my aid.) 

2. I am in hope of a reply from Thy lips, whether it be sweet 
or bitter. 

3. i.e. the Sun, not being able to compete with the star in bril- 
liancy, would be ashamed to look at it, or, in other words, 
would become eclipsed. 

4. Sa'di regards his present life(=-selfhood) as a trifle, which 
he must lose to gain the greater glory of eternal life in God. 


3. Thou forsooth dost not come near me, but if Thou didst, 
Thou wouldst resemble a treasure in a ruin. 1. 

4. By Thine eyes I swear that if Thou shouldst send me poison, 
I would quaff it just as if it were the sweetest wine. 

5. (Even) if there were a cypress (endowed) with Thy (grace- 
ful) figure it would not have a Sun (=Thy fair face) to crown 

6. The fairy-faced (Beloved) would not be hidden from my 
sight even though She were to veil herself a hundred times.2 

7. I long for a spell of sleep night and day, so that I might 
behold Thy face for a while (in a dream). 

8. I am in hopes that if the thirsty wretch does not die, the 
water, which has flowed away, will return again into its 
old channel. 3. 

9. O ant! you only court your own destruction by measur- 
ing your strength with an eagle. 

10. I know that one night at break of dawn a voice readied my 
ears in the prison of separation (saying), 

11. "O Sa'di! as you have endured our separation, you will not 
suffer torment in Hell". 


1. Whether Thou dost comfort, or torment me. Thou dost (only) 
increase love on love in my heart. 

2. I will not turn away from Thee, as a stranger might, (=become 
estranged from Thee) by reason of Thy sword; for our ac- 
quaintance dates from a long time back (=-from long ago). 

1. Treasure is often found in ruins, and Sa'di refers to the Be- 
loved as a treasure in his broken heart. 

2. A reference to the superstition atout fairies veiling their 
faces when they are luring mortals to destruction. The poet 
means that his spiritual vision would pierce the veil of phe- 
nomena that hides the Divine Beauty. 

3. i.e. he hopes their old relations of intimate communion will 
be resumed. 


3. All birds desire a release from their captivity, but I do not 
wish to escape from Thy bonds. . 

4. I am able to endure with patience the severest torment except 

5. If strangers bestow dresses of honour (let them do so) : I 
still prefer to beg from my friends. 

6. O my life (= Darling) ! I am one, whose life is at the last 
gasp through desire. Give me a kiss as the price of it, if Thou 
hast one (to spare). 1. 

7. Some people find fault with us, and say we cannot discrimi- 
nate between spiritual and material (Love) ; 

8. (So) let all ascetics know that Sa'di has repented of ascetic- 
ism. 2. 

0. I do not dread wine, the harp, flute, and the wooden gong, 
as much as I do false piety. 3. 

— 177 — 

1. Lay aside arrogance, if Thou art the Beloved of the Mystics: 
a good natured devil is preferable to a frowning Huri. 

1. Manam wa jane bar lab, is a peculiar Persian idiom, which 
literally means ''I am and a life at the lips" - here I am with 
my life at the last gasp. 

2. By parsaT is meant the canting hypocrisy of so called pietists, 
with whom the letter of the Law is of much greater im- 
portance than the spirit, 

3. The same idea is further developed in this line. Wine (=the 
v^ine of Divine Love), music, (=the Mystic dance), and Christ- 
ian Church bells(=purification from self in the esoteric sense), 
are of much greater value to the Sufi than the false piety 
of hypocrites (=zuhdi riyaJ). The naqus was a wooden gong 
used by Christians in Muhammadan countries instead of 
Church bells. 

13 193 

2. I long for a moment's companionship with Thee in the gar- 
den, or in any other secluded nook, as Thou art a garden 

3. Associate pleasantly for a moment with me, who am the 
victim of separation, so that I may perhaps be revived by that 
spiritual breafh of Thine. 1. 

4. If Thou wert to wander through the Universe, Thou wouldst 
see no face resembling Thine own save (in) Thy mirror. 

5. It is said that no C3''cle has passed without some calamity, 
(and so) perhaps Thou art the bane of the present Age on ac- 
count of Thy beauty. 

6. If Thou drivest me from Thy presence, and I audaciously 
decline to go, forgive me; for it is due to my helplessness, 
and not to my disobedience. 

7. I have a granary (= store) of those charming phrases which 

expound Thy love; but 1 am afraid Thou wouldst not regard 
them as worth a grain. 2. 

8. O Thou, whose heart has not been perturbed for a single 
day! How couldst Thou understand the plight of those, 
whose hearts are ill at ease? 

9. 1 cannot do without Thee, nor is it possible for me to escape 
from Thy toils. My only resource is patience, O Thou, who 
art (at once) my pain and its anodyne. 

10. Show kindness to Thy servants and associate with us even 
for a while. The fire (of my Love) is not one that can be ex- 
tinguished by a breath. 3. 

11. Thou mayest not return through Sa'di's door again, but Thou 
canst not leave his thoughts. 

1. A reference to the dami Isa, the healing breath by which 
Jesus resuscitated the dead. The play on the double meaning 
of nafas may be noticed. 

2. Literally = ''Thou wouldst not take them in exchange for a 

3. The only point of this line is the pun on the double meaning 
of dame. 


12. Listen to the speech of live-hearted {=enlightened) Mystics 
from (the lips of) Thine own victim, (who says) ''How can 
my heart fail to be alive (=illumined) when Thou art its 
vital spirit"? 


— 178 — 

1. If a heart-3i:k (lover) should pass a moment in Thy company 
how would he differ from a fly in a sugar basin? 

2. O Thou, who dost not deal justly with the hearts of Thine 
afflicted (lovers) ! Surely it is not right for Thee to show 
such a (lovely) face to anyone. 

3. Some day I shall fall at Thy feet, and if I lose my life, (it 
does not matter, for) many better than I have died in their 
desire for this consummation. 

4. One cannot (even) in exchange for the world (=material plea- 
sures) withold his hand from the Beloved's skirt (=forsake 
the Beloved) : it would be a pity for you to barter a skirt 
(full) of jewels for a straw (=rubbish). 

5. Until today my poetry lacked this note of pathos, for I was 
not (then) caught in the snare of Desire. 

6. It was like the singing of a nightingale, which sounds sweet 
in the garden, but lacks the piteous appeal it has in a cage. 

7. O Sa'di! if the pen did not catch fire from your heart, why 
pray, is smoke always issuing from its head? 1. 


— 179 — 

1. Noone possesses aught of the grace that Thou hast, Oboy! 
But Thou dost grievously torture the wounded hearts of Thy 
lovers. 1. 

1. Here dud (WieraWy -= ink) has the secondary signification of 
smoke, or sighs. 

1. Literally =''Thou dost keep well salted", which sounds ab- 
surd to English ears. 

13* 195 

2. It is not I alone that have fallen a victim to the noose of 
Thy Love. Everyone loves Thee, but for whom dost Thou 

3. O Thou angel and moon! O Thou effigy and idol! O Thou 
image and statue ! I am bewildered and know not what name 
Thou bearest (=what to call Thee) ! 2. 

4. Cast but one glance at an army; for it is a thousand timse 
more effective for the purpose of fighting than the Indian 
blade Thou hast in Thy scabbard. 

5. Thy soft delicate body possesses the attributes of marble; 

(but) Thou hast a heart too with it that is not less hard than 

6. All eyes are turned in Thy direction to look at the beauty of 
Thy face, while I am that poor abject bird of Thine, which 
Thou keepest entrapped in Thy snare. 

7. What repugnance didst Thou feel (towards us) that Thou 
didst sever Thy connection (with us), unless it was that we 
are beggars, while Thou art a grandee? 

8. I am guilty of no fault but this that I am in love with, and 
enamoured, of Thee. For what other offence dost Thou pur- 
pose revenge against me? 

Q. I will not raise my eyes from Thee during all my life until 
I die; for my heart is Thine abiding place, and Thou dost 
purpose staying there. 

10. God forbid that people should make a complaint against 
Thee, and indeed there is none (they could make), save this 
that Thou dost not persevere in fidelity to Thy promise. 3. 

11. The elegant language of Sa'di is not language at all, but 
rather Egyption candy, (though) it feels abashed before the 
sweetness of Thy speech. 

2. I think the word must be buhar = an idol) with reference 
to the context, and not bihar (=orange flower). 

3. Hasha llllahi {=Ood forbid!) is an Arabic phrase, which liter- 
ally means "God is remote from any imperfection". Hasha = 
to exclude or except. 


— 180 — 

1. I am ardently in love with Thee in spite of all Thy cruelty 
and harshness: Thou art my well beloved notwithstanding 
all my short comings and faults. 

2. What forsooth am I worth that 1 should cultivate Thy love? 
Who (indeed) dares to mention a beggar's name in the Royal 

3. Mystics do not approve of people boasting of their love, and 
then throwing down the shield on account of the arrows 
(=assaults) of misfortune. 1. 

4. He, who embarks on the quest of Thy Union, must not regard 
his life as of any value. 

5. Thy tyranny is justice, and Thy cruelty kindness. Thy curses 
are more pleasing than the blessings of strangers. 2. 

6. Every pact that I have made is (nothing but the outcome of) 
lust and desire ( = wordly desires), except the covenant of 
love for Thee, which is indissoluble. 

7. If I should be fortunate enough to la}- my head at the feet 
of Thy steed in payment for exemption from plunder, 3. 

8. It would be fitting if this inscription were written in blood 
on my tomb-stone ''Here lies one, who was faithful to the 
the end to his Beloved". 

9. How long can anguish remain concealed in the heart of the 
afflicted (lover) ? There is no doubt that this secret pain will 
find an outlet somewhere. 

10. O Sa'di! good breeding demands that you should put up 
with your (love) pain, and not solicit a cure for it at the doors 
of (other) people. 

1. By sipar andakhtan (="throwing up the sponge") is here 
meant ''giving up the Love quest". 

2. "True spirituality seeks in God the bitter more than the 
agreeable, and prefers suffering to solace". (Juan de la Cruz 
as quoted bv Nicholson in his Divani Shamsi Tabriz Ode 

3. Na'lbaha was a sum of money paid to an invading army to 
escape plunder and devastation. 


— 181 — 

1. I have a heart that is captivated by the love of a Mistress, 
(who is) a jasmine bosomed, rosy cheeked, cruel, sweetheart. 

2. She is a mischievious tyrant, a heart-disturbing source of 
trouble, a wonderful trickster, and a rare vaimpire! 

3. (She has) raven-dark tressses, a bosom like the wild rose, 
and the fragrance of jasmine, so that the moon has no market 
(=is despised) in the presence of Her beauty. 

4. She is gifted with the dignity of the Phoenix, the beauty of 
the peacock, and the eloquence of the parrot: She is as splen- 
did as the Dawn, and as graceful in gait as the pheasant. 

5. She robbed me of my heart wdth Her enchanting glances, 
and departed; (so) now without Her I am left like a picture 
on the wall (=lifeless). 

6. Since I could not hope for an embrace as a result of Her 
Union, I stood aside, and was content just to look at Her. 

7. One can do without every thing else, but the Beloved is 
indispensable. What resource can be adopted by the heart 
that is a captive in Her snare?? 

8. I lament through desire for Her beauty, just like the 
nightingale, which lives in (=haunts) the Rose-garden. 

Q. Since Sa'di's words (expressive of) Her praise are vain, 
he has kept silent; for he cannot express himself suitably. 

— 182 — 

1. I know not what Thou requirest of me, broken hearted that 
I am ; Thou hast stolen my heart with Thine amorous glances. 
What else dost Thou w^ant (from me) ? 

2. If Thou wert to take pity on Thy heart broken (lovers), 
' what more miserable lot canst Thou find than mine? 

3. My life has been vainly spent in thoughts of Thy love: Thy 
cruelty has passed all bounds. O dear boy! what is it that 
that Thou dost require of me? 


4. I have heard that Thou desirest a poem from Thy slave (=me); 
but Thou art a mine of honey and sweetmeats Thyself, (so) 
wh}' dost Thou ask sugar of me? 

5. In (all) my life I stole but one glance at Thy fair face. What 
penalty dost Thou now wish to inflict on me for that one 

6. My head and eyes are at Thy disposal to do with them what- 
ever Thou dost choose. (So do) with my eyes whatever Thou 
thinkest right, and with my head whatever Thou dost desire. 

7. Sa'di grudges Thee naught of any thing that exists. He does 
whatever Thou savest. What else dost Thou want? 

—183 — 

1. I never heard that the moon placed a cap on its head (as Thou 
dost), or that a cypresss walked on the road with its youth- 
ful companions (like Thee). 

2. The moon does not rise every day through the collar of the 
tall cypress of the garden in spite of all its grace. 1. 

3. If I do not expatiate on the beauty of Thy figure, (what 
does it matter, for) Thine own stature testifies to it more 
truthfully (than any thing I might say). 

4. I wish that some day Thou wouldst sit (in audience), as 
kings do, to listen to complaints and appeals for redress from 
every quarter. 

5. What need is there for Thee to go forth with an army to war 
with the enemy; (for) Thou Thyself wouldst throw their 
soldiers into confusion with Thine eyes and eye brows. 2. 

6. A host of suppliants are standing in Thy path (waiting to 
see) if Thou wouldst in Thy mercy cast a single glance at 
Thy victims. 

1. This is an Oriental way of saying that the Beloved's lovely 
face crowns Her graceful figure. 

2. By ''eyes and eye brows" are meant arrows and bows. 


7. Dont be so sure that Thy face is (like) a bright mirror! How 
long will it remain so with sighs (coming) from every quar- 
ter (to dim it)? 

8. O Moon with the stature of a cypress ! enquire now and 
then about the welfare of Thine underlings (=inferiors), as 
a thank-offering for Thine own health. 

9. What fault, pray, hast Thou seen in me that Thou hast treat- 
ed me as an enemy? I do not admit any short-coming on 
my own part, save my love (for Thee). 

10. A lion in this affaire du coeur is of less consequence than 
an ant: a mountain in this balance is of less weight than 
a blade of grass. 3. 

11. I fear that I shall have perished before Thou dost return, 
and that, through the thirst (engendered by Thy love), Thou 
wilt not see even a blade of grass on my tomb. 

1 2. O Sa'di ! submit to whatever (fate) befalls you, for it is 
proper to do so. To whom can you appeal for redress against 
a king? 

— 184 — 

1. I heave deep sighs in the expectation of meeting someone 
(=the Beloved), who has not given me a moment's thought 
for years. 

2. She never looks on my face (=atme) with the eyes of pity: 
She has punnished me severely with the hand of cruelty 
and oppression. 

3. She has robbed me of my heart, and given my life no quar- 
ter. Does anyone in your city treat a person so anywhere? 

4. In every thing I look at I see nothing but Her face. Who 
has ever found in all the world a passion like this? 1. 

3. Sa'di means that in the matter of his Love-quest no dangers, 

or trials, are too difficult to face. 
1. There is a reference here to the Pantheism of the Sufis, who 


5. What difference is there between a black (=fierce) lion and 
an ant, (when they fall) under the power of Love? How 
does a white falcon differ from a fly (when they are caught) 
in the snare of separation? 

6. Be not surprised at my pale face and bitter lamentations; 
. for a mountain would become (like) a straw, if it endured 

the torment of weeds. 2. 

7. Sa'di has laid his head on the threshold of Thine image, 
the sleeve of Thy Union being beyond the reach of his hand. 3 

— 185 — 

1. I can never get over the effects of my intoxication, because 
I was as yet non-existent, when Thou didst occupy my heart, 1 

2. Thou canst not be likened to the Sun, which has its limita- 
tions of rising and setting. Others come and go, but Thou 
art always the same. 

held that "an Omnipresent, infinite, unseen. Power underlay 
all the phenomena of the Universe" (Whinfield's Gulshani 
raz pp. viii). 

2. The puzzling line seems to mean that a mountain when over- 
grown with weeds becomes pale in colour like straw, and 
makes plaintive lament like a straw-pipe. 

3. Bar astani khayalat sar nlhadan means to cherish Her image 
in his heart. 

1. A reference to the pre-existence of the soul, which was the 
first thing created. Cf. Nicholson's Shamsi Tabriz Odexvii— 1 
Man an niz bildam ki asma nabud 
Nishan az wujudT musamma nabud 
And again in another Ode of the same; 
PJsh az an kandar jehan bagli o raz o angur bud. 
Az sharabi la yazalJ jam ma makhmur bud. 
By masti is meant the intoxication produced by the wine 
of Divine Love. 


3. What complaint did I not contemplate making about Thy 
separation, when Thou didst unveil Thy face, and stopped 
the case. 2. 

4. Cast but one glance at Thy lovers; for this would be a 
thousand times better than writing them a greeting, and send- 
ing a present. 

5. O Beloved! place the salve of Union on our anguished 
hearts, w'hich are in Thy toils, for Thou hast wounded them 
by hopes deferred. 

6. It is no wonder that Thou breakest Thine enemy's centre on 
the day of battle ; for Thou hast broken Thy lover's hearts by 
separation. 3. 

7. Be off, O learned jurist! For God's sake spare us! Stick to 
your asceticism and abstinence, and we will keep to our 
love-making and drunkeness. 4. 

8. The man of sense should surrender his heart to a heart-ra- 
vishing (Mistress) ; for it is better that She should be like 
a worship-point to you, than that you should worship self, 

9. Since the control of Fortune and Felicity are not in the hands 
of effort, what can people do, but be helpless and humble 
(=resigned to the inevitable)? 

10. It is not your way, O Sa'di! to complain of the separation 
of friends, and the cruelty of Sweethearts. (So) be content 
with the lot, however small, (allotted you by God), and you 
will be free (from your troubles). 5. 

2. i.e. I was about to lodge manifold complaints about the 
injustice of Thy separation, a metaphor taken from the Law 

3. It is impossible to render in English the clever pun on the 
double meaning of qalb. 

4. Sa'di is here contrasting the canting pietist with the spirit^ 
ually free Mystic, who is too absorbed in the rapture of 
Divine Love to pay any regard to religious conventions. 

5. Kami khwJsh gir is an obscure phrase, which seems to mean 
*'be content with the lot that God assigned you, however 
exiguous it may be". This line, like the preceding one, prea- 
ches the doctrine of predestination. 


— 186 — 

1. I ne\"er felt envious of rank or wealth, but only of him, who 
attains Union with his Sweet-heart. 

2. Do you know what kind of felicity it is that beggars des- 
' cription? It is (that of) the eye that opens every moment 

on (Her) beauty. 

3. Happy is he, through whose door the Beloved enters; (for) 
She would be like the sustenance of those fortune-favoured 
people, which is acquired without the trouble of begging. 1 

4. They (=the lover and the Beloved) are just like two almond 
kernels in one shell, associating together in close intimacy, 
and weary of (the society of) others. 

5. Are you aware who the ignorant boor, is who laughs at our 
(distracted) condition? It is he who can never have in all 
his life experienced the state of ecstasy. 2. 

6. After the Beloved's (departure) nothing passed before me 
(=my mind's eye) but Her image, and it left nothing of my 
weak body but a phantom. 3. 

7. You might (indeed) say that a year of Union with Her was 
like (= passed as swiftly as) a day, while now in waiting 
(for Her coming) a day seems as long as a year. 

1. He means that the Beloved's appearance was an unexpected 

2. Hal is a state of temporary exaltation induced by the con- 
templation of the Divine beauty. 

3. Sa'di means that his mind has been wholly engrossed by 
thoughts of the Beloved since Her departure, and these have 
been so sad that his body has wasted away till it looks like 
a wraith. 1 prefer the reading khayal (=phantom) in the 
second hemistich to the ordinary variant khilal (=toothpick), 
because it is more appropriate, and moreover introduces a 


8. Time has a new moon once a month, whereas that heart- 
ravishing Moon (=Beloved) of mine wears a crescent every 
night. 4. 

9. The Mystic can only become absorbed in contemplation in 
the company of such a companion (as the Beloved), and 
Sa'di can only sing his love-odes in honour of such an (att- 
ractive) Sweet-heart (as She is'). 

4. A reference to the Beloved's eyebrows, which resemble the 
crescent moon. 













List of Publications & Books 
for Sale 

Safarnameh — by Hakim Nasir Khusro, an account of 
his Journey from Khurasan to Mecca 437 — 444 A. H., 
incl. his Sa'adatnameh and Roshnainameh; with Preface 
and Index by M. Ghani Zadeh; 144pp. 
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year 453 A. H., in Yamghan; a philosophic treatise; com- 
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Sarguzashti Ashraf Khan, Hakimi Arabistan; — Tariqai 
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Dasturi Tar — by Colonel Ali Naqi Kkan Waziri; a book 
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Rahnumai Pisaran — by Mirza Mahmud Khan Bushehri. 
German-Persian pocket Dictionary — containing the words 
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The Quatrains of Omar Khayyam, — Persian Text, re- 
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Armughani Iran. By the same author. 
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The Quran (Pocket edition) Photographed from the 
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Dosldarani Bashar Vol. II. (the Friends of mankind) 
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Hazar-o-yak Sukhan (Idioms of modren Persia) by 
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Tazkerahi Shah Tehmasib (Autobiography of Shah 
Tehmasib). Printed and compared with the MSS of 
Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. 

Chemistry, by Dr. Hashem Khan. A useful handbook 
for Secandory schools. 

Essays on Hygiene by the same author in simple 
Persian for the benefit of Persian families. 
Tehran Makhuf Vol. II. (A Persian Novel) edited by 
Murtaza Khan Mushfiq Kazemi. The third volume 
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