The Garden of Heaven: Poems of Hafiz

The Garden of Heaven: Poems of Hafiz

by Hafiz

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The Garden of Heaven: Poems of Hafiz by Hafiz

"Hafiz has no peer." — Goethe
Poetry is the greatest literary form of ancient Persia and modern Iran, and the fourteenth-century poet known as Hafiz is its preeminent master. Little is known about the poet's life, and there are more legends than facts relating to the particulars of his existence. This mythic quality is entirely appropriate for the man known as "The Interpreter of Mysteries" and "The Tongue of the Hidden," whose verse is regarded as oracular by those seeking guidance and attempting to realize wishes.
A mere fraction of what is presumed to have been an extensive body of work survives. This collection is derived from Hafiz's Divan (collected poems), a classic of Sufism. The short poems, called ghazals, are sonnet-like arrangements of varied numbers of couplets. In the tradition of Persian poetry and Sufi philosophy, each poem corresponds to two interpretations, sensual and mystic.
This outstanding translation of Hafiz's poetry was created by historian and Arabic scholar Gertrude Bell, who observed, "These are the utterances of a great poet, the imaginative interpreter of the heart of man; they are not of one age, or of another, but for all time."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486111599
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 02/02/2012
Series: Dover Thrift Editions
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 112
File size: 669 KB
Age Range: 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Garden of Heaven

Poems of Hafiz

By Hafiz, Gertrude Bell

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2003 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11159-9




    Arise, oh Cup-bearer, rise! and bring
    To lips that are thirsting the bowl they praise,
    For it seemed that love was an easy thing,
    But my feet have fallen on difficult ways.
    I have prayed the wind o'er my heart to fling
    The fragrance of musk in her hair that sleeps—
    In the night of her hair—yet no fragrance stays
    The tears of my heart's blood my sad heart weeps.

    Hear the Tavern-keeper who counsels you:
    "With wine, with red wine your prayer carpet dye!"
    There was never a traveller like him but knew
    The ways of the road and the hostelry.
    Where shall I rest, when the still night through,
    Beyond thy gateway, oh Heart of my heart,
    The bells of the camels lament and cry:
    "Bind up thy burden again and depart!"

    The waves run high, night is clouded with fears,
    And eddying whirlpools clash and roar;
    How shall my drowning voice strike their ears
    Whose light-freighted vessels have reached the shore?
    I sought mine own; the unsparing years
    Have brought me mine own, a dishonoured name.
    What cloak shall cover my misery o'er
    When each jesting mouth has rehearsed my shame!

    Oh Hafiz, seeking an end to strife,
    Hold fast in thy mind what the wise have writ:
    "If at last thou attain the desire of thy life,
    Cast the world aside, yea, abandon it!"


    The bird of gardens sang unto the rose,
    New blown in the clear dawn: "Bow down thy head!
    As fair as thou within this garden close,
    Many have bloomed and died." She laughed and said:
    "That I am born to fade grieves not my heart;
    But never was it a true lover's part
    To vex with bitter words his love's repose."

    The tavern step shall be thy hostelry,
    For Love's diviner breath comes but to those
    That suppliant on the dusty threshold lie.
    And thou, if thou would'st drink the wine that flows
    From Life's bejewelled goblet, ruby red,
    Upon thine eyelashes thine eyes shall thread
    A thousand tears for this temerity.

    Last night when Irem's magic garden slept,
    Stirring the hyacinth's purple tresses curled,
    The wind of morning through the alleys stept.
    "Where is thy cup, the mirror of the world?
    Ah, where is Love, thou Throne of Djem?" I cried.
    The breezes knew not; but "Alas," they sighed,
    "That happiness should sleep so long!" and wept.

    Not on the lips of men Love's secret lies,
    Remote and unrevealed his dwelling-place.
    Oh Saki, come! the idle laughter dies
    When thou the feast with heavenly wine dost grace.
    Patience and wisdom, Hafiz, in a sea
    Of thine own tears are drowned; thy misery
    They could not still nor hide from curious eyes.


    Wind from the east, oh Lapwing of the day,
    I send thee to my Lady, though the way
    Is far to Saba, where I bid thee fly;
    Lest in the dust thy tameless wings should lie,
    Broken with grief, I send thee to thy nest,

    Or far or near there is no halting-place
    Upon Love's road—absent, I see thy face,
    And in thine ear my wind-blown greetings sound,
    North winds and east waft them where they are bound,
    Each morn and eve convoys of greeting fair
    I send to thee.

    Unto mine eyes a stranger, thou that art
    A comrade ever-present to my heart,
    What whispered prayers and what full meed of praise
    I send to thee.

    Lest Sorrow's army waste thy heart's domain,
    I send my life to bring thee peace again,
    Dear life thy ransom! From thy singers learn
    How one that longs for thee may weep and burn;
    Sonnets and broken words, sweet notes and songs
    I send to thee.

    Give me the cup! a voice rings in mine ears
    Crying: "Bear patiently the bitter years!
    For all thine ills, I send thee heavenly grace.
    God the Creator mirrored in thy face
    Thine eyes shall see, God's image in the glass
    I send to thee.

    "Hafiz, thy praise alone my comrades sing;
    Hasten to us, thou that art sorrowing!
    A robe of honour and a harnessed steed
    I send to thee."


    Sleep on thine eyes, bright as narcissus flowers,
    Falls not in vain!
    And not in vain thy hair's soft radiance showers—
    Ah, not in vain!

    Before the milk upon thy lips was dry,
    I said: "Lips where the salt of wit doth lie,
    Sweets shall be mingled with thy mockery,
    And not in vain!"

    Thy mouth the fountain where Life's waters flow,
    A dimpled well of tears is set below,
    And death lies near to life thy lovers know,
    But know in vain!

    God send to thee great length of happy days!
    Lo, not for his own life thy servant prays;
    Love's dart in thy bent brows the Archer lays,
    Nor shoots in vain.

    Art thou with grief afflicted, with the smart
    Of absence, and is bitter toil thy part?
    Thy lamentations and thy tears, oh Heart,
    Are not in vain!

    Last night the wind from out her village blew,
    And wandered all the garden alleys through,
    Oh rose, tearing thy bosom's robe in two;
    'Twas not in vain!

    And Hafiz, though thy heart within thee dies,
    Hiding love's agony from curious eyes,
    Ah, not in vain thy tears, not vain thy sighs,
    Not all in vain!


    Oh Turkish maid of Shiraz! in thy hand
    If thou'lt take my heart, for the mole on thy cheek
    I would barter Bokhara and Samarkand.
    Bring, Cup-bearer, all that is left of thy wine!
    In the Garden of Paradise vainly thou'lt seek
    The lip of the fountain of Ruknabad,
    And the bowers of Mosalla where roses twine.

    They have filled the city with blood and broil,
    Those soft-voiced Lulis for whom we sigh;
    As Turkish robbers fall on the spoil,
    They have robbed and plundered the peace of my heart.
    Dowered is my mistress, a beggar am I;
    What shall I bring her? a beautiful face
    Needs nor jewel nor mole nor the tiring-maid's art.

    Brave tales of singers and wine relate,
    The key to the Hidden 'twere vain to seek;
    No wisdom of ours has unlocked that gate,
    And locked to our wisdom it still shall be.
    But of Joseph's beauty the lute shall speak;
    And the minstrel knows that Zuleika came forth,
    Love parting the curtains of modesty.

    When thou spokest ill of thy servant 'twas well—
    God pardon thee! for thy words were sweet;
    Not unwelcomed the bitterest answer fell
    From lips where the ruby and sugar lay.
    But, fair Love, let good counsel direct thy feet;
    Far dearer to youth than dear life itself
    Are the warnings of one grown wise—and grey!

    The song is sung and the pearl is strung;
    Come hither, oh Hafiz, and sing again!
    And the listening Heavens above thee hung
    Shall loose o'er thy verse the Pleiades' chain.


    A flower-tinted cheek, the flowery close
    Of the fair earth, these are enough for me—
    Enough that in the meadow wanes and grows
    The shadow of a graceful cypress-tree.
    I am no lover of hypocrisy;
    Of all the treasures that the earth can boast,
    A brimming cup of wine I prize the most—
    This is enough for me!

    To them that here renowned for virtue live,
    A heavenly palace is the meet reward;
    To me, the drunkard and the beggar, give
    The temple of the grape with red wine stored!
    Beside a river seat thee on the sward;
    It floweth past—so flows thy life away,
    So sweetly, swiftly, fleets our little day—
    Swift, but enough for me!

    Look upon all the gold in the world's mart,
    On all the tears the world hath shed in vain;
    Shall they not satisfy thy craving heart?
    I have enough of loss, enough of gain;
    I have my Love, what more can I obtain?
    Mine is the joy of her companionship
    Whose healing lip is laid upon my lip—
    This is enough for me!

    I pray thee send not forth my naked soul
    From its poor house to seek for Paradise;
    Though heaven and earth before me God unroll,
    Back to thy village still my spirit flies.
    And, Hafiz, at the door of Kismet lies
    No just complaint—a mind like water clear,
    A song that swells and dies upon the ear,
    These are enough for thee!


    From the garden of Heaven a western breeze
    Blows through the leaves of my garden of earth;
    With a love like a huri I'ld take mine ease,
    And wine! bring me wine, the giver of mirth!
    To-day the beggar may boast him a king,
    His banqueting-hall is the ripening field,
    And his tent the shadow that soft clouds fling.

    A tale of April the meadows unfold—
    Ah, foolish for future credit to slave,
    And to leave the cash of the present untold!
    Build a fort with wine where thy heart may brave
    The assault of the world; when thy fortress falls,
    The relentless victor shall knead from thy dust
    The bricks that repair its crumbling walls.

    Trust not the word of that foe in the fight!
    Shall the lamp of the synagogue lend its flame
    To set thy monastic torches alight?
    Drunken am I, yet place not my name
    In the Book of Doom, nor pass judgment on it;
    Who knows what the secret finger of Fate
    Upon his own white forehead has writ!

    And when the spirit of Hafiz has fled,
    Follow his bier with a tribute of sighs;
    Though the ocean of sin has closed o'er his head,
    He may find a place in God's Paradise.


    The rose has flushed red, the bud has burst,
    And drunk with joy is the nightingale—
    Hail, Sufiis! lovers of wine, all hail!
    For wine is proclaimed to a world athirst.
    Like a rock your repentance seemed to you;
    Behold the marvel! of what avail
    Was your rock, for a goblet has cleft it in two!

    Bring wine for the king and the slave at the gate!
    Alike for all is the banquet spread,
    And drunk and sober are warmed and fed.
    When the feast is done and the night grows late,
    And the second door of the tavern gapes wide,
    The low and the mighty must bow the head
    'Neath the archway of Life, to meet what ... outside?

    Except thy road through affliction pass,
    None may reach the halting-station of mirth;
    God's treaty: Am I not Lord of the earth?
    Man sealed with a sigh: Ah yes, alas!
    Nor with Is nor Is Not let thy mind contend;
    Rest assured all perfection of mortal birth
    In the great Is Not at the last shall end.

    For Assaf's pomp, and the steeds of the wind,
    And the speech of birds, down the wind have fled,
    And he that was lord of them all is dead;
    Of his mastery nothing remains behind.
    Shoot not thy feathered arrow astray!
    A bow-shot's length through the air it has sped,
    And then ... dropped down in the dusty way.

    But to thee, oh Hafiz, to thee, oh Tongue
    That speaks through the mouth of the slender reed,
    What thanks to thee when thy verses speed
    From lip to lip, and the song thou hast sung?


    Oh Cup-bearer, set my glass afire
    With the light of wine! oh minstrel, sing:
    The world fulfilleth my heart's desire!
    Reflected within the goblet's ring
    I see the glow of my Love's red cheek,
    And scant of wit, ye who fail to seek
    The pleasures that wine alone can bring!

    Let not the blandishments be checked
    That slender beauties lavish on me,
    Until in the grace of the cypress decked,
    My Love shall come like a ruddy pine-tree
    He cannot perish whose heart doth hold
    The life love breathes—though my days are told,
    In the Book of the World lives my constancy.

    But when the Day of Reckoning is here,
    I fancy little will be the gain
    That accrues to the Sheikh for his lawful cheer,
    Or to me for the draught forbidden I drain.
    The drunken eyes of my comrades shine,
    And I too, stretching my hand to the wine,
    On the neck of drunkenness loosen the rein.

    Oh wind, if thou passest the garden close
    Of my heart's dear master, carry for me
    The message I send to him, wind that blows!
    "Why hast thou thrust from thy memory
    My hapless name?" breathe low in his ear;
    "Knowest thou not that the day is near
    When nor thou nor any shall think on me?"

    If with tears, oh Hafiz, thine eyes are wet,
    Scatter them round thee like grain, and snare
    The Bird of Joy when it comes to thy net.
    As the tulip shrinks from the cold night air,
    So shrank my heart and quailed in the shade;
    Oh Song-bird Fortune, the toils are laid,
    When shall thy bright wings lie pinioned there?

    The heavens' green sea and the bark therein,
    The slender bark of the crescent moon,
    Are lost in thy bounty's radiant noon,
    Vizir and pilgrim, Kawameddin!


    Singer, sweet Singer, fresh notes strew,
    Fresh and afresh and new and new!
    Heart-gladdening wine thy lips imbrue,
    Fresh and afresh and new and new!

    Saki, thy radiant feet I hail;
    Flush with red wine the goblets pale,
    Flush our pale cheeks to drunken hue,
    Fresh and afresh and new and new!

    Then with thy love to toy with thee,
    Rest thee, ah, rest! where none can see;
    Seek thy delight, for kisses sue,
    Fresh and afresh and new and new!

    Here round thy life the vine is twined;
    Drink! for elsewhere what wine wilt find?
    Drink to her name, to hours that flew,
    Hours ever fresh and new and new!

    She that has stolen my heart from me,
    How does she wield her empery?
    Paints and adorns and scents her too,
    Fresh and afresh and new and new!

    Wind of the dawn that passest by,
    Swift to the street of my fairy hie,
    Whisper the tale of Hafiz true,
    Fresh and afresh and new and new!


    Mirth, Spring, to linger in a garden fair,
    What more has earth to give? All ye that wait,
    Where is the Cup-bearer, the flagon where?
    When pleasant hours slip from the hand of Fate,
    Reckon each hour as a certain gain;
    Who seeks to know the end of mortal care
    Shall question his experience in vain.

    Thy fettered life hangs on a single thread—
    Some comfort for thy present ills devise,
    But those that time may bring thou shalt not dread.
    Waters of Life and Irem's Paradise—
    What meaning do our dreams and pomp convey,
    Save that beside a mighty stream, wide-fed,
    We sit and sing of wine and go our way!

    The modest and the merry shall be seen
    To boast their kinship with a single voice;
    There are no differences to choose between,
    Thou art but flattering thy soul with choice!
    Who knows the Curtain's secret? ... Heaven is mute
    And yet with Him who holds the Curtain, e'en
    With Him, oh Braggart, thou would'st raise dispute!

    Although His thrall shall miss the road and err,
    'Tis but to teach him wisdom through distress,
    Else Pardon and Compassionate Mercy were
    But empty syllables and meaningless.
    The Zealot thirsts for draughts of Kausar's wine,
    And Hafiz doth an earthly cup prefer—
    But what, between the two, is God's design?


Excerpted from The Garden of Heaven by Hafiz, Gertrude Bell. Copyright © 2003 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Page,
Alphabetical List of First Lines,

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