Excerpt from “Khosrow and Shirin” by Nizami Ganjavi (Jamal ad-Dīn Abū Muḥammad Ilyās ibn-Yūsuf ibn-Zakkī)

When Farhad heard this message, with a groan
From the rock-gulley fell he like a stone.
So deep a sigh he heaved that thou wouldst say
A spear had cleft unto his heart its way.
‘Alas, my labour!’ — thus his bitter cry —
‘My guerdon still unwon, in grief I die!
Alas the wasted labour of my youth!
Alas the hope which vain hath proved in truth!
I tunnelled mountain-walls: behold my prize!
My labour’s wasted: here the hardship lies!
I, like a fool, red rubies coveted;
Lo, worthless pebbles fill my hands instead!
What fire is this that thus doth me consume?
What flood is this which hurls me to my doom?
The world is void of sun and moon for me:
My garden lacks its box- and willow-tree.
For the last time my beacon-light hath shone;
Not Shirin, but the sun from me is gone!
The cruel sphere pities no much-tried wight;
On no poor luckless wretch doth grace alight!
Alas for such a sun and such a moon,
Which black eclipse hath swallowed all too soon!
Before the wolf may pass a hundred sheep,
But on the poor man’s lamb ’tis sure to leap.
O’er my sad heart the fowls and fishes weep;
For my life’s stream doth into darkness creep.
Why am I parted from my mistress dear?
Now Shirin’s gone, why should I tarry here?
Without her face should I desire to thrive
‘Twould serve me right if I were boned alive! . . .
Felled to the dust, my cypress quick lies dead:
Shall I remain to cast dust on my head?
My smiling rose is fallen from the tree:
The garden is a prison now to me.
My bird of spring is from the meadow flown,
I, like the thunder-cloud, will weep and groan.
My world-enkindling lamp is quenched for aye:
Shall not my day be turned to night to-day?
My lamp is out, and chilly strikes the gale:
My moon is darkened and my sun is pale.
Beyond Death’s portals Shirin shall I greet,
So with one leap I hasten Death to meet!’
Thus to the world his mournful tale he cried,
For Shirin kissed the ground, and kissing died.

From: Browne, Edward G., A Literary History of Persia, From Firdawsi to Sa’di, Volume 2, 1906, T. Fisher Unwin: London, pp. 405-406.

Date: 1177-1180 (original in Persian); 1906 (translation in English)

By: Nizami Ganjavi (Jamal ad-Dīn Abū Muḥammad Ilyās ibn-Yūsuf ibn-Zakkī) (1141-1209)

Translated by: Edward Granville Browne (1862-1926)

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