Beauty is a waving tree,
Beauty is a flower,
Beauty is a grassy lea
& a shady bower,
Beauty is the verdant Spring
In our hearts awakening.
Beauty is a summer sun
Warming all the land,
Whose full bounty doth o’errun
More than our demand;
Spreadeth Beauty her kind feast
Lavishly for man & beast.
Autumn’s quiet hast thou too,
Beauty, who canst feed
Every craving, known or new
Of the spirit’s need,
Laying up a lasting store
Of ripe bliss for evermore.
O true Beauty, though joy’s vain
Seasons come & go,
Thou a refuge dost remain
From all wintry woe,
Thou art still the perfect clime
Where no transience is nor time.
All things born to break
In meek sacrifice
For another’s sake,
All man’s striving vain,
Lavish’d as the price
Of the heart’s hid pain—
Long, O spirit-bird,
Of thy lonely fear
Hast thou sung unheard
In hope’s moon-lit wood,
While no creature near
Knew nor understood.
Though beauty’s tress be strayed, ’tis beauteous still:
Though her bright glance should wander, though it err
& wound me, it shall be forgiven her;
Yea, lov’d is the Belovéd though she kill.
Though should love’s light’ning ravage & consume
Faith’s harvest, & the garner of the wise,
Reproach not nor upbraid her: those bright eyes
Have right all to destroy, that all illume.
Betwixt love’s roses should no sharpness be:
Though not uncruel, not unblameworthy
Wast thou, O sweet Love, blame thou only my
Blemish, let not remorse endolour thee.
Yea, censure not afflicting love: thy part
Is but forgiveness, O long-patient heart!
Where is the pious doer? & I the estray’d one, where?
Behold how far the distance, from his safe home to here!
Dark is the stony desert, trackless & vast & dim,
Where is hope’s guiding lantern? Where is faith’s star so fair?
My heart fled from the cloister, & chant of monkish hymn,
What can avail me sainthood, fasting & punctual prayer?
What is the truth shall light me to heav’n’s strait thoroughfare?
Whither, O heart, thus hastest? Arrest thee & beware!
See what a lone adventure is thine unending quest!
Fraught with what deadly danger! Set with what unseen snare!
Say not, O friend, to Hafez, ‘Quiet thee now & rest!’
Calm & content, what are they? Patience & peace, O where?
O gentle weariness,
Thine is the power that can all spirits free
From bonding-trouble, thou art a goddess
To all the suffering slaves of misery.
No suppliant vainly seeketh; wheresoe’er
Desperate grief is, then unfailingly
Is thine all-hallowing rest & refuge there.
Our sorrow hath outgrown
Solace, yet still in thine all-mothering hand
Is balm of soft oblivion, who alone
Our never-ending needs dost understand.
Wheresoever beauty flies,
Follow her on eager wings
Beauteous wild imaginings.
Wheresoever she may tread,
Lovely vivid flowers arise,
Springing swift as thoughts unsaid.
Living beauty, more than wise,
Fair art thou to living eyes,
Though less fair than is the dead
Myrtle-wreath that more we prize;
Relic of the one dear head
That for each it garlanded.
When first to earth thy gentle spirit came
From some soft climate of Elysian field,
Garmented in its own ethereal flame;
When first from heav’n’s high peace it enter’d here,
No armour had it then, nor guarding shield,
Nor sword for safety, nor attacking spear,
No pang’d misgivings suffered it, nor fear,
Seeing in every face its own sweet face,
Smiling to treachery with trustful eyes,
Finding in nature its own nature’s grace:
—So Adam in his vision’d Paradise
Saw but God’s gifts, till taste of bitter ruth
Taught him what earth’s creation is in truth:—
Now, O stern angel, none can make relent
Thy steely wrath, thy sword of punishment.
When thou art gone, & when are gone all those
That knew thee & that loved thy living grace,
Merged in the formless flood whence all arose,
When thou hast passed, & of thy life no trace
Remaineth, nor remembrancer to say
‘Such was he, such his form, his voice, his face’,
In that new time shall rise, untouched by thee,
The eddying circles still, & pass away;
Full many a spring shall turn to winter dree,
& morn to nightfall, & life’s human day
Shall change from youth’s bright hope to darkling pain,
When thy young life in life’s hard war is slain,
When thou art gone, & I, & our strong love
Which now Time’s change doth but more changeless prove.
Come let us drink & deeply drown
In Heav’n’s pure wine our sorrowing!
Fling ye earth’s faded garlands down,
Scatter away life’s flowering!
Though sorrow’s myriad armies strive
To subjugate & slay us, we,
O proud cup-bearer, will contrive
To overcome their tyranny.
O earth’s sad lover, drink & throw
Unto high heaven thy misery:
So shall perchance bright beauty know
Thy longing need & bend to thee.
Not in this life’s sad city grow
Immortal flowers: O friends, arise!
Drink we the wine of truth & go
To deathless joys of Paradise.
In love’s great ocean, whose calm-shelter’d shore
Must he for ever leave, whose soul is bound
On farthest quest, life’s wonders to explore—
That mightiest flood, all-whelming, torment-toss’d,
Wherein must ev’ry lover’s self be lost
Ere the Belovéd’s lovelier self be found—
Think not, O searcher, in that sea to find
Food for thine earth-born strength & lustful show,
Nor glorious pearl to deck thy worldly mind,
Nor isle of ease; all such doth he forego
Who, recking nought of hurt to pride or limb,
Heark’neth to love’s unchallengeable call:
Yea, who would venture, no help is for him
Save whole surrender; health, strength, life & all.