Home Page
Books on Rumi
Works of Rumi 
Rumi's Poetry

Events in UK
Daily Poem
Daily Quotes
Mailing List
Discussion Forum
Persian with Rumi



The Rubaiyat of Jalal Al-Din Rumi

Select translations
into English Verse' by A.J. Arberry, 1949.



So long as I shall live
To God's Koran my faith I give;
God's chosen one,
Mohammed, is my lord alone

If any man pretend
Aught else but this I ever penned,
I nothing care
For him, or what he may declare.


Once more, O King,
Accept the service that I bring,
And mercy show
On this my impotence and woe.

If ever, Lord,
Hereafter I oppose Thy word,
Lend not again
Thy succour, when I call in pain.


When Thou madest me to tread
On the path of faith,
Thy trust on my back was laid
To be true till death.

'Ah, I am faint', I cried,
'And the burden great';
By Thee I was fortified
And steeled to the weight.



Time bringeth swift to end
The rout men keep;
Death's wolf is nigh to rend
These silly sheep.

See, how in pride they go
With lifted head,
Tell Fate with a sudden blow
Smiteth them dead.


Bu just: confess
In love is ample righteousness;
The fault lies in
Thyself, that thou art prone to sin.

If thou dost claim
For human lust Love's holy name,
Then know, and prove
The way is far from lust to Love.


Thou are so knitted to thy soul,
That but two days continueth,
It is not possible at all
To speak one word to thee of death.

The soul is seeking an abode;
Death is the sole abode thereof;
Yet, in the middle of the road,
Thy ass it sleeps, and will not move.


The man whose soul is wrought
With Yea and Nay content,
Ever Being and Naught
Are his impediment.

How shall he stopped be
By Acts and Qualities
Who, from creation free,
Himself creator is?


In the fancy's lane
Why dost thou groping go,
And bathe in vain
Thine eyes in the blood of woe?

Possessed thou art
By Truth from foot to brow;
O blind of heart,
What fancy pursuest thou?


Why envious are ye
Of this all generous sea,
These joyous waters why
To each would ye deny?

Shall fishes treasure up
The waters in a cup,
To whom the ocean wide
Will never be denied?


O thou who hast a country
Beyond the skies,
Yet didst of earth and ashes
Thyself surmise:

Thou has engraved thine image
Upon the earth,
Forgetting that far country
Which gave thee birth.


Thou searchest through the earth
The great untying;
In union was thy birth,
In parting they dying.

Beside the river, athirst,
Asleep thou liest;
Hard by the treasure, accursed.
A beggar thou diest.


Not this way union lies,
As was thy vain surmise;
It is the world of soul,
They spurned, forgotten goal.

The everlasting brook
Whereof the Guide partook
Runneth where thou dost go,
But thou hast dammed its flow.


The moon, a plunderer,
Came down last night to me:
'Be off!' I said, 'for here
Is tonight to no place for thee.'

The moon, a plunderer,
'Alas, for thy madness sore!
Fortune awaits outside,
But thou wilt not open the door.'


This world if thou covetest,
A hireling thou art;
And if paradise be thy quest,
Far from truth is thy heart.

In both worlds foolishly
Thou findest thy happiness;
Yet shalt thou pardoned be,
Not knowing Love's glad distress.


Gamble thy life for Love,
If thou a Man wouldst prove;
Else, go thy way; for we
Will nothing have of thee.

The man whose heart is mean
This realm will never win;
Thou seekest after God,
And founderest on the road.



THOUGH Fate awhile
Seemeth on thee to smile,
Call not Fate they friend:
She'll humble thee in the end.

Fate suddenly
Intoxicateth thee,
But to her false breast
Another lover is pressed.


Down a flowing stream
A barque borne fast:
To the mind it may seem
The rushes hurry past.

Every moment thus
From this world we fly,
And it seemeth to us
The world goeth by.


Paradise, men say,
Waits for us above
With wine to quaff all day,
And ark eyes to love.

So our days we spend
With wine and the sweet fair,
Seeing that in the end
These await us there.


To Solomon they went,
The birds, to lay complaint:
'Why sparest thou to rail
Against yon nightingale?

'Be not so mortified',
The nightingale replied;
'Three months I make my song,
And nine months hold my tongue.'

Essence is poverty,
Accidents all else be;
Poverty is heart's ease,
All else the soul's disease.

The round world complete
Delusion is, and deceit;
Poverty is the sole
Treasure, and spirit's goal.

Thou who lovest, like a crow,
Winter's chill and winter's snow,
Ever exiled form the vale's
Roses red, and nightingales:

Take this moment to they heart!
When the moment shall depart,
Long thou'lt seek it as it flies
With a hundred lamps and eyes.


Thy childhood days are sped,
Thy youth is gone,
Old age is about thy head;
From the world fare on.

Three days is the pledge, no more,
The guest shall stay;
Master, thy time is o'er-
Up, be on thy way


We all but playthings be
Of God's omnipotence;
All might, all wealth is He,
We beggars without pence.

Why seek we then to claim
Each than the other more?
Stand we not all the same
Before one palace door?


If thou seekest gold,
To this thy life is sold;
If thy greed be bread,
By that thy soul is led.

Learn this subtlety:
Let it be known to thee,
Whatsoe'er thy heart
Is set on, that thou are.



NO fiefdoms hold we in fee,
We are vagrants and profligate;
Not lords of the palace we,
But beggars without the gate.

Nay, nay; we are like a pen
Held in the painter's hand;
It cometh not in our ken
Where now and now we strand.


Nor for satins fair
Or silver in purse we care;
In pain we are at ease,
Terror doth us please.

As long as time shall be
We yield to God's decree
Gladly, and with full heart,
Nor grudging, as thou art.


Dot thou suppose
I do as I command,
Or, as the moment goes,
I am in my own hand?

As a pen I lie
Before my scrivener,
Or like a ball am I,
My mallet's prisoner.


Thou art the spring,
We all the grasses are;
Thou art the king,
We beggars, all afar.

The voice art Thou,
Its echo all are we;
Thou seekest now-
Why come we not to Thee?



SINCE foolishness and sin
In my found origin
In all my lifetime, none
Through me to pleasure won.

I look for equity,
Which none obtains from me;
Against the world I cry,
The world's complaint am I.


Alas, alas! from em
Springs all inequity;
Ah woe! a thousand sighs
Through my injustice rise.

'For what thy hands have wrought:'
So have the Scriptures taught;
Then is my soul forlorn
Whereof all grief was born.


SLAVE, be aware
The lord of all the East is here;
The glittering storm-cloud is here;
Reveals his lighting-flash to thee.

Whate'er thou sayst
Is but as inference has guessed;
He speaks upon the eye's experience,
And therein lies the difference.


The heavenly rider passed;
The dust rose in the air;
He sped; but the dust he cast
Yet hangeth there.

Straight forward they vision be,
And gaze not left or right;
His dust is here, and he
In the Infinite.


When I behold his face
Who hat beheld Thy grace,
'Fore God, a radiance bright
Fills all my heart and sight:

This above all, if he
Throughout eternity
Doth ever in amaze
Upon Thy beauty gaze.


Who was he that said
The immortal spirit is dead,
Or how dared he say
Hope's sun hat passed away?

An enemy of the sun,
Standing his roof upon,
bound up both his eyes
And cried, 'Lo, the sun dies!'



THE hour is late; and we
Alack! are on a sea
Where, in distraction sore,
We seek the unseen shore.

Night; in the cloud-swept sky
No star to steer us by;
Yet with God's grace we sail;
His aid shall us avail.


Within thy soul a soul doth dwell:
Go, seek it well!
Within thy mountain is mine:
Get it for thine.

The Sufi seek as he doth go,
If thou canst so;
Search not for him thy self apart,
but search thy heart.


'Who lifteth up, the spirit,
Say, who is he?
'Who gave in the beginning
This life to me.

'Who hoodeth, like a falcon's,
A while mine eyes,
But presently shall loose me
To hunt my prize.'


Ark of deliverance,
From Noah our inheritance,
Here sail we fast and free
Amid life's wide and whirling sea.

And from that sea a plant
Grows in the heart luxuriant
Which, like the heart's recess.
Is virgin and dimensionless.


Seek, and thou shalt find
Another purpose in my mind;
See, and thou shalt prove
A fairer idol is my love.

God my witness be,
Love too is not enough for me;
Comes another spring
After this autumn blossoming.


In love if for one moment
Thy spirit finds repose,
Where stand the ranks of lovers
What place hast thou with those?

Then like a thorn be pricking,
That like a rose thy fair
May pin thee to her bosom,
And braid thee in her hair.


If it be the road
The lover travelleth
Endeth at one abode:
Naughting, and death;

False the tale must be
A river is Love,
And immortality
To drink thereof.


The falcon's fearless pace
Take, and the tiger's pride;
Be splendid in the chase,
Glorious in battletide.

The nightingale's sweet air,
The peacock's gorgeous glow
Cherish not: naught is there
But glittering words and show.


I seek the friend
On hurrying feet;
My life is at and end,
I slumber yet.

If it be that I
The Friend attain,
The long years gone by
How shall I regain?


God forbid His blade
Or shafts should make our hearts afraid,
Or that we should dread
The fettered foot, or severed head.

Ardent swift we haste;
Of the fires of hell we taste;
Less doth it dismay
Whate'er our fellows speak or say.


Spirit is not so fine,
Nor heart, as they form divine;
Sugar is not so sweet
As they kiss, when our lips meet.

A life of an age the sun
And the moon encircling run,
Seeking through dark and light
Ardently for thy night.


Thy art gone, my heart's delight;
Yet never shall depart
Thy image from my sight,
Thy love from my heart.

About the world I go,
That haply thou wilt come
In the end, and to me wilt show
My winding way home.


Joyous it is upon the way
To march a station every day;
Joyous it is to flow at ease
Like running water, ne'er to freeze.

Winter is gone; its tale is all,
Like winter, past beyond recall;
Wherefore upon this day 'tis right
Another history to recite.


If on the path of right
Nimbly thou farest home,
Again, a heavenly light,
To heaven thou shalt come.

Heaven's throne thy resting-place:
Doth it not shame thee, pray,
Like a cast shadow, thy face
In the dust to lay?


Not water thou art
Nor clay; apart
from water and clay
Thou art on a way.

The flesh is a river,
The soul its stream;
Thou farest forever
O'er both supreme.


SAVE sweet scent thou bearest
To this street come newer,
And while robe thou wearest
Draw not nigh this river.

Every pathway riding
Hither runs from thither;
There be tine abiding,
Come thou never hither.


Awhile, as wont may be
Self I did claim;
True I did claim;
True self I did not see,
but hear its name.

I, being self-confined,
Self did not merit;
Then leaving self behind,
Did self inherit.


Such as uncumbered be,
In my mystic ecstasy
This night in secret dwell
With Him they love so well.

Rise up and leave us, then,
O being alien!
Strangers would bring distress
in this night's blessedness.

Soul of the world! The soul,
The world - these things do not endure;
Only the ancient love and pure,
Idol and saki, this abideth whole.

About the shrine of naught
The lover if he will process,
Go, find him in his nothingness;
Not in the infinite skies may he be sought.


Mansur the Spinner, who
Declared, 'I am the True',
He swept the dust of God
From every road he trod.

He dived into the sea
Of his nonentity,
And won for me and you
This pearl: 'I am the True.'


If thou hast ears to hear,
Receive my message clear;
With Him to link thy heart,
Thou must from self depart.

Be silent, where the sight
Perceives the vision bright:
What speech must else declare
Is all beholding there.


Except a man himself deny,
To self he shall not wholly die,
Nor realize the mystery
Of unity:

Which is not God incarnated,
But being unto selfhood dead;
Else were vain boasting to pursue
And all untrue.


Since I am well content
With my nonentity
Why do ye counsel me?

If, upon the day
Naughting's sword shall slay,
Any man weep for me,
I'll laugh delightedly.


While thou art with thy heart,
Far art thou, though with me thou art;
Far, far the marches be
That separate thee yet from me.

Thou hast not union
With me, till thou with me art one;
Upon the path of Love
Either thyself, or I do rove.


Since thou art not a slave, proclaim
Thyself a king;
Whither thou wouldst ambition aim,
There let it wing.

When from thyself thou art wholly free,
And all beside,
Go, beat the drum of Deity,
Unselfed abide.


If thou wilt be God's prey,
Sorrow shall flee away;
If after self thou strainest,
Fettered thou remainest.

Know, that thy life's abode
Is a veil athwart thy road;
While with self thou art dwelling,
Thy labour is past all telling.



O MIND, be gone!
Here is not mindful anyone;
Though thou be shrunken as a hair,
For thee no room is there.

Behold the day!
Before the sun's resplendent ray
No candle that did ever flame
But hangs its head in shame.


That wine I swallowed up
Whereof the spirit is the cup;
That juice my reason wrecked
Which maketh mad the intellect.

A burning candle came
And fired me with its naked flame,
About whose flare the sun
Doth like a month ecstatic run.


True wealth of the mind
Is in madness to find;
The madman of love
Is all reason above.

Who by sorrow and smart
Hath discovered the heart
A thousandwise
His own self denies.


None there is, but by some folly
Is madly led;
None I know, but melancholy
Is in his head.

Passion's thread, from which arises
Love in the heart,
Surely winds, but who surmises
Where it may start?


When Love's affray
Is in my heart, on such a day
Fleet, fleet
The spirit flees with naked feet.

Then mad is he
Who thinks that reason is in me,
Wise, wise
Is he who from my madness flies.


My heart, thou shalt not find the road
By argument and subtle lore,
Nor enter in to Love's abode
Save at annihilation's door.

About this broad and circling sky
Where soar God's birds on pinion free
If thou hast never learned to fly,
No pinion shall be given thee.


When in my breast
Thy flame of Love was lit,
Whate'er but Love my heart possest
Love's fire consumed it.

The subtle brain,
The school, the book I spurned;
The poet's craft I strove to gain,
And rhyming verse I learned.


Where is the sun, whose light
Rivals Thy beauty bright,
Or where the breeze so fleet
To catch Thy perfume sweet?

The brain invincible
O'er being's citadel,
Coming into Thy lane,
Madness assails the brain!


When the love of Thee
Seizeth heaven's brain,
Clamour and agony
Fill the vast inane.

When to spirit doth soar
The world, and Thy love
Draweth, abide no more
Downward and above.


Night and day the lover
With the wine must spend,
Till the veil of reason
And shame he shall rend.

Why should I be drinking?
Wine has naught to take
Of my mind, that reason
Did so long forsake.


Love came to me, and said
Against spirit and head
I should rebel,
And with him only dwell.

Time and anon
I came, and again was gone;
Now I am in Love's heart
Ne'er to depart.


Where is the lover's mind?
In the wake of the wind;
Where is the shrewd man's brain?
With silver and gain

Where is the rose of price?
In paradise;
Where shall the brushwood dwell?
In the fires of hell!



THERE lies a desert
Past faith and infidelity
In whose broad spaces
My weary heart is fain to be.

Who cometh thither
In peace at last he slumbereth,
For there abideth
Nor infidelity, nor faith.


Without this world of infidelity
And faith, there is a place
Wherein not all the fresh and fair my be,
Nor every grace.

Whoever hast ambition to a part
In such a home of rest
Must yield his life and, gratefully, the heart
Within his breast.


Till school and minaret
Are both in ruin laid,
The calendar not yet
Is free to ply his trade.

Till unbelief is faith
And faithlessness is creed,
No man is true to death,
Resigned to God indeed.


As salt resolved in the ocean
I was swallowed in God's sea,
Past faith, past unbelieving,
Past doubt, past certainty.

Suddenly in my bosom
A star shone clear and bright;
All the suns of heaven
Vanished in that star's light.



As the essence that is mine
To the all-pervading sea
Turneth, all my atoms shine
In sublime resplendency.

On the road of Love, behold!
Like a candle I do blaze,
That one moment may enfold
All the moments of my days.


Since the lovely fair
Took my heart with the love of her,
To gold my dross transmuted she
With her alchemy.

With a thousand hands
I sought for her through all the lands,
But she, with hand outstretched to feel,
Held me by the heel.


I vowed repentantly:
So long as life abides in me,
From the strait and narrow way
I will not go astray.

Now, wheresoe'er my sight
I turn, be it to left or right,
Right or left, where'er I gaze
I view His well-loved face.


Wouldst thou have revealed to thee
All the being of the Friend?
Go, into the pith descend;
From the rind superior flee.

Veiled His essence is, and dim,
Fold on fold enwrapped around;
In His being He is drowned,
And the world is drowned in Him.


The sun Thy cheek doth rise
Far, far beyond the skies;
Too lovely far to tell
They beauty ineffable.

Thy love (O wondrous grace)
Hath in my soul a place,
The love that dwelleth far
Beyond our soul and star.

Love came, and went again,
Like blood within my flesh and vein;
From self Love set me free
And with the Friend completed me.

Only remains my name;
My being's every particle
The Friend took for His claim,
And so the Friend became my whole.


Thy love came to my heart,
And happy did depart;
Returned, and set its baggage down,
And then again was flown.

'O prithee now', I cried,
'This day or two abide!
Thy love sat down, and now thy love
Forgetteth to remove.


A mountain am I,
The Beloved's echo my cry;
An image I am,
The Beloved painted the same.

So seemeth to thee
The discourse was spoken by me:
As the key turneth round
In the lock, and the lock doth sound.


Where the Friend's river flows,
None fainteth there;
His garden of the rose
No thorn doth bear.

There is a door, say some,
From heart to heart:
What need they doorways, whom
No wall doth part?


The Fried (O miracle)
Within my heart doth dwell;
A thousand bodies' breath
My flesh inhabiteth;

Within one grain of wheat
A thousand stooks complete;
A hundred worlds, that lie
Within a needle's eye.


In the world of clay
A hidden treasure are we;
The kingdom of our sway
Endures eternally.

Since we have passed
The night of the flesh at last,
We are ourselves the Guide
And life's immortal tide.


Since first I heart men cry
The famous tale of Love,
With heart and soul and eye
In its cause I strove.

'Perchance', I said, 'the Loved,
And the that loves, are twain':
But lo, the twain one proved,
My sight it was, was vain.


We are the treasury
Of God's great mystery;
The sea wherein doth dwell
His pearl incalculable.

From end to farthest end
Of being we extend,
Yea, we sit upon
God's imperial throne.


My heart, when thou shalt see
The Beloved, instantly
At His advent in anguish die:
How long wilt thou sigh?

For so it is, when the face
Of the sun shines forth in grace,
If the candle be nod dead,
'Tis extinguished.


Of the book of God
Thou art a copying,
A mirror, wherein showed
The beauty of the King.

All God ever wrought
Dwelleth not apart;
All thou hast ever sought,
Find it in thy heart.


Thou art in my sight,
Else how see I the light;
Thou art in my brain,
Else why were I insane?

Did They love not dwell
There, as I cannot tell
Where that place may be,
How should that place hold me?





THOU shalt not see me here,
Master, with slumbering eyes,
Nor in another year
Shalt view me otherwise.

Momently as I lie
Look upon me, O night;
Me thou shalt ne'er descry
Save in the dawning light.


Two nights or three till dawn, my heart,
Vigil keep;
The moon wakes, when the sun doth part;
Do not sleep.

Put down thy pail into the pit
Shadowed deep;
Perchance thou shalt come forth from it;
Do not sleep.


Radiant is the moon thy brow;
Night is fallen; sleep not now,
But like heaven's turning sphere
Wheel into our circle here.

Lo, our vigil's lantern bright
Filleth all the world with light;
Then the night thy lantern keep
Brightly burning - do not sleep.


In love last night
till morning light
My heart my comrade was,
Slept not, nor took repose.

At dawning flame
To Thee it came
Swiftly, with eyes all blood
And cheeks all tear-bedewed.


Whither has the night gone?
Whence at first it had come:
Verily every one
Windeth at last home.

When to that promised place,
O night, thou dost repair,
Take tidings, of thy grace,
How so-and-so did fare.


Flowers every night
Blossom in the sky;
Peace in the Infinite;
At peace am I.

Sighs a hundredfold
>From my heart arise;
My heart, dark and cold,
Flames with my sighs.


Last night impetuously
My darling came to me;
So sweet her lip and speech,
And so provoking, each.

She shook me as I lay
(her face was bright as day),
Crying, 'With sleep be done!
Hast thou not see then?'


Love taketh no repose,
Nor e'er did sleep;
Love looketh not on those
In slumber deep.

I will not tell the rest:
It is a word
Never by Love expressed,
By no man heard.


If like a star one night
Thou sleepest not till day,
Upon thy spirit bright
The moon will cast her ray.

The Fount of Life doth rise
In darkness; do not sleep;
Haply upon this wise
One night thou shalt drink deep.


If thou art come to fight
With the Ethiop of this night,
Cleave within thy own breast
The night that is there possest.

When thou art come to move
About the alter of Love,
Behold, and thou shalt see
Love's altar moves with thee.


The moon of Love tonight
Is full, and wondrous bright;
The lady of my delight
Looks down from the roof on me.

Tonight, my heart, recall
Thy Maker, and prostrate fall,
or tonight, like the cup, is all
Sleep forbidden thee.


'I am the drunkards' friend',
Saith night;
'Where lovers' hopes end
Shineth my light.

'But whose of Love no part
Within him hath,
Each night I know at his heart,
The Angel of Death.'


Knowest thou, what is night?
Give heed; I will tell thee aright.
It keepeth lovers apart
>From all strangers of the heart:

This night especially
When the moon is at home with me,
I am drunk, my lover the light
Of the moon, and mad is the night.



OUR barque before Love's breath
Sailed from the bourn of death;
Love's wine, when hears unite,
Illuminates our night.

Wherefore with that same wine
Blest by this faith of mine
Until death's dawn shall break
My thirst I'll ever shake.


This drunkenness of mine
Is of no crimson wine;
My wine doth not pass
Except in passion's glass.

O friend, was it thy will
With me this wine to spill?
The wine that moves my mirth
Was never seen on earth.


The saki of the soul
Bringeth at last the bowl;
This bird, a prisoner,
From the net soareth clear.

The heavens passion free
At last are tamed to me,
Fate in the end repents
Of her malevolence.


Saki, I cried to thee:
'Pour me the sweet, clear wine;
There's life in that cup of thine
For men that are free.'

This was thy answer, friend:
'There's a wind in the circling skies';
Yet, till the wind arise,
Pour wine to the end!


The dawn is not yet up;
Ho, bring the morning cup!
The wine's bright lamp shall soon
Outshine both sun and moon.

Fetch me yon liquid flame,
Saki, and with the same
Set fire to sullen gloom,
And let it all consume.


Lo, we come carrying wine
From the Friend of heart's desire,
The flame of Love divine
That sets the soul afire.

Until the world shall end
No dreamer will ever dream
Such night, as here we spend
To the dawn's returning gleam.


O saki, of that cup
Which at first thou gavest me
A bumper or two fill up,
And complete my felicity.

Best it were that my lip
Tasted it not at all,
Or else of the same to sip
Till I in ruin fall.



As the tabor's throb
Rises on the air,
My hapless heart
Runs its prisoner.

A hidden voice
From the beating drum
Cries, 'O weary soul,
Here the road is: come!'


Death's Angel cries
When the lute is played;
Our hearts arise
Living from the dead.

These passions deep
That were drowned and died
Like fishes leap
From the boiling tide.


Listen, while the lute doth play;
Knowest thou what it would say?
'Hither, hither come with me,
I will show the road to thee.

'Erring, erring, thou must come
To be brought at last to home;
Seeking, seeking thou must wind
Till the answer thou shalt find.'


When the soul doth smart,
And can the same rehearse,
Singing from the heart
Shall all its grief disperse.

See, the wondrous rose
That in my heart doth bloom,
Never hue it shows,
Nor hides its sweet perfume.


The cry of thy throat
Is the trumpet's note,
The clarion clear
Filling hearts with fear.

Be loud thy call,
Until prostrate fall
Proud emperor,
Poor slave at the door.


I said to the reed:
'Whose sinful deed,
Though tongueless, now
Lamentest thou?'

The reed replied:
'His sweet lip denied,
While I shall live
I can naught but grieve.'


Flutters my heart
When the minstrels sing,
As lightnings dart
Through the clouds at spring.

Hushed now is the drum,
The singer stay:
Sweet Venus, come!
In God's mercy, play.


List to the minstrel; he
Tells all Love's mystery;
And to the weeping reed
About the hearts proceed.

Unto his hushed lament
Attend thou obedient;
'Go not without the veil'-
So runs his whispered tale.


Bring me the bowl
That bindeth the broke soul;
The wine-cup bring
That flameth slave and king.

Attune the mode,
The heart's eternal food,
The trump of death
That new life quickeneth.


The voice of Death's Angel sounds;
My hart with gladness bounds;
From the valley of death I rise
Jubilant to the skies.

Unknown is it unto men
What cometh upon me then,
What invisible messenger
Maketh my soul aware.


So long as life I have
I am Thy coral's slave;
The scattered tresses bind
My sore disordered mind.

Weep, reed; thy song of dole
Intoxicates my soul;
Lute, do not hush thy lay;
I feast on thee today.


How long, like the drum, must I
groan 'neath Thy tyranny,
Or like the repack sigh
For Thy infidelity?

'I'll fondle thee like a lute
In My bosom' - Thou sayest so;
Yet am I not Thy flute
Whereon Thou art lief to blow?


HIS music when He played
Me clapping hands He made;
Lack reason fashioned me,
Laughing at dignity.

His heart, as now I prove,
Did cause my heart to move,
Created me for good
Whatever shape He would.


A mote am I,
Thou my shining sun;
Of grief I die,
Thou my cure alone.

To Thee I fly
On no wing upborne-
A straw am I
By Thy amber drawn.


My dusty body
Is heaven's light;
Angels are jealous
To watch my flight.

Cherubim envy
My purity;
Before my valour
All demons flee.


When Thee around
I circling go,
The cup is crowned
And wine doth flow.

When Thou art kind,
Amazed stand I
Like Moses, blind
On Sinai.


Today within this place
Is dancing to be seen
Whose superhuman grace
Perfection doth demean.

And if of this display
Thou disapproving art,
Yon moon will shed his ray
E'en in they gloomy heart.


Tonight my way I wend
About the mansion of the Friend;
Yea, until dawn shall glow
Within His house I winding go.

For so it was decreed,
To satisfy His utmost need,
My head should be a cup
Wherewith the Friend may feely sup.


Every heart tonight
That seeketh as the moon's pale light
Like to Venus fair
Attendeth pleasure everywhere.

Anguished with desire
To press her lips, I nigh expire:
Silence! God doth know
What passeth on this night below.


Leap, leap! for the rhyme
Of the soul is afoot;
The sweet drum keeps time
With the soft reed's note.

Sorrow's fires of old
More fiercely leap;
Let thy grief be told;
It is time to weep.


Rise up, and go about
The Pole of our salvation,
As winds the pilgrim rout
By Mecca's holy station.

Why art thou slumber bound,
Like clay the earth caressing?
In movement shall be found
The key to every blessing.


While the spirit's sun
Shineth gleaming bright,
Like a mote the mystic
Danced with delight.

''Tis a devil's whisper'
So I hear men say:
Devil passing gentle,
Spirit's life always.


When drunken he discerned
Me coming, clapping hands he cried:
'See now, our pilgrim has returned,
His penitence defied!'

Yea; but our penitent
Was aye as men who glasses make;
In making is much labour spent,
So easy 'tis, to break.


No lover is he by right
Who is not nimble as the soul,
or like a star at night
Moves not about the moon his Pole.

Give heed to me now;
It is no lie that I declare;
Except the breeze shall blow,
The pennant cannot dance in the air.


'The mystic rout
Is now afoot', I cried. 'Come out!'
He said: 'Depart;
Thy servant lieth sick of heart.'

'Though thou wert dead,
Yet shalt thou live again', I said;
'Our Jesus shall
Renew in thee God's miracle.'


Each atom dancing in the plain
Or on the air,
Behold it well, like us, insane
It spinneth there.

Each atom, whether glad it be
Or sorrowful,
Circleth the sun in ecstasy


He that is my soul's repose
Round my heart encircling goes,
Round my heart and soul of bliss
He encircling is.

laughing from my earthy bed
Like a tree I lift my head,
For the Fount of living mirth
Washes round my earth.


Come forth, O day!
The motes are dancing gay;
The spirits in delight
Dance wildly through the night.

Draw near, draw near!
I'll whisper in they ear
His name, Whose radiance
Maketh the spheres to dance.


The beloved one
Shineth like the sun;
Like a mote the lover
Round his sun doth hover.

When the breath of love,
Quivering above,
The green wood entranceth,
Every young bough danceth.


This going round
From my spirit I stole;
Ere the flesh was found
So I moved in the soul.

It is told to me,
'Rest and calm are best':
I give you free
All you calm and rest.

If these hands twain
I clap my head above,
Te wine is in my vein:
Do not reprove.

From fortune's wheel
My nimble feet have leapt,
Yea, from good and ill
I have escaped.


I am drunk with the love of Thee,
Not with wine, or opium;
I am mad; dost Thou look to see
In a madman decorum?

A hundred torrents rise
From the surge my soul within;
The heavens in glad surprise
Stand still to behold me spin.

Arise, and go around
Where the Beloved is found;
His name as His face is fair;
To His company repair.

From this snare leap out,
That snare go about;
From the door if He drive thee off,
Come thou down by the roof.


Stamping thy feet when thou
Comest to me at night,
In the midnight watch thy brow
Shines with the dawn of delight.

curl by curl with thy hand
Night's tresses thou dost unbind;
Peerless art thou in the land
(Let the jealous eye be blind!)


Drunk wast thou yesternight,
My heart, and swift in the flight;
What wine hast thou taken, pray,
That hath made thee worse today?

Dancest thou merrily
All green as a leafy tree,
Or like the dawn thou dost run
Attendant upon the sun.


An atom was I, and Thou
Hast made me mountain tall;
lagging was I, and now
UI am leader of them all.

Sick was my heart and waste;
Thou my cute didst make-
Dissolute and unchaste,
Dancing for Thy love's sake.


THESE who in thy trail
Follow night and day,
Huntsmen swift to assail,
Cunning to slay;

Severing what they love
Is engaged upon
If thou wilt not move
They draw thee on.


Go not upon the road alone
Where many robbers wait to seize
The soul thou hast; it is but one,
And it has many enemies.

Whatever beauty thou dost see,
Thou callest it they life and faith;
Aye; in this world to such as thee
Beckons a many alluring wraith.


Demons (my soul, beware!)
Are running every part,
With bait and net to snare
They foolish heart.

Happy the body is
That has the heart by the hem;
The dispossessed it sees,
And it warned by them



O WHAT is this
That is the circle's bliss,
And ah! the heart's perdition
When it is gone

It cometh so,
Unseen, and goeth: let all know
Not flute and rum the reason be
Of ecstasy.


Not spring is this;
Nay, ours another season is-
Back of each languorous eye
Another unison doth lie.

Though every bough
Within the wood is dancing now,
Each bough as it doth swing
Out of another root doth spring.


Rain fell on the head
Of a man of passion,
Feel in such a fashion
To his house he fled.

Clapping wings, the swan:
'Pour on me They shower
Whose immortal power
I was fashioned on.'


If the formal glance
Doth thee entrance,
Rise this sphere above,
An thou canst more.

Not ten thousand skies
(Whoe'er is wise
And hath vision, knows)
Stir, or repose.


If all the heavens were
Weighed down by grief and care,
Whose love is strong and pure
No grief shall he endure.

Behold, the mote, who beat
His foot upon Love's street,
is now so mighty grown,
he claims the world his won.


By the door came suddenly
My beloved, and drunk was she;
The cup of the ruby crown
She quaffed, and sat down.

As I viewed her tresses loose,
As I touched her lover's noose,
My face was all glance to espy,
And all hand mine eye.

When from the skies
The sprinkled jewels fall,
Each atom flies
To its original.

Blown by the breeze
Of contrary caprice,
The atoms run
Full headlong from the sun.


When first the soul
The body's raiment wore,
The ocean bountiful
Of grace divines swelled o'er.

When the heart's reed
First tasted the lip's wine,
In ecstasy indeed
It raised a chant divine.


The fire of Thy passion
In my soul glowed,
the waters of Thy sweetness
In my heart flowed.

The waters proved a mirage,
The flames were snow;
Perchance I then was dreaming,
And waking now.


No night is it
From the house to wend,
For a stranger to quit
The one true Friend.

Tonight let all
That true comrades prove
With rapture fall
In the flames of Love.


Where thou Thy foot didst lay
The earth was glad and gay;
Pregnant with fecund mirth
She gave fair flowers birth.

And as the song of cheer
Rang through the stars and sphere,
The moon's eye from afar
Alighted on a star.


When from the cloud celestial
God's lighting dart,
What profits it, except they fall
On a consuming heart?

In all the world one heart it needs
That burns and bleeds,
Whereon God's lightning leaping bright
May set it swift alight.


As I stood before
My fair love's door,
Smiling, smiling she
Came forth to me.

Close, close she pressed
Me against her breast:
'My lover true,
Wise and godly, too!'


Now is the dawn ablaze,
The hour of returning light,
And they that watch by night
Must take their several ways.

Now in slumber fast
The watchman has closed his eyes;
Passionate heart, arise!
Take thy desire at last.


The breeze of the morn
Scatters musk in its train,
Fragrance borne
From my fair love's lane.

Ere the world wastes,
Sleep no more: arise!
The caravan hastes,
The sweet scent dies.


Lovers in their brief play
Gamble both worlds away,
A hundred years destroy
To win a moment's joy;

A thousand stages drive
To be one hour alive,
A thousand souls forsake
A single heart to take.


When the gale of the mystery blows
Tempestuous the heart's sea flows;
Not all hearts worthy be
To attest the mystery.

But the heart that ne'er departs
From the infinite sea of the hearts
Fed by the mystic wine
Bursts forth in a rapture fine.


The magic of Adam's body
When it was new and gay,
The essence pure of the spirit
Commingled with his clay.

But when the heavens shattered
His body's wizardry,
To earth returned the earthy,
The pure to purity.


What shall I do?
A strange game is in my net;
My head with a rapture rare and new
Danceth yet.

My heart is free;
But if upon the way I view
A fair maid, and she kisseth me,
What shall I do?


I am o'erwhelmed in the sea
Or whirling fantasy;
The torrent bears me down;
In the se I drown.

Eyes half-drowned in sleep,
My spirit let Him keep
Who with sleeping eye
Knows that asleep I lie.


Upon each other's face
All our life through
We gazed; such was our case
Till this day too.

Our hearts' secrets now
(Fearing any spy
On us) we speak by brown
And hear with the eye.


I whispered to my heart:
'If thou hast place to speak,
unto Friend impart
What sorrows my heart break.'

My heart answered me: 'Nay,
If the Friend giveth me place,
What should I care to say
Who gaze upon His face?'


What things yesternight
Between us were,
The tongue may not declare,
Nor the pen indite.

But when I take the road
Forth from this old abode,
The folds of my winding sheet
Will tell all complete.


This bough of the clusters sweet
Shall bear fruit one day;
This falcon of purpose fleet
Shall seize his prey.

I cometh and passeth away,
O when shall it come to stay
In my hart there?


A moment's rapture with the friend
If thou mayest spend,
A life of joy were thine, in this
Brief moment's bliss.

Beware; this moment do not waste,
If such thou hast;
Scare shall this joy, in a life o pain,
Return again.


When on the plain of death
My foot is place,
My clamour echoeth
Through the unseen waste.

Then doth amazement reign
In the vast serene,
For ne'er such a mood insane
In the world was seen.


If truly I asserted
My perfection's worth,
My skirt should never rest
Trailing in the earth.

Swift and unwearied
To heaven I would fly,
And proudly lift my head
Beyond the seventh sky.



Last updated: May 9, 2004