Nightingale: Keats and Hafez

nightingale

 Hafez sang:
بلبلى خون جگر خورد و گلى حاصل كرد
باد غيرت به صادش خار پريشان دل كرد
طوطيى را به خيال شكرى دل خوش بود
ناگهش سيل فنا نقش امل باطل كرد

Gertrude Bell’s translation:

The nightingale with drops of his heart’s blood
Had nourished the red rose, then came a wind,
And catching at the boughs in envious mood,
a hundred thorns about his heart entwined.
Like to the parrot crunching sugar, good
Seemed the world to me who could not stay
The wind of Death that swept my hopes away.

 

Compare with this beautiful recitation of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale:

 

Ode to a Nightingale

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
         My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
         One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
         But being too happy in thine happiness,—
                That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
                        In some melodious plot
         Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
                Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
         Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
         Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
         Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
                With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
                        And purple-stained mouth;
         That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
                And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
         What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
         Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
         Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
                Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
                        And leaden-eyed despairs,
         Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
                Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
         Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
         Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
         And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
                Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
                        But here there is no light,
         Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
                Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
         Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
         Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
         White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
                Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves;
                        And mid-May’s eldest child,
         The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
                The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
         I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
         To take into the air my quiet breath;
                Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
         To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
                While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
                        In such an ecstasy!
         Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
                   To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
         No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
         In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
         Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
                She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
                        The same that oft-times hath
         Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
                Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
         To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
         As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
         Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
                Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep
                        In the next valley-glades:
         Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
                Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

 

chnese nightingale

 

 

Hafez

Translation:
Weep, O Nightingale, if you wish to be my friend
For we are two helpless lovers, whose work is weeping
In that land where the breeze blows from the beloved’s locks
what room is there for boasting of the musk of Tartar?
Bring wine so we can dye our cloak of hypocrisy
We are drunk form the cup of arrogance and we call it sobriety
Cherishing the thought of your hair is not for the novice
going under the chain is the way of the elite
There is a hidden subtlety that gives rise to love
whose name is neither ruby lip nor auburn cheek’s down
A person’s beauty is not in the eye nor face, nor cheek, nor hair
there are a thousand fine points in this work of beauties
The Qalandars of Truth do not buy, for half a barley corn,
the silk robe of the person who is without art
It is difficult to reach your doorstep
ascension to the heaven of joy is difficult
At dawn I dreamt of the seductive glance of your eye
Ah, some stages of sleep are better than being awake…
Do not harm his heart with your wailing, hush now Hafez
For eternal salvation lies in doing the least harm

 

 

 

Original:

بنال بلبل اگر با منت سر یاریست
که ما دو عاشق زاریم و کار ما زاریست

در آن زمین که نسیمی وزد ز طره دوست
چه جای دم زدن نافه‌های تاتاریست

بیار باده که رنگین کنیم جامه زرق
که مست جام غروریم و نام هشیاریست

خیال زلف تو پختن نه کار هر خامیست
که زیر سلسله رفتن طریق عیاریست

لطیفه‌ایست نهانی که عشق از او خیزد
که نام آن نه لب لعل و خط زنگاریست

جمال شخص نه چشم است و زلف و عارض و خال
هزار نکته در این کار و بار دلداریست

قلندران حقیقت به نیم جو نخرند
قبای اطلس آن کس که از هنر عاریست

بر آستان تو مشکل توان رسید آری
عروج بر فلک سروری به دشواریست

سحر کرشمه چشمت به خواب می‌دیدم
زهی مراتب خوابی که به ز بیداریست

دلش به ناله میازار و ختم کن حافظ
که رستگاری جاوید در کم آزاریست

japansingnightingale

 

`

Translation:
At dawn, the nightingale complained to the breeze, saying:
“Oh the things that loving the rose’s face has done to me…”
It pulled off the veil of the rose and brushed away the tress of the hyacinth
and opened the knot of the cord of the bud’s robe
The lover nightingale cried out in all directions
But it was the breeze that was blessed from this
Blessed be the morning breeze that
remedied the pain of those who stay awake at night
No more will I complain of strangers
for any wrong to me was done my that dear one
If I coveted a favor from the sultan, it was a mistake
If I sought faithfulness from the beloved, she was cruel.
I am the slave of the generous spirit of that dear one
Who did good deeds without pretension and hypocrisy
take the good news to the winesellers’ street
That Hafez repented of pretentious abstinence

 

 

Original:

سحر بلبل حکایت با صبا کرد
که عشق روی گل با ما چه‌ها کرد
از آن رنگ رخم خون در دل افتاد
وز آن گلشن به خارم مبتلا کرد
غلام همت آن نازنینم
که کار خیر بی روی و ریا کرد
من از بیگانگان دیگر ننالم
که با من هر چه کرد آن آشنا کرد
گر از سلطان طمع کردم خطا بود
ور از دلبر وفا جستم جفا کرد
خوشش باد آن نسیم صبحگاهی
که درد شب نشینان را دوا کرد
نقاب گل کشید و زلف سنبل
گره بند قبای غنچه وا کرد
به هر سو بلبل عاشق در افغان
تنعم از میان باد صبا کرد
بشارت بر به کوی می فروشان
که حافظ توبه از زهد ریا کرد

 

 

chinesenightingale

Translation:
I went to the garden one morning to pick a rose
and suddenly heard a nightingale’s song.
Like me, the poor bird had fallen in love with a rose
and in the field, raised a commotion with his cries.
And as I walked through that field and garden
I thought on that rose and nightingale.
The rose befriended beauty, and the nightingale, love
neither showed any signs of changing.
As the song of the nightingale entered my heart,
it got to the point where I could stand it no longer.
Many roses bloom in this garden, but
none plucks a rose without the pain of a thorn.
Hafez, harbor hope of deliverance from this cycle of existence
It has a thousand flaws and not one redeeming virtue.

Original:

رفتم به باغ صبحدمی تا چنم گلی
آمد به گوش ناگهم آواز بلبلی
مسکین چو من به عشق گلی گشته مبتلا
و اندر چمن فکنده ز فریاد غلغلی
می‌گشتم اندر آن چمن و باغ دم به دم
می‌کردم اندر آن گل و بلبل تاملی
گل یار حسن گشته و بلبل قرین عشق
آن را تفضلی نه و این را تبدلی
چون کرد در دلم اثر آواز عندلیب
گشتم چنان که هیچ نماندم تحملی
بس گل شکفته می‌شود این باغ را ولی
کس بی بلای خار نچیده‌ست از او گلی
حافظ مدار امید فرج از مدار كون
دارد هزار عیب و ندارد تفضلی


Translation:
“Ask for wine and throw flowers. What else do you want from time?”
The rose said this at dawn, O nightingale, what do you say?
Take your seat in the rose garden so that you may kiss
the beauty and the Saqi on the lip and cheek and drink wine and smell roses
Upon whom will your smiling bud bestow its fortune
O elegant rose, for whose sake do you grow?
Each bird comes to the king’s rose garden with a tale
The nightingale with his song and Hafez with his prayer.

 

Original:
می خواه و گل افشان کن از دهر چه می‌جویی
این گفت سحرگه گل بلبل تو چه می‌گویی
مسند به گلستان بر تا شاهد و ساقی را
لب گیری و رخ بوسی می نوشی و گل بویی
تا غنچه خندانت دولت به که خواهد داد
ای شاخ گل رعنا از بهر که می‌رویی
هر مرغ به دستانی در گلشن شاه آمد
بلبل به نواسازی حافظ به غزل گویی
japannightingale

 

Camaron

 

Translation:

Step into that corner
where the gnats do not bite
I do not care about anyone
but you, my little dear

In the Moorish quarter
Juanola le puso el cura
Juanola pa to la vía.

I saw the flowers cry
when you entered the garden,
because the flowers would all like
to look like you.

Keep away from the people
who do not know our love,
the farther you are from the saint,
the closer to devotion.

And the day you were born
all the flowers bloomed
and at the baptismal font
nightingales sang.

nightgalepersianmin

Original:

Lerelere lele…aay

Métete en aquel rincón
donde las mosquitas no te coman
cuenta yo no le doy a nadie
primita de tu persona.

De la morería
Juanola le puso el cura
Juanola pa to la vía.

Al verte las flores lloran
cuando entras tu al jardín,
porque las flores quisieran
toítas parecerse a ti.

Retírate que la gente
no conozca nuestro amor,
contra más lejos esté el santo
más cerca la devoción.

Y el día que tú naciste
nacieron toítas las flores
y en la pila de bautismo
cantaron los ruiseñores.

nightingale

2 thoughts on “Nightingale: Keats and Hafez

  1. Keats sense of aesthetics and his empathy for the objects in nature, both living and inanimate is very near to the Sufi’s negation of the self and the merging of the soul with that of the Beloved. ‘I’is no longer ‘I’ and the self has no identity other than the beloved’s. Among the Romantics it was only Keats who moved towards an absence of the ego (self) .He spoke in his letters about..the feeling “of being in doubts and uncertainties ” and not to try coming out of them. Coleridge experimented with dreams and the state of reverie.. The access to Sufi poetry and thought came from Goethe the German poet of mystic philosophy who was much influenced by Rumi and probably read him in translation.

  2. This is fascinating! Thank you for these fantastic translations. I have been looking for the poem that you translated here and was wondering if you could share where you have taken the Persian from (which publication or manuscript)?

    “Ask for wine and throw flowers. What else do you want from time?”
    The rose said this at dawn, O nightingale, what do you say?
    Take your seat in the rose garden so that you may kiss
    the beauty and the Saqi on the lip and cheek and drink wine and smell roses
    Upon whom will your smiling bud bestow its fortune
    O elegant rose, for whose sake do you grow?
    Each bird comes to the king’s rose garden with a tale
    The nightingale with his song and Hafez with his prayer.

Leave a Reply to Sarah Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *