Abu Sa’īd Abu’l Khayr

(10th-11th C)

You and I, my love, are a pair of compasses
though divided in twain, in body we are one
We circle on a point, anon like compasses
at the end we bring our heads together as one.


Translation: Reza Ourdoubadian. The Poems of Abu Sa’id Abu’l Kheyr. Ibex, 2010

جانا من و تو نمونه پرگريم
سر گر چه دو كردهايم يك تن داريم
بر نقطه روانيم كنون خون پرگار
در آخر كار سر بهم باز آريم




(14th-11th C)


For years, we pawned our book for wine
The wealth of the tavern was our lesson and prayer


See my Master’s grace with us drunks
His eye saw goodness in whatever we did


The book of my knowledge, you washed it all away with wine
I saw the heavens  searching for a heart that was wise


Seek that beauty from the idols, O knowing heart
Said the one who knew the art of the wandering gaze


My heart, like a compass, spun round in all directions
I’m lost in that circle, with foot firmly on the ground


From the pain of love, the minstrel improvised sad songs
so sad that bloody tears fell from the eyes of the worldly-wise


My heart bloomed with joy, like a flower by the stream
under the shadow of the cypress tree of my beloved


My rosy Master, would hear no evil about his blue-robed disciples
otherwise, what stories there would have been!


Hafez’s counterfeit heart was not spent
because this trader sees all hidden flaws



            سال‌ها دفتر ما در گرو صهبا بود
رونق میکده از درس و دعای ما بود
             نیکی پیر مغان بین که چو ما بدمستان
هر چه کردیم به چشم کرمش زیبا بود
             دفتر دانش ما جمله بشویید به می
که فلک دیدم و در قصد دل دانا بود
             از بتان آن طلب ار حسن شناسی ای دل
کاین کسی گفت که در علم نظر بینا بود
              دل چو پرگار به هر سو دورانی می‌کرد
و اندر آن دایره سرگشته پابرجا بود
              مطرب از درد محبت عملی می‌پرداخت
که حکیمان جهان را مژه خون پالا بود
              می‌شکفتم ز طرب زان که چو گل بر لب جوی
بر سرم سایه آن سرو سهی بالا بود
              پیر گلرنگ من اندر حق ازرق پوشان
رخصت خبث نداد ار نه حکایت‌ها بود
              قلب اندوده حافظ بر او خرج نشد
کاین معامل به همه عیب نهان بینا بود


John Donne
(16th-17th C)
“A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”


AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”

So let us melt, and make no noise,                                       5
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;                              10
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, ’cause it doth remove                                     15
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.                           20

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so                                          25
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,                                30
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,                                    35
And makes me end where I begun.

Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 51-52.