FUZULI – Layla and Majnun

Posted: 13 January 2012 in FUZULI
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LVIII
Herein is set forth the Letter written by Leyla in reply to Mejnun, and
the Manner in which she made her Excuse.

Now flew the reed pen in fair Leyla’s hand.
And on the waiting parchment writ her thoughts:

‘O, God. Creator, Architect of all,
The Builder of each Treaty, every Vow;
The Giver of the Gifts of Wealth and Child;
Divine Creator out of Nothingness
Of all that has existence, bringing forth
From great Antiquity inventions new;
O, Thou, the Hairdresser of all the World,
Still moulding it to all Thy heart’s desire;
Whose Threshold is the far Sublime; O, King,
This letter, written by a wounded soul,
By me, the restive one, must take its way
To him of honour and of noble rank,
To Mejnun, sick of heart, and sorely hurt.
O, thou, whose carpet is the earth, whose bed
Is tearing thorn, O, thou, the one desire
Of this my grieving heart and tearful eye:
Thy slanders and reproaches tear my heart,
Admitting they are just, while black with shame
My face is hung, dishonoured in thy sight.
Yet know that I, all overwhelmed with shame,
Still suffer pain unceasing. For my guilt
I make admission, yet compassion ask
Of thee who, thus accusing, seek’st excuse.

Thou knowest well that I am but the jewel
Within the market, haggled for by all.
Not mine the choice of market for my wares,
For Fortune blindly still the auction holds.
‘Tis she, net I, who blindly makes the choice
Of buyer and of seller else, be sure
That none would purchase Leyla, saving thee.
If now an accusation harsh is made,
Let not thy hatred of me mount, nor yet
Grow wearied of me, for no pearl am I
That quickly purchased, quickly is engraved.
If it be true that Ibni Salam’s heart,
Is cheered by me, his candle in the night,
And in day his sun, his sole content
Is found in seeing from afar the light,
For he and I are many leagues apart.
And still if he, afar, can see my beam
And revel in it, drawing near its fire
He finds a torment and a scorching pain.

Think not, my soul, that I in cheerfulness
Pursue my path, for, fettered in a net of grief
I find no power to go to market place,
Nor strength to raise my head from off my breast
See now my sorrow: when I wish to cry
I first roust find a reasonable excuse;
And either think of both my parents dear,
Or long association with my friends.
If grief supplies the impulse to destroy
My garments, then the maker of my robes
Must be at hand to furnish the pretext,
And under guise of anger at her faults
I then may rail and rend my dresses. See
I say, “this skirt is wrong, this pocket bad,”
And thus on false pretext, mask honest grief.
And then, those moments when I seek in vain
Sweet union with thee, I must go forth
And seek the fountain, there to take a bath,
And there, alone, I strip my body bare
And ravel up the hair upon my head,
And gaze upon the mirror of the stream,
And in my dissarray, see Mejnun there.

Around my neck no second collar rests,
The rubies of lips set forth no speech;
My neck seeks but the collar of thy arm,
My lips enquire of thine of zephyrs sweet.
From grief of thee I languish in my soul
All martyred by thy soul of cruelty.
Thy bloody curtain is my blood-stained shroud:
Though living still, rest me in my grave.
Think thus, that Leyla rests within a grave,
Think not that with a husband joys her life.

Come thou, and make a candle of thy sigh
To light my tomb; embellish it
With all the dust that lies upon thy road,
For I, though singing as a nightingale,
Sing but the dirge of separation’s pain.
Though singing thus within a garden fair,
Know that the bulbul sings within a cage
Where all the future hides beneath a cloud
Of dark and dreary doubt, as thus with broken wing
And ruined pinion, mournfully I sing.

If now I find companionship with beast
And bird upon the wing, seek no reproof,
For rumour whispers that the bird and beast
Are now blood brother with thee. So am I.
O, sad, deserted lover, never blame
This saddened one who writes these saddened lines.
Wait patiently the day when Fortune smiles
And changes dismal days to happy hours.
Think not that only thou, to Sorrow bound
Art thin with dull Despair’s bewilderment.
These quatrains con with understanding eye.
And know that with thee, Leyla sorrows too.’

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