Hafiz is by universal consent the supreme master of the art of the persian Ghazal - a literary form generally equated with the lyric;though perhaps the sonnet is in some repects a closer equivalent.
When it is considered that literary critics of undoubted authority have estimated persian poetry as an important contribution to the art of selfexpression in metre and rhyme,and the persian Ghazal as a form unsurpassable of it's kind , it may be readily concede that Hafiz is a poet eminently worth study; and it may be without undue optimism be conjectured that as a master of asplendid artform he can still teach useful lessons to all who are interested in the evolution of poetic expression.
If it is added , as a personal opinion,that Hafiz technique can be modified imitation inspire new developments in western poetry, perhaps a claim so extravagant will not be rejected so summarily as asimilar claims less solidly founded;for Hafiz ia as highly esteemed by his countrymen as Shakespeare by us,and deserves as serious consideration.
Shams al-Din Hfiz of Shiraz was born at the capital of the province of favs about the year 720/1320 , some sixty years after the great catastrophe of Islamic history, Hulagu Khan's capture and sack of Baghdad;rather less than a century after the death of Muhyi al-Din Ibn Arabi(d. 638/1240),the greatest theosophist of the Arabs;and fifty years after the death of Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 672/1273) , persia's most original mystical poet.
He grew up in an age when the finet Arabic literature had already been written, and in the shadow of the reputation of his distinguished fellow- citizan,Shaikh Sadi (d. 690/1291) or (691/1292).
Persian poetry had thus reached its consummation in the romantinc epic (Nizami probably died in 599/1202), the mystical MATHNAVI , the RUBAI, the GASIDA (Anvari died between 585/1189 and 587/1191),and gnomic vers, Hafiz spent little time on the GASIDE and RUBAI,and none at all on the other classical forms , but elected to specialize in the GHAZAL , no doubt supposing - and not without cause- that he had something to contrebute to this delicate of all poetic forms.
Here are some of Hafiz's poems,consider that some of words loose their meaning in translation,and in Persian they have more meanings.
WHERE IS THE PIOUS DOER?
Where is the pious doer? and i
The estray's one, where?
Behold how far the distance, from
His safe home to here!
Dark is the stony desert, trackless and vast and dim,
Where is hope's guiding lanterns?
Where is faith's star so fair?
My heart fled from the cloister, and chant of monkish hymn,
What can avail me sainthood,fasting and punctual prayer?
What is the truth shall light me to heaven's strait thoroughfare?
Whither'O heart,thou hastest?
Arrest thee, and beware!
See what a lone adventure is thine uneding quest!
Fraurht with what deadly danger!
Set with what unseen snare!
Say not,O friend,to Hafiz,"quiet thee noe and rest!"
Calm and content,what are they?
Patience and peace,O where?
WHERE ARE THE TIDINGS
Where are the tidings of union? That I may arise
Fourth from the dust I will rise up to welcome thee!
My soul, like a homing bird,yearning for paradise,
Shall arise and soar, from the snares of the world set free,
When the voice of thy love shall call me to be thy slave,
I shall rise to a greater far than the mastery
Of life and the living, time and the mortal span:
Pour down,oh lord!from the clouds of thy guiding grace
The rain of mercy that quickeneth on my grave,
Befor, like dust that the wind bears from place to place,
I arise and flee beyond the knowledge of man.
When to my grave thou tunest thy blessed feet,
Wine and the lute thou shalt bring in thine hand to me,
Thy voice shall ring through the folds of my winding-sheet,
And I will arise and dance to thy minstrelsy.
Though I be old ,clasp me one night to thy breast,
And I, when the down shall come to awaken me.
With the flush of youth on my cheek from thy bosom will rise.
Rise up! Let mine eyes delight in thy stately grace!
Thou art the goal to which all men's endeavour has pressed,
And thou the idol of Hafiz' worship;thy face
From the world and life shall bid him come forth and arise!
Go friendly Zephyr! Whisp'ring greet
Yon gentle fawn with slender feet;
Say that in quest of her I rove
The dangerous steeps,the wilds of love.
Thou merchant who dost sweetness nend
(long may kind heav'n thy life defend!)
Ah, why unfriendly thus forget
Thy am'rous aweet-billed parroquet?
Is it,O rose!thy beauty's pride
That casts affection far aside,
Forbidding thee to court the tale
Of thy fond mate, the nightingale?
I know not why' tis rare to see
The colour of sincerity
In nymphs who boast majestic grace,
Dark eyes, and silver-beaming face.
What tho' that face be angle fair,
One fault does all its beauty marr;
Nor faith, nor corstancy adorn
Thy charms , which else might shame the morn.
By gentle manners we control
The wise , the sense-illumin'd soul:
No idle Jure, no glitt'ring bait
Th' experience'd will captivate.
What wonder, Hafiz, that thy strain,
Whose sounds inchant th' ethereal plain'
Should tempt each graver star to move
In dances with the star of love?
With sullen pace stern winter leaves the plain,
And blooming spring trips gaily o'er the meads,
Sweet Philomel now swells her plaintive strain,
And her lov'd rose his blushing beauties spreads.
O Zephyr, whilst you waft your gentle gale,
Fraught with the fragrance of Arabia's groves'
Breathe my soft wishes through yon blcoming vale.
Tell charming Leila how her poet loves!
O! for one heavenly glance from that dear maid,
How would my raptur'd heart with joy rebound;
Down to her feet I'd lowly bend my head,
And with my eyebrows sweep the hallw'd ground.
Could those stern fools who steal religion's mask;
And rail against the sweet delights of love,
Fair Leila see , no paradise they'd ask,
But for her smiles renounce the joys above.
Trust not in fortune,vain deluded charm!
Whom wise men shun, and only fools adore.
Oft, whilst she smiles,fate sounds the dread alarm,
Round flies her wheel;yon sink to rise no more.
Ye rich and great,why rear those princely domes?
Those heaven-aspiring towers why proudly raise?
Lo!Whilst triumphant all around you blooms,
Death's aweful angle numbers out your days.
Sweet tyrant, longer in that flintly Breast
Lock not thy heart , my bosom is its throne;
There let the charming flutt'ren gently rest;
Here feast on joys to vulgar souls unknown.
But ah!what means that fiercleyrolling eye'
Those pointed locks scent the amdient air;
Now my fond hops in wild disorder fly,
Low droops my love , a prey to black despair.
Those charming brows, arch'd like the heavenly bow,
Arm not,O gentle maid' with such disdain;
Drive not a wretch,already sunk Full low,
Hopeless to mourn his never ceasing pain.
But to the fair no longer be slave;
Drink, Hafiz! revel all your cares unbend,
And no boldly scorn the mean dissembling knave
Who makes religion every vice defend!
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