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The Rhyme Maker

Theme:  Wine, Women, and Song

"Third stanza: Magian Elder = the tavern-keeper, adopted by the Persian free-thinking poets as their 'Elder' and spiritual director in mockery of the Sufis and other religious orders. Wine being prohibited by the Mohammedan law, the taverns appear to have been, on the installation of Islam as the state religion of Persia, clandestinely established in out-of-the-way places, such as ruins (hence the common name kherabat, ruins, for tavern) of old buildings, and especially in the deserted temples of the Magians or Zoroastrian fire-worshipers (hence "Temple" ' or "Convent of the Magians" = wine-house) and the sectaries of the old religion, being unbound by the prohibitions of the new faith, seem to have commonly acted as vintners and wine-sellers; hence the expressions 'Cup of the Magians,' 'Wine of the Magians,' etc"
 – John Payne, translator of Hafiz   
in Odes from the Divan of Hafiz         

Richard Le Gallienne, the translator of this poem of Hafiz, also has his own poems posted at
- S. H. Bass   

Special Notes:  Persian Wine Poetry

more Hafiz at
translations by Gertrude Bell
A flower-tinted cheek
Arise! and fill a golden goblet up
Arise, oh Cupbearer, rise!

Forget not when dear friend
From out the street of So-and-So
From the garden of Heaven
Hast thou forgotten
Lay not reproach at the drunkard's door

Mirth, Spring, to linger in a garden fair

My friend has fled
Not all the sum of earthly happiness

Not one is filled with madness
Oh Cup-bearer, set my glass afire

Singer, sweet Singer, fresh notes strew

The bird of gardens sang unto the rose
The breath of Dawn
The rose has flushed red
The rose is not fair
The secret draft of wine

What drunkenness is this
What is wrought in the forge
Where is my ruined life

Wind from the east

translations by Richard Le Gallienne 
Comrades, the morning breaks
Happy returns of this good day

Heavens! do you think this is a time

Last night, as half asleep I dreaming lay

My hermitage the tavern is

No! Saki – take the wine away

O, I've good news for you – the spring

Once more red wine

Saki, for God's love, come and fill

The Abbot of the Wine-House

Tis an unstable world

Two Gallons of old wine

What ails thee, Saki! Wine

With last night’s wine still singing

More English translations of Hafiz:
Song of Hafiz (unknown - 1875)
The Feast Of Spring (Whinfield - 1917)

When thus I sit with roses in my breast
Hafiz (c.1320-1389), Persian poet
English verse by Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947), English poet

When thus I sit with roses in my breast,
Wine in my hand, and the Beloved kind;
I ask no more the world can take the rest.
Even the Sultan's self is, to my mind,
On such a planetary night as this,
Compared with me a veritable slave.

No need of candles where my loved one is!
Is not the moon of her bright cheek at full?
Such eyes would fill with light the very grave.
No need of perfumes ! the Beloved's hair
Wafts such a fragrance to the feasting sense
That all this vinous tavern smells of myrrh
And musk and ambergris and frankincense.

In this our order of the Magian creed
Wine lawful is, but, were thy face away --
O rose that hath a cypress for thy stem! –
We should on no account be drunk to-day.
Sweet is yon sound of ghittern and of reed,
My head is all a-humming with soft strings,
And my heart full with the sad sound of them.

Talk not of other sweetness, love, to me,
The vulgar sweets and sugars of the world,
My only hope of sweetness is in thee,
And on that lip indifferently curled –
Saucy alike to beggars and to kings.

Beloved, blame him not if, for relief,
The sanctuary of his ruined heart,
Nursing the precious treasure of his grief,
Unto the kindly tavern HAFIZ brings;
Nor talk of shame to HAFIZ – for his part,
Nowise ashamed is HAFIZ of his shame;
That which the world accounts a spotless name
HAFIZ, indeed, would be ashamed to bear.
Wine-bibber call him, and adulterer!
Go on! what else! he will not say thee nay.
Is Shiraz then so innocent a place
That none but HAFIZ ever goes astray
After the wine-cup and a pretty face?
Summon the Censor, he who takes such care
Of us poor fools he 's always running after
Women and wine the very same as we;
Be sure he also loves good wine and laughter.

Nay, Sufi, go thy ways, let HAFIZ be!
To-night the never-ending fast is done,
And the great feast comes in with minstrelsy :
Here shall we sit, until the rising sun
Glitters on rose and jasmine – I and she.

Ode 34 from Odes from the Divan of Hafiz (freely rendered from literal translations) 1905

The Internet Archive logoFREE E-BOOK
Odes from the Divan of Hafiz (1905)
English verse by Richard Le Gallienne


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