(BLSB) - The Lyrical Motif of the Young Male Beloved in a Poem by Ḥáfiz̤

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Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī (1315–1390), known as Hafez or Hafiz (حافظ Ḥāfeẓ, "the memorizer; the [safe] keeper"). Miniature painting held in the National Museum of Damascus, Syria.


From Ḥáfiz̤ of Shíráz: Selections from His Poems, translated from the Persian by Herman Bicknell, edited by Algernon Sidney Bicknell (London: Trübner & Co., 1875). Footnotes omitted.

CXXXIV.

[...]

Although upon his moon-like cheek delight and beauty glow,
Nor constancy nor love is there: O Lord! these gifts bestow.

A child makes war against my heart; and he in sport one day
Will put me to a cruel death, and law shall not gainsay.

What seems for my own good is this: my heart from him to guard;
For one who knows not good from ill its guardianship were hard.

Agile and sweet of fourteen years that idol whom I praise:
His ear-rings in her soul retains the moon of fourteen days,

A breath as the sweet smell of milk comes from those sugary lips;
But from those black and roguish eyes behold what blood there drips!

My heart to find that new-born rose has gone upon its way;
But where can it be found, O Lord? I’ve lost it many a day.

If the young friend who owns my heart my centre thus can break,
The Páshá will command him soon the lifeguard’s rank to take.

I’d sacrifice my life in thanks,
If once that pearl of sheen
Would make the shell of ḤÁFIZ̤’ eye
Its place of rest serene.


Reclining Youth. Persian miniature painting. Iran, first third of the 17th century. Gouache and gold. Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum, VР-706.

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