Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Divan~a~Shams~a Tabrizi


He said: 'Who is at the door?' Said I: 'Thy humble slave.'
He said: 'What business have you?' Said I: 'Lord, to greet thee.'
He said: 'How long will you push?' Said I: 'Till thou call.'
He said: 'How long will you glow?' Said I: 'Till resurrection.'
I laid claim to love, I took oaths
That for love I had lost sovereignty and power.
He said: 'A judge demands witness as regards a claim.'
Said I: 'Tears are my witness, paleness of face my evidence.'
He said: 'The witness is not valid; your eye is corrupt.'
Said I: 'By the majesty of thy justice they are just and clear of sin.'
He said: 'What do you intend?' Said I: 'Constancy and friendship.'
He said: 'What do you want of me?' Said I: 'Thy universal grace.'
He said: 'Who was your companion?' Said I: 'Thought of thee, O King.'
He said: 'Who called you here?' Said I: 'The odour of thy cup.'
He said: 'Where is it pleasantest?' Said I: 'The Emperor's palace.'
He said: 'What saw you there?' Said I: 'A hundred miracles.'
He said: 'Why is it desolate?' Said I: 'From fear of the brigand.'
He said: 'Who is the brigand?' Said I: 'This blame.'
He said: 'Where is it safe?' Said I: 'In abstinence and piety.'
He said: 'What is abstinence?' Said I: 'The path of salvation.'
He said: 'Where is calamity?' Said I: 'In the neighbourhood of thy love.'
He said: 'How fare you there?' Said I: 'In steadfastness.'
I gave you a long trial, but it availed me nothing;
Repentance lights on him who tests one tested already.
Peace! if I should utter forth his mystic sayings,
You would go beside yourself, neither door nor roof would restrain you.

A song from 'Selected Poems from The Divan~a~Shams~a Tabrizi of Jalaluddin Rumi' translated by R.A.Nicholson. This book is a re-issue by Ibex publishers ( of the original publication about 100 years ago in 1898. It has 48 songs in it in English as well as Persian, and an extended collection of notes by the author that proove interesting reading.

Nicholson, also translated another great work by Jalalluddin Rumi: the Mathnawi. It took the English scholar a lifetime to translate it. He translated quite some Arabic literature too, but admitted that he was always drawn towards the continuation of translating the Mathnawi. Nicholson's translation of the Mathnawi is considered a standard. It was the first complete translation into English, and Nicholson is known for the depth he reached when diving into this ocean called Mathnawi. His writing captivates the reader's attention, even though we are reading the English translation, and not the original in Parsi. Not bad at all for an Englishman that never left Europe to visit Persia or the Middle East, to strike such a cord with such a collection of deep songs.  

For more songs by Rumi in English translation, visit or try to get a book by Nader Khalili, space architect and translator of the Songs of Rumi. (

Posted at 12:03 am by waterworld


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Welcome to the Waterworld.

Here I will share with you my thoughts on music, literature and politics.

I am specifically interested in the treasury of Parsi literature.

Iran, and the movement for democratic change have my special interest too.

While singing, reading, writing and thinking, I like to hear the Voices of Pars.
You know who I'm talking about ....

Responsabilities of a succesfull Transitional Government in Iran
Protest at the IRI embassy, The Hague, August 5th
United4Iran, Amsterdam, July 25th 2009
Iranian protest, The Hague ICC, July 9th
Iranian protest, Brussels, 4th of July
London Speech by Prince Reza Pahlavi
Human rights for Iranian citizens now !!
October 29, Cyrus the Great Day
In Iran, even art is being put behind bars
Iran students protest against Ahmadinejad
Iran: arrests of demonstrators continue
Rafsanjani off the hook ... for now
Student activists: Death to despotism, Death to dictator
In Iran, stoning of women continues
SMCCDI urgent action call
IRI murders Akbar Mohammadi
Terror tactics against union
Pahlavi critical of the West's offer to Iran
Prison as a mirror of society
Hostage takers against hostage taking
Nuke plants in a quake zone
United by their natural rights and their humanity
Knowledge in the hands of the evil-natured man
To whom it may concern
Adonis speaks ...
Where are the billions?
A letter from Iranian students
Opposition or opposition to the opposition?
Partir, c'est mourir un peu
Follow the money
The policy of doing nothing
Vani is equal to a murder
Under Islamic Law there is murder ...
12 Reasons against nuclear energy for Iran
The Times on 'One man, one vote'
An interview with Oriana Fallaci
Prince Reza Pahlavi speaks on CNN
Elections in Iran
Fascism in Islamic countries
Football is ...
Action in Europe
The Iran of Tomorrow Movement
60 or 70 million
A man and a bear

Conference of the Birds

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