(The Wine Harvest)
Francisco de Goya 1787
Come, for our hopes are no more than a jerry-built house;
Bring wine, for life's foundations are rooted in wind.
But that man's zeal shall draw me, which under this blue ceiling
Burns bright for nothing that ties us down to the world.
How can I tell you what good news the angel of the Unseen
Brought me last night, flat-out on the wine-shop's floor?
'O royal keen-eyed falcon, whose perch is on the Tree of life,
Why is this corner of affliction's town your nest?
They are whistling you home from the battlements of the Empyrean:
What could you be doing here in this place of snares?'
Take my advice and follow out what I say -
This is a Dictum the Master has handed down:
Don't let the world's ill harm you - (note this, a subtlety
From one who had travelled far upon love's way) -
But accept whatever is dealt you - unknit your brows;
We shall find no other way out; free choice is not ours.
Don't look to hold this tottering world to her bond;
She is the withered hag of a thousand bridegrooms.
There is no faith in the smile of the rose;
Lament, empassioned nightingale: there is room for complaint.
why should poetasters be jealous of Hafiz?
To please the subtleties of speech is the gift of God.
Translated from the Persian by Peter Avery and John Heath-Stubbs