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Poems from the Divan of Hafiz, by Getrude Lowthian Bell, [1897], at


Stanza 1.—This poem has been expounded to me as a description of the poet's quest for love. In an allegory he shows how he looked for it in vain from that image of earthly devotion, the nightingale; he warns men that it comes not but by humiliation and sorrow; he questions the magic garden, but its breezes cannot answer him; finally, he concludes that love is not that which lies upon the lips of men, and calls upon the Cup-bearer to silence their idle talk with the wine of divine knowledge.

Stanza 2.—The Garden of Irem was planted by the mythical King Shedad, the son of Ad, the grandson of Irem, who was himself the son of Shem. The tribe of Ad settled in the sandy deserts near Aden, where Ad began the building of a great city which his son completed. Round his palace Shedad planted a wonderful garden which was intended to rival in beauty the Garden of Eden. "When it was finished he set out with a great attendance to take a view of it, but when they were come within a day's journey of the place they were all destroyed by a terrible noise from heaven. . . . The city, they tell us, is still standing in the deserts of Aden, being preserved by Providence as a monument of divine justice, though it be invisible, unless very rarely, when God permits it to be seen, a favour one Colabah pretended to have received in the reign of the Khalif Moawiyah, who, sending for him to know the truth of the matter, Colabah related his whole adventure: that, as he was seeking a camel he had lost, he found himself on a sudden at the gates of this city, and entering it, saw not one inhabitant, at which being terrified, he stayed no longer than to take with him some fine stones which he showed the Khalif."—Sale's Koran.

Sudi says that Hafiz composed this poem in a beautiful garden belonging to Shah Shudja, and called by him the Baghi-Irem, after Shedad's legendary Paradise.

"Il y avait jadis en Perse un grand roi nommé Djem ou Djemshid. It régna sept cents ans; je ne saurai vous dire à quelle date au juste, mais ’tant qu’il regna, it n’y eut dans son empire ni mort, ni maladie, ni vicillesse, et tous les hommes marchaient dans la taille de jouvenceaux: de quinze ans; it n’y avait ni chaleur, ni froideur, et jamais ne se desséchaient les eaux ni les plantes.’ Mais le pauvre Djem n’avait point la tête solide, et, comme it faisait des immortels, il se crut Dieu et voulut être adoré. Aussitôt, le Fari Yazdan, c’est-à-dire la gloire royale qui vient de Dieu, l’abandonna; un serpent à trois tétes, nommé Zohab, vint de l’Arabie et lui prit son tréne; it s’enfuit dans l’Inde et y resta chaché mille ans durant; puis un beau jour, s’étant aventuré hors de sa retraite, il fut livré au serpent, qui le scia en deux avec une arête de poisson. Entre autres splendeurs, le roi Djemshid, au temps de sa splendeur, possé-dait une coupe magique où il voyait tout l’univers et tout ce qui s’y passe. Certains savants prétendent que cette coupe était le soleil qui voit toute chose; d’autres, que c’était un globe terrestre mis au courant, et il me souvient qu’il y a deux ans, prenant le thé dans un café de Stamboul avec un sage d’Isfahan, nommé Habib, la conversation tomba de la tasse de thé à la coupe de Djemshid, et Habib, me mettant le doigt au front, me dit: Djam-i-Djemshid, dil-i-agah: "la coupe de Djemshid c’est le cœur de l’homme de science."—Darmsteter, "Lettres sur l’Inde."

A few miles from Peshawar, Darmsteter goes on to relate, there is a dried-up pond called the Talab i Djemshid, into which the King is said to have cast his magic cup. The head man of the village told the French traveller that a knife had been discovered there bearing this inscription: "This pond was dug by me, Djemshid, five hundred years before the Hejra." "Elle n'a pas été retrouvée, la coupe de Djemshid," adds Darmsteter, "non plus que la coupe du roi de Thulé, c’est pour ça qu’il n’y a plus parmi les hommes ni science, ni amour."

Djemshid is supposed to have built Persepolis. There is a legend that his cup was found buried in its foundations, and that it was formed of an enormous turquoise. It is said that he was the first to drink wine, and that he recommended it to his subjects as a health-giving beverage. He, too, was the father of chemistry and the possessor of the philosopher's stone.

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