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


Stanza 1.—Those who have seen a Persian garden will not find it difficult to understand why it should play so large a part in Persian poetry. Often enough you may pass with one step out of a barren desert of dust and stones into one of these green and fertile spots, full of violets in the spring, and of roses and lilies in the early summer; and from the blinding glare of a Persian sun into a cool and shadowy retreat planted with great plane-trees. The water which flows in numberless streams through the garden, and leaps in countless fountains, has worked all the miracle. The change from desert to flowery paradise is one of those strong contrasts so common in the East which take hold of the imagination of all who see them.

Stanza 3.—That is, do not attempt to light the torches of a Mahommadan monastery from the lamp of a Jewish synagogue. One of the most famous of the Prophet's sayings is: there is no monasticism in Islam. Nevertheless, from the time of Abu Bekr and Ali onwards, such religious associations grew up and flourished. Nearly all the celebrated doctors of whom the Sufis boast in the first six hundred years after the Hejra belonged to them.

"Verily our messengers write down that which ye deceitfully devise," says the Koran (chap. x.). Two guardian angels attend every man and write down his actions; they are changed daily and a fresh pair takes their place. The books which they have written shall be produced on the Day of judgment.

Stanza 4.—It was this verse which decided the right of Hafiz to receive honourable burial.

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