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


Stanza 1.—Blue is the Persian colour of mourning. Hafiz compares the weeping lovers, clad in robes of grief, to a bed of violets, and as the violets bow their heads when the wind passes over them, so they bow down when their mistress passes by with flowing curls.

Stanza 3.—"Erghwan," the Syringa Persica or Persian lilac. In the early spring, before it comes into leaf, it is covered with buds of a beautiful reddish-purple colour.

"Khizr," a prophet whom the Mahommadans confound with Phineas, Elias, and St. George, saying that his soul passed by metempsychosis successively through all three. He discovered the fountain of life and drank of it, thereby making himself immortal. It is said that he guided Alexander to the same fountain, which lay in the Land of Darkness. It was he, too, for whom Moses set out to seek when he had been informed by God that Al Khizr was wiser than he. He found him seated on a rock, at the meeting of the two seas, and followed him for a time, learning wisdom from him, as is related in the eighteenth chapter of the Koran. His name signifies Green; wherever his feet rested, the earth was covered with green herbs.

Hafiz looked upon the prophet Al Khizr as one of his special guardians. About four Persian miles from Shiraz there is a spot called Pir-i-Sabz, the Old Green Man; whosoever should pass forty nights in it without sleeping, on the fortieth night Al Khizr would appear to him and confer upon him the immortal gift of song. Hafiz in his youth fell in love with a beautiful girl of Shiraz called Shakh-i-Nahat, and in order to win her heart he determined to meet Al Khizr and receive from him the art of poetry. For thirty-nine mornings he walked beneath the windows of Shakh-i-Nahat, at noon he ate, then he slept, and at night he kept watch, undismayed by the terrible apparition of a fierce lion which was his nightly companion. At length, on the fortieth morning, Shakh-i-Nahat called him into her house and told him that she was ready to become his wife, for she preferred a man of genius to the son of a king. She would have kept him with her, but Hafiz, though he had gained his original end, was now filled with desire to become a poet, and insisted upon keeping his fortieth vigil. That night an old man dressed in green garments came to him and brought him a cup of the water of immortality.

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