O Hafez of Shiraz, You are the Keeper of All Secrets

Two attempts at translating a famous poem of Hafez (13th century). I believe this poem appears on his tomb in Shiraz, Iran. The first rendering is a freer translation and abandons any attempt to retain the classic Persian device known as radîf, that is, a sort of refrain which repeats itself at the end of every line. This radîf in particular (-ân bar khîzam “I will rise”) causes some syntactical problems in English, owing to the fact that Persian always prefers to place its verbs at the end of the sentence. Mostly I rhymed where convenient, but I *may* have forced a rhyme in there for the last line. It was just so tempting. The second version posted here is my first translation, rather literal, no rhyming, though it does try to render the radîf. The original text appears at the bottom. Comments appreciated!

Hafez, Ghazal 336


So where are happy tidings of your union, that I may leave this life?
For I am heaven’s bird, who flees the snare of strife.
To you my love I swear that if you call me slave,
My hopes will reign of God’s domain transcend.
O Lord, let the rain pour down from cloud of guidance,
Ere I like rising dust from earth to you ascend.
And sit beside my tomb with wine and minstrel,
Until from it I climb, now dancing with your scent.
Though I be old, tonight embrace me tightly,
‘Til at dawn, may I arise beside you sprightly.
Rise up and stand, O idol sweetly gliding,
So I like Hafez, rise from world and soul so lightly.


Where are the glad tidings of your union, so that from this life I may rise?
I am a bird of heaven, from the snare of the world I must rise.
I swear by your love that if you call me your slave,
Beyond mastery of the universe I will rise.
O Lord, pour down rain from the cloud of guidance,
Before, like dust from the midst, I rise.
Sit beside my tomb with wine and minstrel,
Until, from within it, dancing with your scent, I rise.
Though I be old, draw me into your embrace one night,
So at dawn, from beside you, youthful I may rise.
Rise and stand tall, O sweet idol of motion,
So that like Hafez, from this life and world, I may rise.

متن اصلی

غزل ۳۳۶ – حافظ

مژدۂ وصل تو کو کز سر جان بر خیزم
طایر قدسم و از دام جهان بر خیزم

به ولای تو که گر بندۂ خویشم خوانی
از سر خواجگی کون و مکان بر خیزم

یا رب از ابر هدایت برسان بارانی
پیش تر زانکه چو گردی ز میان بر خیزم

بر سر تربت من با می و مطرب بنشین
تا ببویت ز لحد رقص کنان برخیزم

گرچه پیرم تو شبی تنگ در آغوشم کش
تا سحرگه ز کنار تو جوان بر خیزم

خیز و بالا بنما ای بت شیرین حرکات
که چو حافظ ز سر جان و جهان بر خیزم


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