Wednesday, October 17, 2012

[Sunlight] This madman can be held by no chain -- Ghazal 2509


Today, Sunlight presents Ghazal (Ode) 2509, in a poetic version by Jonathan Star, and in literal translations by A.J. Arberry and William C. Chittick:


"By the Curl of My Hair"

The King held counsel with a group of madmen.
All at once their tormented souls began to cry out.

My voice was free of its beastly nature
And the King heard it above the rest.
He signaled the guards
to put that madman back in chains.

"O King, if I am mad,
you are the Solomon of every made spirit.
O King, you know the language of the birds
and the spell of magicians.
Why use chains on me?
Can't you cast a spell on this madman?"

An old man approached the King and said,
"Bind him in chains.
This madman will spread havoc
through both worlds."

The King said,
"This madman cannot be held by chains,
only by the curl of my hair.
You do not know him as I do.
He will break a hundred fetters
if they keep him from my hand.
This one knows but three words,
`To Us Return,'
For he is the King's falcon."

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved "
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997


Today the king in secret visited the madmen; a shout went up
from the souls of the spiritual distracted ones.
Amid the cries that king recognized my voice, for my voice
had become purified of animal breaths.
He signaled so royally that the madmen leaped from his
bonds, if I am mad, O king, you are the Solomon of the divs.*
O king, you share the secrets of the birds and the spells of the
divs; now if it is fitting you should recite a spell on this madman.
An elder approached the king saying, "Bind him in chains, for
this madman is causing enough disturbance and disorder in the divan."
My king said, "This madman will accept no chain other than
the chain of my tress; you do not know his character.
"He bursts thousands of bonds to fly to my hand; to us returning
he becomes, for he is a royal falcon."*

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968

Arberry's Notes:
*It is said that Solomon had power over the divs and jinns.
*Qur'an 21:93.


Today the King came secretly before the
madmen, and their spiritually possessed souls began to lament.
That King recognized my voice among the
shouts, for it was purified from the breath of animality.
He made a royal gesture, meaning, "One of the
possessed has escaped his fetters." O King, if I am possessed,
Thou art the Solomon of all possessing spirits.
Oh King! Thou knowest the mysteries of the
birds and the incantations of the jinn. How fitting if Thou
shouldst also recite a spell over this madman!
An old man came before the King and said,
"Bind him with chains, for this madman has caused a great
deal of uproar and destruction among the devils."
My King said, "This madman can be held by no
chain but My tresses -- you do not know his character.
He will snap thousands of fetters and fly to Our
hand. He will become to Us they shall return (XXI 93), for he
is a royal falcon."

-- Translation by William C. Chittick
" The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983




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