Ghazal #54, Divan-e-Hafez (Khanlari)

منم که گوشه میخانه خانقاه من است
دعای پیر مغان ورد صبحگاه من است

گرم ترانه چنگ صبوح نیست چه باک
نوای من به سحر آه  عذر خواه من است

ز پادشاه و گدا فارغم بحمدالله
کمین گدای در دوست پادشاه من است

غرض ز مسجد و میخانه ام وصال شماست
جز این خیال ندارم خدا گواه من است

ازان زمان که برین آسان نهادم روی
فراز مسند خورشید تکیه گاه من است

مگر به تیغ اجل خیمه بر کنم ور نی
رمیدن از در دولت نه رسم و راه من است

گناه اگر چه نبود اختیار ما حافظ
تو در طریق ادب کوش و گو گناه من است


Translation by Dick Davis, from “Faces of Love- Hafez”:

A corner of the wine-shop is
the temple where I pray;
My morning plea’s the prayer
the Zoroastrians say;

And if I miss the harp at dawn
I needn’t worry now-
My waking song’s my prayerful sigh
and my repentant vow.

Thank God I care for neither king
nor beggar! since I see
The poorest beggar at my friend’s
door is a king to me.

All I require from mosque and wine-shop
is to know your love;
As God’s my witness, this is all
that I’ve been dreaming of-

And since I’ve bowed my head down to
this threshold, I have known
The heavenly sun itself is where
I’m seated on my throne.

Until death’s dagger rends the tent
that is my life, my heart
Will not abjure his doorway- no,
I cannot now depart.

Though sin’s not ours to choose, Hafez,
keep to the disciplined
And noble way you’ve traveled on,
and say, “It’s I who’ve sinned.”

My translation:

I am he whose table at the wine-house is the Khaneqah,
And prayer to the Magian Elder is my dawn rosary.

If morning does not bring harp, song and cup- so what;
Dawn’s music is my sighing petition for grace!

I am free of Shah and beggar (at last)- praise be to God!
The meanest beggar at the Friend’s door- is my Shah.

My interest in mosque and wine-house is union with you:
I have no thought apart from this, as God is my witness.

From the moment I placed my head on your threshold,
The Sun’s throne itself has become my refuge.

Maybe by the sword of death I will strike camp- or not;
To flee from the door of fortune is not my way and custom.

Although this blame was not ours by choice, Hafez,
Strive in the way of etiquette and say, “the fault is mine.”


This ghazal is a statement of devotion to the Magian Elder,
a mysterious Zoroastrian figure often referred to in Hafez’s
ghazals, as an usurpation of both Islamic and Sufic practice:
He prays to the “bartender” with a religious zeal!

(Because wine is forbidden by Islam, Zoroastrians were often
purveyors of wine.)

In the second and third stanzas, the speaker indicates he no
longer has a court position amid sycophants, and declares the
sovereignty of the Friend, and the superiority of his companions.
“harp’s melody” and “cup” refer to a royal morning concert
and drinking party.

In the fourth stanza he swears by God that the value of religion
and wine is subsumed in the beloved, and in the next stanza again
compares him to supernal royalty.

In the sixth stanza, he observes that although he may die, he will
never forsake the threshold of his presence.

In the final stanza, he makes a statement that perhaps refers
to the third stanza and the circumstances of his lost position
at court, for which he ironically accepts blame. This is the ghazal’s
most ambiguous stanza. It is also perhaps a summation of the
dilemma posed by his apostasy as a “good” Muslim: he cannot
help himself- it was not a matter of will, but he should efface
himself rhetorically, nonetheless. It is also perhaps a reference to
the path of “malamati”- the path of blame, which he shares with the
Magian Elder. It is a brilliant and ironic riposte, as well, to all the
cavil that his stated position must incur, as if to say: “My friends,
I am a slave to my desire- and happy because of it.”

The first stanza begins with the declarative, “I am he…”, and the last
closes with the triumph of ambiguous wit.

Davis’ translation is a fine poetic effort that hews closely to the
Persian. He does not develop the suggestive references about
Hafez being dismissed from court, as I have done. My translation
is more literal and not so constrained by form. He nicely conveys
Hafez’s iconoclasm and wit.

This ghazal is an exceptionally bold and clear statement from the
Divan-e-Hafez about the identity of the Magian Elder as the Saqi-
the giver of Wine, the Friend, the beloved, and the sovereign Master.






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