Sa`dí, Ghazal Twenty Four (When This My Melancholy Heart)


The following is my translation into rhyming couplets of the twenty-fourth ghazal in the Díván of Sa`dí, the celebrating Persian master of prose and verse who lived in the 13th century and was a native of Shiraz. Sa`dí
is often quoted by the Blessed Beauty, and once even revealed some words in commentary of the following verse, as found in the 93rd passage in Gleanings, 

The friend is nearer unto me than I am to myself; 

But even more astounding is that I am far from Him. 

The following ghazal is an excellent example of the myriad poems of love that flowed from his pen. 


View interlinear file with the original Persian



Sa`dí, Ghazal Twenty Four (When This My Melancholy Heart)

Translation by Joshua Hall


When this my melancholy heart unto the gardens did repair,

The perfumes of the rose and verdure took away my every care.

Sometime the nightingale would sing; the rose, her garment tear away.

And yet when in the thought of thee I fell, no thought of these could stay.

O thou whose seal is on men’s lips, whose love within their hearts abideth,

Ardor for whom doth rule their minds, whose secret in their souls resideth!

All other bonds I broke, when I with thee had made my covenant;

For after thee, ‘tis right that one of any other pact repent.

And since this thorn of love for thee hath clung unto this robe of mine,

‘Tis narrow-minded that I should in any garden go recline.

For him who hath been so beset and compassed with such pain,

That he should wash his hands of every hope for any balm is plain.

If, in our search for thee, travail beleaguer us, then this is right;

For when there is the love for pilgrimage, the distance seemeth slight.

If, at the wounded heart, each arrow in the quiver should be aimed,

We are but one among those souls whose lives thou hitherto hast claimed.

The one who fain would cast his gaze upon that bow-like brow thou hast

Must needs possess a shield for all the arrows therewith thou hast cast.

They say, “do thou speak not, Saߵdi, these many words that speak of love.”

Yet still I speak, and after me, forever will they speak thereof.



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