Qasida | Umar ibn al-Farid: The Flame of Layla

Was that Layla’s flame that shone through the veils of night on Dhū-Salam,
or lightning’s flash round ˁAlam and Zawrā’ throughout the vales?…

English

Translation by A.Z. Foreman

Was that Layla’s flame that shone through the veils of night on Dhū-Salam,
   or lightning’s flash round ˁAlam and Zawrā’ throughout the vales?
Have you but a sigh of dawn for me, O winds about Naˁmān?
   Have you but a sip to offer me, O waters of Wajra’s ways?
O driver of laden camels rolling up the wayless sands
   like a scroll of mighty writ beside Ịdam’s Sagebrush today
Turn aside at the guarded safeground -God be your shepherd!- and seek the path
   To yonder Lotus thicket, to the myrtle and laurel bay.
Then halt at Mount Salˁ and ask at the curling vale of Raqmatayn:
   Have the tamarisks grown and touched at last in the livening weep of the rain?
If you’ve crossed the waters of ˁAqīq in the mornlight, I implore you
   By God, be unabashed and offer them my heartfelt Hail!
Tell everybody this: I have left behind a heartfelled man
   Alive as a deadman, adding plague to plague through your domains.
From my heart like a burning bush there spreads a fire of more than flame.
   From my eyes the pouring tears are like a ceaseless season of rains.
For such is the lovers’ law: not one limb of the mortal body
   When bound in love with a gazelle can ever be freed of pain.
You ignoramus! You who defame and shame me for my love!
   Desist and learn. You would not blame me, had your love been the same.
My oath by the sacred union, by the age-old love and by
   That covenant’s communion and all the things of bygone ages:
No consolation, no replacement turned me away from loving
   For it is not who I am to move with the whims of solace and change.
Return the slumber to my eyes, and then perhaps I will see you
   Visit my bed in the recklessness of dream as a revenant shade.
Alas for our days at Khayf! Had they but lasted each tenfold!
   Alas for me, alas, how the last day couldn’t last or stay.
If only my grief could cure me, oh if only the “oh” of my woe
   And my remorse could ever recover aught that is passed away,
Gazelles of the winding dell! Be kind and turn away from me
   For I, to look on no one but my love, have bound my gaze
In deference to a Judge who has decreed a wondrous fatwa
   That my blood be shed in every month, the sacred and profane.
Deaf, he did not hear my plea. Dumb, he could not reply.
   He is stricken blind to the plight of one whom love has struck insane.

عربي

هل نار ليلى بدت ليلا بذي سلم

هَلْ نارُ لَيلَى بَدَتْ لَيلاً بِذي سَلَمِ أمْ بارِقٌ لاحَ في ٱلزَّوراءِ فٱلعَلَمِ
أَرْواحَ نَعْمانَ, هَلَّا نَسْمَةٌ سَحَراً وَماءَ وَجْرةَ, هَلَّا نَهْلَة ٌ بِفَمِ
يا سائِقَ ٱلظَّعْنِ يَطْوي البِيدَ مُعْتَسِفاً طيَّ ٱلسِّجِلِّ، بِذاتِ ٱلشِّيحِ مِن إضَمِ
عُجْ بٱلحِمَى يا رَعاكَ اللَّهُ، مُعتَمِداً خَمِيلَةَ ٱلضَّالِ ذاتَ ٱلرَّنْدِ وٱلخُزُمِ
وَقِفْ بِسَلْعٍ وَسَلْ بٱلجِزْعِ هَلْ مُطِرَتْ بٱلرَّقْمَتَينِ أُثَيلَاتٌ بِمُنْسَجِمِ
نَاشَدْتُكَ اللَّهَ إنْ جُزْتَ ٱلعَقِيقَ ضُحًى فاقْرَ ٱلسَّلامَ عَلَيهِمْ، غَيرَ مُحْتَشِمِ
وقُلْ تَرَكْتُ صَرِيعاً، في دِيارِكُمُ، حَيّاً كَمَيِّتٍ يُعِيرُ ٱلسُّقْمَ للسَّقَمِ
فَمِنْ فُؤادي لَهيبٌ نابَ عنْ قَبَسٍ، وَمنْ جُفوني دَمْعٌ فاضَ كٱلدِّيَمِ
وهذهِ سنَّةُ ٱلعشَّاقِ ما عَلِقوا بِشادِنٍ، فَخَلا عُضْوٌ منَ ٱلألَمِ
يالائماً لامَني في حبِّهِمْ سَفَهاً كُفَّ ٱلمَلامَ، فلو أحبَبْتَ لمْ تَلُمِ
وحُرْمَةِ ٱلوَصْلِ، وٱلوِدِّ ٱلعتيقِ، وبٱلْـعَهْدِ ٱلوَثيقِ وما قدْ كانَ في ٱلقِدَمِ
ما حُلتُ عَنْهُمْ بِسُلْوانٍ ولابَدَلٍ ليسَ ٱلتَّبدُّلُ وٱلسُّلوانُ منْ شِيَمي
رُدُّوا ٱلرُّقادَ لِجَفْني عَلَّ طَيفَكُمُ بِمَضْجَعي زائرٌ في غَفْلَةِ ٱلحُلُمِ
آهاً لأيّامِنا بٱلخَيْفِ، لَو بَقِيَتْ عَشراً وواهاً عَلَيها كَيفَ لمْ تَدمِ
هَيهاتَ وا أسَفي لو كانَ يَنْفَعُني أوْ كانَ يُجْدِي على ما فاتَ وانَدَمي
عَنِّي إلَيكُمْ ظِباءَ ٱلمُنْحَنَى كَرَماً عَهِدْتُ طَرْفيَ لم يَنْظُرْ لِغَيرِهِمِ
طَوعاً لِقاضٍ أتى في حُكمِهِ عَجَباً، أفتى بِسَفْكِ دمي في ٱلحِلِّ وٱلحَرَمِ
أصَمُّ لَمْ يُصْغِ للشّكوَى ، وأَبْكَمُ لَم يُحِرْجواباً وَعَنْ حالِ ٱلمَشوقِ عَمِي



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