From Vis and Ramin, an eleventh-century Persian romance, by Fakhraddin Gorgani, translated by Dick Davis. Vis has been abandoned by her lover Ramin, and writes him a long letter of reproach.

Greetings to that tall tree whose leaves conceal
Within its shape a center formed from steel,
Greetings to that red jewel whose facets hide
Thirty unblemished pearls arrayed inside,
Greetings to those narcissus eyes whose light
Deprives me of my sleep throughout the night,
Greetings to that full moon whose course has made
My fortune’s moon eclipsed by sorrow’s shade,
Greetings to that fair garden which has left
My house of patience ruined and bereft,
Greetings to that green fir tree branch, which shows
How fruitlessly my withered branch now grows,
Greetings to that sweet rose whose smiles ensure
My constant weeping here for evermore,
Greetings to that wild, wanton tulip who
Has brimmed my weary eyes with morning dew,
Greetings to that brash rogue whose ruses keep
My mind from any kind of restful sleep,
Greeting to that brocade’s bright mysteries,
To that pale moonlight, and the Pleiades,
Greetings to that fair, flower-like cypress tree
Whose beauty wounds my heart continually,
Greetings to those sweet curls whose scent has made
Merchants of musk give up their pointless trade,
Greetings to those bewitching eyes whose glance
Has made me look on food and sleep askance,
Greetings to those bright cheeks whose charming fire
Has filled my soul with trouble and desire,
Greetings to that full moon whose loveliness
Has left me weak and senseless with distress,
Greetings to that renowned deceiver who
Deprives my heart of all it might pursue,
Greetings to that sweet rose whose heady scent
Has filled my months and years with discontent,
Greetings to those tight curls whose antics shame me
So much that even in Shiraz they blame me,
Greetings to that coy grace, that charming chin
That’s made my life a tale of shame and sin,
Greetings to glory, to that radiance
That’s left me with this sallow countenance,
Greetings to that resplendent treasury
That’s made a pastime of oppressing me,
Greetings to that refulgent sun that’s given
The world more beauty than the sun in heaven,
Greetings to that sweet rose which is so fair
That roses shed their petals in despair,
Greetings to that tall cypress tree whose scent’s
Stronger than jasmine’s in its vehemence,
Greetings to that great lord of victory,
Greetings to that bright moon of tyranny,
Greetings to that brave knight, that noble king,
Greetings to one who’s envied by the spring,
Greetings to one who is my world, my truth,
Greetings to one who loved me in my youth,
Greetings to one I wish success forever
Without whom both my eyes flow like a river,
Greetings beyond all count and numbering,
More than the endless bounty of the spring,
More than the deserts’ countless grains of sand,
More than the raindrops drenching sea and land,
More than the plants that spring up constantly,
More than the beings of the land and sea,
More than the days the two worlds have been given,
More than the stars that fill the vault of heaven,
More than the seeds in every last location,
More than mankind in every generation,
More than birds’ feathers, hairs on every pelt,
More than all words that scribes have ever spelt,
More than your thoughts, and my anxieties,
More than all faiths and creeds and pieties,
I wish you joy for all eternity
And wish myself your love and loyalty.
May you find happiness, and may the light
That shines from you illuminate my sight;
A thousand times I wish, and wish again,
That great good fortune may be yours. Amen!

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 26 Number 6, on page 33
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