Alas! Alas! For Sweet Life, That Passeth Thus Away! By Ahmad Shah Abdali

Alas! alas! for sweet life, that passeth thus away!
That, like unto a stream, floweth past, and is gone!

Wherefore, then, is the heart not aware of its departure,
When life, alas! passeth thus so swiftly away?

Why, O my heart! hast thou thus from grief become?
When existence, like the breeze, bloweth for ever away!

Tho’ thou may’st erect mansions, in all symmetry and grace,
Filled with regret, alas! thou must leave them all behind! *

Sorrow! sorrow! and for ever sorrow, O my heart!
That loving friends from each other are severed so soon!

Those dear ones are like unto spring’s fragile flowers,
That in autumn’s heats, alas! wither and fade away!

This separation is as hell, and absence its heated stones, *
That fall, alas! the poor devoted lover’s head upon.

It behoveth us here the world to renounce, for ’tis inconstant:
Alas! it possesseth neither good nor advantage to carry away.

Had meeting ne’er taken place, separation we had not known:
Alas! ’tis from meeting that the very heart’s blood floweth.

If friendship be thy aim, with bereavement make friends;
For, alas! it cometh upon thee from thine own hands’ deeds.

Friendship is like the rose; but its produce is the thorn:
The thorn becometh sharp, and, alas! to the quick it pierceth.

Why grievest thou, Aḥmad Shāh! for ’tis a period of joy?
The drum of meeting soundeth: alas! union’s hour is near.

Translated By H.G. Raverty, [1868]


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