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Shemsuddin Mahommad, alias Hafiz
Teachings of Hafiz

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* FORGET not when dear friend to friend returned,
Forget not days gone by, forget them not!
My mouth has tasted bitterness, and learned
To drink the envenomed cup of mortal lot;
Forget not when a sweeter draught was mine,
Loud rose the songs of them that drank that wine--
Forget them not!

Forget not loyal lovers long since dead,
Though faith and loyalty should be forgot,
Though the earth cover the enamoured head,
And in the dust wisdom and passion rot.
My friends have thrust me from their memory;
Vainly a thousand thousand times I cry:
Forget me not!

Weary I turn me to my bonds again.
Once there were hands strong to deliver me,
Forget not when they broke a poor slave's chain!
Though from mine eyes tears flow unceasingly,
I think on them whose rose gardens are set
Beside the Zindeh Rud, and I forget
Life's misery.

Sorrow has made her lair in my breast,
And undisturbed she lies--forget them not
That drove her forth like to a hunted beast!
Hafiz, thou and thy tears shall be forgot,
Lock fast the gates of thy sad heart! But those
That held the key to thine unspoken woes--
Forget them not!


*  Stanza 1.--The second line of this poem is as often quoted as any, perhaps, in the Divan: " Yàd bàd àn ruz-i-gàràn, yàd bàd!" A man will set it upon a letter to an absent friend, even when he is not particularly anxious that days gone by should be preserved from oblivion; and how often must the simple little line have been used by those to whom its very simplicity made it more poignant than pages of sentiment!

Stanza 3.--The Zindeh Rud was a river that flowed past Isfahan. There are unfortunately no longer rose-gardens upon its banks, for it disappeared completely in the terrible earthquake which occurred in the spring of the year 1853. I suspect from internal evidence that this poem was sent to some friends of Hafiz living at Isfahan, upon whom the passionate appeal need refiect no discredit, since it may quite possibly be merely the Oriental way of writing a letter of thanks. At the same time, in spite of this rational explanation, it must be acknowledged that the meaning of the name Zindeh Rud is River of Life. I tremble to think into what a slough of mysticism the innocent little stream might be induced to guide us!

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