The Sage of Rum, that master of fair Report
whose blow has the power of Abraham’s fist,
chanted this song in the world of intoxication
and all the ancient gods prostrate fell. 1680


Again one must gaze on the past and the future;
ho, rise up, for one must think anew.
Love carries its load on the she-camel of Time;
are you a lover? You must make your mount of evening and morn.
Our elder said, ‘The world follows not a constant way, 1685
one must close one’s eyes to its joys and griefs.
If, having abandoned the world, you intend Him,
first you must pass away from your self.’
I said to him, ‘In my heart are many Lats and Manats.’
He said, ‘You must destroy this idol-house utterly.’ 1690
Again he said to me: ‘Rise up, boy,
cling only to my skirt, boy.
Yonder mountains, yonder heights without a Moses,
so covered with snow as to seem a heap of silver,
beyond them stretches a diamond-shining ocean, 1695
its depths even more translucent than its surface;
undisturbed by wave or torrent,
in its nature an eternal quiet.
This is the place of power-drunk arrogants
denying the Unseen, worshipping the seen; 1700
that one from the East, the other from the West,
both at war and blows with the men of God.
One has had on his neck the staff of Moses,
the other struck asunder by a dervish’s sword,
both Pharaohs, one little, the other great, 1705
both dying of thirst in the embrace of the sea;
each is familiar with the bitterness of death—
the death of tyrants is one of God’s signs.
Follow me closely and fear no one;
place your hand in mine and fear no one. 1710
I will rend apart the sea like Moses;
I will guide you into its very breast.’
The sea opened to us its breast—
or was it air, that appeared as a water?
Its depths were a valley without colour and scent, 1715
a valley whose darkness was fold on fold.
The Sage of Rum chanted the Sura of Taha;
under the sea streamed down moonshine.
Mountains washed, naked and cold,
and amid them two bewildered men 1720
who first cast a glance on Rumi,
then gazed one upon the other.
Pharaoh cried, ‘What wizardry! What a river of light!
whence comes this dawn, this light, this apparition?’


All that is hidden through Him is manifest; 1725
the origin of this Light is from the White Hand.


Ah, I have gambled away the coin of reason and religion;
I saw, but did not recognize this light.
World-rulers, gaze all upon me;
world-destroyers, gaze all upon me! 1730
Woe to a people blinded by avarice
who have robbed the tomb of rubies and pearls!
A human shape dwells in a museum
with a legend upon its silent lips
telling the history of imperialism 1735
and giving visions to the blind.
What is the grand design of imperialism?
To seek security by contriving division.
From such evil doctrine the fate of rulership declines,
the contrivances of rulership become void and confused. 1740
If I could only see God’s interlocutor again
I would beg from him a heart aware.


Government without spiritual light is raw, raw,
imperial power without the White Hand is a sin.
Rulership is strong through the weakness of the subjects, 1745
its roots are firm through the deprivation of the deprived.
The crown derives from tribute and the yielding of tribute;
if a man be a rock, he soon becomes glass.
Armies, prisons, chains are banditry;
he is the true ruler who needs not such apparatus. 1750

Kitchener of Khartoum

The goal of the people of Europe is lofty,
they excavate not any grave for rubies and pearls—
the history of Egypt, Pharaoh and Moses
can be seen from ancient monuments.
Science and wisdom is simply the unveiling of secrets; 1755
wisdom without research is utterly worthless.


Science and wisdom uncovered my tomb;
but what was there to find in the Mahdi’s grave?