THAT IN TIMES OF DECADENCE STRICT CONFORMITY IS BETTER THAN FREE SPECULATION
The present age
has many tumults hid
Beneath its head; its restless temperament
Swarms with disorders. The society
Of ancient nations in these modern times
Is in conflusion; sapless hangs lifeís bough.
The glamour and the glitter of our days
Have made us strangers to our very selves,
And robbd our insrument of melody;
Filched from our heart its pristine fire, and dimmed
Within our breast the radiance and the flame
There is no god but God; Wheníer decay
Destroys the balance temperament of life,
Then the community may look to find
Stability in strict conformity.
Go thou thy fatherís road, for therin lies
Tranquility; conformity connotes
The holding fast of the community.
In time of Autumn, thou who lackest leaf
Alike and fruit, break never from the tree,
Hoping that spring may come. Since thou hast lost
The sea, be prudent, lest a greater loss
Befall thee; the more carefully preserve
Thy own thin rivulet; of it my hap
Some mountain torrent shall replenish three
And thou once more be tossed upon the breast
Of the redeeming tempest. If they flesh
Is yet possessed of a discerning eye,
Take warning from the Israelitish case;
Consider well their variable fate.
Now hot, now cold; regard the obduracy
The hardness of their spare and tenuous soul.
Sluggishly flows the blood within their veins,
Their furrowed brow sore smitten on the stones
Of porticoes a hundred. Though heavenís grip
Hath pressed and squeezed their grape, the memory
Of Moses and of Aaron liveth yet;
And though their ardent song hath lost its flame,
Still palpitates the breath within their breast.
For when the fabric of their nationhood
Was rent asunder, still they laboured on
To keep the highroad of their forefathers.
O thou whose ancient concourse is dispersed
Within whose breast the lamp of life is out,
Grave on thy heart the truth of Unity,
And in conformity essay to mend
The ruin of thy fortune. In the time
Of decadence, to seek to exercise
The speculative judgment of the mind
Completes the peopleís havoc finally;
Alvation lieth less in following
The blinkered pedantís dictum, being found
Humble imitation of the past
Saprice corrupted not thy fathersí brain
He labour of the pious was unsoiled
Interested motive, finer far
E thread of thought their meditation wove,
Closer to the Prophetís wasy conformed
Their self-denial. Jaafarís raptured view
Raziís patient delving are no Moe
Arted is the glory that adorned
Arab nation, narrow shrunk for us
The defile of the Faith, whose mysteries
Every impostor boasteth to possess.
Thou, who art stranger to the secret truths
Of Faith, if thou art wise, accord thyself
With one sound Law; for I have heard it said
By those who take and know the pulse of Life,
Thy contrariety severs Lifeís veins.
The Muslim lives by following one Law;
The body of our Faithís community
Throbs vital to the Word of the Koran.
All earth we are; that is our conscient heart;
Hold firm to its protection, since it is
The Cord of God. Upon its sacred thread80
Gem-like be safely strung, or otherwise
Be scattered, as the dust upon the wind.