Text to the Jami Symphony

This text is from Yusuf and Zuleykha, by Jami, in the translation by Edward G. Browne. To go back to the music page CLICK HERE.

According to the notes in Paul Rapoport's book, Sorabji - A Critical Celebration, the bold italicised lines in the 3rd stanza are omitted in Sorabji's setting, as Sorabji was working from a version that also omitted them - the sentence immediately preceding those lines is repeated in Sorabji's setting. Additionally, the three words in bold italics in the fourth stanza are also omitted, which Rapoport suggests is "probably in error".

In solitude, where Being signless dwelt,
And all the Universe still dormant lay
Concealed in selflessness, one Being was
Exempt from "I-" and Thou-" ness, and apart
From all duality; Beauty Supreme,
Unmanifest, except unto itself
By its own light, yet fraught with power to charm
The souls of all; concealed in the Unseen,
An essence pure, unstained by aught of ill.
No mirror to reflect Its loveliness,
Nor comb to touch Its locks; the morning breeze
Ne'er stirred Its tresses; no collyrium
Lent lustre to Its eyes; no rosy cheeks
O'ershadowed by dark curls like hyacinth,
Nor peach-like down were there; no dusky mole
Adorned Its face; no eye had yet beheld
Its image. To itself it sang of love
In wordless measures. By Itself it cast
The die of love.

But Beauty cannot brook
Concealment, and the veil, nor patient rest
Unseen and unadmired: 'twill burst all bonds,
And from Its prison-casement in the world
Reveal itself. See where the tulip grows
In upland meadows, how in balmy spring
It decks itself; and how amidst Its thorns
The wild rose rends its garment, and reveals
Its loveliness. Thou, too, when some rare thought,
Or beauteous image, or deep mystery
Flashes across thy soul, canst not endure
To let it pass, but hold'st it, that perchance
In speech or writing thou may'st send it forth
To charm the world.

Wherever Beauty dwells
Such is its nature, and its heritage
From Everlasting Beauty, which emerged
From realms of purity to shine upon
The worlds, and all the souls which dwell therein.
One gleam fell from It on the Universe,
And on the angels, and this single ray
Dazzled the angels, till their senses whirled
Like the revolving sky. In divers forms
Each mirror showed It forth, and everywhere
Its praise was chanted in new harmonies.
The Cherubim, enraptured, sought for songs
Of praise. The spirits who explore the depths
Of boundless seas, wherein the heavens swim
Like some small boat, cried with one mighty voice,
"Praise to the Lord of all the Universe!"

Each speck of matter did He constitute
A mirror, causing each one to reflect
The Beauty of His visage. From the rose
Flashed forth His beauty, and the nightingale
Beholding it, loved madly. From that Light
The candle drew the lustre which beguiles
The moth to immolation. On the sun
His Beauty shone, and straightaway from the wave
The lotus reared its head. Each shining lock
Of Leyla's hair attracted Majnun's heart
Because some ray divine reflected shone
In her fair face. 'Twas He to Shirin's lips
Who lent that sweetness which had power to steal
The heart from Parviz, and from Ferhad life.

His Beauty everywhere doth show itself,
And through the forms of earthly beauties shines
Obscured as through a veil. He did reveal
His face through Joseph's coat, and so destroyed
Zuleykha's peace. Where'er thou seest a veil,
Beneath that veil He hides. Whatever heart
Doth yield to love, He charms it. In His love
The heart hath life. Longing for Him, the soul
Hath victory. That heart which seems to love
The fair ones of this world, love Him alone.

Beware! say not, "He is All-Beautiful,
And we His lovers." Thou art but the glass,
And He the Face confronting it, which casts
His image on the mirror. He alone
Is manifest, and thou in truth art bid,
Pure Love, like Beauty, coming but from Him,
Reveals itself in thee, If steadfastly
Thou canst regard, thou wilt at length perceive
He is the mirror also - He alike
The Treasure and the Casket. "I" and "Thou"
Have here no place, and are but phantasies
Vain and unreal. Silence! for this tale
Is endless, and no eloquence hath power
To speak of Him. 'Tis best for us to love,
And suffer silently, being as naught.