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Robert Elsie

Albanian Literature | Early Authors

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Tiling of the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul, ca. 1560.

Tiling of the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul, ca. 1560.

Tiling of the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul, ca. 1560.

 

Webdesign J. Groß

MESIHI of Prishtina

 

Ode to Spring

Listen to the nightingale, behold,
                                    the days of spring have come,
All gardens have been wooed to life,
                                    revived by the vernal season.
And from the springtime's almond trees do silver blossoms drift,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

Again the gardens and vales are adorned with fresh blooms,
The climbing tendrils twine to form a tent of rapture,
Who will greet the next spring alive, and who dead?
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

The whole garden is radiant with the grace of Ahmed,
Corollas and green stalks, those sorts of fortitude,
                                    are the Companions of the Prophet,
Oh, believers, now is the time for ecstasy and delight,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

Water beads bedeck the blades of the iris with gems,
Like cannons, the tulips burst upon the havens,
If you crave pleasure and diversion, harken to my words,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

Whose cheeks are more lovely than the rose and the tulip,
The dew drips like jewels from their ears,
Be not deceived, think not that it endures forever,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

The tulip, rose and red peony in the bow'r
With a lancet of rain, like lightning, are speared and bleed,
If you cherish your time, spend it with your lovers,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

The time has passed when nature lay prone in its bed,
When the roses, longing for buds, hung their heads,
Now the time is ripe for red tulips to romp o'er hill and dale,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

When the dawn rinses the roses with rain pearls,
When the zephyr of morn wafts Tatar musk o'er the earth,
Don't waste your time while the world revels in love,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

The perfumed air shimmers from the paillasses
                                    of fragrant flow'rs,
And dewdrops fall to the ground like rose water spray,
While the sky, in a cloud of incense,
                                    low'rs its vault o'er the petals,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

The autumnal wind of yesteryear has swept up the garden,
And the emperor of the world has again brought justice to all,
Under his reign, wine has begun to flow, the cupbearer is blithe,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

Let us hope, Mesihi, these quatrains will be famed
And will live in memory like those faint-moustached lads,
Melodious nightingale, seek a fragile face like that of the rose,
Drink and enjoy, for the days of spring will soon pass.

[Dinle bülbül kissasin kim geldi eyyâm-i bahâr, from Pristineli Mesihi, ed. Irfan Morina (Prizren: Bay 2004), p. 17-19. Translated by Robert Elsie]