On lofty Bistoun, the lingering sun
Looks down on ceaseless labors, long begun;
Mountain trembles to the echoing sound
Of falling rocks that from her sides rebound.
Each day, all respite, all repose, denied,
Without a pause, the thundering strokes are piled;
The mist of night around summit coils,
But still Farhad, the lover-artist, toils.
And still, the flashes of his axe between,
He sighs to every wind, “Alas, Shirin!”
A hundred arms are weak one block to move
Of thousands molded by the hand of love.
Into fantastic shapes and forms of grace,
That crowd each nook of that majestic place.
The piles give way, rocky peaks divide,
The stream comes gushing on, a foaming tide.
A mighty work for ages to remain,
The token of his passion and his pain.
As flows the milky flood from God’s throne,
Rushes the torrent from the yielding stone.
And, sculptured there, amazed, stern Khosrow stands,
And frowning seas obeyed his harsh commands.
While she, the fair beloved, with being rife,
Awakes from glowing marble into life.
O hapless youth? O toil repaid by woe!
A king thy rival, and the world thy foe.
Will the wealth, splendor, pomp, for thee resign,
And only genius, truth, and passion thine?
Around the pair, lo! chiseled courtiers wait,
And slaves and pages grouped in solemn state.
From columns, imaged wreaths their garlands throw,
And fretted roofs with stars appear to glow.
Fresh leaves and blossoms seem around to spring,
And feathered throngs their loves seem murmuring.
Strings of pearl and sharp-cut diamonds shine,
New from the wave, or recent from the mine.
“Alas, Shirin!” at every stroke he cries,
At every stroke, fresh miracles arise.
“For thee, my life one ceaseless toil has been;
Inspire my soul anew, alas, Shirin!”