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Ode of the Dove

by Bahá'u'lláh

translated by Juan Cole.
1997
originally revealed as "Qasídiy-i- Varqá'íyyih" in Arabic.
first written or published 1856(?)
see Bahá'u'lláh's own notes to this Tablet

In praise of the Beloved, secretly, in private.

He is the Exalted, the All-Glorious.

1. I was enthralled by light rays from a face
    Whose advent dimmed and darkened every star,
2. As though the sunbeams of Her beauty's glow
    appeared and dazzled planets from afar.
3. Her joy diffused the musk of the unseen,
    Her stature raised the Spirit up above.
4. The End-Time's Trump resounded when She blew;
    Her breath caused shadows of the clouds to move.
5. Her gleam reveals Mount Sinai's deathlessness;
    Baha's bright light is kindled when She glows.
6. Then to Her west the sun of splendor dawned,
    and to Her east, the moon of moons arose.
7. The mistral's fragrance wafted from Her hair,
    and Beauty's eyes were solaced by Her gaze.
8. Her shining face gave Guidance sage advice,
    and Moses' soul was cleansed by Her form's blaze.
9. The heart of hearts embraced Her eyelid's dart.
    For Her locks' lasso, Being's head was bent.
10. Her footprints constitute My highest aim,
    the earth She trod, the most high Throne's advent.
11. To win Her I have wept in every eye;
    in exile, I have burned in every fire.
12. I spread myself out so that Her foot might
    tread on My heart, and I win My desire.
13. I sought to gain Our union everywhere;
    I scrawled letters of nearness on all earth.
14. And if I rush to oneness with Her light,
    Then I am cast back, losing closeness' berth.
15. And if I plead for union, hands upraised,
    She answers with a sword: "My lovers' prize!"
16. The firmness of our bond was My sole care;
    Her goal is our relationship's demise.
17. I said, "To meet, I'd offer Thee My all.
    Have mercy, do not publish My disgrace.
18. Since I love Thee too well, then make us one--
    That we might for eternity embrace."
19. By revelation's secret! Everything
    appeared from Her unveiling. She raised Me!
20. By Husayn's sorrow! Emulating Me,
    the world-gyre is weighed down with agony.
21. "Thou art My breast's desire, My soul's sole hope,
    My spirit's master and My light, My heart.
22. And after My hard journey, let's unite,
    be intimates after My pain apart."
23. My incandescence kindled every fuel,
    the Seen world was illumined by My sigh.
24. God's sea was dried up by My thirst, which the
    wide stream of glory cannot satisfy.
25. And all the gore that I saw on the earth
    bespoke the tears of blood that My eyes shed.
26. The ocean's but a drop before My tear,
    The Friend's blaze was, before mine, underfed.
27. For My grief froze the great sea of delight;
    the spring of sorrow flowed at My despair
28. My grandeur fainted and My brilliance swooned;
    their gloating vanity snuffed out My flare.
29. My bones were whittled down, My body worn;
    The fever of My heat burned up My soul.
30. Love for Thee felled Me, passion ground Me down.
    To leave Thee melts Me; union is My goal.
31. The secret of My sorrow cleft the sky,
    My anguish sundered the earth of the breast.
32. The tears in My eyes spoke of My heart's fire,
    My face paled at the sighing of My chest.
33. My critics' gloating makes Me wail all night.
    I plead all day since My support is gone.
34. For I have reached dishonor's lowest rung,
    so that tongues stutter when they speak thereon.
35. The houris in their castles clothed themselves
    in mourning black at My soul's deep despair.
36. I've fallen into anguish in all hearts;
    I feel constricted in the open air.
37. Then from behind Me She cried out, "Be still!
    and hold Thy tongue from all that it hath told.
38. How many Husayns like Thee wanted Me;
    there love Me, just like Thee, `Alis untold.
39. How many intimates I had who were
    thy peers--and loves, superior to Thee
40. Who always wail but cannot reach My gaze
    one instant, by the light of unity.
41. My dawn makes revelation's sun a star,
    My brilliance makes pure light only a glint;
42. My soul's gleam renders Being's secret naught,
    Of My love's flames all bonfires only hint.
43. My nature molded the creation's rite;
    the White Palm was withdrawn before My hand.
44. The stern injunction came from a clear Cause;
    My wisdom's fairness shaped the just Command.
45. The wave within Me stilled the ocean's surf;
    the Holy Ghost stirred at My rapture's lights.
46. Immortal Moses swooned before My gaze;
    My gleam destroyed the Sinai of all heights.
47. The spread of My Cause quickened all the souls;
    old bones were wakened by My spirit's breath.
48. The soul of this Cause circled round its House;
    My visage raised that House's soul from death.
49. The B of "speak the secret" swooned before
    My Point! The B hides the realm of high lore.
50. All guidance shines forth from My dawning Cause;
    the news of My descent, all the heights bore.
51. My bounties lent birdsongs their melody,
    from My tune comes the humming of the bee.
52. I rendered Thee a suspect by My Law:
    Thou didst another's love quaff, wrongfully.
53. Thou didst bring forth depictions and kinships
    and crave names, thus departing from My way.
54. Thou didst describe a self and say it's mine--
    the gravest sin, for therein limits lay.
55. Thou didst desire a hopeless union, the
    condition for which Thou must satisfy:
56. Thou must drain every cup of fate's ordeals;
    thy heart must spew the blood of tyranny.
57. Thou must cut off all hope of comfort's touch;
    Thou must renounce every necessity.
58. Thy duty is to shed blood in love's faith;
    a love-scorched soul is fealty to Me.
59. Nights spent awake at slanderer's attacks,
    a constant stream of insults all the days;
60. In My faith poison's as a healing drink;
    in My Path, fate's wrath is a tender grace.
61. Cease claiming to love, or accept all this,
    For thus was it ordained in My Law's scroll."
62. In private I called out to Her, "My love,
    My ultimate hope and My heart's sole goal!
63. I stand here in the presence of Thy might,
    aspiring to all that Thou dost relate.
64. Here I am asking for all Thou dost love,
    then here I stand, prepared for thy mandate.
65. My breast yearns for the shafts of thine assault;
    My body craves the swords of cruelty.
66. Thy fire's My light, thy harshness is My wish;
    My rest is thy wrath, My goal thy decree.
67. Look on the tears of My eyes, how they flow;
    gaze on My inmost heart, how it doth fade.
68. Each day the spears of all have struck Me down,
    and each night I died by rejection's blade.
69. I read each line of atheism's book;
    each second I heard everyone's rude jeers,
70. And faced false charges of idolatry.
    Each day I was transfixed by exile's spears--
71. As though fate's woes descended just for Me,
    and fury's blades were sharpened for My neck:
72. The grief of Jacob, Joseph's prison cell;
    the Friend's white hot flames, and Job's tragic check;
73. And Adam's brooding, Jonah's urgent flight;
    the sad lament of David, Noah's cry;
74. Eve's separation, Mary's agony;
    Isaiah's trials, Zachariah's sigh.
75. My rain of grief hath sealed the fate of all,
    My flood of woes gave rise to all distress.
76. See how I roamed the lands without a friend
    save for the beast within the wilderness.
77. At My heart's breaking, springs broke through the earth;
    My open eyes caused heaven's eye to flow.
78. My spirit's grief cut short the endless Soul;
    the Most High Throne shook at My suffering's glow.
79. Red everywhere was reddened by My blood,
    and from My tears there grew up this world's bower.
80. For bitter hurt in thy love's path is sweet;
    From any but Thee heaven's mead is sour.
81. And iron's scars can be seen on My neck,
    on My legs marks of fetters yet remain;
82. For not a day passed save that I was scorched
    by clear prose and the hints verses contain.
83. My spirit disappeared, My heart dissolved;
    My soul boiled from the pain of misery.
84. I was left with no spirit, heart or soul;
    that I existed at all startled Me.
85. My secret's loftiness convicted Me;
    I wish that My creation never rose.
86. For thus have difficulties wiped Me out,
    and thus was I encompassed by My woes.
87. Then I ascended and withdrew alone;
    I reached the real Encounter in My heart.
88. I saw Thy traits in My eyes' portraiture,
    through Thine eye's glance, which is sharp as a dart.
89. If I had limits, they appeared from Thee;
    If I had traits then they derived from Thee.
90. Night's darkness was fulfilled when I was roiled;
    My joy refined the daylight's clarity.
91. No matter if I am today cast out;
    I saw, when sent forth, the exalted light.
92. I knew Jerusalem by the Friend's glow;
    I journeyed in Tihran when taking flight.
93. My inner light gave Me faith in the Light;
    I rose up, by the spirit, in My soul."
94. I call on thee, life-spirit, to depart;
    within Me, no part is left of the whole.
95. Transcendent spirit, climb down from thy throne;
    for thee, My stigma is no source of blame.
96. I waken thee, My heart: thou must depart;
    thou hast no honor in this realm of shame.
97. My patience: Bear all that which Thou hast seen,
    of hardship and of ease in thy Love's way.
98. In spirit, She told Me to persevere:
    "I knew of all the proofs Thou dost display.
99. Forget all that Thou hast known and adored;
    idolatry, for Me, is unity;
100. For to Me Sinai's brightest glow is naught;
    and the sublimest light is gloom to Me.
101. Thy verses' sketch of Me is a child's truth;
    For My subjects, thy words of praise are sound.
102. I never ceased to dwell in sanctity,
    and My transcendence hath remained unbound.
103. How many just ones, I deemed mere despots;
    how many wise ones I saw as untaught;
104. How fleeting were immortals of all kinds;
    how many learned never will know aught;
105. How many worshippers have disobeyed;
    how many genuflicting have not kneeled!
106. My Being vindicated heaven's psalms;
    My scripture hath unveiled scrolls that were sealed.
107. My atom made the cosmic sun revolve,
    My drop evoked great praise from Being's sea;
108. The songs of all the creatures were to Me
    the buzzing of a tiny ant or bee.
109. All minds turned unto My soul's ecstasy;
    all souls were by My spirit's tune revived.
110. My raining Cause made deities divine;
    all Lords have by My ample order thrived.
111. The Spirit's realm moved in Me by decree;
    I set My foot down on Mount Sinai's throne;
112. At My light the star's radiance blazed forth;
    the sun of rapture at My spirit shone.
113. Collected verses, revelation's gleam;
    the Traces and Day-Stars of sanctity;
114. Thought's essences and contemplation's gems;
    Light-beams' adornments, wisdom's jewelry.
115. The Alpha of My Cause judged everyone;
    all wonders came forth from My soul's good will.
116. Thou didst leave Me and reckon thyself near,
    and waters of whim in myth's spring didst spill.
117. Thou dost forsake the Unseen's light, in what
    Thou wreakest in thyself--and My works lose!
118. Hold fast to the cord of the outward Cause;
    to befriend light's concealed face must Thou choose.
119. Rend nearness' veil without a hint! Look on
    the sacred Beauty secretly, within.
120. Be silent, for earth's Powers are disturbed.
    Forbear! The Unseen's eyes wept a fountain.
121. In Thee is veiled meaning beyond knowledge
    that even radiant minds never knew.
122. The holy mystery hides joy and friendship,
    which Thou must not divulge if Thou be true.
123. Wert Thou to unmask what Thou didst behold,
    the world would in a trice be lost to sight!
124. For thus the throne of glory hath decreed,
    and so ordained the mystery of might.
125. They who attain are blessed for they kept faith;
    blessed are they who embrace the wondrous Rite;
126. Blessed are the lovers for the blood they shed;
    blessed are the ones who with My love unite.
127. Blessed are the sincere, who to the shade of
    My Lordliness made haste from every side."


See translator's notes.

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