Myrtle and Myrrh/Fardi wa Nafli

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Fardi wa Nafli
by Ameen Rihani
From Myrtle and Myrrh (1905)

I

"Here she is: O take her not away so soon!
   Spare her youth—the fatal cup from her withhold!
Let her groan within my arms in life's forenoon;
   Let me still my soul within her eyes unfold."
God of Love! my faith in thee is not yet gray:
   Grant that she may walk again,
   Free from suffering and pain—
Give her life to see the altar's light one day.

II

In the night, before the day that never came.
   On the way with poppies and gardenias strewn.
With her music and her torch's holy flame,
   She was struck and never since saw sun or moon.
God of Light! refuse her not another ray:
   Her bridal garment joins with me
   In beseeching, begging thee—
Give her life to see the altar's light one day.

III

All the sorrow earth contains I can support,
   All the agony and pain I can endure;
Years of misery will seem surprising short,
   If to me thou leav'st her, though without a cure.
All my dreams before thy throne, O God, I slay;
   These my offerings let be,
   These my sacrifice to thee—
Give her life to see the altar's light one day.

IV

"Hurry here! O get the doctors—call the nurse—
   Call the priest — be quick — some more digitaline—
He is here, alas! before you all — a hearse."
   Death has passed us by; take up the violin!
To Thy heart my music fain would find its way;
   Every sound Thy grace would earn;
   Let it not as sad return—
Give her life to sec the altar's light one day.

V

Every wound and every sigh and groan and tear,
   Every drop of Saada's melting flesh and hope
Now ascend, wrapt in this music, pale and blear—
   Around Thy throne, in gyves of pain, they blindly grope.
What remains, what's gone of her before Thee lay:
   Faith and Doubt are at Thy door—
   Mother, brother, pray, implore—
Give her life to see the altar's light one day.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1940, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.