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Faces of Love

Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Introduction by Dick Davis
Translated by Dick Davis
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Acclaimed translator Dick Davis breathes new life into the timeless works of three masters of 14th-century Persian literature
 
Together, Hafez, a giant of world literature; Jahan Malek Khatun, an eloquent princess; and Obayd-e Zakani, a dissolute satirist, represent one of the most remarkable literary flowerings of any era. All three lived in the famed city of Shiraz, a provincial capital of south-central Iran, and all three drew support from arts-loving rulers during a time better known for its violence than its creative brilliance. Here Dick Davis, an award-winning poet widely considered “our finest translator of Persian poetry” (The Times Literary Supplement), presents a diverse selection of some of the best poems by these world-renowned authors and shows us the spiritual and secular aspects of love, in varieties embracing every aspect of the human heart.

“Davis [is] widely acknowledged as the leading translator of Persian literature in our time…Faces of Love has made the Persian originals into real and moving English poems.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
What memories! I once lived on
the street that you lived on,
And to my eyes how bright the dust
before your doorway shone!
 
We were a lily and a rose:
our talk was then so pure
That what was hidden in your heart
and what I said were one!
 
And when our hearts discoursed
with Wisdom’s ancient words,
Love’s commentary solved each crux
within our lexicon.
 
I told my heart that I would never be
without my friend;
But when our efforts fail, and hearts
Are weak, what can be done?
 
Last night, for old times’ sake, I saw
the place where we once drank;
A cask was lying there, its lees
like blood; mud was its bung.
 
How much I wandered, asking why
the pain of parting came –
But Reason was a useless judge,
and answers? He had none.
 
And though it’s true the turquoise seal
of Bu Es’haq shone brightly,
His splendid kingdom and his reign
were all too quickly gone.
           
Hafez, you’ve seen a strutting partridge
whose cry sounds like a laugh –
He’s careless of the hawk’s sharp claws
by which he’ll be undone.
Persian lyric poet Hafiz (born Khwāja Šamsu d-Dīn Muḥammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī) grew up in Shiraz. Very little is known about his life, but it is thought that he may have memorized the Qur’an after hearing his father recite passages. He became a poet at the court of Abu Ishak and also taught at a religious college. As the author of numerous ghazals expressing love, spirituality, and protest, he is one of the most celebrated of the Persian poets and and his influence can be felt to this day.

Dick Davis is a translator, a poet, and a scholar of Persian literature who has published more than twenty books. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Ohio State University. He lives in Columbus, Ohio. is the foremost English-speaking scholar of medieval Persian poetry now working in the West. He read English at Cambridge, lived in Iran for eight years (where he met and married his Iranian wife Afkham Darbandi), then completed a PhD in Medieval Persian Literature at the University of Manchester. He has resided for extended periods in both Greece and Italy (his translations include works from Italian), and has taught at both the University of California and at Ohio State University, where he was for nine years Professor of Persian and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages, retiring from that position in 2012. In all, he has published more than twenty books, including the award-winning poetry collections Seeing the World and Belonging. His translations include Ferdowsi's Shahnameh: the Persian Book of Kings and Farid ud-Din Attar's The Conference of the Birds. The Times Literary Supplement has called him 'our finest translator of Persian poetry'.

About

Acclaimed translator Dick Davis breathes new life into the timeless works of three masters of 14th-century Persian literature
 
Together, Hafez, a giant of world literature; Jahan Malek Khatun, an eloquent princess; and Obayd-e Zakani, a dissolute satirist, represent one of the most remarkable literary flowerings of any era. All three lived in the famed city of Shiraz, a provincial capital of south-central Iran, and all three drew support from arts-loving rulers during a time better known for its violence than its creative brilliance. Here Dick Davis, an award-winning poet widely considered “our finest translator of Persian poetry” (The Times Literary Supplement), presents a diverse selection of some of the best poems by these world-renowned authors and shows us the spiritual and secular aspects of love, in varieties embracing every aspect of the human heart.

“Davis [is] widely acknowledged as the leading translator of Persian literature in our time…Faces of Love has made the Persian originals into real and moving English poems.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Excerpt

What memories! I once lived on
the street that you lived on,
And to my eyes how bright the dust
before your doorway shone!
 
We were a lily and a rose:
our talk was then so pure
That what was hidden in your heart
and what I said were one!
 
And when our hearts discoursed
with Wisdom’s ancient words,
Love’s commentary solved each crux
within our lexicon.
 
I told my heart that I would never be
without my friend;
But when our efforts fail, and hearts
Are weak, what can be done?
 
Last night, for old times’ sake, I saw
the place where we once drank;
A cask was lying there, its lees
like blood; mud was its bung.
 
How much I wandered, asking why
the pain of parting came –
But Reason was a useless judge,
and answers? He had none.
 
And though it’s true the turquoise seal
of Bu Es’haq shone brightly,
His splendid kingdom and his reign
were all too quickly gone.
           
Hafez, you’ve seen a strutting partridge
whose cry sounds like a laugh –
He’s careless of the hawk’s sharp claws
by which he’ll be undone.

Author

Persian lyric poet Hafiz (born Khwāja Šamsu d-Dīn Muḥammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī) grew up in Shiraz. Very little is known about his life, but it is thought that he may have memorized the Qur’an after hearing his father recite passages. He became a poet at the court of Abu Ishak and also taught at a religious college. As the author of numerous ghazals expressing love, spirituality, and protest, he is one of the most celebrated of the Persian poets and and his influence can be felt to this day.

Dick Davis is a translator, a poet, and a scholar of Persian literature who has published more than twenty books. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Ohio State University. He lives in Columbus, Ohio. is the foremost English-speaking scholar of medieval Persian poetry now working in the West. He read English at Cambridge, lived in Iran for eight years (where he met and married his Iranian wife Afkham Darbandi), then completed a PhD in Medieval Persian Literature at the University of Manchester. He has resided for extended periods in both Greece and Italy (his translations include works from Italian), and has taught at both the University of California and at Ohio State University, where he was for nine years Professor of Persian and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages, retiring from that position in 2012. In all, he has published more than twenty books, including the award-winning poetry collections Seeing the World and Belonging. His translations include Ferdowsi's Shahnameh: the Persian Book of Kings and Farid ud-Din Attar's The Conference of the Birds. The Times Literary Supplement has called him 'our finest translator of Persian poetry'.

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