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Faces of Love

Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz

Introduction by Dick Davis
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On sale Feb 09, 2021 | 5 Hours and 4 Minutes | 978-0-593-39350-5
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.


*This audiobook includes a downloadable PDF that contains notes from the book.
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.
Dick Davis is a translator, a poet, and a scholar of Persian literature who has published more than 20 books. He is currently a professor of Persian at Ohio State University and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His translations from Persian include The Lion and the ThroneFathers and Sons, and Sunset of Empire: Stories from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, vols. I, II, III. View titles by Dick Davis

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.


*This audiobook includes a downloadable PDF that contains notes from the book.

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

Dick Davis is a translator, a poet, and a scholar of Persian literature who has published more than 20 books. He is currently a professor of Persian at Ohio State University and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His translations from Persian include The Lion and the ThroneFathers and Sons, and Sunset of Empire: Stories from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, vols. I, II, III. View titles by Dick Davis