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Fakhr addin Gorgani 255  Fakhr addin Gorgani (ca. Eleventh Century) From Vis and Ramin Now when the nurse saw Vis’s furious face And heard her talk of heaven and God’s grace She searched within her scheming heart to find Some means to soothe her charge’s troubled mind: Her demon did not rest, but wondered how Vis and Ramin could be united now, And how like fat and sugar they could be Blended entirely, and inseparably. Then one by one the sly nurse recollected All the old tricks and spells that she’d collected, And when she spoke her voice was lovelier than The frescoes at Nushad. The nurse began: “You’re dearer to me than my soul, more blessed And virtuous even than I’d ever guessed; May you seek justice always, may you stay Truthful and honored, wise in every way. Why should I need or want, dear Vis, to grieve you? What fear or greed could drive me to deceive you? Ramin is not my brother or my son; And can you tell me what it is he’s done To make me favor him, so that I’d be His faithful friend and your sworn enemy? I only want one thing from life, that you Find happiness in everything you do, And that your reputation stay intact. But I must tell you an undoubted fact: You are a woman, not a demon, not A fairy, houri, or I don’t know what. Viru has gone, and as for Mobad, well He’s been disposed of by a clever spell: 256 Persian No one’s enjoyed your body, no one can, You’ve never truly slept with any man. You’ve had no joy of men, you’ve never known A man whom you could really call your own. You’ve married twice, but each time you’ve moved on; Both husbands crossed the river, and they’re gone! But if you want a man, I’ve never seen A finer specimen than this Ramin: What use is beauty if it doesn’t bless Your life with pleasure and love’s happiness? You’re innocent, you’re in the dark about it, You don’t know how forlorn life is without it. Women were made for men, dear Vis, and you Are not exempt, whatever you might do. The well-born women of the world delight In marrying a courtier or a knight, And some, who have a husband, also see A special friend who’s sworn to secrecy; She loves her husband, she embraces him, And then her happy friend replaces him. You can have royal riches beyond measure, Brocades, and jewels, and every kind of treasure, But joy is something that you won’t discover Until you have a husband or a lover. If you need riches it’s to make you more Attractive to him than you were before; What use are all your red and yellow dresses Unless they lead to kisses and caresses? If you can see this, it was wrong of you To slander me when all I said is true; I spoke maternally, and as your nurse, I’m trying to make things better now, not worse. Ramin is worthy of you, and I’ve seen That you, dear Vis, are worthy of Ramin: Fakhr addin Gorgani 257  You are the sun and he’s the moon; if he Is like an elegant, tall cypress tree, You are a bough of blossoms in the spring; If you are milk, he’s wine. In everything You’re worthy of each other’s love, and I Will never grieve again until I die If I can see love mutually requited When you and he are happily united.” And as the nurse spoke, at her voice’s sound, A horde of devil’s demons crowded round, And set a thousand traps, a thousand snares Before her feet, to catch Vis unawares. The nurse went on: “A noble woman spends Her life in pleasure, with her special friends Or with her husband; you sit here and sigh, And weep your heart away, and moan and cry. Your youth will soon be gone, and you’ll have had No time at all when you were young and glad; How long will you stay grieving and alone? You’re not composed of brass, my dear, or stone.” And gradually the heart of Vis was stirred And softened by the arguments she heard: She felt...


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