The Conclusion of Āb-e ḥayāt

The fifth era too is over, but everyone sits sorrowful, for the era is not over: India's old companion--that is to say, romantic poetry--is over. And the fountain of its progress has been closed up. The people of the mushairah are lamenting: 'Oh guests of honor! You've gone, and you've taken the talk of beauty and love with you! Because the bazaar of the wealth of love depended on your existence. If the beautiful beloved was elaborately adorned, it was through your pen. It was you alone who invoked the names of Qais [=Majnun] and Kohkan [=Farhad], and you alone who illumined the youthful beauty of Lailā and Majnūn. But those who say that you have gone and the mushairahs are over are worshipers of this mortal body. No, no! As long as your writings and compositions, tales and stories, are present, you yourselves are present. The turbans of your pride are crowned with the kind of flowers of praise and admiration that will bloom forever. And around your necks are those garlands of undying flowers that no winter's hand will reach.'

The divine stream of eternal life is flowing yet, on the banks of which, from age to age, all five gatherings are assembled. The 'Water of Life' is making the rounds [daur]. The water of the stream captures a picture of the passing of time. And the waves go on bidding farewell to this external life. Your gatherings are narrating, in the language of silence, the affairs of their times. Your speeches and circumstances are living, speaking, moving pictures of this #527# life. As if tongueless statues are speaking. Imagined forms are moving with such freedom that no living person acts with such open-heartedness. Your life is a life of extraordinary pleasure. If someone speaks ill of you, you feel no grief. If someone speaks well of you, you feel no happiness. No one can cause you suffering. No one can feel pain because of you.

My God, my God--you are people of a world of peace and quiet--you are silent! In a state of rest, you pass the time free of care. You have no voices, but you are speaking languages of many colors. You are those who are not, but who are. You have died, but still you are alive. Oh you who dwell in paper retreats, your writings are your living houses. When I open them, you appear, dressed in lines and letters, laughing and speaking, moving around. And you appear exactly as you were. The times have moved on years and years distant, and moved hundreds of years beyond, and will keep on moving. But you are established in your place, as usual. The images of your doings and acts are your writings. Through their tongues, you will keep telling the thoughts of your hearts to future generations. You will give them advice. You will persuade them. You will divert sorrowful hearts. You will put life in dead temperaments. You will make dull longings shine. You will make a tickle in sleeping hearts. You will turn happiness into melancholy. You will turn melancholy into happiness.

Oh fortunate beggars! Oh you who sit with royal banners in the dust! Your good intentions brought you a good time to live in. But alas, that your poetry had a very short lifespan. Destiny gave you good equipment, and good appreciators. Thanks to which your natural qualities and your true fervor found the wherewithal for fulfilling themselves and their own desires. Now there will be no such wherewithal, nor such appreciators. Nor will anyone be able to keep that branch green, or to grow flowers or fruit on it more than you. Indeed, imitators following in your footsteps will take up your themes of separation and union, and the downy cheek and the mole. They will twist and turn those same words, and will keep masticating in their mouths those chewed-over morsels of yours.

You have built such glorious palaces of widespread fame and lasting immortality, that from a distance of hundreds of #528# years of travel they will continue to be visible. They pay no heed to the blows of the heavens or the storms of revolution. And they laugh and say to the earthquakes of time, 'Well, come on then, why not!'

Although most buildings are for your gatherings of beauty and love, in these too you have used such equipment and material that future generations can make buildings for whatever purpose they wish, and find much help from your devices. Those stones that you have carved with embossed and decorated designs and installed only for beauty--they will take them out from there and press them to their eyes in gratitude. And with them they will adorn an arch that in its strength will give firmness to a national palace, and will make hearts blossom with its beauty. Because although the excellent constructions of your words, and their pleasing structures, metaphors, and similes, are in romantic themes, if we employ them with good sense and discrimination, they will be an excellent and useful means for expression of meaning and style of narration in our sciences, arts, history, and such general subjects. Oh our guides! With what auspicious feet you walked! And with what auspicious hands you kept lighting lamps on the road as you went along! So that however far the time advances, lamps keep on being lit from your lamps. And as far ahead as we go, we move in your light alone. Please advance those auspicious feet, that I may touch them to my eyes. Place your auspicious hand on my head, and accept the gift of my salutations.