Feb 022013
 

See, poems like this muwashshaḥ are the reason Yehuda ha-Levi is, y’know, Yehuda ha-fuckin’-Levi. I promise you, Hebrew-illiterate friends, you are missing out on this one. The last two lines are in Arabic, which was actually fairly easy to decode this time. I also had to offset this one, unfortunately, because the lines are just too long for my site theme. Once again, I have failed.

Yehuda ha-Levi (1075? – 1141?)
Reveal, O My Sun

    Reveal, O my sun, through the sky of your locks, the light of your cheek unto me
    This captive and slave, so sick with your love, by showing your splendor you’d free

If Time had once thought to keep you restrained, like manna to hide you away
O, look here, within my heart is a place, so steadfast and true, you could dwell
When I hold you tight in the bonds of my thoughts, what could Time think to do then?
    If I forget you and how you appear, O Sun, I’d forget him who made me
    You’re my whole delight, and my every wish ­— what is there between Time and me?

How could you berate a suffering heart which for you had been as a home?
How could I think you an angel to mind me — you burn up the bush here within me!
And if you should wish to witness my death, just call out, I’ll surely reply
    For here in my mouth — may God take my soul! — there’s no trace of deception; just test me!
    My few days are short, my whole life is yours – O, would you’d extend it for me!

But how could I fret when your face’s light is my very sun and my moon?
And from ‘twixt your teeth I almost could draw the sweetest of nectar and balm
If not for the way your two eyes were armed with weapons of anger and wrath
    Why should my longing, O maiden, for you, even unarmed serve to kill me?
    For indeed your cheek, in which lies my rose, only desires to redeem me!

For darkness and light combine in your grace, bringing forth joy and delight
For God on the day he fashioned your form had drawn the East to the West
And yet ’round your splendor a scorpion he placed, now sitting and lying in wait
    And whether you’re stripped, or whether like girls, you’d dress yourself up in embroidery
    Your face is enough — instead of mere jewels, you wear in their place your own beauty.

All beauty’s in you – so what use is there in necklaces and in bright jewels?
For they hold me back from clasping your throat and kissing the curves of your neck!
And so then sang out the myrtle of Sharon, answering me with a song:
    ”O, untie your necklace! What reason is there to add to yourself yet more jewelry?
    It’s you who’s the jewel, in which I have found the whole of all that which concerns me!”1

יהודה הלוי / يهوذا اللاوي
חמה בעד רקיע

 
   חַמָּה, בְּעַד רְקִיעַ צַמָּה אוֹר לֶחֱיֵךְ גְּלִי,
   כִּי בַחֲזוֹת הֲדָרֵךְ תִּפְדִּי עֶבֶד אֲסִיר חֳלִי.
 
אִם הַזְּמָן לְמָנְעֵךְ חָשַׁב וַיִּצְפְּנֵךְ כְּמָן —
הֵא לָךְ בְּתוֹךְ לְבָבִי מוֹשָׁב אֵיתָן וְנֶאֱמָן.
עֵת אֶלְכְּדֵךְ בְּחַבְלֵי מַחְשָׁב מַה יַּעֲשֶׂה זְמָן?
   אִם אֶשְׁכְּחָה דְמוּתֵךְ, חַמָּה, אֶשְׁכַּח מְחוֹלְלִי!
   אַתְּ אַחֲלַי וְאַתְּ מַחְמַדִּי — מַה לַּזְּמָן וְלִי?
 
מַה תִּגְעֲרִי בְּלֵבָב נַעֲנֶה הוּא לָךְ לְמַחֲנֶה?
אֵיךְ אֶחְשְׁבֵךְ כְּמַלְאָךְ חוֹנֶה וַתְּבַעֲרִי סְנֶה?
אִם תַּחְפְּצִי בְמוֹתִי — הִנֵּה קִרְאִי וְאֶעֱנֶה
   כִּי אֵין בְּפִי — פְּדִיתִיךְ! — מִרְמָּה הַקְשִׁי וְשַׁאֲלִי!
   יָמַי מְעַט וְלָךְ כָּל חֶלְדִּי, לוּ הֶאֱרַכְתְּ לִי.
 
אֵיךְ אֶדְאֲגָה — וְאוֹר פָּנַיִךְ שִׁמְשִׁי וְסַהֲרִי?
כִּמְעַט וִאֵרְדְּ בֵּין שִׁנַּיִךְ הַצּוּף וְהַצֳרִי —
לוּלֵי הֱיוֹת כְּלִי עֵינַיִךְ הָאַף וְהֶחֳרִי.
   עַל מָה אֱהִי בְחִשְׁקֵךְ, עַלְמָה, נִרְצָח בְּאֵין כְּלִי?
   הֵן לֶחֱיֵךְ אֲשֶׁר שָׁם נִרְדִּי יַחְפֹּץ לְגָאֳלִי!
 
חשֶׁךְ וְאוֹר בְּיָפְיֵךְ עֹרַב יַהְנֶה וְיֶעֱרַב,
כִּי אֵל בְּיוֹם בְּרָאֵךְ קֵרַב מִזְרָח לְמַעֲרָב
וַיְשַׁו סְבִיב הֲדָרֵךְ עַקְרָב יוֹשֵׁב בְּמַאֲרָב.
   אִם תִּלְבְּשִׁי כְּנָשִׁים רִקְמָה אוֹ אִם תְּנַצְּלִי —
   דַּיֵּךְ בְּתָאֳרֵךְ כִּי תַעְדִּי יֹפִי מְקוֹם חֲלִי.
 
בָּךְ כָּל יְפִי — וְעוֹד מַה יִּתְרוֹן בִּרְבִיד וְסַהֲרֹן?
אַךְ יִמְנְעוּ לְחַבֵּק גָּרוֹן וּנְשֹׁק לְצַוְּרֹן
אָז שׁוֹרְרָה הֲדַסַּת שָׁרוֹן וַתַּעֲנֶה בְּרֹן:
   חלּי עקוד גידך למא אזדת בך אלחלי
   אנת אלחלי והד’ה ענדי גמלת שואע’לי!
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Ḥamáh, be-ʕad rakíaʕ tzamáh ‘or leḥeyéikh gelí,
Ki va-ḥazót hadaréikh tifdí ʕéved ‘asír ḥolí.

‘Im ha-zemán lemanʕéikh ḥasháv va-yitzpenéikh ke-mán —
Hei lakh be-tókh levaví mosháv ‘eitán ve-ne’emán.
ʕeit ‘elkedéikh be-ḥavléi maḥsháv mah yaʕaséh zemán?
‘Im ‘eshkeḥáh demutéikh, ḥamáh, ‘eshkáḥ meḥolelí!
‘At ‘aḥalái ve-‘át maḥmadí — mah la-zemán ve-lí?

Mah tigʕarí be-leiváv naʕanéh hu lakh le-maḥanéh?
‘Eikh ‘eḥshevéikh ke-mal’ákh ḥonéh va-tevaʕarí senéh?
‘Im taḥpetzí ve-motí — hinéh kir’í ve-‘eʕenéh
Ki ‘ein be-fí — peditíkh! — mirmáh, hakshí ve-sha’alí!
Yamái meʕát ve-lákh kol ḥeldí, lu he’erákht li.

‘Eikh ‘ed’agáh — ve-‘ór panáyikh shimshí ve-saharí?
Kimʕét vi-‘érd bein shináyikh ha-tzúf ve-ha-tzorí —
Luléi heyót keléi ʕeináyikh ha-‘áf ve-he-ḥorí.
ʕal mah ‘ehí ve-ḥishkéikh, ʕalmáh, nirtzáḥ be-‘éin kelí?
Hein leḥeyéikh ‘ashér sham nirdí yaḥpótz le-go’alí!

Ḥóshekh ve-‘ór be-yofyéikh ʕoráv yahnéh ve-yeʕeráv,
Ki ‘eil be-yóm bera’éikh keiráv mizráḥ le-maʕaráv
Va-yesháv sevív hadaréikh ʕakráv yoshéiv be-ma’aráv.
‘Im tilbeshí ke-nashím rikmáh ‘o ‘im tenatzlí —
Dayéikh be-to’aréikh ki taʕdí yófi mekóm ḥalí.

Bakh kol yefí — ve-ʕód mah yitrón birvíd ve-saharón?
‘Akh yimneʕú leḥabéik garón u-neshók le-tzavrón
‘Az shoreráh hadasát sharón va-taʕanéh be-rón:
Ḥúlli ʕuqúd jídik, li-máa ‘azádat bíki ‘al-ḥáli?
‘Anti ‘al-ḥáli wa-hádhuhu ʕíndi júmlat shuwághli!

  1. Like a lot of kharajat, this couplet is likely taken from a popular song. The female addressee coquettishly (or mockingly) responds to the male speaker with a bit of Arabic song on the same theme as the poem.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

Are you a Russian spam robot? Prove it: *