by Franz Toussaint (1879 - 1955)
Translation © by Charles Hopkins (1952 - 2007)

La fidélité
Language: French (Français)  after the Persian (Farsi) 
Pendant des années, j’avais voyagé avec cet ami. 
Bien des fois, ensemble, nous avions partagé le pain et le sel. 
C’est vous dire que notre intimité était absolue. 
Un jour, désireux de réaliser un gain, 
il se permit de me blesser, et notre intimité cessa. 
Malgré ce pénible événement, nous nous aimions encore, 
lorsque j’appris qu’il récitait, dans les assemblées, 
cette kacida, que j’avais composée.

« Lorsque mon ami pénètre dans ma demeure en souriant, 
il saupoudre de sel la plaie du blessé d’amour. 
Que se passerait-il, si une boucle de ses cheveux venait à caresser mon front, 
comme l’aumône d’un homme riche tombe dans la main d’un pauvre ? »

Plusieurs personnes avaient bien voulu applaudir ces vers, 
et mon ancien camarade les avait aussitôt louangés avec exagération. 
Il était allé jusqu’à gémir d’avoir perdu mon affection, 
n’hésitant point à se reconnaître coupable …

Je me rendis compte qu’il voulait me revoir, 
[et lui]1 adressai les vers suivants, en témoignage de pardon :
« Nous sommes restés fidèles l’un à l’autre. 
Toi seul as été injuste. Je ne pouvais prévoir que tu t’éloignerais, 
et j’avais lié mon cœur au tien … Il y avait tant d’autres cœurs, cependant ! 
Reviens. Tu seras aimé comme jamais tu ne l’as été ! »

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Note: this is a prose selection. Line breaks have been added arbitrarily.

1 K. Sorabji: "et je lui"

Authorship

Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Charles Hopkins) , "Fidelity", written 1995, copyright © 1995, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Edward Rehatsek) , Kama Shastra Society, first published 1888


Researcher for this text: Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2018-08-27
Line count: 22
Word count: 212

Fidelity
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
For some years I had travelled with a particular friend, 
and on many occasions we had shared bread and salt together. 
I say this to demonstrate the total intimacy of our friendship. 
One day, however, wishing to get the better of me, 
he allowed himself to cause me distress, and we became less close.  
Despite this painful episode we still remained friendly, 
and I later learnt that he had, in company, 
recited this qasidah of my composition:
“When my friend, smiling, crosses the threshold of my home
he sprinkles salt on the open wound of my love.
What should happen if a lock of his hair were to brush my forehead
like the alms of a rich man dropping into the palms of one less fortunate?”

Several of those present applauded the sentiment of this verse, 
and my old companion was especially effusive in his praise.  
He had been deeply saddened at losing my affection, 
and unhesitatingly accepted that he had been to blame... 
I realised that he was eager for a reconciliation and 
addressed the poem which follows to him as a mark of my forgiveness:

“We were once true to one another. It was you who were unjust.
I could not have foreseen that you would distance yourself from me,
since I had given my heart to you...even though there
were a good many others to whom I was close!
Come back, and you will be loved again as never before!”

Confirmed with an original Microsoft Word Document provided by Alistair Hinton. We have fixed two typographical errors above (line 1: "yeas" -> "years"; and line -1: "love" -> "loved")


Authorship

Based onBased on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2018-08-04
Line count: 23
Word count: 243