Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Introductory to India


By Rumi (1207–1273)

Translated by F. F. Ritter

I AM the mote in the sunbeam, and I am the burning sun;

“Rest here!” I whisper the atom; I call to the orb, “Roll on!”

I am the blush of morning, and I am the evening breeze;

I am the leaf’s low murmur, the swell of the terrible seas;

I am the net, the fowler, the bird and its frightened cry,

The mirror, the form reflected, the sound and its echo, I;

The lover’s passionate pleading, the maiden’s whispered fear,

The warrior, the blade that smites him, his mother’s heart-wrung tear;

I am intoxication, grapes, wine-press, and must and wine,

The guest, the host, the tavern, the goblet of crystal fine;

I am the breath of the flute, I am the mind of man,

Gold’s glitter, the light of the diamond, and the sea-pearl’s lustre wan,

The rose, her poet nightingale, the songs from his throat that rise,

Flint sparks, the taper, the moth, that about it flies.

I am both Good and Evil; the deed and the deed’s intent,

Temptation, victim, sinner, crime, pardon and punishment,

I am what was, is, will be; creation’s ascent and fall;

The link, the chain of existence; beginning and end of all.