The Party

In his 1858 “Essay on Persian Poetry,” Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed his fondness for Hafiz, one of the most beloved poets of the Persian language. Hafiz, whose given name was Shams-ud-din Muhammed, was born and lived in the beautiful garden city of Shiraz in the 14th century. His work became known to the West largely through the intellectual passion of Goethe, the most esteemed German writer to have ever lived. Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan was inspired by the mystic poetry of Hafiz and contained an entire section called “The Book of Hafiz.” Goethe claimed, “Hafiz has no peer,” and that he is “mystically pure.”

Hafiz became a life-long companion to Emerson and deeply influenced his literary career. Emerson wrote, “[Hafiz] is not to be scared by a name, or a religion. He fears nothing. He sees too far, he sees throughout; such is the only man I wish to see or be… Hafiz is a poet for poets.” The mission of Hafiz’s poetry was to express to a fanatical religious world that all things are connected to God and, therefore, all things are divine. He spoke of love, humility, and the importance of taking care of the soul through good action.

If God invited you to a party
And said,
“Everyone in the ballroom tonight,
Will be my special Guest,”
How would you treat them,
When you arrived?
Indeed, indeed!
And Hafiz knows,
There is no one in this world,
Who is not upon,
His jeweled dance floor.

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