huu;N daa;G-e naazukii kih kiyaa thaa ;xayaal-e bos
gul-barg saa vuh ho;N;T jo thaa niil-guu;N hu))aa

1) I am {wounded by / 'a wound of'} delicacy-- {in that / when / because} I had thought of a kiss
2) that lip that was like a rose-leaf, became {blue/bruise}-colored



S. R. Faruqi:

daa;G honaa = to be sorrowful
bos = kiss

Many verses about the delicacy of the beloved have been composed, but perhaps no one has thought of the hyperbole of her becoming wounded only by thought. How colorfully-woven the second line is! When the red rose-bud withers, then a brownish-purplish color comes over; we can interpret that as blue. When delicate people are pinched, or their skin is forcefully pressed, then the brownish-purplish mark that appears is called niil . (Every mark of a wound is called niil , if it heals quickly and does not bleed.) Here, the very thought of a kiss was enough to create a niil on the beloved's lips. Between daa;G and niil-guu;N the affinity is obvious.

Ghalib too has created a fine exaggeration of delicacy, but in his verse there's a good deal of artificialness, and there's not the physical intensity of Mir's verse:


Mir's line is such that it's as though someone would actually have forcefully pressed his mouth onto the beloved's lips. Mir had more of a sense of the physicality of the body than any of our other poets.

The idiom daa;G honaa is also fine; hardly anyone besides Mir would have used it. In [the dictionaries] farhang-e aa.sifiyah and Platts' it doesn't appear. Mir has used it one other time, in the first divan [{617,4}]:

burqa(( u;Tthe hii chaand saa niklaa
daa;G huu;N un ke be-;hijaabii se

[the moment the burqa was lifted, something like a moon emerged,
I am 'a wound' through her unveiledness]

That verse will be discussed in its place.

If the question is asked about the present verse, as to what is the cause of sorrow at the beloved's coquetry, then to this there are two answers. The first is that we are sorry for having caused the beloved pain by means of our thought. The second is that when the beloved's delicacy is of such a kind that the very thought of a kiss bruises her lips, then how will a real kiss every be vouchsafed? This thought gives rise to sorrow.

The theme of the color of the face being changed by a kiss, Mir Hasan has versified like this. It's possible that Mir might have borrowed the thought from him:

vuh ru;xsaar naazuk kih ho jaa))e;N laal
agar un pah bose kaa gu;zre ;xayaal

[those cheeks are so delicate that they would become red
if the thought of a kiss would pass over them]

In this verse there's more the theme of shyness/modesty than of the beloved's delicacy. Mir's verse is more physical and lively.

In ;xusrav-o-shiiriin , Nizami has used this theme [in Persian] in its ordinary aspect. But in the second line he has also given proof of his special 'delicacy of thought':

'Since he cut her lips with his teeth and bruised them,
It was as if a violet was growing from a rose-leaf.'

[See also {485,2}.]



While we're thinking of Ghalib, how can I resist mentioning this one?


It's true, as SRF says, that Mir's verse is directly sensuous and even erotic. Ghalib's verse, by contrast, remains abstract, and consists of a sort of juggling act of opposites.