sar-gu;zisht apnii kis andoh se shab kahtaa thaa
so ga))e tum nah sunii aah kahaanii us kii

1) with what sadness he was saying/telling, last night, his life-history!
2) you went to sleep, you didn't hear-- ah! -- his story



S. R. Faruqi:

[For SRF's discussion of this ghazal as a whole, see {949,1}.]



For discussion of this ghazal as a whole, see {949,1}.

The speaker seems to be some sympathetic neighbor or friend, who has spent much of the night listening to the history of the lover's sufferings. He perhaps addresses some other friend who was also among the circle of listeners, but who dozed off after a while and missed most of it.

Could the addressee be the beloved? If so, we could imagine her as yawning with boredom, then finally just taking herself off to bed. But it doesn't seem like her even to permit the lover to begin his tiresome droning narrative, in any gathering where she was present. Perhaps she left, and then later on the lover told his story.

It's that little aah that does the 'mood' work in this verse. It's a sigh of sorrow and sympathy. Perhaps it expresses a bit of regret that the addressee missed such a notable tale of woe. But mostly it shows the speaker's compassionate response to the lover's moving, heartfelt story.

Note for grammar fans: In the first line, that kahtaa thaa is a bit surprising. Normally the past habitual is used for regularly repeated actions. Yet it hardly makes sense to say 'he used to tell his story last night'! And we can't solve the problem by taking shab to mean 'at night' in general, because the second line makes it clear that one event (which the addressee missed when s/he 'went to sleep') is involved. Oh well, he's Mir and we're not.

Note for translation fans: Because of this problem I've simply translated kahtaa thaa as 'was telling', as though it were kah rahaa thaa . It could also have been turned into kahaa thaa , 'told', but since it was necessary to improvise anyway, I liked the idea of expressing the immediacy of the 'saying'/telling.