go shauq se ho dil ;xuu;N mujh ko adab vuhii hai
mai;N ruu kabhuu nah rakkhaa gustaa;x us ke ruu par

1) although from ardor the heart might be blood, I have only/emphatically that same courtesy
2) I have never put my face, insolent/rude, upon her face



adab : 'Discipline, training; deportment; good breeding; good manners, politeness, courtesy, urbanity; etiquette; polite literature'. (Platts p.31)


gustaa;x : 'Presumptuous, arrogant, insolent, audacious, impudent, saucy, uncivil, rude; cruel; abrupt'. (Platts p.910)

S. R. Faruqi:

On the theme of adab , see




In {783,6} the situation is the opposite of that in the present verse: in that one, the speaker remains, night and day, with his mouth pressed to the beloved's mouth. But the topic is the same. Because then he says, 'I've let the thread of courtesy slip from my hand'. That is, if courtesy had continued to be heeded, he would not have behaved like that. Passion and courtesy have been considered mutually inseparable. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi has noted down in his book an Arabic verse on courtesy and refinement:

'The way of passion is nothing except courtesy.
People, teach your spirit courtesy, refine it.'

For this reason Mir has said in {78,7}, 'without passion, this courtesy does not come'.

Now consider the verbal subtleties of the present verse. There are two meanings for shauq se ho dil ;xuu;N : (1) because of the intensity of ardor, the heart would be turning to blood; (2) if the heart would be turning to blood, then it would be because of ardor. The Persian idiom ruu nihaadan bah chiize means, according to the [dictionary] bahaar-e ((ajam , 'to turn the attention toward something'. If we keep this meaning in mind, then the suggestion is that the speaker didn't even take a full look at her face.

On the other hand, not putting one's face on the beloved's face can also mean that through the expression of courtesy, or with regard to courtesy, the speaker would have put his face/mouth to her foot, or to her hand. That is, he would presumably have kissed her foot or hand.

The meaning of gustaa;x ruu is 'shameless'; thus there's also the suggestion that although the beloved put aside shame and came before me, I committed no disrespect, and I never placed my mouth/face on her mouth/face; or, I never took a full look at her face. An apparent simplicity of expression, and in reality such convolutedness that almost every word has multiple meanings-- he's composed a fine verse.

[See also {907,4}.]



In the first line, adab vuhii hai clearly refers, in context, to the courtesy that the speaker used to have before his 'heart turned to blood' with longing and pain. Although he's now in such dire straits, his behavior remains impeccable in its courtesy.

While mu;Nh can mean not only 'face' but also 'mouth', ruu means only 'face' (or, more abstractly, 'aspect' and the like). If you literally try to put your face 'on' someone else's face, you're kissing them, or rubbing noses, or perhaps somehow 'dancing cheek to cheek'. The question remains awkwardly open; the reader has to figure out this somewhat peculiar imagery.

SRF suggests as one possibility that the speaker 'put his face' not on her face but on her foot or hand; which indeed works well. But even more enjoyable is his other suggestion: that the speaker never presumed-- oh the horrible, vulgar insolence that it would have been!-- to look her full in the face. The hyper-refined shudder represented by the interjection of gustaa;x works elegantly with the first line's claim of unimpaired courtesy-- a courtesy that might well be so morbidly extreme that even a look could be envisioned as an intolerably presumptuous 'putting of my face upon her face'.

Note for meter fans: The tashdiid on the kaaf in rakkhaa is a permissible metrical expedient; poets often take advantage of this possibility in perfect verb forms like this. (The omission of ne is just Mir being Mir.)