Ghazal 4, Verse 2

{4,2}

((ishq se :tabii((at ne ziist kaa mazaa paayaa
dard kii davaa paa))ii dard-e be-davaa paayaa

1) through passion, the temperament found the relish of life
2) it found a cure for pain, it found a pain without cure

Notes:

Nazm:

That is, for me life was a single pain: passion became its cure, and it itself is an incurable pain. (4)

== Nazm page 4

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The style of expression [in the second line]-- upon whom, except for Mirza Sahib, has such extreme excellence been bestowed? (13)

Josh:

As if the pain without cure made our passionless life enjoyable, and this very pain without cure proved to be a cure for that former pain. (52)

FWP:

SETS == MUSHAIRAH; REPETITION; TRANSLATABLES

This verse constitutes a second, supererogatory opening-verse for the ghazal. As a rule, this kind of display is just a flourish of virtuosity on the part of the poet. In this case, Ghalib grafted the opening-verse of one original ghazal onto the first half (including the opening-verse) of another original ghazal, to make the hybrid version he chose to publish in his divan.

The verse is a lovely achievement, wry and amused and relishing its game of paradox. It's also a perfect verse for mushairah performance-- the first line sets up a cheerful, optimistic assertion: passion provides the 'pleasure' or 'relish' of life. Then after (under mushairah performance conditions) a suitably suspenseful delay, the second line starts out by supporting the affirmative first line: passion is, or brings, a cure for (other, ordinary kinds of) pain. Only at the last possible minute do we get the final, balancing assertion: passion itself is, or brings, a pain without cure-- and the 'punch'-word, be-davaa , is withheld until the last possible moment.

The i.zaafat in the second line is optional. With it, the reading is as in (2) above: there are two kinds of 'pain' involved, and one (curable) is removed and replaced by the other (incurable). Without it, the reading would be 'It found a (so-called) 'cure' for pain-- it found that the pain was without cure'. That is, there is only one kind of pain involved, and it is first thought to be curable, but then discovered to be incurable. This reading is less piquant (and less apt) than the reading in (2), but the grammar certainly makes it available.

The second line is also so full of non-connectors that I've always used it to encourage students who are learning the script. In fact I used to put a beautifully calligraphed rendering of this verse on my famous Urdu tshirts. For a parallel to the second line see {4,5}.

Note for meter fans: The spelling of mazah as mazaa is to accommodate the rhyme. Such changes are permissible liberties that occur occasionally when it's convenient for the poet. In this ghazal, the same liberty, with the same word, is taken again in {4,7}.