Ghazal 39, Verse 7x


kal asad ko ham ne dekhaa goshah-e ;Gam-;xaanah me;N
dast bar-sar sar bah zaanuu-e dil-e maayuus thaa

1) yesterday we saw Asad in a corner of the grief-chamber
2) he was hand on head, head on knee, with/from a despairing heart


maayuus : 'Disappointed, despondent, hopeless, desperate'. (Platts p.988)


Yesterday we saw Asad in a corner of the wine-house [Asi's text has mai-;xaanah] in such a condition that through sorrow and stupefaction his hand was on his head and his head was on his knee. This verse is a picture; no telling why it was stricken from the selection. (74)


The hand on the head, and the head on the knee, express a condition of grief and sorrow; and grief and sorrow, a condition of despair. Instead of saying that the despairing heart caused me to put my hand on my head and my head on my knee, he has said that 'My head was on the knee of the despairing heart'. This disjointed construction seems to be the reason that this verse has been ignored. (86)

Gyan Chand:

The 'knee of the despairing heart'-- that is, his own knee. Yesterday we saw Asad in his grief-chamber, in a condition with his head placed on his knee, his hands placed on his head, and with a despairing heart.

== Gyan Chand, p. 116



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; mainly for the sake of completeness, I have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

For more on sitting sar bah zaanuu , see {32,2}.

It's true that, as Zamin complains, the most obvious reading of the second line is indeed 'hand on the head, head on the knee of the despairing heart'. But the i.zaafat is a versatile construction, and I think we can rescue the line by deciding to take it not as 'he was an A, with a B of C', but rather as 'he was an A, a B, with/from a C'.

But even if we can rescue it, it's hard to make it very interesting. I've put it in mostly to make the original ghazal complete.