Ghazal 147, Verse 1

{147,1}*

chashm-e ;xuubaa;N ;xaamushii me;N bhii navaa-pardaaz hai
surmah to kahve kih duud-e shu((lah-e aavaaz hai

1) the eye of beautiful ones, even/also in silence, is voice-{performing/completing}

2a) collyrium is, one might say, the smoke of the flame of the voice
2b) one might call it collyrium-- that which is [really] the smoke of the flame of the voice

Notes:

surmah : 'Lead-ore; antimony (reduced to powder); collyrium (of antimony), or lead-ore or sulphuret of lead'. (Platts p.65)

 

pardaaz : 'Performing, accomplishing, finishing, completing, (used chiefly at the end of comp.)'. (Platts p.246)

 

kahve is an archaic form of kahe ; (GRAMMAR)

Nazm:

By 'voice-achieving' is meant that the coquetries and sidelong glances from the eyes are such that even in silence they are speaking. As if [goyaa] the collyrium [kaajal] of this eye has collected lamp-black [paa;Rnaa] from the flame of the voice. (155)

== Nazm page 155

Bekhud Dihlavi:

surmah-;xvuraaniidan or surmah-e aavaaz -- these are both idioms of the Persian-speakers, and are used with the meaning of 'to cause to be silent'. Mirza Sahib says that this collyrium has been made [by collecting soot] from the flame of the voice. For this reason it has a contrary effect, and bestows the power of speech on collyrium. (213)

Bekhud Mohani:

Even when the beloved remains silent, her eyes don't remain heedless of sidelong glances, hints. As if [goyaa] the collyrium in her eyes were lamp-black collected from the flame of the voice. That is, from the collyrium, the effect of her glances is even further heightened. (284)

FWP:

SETS == BHI; DEFINITION; KIH
EYES {3,1}
SPEAKING: {14,4}

This is one of only a handful of ghazals from which Faruqi has selected every single divan verse as superior.

The idea that collyrium and the voice are natural enemies is an intriguing one, variously explained by the commentators. For discussion, see {44,1}.

The beloved's gorgeous dark eyes are surrounded with collyrium, which enhances their beauty and thus their power to 'speak' to the dazzled lover. Collyrium is made by holding a plate above the smoky flame of a burning lamp to collect the soot. The beloved's collyrium is made, however, from the 'smoke of the flame of a voice'.

How are we to put the two lines together? As so often, we have to decide for ourselves. (1) Perhaps the two lines describe the same situation: they vividly convey to us how beautiful and 'speaking' the beloved's collyrium-lined eyes are. (2) Or we might take the second line as a cause (the beloved has made herself some special fancy 'voice'-produced collyrium), and the first line as an effect (therefore her eyes are able to 'speak' even in silence).

(3) Or we might take the first line as a cause (the beloved's eyes 'speak' radiantly, burningly, even in silence) and the second line as an effect (therefore what looks like collyrium around her eyes is really the smoke from the fire of her eyes' 'voice'). In this latter case, we'd also have an example of 'elegance in assigning a cause': you think that's collyrium around her eyes, but it's really an accumulated layer of smoke and soot from the flame of her brilliant eyes.

Then, of course, we have the lovely wordplay of navaa , aavaaz , kahnaa ; and their opposite, ;xaamushii . The form kahve is an archaic predecessor of the modern goyaa , which the commentators use in their paraphrases. Both are conventionally used to mean 'as if'-- or 'so to speak', since both come from verbs of speaking. Besides enhancing the wordplay, the sequence kahve kih also creates a bit of visual play with the look of the script (since short vowels are not shown).

And finally, there is the clever ambiguity of kih , which here can be read in two ways. One might (2a) say about the collyrium on the eyes, that it's the smoke of a voice-flame (since collyrium is made of smoke). Or else (2b) one might erroneously call it collyrium, although in fact it's really something quite different, not a commonplace cosmetic powder but a by-product of a voice-flame.

Compare this verse to its unpublished sibling, {147,4x}.

For extensive discussion of the nature and origin of the 'flame of the voice', see M{472,6}.