by Sohail Hanif
Posted on December 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM.
Like the farmer's plow that softens soil to accept a seed, repeated love softens the heart to enable love's seed to sprout.'
A Fertile Heart
What was Romeo doing before he met Juliet? If you don’t know the answer, stop reading this and review the first few scenes of Shakespeare’s play. (Alternatively, just scroll down to see the answer.)
He was in love with Rosaline. He was madly in love, but she loved him not.
She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
Do I live dead that live to tell it now.
He was ripped to pieces.
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
Being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet.
But then, when his eye fell upon Juliet, everything changed.
One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun
Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun…
Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!...
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
How did he fall in love so instantly when he saw Juliet? It was love for Rosaline. His feelings for her, like a pickaxe, or a farmer’s plow, struck away at his heart. It pained him, cause him much grief, but it also softened his heart so that love could plant its coveted seed. When the Rosaline’s seed was not forthcoming, this softened, fertile heart turned to a maiden that was worthy of his love, willing to reciprocate his feelings, willing to share love’s pains. One glance was enough, enough to plant a seed, enough for the seed to set out its roots, and enough for the little plantling to grow.
Thus are the hearts of Arabian lovers. None comprehend the depth of their feelings save hearts softened by love's hard blows.
Al-Mutanabbi continues, addressing his tearful cheeks, reminding himself that love is his way of life, a way that he must continue treading till he finds the seed destined to set roots in his tender heart,
أَأَوَّلُ دَمْعٍ جَرَى فَوقَهُ
Are these the first tears to run over them?
وَأَوَّلُ حُزْنٍ عَلَى رَاحِلِ
Or the first remorse over one departing?
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