If not love, let it be

Woe, angst and despondency

And may this state of my misery

Be the cause of your infamy.

Please don’t sever old ties,

Please, this I beg of you,

Even if nothing remains between us,

Even your being aloof will comfort me.

And if in my 'shameful' presence

Your reputation is tarnished greatly,

Let my fealty pay the price,

And become my very own mockery.

How can I, O my beloved!

Be my own enemy?

How can I although I know,

There's no love in your heart for me.

So let me cajole with all that's left,

Even if it's for a little while Asad*,

If there is nothing called love for me,

Let my craving for it destroy me.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

*Asad: Pen name of Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib.
Translated and posted on July 5, 2002.

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