The KASÎDAH was composed on Burton’s return journey from Mecca, although published later around the same time as his other books. The KASÎDAH stands out from Burton’s other works in that its style and content is strongly Sufic in character. The well known Sufi teacher and scholar Idries Shah has called the KASÎDAH one of the most interesting productions of Western Sufi literature, and regards Burton as himself a Sufi. Burton, however, in his foreword to the book refers to himself as “the translator,” and attributes the long poem to one Haji Abdu al-Yazdi. The poem is a commentary upon Western methods of thought, modern theories and philosophies, from the Sufi point of view. In all regards, Burton’s KASÎDAH is a classic of developmental literature, and is presented here in a new, updated edition with a specially written Foreword by the scholar Solomon James.

Publisher: Azafran


THE hour is nigh; the waning Queen walks forth to rule the later night; Crown’d with the sparkle of a Star, and throned on orb of ashen light:

The Wolf-tail1 sweeps the paling East to leave a deeper gloom behind,
And Dawn uprears her shining head, sighing with semblance of a wind:

The highlands catch yon Orient gleam, while purpling still the lowlands lie; And pearly mists, the morning-pride, soar incense-like to greet the sky.

The horses neigh, the camels groan, the torches gleam, the cressets flare; The town of canvas falls, and man with din and dint invadeth air:

The Golden Gates swing right and left; up springs the Sun with flamy brow; The dew-cloud melts in gush of light; brown Earth is bathed in morning-glow.


Slowly they wind athwart the wild,
and while young Day his anthem swells, Sad falls upon my yearning ear
The tinkling of the camel-bells:

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