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Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

ʿAttar's Conference of the birds: poetry reading

ʿAttar's Conference of the birds: poetry reading

2:19

Actor Helen Morse reads from ʿAttar's Conference of the birds, translated by Edward Fitzgerald.

This reading is part of a series of excerpts from the romantic stories and lyrical verse written or inspired by some of the great Persian poets of the past, as showcased in the Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond exhibition.

ʿAttar's Conference of the birds: poetry reading transcript


From ‘Attar's Conference of the birds, translated by Edward FitzGerald

Once on a time from all the Circles seven
Between the stedfast Earth and rolling Heaven
THE BIRDS, of all Note, Plumage, and Degree,
That float in Air, and roost upon the Tree;
And they that from the Waters snatch their Meat,
And they that scour the Desert with long Feet;
Birds of all Natures, known or not to Man,
Flock'd from all Quarters into full Divan,
On no less solemn business than to find
Or choose, a Sultan Khalif of their kind,
For whom, if never theirs, or lost, they pined.

Then came The Nightingale, from such a Draught
Of Ecstasy that from the Rose he quaff'd
Reeling as drunk, and ever did distil
In exquisite divisions from his Bill
To inflame the Hearts of Men – and thus sang He –
'To me alone, alone, is giv'n the Key
Of Love; of whose whole Mystery possesst,
When I reveal a little to the Rest,
Forthwith Creation listening forsakes
The Reins of Reason, and my Frenzy takes:
Yea, whosoever once has quaff'd this wine
He leaves unlisten'd David's Song for mine.

8:57
Cameron Douraghy talks about the Rostam: Tales from the Shahnameh comic book series.
40:53
Dr Barbara Brend discusses the illustrations in the 'Khamsa' of Nizami and the 'Khamsa' of Amir Khusrau.
40:52
Dr Zahra Taheri discusses the role of the feminine in the life and teachings of the mystic Sufi poet Rumi.
46:39
Dr Mammad Aidani explores contemporary ways of understanding the poetry of Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi.
23:44
Prof Charles Melville on illuminated manuscripts that address themes of love and devotion.
24:57
Prof Charles Melville on illuminated manuscripts that address themes of love and devotion.
1:41
Hear Helen Morse read from Goethe’s West-eastern Divan.
1:49
Hear Helen Morse read from Lord Byron's The bride of Abydos.
1:41
Hear Helen Morse read Shakespeare's Sonnet no 54.
31:05
Enjoy an insight into the exhibition Love and devotion as co-curator Susan Scollay reveals the beauty of Persian poetry.
2:09
Hear Helen Morse read from the Divan of Hafiz.
1:46
Hear Helen Morse read from Dante's Divine comedy.
1:47
Hear Helen Morse read from the story of Layla and Majnun, as told in the Khamsa of Nizami.
2:19
Hear Helen Morse read from ʿAttar's Conference of the birds.
2:01
Hear Helen Morse read from Rumi's Masnavi.
2:42
Hear Helen Morse read from Firdausi's Shahnama.
2:22
Hear Helen Morse read from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
1:23
Actor Helen Morse introduces lyrical works written by the great Persian poets of the past.
17:17
Richard Ovenden discusses the Bodleian Libraries and the 'Love and devotion' exhibition.
5:14
A preview of the Persian manuscripts that feature in Love and devotion, the Library's landmark 2012 exhibition.
1:23
Actor Helen Morse introduces lyrical works written by the great Persian poets of the past.
2:22
Hear Helen Morse read from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
2:42
Hear Helen Morse read from Firdausi's Shahnama.
2:01
Hear Helen Morse read from Rumi's Masnavi.
2:19
Hear Helen Morse read from ʿAttar's Conference of the birds.
1:47
Hear Helen Morse read from the story of Layla and Majnun, as told in the Khamsa of Nizami.
1:46
Hear Helen Morse read from Dante's Divine comedy.
2:09
Hear Helen Morse read from the Divan of Hafiz.
1:41
Hear Helen Morse read Shakespeare's Sonnet no 54.
1:49
Hear Helen Morse read from Lord Byron's The bride of Abydos.
1:41
Hear Helen Morse read from Goethe’s West-eastern Divan.
40:53
Dr Barbara Brend discusses the illustrations in the 'Khamsa' of Nizami and the 'Khamsa' of Amir Khusrau.
40:52
Dr Zahra Taheri discusses the role of the feminine in the life and teachings of the mystic Sufi poet Rumi.
46:39
Dr Mammad Aidani explores contemporary ways of understanding the poetry of Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi.
23:44
Prof Charles Melville on illuminated manuscripts that address themes of love and devotion.
24:57
Prof Charles Melville on illuminated manuscripts that address themes of love and devotion.

Love & devotion in the UK

The Bodleian Libraries is showing its own presentation of the Love and devotion exhibition at the Exhibition Room, Bodleian Library, in Oxford, England, between 29 November 2012 and 28 April 2013.

Learn more about how you can visit this exhibition on the Bodleian Libraries website.

Conference

Love and devotion: Persian Cultural Crossroads

This two-day conference held in April 2012 featured distinguished international guests and Australian specialists exploring cultural convergences in literature, the arts and architecture, history and philosophy within Persia's cultural sphere and Europe, from the 11th century to the present day.

For information on keynote speakers & topics discussed, visit our conference page

Visit the exhibition

The Love and devotion exhibition took place from 9 March to 1 July 2012. In-depth information about the exhibits and themes can be found on this website.

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Tel +61 3 8664 7000