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Over time, subsequent coats of varnish have darkened, muting the colorful surfaces in the Damascus Room. /It embraced a cloak of the thorn tree’s green branches and kissed a mouthmade of the blossoms of chamomile./And it wrote on a palimpsest of air a gilded line and then drops of cloudsdotted it with silver./It lined with ruby an eyelid and an eye, and it daubed with henna a handand a wrist./ The soul has no need but to praise him, Abu’l-Qasim, who guides aright,magnificent prophet./Bringer of glad tidings, warner of the hereafter, true in his words, emissary,beloved and friend [of God], of Hashimite descent, preferred by all./Pious, pure, Abtahi [Meccan], revered, a shining lamp from Zamzam, honored./A prophet who dons glory and power as striped finery in which beautyis embodied./A prophet who has guided aright.

The opening from which visitors view the room today would originally have been a wall with a cupboard. 97 (color)Montebello, Philippe, and Kathleen Howard, ed.

(The cupboard doors are now mounted in the passageway leading to the room.) Wealthy Damascene homeowners periodically refurbished reception rooms in accordance with shifting trends and tastes in interior decoration.

No prospects: Ghoufran, 35, says even the young men who are still around aren't much of a prospect.

Many are only teenagers, and much too young to be serious romantic prospects.

Those seeking refugehave an abode that protects them from destruction./Turtledoves sing congratulations on your sublimity, and the well rewardedsummoner (?

) warbles./Rejoice in your loftiness, for he who built you surpasses the planetsand stars in glory./For it comfort is given in every difficulty: ferocious lions come to it prostrate./A hand that assists with gifts those who implore, as the sea yieldswhen it froths./A family branch which traces its root to the most noble of men derivesmore significance from high-born glory./Than anyone who wears nobility as a cloak and is clothed in all splendoramong mankind./They have made the office of vizier and that of the comptroller subservient,time a slave, and the proud has been enslaved./Remain in happiness, O unique one of your time, and enjoy what hasbeen erected with such care for you./Luxuriating in the shadow of a life of easy, you achieve what you desirein spite of enemies./What has come to us is the date of what you have built so strongly asa house for which wisdom cries out, “Recite!

He is the firm bondthat will never break./O seal of prophecy, O opener of highest heaven, I beg mercy, coming tothy gate as a sinner./O Lord, O God, be for me, and be not against me, for the world hasbecome narrow and dark./I ask Thee by him who guides aright, answer my prayer and be generouswith what I hope for, O master of the earth and sky./And be tolerant, respond favorably, and he who . ., and, O God, do not burnany Muslims in hellfire./And pray for the Chosen One and his companions whenever lightning darkness frown and smiles./These poems are part of 329 lines of a poem composed by Shihab al-Din Ibn al-Khalluf (D. There are some differences between the poems inscribed in this room and the ones known from manuscripts, see:

Wall Panels Text in Arabic:بیت المحامد والمفاخر والندی / دامت بک الافراح تهتف سرمدا /شادتک اید المجد في شرف العلی / للائذین حمي یصون من الردی /وترنمت ورق الحمائم بالهناء / بعلاک والداعي المثوب غرّدا /بشراک بالعلیاء فبانیک الذي / سامی الکواکب والدرار سؤددا /تدب به فی کل صعب راحة / تأتي لها الاُسد الضراغم سُجّدا /وید تمد السائلین بسیبها / ما البحر عند نوالها إن ازبدا /فرع نماه الی الاکارم عصبة / نالت من المجد المؤثل مقصدا /من کل من لبس المعالي بردة / وبکل عزّ في الانام قد ارتدا /جعلوا الوزارة والصدارة خادماً / والوقت قناً والمفاخر اعبدا /دُم بالمسرة یا فرید زمانه / واهنأ بما لک بالعنایة شیدا /متنعماً في ظل عیش ارغد / تقتاد ما تبتغي علی رغم العدی /ما جاءنا تاریخ ما احکمته / بیتاً یصیخ له النهی إن انشدا /نادی الیها والجود في ابراجه / بمحمد ربع المکارم اطدا /سنة 1119 Translation of the Wall Panels Text: House of praiseworthy and glorious deeds and generosity, may rejoicingin you be praised eternally./Hands of nobility erected you in the highest dignity.

The palette of the 'ajami decoration was originally much more colorful and more varied than it appears today.

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