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Medieval Sourcebook:
Sadi: The Bustan


[Horne Introduction]

Sadi was named by a brother poet the "nightingale of the groves of Shiraz." He was also noted in his lifetime as a religious teacher, though he never claimed to be inspired by any higher wisdom than the human intellect. The first work of this remarkable man was the "Bustan," which means the fruit-garden, or orchard. The book contains the fruits of the author's long experience, his judgments upon life, illustrated by a vast store of anecdotes.


Introduction

In the name of the Lord life­creating!
The Wise One speech­creating within the tongue!

The Lord, the giver, hand­seizing!
Merciful, sin­forgiving, excuse­accepting!

A King such that whosoever turned away his head from His door
Found not any respect at the doors to which he went,

The heads of kings, neck­exalting,
Are at His court, on the ground of supplication.

He does not instantly seize the froward;
He does not drive away with violence those excuse­bringing.

And though He becomes angry at bad conduct,
When thou didst return He canceled the past circumstance in the book of sins.

The two worlds (this and the next) are like a drop in the sea of His knowledge;
He sees a crime, but in mercy covers it with a screen.

If a person seeks a quarrel with his father,
Doubtless the father becomes very angry.

And if a relation be not satisfied with a relation on account of bad conduct,
He drives him from before him, like strangers.

And if the clever slave is not of use,
The master holds him not dear,

And if thou art kind to friends,
The friend will fly from thee to the distance of a league.

And if a soldier abandons service,
The king army­leading becomes quit of him.

But the Lord of high and low
Shuts not the door of food on any one, on account of his sin.

The embroidered leather surface of the earth is His common table;
At this open table, whether enemy or friend--­what matter ?

And if He had hastened against one tyranny­practicing
Who would have obtained safety from the hand of His violence ?

His nature is free from suspicion of opposition and similitude;
His kingdom independent of the devotion of jinn and mankind.

The servant of His order every thing and person:
The son of Adam, and fowl, and ant, and fly.

He spreads so wide a tray of liberality,
That the Simurgh in the mountains of Kaf enjoys a portion.

Grace and liberality diffusing, and work executing;
Because He is the Possessor of Creation and Knower of secrets.

Grandeur and egotism are proper for Him,
Whose kingdom is ancient and nature independent.

He places the crown of fortune on the head of one;
He brings another from a throne to the dust.

This one has the cap of Good­Fortune on his head;
That one the blanket of Misfortune on his body.

He makes a fire, a rose­garden for Ibrahim;
He takes a crowd, from the waters of the Nile to the fire of Hell.

If that making the fire a rose­garden--­it is the written order of His beneficence;
And if this---the destruction of Pharaoh in the Nile--­it is the sign­manual of His order.

Behind the screen He sees bad acts:
By His own favor He covers them with a veil.

If with threatening He draws forth the sharp sword of Command,
The Cherubim will remain deaf and dumb.

And if from the tray of Liberality He gives victuals to be carried home,
'Azazil [i.e., Satan] will say, "I may carry away a good portion."

At the Court of His grace and greatness
The Great Ones have put greatness out of their heads.

In mercy, near to those who are distressed:
A hearer of the prayer of those supplication­making.

Concerning circumstances not yet come to pass, His knowledge penetrating;
As to secrets unspoken, His grace informed.

By power, the Guardian of high (sky) and low (earth),
The Lord of the Court of the day of reckoning (Judgment day).

The back of a person is not free from obedience to Him (it must bend);
On His word there is not room for the finger of a person (in slander).

The ancient doer of good, good­approving;
With the reed of Destiny, in the womb, picture­painting.

from the east to the west, the moon and sun
He put into motion; and spread the firmament on the water.

The earth, from distress of earthquake, became stupefied;
On its skirt He drove down a mountain as a nail.

He gives to the seed of man a form like a pari;
Who has made a painting on the water?

He places the ruby and the turquoise in the back­bone of the rock;
The red rose, on the branch of green color.

From the cloud He casts a drop toward the ocean;
From the back­bone of the father He brings the seed into the womb.

From that drop He makes an incomparable pearl;
And from this He makes a form of man like the lofty cypress.
The knowledge of a single atom is not hidden from Him,
To whom the evident and the hidden are one.

He prepares the daily food of the snake and the ant;
Although they are without hands and feet, and strength.

By His order He portrayed existence from non­existence;
Who, except He, knows how to make the existing from the non­existing?

Another time He takes away creation to the concealment of non­existence,
And thence conveys it to the plain of the place of assembling the Resurrection.

The people of the world are agreed to His divine origin;
Overpowered in respect to the substance of His essence.

The people discovered not what was beyond His majesty;
The vision discovered not the extent of His power.

The bird of Fancy flies not to the summit of His nature;
The power of the intellect arrives not at the skirt of His description.

In this whirlpool a thousand ships of reason foundered,
In such a way that not a plank was found on the marge.

Many nights I sat lost in this journey of thought of God,
When suddenly terror seized my sleeve, saying, "Get up!"

The knowledge of the King is the encircler of the wide plain of creation;
Thy conjecture becomes not the encircler of Him.

Genius reaches not to the substance of His nature;
Thought reaches not to the profundity of His qualities.

One can attain to the Arab poet, Suhban, in eloquence;
But one can not reach to the substance of God without equal.

Because the immature ones have on this road urged the steed of thought,
At the words "la ahsa," they have wearied of the pace.

One can not gallop a steed in every place,
Places there are where it is proper to cast the shield.
And if a traveler becomes acquainted with the secret of God
They will shut on him the door of returning to the world.

In this banquet of the mystery of God they give a cup of the wine of the love of God to that one,
To whom they give a draught of senselessness that he may not utter the mystery of God.

The wise man fears this sea of blood the mystery of God,
Out of which no one has taken the bark of his life.

Of this hawk, the eye is sewn up blind to the knowledge of God;
Of the holy man, the eyes are open to the knowledge of God; and feathers of light to the world burned.

No one went to the buried treasure of Karun;
And if he found a way, he found not a way out of it.

If thou art a seeker, who over this ground of the knowledge of God dost travel,
First thou shouldst pluck up the foot of the steed of returning;

Shouldst reflect, in the mirror of the mind;
Shouldst acquire purity by degrees.

Possibly the perfume of the love of God makes thee intoxicated;
Makes thee a seeker of the Covenant--­ "Am I your God?"

With the foot of search thou dost travel to that place;
And thence thou dost fly with the wing of the love of God.

Truth tears the curtains of fancy;
There remains not a lofty curtain, save the glory of God.

Again for the steed of reason there is no running;
Astonishment will seize its rein, saying, "Stand!"

In this sea of God only the man­guardian [Mohammed] went:
That one became lost, who went not behind the inviter [Mohammed].

Those persons who have turned back from this road
Traveled much, and are distressed.

That person who chooses the way opposite to the Prophet
Will never arrive at the stage of his journey.

Oh Sadi! think not that the path of purity
One can travel, except behind the Chosen One.

Generous of dispositions, beautiful of natures!
The Prophet of creatures, the Intercessor of nations!

The Imam of the prophets, the Leader of the road!
The faithful of God, the place of descent of the Angel Jibra'il!

The Intercessor of mortals, the Lord of raising and dispersing!
The Imam of the guides, the Chief of the court of Assembling!

The Speaker, whose Mount Sinai is the celestial sphere;
All lights are the rays of his light.

The orphan who, the Qur'an uncompleted,
Washed the library of so many religions,

When anger drew forth his sword of terror,
Struck, by a miracle, the waist of the moon in two halves.

When his fame fell in the mouths of the people of the world
An earthquake occurred in the court of Kisri.

By the words--­la­ilaha illa­llah he broke into small pieces the idol Lat;
For the honor of religion he took away the reputation of the idol ''Uzzah.

He brought not forth the dust of the idols Lat and 'Uzza only;
But made the Old Testament and Gospel obsolete.

One night he sate on the beast Burak; he passed beyond the Heavens:
In majesty and grandeur he exceeded the angels.

So impetuous, he urged his steed into the plain of propinquity to God,
While Jibra'il remained behind him, at the tree of paradise.

The Chief of the sacred house spoke to him,
Saying: "Oh, bearer of the Divine Revelation! move proudly higher.

"When thou didst find me sincere in friendship,
Why didst thou twist the reins from my love?"
Jibra'il said: "The power to move higher was not to me:
I remained here because the power of wing remained not to me.

If I fly one hair's breadth higher,
The effulgence of splendor will burn my feathers."

On account of sins a person remains not in restraint
Who has such a Lord as guide.

What acceptable praise may I say to thee?
Oh, Prophet of Mortals! peace be on thee!

May the benedictions of angels be on thy soul!
May they be on thy companions and followers!

First Abu­Bakr, the old disciple;
'Umar, grasp on the convolution of the contumacious demon;

The wise 'Usman, night, alive­keeping;
The fourth 'Ali­Shan, Duldul, riding.

Oh God! by the right of the sons of Fatima,
May I, on the word of faith, conclude my life!

If thou dost reject my claim, or if thou dost accept,
I, and the hand, and the skirt of the offspring of the Prophet are together.

Oh chief happy­footed! what loss occurs
Of thy exalted dignity, at the court of the Living One,

That there are a few beggars of the tribe,
Humble companions, guests, at the House of Paradise?

God praised and honored thee, O Mohammed!
Jabra'il performed the ground­kiss of thy worth.

The lofty sky, before thy worth, is ashamed,
Thou created, and man yet water and clay.

Thou from the first, the essence of the existence of man;
Whatever else became existent is an offshoot from thee.

I know not what words I may say to thee,
Who art higher than what I say of thee.

To thee the honor of--­ "but for thee"---is sufficient grandeur;
Thy praise in the verse of the Koran--­ "táhá wa yasin" --- is sufficient.

What praise may the imperfect Sadi make?
Oh Prophet! on thee be benedictions and safety!

In the extremes of the world I wandered much;
With every one I passed my time.

From every corner I found pleasure;
From every harvest I obtained an ear of corn.

Like the pure ones of Shiraz of dust­like disposition,
I saw not one.­--May mercy be on this pure soil of Shiraz!

The cultivating of friendship of the men of this pure soil
Drew away my heart from Syria and Turkey.

I said to my heart: "From Egypt they bring sugar;
They take it as a present to friends."

From all that garden or the world I was loath
To go empty­handed to my friends.

If my hand be empty of that sugar,
There are words sweeter than sugar--­

Not that sugar that men apparently enjoy;
But that which the lords of truth take away on paper.

May the World­Creator have mercy on thee!
Whatever more I may say is empty talk and wind.


Chapter I: On Justice and Administration of Government

The beneficences of God are not contained in the imagination;
What service does the tongue of praise offer?

Oh God, do thou--­this King (Abu­Bakr, son of Sad), the poor man's friend,
Since the ease of the people is in his protection­--

Keep long established over the head of the people;
By the grace of devotion, keep his heart alive.

Keep his tree of hope fruitful;
His head green, and his face, with mercy, fair.

Oh Sadi! go not in the way of dissimulation;
If thou hast honesty, bring and come.

Thou art a stage­recognizer, and the King a road traveler:
Thou art a speaker of truth; and the King the hearer of truths.

What necessity that nine thrones of the sky
Thou dost place below the foot of the King Kizil­Arsalan.

Say not: Place thy foot of honor on the Heavens.
Say: Place the face of sincerity in the dust.

Place, in devotion, the face on the threshold of God;
Because this is the highway of the righteous.

If thou (Abu­Bakr) art a slave of God, place thy head on this door of God;
Place from off thy head the cap of lordship.

At the Court of the Order giver possessed of Majesty,
Bewail, like a dervish, before a rich and powerful man.

When thou dost perform thy devotions, put not on the kingly raiment;
Like the poor dervish, bring forth a cry,

Saying: "O Omnipotent One! Thou art powerful;
Thou art strong; Thou art the dervish­cherisher.

"I (Abu­Bakr) am neither a monarch nor an order­giver;
I am one of the beggars of this Court.

"What springs forth from the power of my conduct,
Unless the power of Thy grace is my friend?

"Give to me the means of liberality and goodness;
And if not--­what goodness can come from me to any one?

"O God! keep me on the work of goodness;
Otherwise, no work can come from me."

At night, like the beggars, pray with ardor,
If, by day, thou dost exercise sovereignty.

The obstinate ones are at thy door, loin­girt;
Thou shouldst be thus--­thy head on the threshold of devotion.

Oh, excellent!--­for us slaves, the Lord God;
For the lord a slave, duty­performing.

They relate a story of the great men of the faith,
Recognizer of the truth of the essence of truth,

As follows: A pious man sate on a panther;
Snake in hand, he urged his long, pleasant­paced steed.

One said to him: "Oh, man of the way of God!
Guide me to this road by which thou didst go.

"What didst thou, that the rending animal became obedient to thee?
That the seal­ring of good fortune went to thy name?"

He said: "If the panther and snake be submissive to me,
And if also the elephant and vulture­be not astonished.

"Do thou also from the order of the Ruler twist not thy neck,
So that no one, from thy order, may twist his neck."

When the ruler is obedient to God,
God is his Protector and friend.

It is impossible when He loves thee
That He will leave thee in the power of an enemy.

This is the road, and turn not thy face from the way;
Place thy foot on this road and obtain the object which thou dost desire.

Advice of a person is profitable to a person to him,
To whom the saying of Sadi is agreeable.

I have heard that, at the time of the agony of the soul,
King Naushiravan the Just thus spoke to Hurmuz, his son,
Saying: "Be observant of the heart of the poor;
Be not in the desire of thy own ease.

"A person rests not within thy territory
When thou dost seek thy own ease and no more.

"In the opinion of the wise it is not approved­--
The shepherd asleep, and the wolf among the sheep.

"Go: protect the poor and needy one,
Because the king is the crown­holder for the sake of his subjects.

"The subject is like the root, and the king the tree;
Oh son! the tree is strong by reason of the root.

"So long as thou canst, wound not the heart of the people;
But if thou dost--­thou dost pluck up thy own roots.

"If a straight road of safety is necessary for thee­--
The way of the pious is hope and fear.

"The disposition of man is toward wisdom,
In the hope of goodness, and fear of wickedness."

If thou didst find these two doors in the King,
Thou didst obtain shelter in the territory of his kingdom.

The King brings a gift to the hopeful one,
In hope of the gift of pardon of the Creator of the World.

"The injury of persons is not pleasing to the king,
Who fears lest injury should come to his kingdom.

"And if there is not this disposition in his nature
There is not the perfume of ease in that territory.

"If thou art foot­bound (by wife and family), accept contentment;
But if thou art a single horseman (solitary), take thy own desire.

"Seek not plenteousness in that land and region,
Where thou dost see the subjects of the king sorrowful.

"Fear not the proud, haughty ones;
Fear that one who fears God.

"In a dream, he sees the territory of another populous,
Who keeps the heart of the people of his country distressed.

"From violence come ruin and ill­fame;
The prudent man reaches to the profundity of this speech.

It is not proper with injustice to slay the peasants,
Who are the shelter and support of the kingdom.

"For thy own sake preserve the villagers;
Because the laborer of happy heart executes more work for his master.

"It is not manliness to do ill to that one,
from whom thou mayst have experienced much benefit in tribute."

I have heard that King Khosru said to his son Shirwiya
At that time when his eyes slept from seeing--­

"In that state be, so that whatever resolution thou mayst make
Thou mayst consider the peace of the peasant.

"Be sure, so long as thou dost not turn thy head from equity and judgment,
That men will not turn aside their feet from thy power.

"The peasant flies from the tyrant;
He makes his bad repute a stock story in the world.

"Much time passes not, that his own foundation,
That one plucked up, who laid a bad foundation.

"The enemy, skillful with the sword, lays waste,
Not so much as the smoke of the heart of an old woman.

"The lamp of grief that the widow­woman lighted up--­
Thou mayst often have seen that it burned a city.

"Who in the world is more favored than that one
Who with justice, in sovereignty, lived?

"When the time of his traveling from this world arrives,
The people of the world send mercy to his tomb.
"Since bad and good men pass away,
It is best indeed that they connect thy name with goodness and bless thee.

"Appoint the God­fearing one over the peasant;
Because, the abstinent one is the architect of the country.

"That liver­eater of the people is thy enemy,

Who seeks thy profit, in the injury of the people.

"Government is a fault in the hands of those persons,
From whose power, the hands of the people are uplifted in prayer before God.

"The cherisher of good sees not evil;
When thou dost cherish evil thou art the enemy of thy own life.

"Exercise not retribution against the despoiler by confiscation of his property;
But it is proper to bring forth to destroy his root from the foundation.

"Exercise not patience with the agent of the friend of tyranny;
Since, on account of his fatness (from extortion), it is proper to flay his skin.

"It is also proper, at first, to cut off the wolf's head,
Not at the time when he tore in pieces the sheep of men."

How well said the captive merchant
When the robbers gathered around him with arrows!--­

"Inasmuch as courage comes from highwaymen,
Whether the men of the army, or a troop of women, what matter?"

The great king who injured the merchants
Shut the door of well­being on the people of the city and the army.

How many wise men again go there
When they hear the rumor of bad custom?

Are a good name and favorable reception necessary to thee?--­
Hold in esteem merchants and envoys.

Merchants heartily cherish travelers,
Because they carry their good name to the world.

That kingdom soon becomes ruined
From which the injured heart becomes a traveler.

Be the acquaintance of the foreigner, and friend of the traveler,
Because the traveler is one who hawks about a good name.

Hold dear the guest, and precious the traveler;
But also be on guard from injury from them.

To beware of the stranger is good;
Because, possibly, he may be an enemy in the guise of a friend.

Advance the rank of thy own old friends;
Because treachery never comes from the cherished one.

When thy servant becomes old,
Forget not the right of his years.

If old age has bound the hand of his service--­
Yet thou hast power, in respect to liberality.

To accomplish the desire of the hopeful
Is better than to break the bonds of a thousand fettered ones.

If the pillar of the office of the scribe
Balls, he cuts not the rope of hope.

The just monarch, with his subjects,
Becomes angry like a father with a son.

Sometimes he strikes him so that he becomes sorrowful;
Sometimes he makes water flow from his pure eyes.

When thou dost exercise gentleness, the enemy becomes bold;
But if thou art an anvil, he becomes wearied of thee.

Severity and mildness together are best,
Like the vein­striker (bleeder), who is surgeon and plaster placer.

Be generous, and pleasant­tempered, and forgiving;
Even as God scatters favor over thee, do thou scatter over the people.

No one came into the world who remained,
Save that one whose good name remained.

That one died not, after whom there remained--­
Bridge, or masjid, or khan, or guest­house.

Every one behind whom a token remained not--­
The tree of his existence brought not forth fruit.

If he departed from this world and the marks of his well doing remained not,
It is not fit to chant after his death­-- "Al hamd!"


When thou dost wish that thy name may be eternal,
Conceal not the good name of the great ones.

After thy own time call to mind that same descriptive picture
That, after the age of former kings, thou didst behold.

One took away a good name from the world;
The bad custom of the other remained behind him forever.

With the ear of approval, listen not to a person's injury;
But if the speech comes, probe its depth.

Accept the excuse of forgetfulness of the sinner;
When he asks for protection, give protection.

If a sinner comes to thy shelter,
It is not proper to slay him at the first fault.

When once they uttered advice, and the sinner heard not;
Punish him, the second time, with imprisonment and bonds.

And if advice and bonds are of no advantage to him,
He is an impure tree; pluck up his roots.

When anger comes to thee, on account of a person's crime,
Reflect much on his punishment;

Because it is easy to break the ruby of Badakhshan.
Broken--­it is not possible to fasten it together again.

I heard that King Jamshid, of happy nature,
Wrote on a stone, at a fountain­head:

"At this fountain many like us took rest;
They departed in death, just as the eyes twinkled.

"With manliness and force they took the world;
But they took it not with themselves to the tomb.

"They departed, and each one reaped what he sowed:
There remained only good and bad fame."

When thou hast power over an enemy,
Injure him not; because this is indeed sufficient sorrow to him.

A living enemy, head­revolving about thee in desire of thy blood,
Is better than his life­blood revolving about thy neck.

I heard that Darius, of August family,
Became separated, on a hunting­day, from his retinue;

A herdsman came running toward him:
Darius, of happy sect, said to his heart:

"Perhaps this is an enemy who has come to battle:
From a distance I will pierce him with a white poplar arrow."

He adjusted the royal bow to the bow­string:
He desired in a moment to make his existence non­existence.

The herdsman said: "Oh, Lord of Iran and Turan!--­
May the evil eye be far from thy time!--­

"I am he who cherishes the King's horses;
In this meadow I am in thy service."

The heart of the King, which had gone in fear, returned to its place.
He laughed and said: "O one of contemptible judgment!

"The auspicious angel Jibra'il assisted thee;
Otherwise, I had brought the bow­string to the ear."

The guardian of the land­pastured laughed and said:
"It is not proper to conceal advice from a benefactor;

"It is not laudable deliberation, nor good judgment,
That the King knows not an enemy from a friend.

"The condition of living in greatness is such
That thou shouldst know each humble person--­who he is.

"Thou hast many times seen me in the presence:
Thou hast asked me concerning the herd of horses and the meadow.

"Now in love I returned before thee:
Thou dost not again recognize me from an enemy.

"O renowned monarch! I am powerful;
Because I can bring a particular horse out of a hundred thousand.

"By reason of wisdom and judgment, I have the guardianship of the horses;
Thou also shouldst keep thy own herd permanent."

When Darius heard this counsel from the man
He spoke fairly to him, and did him kindness.

Darius kept going and saying in his shame­--
It will be proper to write this advice on the heart.

On account of anarchy there may be sorrow in that throne and country
When the deliberation of the king may be less than that of the shepherd.

How mayst thou hear the lament of one crying for justice--­
The curtain of thy bed­place at Saturn?

So sleep that the lamentation may come to thy ear
If the crier for justice brings forth a shout.

Who complains of the tyrant who is in thy time,
When every violence that he commits is thy violence?

The dog tore not the skirt of one of a Karawan,
But the ignorant villager, who cherished the dog.

Oh Sadi! thou camest boldly into speech:
When the sharp sword of true speech is at thy hand, be victorious.
Say what thou dost know; because truth spoken is well:
Thou art not a bribe­taker, nor a blandishment­giver.

Bind avarice to thyself, but then wash the book of philosophy;
Bid farewell to avarice, and say whatever thou dost desire.

A certain neck­exalting one (a king) in Media came to know
That a wretched one beneath an arch kept saying:

"Thou even art hopeful at the door of God:
Then accomplish the hope of those door­sitting."

Thou dost not wish that thy heart may be sorrowful--­
Bring forth from fetters the heart of the sorrowing ones.

The distress of the heart of the one justice­seeking
Casts a king from his kingdom.

Thou hast slept cool half a day in the retired place (harem);
Say to the foreigner, burn in the heat outside.

God is the taker of justice for that person
Who can not ask for justice from a king

One of the great ones, possessed of discretion,
Tells a story of the son of King 'Abdu­l­'Aziz,

Saying: he had a ring­stone set in a ring,
In respect to the value of which the Court jeweler was confounded.

At night, thou wouldst say it is the orb, world­illuminating;
A glittering star it was, in light like the day.

By chance a drought­year occurred,
When the full­moon of the face of men became the new­moon.

When he saw not ease and strength in man,
He considered it not manliness to be himself at ease.

When a person sees poison in the jaws of men,
How will the sweet water pass to his throat?

He ordered: they sold the ring­stone for silver
Because pity came to him, on account of the poor and orphan.

He gave its value, in spoil, ill one week:
He gave to the poor, and needy, and necessitous.

Those reproach­making fell on him,
Saying: "Such a ring will not again come to thy hand."

I heard that he said, and the rain of tears
Ran down, like wax, on his cheeks--­

As follows: "Ugly is the ornament on a monarch,
The heart of a citizen afflicted with powerlessness;

"A ring without a stone is fit for me:
The heart of a sorrowful populace is not fit for me."

If a relation of the enemy be friendly to thee,
Beware; be not secure of craftiness.

Because his heart becomes torn for vengeance against thee.
When memory of the love of his own relation comes to him.

Consider not the sweet words of an enemy;
For it is possible there is poison in the honey.

That one took his life safe from the trouble of the enemy
Who reckoned friends as enemies.

That knave preserves the pearl in his purse,
Who considers all people purse­cuts.

The soldier who is an offender against the Amir,
So long as thou canst--­take not into service.

He knew not gratitude toward his own chief;
He knows not thee also: be afraid of his deceit.

Hold him not strong as to oath and covenant;
Appoint a secret watchman over him.

Make long the tether of the aspirant;
Break it not, lest thou shouldst not see him again.
When, in battle and siege, the enemy's country
Thou seizest--­consign it to the prisoners.

Because when a captive plunges his teeth in blood,
He drinks blood from the tyrant's throat.

When thou pluckest away a territory from the enemy's clutch,
Keep the peasantry in more order than he.

For, if he beats open the door of conflict,
The people will pluck out the essence of his brain.

But if thou causest injury to the citizens,
Shut not vainly the city­gate in the enemy's face.

Say not: "The enemy, sword­striking, is at the gate!"
When the enemy's partner is within the city.

Essay with deliberation battle with the enemy;
Reflect on counsel; and conceal thy resolution.

Reveal not the secret to every one;
For I have seen many a cup­sharer a spy.

Sikander, who waged war with the Easterns,
Kept, they say, his tent­door toward the west.

When Bahman wished to go to Zawulistan,
He cast a rumor of his going to the left, and went to the right.

If one, besides thee, knows what thy resolve is--­
It is fit to weep over that judgment, and knowledge, and resolution.

Exercise liberality--­neither conflict nor rancor--­
That thou mayst bring a world beneath thy signet­ring.

When a work prospers through courtesy and pleasantness,
What need of severity and arrogance?

Thou wishest not that thy heart should be sorrowful?
Bring forth from bondage the hearts of those sorrowful.

The army is not powerful by the arm;
Go; ask a blessing from the feeble.

The prayer of the hopeful weak ones
Is of more avail than the manly arm.

Whosoever takes to the dervish his request for aid,
If he strikes at Firidun, he would overcome him.


Chapter II: On Beneficence

If thou art wise, incline to truth;
For truth, not the semblance, remains in its place.

To whomsoever there was neither knowledge nor liberality nor piety--­
In his form there was no reality.

Beneath the clay sleeps at ease that one
By whom men sleep tranquil at heart.

Suffer thy own grief in life; for the relation,
Through his own avarice, busies not himself with one dead.

Give now gold and silver which is thine;
For after thy death it is out of thy command.

Thou wishest not that thou shouldst be distressed in heart?
Put not out of thy heart those distressed.

Scatter treasures in alms to­day, without delay;
For to­morrow the key is not in thy hand.

Take away with thy self thy own road­provisions;
For compassion after death comes from neither son nor wife.

That one takes away the ball of empire from this world
Who took, with himself, a portion to the future world

With sympathy, like my finger­tip,
No one in the world scratches my back.

Place now, on the palm of the hand, whatever there is;
Lest that, to­morrow (the Judgment­day), thou shouldst with the teeth bite the back of the hand.

Strive as to covering the shame of the dervish,
That the veil of God may be thy secret­concealer.

Turn not the foreigner portionless from thy door,
Lest that thou shouldst become a wanderer in beggary at doors.

The great one causes alms to reach the indigent;
For he fears that he may become necessitous (as to the need of others).

Look into the state of the heart of those wearied;
For thy heart may, perhaps, one day be broken.

Make the hearts of those dejected happy;
Remember the day of helplessness (the Judgment­day).

Thou art not a beggar at the doors of others;
Drive not, in thanks to God, a beggar from thy door.

Cast protection over the head of the one father­dead;
Scatter his dust of affliction, and pluck out his thorn.

Knowest thou not how very dejected his state was?
May a rootless tree be ever green?

When thou seest an orphan, head lowered in front from grief,
Give not a kiss to the face of thy own son.

If the orphan weeps, who buys for his consolation?
And if he becomes angry, who leads him back to quietude?

Beware! that he weep not; for the great throne of God
Keeps trembling when the orphan weeps.

Pluck out with kindness the tear from his pure eye;
Scatter with compassion the dust of affliction from his face.

If his (the father's) protection departed from over his head,
Do thou cherish him with thy own protection.

I esteemed my head crown­worthy at that time
When I held my head in my father's bosom.

If a fly had sate on my body,
The heart of some would have become distressed.
If now enemies should bear me away captive,
None of my friends is a helper.

For me is acquaintance with the sorrows of orphans,
For in childhood my father departed (in death) from my head.

A certain one plucked out a thorn from an orphan's foot;
The Khujand Chief saw him in a dream:

He was talking and sauntering in the gardens of Paradise,
Saying: "How many roses blossomed from that thorn!"

So long as thou canst, be not free from mercy;
For they bear pity to thee, when thou bearest pity.

When thou hast done a favor, be not self­worshiping,
Saying: "I am a superior, and that other an inferior."

Say not: "The sword of Time has cast him!"
For the sword of Time is yet drawn.

When thou seest a thousand persons prayer­uttering for the empire,
Give thanks to God for favors.

For the reason that many men have expectation from thee,
Thou hast expectation at the hand of none.

I have said that liberality is the character of chiefs;
I uttered a mistake--­it is the quality of prophets!

I have heard that, one week, a son of the road
Came not to the guest­house of Ibrahim, the friend of God.

Through his happy disposition, he used not to eat in the morning,
Unless one, foodless, came from the path of travel.

He went out, and looked in every direction;
Glanced in the quarters of the valley; and saw:

One, willow­like, in solitude, in the desert;
His head and hair white with the snow of old age.

For consolation he said to him: "Marhaba!"
Uttered, according to the custom of the liberal, the invitation,

Saying: "Oh pupil of my eyes!
Do me a favor, as to bread and salt."

He said, "Yes"; and sprang up and lifted his feet;
For he knew his temperament--­on him be peace!

The guards of the guest­house of Ibrahim
Placed the abject old man, with respect.

He ordered; and they arranged the table;
All sate around.

When the company began: "Bismi-llah!"
A word from the old man reached not his ear.

He spoke to him, thus: "O old man of ancient days!
I behold not thy truth and heart­burning, like old men.

"When thou eatest food, is it not the custom
That thou shouldst take the name of the Lord of Victuals?"

He said: "I accept not a religion
Which I have not heard from the old men, fire­worshiping."

The prophet of good omen knew
That the old man, of State become ruined, was a Guebre.

He drove him away with contempt when he saw him a stranger to Islam;
For to the pure the filthy is forbidden.

The angel Surosh came from the glorious Omnipotent,
With majesty, reproaching, saying: "Oh, friend of God!

"I had for a hundred years given him victuals and life;
Abhorrence of him comes to thee in a moment.

"If he takes his adoration to the fire,
Why withdrawest thou thy hand of magnanimity?"

I know not who told me this tale,
That there had been, in the country of Yemen, an order­giver.
He snatched the ball of empire from those renowned;
For in treasure­bestowing there was no equal to him.

One could call him "the Cloud of Liberality,"
For his hand used to scatter money like rain.

No one used to take to him the name of Hatim,
At which mentioning, frenzy used not to go to his head,

Saying: "How much--­of the words of that wind­weigher,
Who has neither country, nor command, nor treasure?"

I heard that he prepared a royal feast,
And harp­like entertained the people, in the midst of the banquet.

One opened the door of mention of Hatim;
Another began to utter his praise.

Envy held the man to the desire of revenge;
He appointed one for his blood­devouring,

Saying: "So long as Hatim is in my time,
My name will not go into the world for goodness."

The calamity­seeking one took the path to the tribe of Tai,
He set out for the slaying of the young man.

There came before him on the road a young man,
From whom the perfume of affection came up to him:

Good of visage, and wise, and sweet of tongue;
He brought him a guest, that night, to his own abode:

Exercised liberality, and sympathized, and made excuses;
Snatched the enemy's heart by kindness:

Placed the morning­kiss on his hands and feet,
Saying: "Stay at ease, a few days, with us."

He said: "I can not here become a resident;
For I have before me an important matter."


He replied: "If thou wilt reveal the matter to me
I will with soul exert myself, like friends of one heart."


He replied: "Oh young man! listen to me;
For I know the generous one is a secret­concealer.

"Thou knowest, perhaps, in this land, Hatim,
Who is of happy judgment and good manners?

"The King of Yemen has desired his head;
I know not what hatred has arisen between them.

"Show me the short path to where he is;
Oh friend! this indeed I look for from thy courtesy."

The youth laughed, saying: " I am Hatim: Behold!
Separate with the sword the head from my body.

"When the morning becomes white it is not proper that
Injury should reach thee, or that thou shouldst become disappointed."

When Hatim placed, with nobleness, his head for slaughter,
A cry issued from the young man (the guest).

He fell upon the dust, and leaped to his feet;
Kissed now the dust; now his feet and hands:

Threw down the sword, and placed the quiver on the ground;
Put, like the helpless, his hands on his breast,

Saying: "If I strike a rose on thy body,
I am, in men's sight, a woman, not a man."

He kissed both his eyes, and embraced him;
And took his way thence to Yemen.

Between the two eyebrows of the man, the King
Knew immediately that he had not performed the duty.

He said: "Come; what news hast thou?
Why didst thou not bind his head to thy saddle­strap?

"Perhaps a renowned one made an assault against thee;
Thou, through weakness, sustainedst not the fury of the contest?"
The clever youth gave the ground­kiss;
Praised the King; and the majesty of his nature,

Saying: "I discovered Hatim, fame­seeking,
Skillful, and of pleasant appearance, and of good visage:

"Considered him generous and endowed with wisdom;
Regarded him, in manliness, my superior:

"The load of his favor made my back bent;
He slew me with the sword of kindness and grace."

Whatever he experienced, from his liberality­he uttered;
The monarch recited praises on the offspring of Tai:

Gave the envoy gold­money,
Saying "Liberality is the seal on Hatim's name."

It reaches him, if they give evidence;
Since truth and fame are his fellow travelers.

I have heard that in the time of the Prophet the tribe of Tai
Made not acceptance of the faith of the Qur'an.

The Messenger of good news and the Observer (Mohammed) sent an army;
They took captive a multitude of them.

The Prophet ordered them to slay them with the sword of hate,
Saying: "They are unclean, and of impure religion."


A woman said: "I am Hatim's daughter,
Ask pardon for me from this renowned Ruler (Mohammed):

"Oh revered sir! exercise generosity as to my state;
For my lord Hatim was endowed with liberality."

By the command of the Prophet of pure judgment,
They loosed the fetters from her hands and feet:

Drew the sword upon the rest of that tribe,
So that they caused, mercilessly, a torrent of blood to flow.

With weeping the woman said to the swordsman:
"Strike my neck also with all the rest:

"I consider not release from fetters, generosity;
I--­alone; and my friends in the noose of calamity."

She kept uttering lamentations over the brothers of Tai;
Her voice came to the Prophet's ear.

The rest of that tribe he gave to her,
Saying: "One of true origin never erred!"

From Hatim's storehouse, an old man
Demanded ten diram's weight of sugar­candy.

From the historian I remember news such
That he sent him a sack of sugar.

The wife said from the tent: "What is this?
The old man's need was exactly ten dirams."

The man­cherisher of Tai heard this speech;
He laughed, and said: "Oh heart's ease of Hai!

"If he demanded what was suitable to his own need, and got it,
Where is the liberality of the offspring of Hatim?"


I have heard that a man experienced house­vexation
For a wasp made a nest in his roof.

His wife said: "What thou desirest in respect to them do not,
Lest that they should become scattered from their native country."

The wise man went to his own work;
The wasps began, one day, to sting his wife.

About the door, and roof, and street--­the foolish wife
Kept making lamentation. But the husband said:

"Oh woman! make not thy face bitter toward men;
Thou didst say: 'Slay not the poor wasps!'"

How may one do good to the bad!
Forbearance to ill­doers increases ill.
When thou beholdest a people's injury in a chief,
Cut his throat with a sharp sword.

What dog, in short, is there--­for whom they place a victual tray?
Order that they give him a bone.

How well has the old man of the village expressed this proverb:
"The baggage­animal, leg­striking, is best under a heavy load."

If the watchman shows mercy,
No one is able to sleep at night for thieves.

In the circle of contest the spear­reed
Is more precious than a hundred thousand sugar­reeds.

Not every one is worthy of property;
This one requires property; that one, rebuke.

When thou cherishest the cat it takes away the pigeon;
When thou makest the wolf fat it rends Joseph.

The edifice that has not firm foundations­--
Make it not lofty; and if thou dost, tremble for it.

How well said Bahram, desert­dwelling,
When his thoroughbred, restive steed threw him to the earth,

"It is proper to take from the herd another horse
Which it is possible to restrain, if he becomes restive."

O son! bind the Euphrates at low­water,
For when the torrent is risen it is of no use.

When the filthy wolf comes to thy snare,
Slay; if not, pluck up thy heart from love for the sheep.

From Iblis adoration never comes;
Nor from the bad jewel­goodness into existence.

Give neither place nor opportunity to the malignant one;
The enemy in the pit, and the demon in the glass bottle is best.

Say not: "It is proper to kill this snake with a stick";
Strike when he has his head beneath thy stone.

The pen striker who did ill to his inferiors,
To make, with the sword, his hand a pen is best.

The deliberator who introduces bad regulations
Takes thee, that he may give thee to hell­fire.

Say not: "For the country this deliberator is enough";
Call him not deliberator who is unfortunate.

The fortunate one acts upon Sadi's speech,
Because it is the cause of increase of country, and deliberation, and judgment.


Chapter III: On Love

Oh happy the time of those distraught in love of Him,
Whether they experience the wound (of separation) or the plaster (of propinquity to Him)!

Beggars from royalty fleeing;
In the hope of union with Him, in beggary, long­suffering.

Time to time they drink the wine of pain (of love for Him);
And if they consider it bitter, they draw breath (are patient).

In the pleasure of wine there is the evil of head­sickness;
The thorn is the armor­bearer of the rose­branch.

Patience which is in remembrance of Him is not bitter;
For bitterness from a friend's hand is sugar.

His captive desires not release from bonds;
His prey seeks not freedom from the snare.

Sultans of retirement, beggars of Hai!
Stages of God recognizer, foot­trace lost.

Intoxicated with the love of the friend (God), reproach enduring;
The camel, intoxicated, more easily bears the load.

How may people find the path to their state?
For, like the water of life, they are in darkness.

Like the holy house (Jerusalem) within--­full of towers (pomp);
Without­the wall left desolate.

Moth­like, they set fire to themselves;
Silkworm­like, they spin not on themselves a protection.

Mistress in embrace--­mistress­seeking;
On the stream­bank, lip dry with thirst.

I say not that as to water they are powerless;
But they are, on the Nile, dropsical.

The love of one, like thyself--­of water and clay­--
Ravishes patience and heartsease.

In wakefulness--­enamored of her cheek and mole;
In sleep--­foot­bound, in thought of her.

In truth, thou places thy head at her feet, in such a way
That thou consider the world, in comparison with her existence, non­existent.

When thy gold comes not to the eye (of approval) of thy mistress,
Gold and dust appear to thee the same.

To thee--­desire for another appears not;
For with her­--place for another remains not.

Thou says: "Her lodging is within my eye";
And if thou closest together the eye--­ "It is in my heart."

Neither thought of any one, lest thou shouldst become disgraced,
Nor power that thou shouldst, for a moment, become patient.

If she desires thy life, thou places it on the palm of her hand;
And if she puts the sharp sword on thy head, thou places thy head in submission.

When love, whose foundation is on desire,
Is to such a degree tumult­exciting and command­issuing,

Hast thou wonder at the travelers of the path of God
That they should be immersed in the sea of truth­--

In passion for the Beloved, with soul engaged;
In remembrance of the Friend (God), careless of the world?
In memory of God, they have fed from the world;
So intoxicated with the splendor of the Cupbearer (God) that they have spilled the wine!

It is impossible to effect their cure with medicine;
For none is acquainted with their pain (of love).

From eternity without beginning, to their ear comes: "Am I not your God?"
With clamor, in a shout, they utter: "Yes!"

A crowd--­office­holding, corner­sitting;
Feet clayey, breath fiery­--

Pluck up, with a shout, a mountain from its place;
Keep together, with a cry, a city:

Are wind­like, invisible, and swift­moving;
Are stone­like, silent, but praise­uttering.

In the morning, they weep to such a degree that the water
Washes down from their eyes the collyrium of sleep.

Steed of the body slain, with the great austerity with which they have urged the night;
In the morning, shouting, saying: "They are wearied!"

Night and day, in the sea of frenzy and burning;
From perturbation they know not night from day.

So enamored of the splendor of the figure­painter (God)
That they have no occupation with the beauty of the outward form.

The pious ones gave not their hearts to the covering;
And if a fool gave--­he is brainless and fleshless.

That one drank the pure wine of the Unity of God,
Who forgot this world and the next.

I have heard that once upon a time one, beggar­born,
Had affection for one king­born.

He went, and cherished a vain desire;
Imagination plunged its teeth in desire.

Mile­stone like, he used not to be free (absent) from his (the prince's) plain;
Bishop­like, at all times, at the side of his horse.

His heart became blood, and the secret remained in his heart;
But his feet, through weeping, remained in the mire of desire.

The guards obtained intelligence of his grief;
They said to him: "Wander not again here!"

A moment, he went; recollection of the friend's face came to him;
Again he pitched his tent, at the head of his friend's street.

A slave broke his head, and hand, and foot,
Saying: "Said we not once to thee­come not here?"

Again to him patience and rest remained not;
On account of his friend's face, patience remained not.

Like flies from off the sugar, with violence him
They used to drive away; but with speed he used to return.

One said to him: "Oh, impudent one of insane appearance!
Thou hast wonderful patience as to blows of stick and stone."

He said: "This violence against me is through his tyranny;
It is not proper to complain of a friend's hand.

"Behold, I express the breath of friendship
If he holds me friend; or, if enemy,

"Expect not, without him, patience from me;
Nay--­even with him, repose has no possibility.

"Neither the power of patience, nor room for anger;
Neither the possibility of being (stopping), nor the foot of flight.

"Say not--­turn aside the head from this door of the court;
Though he place my head, like a tent­peg in the tent­rope.

"Nay--­the moth, life given at its friend's foot,
Is better than alive in its dark corner."

He said: "If thou shouldst suffer the wound of his club?"
He replied: "I will fall at his feet, ball­like."
He said: "If, with the sword, he cuts off thy head?"
He replied: "This much even I grudge not.

"To me--­indeed, there is not so much knowledge­--
Whether the crown or the axe be at my head.

"Display not reproof with me impatient;
For patience appears not in love.

"If my eye becomes white like Yakub,
I abandon not hope of seeing Yusuf.

"One who is happy with another
Is not vexed with him for every little thing."

One day the youth kissed the prince's stirrup;
He became angry; and turned the rein from him.

He laughed, and said: "Turn not the rein;
For the Sultan turns not away the rein from any.

"To me--­by thy existence, existence remains not;
To me--­in memory of thee, self­worshiping remains not.

"If thou observes a crime, reproach me not:
Thou art head brought forth from my collar (of existence) .

"I fixed my hand in thy stirrup with that boldness;
For I brought not myself in the account.

"I drew the pen on my own name;
Placed my foot on the head of my own desire.

"The arrow of that intoxicated eye slays me indeed;
What need that thou should bring thy hand to the sword!

"Set fire to the reed, and pass;
So that in the forest neither dry nor green thing may remain."

I have heard that at the chanting of a singer
One of Pari face began to dance.

From the fire of the distracted hearts around her
A candle­flame caught in her skirt.

She became troubled in heart and vexed;
One of her lovers said: "What fear?

"Oh love! as to thee--­the fire burned the skirt;
As to me--­it burned, all at once, the harvest (of existence)."

If thou art a lover, express not a breath about thyself;
For it is infidelity to speak of lover and one's self.

I recollect hearing from a knowing old man in this way,
That one, distraught with love, turned his head to the desert.

The father, through separation from him, neither ate nor slept;
They reproached the son; he said:

"From that time, when Friend called me one of his own,
Further love for any one remained not to me.

"By God! when He showed me His beauty,
Whatever else I beheld appeared to me fancy."

He who turned away from the people became not lost;
For he found again his own lost one (God).

There are beneath the sky shunners of men,
Whom one can call, at once, wild beast and also angel.

Like the angel, they rest not from remembering the King (God);
Like the wild beast they, night and day, shun men.

Strong of arm (by spirituality); but short of hand (by materiality);
Wise­outwardly mad; sensible­outwardly intoxicated.

Sometimes tranquil in a corner, religious habit­stitching;
Sometimes perplexed in society, religious habit­burning.

Neither passion as to themselves; nor solicitude for any one;
Nor place for any one, in the cell of their unitarianism.

Perturbed of reason, confused of sense;
Ear­stuffed to the word of the adviser.
The duck will not become drowned in the river (of lust);
The samundar! what knows he of the torment of burning?

Empty of hand, men of full stomach (proud);
Desert wanderers, without a Kafila:

They have no expectation of the people's approbation;
For they are approved of God; and that is enough.

Dear ones of God concealed from the people's eye;
Not those waist­cord­possessing, clothed in the habit of the dervish.

They are full of fruit, and shady, vine­like;
Are not like us--­of black deeds, and blue garment­dyers.

Head plunged in themselves (in reflection), oyster­like;
Not foam (on mouth) gathered, river­like.

If wisdom be thy friend, be afraid of them (those foam-gathered);
For they are demons in the garb of men.

They are not men indeed of bone and skin;
A true soul is not in every form.

The Sultan (God) is not the purchaser of every slave;
Not beneath every religious garment is there a living man.

If every drop of hail had become a pearl,
The bazaar would have become full of them like small shells.

A person said to a moth: "Oh contemptible one!
Go; take a friend suitable to thyself,

"Go on such a path, that thou mayst see the way of hope;
Thou, and the love of the candle is from where to where?

"Thou art not the samundar; circle not around the fire;
For, manliness is first necessary for man, then conflict.

"The blind mouse (bat) goes hidden from the sun;
For force is foolish against an iron grasp.

"The person whom thou knowest to be thy enemy,
To take for a friend is not the part of wisdom."

No one says to thee: "Thou dost do good
When thou places thy life in the desire of his love.

"The beggar who, of a king, asked (in marriage) for his daughter,
Suffered pushing on the back of his head, and nurtured a vain passion.

"How may she bring into reckoning a lover like thee,
For the faces of kings and sultans are toward her?

"Think not that, in such an assembly, she
Will exercise courtesy to a poor one like thee.

"Or if she practice gentleness toward the whole creation­--
Thou art a helpless one­--she will exercise severity to thee."

Behold! the ardent moth what it said:
"Oh wonder­displayer! if I burn, what fear?

"Like Ibrahim, a fire of love is in my heart,
That thou mayst consider this candle­dame is to me a rose.

"My heart draws not the skirt of the ravishing one (the candle);
But its love draws the collar of my soul.

"Voluntarily I take not myself to the fire;
But the chain of love is about my neck.

"Even so, I was far, when it burned me;
Not this moment, when the fire of love kindled in me.

"A beloved one, in regard to loveliness, does not do that,
That one can speak to her of continence.

"Who reproaches me for love of the friend,
When, slain at the friend's foot, I am content?

"Knowest thou why I have a lust for destruction,
When it (the candle) is, if I am not­it is proper.

" I will burn because it is the approved beloved,
In whom, the burning of the friend (the moth) makes circulation.
"How long speakest thou to me, saying: "Suitable to thyself
Get a companion, compassionate to thyself'"

Nimrod threw Ibrahim, or Abraham, into the fire.
God made the fire a rose­garden for Ibrahim's sake.

"Admonition to that one of distraught state is as if
Thou shouldst say to one scorpion­bitten--­lament not!

"Oh, astonished one! utter not advice to that person
In whom thou knowest that it will take no effect.

"To the helpless one, rein­gone from the hand,
They say not: 'O boy! urge slowly.'"

How pleasantly occurred this witticism in the book
Sindbad: "O son! love is fire; advice, wind."

The fierce fire, by the wind, becomes more lofty;
The panther, by striking, becomes more angry.

When I saw, thoroughly thou doest evil
That thou places my face opposite to one like thyself.

Seek one better than thyself, and reckon it gain;
For, with one like thyself, thou loses time.

The self­worshipers go in pursuit of such as themselves;
Those intoxicated of God go in a dangerous street (of love).

When I first possessed desire for this work,
I took up, at once, my heart from desire (of life).

One head­casting is true as a lover;
For one of white­liver is the lover of himself.

Death, in ambush, suddenly slays me;
It is better, indeed, that the delicate one should slay me.

When, doubtless, destruction is written on my head,
Destruction is most pleasant by the hand of the beloved.

Dost thou not, one day, in helplessness, yield the soul?
Then it is best thou surrender it at the feet of the beloved.

One night I recollect that my eyes slept not;
I heard that a moth spoke to a candle,

Saying: "I am a lover; if I burn, it is lawful,
Wherefore is thy weeping and burning?"

It replied: "Oh, my poor lover!
Honey (wax), my sweet friend, has departed from me.

"When sweetness (wax) goes away from me,
Like (the statuary) Farhad, fire goes to my head."

The candle kept speaking­--and every moment a torrent of grief
Ran down on its yellow cheeks­--

Saying: "Oh claimant! love is not thy business;
For thou hast neither patience nor the power of standing.

"Thou dost fly from before a naked flame;
I am standing until I completely burn.

"If the fire of love burns my feathers,
Behold me, whom it burns from head to foot.

"Observe not my splendor, assembly­illuminating;
Consider the heat and torrent of my heart­burning.

"Like Sadi, whose outward form is illuminated;
But, if thou look, his vitals are burned."

A portion of the night, even so, had not passed,
When one of Pari­face suddenly extinguished it.

While its smoke rose to its head, it kept saying:
"Oh, son! this is indeed the end of love!"

This is the way of God, if thou wilt learn;
By being slain, thou wilt obtain ease from the burning (of love) .

Make not lamentation over the grave of one slain by the friend;
Say: "Praise be to God! that he is accepted by Him."
If thou art a lover, wash not the hand of sickness (of love).
Wash the hand, like Sadi, of worldly design.

The one who sacrifices his life keeps not his hand from his object,
Though they rain arrow and stone on his head.

I said to thee, "Beware; go not to the ocean;
But if thou goest, entrust thy body to the storm."


[Chapters IV and V deal with Humility and Resignation.]


Chapter VI: On Contentment

He knew not God and worshiped not,
Who displayed not contentment with his fortune and daily food.

Contentment makes a man rich;
Inform the greedy one, world­traveling:

Oh, one without permanence! bring tranquillity to thy hand.
For vegetation grows not on the rolling stone.

If thou art a man of judgment and sense, cherish not thy body;
For when thou cherishest it, thou slayest it.

Wise men are skill­cherishers;
But body­cherishers are feeble in skill.

Eating and sleeping is the way of beasts alone;
To be in this way is the habit of the unwise.

That one attended to a manly life
Who silenced first the dogs of lust.

Happy that fortunate one who, in a corner,
Gathers to his hand road­provisions of the knowledge of God.

Those to whom God's mystery became revealed
Preferred not the false to it.

But when he knows not darkness from light,
Whether the sight of a demon, or the cheek of a houri­to him what difference?

Thou didst cast thyself into a well, on that account,
That thou didst not recognize the well from the road.

How may the young hawk fly to the zenith of the sky
When, in its long feathers, the stone of desire is bound?

If from lust's claw, thy skirt free
Thou shouldst make, thou wouldst go to the lotus­tree.

By eating less food than one's custom,
One can make the body of angelic temperament.

How may the brutal lion reach the angel state?
It can not fly from earth to sky.

Practice first the human temperament;
Think after that of the angelic temperament.

Thou art on the flanks of a refractory colt;
Take care that it twist not its head from thy order.

For if it should tear the halter from thy hand,
It would slay thy body and spill thy blood.

If thou art a man, eat food within limit;
Such a full belly!--­art thou a man, or a jar?

Within the body is a place for food, and reflection on God, and breath;
Thou thinkest it is for bread only.

In the wallet of lust, where is remembrance of God contained?
With difficulty he breathes­--leg extended.

The body­cherishers have no knowledge
That the full stomach is void of wisdom.

The two eyes and stomach became not filled with anything;
These bowels, coil on coil, are best empty.

Like hell which they fill with fuel,
Again there is a shout, saying: "Is there any more?"

Thy 'Isa (the soul) continually dies of weakness;
Thou art in that desire that thou mayst cherish thy ass (the body) .
Oh, one of little worth! buy not the world in exchange for religion;
Purchase not thou the ass with the gospel of 'Isa.

Perhaps thou seest not that as to rapacious and non­rapacious animals,
Only the greed of eating casts into the snare.

The panther, which stretches its neck (in pride) among the beasts,
Falls, mouse­like, into the snare, through the greed of eating.

Mouse­like, whose bread and cheese thou eatest,
Into his snare thou fallest and sufferest his arrow.

If food be delicious, or if it be simple,
When delay occurs to thy hand, thou eatest pleasantly.

The sage places his head on the pillow at that time when
Sleep takes him, with violence, into its net.

So long as thou obtainest not the power of speech, speak not;
When thou seest not the plain (of power), beware of the ball (of speech).

Speak not; and so long as thou canst, plant not thy foot
Outside of limit, or inside of limit.

Go; acquire a pure heart;
The belly will not become full, save with the dust of the grave.

A Hadji gave me an ivory comb,
Saying: "May the mercy of God be on the good qualities of pilgrims!"

I heard that once upon a time he had called me a dog,
For his heart was, in some way, dejected about me.

I threw away the comb, saying: "This bone,
Is unnecessary for me; another time, call me not a dog.

" Think not, if I swallow my own vinegar,
That I will endure the violence of the lord of sweetmeats."

O soul! be content with a little
That thou mayst consider the sultan and the dervish as one.

Why goest thou before the king with entreaty ?
When thou places avarice aside, thou art a king.

And if thou art a self­worshiper, make the belly a drum;
Make the door of this and that man a Kibla.

And if every moment thy lust says, give!
It causes thee to wander, village to village, in beggary.

Oh, man of sense, contentment exalts the head;
The head full of avarice comes not forth from the shoulder.

A certain one possessed of avarice, before King Khwarazm
I heard--­went early in the morning.

When he saw Khwarazm he became doubled and straight;
He rubbed his face, moreover, on the earth, and arose.

His son said: "Oh little father, name­seeking!
I ask of thee a difficulty; explain it.

"Didst thou not say that the dust of Hijaz was thy Kibla?
Why didst thou to­day pray in this direction?

Display not devotion to the lust of the lust­worshiper;
Since it has every hour another Kibla.

Avarice spilled the reputation of honor;
It poured out a skirt full of pearls for two barley­grains.

When thou wishest to become satiated with the rivulet­water,
Why spillest thou face­water (honor) for the sake of ice?

Perhaps thou art a patient one as to happiness;
But if not thou art, of necessity, begging at doors.

Sir! go; make short the hand of avarice;
What need to thee of the long sleeve of beggary?

Of him who folded up the casket of avarice
It is unnecessary to write: "Slave or servant to any one."

Expectation will drive thee from every assembly;
Drive it from thyself, so that no one may drive thee.
To one of the holy men a fever came,
A person said: "Ask for sugar from such a one."

He said: "Oh, son! the bitterness of my dying
Is better than my bearing the oppression of one of bitter face."

The wise man ate not sugar from the hand of that one
Who, through arrogance, made his face vinegar (bitter) toward him.

Go not in pursuit of whatever thy heart desires,
For the strengthening of the body diminishes the soul's light.

Imperious lust makes a man contemptible;
If thou art wise, hold it not dear.

If thou enjoyest whatever may be thy wish,
Thou wilt endure much disappointment from the revolution of time.

To heat constantly the oven of the belly
May, in the day of want, be a misfortune.

In straitened circumstances thy face causes not its complexion to be shed
If, in the time of plenteousness, thou makst the belly tight.

The man, full­devourer, endures the belly­load;
And if he obtain not food, he endures the grief­load.

Thou mayst often see the belly­slave greatly ashamed,
In my opinion the belly straitened is better than the heart straitened.

Alas! thou art one man­born, full of dignity,
Who is like the beasts--­ "Nay; they are lost!"

Show not pity to the ox of great weight,
For it is a great sleeper and great devourer.

If fatness, ox­like, be necessary to thee,
Submit thy body, ass­like, to the tyranny of persons.

Knowest thou what wonderful thing I brought from Basra?--­
A tale, which is sweeter than the green date.

We--­a few individuals in the religious garb of the true--­
Passed by the side of a date­garden.

One among us was a glutton;
He was, through this narrow­eyedness a belly­enjoyer.

The wretched one bound his loins and ascended the date­tree;
And thence fell heavily headlong.

The Ra'is of the village came, saying: "Who slew this man"
I said: "Express not against us a harsh word.

"The belly drew his skirt down from the branch."
The one of narrow heart is of capacious bowels.

Not every time can one eat the date and carry it away;
The stomach­barn (the glutton) suffered a bad end, and died.

The belly is the hand­fetter and foot­chain;
A belly­slave rarely worships God.

The locust is assuredly altogether belly;
The ant of small belly drags the locust by the foot.

A certain one had sugar­cane, on a small plate--­
A wanderer, left and right, for a purchaser.

In a corner of the village, to a pious man, he spoke,
Saying: "Take; and pay when thou hast the means."

That wise man of adorned disposition uttered
An answer, that should be written on the eye.

"Perhaps, to thee, patience (as to payment) may not be exercised toward me;
But to me patience is as to the sugar­cane."

Sugar in its reed has no sweetness
When behind it is the bitter demand for its price.

To one of the men of illumined mind
The Amir of Shutan gave a piece of silk cloth.

He expanded, through gladness, like the laughing rose­leaf;
Kissed his hands, clothed himself, and said:
"How good is the garment of honor of the King of Khutan!
But my own religious garment is more beautiful than it."

If thou art noble, sleep on the earth; for it is enough;
Perform no one's ground­kiss for a costly carpet.

A certain one had no bread­food, save an onion;
He had no resources and means, like others.

One said to him: "Oh, one of foolish time!
Go; bring something cooked from the tray of plunder (the king's table).

"Oh sir! ask, and have fear of none;
For the one ashamed is cut as to his victuals."

He bound about him his overcoat, and quickly folded his hand;
They rent his coat, and broke his hand.

I have heard that he said, while he wept blood:
"What is the remedy for the deed done by one's self!

"The captive of avarice is one calamity­seeking,
After this--­I and my house, bread and onion are enough."


The barley­loaf, which I eat by the power of my arm,
Is better than flour twice sifted on the tray of people of liberality.

Last night how heart­straitened slept that worthless one
Who kept the ear of expectation upon the Kibla of others!

In an old woman's house there was a certain cat
Which was of reversed fortune and of bad state.

It went running to the Amir's guest­house;
The slaves of the sultan struck it with arrows.

It ran, blood dropping from its bones (wounds),
While from fear of life it ran, it kept saying:

"If I escape from the hand of this arrow­caster,
I and the mouse and the old woman's desolate abode are enough."

Oh, my soul! honey is not worth the sting's wound;
Contentment with one's own syrup of dates is best.

The Lord God is not satisfied with that slave
Who is not content with his Lord's portion.


Chapter VII: On Education

The language of this chapter is on integrity, and deliberation, and disposition;
Not on the steed, and the battle­field, and the ball­game.

Thou art fellow­lodger with the enemy­lust;
Why art thou a stranger in the art of conflict?

Those turning back the rein of lust from forbidden things
Surpassed Rustem and Sam in manliness.

Chastise thyself with a stick, boy­like;
Beat not men's brains with the heavy mace.

No one has concern for an enemy like thee
Who prevailest not against thy own body.

Thy body is a city full of good and bad;
Thou art sultan; and wisdom is the prime minister.

Know for sure that the mean, neck­exalting,
In this city are­pride and passion and avarice.

Resignation and the fear of God are the free of good report;
Bust and concupiscence are highwaymen and cut­purses.

When the sultan displays favor to the bad,
How may ease remain for the wise?

Lust and avarice and pride and envy
Are like blood in thy veins; and like the soul in thy body.

If these enemies should obtain nurture,
They would turn aside their heads from thy order and judgment.

On the part of lust and concupiscence, opposition remains not
When they experience the grasp of sharp wisdom.

The Ra'is who punished not the enemy
Ruled not also--­by reason of the enemy's power.

What need to say much in this chapter
When a word is enough, if a person acts upon it?

If thou bringest thy feet mountain­like (firmly) beneath thy skirt,
Thy head will pass beyond the sky in grandeur.

There was a young man, skillful and learned,
Who was, as regards admonishing, vigilant and manly.

Of good repute, and pious, and God­worshiping,
The beard of his face more beautiful than his handwriting.

Strong in eloquence, and clever in grammar;

But he used not to utter truly the letters of the Abjad.

Perhaps he had stammering in the tongue,
For he used not to explain the truth of the Mu'jam.

I spoke to one of the pious,
Saying: "A certain one has no front teeth."

At my folly he became red of face
Saying: "Speak not again in this foolish way.

"Thou didst see in him that very defect which is existent;
From how much skill thy wisdom's eye was shut!

"Listen truly to me; for in the day of certainty (Resurrection),
The man, good­seeing, will not experience evil.

"One who has grace, and science, and judgment­--
If the foot of his integrity slips from its place.---

"Approve not violence against him, for one small matter.
What have the sages said: Take what is clean."

Oh wise man! the thorn and the rose are together:
Why art thou in the fetter of the thorn? fasten thou the rose­bouquet.

He in whose nature is the ugly disposition
Sees not the peacock­--only his ugly foot.

O one of malevolent face! acquire purity of heart;
For the dark mirror displays not the face.

Seek a path by which thou mayst escape from punishment of hell;
Not a word of man, on which thou mayst lay the finger of criticism.

O wise one! place not in front (expose not) the people's defects;
For it sews up thy eyes from thy own defects.

Why do I inflict punishment on the one of stained skirt
When I know, within myself, that I am of wet (stained) skirt?

It is improper that thou shouldst exercise violence against a person
When thou dost aid thyself by artifice of speech.

When evil is unpleasant to thee, do not do it thyself;
Say, after that, to thy neighbor: "Do not evil."

If I am God­worshiping, or if self­displaying,
I preserve my exterior for thee, my interior for God.

When I adorned my exterior with chastity,
Interfere not with my crookedness, or uprightness.

If my way of life be good, or if bad,
God is more acquainted than thou with my secret.

Punish for bad conduct that person
Who hopes from thee the reward of goodness.

If I am good or bad, be thou silent;
For I am myself the porter of profit and loss.

For a good deed by a man of good judgment--­
For one, God writes ten.

O son! of whomsoever thou also a single talent
Mayst observe, pass by his ten defects.

Count not upon the finger one defect of his;
Bring forth a world of excellence for nothing

Like the enemy, who, on the poetry of Sadi,
Glances with scorn, heart ruined--­

He has no ear for the hundred beautiful subtleties;
When he beholds a defect, he raises a shout.

That one, bad­approving--­to whom there is only this reason--­
Envy plucked out his eyes, good­discerning.

Did not God's creating create the people?
Black, and white, and beautiful, and ugly­came.

Not every eye nor eyebrow that thou seest is good;
Eat the kernel of the pistachio­nut; cast away its husk.


Chapter VIII: On Thanks

I can not express a breath for thanks to my Friend (God);
For I know not a word of praise that is worthy of Him.

Every hair on my body is a gift from Him;
How may I perform thanks for every hair?

Praise to the Lord­Giver
Who, from nonentity, made the slave existing.

To whom is there the power of description of His beneficence?
For His praises are immersed in His dignity.

That inventor who creates a person from clay
Gives soul and wisdom and sense and heart.

From the father's back­bone to the limit of old age,
Behold to what extent He, from the unseen, gave thee honor!

When God created thee pure, be sensible and pure;
For it is a shame to go unclean to the dust of the grave.

Shake off continually the dust of mean qualities from the mirror of the heart;
For it takes not polish when the blight eats it.

In the beginning, wast thou not water of man's seed?
If thou art a man, put presumption out of thy head.

When thou bringest, with effort, victuals to thyself,
Rely not on the strength of thy own arm.

Oh self­worshiper! why dost thou not see God
Who brings into revolution the arm of the hand?

When by thy striving, a thing happens,
Know by God's grace it is; not by thy own effort.

By violence no one has carried off the ball;
Utter praise to the Lord of Grace.

Of thyself, thou art not erect one step;
From the hidden, aid arrives momently.

Wast thou not a child, tongue­bound as to boast (of speech)?
Food from the navel kept coming within thee.

When they severed the umbilical cord, thy daily food was broken off;
Thy hand clung to thy mother's breast.

A traveler, before whom adverse time brings sickness,
They give to him water from his own city, as medicine.

Then he obtained nourishment in the belly;
He obtained food from the store of the bowels.

The two breasts­--that to­day are heart­pleasing to him--­
Are also two fountains of his nurturing­place.

The bosom and breast of the mother, heart­pleasing,
Are paradise; and the breast is for him a stream of milk.

Her stature, life­nourishing, is a tree;
The offspring on her bosom--­a delicate fruit.

Are not the veins of the breast within the heart?
Then if thou wilt consider, milk is the heart's blood.

Teeth, sting­like, plunged in her blood;
Love for her own blood­devourer created within her.

When God made the arm strong; and the teeth dense--­
The nurse anoints her breast with aloes.

The aloe makes it (the offspring) silent (forgetful) of milk, so
That it forgets the breast and its milk.

Oh sir! thou also art, as to repentance, a child of the path of God;
By bitterness, sin becomes forgotten by thee.

A young man turned his head from his mother's judgment,
Her sorrowful heart burned like fire.

When she became helpless she brought a cradle before him,
Saying: "Oh, one languid of love and forgetful of the time of infancy!

"Wast thou not weeping, and tired and small,
When nights, from thy power, sleep overpowered me not?

"No; to thee in the cradle there was not the strength of thy present state;
To thee there was not the power to drive away a fly from thyself.

"Thou art that one who used to be vexed with a single fly,
Who, to­day, art chief and powerful."

Thou mayst again be in that state, at the bottom of the grave,
When thou canst not repel an ant from thy body.

Again how may the eye light up its lamp,
When the worm of the grave devours the fat of the brain?

Like one clothed as to the eye (blind), seest thou not that the road
He knows not, at the time of going, from the well?

Thou who art possessed of vision, if thou didst perform thanks (knowest the path from the well);
If not, thou also art one clothed as to the eye (blind).

The instructor taught thee not understanding and judgment;
God created these qualities in thy existence.

If He had refused thee a heart, truth­hearing,
Truth would have appeared to thy eye the essence of falsehood.
Behold one finger, with how many joints,
God, by creating, cast together.

Then it is madness and foolishness
That thou shouldst place thy finger on the word of His creating.

For the sake of man's motion consider
Him who fixed the sinews and placed the articulations of so many bones.

For without the revolution of the ankle, and the knee, and the foot,
It is impossible to raise the foot from its place.

Prostration is not difficult for a man, on that account,
That, the joint in his back­bone is not of one piece.

God has arranged two hundred joints within one another,
Who has finished like thee, oh, God! a clay­joint?

Oh, one of agreeable disposition! the veins in thy body
Are a land--­in it are three hundred and sixty streams.

In the head­vision, and thought, and judgment, and discretion;
The limb of the body for the dear heart; and the heart for dear wisdom.

The wild beasts with the countenance downcast, are contemptible;
Thou, Alif­like, art a rider on thy feet.

They, head­lowered, for the sake of eating;
Thou, with dignity, bringest thy food to the head.

It beseems thee not, with so much chieftainship,
That thou shouldst lower thy head, save in devotion to God.

By His own beauty God gave thee knowledge; behold!
He made thee not, like the animals, head in the grass.

But with this form, heart­enchanting,
Be not fascinated; take a good walk of life.

A straight path is necessary, not erect stature;
For the infidel is also like us in outward form.

He who gave thee eye and mouth and ear;
If thou art wise­strive not in opposition to Him.

I grant that thou mayst beat the enemy with a stone,
Wage not war, at least from ignorance, with the Friend (God).

Those of wise disposition, obligation­recognizing,
Sew up the favor of God with the nail of thanks.

A certain one severely rubbed a boy's ears (chastised him),
Saying: "Oh father of wonderful judgment, of overturned fortune!

"I gave thee an axe, saying: Split firewood;
I said not: Undermine the masjid­wall!"

The tongue came from God for thanks and praise;
The grateful one moves it not in slander.

The ear is the thoroughfare for the Koran and counsel;
Strive not to listen to calumny and falsehood.

Two eyes, for the sake of beholding the creating of God, are good;
Lower the eyes from the defect of brother and friend.

For the sake of thy ease the night and day are;
The resplendent moon and the sun, world­illuminating.

For thy sake the west wind, chamberlain­like,
Causes constantly to be spread the carpet of spring.

If wind, and snow, and rain, and hail are,
And if the Chaugan expresses thunder, and the sword lightning­--

All are work­performers, and order­bearers of God
Who cherish thy seed in the dust.

And if thou remainest thirsty, rage not through affliction; for the
Water­carrier brings thee a cloud of water on His back.

From the dust He brings color, and perfume, and food;
Amusement for the eye, and brain, and palate.

He gave thee honey from the bees, and manna from the sky;
He gave thee the green date from the date­tree, and the date tree from the seed­stone.

All the gardeners gnaw the hand
In astonishment, saying: "No one planted such a date­tree!"

The sun and moon and Pleiades, all are for thee;
They are the candles of the roof of thy house.

He brings thee a rose from the thorn, musk from the animal's navel,
Gold from the mine, and the green leaf from the dry wood.

He portrayed thy eye and eyebrow, with His own hand;
For one can not leave the intimate friend to strangers.

The powerful One who cherishes the delicate
Cherishes thee with various favors.

Breath by breath, with soul, it is proper to utter praise;
For thanks to Him is not a work of the tongue only.

O God! my heart became blood, and eye wounded,
When I see thy reward is greater than my speech of thanksgiving.

I speak not of the rapacious and non­rapacious beast, and ant, and fish,
But of the army of angels above heaven's summit.

Yet they have uttered a little Thy praise;
They have uttered one out of so many thousands which they should have uttered.

Oh Sadi! go; wash thy hand, and the book;
Hasten not on the path that has no end.

A person knows not the value of a day of pleasure,
Save on that day when he falls to hardship­enduring

The winter­season of the dervish, in the narrow year­--
How easy is it to the lord of wealth?

One healthy who, once complaining, slept not,
Uttered not thanks to God for sound health.

When thou art a manly mover, and swift of foot,
Stand, with thanks to God by those slow of foot.

The young man bestows to the ancient old man;
The powerful one displays pity for the powerless.

What do the people of the Jihun know of the value of water?--­
Ask those wearied utterly in the sun.

To the Arab who is sitting by the Tigris
What care is there as to the thirsty ones of the desert of Zarud?

That one recognized the value of healthiness
Who once helpless sweltered in fever.

How may the dark night appear long to thee
Who rollest from side to side in comfort?

Think of one falling and rising in fever;
For the sick one knows the lengthiness of the night.

At the sound of the drum the rich man becomes awake;
What knows he how the watchman passed the night?

I have heard that Tughril, one night in the autumn,
Passed a Hindu watchman,

From the pouring of snow, and rain, and torrent,
Fallen to trembling, like the star Canopus.

His heart, from pity for him, suffered agitation;
He said: "Behold! put on my fur garment.

"Wait a moment, by the terrace­side;
For I will send it out by the hand of a slave."

He was in this speech; and the morning­breeze blew.
The monarch entered the royal hall.

He had in his retinue a slave of Pari­form
For whom his disposition had a little inclination.

The sight of the beloved chanced so agreeably to him
That the wretched Hindu passed from his memory.

The word "fur­coat" passed to his (the watchman's) ear,
It came not, through misfortune, to his shoulders.

Perhaps the torment of toil was not enough for him,
Since the sky's revolution added to it expectation.

When the sultan slept in carelessness, behold
What the watchman said to him in the morning!

"Perhaps the watchman Nek­Bakht was forgotten by thee
When thy hand went to the bosom of the slave­girl Aghosh.

"For thee, the night passes in ease and joy;
As to us, what knowest thou how the night passes?"

One of a caravan, head­lowered to the caldron­--
To him, what care of those sunk in sand?

Oh Lord of the Zaurak! keep on the water;
For the water has passed over the head of those helpless.

Oh, vigorous young men! stay;
For in the caravan are sluggish old men.

Thou hast slept well in the haudaj of the caravan--­
The camel­rein in the camel­driver's hand.

Whether plain or mountain; whether stone or sand--­to thee what matter?
Ask the state of the road from those lagging behind.

The camel of burden, mountain­form, carries thee;
What knowest thou of the footman, who devours the blood of grief?

Those sleeping in comfort of heart in the house,
What know they of the state of the hungry belly?

One of naked body made loan of one diram;
He made for his body a garment of rawhide.

He complained, saying: "Oh, perverse fortune!
I am cooked with heat, within this rawhide."

When the uncooked (foolish) one, with fierceness, began to boil­--
One from the prison­pit said to him: "Silence!

"Oh raw one! offer thanks to God,
That thou art not like me--­rawhide (bound) on hand and foot."

A certain one passed by a holy man,
He came to his sight in the form of a Jew.

He struck him a blow on his neck;
The dervish gave him his shirt.

He became ashamed saying: "What passed from me was a fault.
Pardon me; what room is there for giving a shirt?"

He said: "On this shirt­giving I am firm, in thanks to God,
That that one whom thou didst think me, I am not."

One left behind on the road was weeping, Saying:
"Than I in this desert, who is more wretched?"

An ass, load­carrier, said to him: "Oh, one without discretion!
How long bewailest thou also of the tyranny of the heavens?

"Go; thank God although thou art not on an ass,
That thou art, in short, a son of Adam, not an ass."

A lawyer passed by one fallen drunk;
He became proud of his own abstinence.

Through haughtiness he looked not at him;
The young man raised his head, saying: "Oh, old man!

"Go; thank God, when thou art in prosperity,
For disappointment comes from pride.

"Laugh not at one whom thou seest in bonds;
Lest that suddenly thou shouldst fall into confinement.

"In short, is it not in the possibility of fate
That thou mayst be to­morrow fallen drunk like me?"


Chapter IX: Repentance

Oh, thou whose age has passed to seventy years! Come;
Thou wast, perhaps, asleep, that thy life went to the wind.

Thou didst prepare every requisite of being in this world;
Didst not engage thyself in the thought of going to the next world?

On the Resurrection­day, when they lay out the market of heaven,
They give dignities for good deeds.

Stock in trade, as much as thou bringest thou takest away;
And if thou art poor, thou takest away shame.

For the more full the market, just so much
The more distressed is the heart of the one of empty hand.

If out of fifty dirams five become wanting,
Thy heart, with the grasp of grief, becomes torn.

When fifty years have gone forth from thy hand,
Consider it gain that there is a space of five days.

If the wretched corpse had possessed a tongue
He would have raised a shout in lament and cry,

Saying: "Oh living one! when there is the power of speech
Let not the lip sleep, corpse­like, from uttering the name of God.

"Since our time, in carelessness passed,
Do thou, at least, reckon a few moments­opportunity."

One night, in youth and the pleasure of affluence (of youth),
We, young men, sate sometime together.

Nightingale­like, singing; rose­like, fresh of face;
From hilarity, clamor cast into the street.

An old man, world­experienced, apart from us,
The blackness of his hair white, through the violence of Time,

Was tongue­bound, as to speech, nut­like;
Was unlike us, lip from laughter, pistachio­nut­like.

A youth went before him, saying: "Oh, old man!
Why sittest thou with sorrow in the corner of regret?

"Raise once thy head from the collar of grief;
Move jauntily, with ease of heart, with the young men."

He year­stricken raised his head from concealment;
Behold his answer! how like an old man he spoke:

"When the morning breeze blows over the garden
It befits the young tree to move to and fro.

"The green corn, so long as it is young and the head green, waves;
When it reaches mellowness it becomes broken.

"In the spring­time, when the wind brings the fragrance of the musk­willow,
The ancient tree sheds its dry leaves.

"It does not beseem me to move jauntily with young men
When the morning of old age has blossomed on my cheek.

"The male falcon of my soul, which was within my bonds,
Wishes, from time to time, to snatch the end of the thread of life.

"Yours is the time to sit at this tray of enjoyment;
For we have washed our hands of luxurious enjoyment.

"When the dust of venerability sits on the head,
Look not again for the pleasure of youth.

"Snow rained on my raven feathers (hair),
The spectacle of the garden, nightingale­like, is not suitable to me.

"The peacock, possessed of beauty, makes display;
What desirest thou of the hawk, feather­stripped?

"For me, the reaping of the corn is near;
For you, now the fresh verdure of the beard grows.

"The freshness of our rose­garden has passed;
Who binds the rose­bouquet when it has become withered?

"Oh, soul of father! my reliance is on a staff;
Further reliance on life is a mistake.

"For the young man it is reserved to leap on his feet;
For old men prefer a request for aid to the hands of others.

"Behold the red rose of my face­pure yellow;
When the sun becomes yellow it descends.

"To entertain lust, on the part of an immature youth,
Is not so odious as on the part of an old man.

"It is proper for me to weep, like children,
For shame of my sins; not to live, childlike in sport."

Lokman spoke well saying: "Not to live
Is better than to live years in sin."

Even to shut the shop­door in the morning
Is better than to give from the hand the profit and capital of life.

While the young man causes the blackness (of hair) to attain to light (whiteness),
The wretched old man takes his whiteness to the grave.

Oh bone­cage! knowest thou
That thy soul is a bird; and its name spirit?

When the bird departs from the cage of the body, and snaps its chain,
It becomes not, by effort, again thy prey.

Take care of opportunity; for the world is for a moment;
In the opinion of the wise, a moment of life is better than a world.

Sikandar, who held sway over a world,
Abandoned the world, at that time when he died.

To him it was unattainable that--­a world from him
They might take; and give him, in return, a moment's respite.

They departed, and every one reaped what he sowed;
There only remains­--good and bad name.

Why place we the heart on this caravan­place,
From which friends have departed; and we are on the road?
After us--­the garden gives this very rose;
Friends sit with one another.

Fix not the heart on this mistress of the world;
For she sate with no one whose heart she ravished not.

I remember, in my father's time--­
The rain of mercy, every moment on him!--­

That he purchased in my childhood a tablet and book;
He bought for my sake also a gold ring

Suddenly a purchaser took off
The ring from my hand for a single date.

When the little boy understands not the value of a ring,
They can take it away from him for a sweetmeat.

Thou also didst not recognize life's value
When thou didst throw it away for sweet ease.

On the Resurrection­day, when the good attain to the highest dignity,
They rise from the bottom of the grave­--ashes to the Pleiades.

Thy head will, from shame, remain lowered before thee,
When thy bad deeds arise around thee.

Brother! have shame of the work of the bad;
For thou wilt become ashamed in the presence of the good.

On that day, when they ask of thy deeds and words,
The body of the lords of resolution (the prophets) will tremble from fear.

In the place where the prophets suffer fear,
Come, what excuse for sin, hast thou?


Chapter X: On Prayer

Come; let us raise a hand from the heart;
For to­morrow (after death), one can not raise the hand from the clay of the grave.

In the autumn season, seest thou not the tree
Which, from severe cold, remains leafless!

It uplifts the empty hands of supplication.
It returns not, through God's mercy, empty­handed (leafless).

Fate gives to it a renowned dress of honor;
Destiny places fruit within its bosom.

At that door, which God never closed--­think not
That he, hands raised in supplication, becomes hopeless.

All bring devotion; and the wretched, supplication;
Come, so that at the Court of the Cherisher of the Wretched (God)

We may raise the hand, like the naked (leafless) branch;
For one can not sit longer than this without means (leafless).

Oh Lord! look with bounty
When sin comes into existence (issues) from Thy slaves.

Sin issues from the dust­like slave,
In hope of the pardon of the Lord.

O Merciful One! we are cherished by Thy bounty;
We are accustomed to Thy favor and grace.

When a beggar experiences liberality, and grace, and tenderness,
He turns not back from the rear of the giver.

Since Thou didst make us precious in the world,
We have expectation of this same dearness in the future world.

Thou alone givest preciousness and despicability;
One dear to Thee experiences contempt from none.

O God! by Thy honor, make me not contemptible in the future world;
By the baseness of sin, make me not ashamed.

Make not a person like unto myself ruler over me;
If I bear punishment it is best from Thy hand.

There is no evil in the world worse than this­--
To suffer oppression from the hand of one like unto myself.

Shame of Thee is for me enough;
Make me not further ashamed before any.

If a shadow from Thee falls on my head,
For me the sky is of the lowest rank.

If Thou grantest a crown, it exalts my head;
Raise Thou me, so that none may cast me down.

My body trembles when I bring to recollection
The prayers of one distraught, in the sacred enclosure at Mecca,

Who, with much lamentation, was saying to God:
"Cast me not away; for no one takes my hand.

"Call me with kindness to Thy door; or drive me from Thy door--­
My head is only at Thy threshold.

"If Thou knowest that we are wretched and helpless;
We are wearied of imperious lust.

"This headstrong lust hastens to such a degree
That reason can not seize its rein.

"Who, by force, prevails over lust and Shaitan?
The battle­ranks of panthers come not from the ant.

"Give me a path, by the holy men of Thy path,
Give me protection from these enemies (lusts).

"O God! by the nature of Thy lordship,
By Thy qualities, matchless and unequaled,

"By--­I await Thy command--­of the pilgrim of the holy house (the Kaaba),
By the buried Mohammed­peace be on him!

"By the extolling of Thee of men, sword­exercising,
Who reckon the man of war, a woman.

"By the worship of old men adorned with devotion,
By the truth of young men, newly risen---

"I pray, saying: In that whirlpool of a breath (death throes),
Help us from the shame of saying, two Gods.
"There is hope from those who perform devotions;
For they make intercession for those devotionless.

"Keep me far from pollution, by the pure;
And hold me excused if any sin passes from me.

"By the old men, back bent with devotion;
Eye from shame of sin stitched to the back of the foot.

"I pray saying: Close not my eye from the face of happiness;
Bind not my tongue at the time of witnessing.

"Hold the lamp of truth opposite my path;
Seep my hand short of doing evil.

"Cause my eyes to turn from that unfit to be seen;
Give me no power, as to disgraceful deeds.

"I am that atom, standing in Thy air,
My existence, on non­existence, through despicability, is one.

"A single ray of the sun of Thy grace is sufficient;
For no one sees me, save in Thy effulgence.

"Glance at the evil one, that he may be better;
A glance from the king is enough for the beggar.

"If Thou, in justice and equity, seizest me, I will complain, saying:
Thy pardon gavest not to me this condition.

"O God! drive me not in contempt from Thy door;
For no other door appears to me.

"And if I become, through ignorance, absent a few days,
Shut not the door in my face when I return.

"What excuse may I bring for the shame of wet­skirtedness,
Unless I offer submission, saying: O independent One!

"I am a poor man; take me not in crime and sin;
The rich man has pity for the poor.

"Why is it necessary to weep for the weakness of my state?
If I am weak, my shelter is Thou.

"O God! in carelessness, we broke the covenant;
What force may the hand of struggle bring against destiny?

"What issues from the hand of our deliberation?
This reliance is, indeed, enough­confession of our sin.

"Whatever I did, Thou didst strike it all together (upset it);
What power may one's self exert against God?

"I take not my head beyond Thy order;
But Thy command thus passes over my head."

A certain one called one of blackish color, ugly;
He gave to him an answer of such a sort that he remained astonished.

"I have not created my own form,
"Which thou consider my fault, saying: I have done ill.

"If I am ugly of face, what business (O sneerer !) hast thou with me?
I am not, in short, the portrayer of the ugly and beautiful."

Beyond that which Thou didst write on my forehead,
Oh Slave­cherisher! I did neither less nor more.

Thou art, in short, the Knower that I am not powerful;
Thou art absolutely powerful--­who am I?

If Thou art my Guide, I arrive at safety;
But if Thou shouldst lose me, I remain behind in journeying.

If the World­Creator affords not assistance,
How may the slave exercise abstinence?

How well said the dervish of short hand,
Who, in the night, vowed; and, in the morning, broke his vow:

"If He gives repentance, it will remain steadfast;
For our covenant is unstable and languid."

By Thy truth! stitch up my eyes from falsehood;
By Thy light! consume me not, to­morrow, in hell.
My face, through poverty, went into the dust;
My sin's dust ascended to Heaven.

Oh, Cloud of Mercy! rain Thou once;
For dust, in the presence of rain, remains not.

Through sin, to me, in this kingdom of the world is no rank;
But to the next world there is no path.

Thou knowest the intention of those tongue­bound;
Thou places the plaster on those heart­wounded.

An idolater was door shut as to his face against the world;
He was loin­girt in an idol's service.

After some years, as to that one of despised religion,
Fate brought before him a difficult matter.

At the idol's foot, in the hope of good,
He helplessly rolled, in the dust of the temple,

Saying: "O idol! I am distressed; help me;
I am ready to die; pity my body."

Many times, in its service, he groaned;
But any deeds for his arrangement issued not.

How may an idol accomplish a person's important affairs,
Which can not drive a fly from its face?

He was confounded, saying: "Oh, one foot­bound in error!
I worshiped thee several years, in folly:

"Accomplish the important matter which I have before me;
Otherwise I will ask it from the Omnipotent."

His face, still stained with dust from (prostration before) the idol,
When the pure God accomplished his wish.

One truths­recognizing became astonished at this;
For his pure time became to him obscured--­

Saying: "A mean, false, perturbed worshiper,
His head still with the wine of the wine­tavern intoxicated--­

"Washed not his heart from infidelity; nor his religion from treachery­--
God fulfilled that desire which he sought!"

His heart descended into this difficulty,
When a message from God came to the ear of his heart,

Saying: "The old man of deficient wisdom, before the idol,
Uttered much; but his prayer was unacceptable.

"If he be also repulsed from Our Court,
Then from the idol to the Lord God--­what difference?"

Oh, friend! it is necessary to bind the heart on the Lord God;
Than the idol whatever (or whosoever) it be--­who are more helpless?

If thou places thy head in devotion at this door, it is impossible,
That the hand of need should return to thee empty.

O God! we came deficient in work;
We came empty of hand, but hopeful.

I have heard that one intoxicated with the heat of the date wine
Ran to the most sacred place of a masjid.

He bewailed at the threshold of mercy,
Saying: "O Lord! take me to the loftiest Paradise!"

The Mu'azzin seized his collar, saying:
"Make haste, O one careless of wisdom and religion!--­a dog and a masjid.

"What worthy deed didst thou, that thou seeks Paradise?
Grace beseems thee not with an ugly face."

The old man uttered this speech, while the intoxicated one wept,
Saying: "Oh sir! I am drunk; keep thy hand from me.

"Hast thou wonder at the grace of the Omnipotent,
When a simpler is hopeful?

"I say not to thee (oh Mu'azzin!)--­accept my excuse;
The door of repentance is open, and God is helper."

I have constantly shame of the grace of the Merciful One;
For I call my sin great, in comparison with his pardon.

When old age brings down a person from his feet­--
When thou seizest not his hand, he rises not from his place.

I am that old man, fallen from his feet;
O God! help me, by Thy own grace.

I say not: Give me greatness and rank;
Pardon me the cause of my wretchedness (sin), and my crime.

If a friend knows a little defect regarding me
He makes me notorious for foolishness.

Thou seeing, and we fearful of each other;
For Thou art the Screen­coverer of sin, and we the screen render.

Men from without the screen have raised a shout on finding a defect;
Thou art always within the screen and screen­coverer.

If slaves, in foolishness, turn their heads from order,
The lords draw the pen (efface the crime).

If Thou pardons sin to the extent of Thy liberality,
There remains no captive in existence.

And if Thou becomes angry to the extent of sin--­
Send to hell; and ask not for the balance.

If Thou helps me, I may arrive at the appointed place;
And if Thou casts me down--­no one assists.

Who uses violence, if Thou givest assistance?
Who seizes, when thou givest deliverance?

In the place of assembling there will be two parties;
I know not which path they may assign to me.

If my road be from the right hand---it is wonderful;
For only crookedness arose from my hand.

My heart gives, time to time, hope,
That God has shame of my white hair.

I have wonder if He has shame of me,
For shame comes not to me of myself.

Did not Yusuf--­who experienced such calamity and imprisonment
When his command became current and his rank lofty­--

Pardon the crime of the offspring of Ya'kub?
For a good appearance has virtue.

He imprisoned them not for their bad conduct;
He rejected not their small capital.

We also, from Thy grace, have expectation of this very treatment,
Oh, dear One! forgive the sin of this one, without capital.

No one has seen one of blacker deeds than me
Of whom no deed is approved.

Besides this that to me there is hope of Thy assistance;
To me there is hope of Thy forgiveness.

I have brought no capital, save hope;
O God! make me not hopeless of pardon.

 


Source.

From: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VIII: Medieval Persia, pp. 133-226.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, August 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu