On the excellence of speech. Counsel to the people.

That which is new and also old is speech, and on this speech some speech is (to be used).
In all creation the creatress “Be” no child has brought forth lovelier than speech*331.
Beware! say not the eloquent are dead; they’ve sunk their heads beneath the stream of words;
Speak but the name of anyone you will; like fish he raises from the stream his head*332.
Speech, faultless like the spirit, is the guard of the (rich) treasure-house of the unknown*333.
It knows the story which has not been heard; it reads the book which has not (yet) been writ*334.
Of everything which God has made exist—consider what remains of it save speech*335.
The lasting monument of man is speech; those other (things) are all (but empty) air*336.
To mineral and vegetable (look), to animal and intellectual,
Consider what that is existent here that may to all eternity exist*337.
Whoever knows his being as it is, exalted by existence is for aye*338.
He who knows not the fashion of his make must pass, (but) he is permanent who does*339.
See what it is that has this knowledge (then)*340, (for) that which has it is the permanent*341.
When you know well yourself you will not die, though (seem­ingly) at first you pass away*342.
But those who of existence nothing know, come in at this door, and pass out at that*343.
The window kept from dust, the door from smoke,—what gain, if no one look upon the sun*344?
All people with their clay*345 are satisfied, (and) no one (seeks to) cultivate his heart.
All are astute in pleas and vain excuse*346, not anyone will say, My curds are sour*347.
With but a pittance the mature (in mind) to naught except contentment bow their heads*348.
The man of riches should be provident—so should he be, since riches may decrease*349.
The man of substance is exposed to risk—the guard is wanted, thieves are on the road.
The China merchant, who has loaded musk, stores in a guarded place his musk and gum*350.
The hoopoo’s wings beneath the eagle’s wings excel in swiftness (those of other) birds*351.
The famous from mishap are not secure*352, the business of the ignorant is safe.
The sharp, sagacious bird in search of food finds both its feet entangled in the net*353.
Where’er there’s one as gluttonous as earth, he from the earth eats (but) a stomachful*354.
With all this grasp and eating, in this store one grain is not diminished at the end*355.
From it whate’er you take out grain by grain, even do you successively restore.
When like the candle you must have a crown, more tears than laughter you must have (from it)*356.
The hills and sea, which rubies have and pearls, have little laughter, but abundant tears*357.
All have a helper hidden (from their view): it is a friend, and one who is attached*358:
(And) that from which help comes is intellect—if intellect you have you have all (else).
He who to intellect can not be just, has a fiend’s nature with a human form.
The wise are angels though entitled men*359, and wisdom is indeed a wondrous thing.
In past eternity did they prepare that which should be*360, our toil to-day is vain.
Still work, since by its nature work in hell is better (far) than idleness in heaven*361.
Yet he who is engrossed in his own work, is bad if he to others be not good*362.
Malevolence towards other men brings ill upon the man who is malevolent*363.
That lofty mind which is benevolent—to it benevolence brings nought but good.
Live so that should you suffer a mishap, you may at least not suffer taunts from foes*364:—
One, weeping as at ills which have prevailed*365; one, laughing as at merited return.
Although no one indeed may take your hand*366; though no one at your tomb (with grief) may die,
’Tis better pity in his heart should be than that he should be joyful at your grief*367.
Do not eat bread before (the poor) who fast; (but) if you eat, let all sit at your tray.
Weigh not much gold before the destitute, that like a snake they writhe not near the hoard*368.
Though the wind be a breeze of New Year’s day, ’tis best you light no lamp before the breeze*369.
Man for the sake of eating has not life, for intellect and reason is it given.
(Even) a dog is nobler than the man who keeps his eyes fixed like an ass on food*370.
Strive earnestly to be of use to all, that you by service may adorn the world.
’Tis best to have good nature like the rose, that one may be sweet-scented in the world.
Perchance you’ve heard what once a wise man said: Who goes to sleep good-humoured has good dreams*371.
If good one’s nature at the time of birth, so is one’s nature at the time of death*372.
But he who is with evil nature born, (e’en) with (a nature of) ill aspect dies*373.
Practise not harshness, the harsh earth has killed like you a hundred for a loaf of bread*374.
(See) what a work it is to till the ground! Abject (enough) the worker of the ground*375!
If any ask, (How is it) knowledge pure from man arises, and from earth the man?
Say, Roses give rose-water, thorns the rose; the snake-stone antidote, the snake the stone*376.
Exchange not salutations with the world*377: pitch not your tent within a dragon’s mouth*378.
Friendship you should not from a dragon seek; a man-devourer is the dragon, sure*379.
A dog if he assume the darvīsh robe will ne’er forget his native savag’ry*380.
A disagreement happens amongst friends; (their) enemies together then agree.
They crawl all over black and white like flies, and dye each colour with the other’s hue*381.
From all these highwaymen best keep aloof*382, (and) tear away this wallet of four ties*383.
In such an age when pious men are base; Josephs, (fierce) wolves, ascetics, drunkards too*384,
Life cannot be preserved save by two things: ill deeds and the approval of ill deeds.
May God permit not that the slaves of God should put such fetters on their legs as these!
That they should thus stir up a fire for hell*385, should seek for naphtha, and pour talc away*386!
Rise, let us cast sedition under foot, and the conditions of subjection meet*387!
How long (this) begging for a grain of gold? How long dependence on the skies and earth*388?
See the wind tear from the anemone its dress for granules of false, blood-stained gold*389!
Whereas the wormwood, being moneyless, retains its form untortured by the wind*390.
As white clouds, bear no treasure on your head*391, place on the treasure, as the sun, your foot*392;
So that the earth, all moistened by the cloud*393, may by your kisses turn to (burnished) gold*394.
Pour out upon the sun a purse of gold, and in the fiery ruby plant a stone*395.
Your eyes by gold are bright, and (this) is bad, (since) the world’s eyes by wisdom are made bright.
Gold is two letters, unconnected each; how long boast of this worthless, scattered thing*396?
Let not your heart, like earth, be filled with gold, so that you be not scattered e’en like gold*397.
All pictures which have breast-plates made of gold have tunics made of lapis lazuli*398.
Each balance which devotes itself to gold suffers from stoning at a thousand doors*399.
Assume that you’ve collected with some pain of lawful or unlawful gain some “dāngs”*400;
(That then) one reckless comes (and) bears them off—the waster living, the collector dead*401.
Collecting (thus) with pain and fear is not collecting silver, but adoring gold*402.
How can the thirsty pleasure in the road? ’Tis digging wells to fall into the same*403.
Gold, if it be enjoyed, enhances joy*404; when hoarded it induces pain and fear.
The folly see, that for a (worthless) stone*405 in strife and battle friend opposes friend!
’Tis best that from that ruin you withdraw from which you’ve pain and terror for your life*406.
The world’s the house of dīvs, (then) hasten you, that you be not of ruined house like dīvs*407.
The house of demons is a demon’s house, although it be a palace fit for kings.
How long would you, as porter, bear the world, (and) hide your load of gold within the earth*408?
Though what you gather might three porters load, you’ll bear away but the four porters’ house*409.
The earth and air which are your foes are these: the unfriendly earth, the air without “alif”*410.
The branch which to the date-palm pays no toll*411 ’tis best to make a rolling-pin for paste*412.
To cure the pain of him whose stomach’s leer some “tutmāj”-strips excel rose-petals far*413.
Better extract your teeth than over-eat, that as a pearl of price*414 you be esteemed.
(See how) the comb which has a thousand teeth has thence a hand in every person’s beard*415.
Before the antidote the world may give, a thousand draughts of poison must be drunk*416.
Beside the doorway of this butcher’s shop you will not find a portion without heart*417.
A hundred hearts are torn on every side ere any good condition may accrue.
The necks of many thousand chiefs are broke before the neck of one escape the sky*418.
The foot of one upon a treasure hits, another gains a scrap (of gold) with toil*419.
Affairs when not to any person’s wish—frustration’s better than obtaining it*420.
Every desire which late in life (you’ve) gained felicitates (you) on a life prolonged.
’Tis best the long-lived gain their wishes late; life’s business in perfection’s perfected*421.
The ruby which takes long to come lasts long; the anemone soon comes, and quickly goes.
How long light up the assembly like a lamp; make all you can of self, and burn yourself*422?
Flee from this bestial den away, and take your head out of this jar of crockery*423.
Cut from above this seven-rooted tree; and draw off from your foot this four-nailed shoe*424.
From such a well, mat-covered, which is dead as any stone or mat (come) pass away*425.
As lightning, living die, that you may smile: life sacrificed is better than good health*426.
If you’re an aspirant such as you’re thought, pursue the road will bring you name of “pīr”*427.
Be no disciple aspirationless; do not be weak of faith in trust in God*428.
I, solver of a hundred knotty points, am village-chief, but in the village not*429.
If from the road a guest should chance to come, who will there be to set a tray for him*430?
Intelligence discerns what I now say, and what I aim at in this hint thrown out*431.
At destitution I am little vexed; of him who’s destitute is my complaint*432.
This Ethiopia likes not Turkish wares; hence it will have not palatable curds*433.
Whilst in this furnace which one’s nature ripes as grape unripe I still was somewhat raw*434,
Fortune made use of me as grape unripe, made of me verjuice-tutty for the sight*435.
Since I have reached the state of the ripe grape, I’ve suffered often from the stings of wasps*436.
The wine which is a spiritual draught for earth—is not the grape worth more than this*437?
I follow up the path they know of me*438; hence frozen water I am called by them*439.
Water when it is frozen, as they say, is not a fount of water, but of gold*440.
They err, the frozen water’s silver, sure, (for) ice indeed bears witness (to this fact)*441.
(Say) how can silver have the rank of gold? There is a differ­ence ’twixt moon and sun*442.
Take “yā” away and silver’s copper-like, and still more (like it) when it is reversed*443.
My iron which is (all) with gold inlaid in composition—see its silvery work*444!
I’m like an iron-seller dressed in gold, because for silver I (can) iron sell*445.
Woe to the goldsmith when the reckoning comes whose gold is not worth silver when assayed*446.
This fraud that’s practised by the world seems hard, that fortune comes from luck and not from worth.
That keen (assayer) who is skilled in coin has, as a rule, not half a grain (of gold).
Whilst he who cotton cannot tell from flax, and thinks “āsmān” and “rīsmān” are the same*447
His store-house with fine linen is replete, boxfuls of gold, and many maunds of silk*448.
Since such the work of jewels and of coin, why should one fear if they refrain from work*449?
How long through such a ruin shall I vex? How long into a ewer draw a sun*450?
All voices rise up from the vestibule; some day, may be, my voice too will arise*451.
Some others too, as I, have told this tale; have gone to sleep while still engaged in it*452.
’Tis due from me that I should grasp the affair, if sleep come not upon me like the rest*453.
The traveller should for the road prepare, and be not slow to keep from peril’s tracts*454.
I’m going, but the ass does not arrive; I scarce can think I’m really soon to go*455.
Of my departing I shall be aware when my retreat is outside of the door*456.
How long devoid of knowledge should I speak? How long (essay to) string pearls with closed eyes*457?
Be utterly forgetful of your eyes; commune with the divine, and silence keep*458;
That you may know that (in) whate’er you know you are in error quite, or you mis-read*459.
Throw spade away, a torrent’s dug the road: how many are the diggings of the sky*460!
The sky’s spade of the earth has made a pit; the earth regards not such a spade (as yours).
Consider when you first came (to the world) what you possessed of that which now you have—
You’ll take from these two passes of dispute that which you brought with you on (that) first day*461.
With debts around your neck to sea and mount, how can you with the heavens hope to dance*462?
Strive hard to pay back all the debts you owe, that with a bare-backed steed you may remain*463.
When of the world’s store not a grain you have, go to what place you please in (all) the world*464.
All your possessions you must first throw down before your crown is lowered from your throne*465.
It soon may be that many beauteous flowers fall through the dust of envy to the earth*466.
I who have like the rose cast arms away, have also from the thorn of envy fled*467,
That when my envy wears the darvīsh-robe, talc may be scattered on my body’s fire*468.
Thus can one (only) till the time of death complete the journey through this place of risk*469.
When I’ve departed from this ancient inn*470, say to the sky (then), Do whate’er you wish.
How long Nizāmī will you be in bonds? Arise and speak out with uplifted voice*471.
Give to the Unity Divine your soul, that you may gain eternal happiness.
The students of the college of God’s work, when they have learnt the lesson of discourse;
Made theory the guard of practice too, and solved the secret of existing things—
Each to a sleeping-place has swept the path, and when the time of sleep has come has slept*472.