1 ONE night, I kept burning the olive-oil of reflection;
I lighted up the lamp of eloquence.

A foolish talker heard my speech,
Save to say—To thee be praise!—he saw no way.

From villainy of nature, he also folded within it (the
—For, from pain of envy a cry involuntarily arises,—

Saying:—“His thought is sublime, and his judgment
“In this matter of the habit of abstinence, and regula-
tions, and counsel:

5 “Not, in regard to lance and mace and heavy club;
“For, the conclusion of this matter is for others.”

Knows he not that to us there is no desire for battle;
Otherwise the power of speech is not scanty?

I am able to draw forth the sword of the tongue;
To draw forth his existence, in a moment.

Come; so that, in this matter, we may wage war;
(And) may make a stone-pillow for the enemy's head.

Happiness is in the gift of the Ruler (God);
It is not in the grasp and arm of the strong.

10 When the lofty sky gives not wealth,
It comes not, by manliness, into the snare.

Neither, through weakness, did distress come to the ant;
Nor, by grasp of strength, did lions eat.

Since one cannot draw forth the hand against the sky,
It is necessary to be content with its revolution.

If God has written for thee long life,
Neither the snake, nor the sword, nor the arrow may
injure thee.*

And, if, as to thy life, a portion remains not,
The electuary kills thee just as poison.

15 No; when Rustam experienced the end of his days,
Shughdad brought forth the dust (of destruction) from
his body.*

In Sipahán, I had a certain friend,
Who was warlike and fearless and shrewd.

Continually, his hand and dagger coloured with blood;
The enemy's heart was, through him, like roast meat on
the fire.

I beheld not the day, on which, he bound not (to his waist)
the quiver;
And fire leaped not from his steel arrow.

Courageous; strong, with the gripe of an ox,—
Through fear of him, confusion fell upon lions.*

20 He used to cast his arrow, with such precision,
That he used to cast down an enemy with every arrow.*

The thorn in the rose,—I saw not that it passed in such a
As his arrow passed not into the shields.

He struck not the helmet of the one contest-seeking,
Whose helmet and head, he shattered not completely.

In battle (enraged) like a sparrow on the locust day,
In slaying,—whether a sparrow, or a man, to him what

If it were to him, to attack Firídún,
He would not have given him respite for sword-drawing.

25 Panthers, by the force of his gripe, beneath him;
His fingers plunged in the brain of the lion.

He used to seize the girdle of one strength-tried,
And if he had been a mountain, he would have plucked
him from his place.

When he used to strike his battle-axe on the one mail-
It used to pass through the man, and strike his saddle.

Neither as to manliness, nor as to magnanimity,—to him,
A second, no one saw a man in this world.

He used not to allow me to go a moment from his hand
For, he used to have an inclination for those of true dis-

30 Suddenly, a journey snatched me from that soil;
For, in that abode, there was no food for me.

Fate transported me from Media to Syria;
In that pure dust, my abode was happy.*

In short, some time, I became resident;
In sorrow and in ease; in hope, and in fear.

Of Syria, my cup again became full;
The desire of my house drew me.

By chance it so fell,
That my path again fell by Media.*

35 One night, my head became lowered in thought;
That skilled one (of Ispahán) passed to my heart.

The salt (of desire) made fresh my ancient wound;
For, I was one who had eaten salt from the man's hand.*

For seeing him, I went towards Sipáhán;
In love of him, I became a seeker and inquirer.

I beheld the young man old from time's revolution;
His poplar arrow (of stature) a bow; his deep red colour
(complexion) yellow.*

His head, from snow-hair, like a white mountain;
Water, from the snow of old age, running on his face.

40 Heaven obtained the hand of power over him;
It twisted the tip of his manly hand.

The world put pride out of his head;
The head of powerlessness on his knees.

I said to him:—“Oh chief, lion-seizing!
“What made thee withered like an old fox?”

He laughed, saying:—“From the day of battle with the
“I put out of my head that battle-seeking.

“I beheld the ground, with spears, like a cane-brake,
“The (coloured) standards, fir-like, set in it.

45 “I raised the dust of battle, like smoke;
“When there is not the power,—of what use is ardour?

“I am that one who when I used to attack,
“Used to carry off, with a spear, a ring from the hand.

“But, when my star displayed not assistance;
“They gat themselves about me like a ring.

“I reckoned the way of flight gain;
“For (only) the fool makes a sharp tussle with Fate.*

“How may helmet and cuirass render me aid,
“When my bright star displayed not assistance?

50 “When victory's key is not in the hand,
“One cannot break victory's door, by the arm.

“A crowd, panther-overthrowing, and of elephant-strength,
“Man's head (the rider) and horse's hoof (the ridden)—
in iron.

“That very moment, when we saw the dust of the army,
“We put on the mail-garment, and the helmet head-

“Urged our Arab steeds, cloud-like;
“Showered down our gleaming arrows, rain-like.

“From ambush, the two armies dashed together;
“Thou wouldst have said:—On the earth, they dashed
the sky.*

55 “From the raining of arrows, hail-like,
“Death's storm arose on every side.

“For the chase of lions, conflict-making,
“The dragon-noose, mouth opened.

“With blue dust, the earth became the sky;
“The flash of sword and helmet in it star-like.

“When we overtook the enemy's horsemen,
“On foot, we wove shield within shield.*

“With arrow and spear, we split the hair;
“When power was not,—we turned away.

60 “What force does the grasp of man's exertion bring,
“When the arm of God's grace assists not?

“The sword of those malice-bearing was not blunt;
“But there was malice, on the part of the angry star.

“A person of our army, forth from the conflict,
“Came not—save with a khaftán bedabbled with blood.

“Within the silken vest, went not the arrow of those
“Of whom, I said:—They may sew (pierce) the anvil
with an arrow.

“Like a hundred grains, clustered in an ear of corn,
“We fell,—each grain in a corner.

65 “With unmanliness, we became dispersed;
“Like the fish, which, cuirass-clad, falls to the fish-hook.*

“When Fortune, from towards us, was face on the turn;
“The shield before the arrow of destiny was—nothing.”

In Ardabíl, a certain one of iron grasp
Caused, continually, the double-headed arrow to pass
through a spade.*

One felt-clad came before him in battle,
A young man, world-consuming, battle-making,

Contest-seeking, like Bahram-Gor,
On his shoulder, a noose of the raw hide of the wild ass.*

70 When he of Ardabíl saw the one felt-wearing,
He brought the string to the bow, and the string to the

He struck him with fifty poplar arrows;
But; not a single arrow passed beyond the felt.

The warrior came like the hero Dastán,
He brought him (of Ardabíl) within the curl (of his noose),
and took him away.

In the camp, at the tent-door, his hand,
He bound to his neck—like bloody thieves.

In the night, from anger and shame, he slept not;
In the morning, a slave-girl, from the tent said:—

75 “Since thou piercest iron with the arrow and dart,
“How didst thou fall a captive to one felt-wearing?”

I heard that he said, while he wept blood:—
“Knowst thou not that no one lives on the day of death?

“I am that one, who,—in the act of spear-piercing and
“Teach Rustam the manner of battle.

“When the arm of my fortune was of strong state,
“The thickness of the spade appeared to me as felt.

“Now, that fortune is not in my grasp,
“The felt is not less than the spade, before my arrow.

80 “On the day of death, the spear rends the cuirass;
“It passes not beyond the shirt of one deathless.

“He, in whose rear is the sword of the wrath of death,
“Is naked,—if his cuirass be manifold.

“But, if Fortune be his friend; and, Time supporter—
“It is impossible to slay him naked—(even) with a large

“Neither did the sage, carry away (save) his life, by
“Nor, did the fool die, by improper eating.”

One night, a hero slept not on account of a side-pain;
There was a physician, in that quarter; he said:—

85 “Since, he eats the vine-leaf in this fashion,
“I have wonder if he will finish the night (alive).

“For, the blade of the Tátár arrow in the chest,
“Is better than wine-sweetmeats of improper food.

“If by a single morsel, griping occurs in the bowels,
“All the life of the ignorant one comes to naught.”

By chance, the physician died that night;
Forty years have passed since this time; but the hero is

As to a certain villager,—his ass fell (and died);
On a vine-tendril, he placed its head flag-fashion.*

90 An old man, world-experienced, passed by it;
To the vineyard-keeper, laughing, he thus spoke:—

“Oh soul of father! think not that this ass
“Repels the evil eye, from the sown field.

“For, from its own head and buttocks,—this ass, the re-
pelling (of blows)
“Effected not, so that, feeble and wounded, it died.”

What knows the physician of trouble-removing from a
When helpless, he himself will die of trouble!

I have heard that, from an indigent person, a dínár
Fell; and that the wretched one sought for it much.

95 At length, he turned away the head of despair;
Another, without searching, found it.

For bad and good fortune, the pen,
The Fates urge;—we, yet, in the womb.

By strength of grasp, they enjoy not their daily food;
For those of strong grip are more straitened in circum-

An old man struck his son with a stick;
He said:—“Oh father! I am guiltless; strike not.

“For men's violence against thee, it is possible to weep;
“But, when thou displayst violence, to me what remedy is

100 Oh lord of sense! cry to the Ruler (God),
Raise not a cry, on account of the Ruler.

One of lofty star,—his name Bakht-yár,—
Was of great power, and possessed of capital.

In that place, to him were both gold and property;
Others poor of reversed fortune.

His house was in the street of the beggars;
His gold was like wheat in the measure.

When the darvesh beholds the rich one in affluence,
His heart burns the more by the stain of indigence.*

105 A woman joined battle with her husband,
When, in the night-time, he went to her empty-handed,

Saying:—“There is no one, unfortunate, poor, like thee;
“Thou hast only this sting, like the red wasp.*

“Learn manliness from the neighbours;
“For I am not, in short, a harlot picked up on the road.

“Persons have gold, and silver, and territory, and house-
hold goods,
“Why art thou not of good fortune, like them?”

The one of pure heart, wool-clad, raised
A shout from the heart, drum-like,

110 Saying:—“I possess not the hand of power, as to any-
“Writhe not in the grasp of the hand of Fate.

“In my hand they placed not power,
“That I might make myself fortunate.”

In the dust of Kísh, a certain poor man,—
How well he said to his ugly partner (wife);—*

“When the hand of Fate created thee ugly of face,
“Plaster not the rose-colour (rouge) on thy ugly face.”

Who acquires good fortune, by force?
Who makes the blind man's eye seeing, by antimony?

115 A good deed comes not from those of bad stock;
Needle-work is impossible to dogs.*

All the philosophers of Greece and Rúm
Know not how to make honey from the thorny tree.

It happens not that, from a wild beast, a man becomes;
Education, (even) with exertion, is lost on it.

One can make clean the mirror from blight;
But, the mirror comes not from a stone.

The flower grows not from the willow-bough, by effort;
The Ethiopian becomes not white, by the hot bath.

120 When the poplar-arrow of destiny is not repelled,
For the slave,—there is no shield, save resignation.

A vulture to a kite thus spoke,
Saying:—“There is no one more far-seeing than myself.”*

The kite replied:—“It is not proper to pass by this
“Come; so that thou mayst look at the quarters of the

I heard that, to the extent of one day's march,
The vulture viewed from height to depth.

Thus, he spoke:—“I saw, if belief be to thee,
“Where a grain of wheat is on the plain.”

125 From astonishment, patience remained not to the kite,
From sublimity, they turned to profundity.

When the vulture came close to the grain,
A long foot-tether became knotted on him.

From his devouring that grain, the vulture knew not
That adverse fortune would cast a snare about his neck.

Not every oyster is pregnant with the pearl;
Not every time does the expert archer hit the butt.

The kite said:—“From seeing this grain, what profit,
“When to thee, there was not the beholding of the
enemy's snare?”

130 I heard that, he, neck in the noose, said:—
“Caution, as to destiny, is unprofitable.”

When death brought forth the hand for his blood,
Fate bound his eyes, finely-discerning.

In that water (of eternity), whose shore is unknown,
The swimmer's pride is of no avail.

How well said the apprentice of the embroidery-weaver,
When he pourtrayed 'Anká, and elephant, and giraffe:—

“From my hand, there came not a form,
“The plan of which, the Teacher from above pourtrayed

135 If the form of thy state be bad, or good,
The hand of Fate is its painter.

There is a kind of concealed hypocrisy in this,
Namely—“Zaid injured me, or 'Umar wounded me.”*

If the Lord of Command gives thee the eye,
Thou seest not again the form of Zaid and 'Umar.

I think not—if a slave rests (from seeking food),
That God draws his pen on (stops) his daily food.

May the World-Creator give thee the means of opening
(the door)!
For, if He shuts, none can open.

140 A young camel, to its mother, said:—
“After travelling, at last, sleep awhile.”

She said:—“If the rein had been in my hand
“No one would have seen me a load-carrier in the camel-

There, where it wishes, Fate takes the vessel,
Although, the captain rends the garment on his body.

Oh Sa'dí! place not thy eye (of expectation) on anyone's
For Omnipotence only is the Giver.

If thou worshipst God, of (people's) doors, sufficient for
But if He drives thee away, no one desires thee.*

145 If God makes thee a crown-possessor,—raise thy head;
But, if not, scratch the head of despair.

Worship, with sincerity of intention, is good;
Otherwise, what comes from the husk, without kernel?

What,—the idolater's cord on thy waist? what, the re-
ligious garment?
If thou putst them on for the opinion of the people.

I said to thee:—Display not thy own manliness;
When thou displayst manliness, be not an hermaphrodite.*

It is proper to display (religious qualities) to the extent of
thy capacity;
Shame overpowered not him, who had not displayed.

150 For, when they draw the borrowed garment from off thy
The old robe will remain on thy body.

If thou art small, fasten not on wooden feet,
That thou mayst, in children's eyes, appear tall.

And, if copper be silver-plated,
One can expend it on the ignorant.

Oh my life! place not the gold-water on the valueless coin;
For the wise banker takes it as nothing.

They take the things gold washed to the fire;
Then, it appears which are copper, and which gold.

155 Knowst thou not what the old man of the mountain said,
To the man, who, for reputation, slept not at night?

“Oh soul of father! go; strive for sincerity;
“For, from the people, thou canst not establish any

Those persons, who have approved of thy acts,
Have yet only seen thy outward form.

What price, does the Khurdís slave fetch,
Who has leprous limbs beneath the over-coat?

It is impossible to enter Paradise, with imposture,
For, the shroud goes back (on the Judgment Day) from
thy ugly face.

160 I have heard that a certain one of immature age kept a
With a hundred difficulties, he accomplished one day up to
the mid-day meal.*

The tutor took him not that day to school;
Devotion, on the part of a little boy, appeared to him

The father kissed his eyes; and, the mother his head;
They scattered almonds and gold on his head.

When a half of the day passed over him,
From his stomach's fire, the burning (of hunger) fell upon

To his heart, he said:—“If I eat a few morsels,
“How may my father and mother know of the secret

165 When the boy's face was towards his father and family,
He secretly ate; but openly carried on the fast.

Who knows, whether thou art in the bonds of God;
If thou standst unwashed, in prayer?*

Then, this old man is more ignorant than that child,
Who, for the sake of men, is in devotion.

The key of hell's door is that prayer,
Which thou, in men's eyes, makest long.*

If, except to God, thy way goes,—
They spread thy prayer-carpet in hell.*

170 One of black deeds fell from a ladder;
I heard that, even in a breath, he gave his soul (to God).

For some days, the son took to weeping;
Took, again, to sitting with his companions:

Beheld, in a dream, his father; and inquired after his
Saying:—“How escapedst thou from the assembling, and
reviving, and questioning?”

He said:—“Oh son! desire not news concerning me;
“From the ladder, I fell into hell.”

One of good walk of life, outwardly unceremonious,
(Is) better than one of good fame, inwardly evil.

175 In my opinion, the night-going highway-man
Is better than the adulterer of chaste skirt.

One trouble-enduring at the people's door,—
What reward will God give him on the Resurrection Day?

Oh son! expect not reward from 'Umar,
When thou art, at work, in the house of Zaid.

I say not:—he can reach his Friend (God),
In this path; save that one, whose face is turned towards

Go the right way, that thou mayst reach the stage,
(Oh hypocrite!) thou art not on the path; for this reason,
thou art lagging.*

180 Like the ox, whose eyes the oil-presser binds up,
Though running till the night,—at night, even there where
it is.*

The person, who turns away his face from the altar,
The people of eloquence give evidence as to his infidelity.

Thou also art, in prayer, back to the Kibla,
If thy face of supplication be not towards God.

That tree, whose root is firm,
Cherish—that one day it may give thee the fruit of fruit.

If the root of sincerity be not in thy soil,
No one is disappointed like thee, at this door (of God).

185 Whosoever casts seed on the rock-surface,
At the time of in-come, not a grain comes to his grasp.

Put not honour upon the reputation of (acquired by)
For, this (hypocrisy) has mire beneath the (lustrous) water.

When thou art, in secret, bad and dust-like,
What profit,—the water of hypocrisy on the surface of the

On the surface of hypocrisy, it is easy to stitch the reli-
gious garment,
If thou canst sell it to God.

How may men know who is in the religious habit?
The writer knows what is in the register (of deeds).

190 What weight may the leathern bag, full of wind, show in
the place
Where there is the scale of justice, and the book of equity?*

The hypocrite, who showed so much austerity,
They see there is nothing in his leathern bag.

They make the outside of the coat cleaner than the lining;
For, this is behind a veil, and that before the sight.

The great possessed indifference as to men's eyes,
For that reason, they possessed a painted silk lining.*

If thou wishst renown spread abroad in the country,
Place the cloak outside; say:—Fill the interior with cotton.*

195 Báyizíd uttered not, in sport, this speech:—
“I am safer from the disbeliever, than from the disciple.”*

Those, who are sultáns and monarchs,
Are altogether beggars at this Court (of God).

The man of truth fixes not his desire (of help) upon the
It is improper to take the hand of the fallen.*

This indeed is best,—if thou be pregnant with a jewel,
That thou shouldst take thy head within thyself,—oyster-

When the face of thy adoring is towards God,
If Jibrá,il see thee not,—it is proper.

200 Oh son! Sa'dí's counsel is enough for thee,
If thou hearst it, like a father's counsel.

If, to-day, thou hearst not my word,
God forbid! that, to-morrow, thou shouldst be abashed.

Than this (Sa'dí) is a better adviser necessary to thee?
I know not what may chance to thee, after me.*