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Ch 05 On Love And Youth Story 18

Sa di 1210 (Shiraz) – 1291 (Shiraz)

A man in patched garments’ accompanied us in a caravan to the Hejaz and one of the Arab amirs presented him with a hundred dinars to spend upon his family but robbers of the Kufatcha tribe suddenly fell upon the caravan and robbed it clean of everything. The merchants began to wail and to cry, uttering vain shouts and amentations.

Whether thou implorest or complainest
The robber will not return the gold again.

The dervish alone had not lost his equanimity and showed no change. I asked: ‘Perhaps they have not taken thy money?’ He replied: ‘Yes, they have but I was not so much accustomed to that money that separation therefrom could grieve my heart’:

The heart must not be tied to any thing or person
Because to take off the heart is a difficult affair.

I replied: ‘What thou hast said resembles my case because, when I was young, my intimacy with a young man and my friendship for him were such that his beauty was the Qiblah of my eye and the chief joy of my life union with him’:

Perhaps an angel in heaven but no mortal
Can be on earth equal in beauty of form to him.
I swear by the amity, after which companionship is illicit,
No human sperm will ever become a man like him.

All of a sudden the foot of his life sank into the mire of non-existence. The smoke of separation arose from his family. I kept him company on his grave for many days and one of my compositions on his loss is as follows:

Would that on the day when the thorn of fate entered thy foot
The hand of heaven had struck a sword on my head;
So that this day my eye could not see the world without thee.
Here I am on thy grave, would that it were over my head.
He who could take neither rest nor sleep
Before he had first scattered roses and narcissi.
The turns of heaven have strewn the roses of his face.
Thorns and brambles are growing on his tomb.

After separation from him I resolved and firmly determined to fold up the carpet of pleasure during the rest of my life and to retire from mixing in society:

Last night I strutted about like a peacock in the garden of union
But today, through separation from my friend, I twist my head like a snake.
The profit of the sea would be good if there were no fear of waves.
The company of the rose would be sweet if there were no pain from thorns.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:12 min read

Sa di

Saadi Shirazi was a major Persian poet and prose write of the medieval period. more…

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