Saadi Shirazi

(1814-1291 / Iran)

Ch 03 On The Excellence Of Contentment Story 11 - Poem by Saadi Shirazi

A brave warrior who had received a dreadful wound in the Tatar war was informed that a certain merchant possessed a medicine which he would probably not refuse to give if asked for; but it is related that the said merchant was also well known for his avarice.

If instead of bread he had the sun in his table-cloth
No one could see daylight till the day of resurrection.

The warrior replied: ‘If I ask for the medicine he will either give it or refuse it and if he gives it maybe it will profit me, and maybe not. At any rate the inconvenience of asking it from him is a lethal poison.’

Whatever thou obtainest by entreaties from base men
Will profit thy body but injure thy soul.

And philosophers have said: ‘If for instance the water of life were to be exchanged for a good reputation, no wise man would purchase it because it is preferable to die with honour than to live in disgrace.’

To eat coloquinth from the hand of a sweet-tempered man
Is better than confectionery from the hand of an ill-humoured fellow.


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Read poems about / on: war, water, sun, wind



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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