The Gulistan of Sa'di
One of the most important of the medieval Persian poets, SA'DI (1194-1292) is still read widely today, with an influence that extends to Western writers such as La Fontaine, Diderot, Voltaire, Hugo, Balzac, Goethe, and Emerson. He spent much of his life traveling through Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East, returning to his native Shiraz (in what is now Iran) as an elderly man to compose works based on his experiences and wisdom gained. The Gulistan ("garden of roses"), part prose and part poetry, is divided into four "gateways" ("The Manners of Kings," "Concerning Darweeshes," "The Excellency of Moderation," and "The Benefits of Taciturnity") teeming with humorous anecdotes and insight. More than 700 years after his death, Sa'di's ruminations on leadership, materialism, and the virtues of silence-here translated by Edwin Arnold at the turn of the 20th century-live on in this classic work.British journalist, translator, and poet SIR EDWIN ARNOLD (1832-1904) often about Asia. His works include The Light of Asia (1879), The Light of the World (1901), and The Song Celestial, or, Bhagavad-Gita (from the Mahabharata) (1885).
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Albeit Aleppo Allah answered Arab Ardf art thou asked Ayat Baghdad beast beggar bestow better bounty bread brocades brothers camel caravan counsel cried Darweesh death desert devotee didst thou dinars direms Diwan door doth dust Egypt enemy evil eyes face father fault favor fear fool give gold grace Gulistan Hakim hand hath head heard heart Hedjaz holy inquired journey Ka'aba Khorasan Khudawand King King's kingdom Koran learned live lord Majesty man's master Mecca minister Mosque of Damascus Namaz ness never night once Padishah passed peace Persia person poor possess praise prayers present Prince Purdah Quoth remarked replied rich robbers rose Sa'di Shaikh Shiraz slave sleep soul sowar spake Sufis Sultan sweet thee thine things thou art thou didst thou hast thyself tongue traveller uttered verse wealth wisdom wise words Wuzeer Yemen
Page 7 - Tis thine hour of death. IV OF a King's son I heard who was small in stature, and plain featured, whereas 6 his brothers were goodly in height and countenance. On a certain occasion his father, chancing to look at him with dislike and aversion, the son had insight to perceive this, and said, " Ah, my father! a little man who is wise counts for more than a long man who is foolish. Not everything which is big is good.
Page ix - In many lands I have wandered, and wondered, and listened, and seen; And many my friends and companions, and teachers and lovers have been. And nowhere a corner was there but I gathered up pleasure and gain; From a hundred gardens the rose-blooms, from a thousand granaries grain; And I said to my soul in secret, "Oh thou, who from journeys art come! It is meet we should bear some token of love to the stayers at home; For where is the traveller brings not from Nile the sweet green reed, Or Kashmiri...
Page xi - as a literary curry, a kabab of versatile genius, where grave and gay, humor and wisdom, laughter and tears, are threaded together on the skewer of wit, and spiced by a soft worldliness and gentle stoicism that make the dish irresistible, however jaded the mental appetite.
Page xiii - I never complained of my condition but once, when my feet were bare, and I had not money to buy shoes ; but I met a man without feet, and I became contented with my lot.
Page x - I was loath from all that Pleasaunce of the Sun and his words and ways, To come to my country giftless, and showing no fruit of my days: But, if my hands were empty of honey, and pearls and gold, There were treasures far sweeter than honey, and marvellous things to be told. Whiter than pearls...