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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Moral Education and Self-Control
By Sa’dī (c. 1213–1291)
 
From the ‘Garden of Perfume’: Text of K. H. Graf; Translation of Samuel Robinson

MY theme is rectitude, and self-government, and good habits; not the practicing-ground, and horsemen, and mace, and ball.  1
  Thine enemy is the spirit which dwelleth with thyself; why seek in a stranger one to contend with?  2
  He who can bridle his spirit from that which is forbidden hath surpassed Rustam and Sām in valor.  3
  Chastise thou thyself like a child with thine own rod, and brain not others with thy ponderous mace.  4
  An enemy will suffer no harm from one like thee, unless thou art able to overcome thyself.  5
  The body is a city full of good and evil; thou art the Sultan, and reason is thy wise Vizier.  6
  In this city, side by side, live base men, self-exalted,—Pride and Sensuality, fierce Passions;  7
  Contentment, Conscientiousness, men of good name; Lust and Ambition, Robbery and Treachery.  8
  When the Sultan maketh the bad his familiars, where can the prudent find a place of rest?  9
  Appetite, and Greediness, and Pride, and Envy, cleave to thyself as the blood in thy veins, and the soul in thy vitals.  10
  If these enemies have once obtained the mastery of thee, they rush out, and will overpower all thy discretion.  11
  There need be no contest with appetite and passion, if so be that Reason hold out a sharp claw.  12
  The chief who knoweth not how to manage his enemy will hardly save his chieftainship from his enemy’s hand.  13
  What need can there be in this book to say much? A little is enough for him who goeth right to his mark.  14
 
 
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