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

WHILST I was at Sanāa, I lost a child;—why talk of the blow which then fell upon my head?  1
  Fate never formed an image of comeliness like Joseph’s, that a fish did not become, like Jonah’s, its tomb.  2
  In this garden no cypress ever reached its full stature, that the blast of Destiny did not tear its trunk from the root.  3
  It is not wonderful that roses should spring out of the earth, when so many rose-like forms sleep within its clay.  4
  I said in my heart: “Die! for, shame to man, the child departeth unsullied, and the old man polluted!”  5
  In my melancholy and distraction, whilst dwelling on his image, I erected a stone over the spot where he reposeth.  6
  In terror of that place, so dark and narrow, my color paled, and my senses failed me.  7
  When from that disturbance my understanding came back to me, a voice from my darling child struck mine ear:—  8
  “If that dark spot make thee feel thy desolation, recall thy reason, and come out into the light.  9
  “Wouldst thou make the night of the tomb bright as day, light it up with the lamp of good works.”  10
  The body of the gardener trembleth as in a fever, lest the palm-tree should not produce its date.  11
  Crowds are there of those who, greedy of the world’s pleasures, think that, not having scattered the grain, they can yet gather in the crop;  12
  But Sa’dī telleth you: Only he who planteth a tree will eat the fruit of it; only he who casteth the seed will reap the harvest.  13
 
 
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