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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
A Powerful Voice
By Sa’dī (c. 1213–1291)
 
From the ‘Rose-Garden’: Translation of Edward Backhouse Eastwick

ONCE on a time, in traveling through Arabia Petræa, a company of devout youths shared my aspirations and my journey. They used often to chant and repeat mystic verses; and there was a devotee en route with us, who thought unfavorably of the character of darweshes, and was ignorant of their distress. When we arrived at the palm grove of the children of Hallāl, a dark youth came out of one of the Arab families, and raised a voice which might have drawn down the birds from the air. I saw the camel of the devotee begin to caper, and it threw its rider, and ran off into the desert. I said, “O Shekh! it has moved a brute: does it not create any emotion in thee?”

  
VERSE
Knowest thou what said the bird of morn, the nightingale, to me?
“What meanest thou that art unskilled in love’s sweet mystery?
The camels, at the Arab’s song, ecstatic are and gay:
Feel’st thou no pleasure, then thou art more brutish far than they!”
  
COUPLET
When e’en the camels join in mirth and glee,
If men feel naught, then must they asses be.
  
COUPLET
Before the blast the balsams bend in the Arab’s garden lone;
Those tender shrubs their boughs incline: naught yields the hard firm stone.
  
DISTICHS
All things thou seest still declare His praise;
The attentive heart can hear their secret lays.
Hymns to the rose the nightingale his name;
Each thorn’s a tongue his marvels to proclaim.
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