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

I ASKED an eminent personage the meaning of this traditionary saying, “The most malignant of thy enemies is the lust which abides within thee.” He replied, “It is because every enemy on whom thou conferrest favors becomes a friend, save lust; whose hostility increases the more thou dost gratify it.”

  
STANZA
By abstinence, man might an angel be;
  By surfeiting, his nature brutifies:
Whom thou obligest will succumb to thee—
  Save lusts, which, sated, still rebellious rise.
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