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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’s Interview with Sultan Ābāqā-ān
By Sa’dī (c. 1213–1291)
 
        
From ‘The Risālahs’: Translation of J. H. Harington
  
  [Sa’dī, after describing the circumstances of his introduction to the Sultan, adds:—]

“WHEN I was about to take my leave, his Majesty desiring me to give him some counsel for his guidance, I answered:  1
  “‘In the end you will be able to carry nothing from this world but blessings or curses: now farewell.’”  2
  The Sultan directed him to compose the purport of this in verse, on which he immediately repeated the following stanzas:—  3
  “Sacred be the revenue of the king who protects his subjects from injury; for it is the earned hire of the shepherd.  4
  “But poison be the portion of the prince who is not the guardian of his people; for whosoever he devours is a capitation tax exacted from the followers of Mohammed.”  5
  Ābāqā-ān wept, and several times said: “Am I the guardian of my subjects or not?” To which the Shaikh as often replied: “If you are, the first stanza is in favor of you; but if not, the second is applicable.”  6
  On taking his final leave, Sa’dī repeated the following verses:  7
  “A king is the shadow of the Deity; and the shadow must be attached to the substance on which it depends.  8
  “His people are incapable of doing good except under his all-governing influence.  9
  “Every good action performed on earth is affected by the justice of its rulers.  10
  “His kingdom cannot abound in rectitude, whose counsel is erroneous.”  11
  Ābāqā-ān highly applauded the above and the preceding verses; [and the Persian biographer adds a remark, that] “in these times none of the learned men or Shaikhs of the age would venture to offer such even to a shopkeeper or butcher; which accounts indeed for the present state of society!”  12
 
 
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