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

MY body still trembleth when I call to memory the prayers of one absorbed in ecstasy in the Holy Place,  1
  Who kept exclaiming to God, with many lamentations: Cast me not off, for no one else will take me by the hand!  2
  Call me to thy mercy, or drive me from thy door; on thy threshold alone will I rest my head.  3
  Thou knowest that we are helpless and miserable, sunk under the weight of low desires,  4
  And that these rebellious desires rush on with so much impetuosity, that wisdom is unable to check the rein.  5
  For they come on in the spirit and power of Satan; and how can the ant contend with an army of tigers?  6
  O lead me in the way of those who walk in thy way; and from those enemies grant me thy asylum!  7
  By the essence of thy majesty, O God; by thine attributes without comparison or likeness;  8
  By the “Great is God” of the pilgrim in the Holy House; by him who is buried at Yathreb—on whom be peace!  9
  By the shout of the men of the sword, who account their antagonists in the battle as woman;  10
  By the devotion of the aged, tried, and approved; by the purity of the young, just arisen;  11
  In the whirlpool of the last breath, O save us in the last cry from the shame of apostasy!  12
  There is hope in those who have been obedient, that they may be allowed to make intercession for those who have not been obedient.  13
  For the sake of the pure, keep me far from contamination; and if error escape me, hold me excused.  14
  By the aged, whose backs are bowed in obedience, whose eyes, through shame of their past misdeeds, look down upon their feet,  15
  Grant that mine eye may not be blind to the face of happiness; that my tongue may not be mute in bearing witness to the Faith!  16
  Grant that the lamp of Truth may shine upon my path; that my hand may be cut off from committing evil!  17
  Cause mine eyes to be free from blindness; withhold my hand from all that is unseemly.  18
  A mere atom, carried about by the wind, O stay me in thy favor!  19
  Mean as I am, existence and non-existence in me are but one thing.  20
  From the sun of thy graciousness a single ray sufficeth me; for except in thy ray, no one would perceive me.  21
  Look upon my evil; for on whomsoever thou lookest, he is the better; courtesy from a king is enough for the beggar.  22
  If in thy justice and mercy thou receive me, shall I complain that the remission was not promised me?  23
  O God, drive me not out on account of my errors from thy door, for even in imagination I can see no other door.  24
  And if in my ignorance I became for some days a stranger to thee, now that I am returned shut not thy door in my face.  25
  What excuse shall I bring for the disgrace of my sensuality, except to plead my weakness before the Rich One?  26
  Leave me not—the poor one—in my crimes and sins! The rich man is pitiful to him who is poor.  27
  Why weep over my feeble condition? If I am feeble, I have thee for my refuge.  28
  O God, we have wasted our lives in carelessness! What can the struggling hand do against the power of Fate?  29
  What can we contrive with all our planning? Our only prop is apology for our faults.  30
  All that I have done thou hast utterly shattered! What strength hath our self-will against the strength of God?  31
  My head I cannot withdraw from thy sentence, when once thy sentence hath been passed on my head.  32
 
 
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