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The Grass of God’s Garden

I saw bouquets of fresh roses

Tied upon a cupola of grass.

I asked: "What is despicable grass

To sit also in the line of the roses?"

The grass wept and said: "Hush!

Companionship does not obliterate nobility.

Although I have no beauty, color, and perfume,

Am I not after all the grass of God's garden?"

Translation: Edward S. Holden

On Friends and Enemies

I am displeased with the company of friends

To whom my bad qualities appear to be good;

They fancy my faults are virtues and perfection;

My thorns they believe to be rose and jessamine.

Say! where is the bold and quick enemy

To make me aware of my defects?

translated by Edward S. Holden


To the ignorant man nothing is better than silence,

And were he aware of this he would no longer be ignorant.

When you are not possessed of perfection or excellence,

It is better that you keep your tongue within your mouth.

The tongue bringeth disgrace upon men.

The nut without a kernel is light in weight.

The beast will not learn of thee how to speak;

Learn thou of the beast how to be silent.

Whoever reflecteth not before he answereth,

Will probably utter inappropriate words.

Either adorn thy speech with the intelligence of a man,

Or sit in silence like a dumb animal.

translated by Samuel Robinson

The Dancer

I heard how, to the beat of some quick tune,

There rose and danced a Damsel like the moon,

Flower-mouthed and Pâri-faced; and all around her

Neck-stretching Lovers gathered close; but, soon

A flickering lamp-flame caught her skirt, and set

Fire to the flying gauze. Fear did beget

Trouble in that light heart! She cried amain.

Quoth one among her worshipers, "Why fret,

Tulip of Love? Th' extinguished fire hath burned

Only one leaf of thee; but I am turned

To ashes--leaf and stalk, and flower and root--

By lamp-flash of thine eyes!"--"Ah, Soul concerned

"Solely with self!"--she answered, laughing low,

"If thou wert Lover thou hadst not said so.

Who speaks of the Belov'd's woe is not his

Speaks infidelity, true Lovers know!"

translated by Edwin Arnold