Home  »  library  »  Song  »  Schinasi

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


Poems from Oriental Languages: Sayings of Djelim

(Arabian—Sixteenth Century)

From the ‘Fazel-Nameh’ (Book of Virtue) of Schinasi, or The Knowing One. Translation in Dublin University Magazine

I TOO was reared in Djelim’s house; and thus his precepts run and are:—

When Folly sells thee Wisdom’s crown, ’tis idly gained and dearly bought;

Oh! foremost man of all his race, born under some diviner star,

Who, early trained, self-reined, self-chained, can practice all that Lokman taught.

The joys and cares of earth are snares: heed lest thy soul too late deplore

The power of sin to wile and win her vision from the Eight and Four.

Lock up thyself within thyself; distrust the stranger and the fair:

The fool is blown from whim to whim by every gust of passion’s gales.

Bide where the lute and song are mute; and as thy soul would shun despair,

Avert thine eyes from woman’s face when twilight falls and she unveils.

Be circumspect; be watchmanlike: put pebbles in thy mouth each day:

Pause long ere thou panegyrize; pause doubly long ere thou condemn.

Thy thoughts are Tartars, vagabonds: imprison all thou canst not slay,—

Of many million drops of rain perchance but one turns out a gem.