Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Sharp-Toothed Wolf May Become Audacious

Shaykh Saadi Shirazi (1184-1283)

I heard that a dervish, burning in the fire of poverty and sewing patch upon patch, said to comfort his mind: 

'We are contented with dry bread and a patched robe 
For it is easier to bear the load of one's own trouble 
than that of thanks to others.' 

Who sold abstinence, knowledge and piety 
Filled a granary but burnt it clean away.  
Severity and mildness together are best 
Like a bleeder who is a surgeon and also applies a salve. 
A wise man uses neither severity to excess 
Nor mildness; for it lessens his authority. 
He neither exalts himself too much 
Nor exposes himself at once to contempt. 
A youth said to his father: 'O wise man, 
Give me for instruction one advice like an aged person.' 
He said: 'Be kind but not to such a degree 
That a sharp-toothed wolf may become audacious.'  

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