Salaman and Absal, by Jami, tr. Edward Fitzgerald, , at sacred-texts.com
One Night The Shah of Yúnan, as his wont,
Consider’d of his Power, and told his State,
How great it was, and how about him sat
The Robe of Honour of Prosperity;
Then found he nothing wanted to his Heart,
Unless a Son, who his Dominion
And Glory might inherit after him.
And then he turn’d him to The Shah, and said;
"Oh Thou, whose Wisdom is the Rule of Kings—
"(Glory to God who gave it!)—answer me;
"Is any Blessing better than a Son?
"Man's prime Desire; by which his Name and He
"Shall live beyond Himself; by whom his Eyes
"Shine living, and his Dust with Roses blows;
"A Foot for Thee to stand on, he shall be
"A Hand to stop thy Falling; in his Youth
"Thou shalt be Young, and in his Strength be Strong;
"Sharp shall he be in Battle as a Sword,
"A Cloud of Arrows on the Enemy's Head;
"His Voice shall cheer his Friends to "Plight,
"And turn the Foeman's Glory into Flight."
Thus much of a Good Son, whose wholesome Growth
Approves the Root he grew from; but for one
Kneaded of Evil—Well, could one undo
His Generation, and as early pull
Hint and his Vices from the String of Time.
Like Noah's, puff’d with Ignorance and Pride,
Who felt the Stab of "He is none of Thine!"
And perish’d in the Deluge. And because
All are not Good, be slow to pray for One,
Whom having you may have to pray to lose.
Ill affronts a Neighbour's Wife,
Draws his Dagger on the Husband,
Who complains before the Justice,
And the Father has to pay.
Day and Night the Youngster's Doings
Such—the Talk of all the City;
Nor Entreaty, Threat, or Counsel
Held him; till the Desperate Father
Once more to the Sheikh a-running,
Catches at his Garment, crying—
"Sheikh, my only Hope and Helper!
"One more Prayer! that God who laid
"Will take that Trouble from my Head!"
But the Sheikh replied: "Remember
"How that very Day I warn’d you
"Better not importune Allah;
"Unto whom remains no other
"Prayer, unless to pray for Pardon.
"When from this World we are summon’d
"On to bind the pack of Travel
"Son or Daughter ill shall help us;
"Slaves we are, and unencumber’d
"Best may do the Master's mind;
"And, whatever he may order,
"Do it with a Will Resign’d."
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