Introductory 02

The good reputation of Sa’di which is current among the people, the renown of his eloquence which has spread on the surface of the earth, the products of his friendly pen which are consumed like sugar, and the scraps of his literary compositions which are hawked about like bills of exchange, cannot be ascribed to his virtue and perfection, but the lord of the world, the axis of the revolving circle of time, the vice-gerent of Solomon, protector of the followers of the religion, His Majesty the Shahanshah Atabek Aa’zm Muzaffaruddin Abu Bekr Ben Sa’d Ben Zanki-The shadow of Allah on earth! O Lord, be pleased with him and with his kingdom-has looked upon Sa’di with a favourable eye, has praised him greatly, and has shown him sincere affection so that all men, gentle and simple, love him because the people follow the religion of their king.

Because thou lookest upon my humble person,
My merits are more celebrated than those of the sun.
Although this slave may possess all faults,
Every fault pleasing the Sultan becomes a virtue.
A sweet-smelling piece of clay, one day in the bath,
Came from the hand of a beloved one to my hand.
I asked: ‘Art thou musk or ambergris?
Because thy delicious odour intoxicates me.’
It replied: ‘I was a despicable lump of day;
But for a while in the society of a rose.
The perfection of my companion took effect on me
And, if not, I am the same earth which I am.’

O Allah, favour the Musalmans with the prolongation of his life, and with an augmentation of his reward for his good qualities and deeds; exalt the dignities of his friends and governors; annihilate those who are inimical to him and wish him ill; for the sake of what is recorded in the verses of the Quran. O Allah, give security protect his son.

Verily the world is happy through him;may his happiness endure for ever
And may the Lord strengthen him and with the banners of victory.
Thus the branch will flourish of which he is the root
Because the beauty of the earth’s plants depends on the virtue of the seed.

May God, whose name be exalted and hallowed, keep in security and peace the pure country of Shiraz until the time of the resurrection, under the authority of righteous governors and by the exertions of practical scholars.

Knowest thou not why I in foreign countries
Roamed about for a long time?
I went away from the distress of the Turks because I saw
The world entangled like the hair of negroes;
They were all human beings, but
Like wolves sharp-clawed, for shedding blood.
When I returned I saw the country at rest,
The tigers having abandoned the nature of tigers.
Within a man of good disposition like an angel,
Without an army like bellicose lions.
Thus it happened that first I beheld
The world full of confusion, anxiety and distress;
Then it became as it is in the days of the just Sultan
Atabek Abu Bekr Ben Sa’d Zanki.
The country of Pares dreads not the vicissitudes of time,
As long as one presides over it like thee, the shadow of God.
Today no one can point out on the surface of the earth,
A place like the threshold of thy door, the asylum of comfort.
On thee is incumbent the protection of the distressed and gratitude
Upon us and reward on God the creator of the world,
As long as the world and wind endure.

by Saadi Shirazi

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