The Bustan of Sadi, tr. by A. Hart Edwards, , at sacred-texts.com
p. 24 p. 25
In The Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
In the name of Him Who created and sustains the world, the Sage Who endowed tongue with speech.
He attains no honour who turns the face from the door of His mercy.
The kings of the earth prostrate themselves before Him in supplication.
He seizes not in haste the disobedient, nor drives away the penitent with violence. The two worlds are as a drop of water in the ocean of His knowledge.
He withholds not His bounty though His servants sin; upon the surface of the earth liar He spread a feast, in which both friend and foe may share.
Peerless He is, and His kingdom is eternal. Upon the head of one He placeth a crown;
another he hurleth from the throne to the ground.
The fire of His friend He turneth into a flowergarden; through the waters of the Nile He sendeth His foes to perdition.
Behind the veil He seeth all, and concealeth our faults with His own goodness.
He is near to them that are downcast, and accepteth the prayers of them that lament.
He knoweth of the things that exist not, of secrets that are untold.
He causeth the moon and the sun to revolve, and spreadeth water upon the earth.
In the heart of a stone hath He placed a jewel; from nothing hath He created all that is.
Who can reveal the secret of His qualities; what eye can see the limits of His beauty?
The bird of thought cannot soar to the height of His presence, nor the hand of understanding reach to the skirt of His praise.
Think not, O Sadi, that one can walk in the road of purity except in the footsteps of Muhammad.
He is the patriarch of the prophets, the guide of the path of salvation; the mediator of mankind, and the chief of the Court of Judgment. What of thy praises can Sadi utter? The mercy of God be upon thee, O Prophet, and peace!
I travelled in many regions of the globe and passed the days in the company of many men. I reaped advantages in every corner, and gleaned an ear of corn from every harvest. But I saw none like the pious and devout men of Shiraz—upon which land be the grace of God—my attachment with whom drew away my heart from Syria and Turkey.
I regretted that I should go from the garden of the world empty-handed to my friends, and reflected: "Travellers bring sugar-candy from Egypt as a present to their friends. Although I have no candy, yet have I words that are sweeter. The sugar that I bring is not that which is eaten, but what knowers of truth take away with respect."
When I built this Palace of Wealth, 1 I furnished it with ten doors of instruction. 2
It was in the year 655 that this famous treasury became full of the pearls of eloquence. A quilted robe of silk, or of Chinese embroidery, must of necessity be padded with cotton; if thou obtain aught of the silk, fret not—be generous and conceal the cotton. I have heard that in the day of Hope and Fear the Merciful One will pardon the evil for the sake of the good. If thou see evil in my words, do thou likewise. If one couplet among a thousand please thee, generously withhold thy faultfinding.
Assuredly, my compositions are esteemed in Persia as the priceless musk of Khutan. Sadi brings roses to the garden with mirth. His verses are like dates encrusted with sugar—when opened, a stone 3 is revealed inside.
Although not desiring to write in praise of kings, I have inscribed this book to the name of a certain one so that perhaps the pious may say: Sadi, who surpassed all in eloquence,
lived in the time of Abu Bakr, the son of Sad." Thus, in this book will his memory remain so long as the moon and sun are in the skies. Beyond count are his virtues—may the world fulfil his desires, the heavens be his friend, and the Creator be his guardian.