Poem by Sheikh Moslehedin Saadi Shirazi
from "The Bustan"
English Translation

Poem by Sheikh Moslehedin Saadi Shirazi
from "The Bustan"
Translated By G.M. Wickns
Poem in Farsi
On Justice, Management, and good Judgment

I've heard that, while he yielded up his soul,
Thus spoke to Hurmuz, Nushirwan:
Be a guardian of the poor man's mind,
Lie not in the bonds of your own ease!
 No one in your land is easy,
When your own ease is all you seek;
No wise man will approve the case
Where the shepherd sleeps and the wolf's among the sheep.
Go! Keep watch upon the poor and needy,
For by virtue of the people the emperor holds his crown.
The people are like a root, the ruler is the tree;
The tree, my son, from the root draws its strength.
So far as you are able, hurt not the hearts of men;
If you do, you but tear up your own roots!
 Do you need a highway, straight?
The road of the devout is that of Hope and Fear;
Nature, this becomes to a man in prudence:
In hope of good and fear of evil;
If in a prince these both you find,
You find a solid footing for his clime and realm:
For indulgence he brings to the hopeful,
In hope that the Maker will be indulgent;
He does not look with favour on any persons' harm,
Fearing that harm may come to his realm.
 But if this temper be not in his composition,
In that land there's no hope of rest.
If you are hobbled, practice resignation;
But if galloping at will, then make your own way!
Look not for amplitude in that march and land,
Where you see the people distressed by the emperor.
Fear the bold and proud ones,
But fear also the one who fears not the just One!
Only in dreams will he see a land prosper,
Who ruins the hearts of the land's inhabitants:
From tyranny derive ruination and ill-repute;
The foresighted one will plumb these words.
Unjustly, the people may not be slain,
For they are authority's asylum and support;
For your own sake, care for the yeoman,
For the happy labourer does more work!
It is not manly to do evil to one
From whom you have received much good.
I've heard that Khusrau said to Shiruya,
As sleep befell his eyes that used to see:
So be that all you purpose
Envisages the people's welfare.
Turn your head never from Justice and Good judgment, 
That men turn not their footsteps from your hand!
The people from the unjust one flee,
Making his ugly name a byword in the world;
Not long it is before his own foundation
He uproots, who laid a bad foundation.