Posts tagged ‘Saady’

A Pretty Good Motto

Antoine Galland (1646-1715), one of the great orientalists of the classical age, was sent by the government of Louis XIV to the court of the Sultan. Among his many discoveries he revealed the Thousand and One Nights and other Arabian Tales to the Western public through his French translation, Les Mille et Unes Nuits, Paris 1704-1717. The diary from his stay in Constantinople in 1672-1673 was published and annotated by Charles Schefer in 1881 [1].

On page 133 of volume 2 I found this “litteral translation of a quatrain attributed to Saady” , presumably Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, Persian poet born in 1184 and according to Wikipedia deceased in either 1281 or 1303. I have not seen it anywhere else, and it seems like a pretty good motto [2]:

Think back to the time when you came to the world. Everyone around you was in joy, and you were crying.
Apply all your strength so that when you die, all will be in grief and you alone will smile.

Reference and note

[1] Journal d’Antoine Galland pendant son Séjour à Constantinople (1672-1673), publié et annoté par Charles Schefer (2 volumes), Ernest Leroux, Paris, 1881.

[2] My translation. Galland’s original, which also includes the Persian quote (below) reads:

Réfléchis à l’instant où tu es venu au monde. Ceux qui t’entouraient étaient dans la joie et toi tu pleurais. Fais tous tes efforts pour qu’au moment de ton trépas, tout le monde soit plongé dans la douleur et toi seul souriant.

Ces vers sont une traduction littérale d’un quatrain persan attribué à Saady.

Saady's original as cited by Galland

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