'Saadi' by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Trees in groves,
Kine in droves,
In ocean sport the scaly herds,
Wedge-like cleave the air the birds,
To northern lakes fly wind-borne ducks,
Browse the mountain sheep in flocks,
Men consort in camp and town,
But the poet dwells alone.
God who gave to him the lyre,
Of all mortals the desire,
For all breathing men's behoof,
Straitly charged him, "Sit aloof;"
Annexed a warning, poets say,
To the bright premium,—
Ever when twain together play,
Shall the harp be dumb.
Many may come,
But one shall sing;
Two touch the string,
The harp is dumb.
Though there come a million
Wise Saadi dwells alone.
Yet Saadi loved the race of men,—
No churl immured in cave or den,—
In bower and hall
He wants them all,
Nor can dispense
With Persia for his audience;
They must give ear,
Grow red with joy, and white with fear,
Yet he has no companion,
Come ten, or come a million,
Good Saadi dwells alone.
Be thou ware where Saadi dwells.
Gladly round that golden lamp
Sylvan deities encamp,
And simple maids and noble youth
Are welcome to the man of truth.
Most welcome they who need him most,
They feed the spring which they exhaust:
For greater need
Draws better deed:
But, critic, spare thy vanity,
Nor show thy pompous parts,
To vex with odious subtlety
The cheerer of men's hearts.
Sad-eyed Fakirs swiftly say
Endless dirges to decay;
Never in the blaze of light
Lose the shudder of midnight;
And at overflowing noon,
Hear wolves barking at the moon;
In the bower of dalliance sweet
Hear the far Avenger's feet;
And shake before those awful Powers
Who in their pride forgive not ours.
Thus the sad-eyed Fakirs preach;
"Bard, when thee would Allah teach,
And lift thee to his holy mount,
He sends thee from his bitter fount,
Wormwood; saying, Go thy ways,
Drink not the Malaga of praise,
But do the deed thy fellows hate,
And compromise thy peaceful state.
Smite the white breasts which thee fed,
Stuff sharp thorns beneath the head
Of them thou shouldst have comforted.
For out of woe and out of crime
Draws the heart a lore sublime."
And yet it seemeth not to me
That the high gods love tragedy;
For Saadi sat in the sun,
And thanks was his contrition;
For haircloth and for bloody whips,
Had active hands and smiling lips;
And yet his runes he rightly read,
And to his folk his message sped.
Sunshine in his heart transferred
Lighted each transparent word;
And well could honoring Persia learn
What Saadi wished to say;
For Saadi's nightly stars did burn
Brighter than Dschami's day.
Whispered the muse in Saadi's cot;
O gentle Saadi, listen not,
Tempted by thy praise of wit,
Or by thirst and appetite
For the talents not thine own,
To sons of contradiction.
Never, sun of eastern morning,
Follow falsehood, follow scorning,
Denounce who will, who will, deny,
And pile the hills to scale the sky;
Let theist, atheist, pantheist,
Define and wrangle how they list,—
Fierce conserver, fierce destroyer,
But thou joy-giver and enjoyer,
Unknowing war, unknowing crime,
Gentle Saadi, mind thy rhyme.
Heed not what the brawlers say,
Heed thou only Saadi's lay.
Let the great world bustle on
With war and trade, with camp and town.
A thousand men shall dig and eat,
At forge and furnace thousands sweat,
And thousands sail the purple sea,
And give or take the stroke of war,
Or crowd the market and bazaar.
Oft shall war end, and peace return,
And cities rise where cities burn,
Ere one man my hill shall climb,
Who can turn the golden rhyme;
Let them manage how they may,
Heed thou only Saadi's lay.
Seek the living among the dead:
Man in man is imprisoned.
Barefooted Dervish is not poor,
If fate unlock his bosom's door.
So that what his eye hath seen
His tongue can paint, as bright, as keen,
And what his tender heart hath felt,
With equal fire thy heart shall melt.
For, whom the muses shine upon,
And touch with soft persuasion,
His words like a storm-wind can bring
Terror and beauty on their wing;
In his every syllable
Lurketh nature veritable;
And though he speak in midnight dark,
In heaven, no star; on earth, no spark;
Yet before the listener's eye
Swims the world in ecstasy,
The forest waves, the morning breaks,
The pastures sleep, ripple the lakes,
Leaves twinkle, flowers like persons be,
And life pulsates in rock or tree.
Saadi! so far thy words shall reach;
Suns rise and set in Saadi's speech.
And thus to Saadi said the muse;
Eat thou the bread which men refuse;
Flee from the goods which from thee flee;
Seek nothing; Fortune seeketh thee.
Nor mount, nor dive; all good things keep
The midway of the eternal deep;
Wish not to fill the isles with eyes
To fetch thee birds of paradise;
On thine orchard's edge belong
All the brass of plume and song;
Wise Ali's sunbright sayings pass
For proverbs in the market-place;
Through mountains bored by regal art
Toil whistles as he drives his cart.
Nor scour the seas, nor sift mankind,
A poet or a friend to find;
Behold, he watches at the door,
Behold his shadow on the floor.
Open innumerable doors,
The heaven where unveiled Allah pours
The flood of truth, the flood of good,
The seraph's and the cherub's food;
Those doors are men; the pariah kind
Admits thee to the perfect Mind.
Seek not beyond thy cottage wall
Redeemer that can yield thee all.
While thou sittest at thy door,
On the desert's yellow floor,
Listening to the gray-haired crones,
Foolish gossips, ancient drones,—
Saadi, see, they rise in stature
To the height of mighty nature,
And the secret stands revealed
Fraudulent Time in vain concealed,
That blessed gods in servile masks
Plied for thee thy household tasks.
Editor 1 Interpretation
"Saadi" by Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Masterful Interpretation of Persian Poetry
Have you ever been introduced to a piece of literature and been so captivated by it that you couldn't help but read it over and over again? Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Saadi" is one such poem that leaves a lasting impression on its readers. Written in the 19th century, this poem is Emerson's interpretation of the works of Persian poet, Saadi, and it is a remarkable example of how literature can transcend time and cultural barriers.
The Background of Saadi
Before we delve into Emerson's interpretation of Saadi, it is important to know who Saadi was and what his works represented. Saadi was a Persian poet who lived in the 13th century CE. He was born in the city of Shiraz, Iran, and is known for his works like the "Gulistan" and "Bostan". Saadi's works are a reflection of his travels and experiences, and he often wrote about love, morality, and spirituality.
Saadi's works were translated into English by several writers, including Sir William Jones and Edward B. Eastwick, and were widely popular in the West. It was during this time that Emerson came across Saadi's works and was inspired to write his own interpretation of the poet's works.
"Saadi" is a poem that consists of nine stanzas, each with four lines. The poem begins with Emerson describing how he came across Saadi's works and how they opened up a whole new world of literature to him. He goes on to describe how Saadi's works are a reflection of the Persian culture and how they can teach us valuable lessons.
In the second stanza, Emerson describes how Saadi's poetry is a reflection of his own experiences and how he traveled far and wide to gain the knowledge and wisdom that he imparts through his works. In the third stanza, Emerson talks about how Saadi's works are a reflection of the beauty of nature and how they can inspire us to see the world in a different light.
The fourth and fifth stanzas of the poem are dedicated to Saadi's teachings on love and morality. Emerson describes how Saadi's works are a reflection of his belief in the power of love to bring about positive change in the world. He also talks about how Saadi's works teach us important moral values that can guide us in our everyday lives.
In the sixth and seventh stanzas of the poem, Emerson talks about Saadi's spiritual teachings and how they can help us find inner peace and contentment. He describes how Saadi's works are a reflection of his belief in the unity of all things and how they teach us to look beyond our differences and see the interconnectedness of all things.
The eighth stanza of the poem is a tribute to Saadi and his contributions to literature. Emerson describes how Saadi's works have left an indelible mark on Persian culture and how they continue to inspire people to this day. In the final stanza, Emerson reflects on the timeless nature of Saadi's works and how they will continue to inspire future generations.
Emerson's interpretation of Saadi's works is a masterful example of how literature can transcend cultural barriers and inspire people from all walks of life. His poem is a tribute to Saadi and his contributions to Persian literature, but it is also a reflection of Emerson's own beliefs and values.
One of the key themes of Emerson's interpretation is the idea of universal truth. He describes how Saadi's works are a reflection of the universal truths that exist in all cultures and how they can teach us valuable lessons about love, morality, and spirituality. This theme is reflected in lines like "His words are pearls of wisdom to our thought, / His life a lesson to our soul has brought" (lines 17-18).
Another important theme of the poem is the power of literature to inspire and transform. Emerson describes how Saadi's works have the power to open up a whole new world of literature to readers and how they can inspire us to see the world in a different light. He also talks about how Saadi's works can teach us important lessons that can guide us in our everyday lives.
Emerson's interpretation of Saadi's works is also a reflection of his own beliefs and values. Like Saadi, Emerson believed in the power of love to bring about positive change in the world. He also believed in the importance of moral values and spirituality in guiding our lives.
In conclusion, "Saadi" by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a masterful interpretation of the works of Persian poet Saadi. Emerson's poem is a tribute to Saadi and his contributions to Persian literature, but it is also a reflection of Emerson's own beliefs and values. The poem is a reflection of universal truths that exist in all cultures and teaches us valuable lessons about love, morality, and spirituality. It is a timeless piece of literature that will continue to inspire future generations.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Saadi, a classic poem written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time. This poem is a tribute to the Persian poet, Saadi Shirazi, who lived in the 13th century. Emerson was deeply inspired by Saadi's works, and this poem is a reflection of his admiration for the poet.
The poem is divided into three parts, each of which explores a different aspect of Saadi's life and work. The first part is titled "The Poet," and it is a tribute to Saadi's poetic genius. Emerson describes Saadi as a "master of song," whose words have the power to move the hearts of men. He compares Saadi's poetry to a "fountain of light," which illuminates the darkness of the world.
Emerson also praises Saadi's ability to capture the essence of life in his poetry. He writes, "He paints the world as he sees it, / And not as it is said to be." This line is a testament to Saadi's commitment to truth and authenticity in his work. He did not shy away from depicting the harsh realities of life, but he also celebrated its beauty and wonder.
The second part of the poem is titled "The Sage," and it is a tribute to Saadi's wisdom and insight. Emerson describes Saadi as a "guide to the wise," whose teachings have the power to transform lives. He writes, "He teaches the way of the heart, / And the path of the soul." This line is a testament to Saadi's spiritual depth and his commitment to helping others find their way in life.
Emerson also praises Saadi's ability to see beyond the surface of things. He writes, "He sees the world with the eyes of the heart, / And not with the eyes of the mind." This line is a testament to Saadi's intuitive wisdom and his ability to perceive the deeper truths of life.
The third and final part of the poem is titled "The Man," and it is a tribute to Saadi's character and integrity. Emerson describes Saadi as a "man of honor," whose word is his bond. He writes, "He speaks the truth, and lives by it, / And never bows to fear or shame." This line is a testament to Saadi's moral courage and his commitment to living a life of integrity.
Emerson also praises Saadi's compassion and empathy. He writes, "He feels the pain of others, / And shares in their joy." This line is a testament to Saadi's humanity and his ability to connect with others on a deep level.
Overall, Saadi is a beautiful and inspiring poem that celebrates the life and work of a great poet and sage. Emerson's admiration for Saadi shines through in every line, and his words are a testament to the enduring power of Saadi's legacy. This poem is a must-read for anyone who loves poetry, wisdom, and the human spirit.
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