'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 Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Saadi is a collection of poems by the Persian poet, Saadi, translated and introduced by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This classic work of poetry is a tribute to Saadi's wisdom, humanity, and literary genius. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into Saadi's life, his poetic style, and the significance of his works as interpreted by Emerson.

Saadi's Life

Saadi was born in Shiraz, Persia (modern-day Iran) in the late 12th century. He was educated in Baghdad and then traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, India, and Central Asia. He spent several years as a recluse, meditating and writing, before returning to society as a respected scholar and poet. Saadi's work reflects his wide-ranging experiences, his deep understanding of human nature, and his profound spiritual insights.

Saadi's Poetic Style

Saadi's poetry is characterized by its simplicity, elegance, and directness. He used everyday language to express complex ideas and emotions, and his style was marked by its clarity and vividness. Saadi's poems are often structured as stories or parables, with a moral or philosophical lesson at their core. He used humor and irony to convey his ideas, and his poetry often contains social criticism and political commentary.

Emerson's Interpretation of Saadi

Emerson was deeply influenced by Saadi's poetry, and he saw in Saadi a kindred spirit who shared his own philosophical and spiritual outlook. Emerson's introduction to Saadi's work is a masterpiece of literary criticism, in which he praises Saadi's wisdom, his understanding of human nature, and his insights into the human condition. Emerson sees in Saadi's work a universal message of compassion, tolerance, and love, which transcends time and place.

Emerson writes, "Saadi is a poet of humanity, of nature, of wisdom, of humor, of tolerance, of love. He is a poet of the world, of all ages and all lands. He is a poet of the heart, of the soul, of the spirit. He speaks to us across the centuries, a voice of wisdom and compassion, calling us to be better, to do better, to love more deeply and more fully."

Themes in Saadi's Poetry

Saadi's poetry contains a wide range of themes, from love and compassion to politics and social justice. Some of the key themes in Saadi's work include the following:

Love and Compassion

Saadi's poetry celebrates the power of love and compassion to heal the wounds of the heart and to bring people together. He believes that love is the most powerful force in the universe, and that it can overcome all obstacles and barriers. In one of his most famous poems, Saadi writes:

"Love is the cure, for your pain will keep giving birth to more pain until your eyes constantly exhale love as effortlessly as your body yields its scent."

Wisdom and Philosophy

Saadi's poetry is marked by its wisdom and philosophical depth. He explores the nature of reality, the purpose of life, and the meaning of existence. He seeks to understand the mysteries of the universe and to find answers to the most profound questions of human existence. In one of his poems, Saadi writes:

"Do not be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth."

Social Justice and Politics

Saadi's poetry is also marked by its social and political commentary. He was deeply concerned with issues of justice and equality, and he used his poetry to critique the social and political structures of his time. He believed in the power of the people to create change, and he advocated for a more just and equitable society. In one of his poems, Saadi writes:

"The people are a master, and the king is their servant. The people are a light, and the king is their shadow."


Saadi is a masterpiece of Persian poetry, and its translation and interpretation by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a testament to its enduring power and relevance. Saadi's poetry is marked by its wisdom, compassion, and social and political commentary, and it speaks to us across the centuries with a message of love and hope. As Emerson writes, "Saadi is a poet of humanity, of all ages and all lands. He speaks to us across the centuries, a voice of wisdom and compassion, calling us to be better, to do better, to love more deeply and more fully."

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Saadi: A Masterpiece by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the renowned American essayist, lecturer, and poet, is considered one of the most influential figures in the history of American literature. His works, including "Nature," "Self-Reliance," and "The American Scholar," have inspired generations of writers and thinkers. However, one of his lesser-known works, "Poetry Saadi," is a masterpiece that deserves more attention.

"Poetry Saadi" is a poem that Emerson wrote in honor of the Persian poet Saadi Shirazi, who lived in the thirteenth century. Saadi is considered one of the greatest poets of the Persian language and is known for his works, including "Gulistan" and "Bustan." Emerson was deeply influenced by Saadi's poetry and philosophy, and he wrote "Poetry Saadi" as a tribute to his literary hero.

The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which explores a different aspect of Saadi's poetry. In the first stanza, Emerson praises Saadi's ability to capture the beauty of nature in his poetry. He writes:

"Saadi! thy melodies steal o'er my ear, Like far-off joyance, or the murmuring Of wild bees in the sunny wilderness, Or, like faint echoes of sweet music's strain, Heard in the stillness of the summer night."

Emerson's use of imagery in this stanza is exquisite. He compares Saadi's poetry to the sounds of nature, such as the buzzing of bees and the echoes of music. This comparison highlights Saadi's ability to capture the essence of nature in his poetry.

In the second stanza, Emerson praises Saadi's ability to convey deep philosophical truths through his poetry. He writes:

"Saadi! thy wisdom and thy truth profound Are like the stars, that in the deep blue sky Shine on the pilgrim's path, and light him on His weary way to the eternal shrine."

Emerson compares Saadi's wisdom to the stars that guide travelers on their journey. This comparison highlights the importance of Saadi's poetry in guiding people on their spiritual journey.

In the third and final stanza, Emerson praises Saadi's ability to inspire people to live a virtuous life. He writes:

"Saadi! thy precepts, like the morning dew, Refresh the drooping flowers of human life, And bid them bloom with more than earthly hue, In the pure sunshine of the soul's high strife."

Emerson compares Saadi's precepts to the morning dew that refreshes flowers. This comparison highlights the transformative power of Saadi's poetry in inspiring people to live a virtuous life.

Overall, "Poetry Saadi" is a masterpiece that showcases Emerson's admiration for Saadi's poetry and philosophy. Through his use of vivid imagery and powerful comparisons, Emerson highlights the beauty, wisdom, and transformative power of Saadi's poetry. This poem is a testament to the enduring influence of Saadi's poetry on Emerson and the world of literature.

In conclusion, "Poetry Saadi" is a must-read for anyone interested in the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson or Saadi Shirazi. This poem is a beautiful tribute to one of the greatest poets of the Persian language and a testament to the enduring power of poetry to inspire, enlighten, and transform.

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