BLACK CAT POEMS
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translated by Samuel Robinson
From the Bustan
It is no crime to drink water without the command of the law; but if thou sheddest blood, it must not be done without a decree.
If the law pronounce its decree, then thou mayest slay the criminal without any dread;
But if thou hast those who belong to his family, them forgive, and extend to them thy mercy.
The iniquitous man it was who committed the crime: what was the offence of his helpless wife and children?
Is thy person powerful and thine army great, make not on that account an inroad upon the lands of thine enemy.
He will flee away to his lofty castle, and thou wilt ruin only his unoffending country.
Look well into the circumstances of thy prisoners, for possibly there may be amongst them those who are innocent.
If a merchant die in thy dominions, it is unjust to lay thy hand upon his property;
For afterwards, when they raise over him the cry of lamentation, they will unite in exclamations:
"The unhappy man died a stranger in thy country, and a tyrant robbed him of what remained of his goods."
Think of that little fatherless child, and dread the sigh of his miserable heart.
Oft-times the fair name of fity years a single ugly deed has ruined for ever.
Though a man be King from one end of the earth to the other, when he taketh away the wealth of the prosperous, he is but a beggar.
Rather will the generous man die with an empty hand than fill his stomach from the pittance of the poor.
poems by Saadi