One of Nizami's Pearls | Harper's Magazine

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One of Nizami’s Pearls

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bahram-e_gur

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Take not apart the good pearl from the string; from him who is of evil nature flee.
An evil nature acts consistently: have you not heard that Nature does not err?
The evil-natured man keeps faith with none; the erring nature does not fail to err.
The scorpion since it is by nature bad—to let it live’s a fault, to kill it, good.
Seek knowledge, for through knowledge you effect that doors to you be opened and not closed.
He who shames not at learning can draw forth pearls from the water, rubies from the rock.
Whilst he to whom no knowledge is assigned—that person (you will find) ashamed to learn.
How many, keen of mind, in effort slack, sell pottery from lack of pearls (to sell)!
How many a dullard, through his being taught, becomes the chief judge of the Seven Climes!

Nez?mi-ye Ganjav? (????? ?????), The Seven Beauties (1196 CE)(E. Wilson transl.)

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