Monthly Archives: May 2015

Go traverse

Gotta love those old-style British Arabists. Here is one, the Rev. P.G. Hill, who translates a poem from the Arabic. Good luck finding the original, though.  It’s supposed to be in One Thousand and One Nights somewhere, “the short poem beginning with sâfir tájid ‛iwadhan ‛ammán tufarîkuhu given in the story of Nurû-‘d-Din and his Brother” made from “a close translation of the Arabic submitted to him”, which is unfortunately not given.

Go, traverse distant lands, in each you’ll find
Some in the place of those you leave behind ;
Some, it may chance, of more congenial hearts,–
Sympathy is life’s charm–it’s bane ennui
No honour lies in inactivity :–
Then quit your home go, range in foreign parts.
The stagnant puddle foul and fetid grows.
Healthful and clear the running fountain flows :
Unless the changes of the moon on high
Revealed the future to the sage’s eye,
He would not watch her aspect in the sky :
Unless he left his den, the forest-king
Would win no trophies of the sylvan war :
Unless the arrow parted from the string,
It could not hit the destined mark afar.
The Tibr, * when from its native mine cast forth
Appears as vile unprofitable earth ;
The aloës-wood enjoys but slight esteem
In its own land,–mere fuel for the hearth ;
Let either quit the country of its birth,
The one an ore all-coveted we deem,
The other a perfume of priceless worth.

*Unwrought gold, either in dust or nuggets