of sorrow – cleansed with the fresh
breath of a fountain
Kim M. Russell, 2017
My response to Carpe Diem #1170 fountain
Today Chèvrefeuille has shared a poem by Saadi, taken from The Bustan (The Orchard), his first book of poems. It’s called ‘Inscription on the fountain of Jemshid’ (or Jamshid) and Chèvrefeuille has given us some explanation by diving into Persian history.
He tells us that Jamshid is a mythical King in Iranian traditions and culture. The son of Tahmouras, he was a charismatic king, a legendary figure like King Solomon, whose wisdom knew no bounds. He had demons, beasts and birds under his control. He could see the future and had total dominion over the entire world. However, like Solomon, he grew arrogant and considered himself to be divine. As a result, his kingdom was invaded and he was killed.
Inscription on the Fountain of Jamshid
I have heard that Jamshid, of happy disposition, inscribed on a tablet at the head of a fountain:
“Many, like ourselves, have breathed at this fountain, and departed, and closed their eyes upon it.
“They captured the world by courage, or violence, but carried away with them nothing to the grave.
“They departed each one, and of that which they had tilled nothing remained to them, save a good or an evil name.
“When thine enemy hath fallen into thy hands, grieve him not further; he hath already tasted enough of sorrow.
“Better hold in thy keeping a discomfited enemy alive, than to have on thy neck the stain of his blood.”
© Saadi (13th century)
Taken from The Bustan and translated by Samuel Robinson