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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2.

XXI

They tell a story of an abid, who in the course of a night would eat ten mans, or pounds, of food, and in his devotions repeat the whole Koran before morning.  A good and holy man heard this, and said, “Had he eaten half a loaf of bread, and gone to sleep, he would have done a more meritorious act.”  Keep thy inside unencumbered with victuals, that the light of good works may shine within thee; but thou art void of wisdom and knowledge, because thou art filled up to the nose with food.

XXII

The divine favor had placed the lamp of grace in the path of a wanderer in forbidden ways, till it directed him into the circle of the righteous, and the blessed society of dervishes, and their spiritual co-operation enabled him to convert his wicked propensities into praiseworthy deeds, and to restrain himself in sensual indulgences; yet were the tongues of calumniators questioning his sincerity, and saying, He retains his original habits, and there is no trusting to his piety and goodness.—­By the means of repentance thou mayest get delivered from the wrath of God, but there is no escape from the slanderous tongue of man.—­He was unable to put up with the virulence of their remarks, and took his complaint to his ghostly father, saying, “I am much troubled by the tongues of mankind.”  The holy man wept, and answered, “How can you be sufficiently grateful for this blessing, that you are better than they represent you?—­How often wilt thou call aloud saying, The malignant and envious are calumniating wretched me, that they rise up to shed my blood, and that they sit down to devise me mischief.  Be thou good thyself, and let people speak evil of thee; it is better than to be wicked, and that they should consider thee as good.”—­But, on the other hand, behold me, of whose perfectness all entertain the best opinion, while I am the mirror of imperfection.—­Had I done what they have said, I should have been a pious and moral man.—­Verily, I may conceal myself from the sight of my neighbor, but God knows what is secret and what is open.—­There is a shut door between me and mankind, that they may not pry into my sins; but what, O Omniscience! can a closed door avail against thee, who art equally informed of what is manifest or concealed?

XXIII

I lodged a complaint with one of our reverend Shaikhs, saying:  “A certain person has borne testimony against my character on the score of lasciviousness.”  He answered, “Shame him by your continence.—­Be thou virtuously disposed, that the detractor may not have it in his power to indulge his malignity.  So long as the harp is in tune, how can it have its ear pulled (or suffer correction by being put in tune) by the minstrel?”

XXIV

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