Monday, March 19, 2007

Socratic theme

The following selection is from “The Kasîdah of Hâjî Abdû el-Yezdî,” a poem Sir Richard Francis Burton wrote in the manner of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, after his return from Mecca in 1854. For me the poem echoes the advice of the Greeks going back to Socrates, far different than the apparent spirit of the Rubaiyat:

…Better the myriad toils and pains that make the man to manhood true,This be the rule that guideth life; these be the laws for me and you:
With Ignorance wage eternal war, to know thy self forever strain,Thine ignorance of thine ignorance is thy fiercest foe, thy deadliest bane...

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