Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Sa'di (or Saadi), pen name of Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, born Muslih-uddin NULL

Persian Poet

"A handsome woman is a jewel; a good woman is a treasure."

"A boy who suffers not at the hands of his teacher suffers at the hand of Time."

"A kingdom is embellished by the wise, and religion rendered illustrious by the pious."

"A well-intentioned lie is better than a mischief-making truth... Use not to lie, for that is unhonest; speak not every truth, for that is unneedful; yes, in time and place, a harmless lie is a great deal better than a hurtful truth."

"Ants, fighting together, will vanquish the lion."

"A man of virtue, judgment, and prudence speaks not until there is silence."

"Better an intelligent enemy than an ignorant friend."

"Court the society of a superior, and make much of the opportunity; for in the company of an equal thy good fortune must decline."

"Be generous, and pleasant-tempered, and forgiving; even as God scatters favors over thee, do thou scatter over the people."

"Capacity without education is deplorable."

"Death is the means of transition to future life, which is the ultimate goal of mortal existence."

"Gentleness will blunt the sharpest sword."

"Every person thinks his own intellect perfect, and his own child handsome."

"He knows not the value of a day of pleasure who has not seen adversity."

"Give nobody's heart pain so long as thou canst avoid it, for one sigh may set a whole world into flame."

"He that has acquired learning and not practiced what he has learnt, is like a man who plows but sows no seed."

"Esteem thy soul highly, for a cage without a bird has no value."

"I fear God, and next to God I chiefly fear him who fears Him not."

"He who learns the rules of wisdom, without conforming to them in his life, is like a man who labored in his fields, but did not sow."

"Hunger is a cloud out of which falls a rain of eloquence and knowledge; when the belly is empty, the body becomes spirit; when it is full, the spirit becomes body."

"In the faculty of speech man excels the brute; but if thou utterest what is improper, the brute is thy superior."

"Is pure water different whether it be contained in a goblet of gold or an earthen sewer?"

"If a piece of worthless stone can bruise a cup of gold, its worth is not increased, nor that of the gold diminished."

"Never utter a word in private which you would regret to have heard in public."

"Life stands on the verge of a single breath; and this world is an existence between two nonentities."

"No one can forge good swords from faulty iron."

"None can be so true to your secret as yourself."

"Reason is a captive in the hands of the passions, as a weak man in the hands of an artful woman."

"Reveal not every secret you have to a friend, for how can you tell but that friend may hereafter become an enemy. And bring not all the mischief you are able to do upon an enemy, for he may one day become your friend."

"Nothing is so good for an ignorant man as silence; and if he was sensible of this he would not be ignorant."

"One dog can defile a cistern filled with rosewater."

"Poison kills only where there is no antidote."

"Our nation is a nation only by virtue of its Torah."

"Prison is preferable to a house full of frowns."

"Publish not men's secret faults, for by disgracing them you make yourself of no repute."

"The needy stain the garment of chastity with sin, as those who are hungry steal bread."

"The remedy against want is to moderate your desires."

"The money of the miser is coming out of the earth when he is himself going into it."

"Silence is the concealer of blemishes."

"The rich man hallows the evening with prayer; the poor man searches for his supper."

"The sea does not contain all the pearls, the earth does not enclose all the treasures, and the flint-stone does not enclose all the diamonds, since the head of man encloses wisdom."

"The telling of a falsehood is like the cut of a sabre; for though the wound may heal, the scar of it will remain."

"The wise who consorts with fools will become a fool, and the fool who consorts with fools will become a greater fool."

"Those who have no scars laugh at thy wound."

"To be confined by the feet with friends is better than to walk in a garden with strangers."

"Virtue is in the mind, not in the appearance."

"To pardon the oppressor is to deal harshly with the oppressed."

"Use a sweet tongue, courtesy, and gentleness, and thou mayst mange to guide an elephant with a hair."

"To tell a falsehood is like the cut of a sabre; for though the wound may heal, the scar of it will remain."

"Wealth consists in talent, not in possessions; greatness, in understanding, not in age."