Friday, March 2, 2007

On Deluding Ourselves

Like that fond dervish waiting in the throng
When some World-famous beauty went along,
Who smiled on the Antic as she pass'd -
Forthwith Staff, Bead and Scrip away he cast,
And grovelling in the Kennel, took to whine
Before her Door among the Dogs and Swine.
Which when she often went unheeding by,
but one day quite as heedless ask'd him - 'Why?' -
He told of that one Smile, which, all the Rest
Passing had kindled Hope within his Breast -
Again she smiled and said, 'O self-beguiled
Poor Wretch, at whom, not on whom I smiled.'

-From Bird Parliament by Farrid Ud-Din Attar (d.1230), translated by Edward Fitzgerald