On Moderation in Our Pleasures

06-25 Tabataba
Abu Alcassim Ebn Tabataba
? – 1027


How oft does passion’s grasp destroy
The pleasure that it strives to gain!
How soon the thoughtless course of joy
Is doomed to terminate in pain!

When Prudence would thy steps delay,
She but restrains to make thee blest;
Whate’er from joy she lops away
But heightens and secures the rest.

Wouldst thou a trembling flame expand
That hastens in the lamp to die?
With careful touch, with sparing hand,
The feeding stream of life supply.

But if thy flask profusely sheds
A rushing torrent o’er the blaze,
Swift round the sinking flame it spreads,
And kills the fire it fain would raise.


Translation by J.D. Carlyle

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