[Know thou well this world its state...]

translated by C. E. Biddulph

Know thou well this world its state, what is, is; what is not, is not:
Whether Rake or Devotee, what is, is; what is not, is not.
Whether much or little thine, count it all as passed away;
Be thou of the Prophet’s nature, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
If for life thou grievest, what cause if thyself thou knowest;
Alive to thy grave thou goest, what is, is; what is not, is not.
Of sea and land the Monarch thou, if wet and dry alike thou countest;
Be thou then the Monarch of the age, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
Whether pearls or jewels, whether flowers or trees,
Take no account of all, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
Ill thy wishes, bad thy actions, causeless grief and envy thine;
In patience be thou wealthy, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
Weep thou not, nor yet rejoice; leave alike both grief and joy;
Be acquainted with this secret, what is, is; what is not, is not.
Alas! what though it collects, with no one does it here remain:
Of gold and silver be thou free, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
Of thy loved one seek for kindness, and thou find it not, then weep:
Do thou as thy loved one wills thee, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
Whether Union or Separation, to me they both are all alike:
Be thou at ease as thou art, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
Why dost thou strive and struggle, and day and night art full of concern?
Be thou the same whatever betide, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
Short is life, and many its troubles; why so anxious in your heart?
Be thou satisfied with wet or dry, for what is, is; what is not, is not.
Consider thou thy special talent, while alive make good use of it,
O Khush-hal! a Lion be thou, for what is, is; what is not, is not.

Related Poems

On Living

I

Living is no laughing matter:
	you must live with great seriousness
		like a squirrel, for example—
   I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
		I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter:
	you must take it seriously,
	so much so and to such a degree
   that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
                                            your back to the wall,
   or else in a laboratory
	in your white coat and safety glasses,
	you can die for people—
   even for people whose faces you've never seen,
   even though you know living
	is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
   that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees—
   and not for your children, either,
   but because although you fear death you don't believe it,
   because living, I mean, weighs heavier.

II

Let's say we're seriously ill, need surgery—
which is to say we might not get up
			from the white table.
Even though it's impossible not to feel sad
			about going a little too soon,
we'll still laugh at the jokes being told,
we'll look out the window to see if it's raining,
or still wait anxiously
		for the latest newscast. . . 
Let's say we're at the front—
	for something worth fighting for, say.
There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
	we might fall on our face, dead.
We'll know this with a curious anger,
        but we'll still worry ourselves to death
        about the outcome of the war, which could last years.
Let's say we're in prison
and close to fifty,
and we have eighteen more years, say,
                        before the iron doors will open.
We'll still live with the outside,
with its people and animals, struggle and wind—
                                I  mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
        we must live as if we will never die.

III

This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars
               and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet—
	  I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even 
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
	  in pitch-black space . . . 
You must grieve for this right now
—you have to feel this sorrow now—
for the world must be loved this much
                               if you're going to say "I lived". . .

If—

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!