Source of: "Judge a Moth By the Beauty of Its Candle"

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Miles Madewell

Apr 19, 2023, 7:09:24 PM4/19/23
to Dar-al-Masnavi
I found this translation by Coleman Barks at this link of a piece by Rumi. In Coleman Barks' book, he referenced that he translated this from Furuzunfar's translation of the Divan, however I am unable to find his translation of it.

I know that Coleman Barks is a very unreliable translator. Is anyone aware of the source/ a better translation of this piece?


Apr 19, 2023, 7:19:27 PM4/19/23
to Dar-al-Masnavi
Here is the literal translation from Persian made by the British scholar A.J. Arberry of Rumi's ghazal no.  2627, which Coleman Barks (who does not know Persian) reinterpreted in his own way:

Become a lover, become a lover and bid groaning be gone; you are after all a king’s son, how long will you be a prisoner? To the king’s son, the commandership and vizierate is all a disgrace; beware that you take nothing but love. That one is not the commander of death, he is the prisoner of death; the whole passion for viziership is naught but a boredom. If you are not a picture on the bath, seek after the spirit; so long as you are in love with form, whence will you receive spirit? Do not mingle with dust, for you are a pure essence; do not mingle with vinegar, for you are sugar and milk. Though on this side people do not recognize you, on that side where side is not, how matchless and incomparable you are! This world is death, and in this perishing world if you are not a prince, is it not enough that you do not die? You are the lion of God in the form of man; that is evident in your attack and stateliness and courage. Since I saw your learning and station and graces, I have be- come indifferent to the learning of the Maqāmāt of Hariri. This life has become untimely; but since you exist in the light of God, what matters timely or late? MYSTICAL POEMS OF RUMI [ 325 1 The measure of the beloved is the glory of the lover; helpless lover, behold of what grandeur are you and I. The beauty of the moth is according to the measure of the candle; after all, are you not a moth of this light-living candle? Shams al-Haqq-i Tabriz, this is why you are invisible, be- cause you are the very source of sight, or the essence [eye] of the All-Seeing.

Miles Madewell

Apr 19, 2023, 7:26:55 PM4/19/23
Thank you so much!! 
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