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Midnight Repose

80cm x 61cm


On one occasion we had marched, I recollect, all the night along with the caravan, and halted toward morning on the skirts of the wilderness.  One mystically distracted, who accompanied us on that journey,  set up a loud lamentation at dawn, went a-wandering into the desert,  and did not take a moment's rest.  Next day I said to him, "What condition was that?"  He replied, "I remarked the nightingales that they  had come to carol in the groves, the pheasants to prattle on the mountains,  the frogs to croak in the pools, and the wild beasts to roar in the forests,  and thought with myself, saying,  It can not be generous that all are awake in God's praise and  I am wrapped up in the sleep of forgetfulness!

Last night a bird was caroling toward the morning;  it stole my patience and reason, my fortitude and understanding.  My lamentation had perhaps reached the ear of one of my dearly-beloved friends.  He said, 'I did not believe that the singing of a bird could so distract thee!'  I answered, This is not the duty of the human species,  that the birds are singing God's praise and that I am silent.  ~ Saadi

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