The best thing for an ignorant man is to be silent, and if he understands that, and practices it, he will no longer be ignorant.
If the learning you possess is less than perfect,
keep your tongue tucked safely in your mouth.
Empty words disgrace the one who speaks them,
like serving a walnut shell without the nut.
A fool was trying hard to teach his ass
to talk. A wise man watching him observed,
“Aren’t you afraid of what they’ll say
when they find out what you’re doing? This beast
will never learn the trick of human speech.
Better you should learn its gift of silence.”
A man who does not think before he speaks
will almost always use words foolishly.
If you will not take the time a wise man takes
to speak wisely, practice an animal’s silence.
–Translated by Richard Jeffrey Newman in Selections from Saadi’s Gulistan
Cross posted at The Politics in The Poetry and The Poetry in The Politics.