Excerpts from ‘Stanzas from the Kasidah’ by Sir Richard Burton

There is no Good, there is no Bad;

These be the whims of mortal will:

What works me weal that call I “good,”

What harms and hurts I hold as “ill:’

They change with place, they shift with race;

And, in the veriest span of Time,

Each Vice has won a Virtue’s crown;

All good was banned as Sin or Crime:

All Faith is false, all Faith is true:

Truth is the shattered mirror strown

In myriad bits; while each believes

His little bit the whole to own.

What is the Truth? was askt of yore.

Reply all object Truth is one

As twain of halves aye makes as whole;

The moral Truth for all is none.

There is no Heaven, there is no Hell;

These be the dreams of baby brains;

Tools of the wily Fetisheer,

To ‘fright the fools his cunning blinds.

From self-approval seek applause:

What ken not men thou kennest, thou!

Spurn ev’ry idol others raise:

Before thine own Ideal bow:

Be thine own Deus: Make self free,

Liberal as the circling air:

Thy Thought to thee an Empire be;

Break every prisoning lock and bar:
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