“You have no power at all over your daily bread;
Neither learning nor letters will fetch it for you.
Fortune and sustenance are divided up;
One land is fertile while another suffers drought.
Time’s changes bring down cultured men,
While fortune lifts the undeserving up.
Come, death, and visit me, for life is vile;
Falcons are brought down low while ducks are raised on high.
Feel no surprise if you should see a man of excellence
In poverty, while an inferior holds sway.
How wretched is this kind of world
That leaves us in such trouble and distress!
In the morning it may be that things go well,
But I must drink destruction’s cup when evening comes.”
– The Arabian Nights (trans. Lyons, et al.)