Rubáiyát – Power


Power augments what is already there
Good traits as good. The bad as worse. Beware
The reigns of power backed by rule of state
For despots never escape this fatal snare.

Power promotes both truths and blatant lies.
Inflate the trivial into new guise:
Demand trifling formalities are kept
To degrade what’s significant, or wise.

Power degrades the wise man to a fool
To end an arch-manipulator’s tool
To be discarded when the rabble roars.
The end which births new despots’ greedy rule.

The good servant does not a good king make.
The good soldier no generalship will take.
To know one’s own merit, how high to rise,
Is wisdom: power’s lure to thus forsake.