The Soul of Goodness in Things Evil
by Jalālu’l-Dīn Rūmī

Fools take false coins because they are like the true.
If in the world no genuine minted coin
Were current, how would forgers pass the false?
Falsehood were nothing unless truth were there,
To make it specious.  ‘Tis the love of right
Lures men to wrong.  Let poison but be mixed
With sugar, they will cram it into their mouths.
Oh, cry not that all creeds are vain!  Some scent
Of truth they have, else they would not beguile.
Say not, “How utterly fantastical!”
No fancy in the world is all untrue.
Amidst the crowd of dervishes hides one,
One true fakir.  Search well and thou wilt find!

[Mathnawī II, 2928]

English translation by Reynold A. Nicholson
Taken from Selected Poems of Rūmī, published by Dover in 2001

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