A Short Poem about the Life of a Child, based on a Persian Verse

This is a short, four lined poem that encompasses a child’s life from birth till death. It seems sad, yet it’s really a wish for a happy life full of people who care for the child…

The Babe

On parent knees, a naked new-born child,
Weeping thou sat’st while all around thee smiled:
So live, that, sinking to thy life’s last sleep,
Calm thou may’st smile, while all around thee weep.

William Jones (1746-1794)

William Jones was a Persian scholar and linguist. He translated this poem from a Persian poem by an unknown author. This poem is sometimes called “The Babe”, sometimes “On Parent Knees”, and sometimes “Epigram”. An Epigram is a short, witty poem. It can also mean a paradoxical statement.

If anyone knows the original Persian version, please send me a copy at lisa@mamalisa.com and I’ll add it to this post.



This article was posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009 at 12:15 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, England, English, Iran, Languages, Mama Lisa, Persian, Poems, Poems about Children, Poems about Life, Poetry, United Kingdom. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “A Short Poem about the Life of a Child, based on a Persian Verse”

  1. Maryam Says:

    at last, I found it! I’ve been searching for this once in awhile, and this time I found it!

    It’s not really a strong poem, kinda typical (cause we have lots of poems with the same theme) But i’m amused to see how the translator has done such a great job!

    وقتی که تو آمدی به دنیا عریان
    جمعی به تو خندان و تو بودی گریان
    کاری بکن ای دوست به وقت رفتن
    جمعی به تو گریان و تو باشی خندان!

    The translation is nicely done. each verse has nearly the same meaning as in Persian! but if you want, i can give you an exact translation :)

  2. Lisa Says:

    An exact translation would be great – thanks!

  3. Davood Says:

    here is the exact translation:

    When you came naked to this world
    A group were laughing and you were weeping
    Do something (Live in a way) O friend that when you go (die)
    A group weep for you, while you laugh

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