116. Horace, Montaigne and Azad
“So are we drawn, as wood is shoved,
By others’ sinews each way moved.”
Montaigne remarks on the above lines of Horace:–
“We go not, but we are carried, as things that float, now gliding gently, now hulling violently, according as the water is either stormy or calm.”
While reading this passage in Montaigne I was put in mind of a verse by our late and lamented poet “Azad” who has given an expression to this idea much more beautifully than either Horace or Montaigne. Says he:
جہاز عمر رواں پر سوار بیٹھے ہیں
سوار خاک ہیں بے اختیار بیٹھے ہیں
* The Urdu couplet could be translated as: “We ride the boat of
the passing age. Nay, not ride it but merely sitting on board
without control.” KAS.
* This reflection was published in New Era, Lucknow, in 1917.
The “poet” was changed to “writer”, and in the second line of
Azad’s Urdu couplet, khak hain was changed to kahay ko –