The Shahnameh,c. 1000
When King Ardeshir had lived for seventy-eight years he grew sick. He summoned Shapur and gave him extensive advice on how to rule. He said to his son, “Pay close attention to what I have to say, and as for those who would oppose you consider their words as so much wind. As I have endured countless sorrows, and in the midst of them accumulated my wealth, so there is sorrow and happiness facing you, times of retrenchment and times of triumph. You should know, my son, that this deceitful world will not give you pleasure without pain, and if you wish your days not to end badly, look after both your body and your spirit.
“The throne is threatened by three things. First, if the king is unjust; next, if he promotes worthless men over those who are accomplished; third, if he uses his wealth for his own glory and is always trying to increase his income. Turn toward generosity, and follow religion and wisdom so that no lie can make any headway with you. A lie blackens a king’s face, so that his sovereignty lacks all luster. See that you don’t hoard your wealth, because this only brings trouble: if a king is greedy for gold, he harms his subjects. Try to control your anger, and when men transgress, be generous and close your eyes. If you are angry, you will regret it; if men repent, have the balm of mercy ready. Whenever a king is quick tempered, wise men think of him as a lightweight. It is ugly for a king to have malevolent desires, and you should fill your heart with kindness—and if you ever let fear into your heart, those who wish you ill will confuse all your intentions. Don’t hold back from being generous, and as far you can, my son, know what things are worth. You should realize that sovereignty belongs to the king whose generosity encompasses the cosmos.”