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THE ECLECTIC REVIEW,
For FEBRUARY, 1810.
that pirers in the discovery acilitate their progress... is rich,
The whole Works of Sheekh Sádee of Sheeraz. 2 Vols. folio. pp. 106% By John Herbert Harrington, Esq. (now Puisné Judge in Bengal.} Calcutta, at the Hon. Company's Press. 1791. 1795. THE attention which of late years has been directed to
Asiatic literature, and especially to the Persian language, is without doubt to be ascribed, in a great measure, to the ta. lents, zeal, and perseverance of Sir W. Jones. That elegant scholar, not less distinguished by the extent of his erudition than the generosity of his temper, strenuously endeavoured to recommend to the notice of others the objects of his own successful pursuit. Persuaded of the value of treasures at that period almost unknown, he wished to engage new adventurers in the discovery; and was equally anxious to awaken their ambition and facilitate their progress. “The Persian language," says this accomplished writer, " is rich, melodious, and elegant; it has been spoken for many ages by the greatest princes in the politest courts of Asia; and a num. ber of admirable works have been written in it by historians, philosophers, and poets, who found it capable of expressing, with equal advantage, the most beautiful and most elevated sentiments. It must seem strange, therefore, that the study of this language should be so little cultivated, at a time when a taste for general and diffusive learning seems universally to prevail; and that the fine productions of a celebrated nation should remain in MS, upon the shelves of our public libraries, without a single admirer who might open their treasures to his countrymen, and display their beauties to the light.” Pref. to Persian Gram.
This regionstrance, for in this light we may view it, was not altogether in vain. Many of our countrymen, as well in India as in Europe, began to apply themselves with laudable diligence to a study so favourably recommended; yet we have
to lament that, whatever might be the proficiency of indivi. duals, the general interests of polite literature were, in comparison, but little promoted. The acquirement of the lan.. guage was but a secondary object: the first was the ap. pointments in the service of the East India Company. Many, indeed, who would gladly have studied the Persian on account of its intrinsic excellence and beauty, were deterred from the pursuil, partly by the scarcity and high price of MSS., and partly by the difficulty of reading and understanding them, occasioned by the confused and inaccurate manner in which most of thein are written. We have coilated many MSS. of the same work, of which no two could be found to agree, either in the order of the treatises, the collocation of the paragraphs, or even in the arrangement of the lines. Add to this, that a vast profusion of various readings, multiplied by the vanity and caprice of successive copyists (who frequently preferred their own sense to that of their author), perplex the eye in every page; insomuch that nothing less than a most intimate acquaintance with the author's genius and phraseology, can possibly lead to a detection of the spurious readings. In many instances, even the collating of a variety of MSS. affords but little assistance, so great and uni. versal is the corruption; and conjectural enjendation, the dernier resort of a genuine scholar, becomes, in this case, his only refuge.
No mąn was more capable of estimating the extent of this evil than Sir W. Jones; and to prevent its further progress, as well as to restore, as far as possible, the most esteemed works to their original purity, he proposed the measure of printa ing them, after the best MSS. of each work had been carefully collated. To shew the practicability of this scheme, he printed at Calcutta, in 1788, the small poem of Leily and Mejnoon, by the poet Ilatafee, in one volume Svo. which contains only the Persian text, as amended on the authority of MSS., with a short preface in English. This preface appears to have been the chief inducement to undertaking the present work. “ The incorrectness of modern Arabian and Persian MSS.” (says this illustrious scholar) “is truly deplorable: noihing can preserve them in a state of accuracy but the art. of printing; and if Asiatic literature should ever be general, it must diffuse itself, as Greek learning was diffused in Italy after the taking of Constantinople, by mere impressions of the best MSS. without versions or comments, which future schon lars, would add at their leisure to future editions: . but no Printer could engage in so expensive a business, without the patronage and purse of monarchs or states, or societies of wealthy individuals, or, at least, without a large publia
subscription." Stimulated by this example, as well as convinced by this reasoning, Mr. Harrington published proposals in Angust, 1788, for publishing by subscription the Persian and Arabie works of the poet and moralist Sâdee. If we judge from the list of subscribers prefixed to the first volume, the encouragement given to this undertaking was poor indeed. Many persons indeed of the first respectability in India, both Natives and Europeans, subscribed, and several took from two. to ten copies; yet the whole number subscribed for appears rot to have exceeded one hundred and thirty. Such manifest and proclaimed indifference, we cannot but consider as a fatal blow, for the present' at least, to all similar undertakings. When a printed edition of the works of one of the most popular and esteemed authors in India, recommended too by such names as Sir W. Jones, Lord Teignmouth, Sir G. H. Barlow, &c. receives such very penurious encouragement, scarcely any individual, however indefatigable or sanguine, will be found bold enough to embark in a similar project, where the expence must be so great, and the sale so limited,
Of the poet and moralist Sâdee very liitle is known, except from his works; and not much indeed from them. The only original account of this author hitherto kuown, is contained in the Toozkerrat ool Shoára, or Lives of the Poets, by Dowlat Shah, who flourished about 200 years after the poet's death. Other accounts, indeed, are extant, but with the exception of a few traditions, preserved in the Dufter ool Letaeef, ; they are all evidently derived from the work of Dowlat Shah. On this subject, Mr. Harrington seems to have collected every thing within his reach: and to those who may have no op. portunity of consulting the Persian biographer, or Mr. Hi's publication, the following curious account, extracted from it, cannot be unacceptable.
• The proper name of the eolightened Shykh, the most poignant of the eloquent, Shykh Sádee, of Sheerāz, was Mooslih-oo-deen. The learned bear testimony to his erudition and eminence. He lived a hundred and two years; thirty of which he spent in the acquisition of knowledge ; thirty in travel, when he visited the four quarters of the habitable globe ; and the remainder in retirement and devotion. He was born during the reign of Atābuk Sad bin-i-Zungee, by whom, it is said, his father was employed, and thence he derived his surname Sádee [happy, fortunate). The Dewan of the Shykh has been called the Salt-mine of poets. His studies were commenced in the Nizāmeeah College at Bagdad, under the tuition of Ab-ool-fer'h-ibn-i-Jözee. The learned Moolha Coot'b, of Shecraz, the pupil of Khaujeh Neeser-co-deen Töösee, was his maternal uncle. He made the pilgrimage, at the appointed period, fourteen times,
and generally on foot. He assisted in the wars against the infidels of Room and Hind; saw the distant regions of the earth; and attentively observed the pecáliarities of mankind in every clime; as he himself relates in the following couplets : “ I have wandered to the various regions of the world, and every where have I associated with every one. I have picked up something in every corner; I have gleaned an ear from every harvest. But do place have I found so pure as Sheerăz; prosperity attend this land of purity.” During the period of Sâdee's devout retirement, princes and the great men of his age are said to have visited him. The niiddle orders of people also held him in the highest degree of veneration, and constantly supplied him with provisions; the remnants of which, after batisfyirfg himself, he suspended in a basket from the window of his house, for the use of the poor wood-cutters. One day a person disguised himself as a wood-cutter with a view of plundering the contents of the Shykh's basket, but on touching it, his hand became withered, on which he called out to the Shykh to relieve him. The latter answered, “ If thou art a wood-cutter, where are thy marks of emaciating toil, thy thoro-wounds and hande blisters? Or, if a robber, where are thy climbing-ropes, thy weapons, and the fortitude which should have restrained thee from crying out?” At length, however, the wretch's intreaties prevailed: he was healed; and also received in charity the viands he had attempted to take by stealth. It is further recorded that a just man, who resided at Sheerăz, had a dream, in which he beheld the empyrean heaven in violent agitation, and, Jistening to an assemblage of persons who were singing, heard them say, 6 These verses of Shykh Sâdee are equal to a year's praises and hallelujah of angels." This induced the holy man, when he awoke, to go immediately to the habitation of the Shykh, whom, on his entrance, he found in a state of extacy, singing one of his own odes, which begins with this couplet: * The foliage of the newly clothed tree, to the eye of the intelligent, in every leaf displays a volume of the works of the Creator." He instantly prostrated himself at the feet of the Shykh, communicated his dream, and congratulated him.
• The Shykh was, nioreover, eminently endowed with wit and viva. city; and, notwithstanding his religious abstraction, associated with per sons of merit, and frequently entertained them by his facetiousness. It is related, that happening, in a bath at Tubreiz (Tauris) to meet Khaujeh Hoomam, a man of learning and rank, who was bathing in great form, he, as is usual with holy men, poured a bason of water over the Khaujeh's head, on which the latter, accosting him by the name, of dervise, asked him whence he came : he answered from the pure land of Sheeraz. « Strange !” replied the Khaujeh, “the Sheerazeeans are more in this city than the dogs. “ The reverse of which is the case in my city,” rejoined Sadee; “ there the Tubreizeeans are less than the doge." The Khaujek was piqued, and the Shykh seated himself in a corner. Soon afterwards, however, whilst the former was standing before a comely young man, who was fanning him after the usual custom, he'asked Sadee whether the poems of Hoomām were read at Sheeraz, and was answeredy,“ Yesy they have the greatest celebrity there." “ Do you remember apy," said
he; Sadee again replied in the affirmative, and repeated, “ Hoomam is the .. weil between me and my beloved ; but the time is come when this shall be removed." The Khaujeh was immediately convinced that the person whos addressed him was Sadee ; and the Shykh, on being solemnly questioned, acknowledging himself, he fell at his feet, made apologies for his behaviour, and took him to his house, where he entertained him with magni. ficent hospitality. It may be observed the Khaujeh's ghuz'ls (odes) were elegant, as are the Shykh's Caseedehs (elegies).
The Shykh died at Sheeraz, in the reign of Atabuk Mohummud Shah bin-i-Mozuffur-i-Seleghur Shah, bin-i-Šad, bin-i-Zungee ; and an cminent person has recorded the date of his decease, in the following stanza. « It was the night of Friday, in the month of Shewal, in the year of Arabia 690 ; when the pure soul of Sadee spread her eagle wing, and Aed from her corporeal tabernacle." His burial place is in a de. lightful situation, adorned with fountains and buildings ; and is held in the greatest veneration.' · Thus far Dowlat Shah. What follows is from a recent work by Alee Ibraheem Khan, an eminent scholar and highly respectable magistrate of the city of Benaris.
• The proper name of this illustrious person was Mooslih-oo-deen. He was of the number of men of eminence, distinguished by their piety, and celebrated for their perfections. The king of his time being Sad-bini-Zungee he took the surname Sadee (fortunate, prosperous. During the first part of his life he studied under Shykh Abool-ferh-ibn-i, Jēzee in the Nezameeah College at Bagdad. In the Kholāsut-ool-ashâār it is related that the Shykh meeting Hukeem.i-Nezāree in the bazar of Sheeraz, and seeing him to be a person of eminence, asked him whence he came ; to which the other answering, from Khorasan, the Shykh replied, “ do you remember any of the poetry of Sâdee?" yes, rejoined the Hukeem, and repeated, “ Sâdee loves the new sprung-down and not the common pack thread.” The Shykh then asked if he recollected any of Nezaree's poetry, and was again answered in the affirmative by Hukeem, who also repeated the following couplet of his own, “ Rumour gives it out that I have forsaken wine, but gross is the calumny; what have I to do with repentance" ? Sadee's discernment immediately perceived that it was Nezaree himself who spoke ; and he embraced him, took him to his house, and for some time entertained him with the utmost hospitality. At length when Nezaree departed, he said to one of Sadee's servants, “ your master should not treat his guests as he has treated me : if he comes to mé at Khorāsān he, will know the proper manner of receiving them." After this Sadee went to Khorāsān, and visiting Nezaree, was served by him, on the first day, with some boiled milk ; on the second, with some toasted bread; and on the third, with a piece of meat." In this manner," said the Hukeem, “ I can entertain you for years; whereas the expedsive hospitality I received from you could not have continued many days."
"The merits of Sadee are too well known to require praise, or fur. .. ther exposition. He was a disciple of Shykh Adb-ool Cadir of Geelān, and once performed the pilgrimage with him ; after which he repeated it fourteen different times. A sight of the rarities of different cities, experience of the vicissitudes of life, interviews with illustrious Shykhs, the aequisition of both theoretical and practical knowledge, and the refresh. .