Page images

ment of his palate with water from the mouth of the exalted Saint Khizer, are a few of the noble rewards which crowned his travels. Authors of genius have named his elegant dewan or collection of poems, the saltmine of poets ; and judges of the beauties of language regard him as an inspired writer. Thus Moollā Jamee says, “ In poetry there are three persons inspired, although it has been said there shall be no future Prophet; and it is agreed these three are the whole, Firdősee, Anweree, and Sádee. Moreover, the learned have not pointed out any books more distinguished for their advantages to the present and future state of mankind, in prose or in verse, than the Goolistān and Böstān; nor is it concealed from the decorators of the tree of poesy, that the Ghuz'l was first planted in the soil of captivating language by this eminent bard.

. In fine, Sadee, according to some, lived a hundred and twenty years ; and after passing the latter part of his life in retirement, died, in the 691st year of the Hijree, (A. C. 1292) at Sheeraz where his remains were interred, and a tomb was erected over them, which is celebrated under the name of Sadeeah. His works, which contain a variety of poems, and numerous excellences, consist of, near twenty thousand Stanzas,'

From the scantiness of Alee Ibraheem Khan's account, it appears evident that few particulars can be added to the facts and fables reported by Dowlat Shah; as the poet has been forgotten in the celebrity of his works. The following incident, however, is recorded by himself in the Gulistan.

• Having become weary of the company of my friends at Damascus, I retired into the desert at Jerusalem, and associated with the brutes, till I was taken prisoner by the Franks, and consigned to a pit in Tripoly, to dig clay, along with some Jews. But one of the principal men of Aleppo, with whom I had formerly been intimate, happening to pass that way, recollected me, asked me how I came there, and in what manner I spent my time? I answered, “I filed into the mountains and deserts to avoid mankind, seeing on God alone reliance can be placed ; conjecture then what must now be my situation, forced to assemble with wretches worse than brutes. To have our feet bound with chains in company with our friends, is preferable to living in a garden with strangers." He then had compassion on my condition, redeemed me for ten dinars from the Franks, and took me with him to Aleppo. He had a daughter whom he gave me in marriage, with a hundred dinars for her dower. When some time had elapsed, she discovered her disposition, which was ill natured, quarrelsome, obstinate, and abusive ; so that she destroyed my happiness in the way that has been said. A bad woman in the house of a good man is his hell in this world. Take care how you connect yourself with woman ; Defend us, O Lord, from this fiery trial. Once she reproached me, saying, “ Art thou not be whom my father redeemed from captivity amongst the Franks for ten dinars." I answered, “ Yes, he ransomed me for ten dinars, and put me into your hands for a hundred. I have heard that a certain

great man delivered a sheep from the teeth and claws of a wolf, and the night following, applied a knife to his throat. The expiring sheep complained of him, saying, “ You delivered me from the claws of a

wolf to.

wolf, but I have seen you at length act the part

of the

very wards me.'

To these particulars we will add some observations of Capt. W. Franklin, made on a tour from Bengal to Persia, in 1786-7, which, as Mr. H. remarks, describe the present state of Sâdee's tomb at Sheeraz, and the reverence still paid to his memory, at the same time that they exhibit the wretched condition to which the delightful country of Persia has been reduced by the evils of a bad government.'

• A mile to the eastward of Dil Gusháee, is the tomb of the cele. brated Shykh Sâdee aforementioned, situated at the foot of the moun. tains that bound Sheeraz to the N. E, and is a large square building, at the

upper end of which are two alcoves, recesses in the wall ; that on the right hand is the tomb of the Shykh, just in the state it was when he was buried, built of stone six feet in length and two and a half in breadth : on the sides of it are engraved many sentences in the old Nuskhi character, relating to the poet and his works. On the top of the tomb is a covering of painted wood, black and gold, on which is an ode of the Shykh's, written in the modern Nustaleek character, and on removing this board is perceived the empty stone coffin in which the Shykh was buried.' This the religious, who come here, take care to strew with flowers, rosaries, and various relics. On the top of the tomb is placed, for the inspection of all who visit there, a manuscript copy of the Shykh's works, most elegantly transcribed. . On the sides of the walls are many Persian verses, written by those who have at different times visited the place.

• The building is now going to ruin, and unless repaired must soon fall entirely to decay. It is much to be regretted that the uncertain state of affairs in the country will not admit of any one's being at the expence of repairing it. Men who are to day in authority and power are perhaps to-morrow seized on and dragged to prison, nor can any ope depend upon the fate of the ensuing day. Adjoining to this building are the graves of many religious men, who have been buried here at their own request.”

It does not appear that Sâdee himself made any regular collection of his own works. They probably esisted only in scattered portions at the time of his death; the larger works excepted, such as the Gulistan and Boostan, which, no doubt, had been often transcribed and widely diffused long before. Even now 'the greater part of his works, are most frequently met with in detached portions, particularly those already named, as well as the Caseedys and Gazls. The Kuleeai, or complete collection, seems to have been first forined in the year of the Hijreh 734, about 40 years after Sâdee's death. The compiler was Alee ben i Ahmed, of Beesetoon i and the Collections we meet with in MS. are generally of his edition. From this the printed copy before us is correctly taken.

The works of Sâdee are written in Arabic and Persian ; but the major part in Persian : some are in prose, some in verse, and some a mixture of both. The subjects are va-rious; but all possess a moral tendency, and frequently inculcate the purest sentiments of the Mohammedan faith. From his travels, Sâdee had acquired a very extensive knowledge of men and manners; and the many amusing and instructive Flakāeets or anecdotes, with which his works abound, have doubtless been derived from the same source, In some of these, he candidly tells his own failings; although sufficiently attentive to shew himself to advantage whenever he has a fair opportunity.

The Dewan of Sảdee, says Alee ben Ahmed, consists of 22 Sections, which are the following. i. Risălāt, or Tracts. First Risaleh, or Tract, Deebājeh, or Preface. ii. Second Risäleh, Mujulis i Khumsch, or the five discourses, iji. Third Risāleh, Semea i Säheb i Deevān, Questions of the Lord of the Dewan. iv. Fourth Risäleh, Der Ak? I o Ishk, on Love and Reason. v. Fifth Risaleh, Der Neseehut Melook, or Advice to Princes. vi. Sixth Risaleh, Der tucreerat i Saliseh, the three Narratives. vii. Gulistan, the Rose Garden. viii. Boostăn, the Orchard. ix. Casāeed i Arabee, Arabic Idylls. X. Casāeed i Farsee, Persian Idylls. xi. Merdsee, Elegies. xii. Mulamádt, Compounds, viz. of Arabic and Persian ; what Sir Wm. Jones calls,

the Rays of Light. xiii. Turjeeđåt, the book of Restora. tion Poems with Burdens, 23. gazls in number, consisting of from 9 to 13 couplets, all ending with the same verse. xiv. Ty-yebāt, plain unornamented odes. x. Bedayá, Rhea torical Odes.xvi. Khvoāteem, Seals, or Conclusions. Final Odes. xvii. Guzleeät Cudeem, ancient or primitive Odes. xviii. Sahibeeyeh, Lordships, Odes to Shums-od-deen. xix. Mucuttáāt, Fragments, or Abbreviations. xx. Khubeesāt, Impurities or Jests. With this book is included the Mushahāt and Mejälis i Huzl, of which some make a 7th Risaleh. xxi. Rubecāyāi, Tetrastick or Quartain Verses. xxii. Mufredat, Distichs, i. e. two line verses,

In this collection, and, indeed, in every other Kuieeat or collection which has fallen under our notice, the Pund Na. meh is omitted : nor do we think, however excellent, that it is a genuine work of our poet. Yet, as Mr. H. found it generally attributed to this author, and as within a late period it has been printed at Calcutta with an English yersion, under the title, The Pund Nameh, a Compendium of Ethics translated from the Persian of Sheekh Sâdee of Sheeraz," he was suf, ficiently justified in receiving it into the present collection, This edition is divided into two volumes. The first volume contains the Gulistan, Boostan, and Pund Nameh. The sea cond comprehends what may properly be called the Deewan, or Book of Poems, consisting of the Idylis, Elegies, Odes, and the other miscellaneous pieces mentioned in the preceding list.

In the preface, Mr. Harrington gives us to understand, that, though this work was superintended by himself, yet the merit of it chiefly belongs to Moulavee Mohammed Rasheed, a native of Bengal, eminently distinguished by his extensive knowledge of the Arabic language and literature. This gentleman, it appears, collated several copies, and formed a text, ut potuit, from the whole. Hence the Persian scholar may expect to meet with a variety of readings in this printed edition, not acknowledged by any single manuscript. "Who. ever, indeed, considers the observations already made on the state of Persian and Arabic MSS. will at once conclude, that very superior abilities were requisite for the undertaking; and that no one, perbaps, but a learned native, was qualified to perform it with any tolerable success.

The types used for this edition are the Nustaleek, which appear to considerable advantage; the paper is a fine writing paper, and the typography is in general well executed. Å strange fancy, however, appears to have possessed the editor, in printing the Boostan and Pund Nameh. To make all the lines of these two books of standard length, this Procrustes has actually dislimbed and drawn out many of the words into separate letters : and, having thus conformed the dislocated victims to his arbitrary measurement, has left it to the humane surgery of the reader to reduce them as he can. This ingenious plan, we bave no doubt, will, in the hands of many, give birth to an edifying variety of original associations. Words without number may be ex. cogitated by an industrious puzzle-pated scholar, that the poet never dreamt of; and these ad libitum combinations may be made to produce certain changes not altogether unimportant in the sense. We consider this as the greatest blemish in a work, on the printing of which we heartily con. gratulate every oriental scholar.

But it may, perhaps, be asked, what advantage can this edition boast over a correct MS. copy of the Kuleeat, since from the inconsiderable number printed, the distance of place, and the very few that have been or can be imported, it is, quite improbable that the printed edition will sell even so low as an elegant MS. copy. We answer, first, the printed edi. tion is more valuable, because more perfect : many of the MSS. are deficient in words, lines, often couplets, and sometimes erenón the smaller tracts; Sir W. Jones never met with a collection of Sâdee's works. that had the Mulumâat. The printed copy, ou the contrary, contains every thing attributed to this poet. In the next place, the MS. copies differ widely among themselves ; as no standard text can be formed of any work, while it continues in MS. and is frequently transcribed. But in the present instance a standard text is formed from a collation of the best MSS. by a very judicious and learned native ; who was deemed competent to the office by the ablest judges, and who has undoubtedly performed it, although much is still left for future collation, with discernment and care. It is not indeed presuming too far, to affirm, that the text of Sâdee, as here constituted, equals, in point of correctness, the editio princeps of any Greek writer whatever, even of such as proceeded from the presses of Aldus or Stephens. i A third advantage of this edition, printed with clear types and on excellent paper, over the best written MSS. lies in its superior legibility : and, fourthly, the Arabic poems, and the quotations, which in Sâdee are very numerous, are printed here with singular correctness; a part of the work sendered still more valuable by the careful employment of the 'vowel points, not merely in the Arabic Idylls, and those parts of the Mulumâ ât where Arabic is used, but in every instance where even a line of that language occurs. la this de partment, the skill of Alee ben Ahmed, in Arabic composition, is conspicuous. The Arabic, besides having the vowel points, is distinguished from the Persian, by being printed in the Niskh character; wbile the rest of the work, as we have before observed, is in the Nustaleek.

The principal works of Sâdee, besides his Odes, are the Gulistan and Boostan. Of the former we shall, at present, say nothing; as we hope shortly to notice the new edition of that work printed at Calcutta, by Mr. Fr. Gladwin.

The Boostan, like the Gulistan, is a collection of moral and political pieces, both in prose and verse. The style of this composition is pure and pleasing; and it is agreeably diversified with useful maxims and amusing anecdotes. The writer every where speaks as a man who feels bis authority to expose vice wherever found, and however distinguished, --in the derveesh and the sultan--in the widest extremes of its dominion, in all the gradations of civil and religious society. A friend to truth, he deprives hypocrisy of her mask, and holds her up to contempt and derision. An advocate for liberty, he lashes with deserved severity those guilty monarchs, who abuse their unlimited power for purposes of oppression ; and, while living under the unmixed despotism of an eastern

« PreviousContinue »