[THIS is the last work of the historian Khondamír. It records an event in Zí-l ka'da at the end of 940 H., and the writer died in the following year 941 (1534-5 A.D.).* The book seems to have received little notice, and remains almost unknown. It is in all probability the same as the Kánún-i Humáyúní quoted by Abú-l Fazl in the Akbar-náma. It shows that Khondamír had become quite a courtier in his old age, and had abandoned the studies of the historian to become a royal panegryist. His work also shows that he was high in favour at Court, and he gives specimens of odes and verses which he composed on occasions of royal festivity. He records how various attendants of the Court received titles of honour descriptive of their characters, and that which he received was Amír-i Akhbár, “the noble historian.” Notwithstanding the high-flown strain of eulogy in which the work is written, it contains some points of interest, and a few Extracts follow.

Sir H. Elliot did not procure a copy of the MS., and the Editor has had no copy to consult. The Extracts which follow have been selected from what appears to be a complete translation made by Sir H. Elliot's private munshí from a manuscript in the possession of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.]

Origin of this Work.

When this humble and insignificant slave, Ghiyásu-d dín, son of Humámu-d dín, alias Khondamír,—may God facilitate all difficulties to him!—obtained the honour of meeting this great king, and the rays of royal kindness shone on the surface of his hopes and circumstances, he conceived the desire and entertained the idea in his mind that he would describe, as a memorial for future days, some of the works and inventions of this monarch; because the histories of kings, by means of the black water of ink, which has the effect of the water of life, are immortalized, and the great names and writings of clever authors, by virtue of their praises of celebrated kings, are stamped on the page of time. For instance, the excellencies of Mahmúd were described by 'Utbí and 'Unsurí, and the poems of Mu'izzí and Anwarí celebrated the character of Sanjar.

“Who would remember Hakím Anwarí,
Had he not spoken about Sanjar and his works?
Because 'Utbí conferred praises on Mahmúd,
Therefore he obtained the object of his desire.
Sharaf was celebrated in the world,
Because he wrote the eulogy of Tímúr Gúrgán.”

Although the compiler of this book, on account of his having little knowledge and possessing no ability, withheld his tongue from commencing the history of this renowned monarch's ex­ploits and deeds, and did not allow the pen which possessed two tongues to describe the character of this most prosperous king, yet he always entertained that desire in his faithful heart, and the intention never forsook his mind. One night which was full of light, this insignificant man (the author), having obtained the honour of being present in His Majesty's Court at Gwálior, was ordered to sit down, and the fingers of the generosity of that sun of the heaven of glory opened the gates of kindness to him, and the tongue of that king of kings, who was as dignified as Alexander the Great, pronounced these pleasing words: “It seems proper and desirable that the inventions of my auspicious mind, and the improvements of my enlightened understanding, should be arranged in a series, and written down, in order that in future ages the light of these happy works may shine among the people of countries near and remote.” Consequently the writer, who was wishing for a long time that such an order might pass, engaged, like his pen, in writing these very interesting subjects; and having commenced to mention the wonderful inventions, he has imparted eloquence to the pen which possesses two tongues. He hopes that through the favour of the Almighty God, these pages, which contain useful things, will meet the approbation of the most clever characters of the high Court, and that they will view these lines of the book of eloquence with the eye of acceptance, and overlook the mistakes which may have been committed therein by the deficient tongue of the pen.

Accession of Humáyún.

In the beginning of Jumáda-l awwal, A.H. 937, when the King, who was as dignified as Sulaimán, whose seat is now in Paradise, viz. Zahíru-d dín Muhammad Bábar, left the throne of this world for the eternal heaven, the celestial herald of the Supreme Lord raised the pleasing cry, “We made you king on the earth,” to the ears of this rightful prince, and the hand of the kindness of the Creator of souls and substances put the happy robe of royalty on the person of this able monarch, the Conqueror of the World.

“The hope which was excited by prosperity is now realized;
The desire which the world entertained is satisfied.”

On Friday, the 9th of the said month, in the Jama' masjid at Ágra, the khutba was read in the name and title of this noble king, and the noise of congratulations which arose from the crowd of the people reached beyond the heavens.

Auspicious Omens.

Among the other wonderful accidents which happened to the great Nawáb, one was that in the year in which the late king, who was as dignified as Sulaimán and destined to enter paradise, marched with prosperity from Kábul towards Kandahár, he left this sun of the heaven of royalty and power (Humáyún) in trust of the government duties. One day the latter rode on his horse, and went to ramble about in the forest, hills, gardens, and meadows. On the road he wished to take an omen, and having called the great Mauláná, Masíhu-d dín Rúhu-lla, who was his tutor, he told him it had just entered his mind that he should ask any three persons who might first come before him their names, and take an omen from them. The Mauláná said it would be proper if he asked only one man's name; but the King was firm in his resolution. After they had gone a little distance, they saw a man about forty years of age; and on their asking him his name, he replied, “Murád Khwája.” After him another person, driving an ass loaded with wood, came before them; and when they inquired of him for his name, he said, “Daulat Khwája.” On this it passed from the secret-telling tongue of the King that if the name of the third person who might happen to meet them should be Sa'ádat Khwája, it might be considered a very curious accident; and the star of success, according to the omen, would rise from the horizon of prosperity. At this moment a boy, who was leading cattle to graze, came in sight; and when they asked him what was his name, he answered, “Sa'ádat Khwája.” This excited, of course, great wonder and surprise in all the people who accompanied the King, and they were all sure that this prosperous prince would soon, by the Divine assistance, attain the highest pitch of fortune and glory; and the hand of the favour of God would open to him the gates of success in all his sacred and worldly hopes.

Classification of the People.

When the auspicious throne of royalty was filled by this dignified and brave monarch, all the officers of the State and inhabitants of the kingdom were divided into three classes. The brothers and relations of the King, the nobles and ministers, as well as the military men, were called Ahl-i Daulat (officers of the State), because it is evident that—according to the words, “There can be no dominion without men”—no degree of wealth and prosperity can be attained without the assistance of this class of brave and courageous people; and no one can obtain the throne and power without the aid of warriors and heroes.

“Kings, with the assistance of their army,
Place their feet upon the throne of empires.
He alone can obtain wealth and rank
Who is assisted by his army.”

The holy persons, the great mushaikhs (religious men), the respectable saiyids, the literati, the law officers, the scientific persons, poets, besides other great and respectable men, formed the second class, and were denominated Ahl-i Sa'ádat (good men), because to observe, honour, and regard these people, and to associate with such men, secures eternal prosperity, and enables men to rise to high dignities and ranks.

“Virtue is the gift of God:
It is not in the power of the mighty man to obtain it.
If you wish to obtain fortune,
You must associate with virtuous men.”

Those who possessed beauty and elegance, those who were young and most lovely, also clever musicians and sweet singers, composed the third class, and the appellation of Ahl-i Murád (people of pleasure) was conferred on them, because most people take great delight in the company of such young-looking men, of rosy cheeks and sweet voices, and are pleased by hearing their songs, and the pleasing sound of the musical instruments, such as the harp, the sackbut, and the lute.

“The hope of the heart of lovers
Is never realized but when they meet persons whose
cheeks are rosy.
He who is fond of hearing songs and music
Has the gates of happiness opened for himself.”

Apportionment of Time.

According to this classification, the wise King also divided the days of the week, and appointed one day for each of these three classes. Thus, Saturdays and Thursdays were fixed for pious men, and visits were received on these days from literary and religious persons. On these two days the tree of the hope of this estimable body of the people produced the fruit of pro­sperity by their obtaining audience in the paradise-resembling Court. The reason why these two days were appointed for this class was, that Saturday is ascribed to Saturn, who is the pro­tector of good and religious men and persons of old respectable families; and Thursday is appropriated to Jupiter, who is the preserver of the saiyids, the learned men, and the strict followers of the Muhammadan law. Sundays and Tuesdays were fixed for the State officers; and all the government business and duties connected with the management of the country were discharged on these days. The King, the destroyer of enemies, sat in the public court, and consequently all the nobles and plebeians were able to obtain the honour of seeing him. The advantage in appointing these two days for opening the Court, and attending to the State affairs was, that Sunday belongs to the Sun, to whom, according to the will of God, is attached the fates of all rulers and kings; and Tuesday is the day of Mars, who is the patron of warriors and brave men. Hence it is evident that to adorn the throne of sovereignty in the public court-hall by his royal sessions on these two days, and to devote himself to the discharge of the government duties, was very proper. Amongst the other customs which were introduced by this just and generous King, and were observed on the days of the sessions, one was, that when he adorned the throne of royalty by sitting on it, drums were beaten, to inform the people, who, immediately on hearing their noise, came to see him; and when he left the Court, the gunners fired guns to let the people know that they might retire. Also on those days the keeper of the wardrobe used to bring some suits of fine apparel, and the treasurer several purses of money, and they placed them in the Court in order that rewards and robes might be given to any one from them, and no delay should take place. Also that several persons who resembled Bahrám, having put on coats of mail, and taken blood-drinking swords in their hands, stood before the throne to seize and punish those who might be proved guilty. Mondays and Wednesdays were allotted for pleasure parties, and on these days some of the old companions and chosen friends were con­vened, and a band of musicians and singers was called, and they were all satisfied in their wishes. The cause of appointing these days for this purpose was, that Monday is the day of the Moon, and Wednesday of Mercury; and it was therefore reasonable that on these days he should keep company with young men beautiful as the moon, and hear sweet songs and delightful music. On Fridays, as the name (juma') imports, he called together all the assemblies, and sat with them as long as he found leisure from his other duties.