The Author's Ancestry.

I, a suppliant to the giver of all good gifts, Mohammed, called Ali, am the son of Abo Talib, son of Abd Allah, son of Jemal Eddin Ali, son of Ata Allah, son of Ismail, son of Is-hac, son of Nor Eddin, son of Mohammed, son of Shehab Eddin, son of Ali, son of Ali, son of Yacob, son of Abd Elwahid, son of Shems Eddin Mohammed, son of Ahmed, son of Mohammed, son of Jemal Eddin Ali, son of the most illustrious Sheikh, and model of the learned, Taj Eddin Ibrahim, known by the title of the Gilan Hermit— God sanctify their souls, and close in me their race with the best of seals! One of my ancestors, Sheikh Shehab Eddin Ali, having quitted the town of ASTA, the home and burial place of the Great Sheikh, took up his abode at the seat of government, LAHIJAN, the handsomest town of Gilan;* and from that time forward Lahijan was the permanent dwelling of my ancestors. My grandfather, Sheikh Jemal Eddin, son of Ata Allah, was one of the most distinguished scholars of his time. Ahmed Khan, king of Gilan, out of regard for his ability, did his utmost to honour him, and took several degrees of science at his instruction. Going to the royal residence of Cazvin, my grandfather gained access to the Sheikh Jalil Beha Eddin Mohammed of Aumul,* (God have mercy on his soul!) and formed a perfect intimacy with him; so that in his Elu­cidation of the Miracle of the Mearaj, or Ascent of the Prophet, one of my grandfather's sublimest investigations, he has taken occasion in the open­ing of that treatise to mention his companionship with the holy Sheikh. Of his compositions, one is, an Explanation or Commentary in Persian on the Kolliat of the Canon,* which he wrote at the desire of Khan Ahmed Khan; another is, an Epistle or Treatise on the Confirmation of a Neces­sary Being, (that is, the Proof of a Divine Existence,) from which performance the magnitude of his learning may be computed; further, a Treatise on the Solution of Obscurities in the Section of Surds or Solids (a Treatise on Algebra). The last two compositions, in his own handwriting, I saw myself in the library of my learned father, on whose tomb be the earth light! Further, an extensive Commentary on the Fisos,* or Gems of Fārābi, &c. Having completed his studies under the Lord of Investigators, Amir Fakhr Eddin of Samak of Asterabad, he felt an inclination to the composition of poetry, and assumed the poetical surname of Wahdat, or Unity. In truth his verses are the production of a true lover of the muses, and are incomparable for the chastity and elegance of their composition. I have seen a Divan* of his, containing two thousand couplets, of which the following are a specimen,*

It is good that friendship produce some effect;
That the beloved have some feeling for the lover.
My heart is gone to the fire temple of Love, and returns not;
It would return, had it wings and feathers unburnt.
We are exhausted and dead with fatigue in counting the stars and planets:
Should not the night of separation be relieved by the dawn of day?

These lines are also his,*

I have consumed my heart in the fire under the arch of my beloved's eyelids;
I have burnt the lamp of the Kaba in the temple of my Idol.
Wahdat, in what state art thou, that sleep carries not away thy senses to forgetfulness?
We have exhausted our very source of breath in telling thee tales to amuse thy watchfulness.

His offspring was limited to one son, Sheikh Abd Allah, who having acquired the various sciences from his father, became endowed with a character of piety and of abstinence from worldly pleasures. Content with but a small part of the income and possessions he inherited, the remainder he expended on his friends and the necessitous. By him were left three sons, Sheikh Ata Allah, Sheikh Abo Talib, and Sheikh Ibrahim. The eldest of the three, Sheikh Ata Allah, who ranked as the first of the learned men of that country in jurisprudence and sacred history, and was in a high degree eminent for his devotion and his frequency in divine worship, died at an advanced age without children. Sheikh Ibrahim, the youngest of the brothers and a clever man in business, was possessed of high parts and an acute genius. Having taken the usual degrees of science, he rose to the first rank of his contemporaries. He wrote exceeding well in seven different forms* of penmanship, and imitated the writing of the masters in the art with such nicety, that it was difficult to distinguish between the copy and the original. Having written out the Sacred Volume (Alcoran) and the Sahifah Kamilah,* with inter­pretations, he sent them to my father in Isphahan, and from him I received them as a present. The fine writers of the greatest reputation in that city were much benefited by the sight of them. In epistolary composition and belles-lettres his ability was perfect. His productions in this department are celebrated, and are copied into the portfolios of the connoisseurs. In poetry and the style of allegory and enigma his taste was true. Some­times he delighted in composing verses; and these few couplets are his:*

For wine we have the blood of my heart; ask none from the flask:
Pearls drop from my weeping eyes; seek none from the sea.
It is idle to wander after Leila like Majnoon in the desert;
What you can find in your own breast, seek not in the wilds and forests.
In the rose-garden of time was no confidant for my secret;
In the temporal banquet was no performer for my melody.
Secretly it is impossible to modulate:
I held my tongue as there was none to accompany my voice.

I was yet in my childhood, when arriving with my father at Lahijan I had the happiness to enjoy the company of my estimable uncle; and in truth, whether for excellence of qualities, or purity of morals; cheerfulness of temper, or brilliancy of conversation, I have, to the present day, seen few to compare with him. Ten years before my revered father he passed to the divine mercy in Lahijan, leaving a son named Sheikh Mofid, and two daughters. After a little time the son also died in the bud of youth.