The Author's birth.— His surprising powers of memory.— His love for composition in prose and verse.— Mention of some eminent scholars of that time.

THE summary of my own history and circum­stances is as follows: My birth happened on Monday the twenty-seventh of Rabia Elakhir, in the year one thousand one hundred and three of the Hejra (A.D. 1692.) in the royal residence of Isphahan, and I still remember some things which passed whilst I was yet at my mother's breast. When I came to the fourth year of my age, I was appointed to instruction by my father. At that time the eminent Mawla, Molla Shah Mohammed of Shiraz, on whom be mercy! who was one of the most learned men of his contem­poraries, arrived at Isphahan; and one day that he was a guest at my father's house, they set me before him for the auspicious commencement of my education under his blessed tuition. The Mawla, after the Bismillah, made me repeat three times the following verses: Lord, expand my breast, and lighten my work, and loose the knot from my tongue, that they may understand my speech.* Then he read the Fatiha* and caressed me. In two years' time I was capable of plain reading and writing, and took an extraordinary inclination to study. No occupation was more desirable to me than to read and write, and I perused many Persian books both in prose and verse. Being put to learn Grammar and Etymology I soon acquired them; and was taught some treatises of Logic. This science I took a particular affection to, and obtained an accurate knowledge of it. The master, who taught me, was surprised at my acuteness and alacrity, and by his approbation increased my ardour still more. From poetry my well adjusted mind received great delight, and I was much given to compose verses, but concealed this circumstance for some time. At length my master discovered it, and forbad me this pursuit. My father also did all in his power to divert me from it. Being unable however at once to change my turn of mind, I wrote whatever occurred to me, and kept it secret.

When I was eight years of age, my father ordered me to be instructed in the proper reading of the Coran, which I studied two years under the Mawla, Melek Hossein, a reader of Isphahan, and an excellent man, who in that art was distin­guished among his contemporaries; and having perused some treatises on the subject, and com­pleted this course of study, I was fitted to delight the ear with the beauty of my recitation. My learned father, out of the great desire he had for my improvement, gave me some instruction himself, and I read with him Jami's Explanation on The Kafieh, Nazzam on The Shafieh,* The Tah­dzib and Commentary on The Isa Goji,* The Sharh Shemsieh,* Notes on Elocution and Logic, A Com­mentary on the Guide to Salvation, The Hikmet Alaain or Pure Wisdom,* Notification and Compen­dium of Rhetoric, The Tamam Motavval, or The Whole Treatise at Length, The Maani Ellibib,* The Jafirieh,* The Mukhtasar Nafia,* The Irshad,* Ways and Ordinances in Law, Every Man his own Lawyer,* Fundamental Precepts of Law, and some other writings. My father also in my tender years conducted me to the learned in truth and science, the model of generous seniors, Sheikh Khalil Allah of Talcan,* God sanctify his soul! who at that time was one of the retired hermits of that country, and intreated him to instruct and guide me. I attended him near three years, and though I read no particular book with him, yet every day he would give me a proposition or question on paper written with his own hand, and instruct me upon it: but it did not appear from what book the passage was taken. On the correction and sanc­tification of my defective soul he bestowed so much attention and diligence, that my tongue is unequal to their expression, and my heart incapable of gratitude for the benefits and obligations conferred on me by that truly ingenious man. Indeed were not my ability deficient, it would ever be employed in carrying my blessings upon the instructions and exhortations of that great man to the height, which they merit. He was one of the greatest and most learned doctors, and a congregator of sciences both manifest and secret. Should I attempt to give only a slight account of the qualities and excellences, the conversations and studies, the regulation of the time and manner of life of that exalted person, my discourse would swell to a book. I will merely add, that being himself possessed of an adapted genius, and taking occasional delight in composing verses, he soon perceived my inclination to poetry, and so far from forbidding or opposing it, he sometimes com­manded me to recite any thing that I had com­posed; and from his jewel-dropping mouth was uttered my dedication to the Muses by the title of Hazin.* The following quatrain is from the poems of that model of generosity:*

O Tyrant! come and take thy seat in the heart of a Dervish:
Mine of Salt! settle on my wounded heart.
On thy desertion my lap is become a rose-garden.
Sit one moment by the side of thy plantation.

About that time the Sheikh departed to the mercy of God, and my father consigned me to the instruction of the eminent scholar, Sheikh Beha Eddin of Gilan, who had been a pupil of the lord of philosophers, Mir Cavvam, on whom be mercy! and lived in retirement, devoting himself to the study of the extrinsic and speculative sciences. With him I studied some time, and read a number of books in the various departments of knowledge, among which I may mention several treatises on the Astrolabe, and a Commentary of Chaghmini.* Being directed by my father to read books of Ethics, and meeting every day a company of beginners in this course of study, I passed a por­tion of my time in disputation* with them, and repeated before them, whatever I had committed to memory. The Almighty bestowed a blessing and an ease of heart on this season of my life, and notwithstanding the multiplicity of my occu­pations, still my leisure was not disagreeably straitened; but so restless and so much on the alert was I held by my love of disputation and reading, that I had no regard for sensual plea­sures. Repeatedly, by my excessive lucubrations at night, the concern of my parents was excited. They exhorted and intreated me to go to rest, but in vain. What I did not learn at lecture I read in private, and committing it to memory I used to ask my father the difficult passages. But few indeed of the most studious scholars have found the means of perusing the quantity of various books and treatises of fixed science, which in a short space of time passed under my view. I had nevertheless an abundant affection for the worship and service of God, and took wonderful delight therein, keeping with lively devotion the holy days and nights and seasons, and being assiduous in the repetition of the appointed invoca­tions. Not many even of the supererogatory acts of devotion and practical traditions were neglected by me; and so bright was the ray of soft warmth in my heart,* and so full the gay expansion of my bosom, that it is impossible for me to describe my state, as it then was. What I here say is by privilege of the proverb: The commemoration of former blessings is the possession of the wretched.* Alas, alas! how little I thought that my circum­stances would draw to this destitution, and dead­ness of heart, and cold faintness, to which they are now declined; or that it would become neces­sary to adapt my palate to all this bitterness, and heart-melting poison of disappointment.

Whilst I breathed in the silent night of repose, a lotion assailed me
From the serpent, in whose teeth is a penetrating poison.

My boundless grief, and the affliction that wounds my soul, is this, that for the few breaths of life, which may remain to me, there is no hope of better-being, nor of raising up the gale of my desire.

Where is the season of spring, that I may satiate my desire of wine?
That, like the rose-bush, I may bring out the cup from my patched habit.

How truly spoke the Commander of the Faithful (Ali), upon whom be the salutation of peace! when he said: Be cautious in the establishment of your prosperity, for it is not every thing which is fugitive, that ever returns.*

Tranquillity is a thing, which comes not to my heart:
My time of life is not such, that I can even desire it.