(I). A short sketch of the Rise and Growth of Persian Poetry.

The romantic character of the Persian mind has attributed a still more romantic origin to poetry in Persia. The celebrat­ed Persian hero Behràm Gur was breathing love before his beloved and she breathed love in response. Their hearts met and their feelings were harmonious: so did their words meet and glow in rhyme.

It need, however, hardly be observed that verses in rhyme existed long before this in Persia. The celebrated Gàthàs of the Zend Avestà, the actual productions of Zoroaster himself, are songs full of poetic interest, and the date of these is put down as early as 1400 B. C. During the flourishing days of the old Persian Empire, many works are said to have been produced in the Pehlvi language, particularly under the Sassanians. At the time of the conquest of Persia by the Arabs, Persian literature, meagre as it was, was not spared by the ruthless conquerors, and everything that was of the Magi was either plundered, demolished or burnt. It is said that Abdullàh Tàhir caused to be burnt the old Pehlvi poetry of Wàmiq and A'zrà, saying: “We read the Qoràn and the traditions of the prophet: this book is a book of the Magi, therefore it is accursed.” Under these circumstances it is not at all surprising if we have now in our possession little of the old Persian poetry of the Anti-Arab times.

After the conquest, Persian literature dwindled into insigni­ficance and for some time sank in total obscurity. The Arabs were proud of their own language: they were proud of its sweetness, its richness and its variety. The Persian tongue they compared to the language of the mute, calling the Persian by the name of A'jam. The ancient poet Abbàs, when welcoming Khalif Màmun's triumphal entry into Marv, after the latter was helped by the Persians of Khoràsàn to mount a disputed throne, composed an ode in the Persian language, saying:

“No one has sung a poem of this kind: the Persian lan­guage has much to do yet to elevate itself to this dignity.”

One effect of the Arab conquest was that Arabic literature and speech exercised a very powerful influence on the pure Persian language, which up to now remains full of an admix­ture of Arabic words and phrases.

From Abbàs may be said to commence a new and a more vital era of Persian poetry, (about 810 A. D.). Abdullà Tàhir, the general of Màmun, became the ruler of Khoràsàn, (820 A.D.). Though Abbàs had no immediate successors worthy of his name, yet Persian poetry had taken a new birth, and, with the decline of the power and influence of the Khalifs, the national spirit of Persia asserted itself once more in a more sub­stantial and lasting form. The Tàherides were, in 872 A.D., overthrown by the celebrated Yàqub Lais, the founder of the Saffarides, who in turn were expelled by the Sàmànides, (900 A.D.). The rule of the Sàmànides may be said to be the golden age of Persian poetry, and has been immortalized by the august Rudagi, whose name stands pre-eminent not only in this epoch, but in the whole history of Persian poetry, as “the first poet, creator of Persian poetry, inimitable model of every species of it.” Rudagi is regarded as “the first classic poet of Persia, who impressed upon every form of lyric and didactic poetry its peculiar stamp and individual character.”

Contemporary with Rudagi are seen such great names as those of Shahid of Balkh, Abul A'bbàs and Ravnaki of Bokhàrà, Nasr of Nishàpur, Abu Zarrah, Kisai, &c., none of whom is mentioned by Jàmi. Mansur I. of the Sàmànides was the most distinguished patron of learning, and under the order of his son and successor Nuh II., the great Daqiqi, by versifying the annals of the old Persian kings, cleared Firdusi's way for the composition of the great Persian Epic. The Sàmànides were succeeded by the great dynasty of Ghazni, and Persian poetry was fostered beyond all limits and attained a very high pitch under the patronage of the great conqueror Mahomed Ghaznavi. This King was constantly accompanied by a train of 400 poets, among whom stand the names of some of the greatest masters of Persian poetry, such as Firdusi, A'nsari, A'sjadi and Farrakhi.

But the great impulse which was thus given to poetry did not last for a very long time. Incessant internal strifes in­duced the Tartars and Moghuls to pounce down upon the disunited and weakened nation, and their most horrid ravages created inconceivable disorder from which Persia took long to revive. During the next 150 years, though a few stray names of lyric poets are found here and there, there passed the darkest ages of Persian literature, till the descendants of the great Taimur once more restored peace to the empire and became great patrons of literature.

Such is a short narrative of the rise and growth of early Persian poetry, which I shall complete by giving a very short sketch of the more modern poetry.

As to Epic Poetry, Firdusi was not without his imitators, some of whom were very successful. The Sikundar-nàmeh of Nizàmi, the Yusuf-o-Zulaikhàn of U'ma'q, the Taimur-nàmeh of Hàtifi and many others are a sort of romantic narrative poems in imitation of Firdusi's Shàh-nàmeh.

Panegyric Poetry, which had naturally commenced in the court of Mahomed Ghaznavi, reached its perfection in the court of the great King Sanjar of the Saljuk dynasty, 1092-1157 A.D. These panegyrists are some of the greatest poets, and it may be said that few Persian poets died without having written panegy­rics. Adib Sàbir, Javhari and Watwàt were the chief poets of this type, some of them excelling most in travesties and satires.

The domain of Ghazal, Lyric Poetry, has ever been the most fruitful field of poetic cultivation since the time of Rudagi. The Ghazals of Hàfiz stand unique. Some of the great Ghaza-lists are Sa'di, Salamàn Sàwaji, Khujandi, Amir Shàhi, Kàsim-i-Anwar, Amir Hasan, Amir Khusraw, &c.

As to Dramatic Poetry, there is very little that is of any in­terest or importance, excepting a very tragic drama depicting the events connected with the death of A'li and his two sons, a drama which is even in the present day acted on the stage in Persia, under the name of Tazieh, though in a very crude style. Benjamin gives a very animated account of this in his “Persia and the Persians.”

In conclusion it may be noted that Jàmi is styled the “last classic poet of Persia,” and, as a matter of fact, the Persian poetic muse may be said to have been in a drowsy condition during the last three centuries. It is true that a considerable amount of poetry has been produced during this period, but the poems are of little intrinsic worth, and more or less fall under the-category of ephemeral literature. It seemed that the late Professor of Persian at the Elphinstone College, Shams-ul-U'lamà Mirzà Hairat, had some germs of classic genius in him, and they did not remain uncultivated; but unfortunately for us, the deceased set perhaps too high an ideal before him, and, never being satisfied with his productions, at last burnt them in a very unhappy moment. Those anxious to know what they were seldom had an opportunity of reading them and they passed away almost unknown except to their author. The bud had blossomed and the full-grown flower would have been sweet and fragrant, having grown under his care and art. But the garden­er's ideal was too high: nothing was to him perfect. He blushed at the productions of his imperfect art, and was so diffident that he allowed none to approach and enjoy its sweet fragrance.

(II). Some Characteristics of Persian Poetry.

“No poetry has ever been more peculiarly national than that of Persia: none has ever fixed a deeper or a more lasting hold on the people's love. It is now some three centuries since her lyre has been silent, yet the people of Persia still treasure with peculiar fondness the memory of their past poets. All classes in Persia are remarkable for their enthusiastic susceptibi­lity to the emotions of poetry, and in no modern nation is poetic sympathy more widely diffused.

“This poetic temperament has exercised a powerful influence on all the various departments of Persian literature: all things are viewed through an imaginative medium, which throws its own hues on every object. History, morals, philosophy are all treated in a vague and exaggerated style, which only conceals the writer's ignorance without removing our own. * * * Yet this poetic temperament, however obtrusive and wearisome, is peculiarly attractive in its own sphere. Persian poetry, as we see it in its highest efforts, possesses a peculiar charm, not more from the novelty of its image than the warm atmosphere of poetic feeling, which bathes it as with a tropical glow. The poet projects himself everywhere: nature and life present them­selves to his view, deeply coloured by his present emotions, while he sings. Hence the higher Persian poetry is rarely descriptive.”

The peculiar feature of Persian poetry, its distinguishing charm, is the mystical tone which universally pervades it. ‘The very essence of Sufism is poetry. And as ordinary langu­age is only framed to convey the daily wants and impressions of mankind, the higher experiences of the soul can only be re­presented by symbols and metaphors. Hence the Sufi poets adopt a form of expression, which, to the uninitiated, can convey no such depth of meaning. Under the veil of an earthly pas­sion and the woes of a temporal separation, they disguise the dark riddle of human life, and under the joys of revelry and intoxication they figure mystical transports and divine ecstacies.’ Among the foremost Sufi poets may be named Hakim Sanài, Mawlànà Rumi, A'ttàr, Jàmi and many others of lesser renown.

(III). The Life and Writings of Jàmi.

Jàmi, the son of Mawlànà Nizàm-ud-din Ahmed, was born in Jàm, a small town near Heràt, the capital of Khoràsàn in the east of Persia, in the year 1414 A.D. Jàmi is the poetic name (takhallus) of Nur-ud-din Abdur Rahmàn, the takhallus Jàmi being adopted from the author's place of birth Jàm. He flourished in the reigns of Sultàn Abu Said Mirzà, and ofhis successor, the celebrated Sultàn Hussain Mirzà, descend­ants of the great Taimur. He was a contemperary of the great biographer Dawlat Shàh, who has recorded his life in his cele­brated Tazkiràt-i-Dawlat Shàhi. It is there mentioned that Jàmi commenced his life by the study of the liberal sciences and in time became one of the most ardent students of Sufism. He is said to be a most perfect master of the Persian language, almost without an equal in ancient or modern times, and so ex­tensive was his learning that it won him unbounded praises even from the most learned. He was by nature a very polite and generous man, and his charming manners are said to have att­racted towards him admiring crowds of poets, noblemen and princes. He was the desciple of the famous Sa'duddin, after whose death he became the Shaikhul Aslàm, and became more and more attached to metaphysics and mysticism. He died in the year 1492 A.D.

The times in which our author flourished were halcyon days for Persian writers. The reigning sovereign Sultàn Hus-sain Mirzà (1469-1506 A.D.), a descendant of the great Taimur, was himself a literary man, and his court was the rendezvous of great literary men. Jàmi mentions him in his introduction and pays him a just tribute, though the comparison with Sà'd bin Zangi is odious as most such comparisons are, and not at all to our taste. Amir Ali Sher, the minister of Hussain, was, like the king, a great patron of literary men and a great admirer of Jàmi, who dedicated to him one of his works, Nafahàt-al-Ins, an abridged translation from an Arabic work containing lives of saints. The great Kàshafi and Khand-Mir were his other contemporaries.

The works of Jàmi combine “the moral tone of Sa'di, with the lofty aspirations of Mawlànà Rumi, and the grace­ful ease of Hàfiz's style with the deep pathos of Nizàmi.” His Haft Aurang is a collection of romances, one of which, Salamàn wa Absàl, is regarded as the most characteristic of Sufi poems. The poet there sets forth the delights of divine love as compared with the several enjoyments of ordinary human life. His other works are Sikundar-Nàmeh, Usuf and Zulaikhàn, Behàristàn, Khurshid and Màh, &c.

(IV). The Behàristàn.

This book is written, as the author says in his intro­duction, in imitation of Sa'di's matchless Gulistàn. Jàmi has a son, whom he wants to instruct. He is a young boy yet, and the father does not like his young son to commence with a highly-finished laborious work full of idioms and figurative expressions. The author's object is then to instruct without tiring the pupil or burdening his mind. The style of the Behàristàn is thus very simple and elegant. The book is conspicuous for the beauty and simplicity of its style, and from this point of view it may be said to hold in Persian literature the rank, which the works of Addison, Swift and Goldsmith hold in English. There are nowhere to be found in this book those so-called embellishing factors of Persian compo­sition,—those crude and hacknied similes and metaphors, hyper­bolical expressions, sentences more rhythmical than sensible, and those other features of the Persian style which are so novel, and often-times clumsy to the modern refined ear. The book is full of apologues and anecdotes adapted to the instruction of young minds, and may be put in the class of books on ethics with the famous Akhlàq-i-Mohsini. The moral of every story is strung into verses, and the admixture of prose and verse renders it more interesting and instructive, verses being more impressive and naturally easier to remember.

In the following few pages of the Introduction I have taken a short review of each chapter, and commented thereon more by way of explanation than criticism.

(V). The First Garden.

The first garden treats of saints and sufis. I give below a few of the fundamental doctrines and beliefs of this class of men, as a thorough knowledge of these is essential for the better understanding of this chapter.

Pantheism, under different names and forms, has exercised a predominant influence over nearly all the great religions of the world. Among the Mahomedans it took the form of Sufism, among the Christians, of Pantheism and among the Aryans, of Vedantism. “The Sufis themselves admit that their religious system has always existed in the world, prior to the mission of Mahomed, and the unprejudiced student of their system will observe that Sufism is but a Muslim adaptation of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophers, and which also we find in the writings of the old academics of Greece, and Sir William Jones thought Plato learned from the sages of the East.”

The word Sufi is derived from suf, meaning wool, coarse woollen garments being the general habit of the Sufis. This is the generally accepted etymology, though some derive the term from sàf, meaning pure, while others go to the Greek word sophoi, meaning wise men. Some are inclined to think that sufism existed in a rough form, even before the propagation of the Mahomedan religion, among the Arab tribes, sufah being the name of an Arab tribe. The so-called Sufis then were those Arabs, who left the world, and devoted themselves solely to the worship of idols.

The Sufi doctrine teaches that there are four stages through which man must pass before he can reach the highest, or that of divine beatitude, when, “his corporeal veil will be removed, and his emancipated soul will mix again with the glorious essence, from which it had been separated, but not divided.” The first of these stages is that of humanity (sharia't), which supposes the disciple to live in obedience to the holy law, and observance of all the rites, customs and precepts of the established religion. The second stage is termed tariqat or road. This stage cannot be attained without great piety, virtue and forti­tude. The observance of religious forms and ceremonies is no longer necessary, as to pass from the first to the second state is to exchange practical for spiritual worship. The third stage is that of ma'rafat or knowledge; and the disciple who arrives at it is deemed to have attained supernatural knowledge, or in other words, to be inspired; and he is supposed, when he reaches this state, to be equal to the angels. The fourth and last stage is that which denotes his arrival at haqiqat or truth, which implies his complete wasl or union with the Divinity.”

“The aim of the Sufis was to free the mind from earthly considerations, to purify it from all passions, to leave it only God as an object of meditation. The highest truths were not to be reached by study, but by transport—by a transformation of the soul during ecstacy. There is the same difference between this higher order of truth and ordinary science, as between being healthy and knowing the definition of health. To reach this state it was necessary first to purify the soul from all earthly desires, to extirpate from it all attachment to the world, and humbly direct the thougths to our eternal home.”

“The Sufis represent themselves as entirely devoted to the search of truth, and as incessantly occupied in the adoration of the Almighty, an union with whom they desire with all the ardour of divine love. The great Creator is, according to their belief, diffused over all his creation. He exists everywhere, and in everything. They compare the emanations of his divine essence, or spirit, to the rays of the sun, which are, they conceive, continually darted forth, and reabsorbed. It is for this reabsorp­tion in the divine essence, to which their immortal part belongs, that they continually sigh. They believe that the soul of man, and that the principle of life, which exists throughout all nature, is not from God, but of God; and hence those doctrines, which their adversaries have held to be the most profane, as they were calculated to establish a degree of equality of nature bet­ween the created and the Creator.”

“The chief characteristic of the Sufis seems to be pantheism, borrowed in all likelihood from India. Essentially their belief appears to lie in the endeavour to spiritualize everything, and to consider all material objects as simply symbols of the ideal or spiritual, which is the only reality,—the individual being actually part of the universal, spiritual entity, and immortality or the life after this, an absorption into the Omnipresent Unity.”

“The Sufis glory in poverty, and declare that it is the state ordered for them. The Prophet himself has said: I glory in poverty. They decline all human affections, or submit to them as advisable escapes only—appearances of loving obliga­tions, which are assumed for convenient acceptance, or for passing in a world which is composed of them, or of their sup­posal. They are most simple and deferential in their exterior; and yet the self-value which fills their hearts ceases its self-glory­ing expansions only with the boundless skies. They make no movement towards fame, because they abnegate and disdain it.”

“It has been truly observed that the greatest objection to Sufism is, that it is in itself no religion; wherever it prevails, it unsettles the existing belief; but it substitutes no other of a defined or intelligible nature. The Sufi teacher does not deny the mission of Mahomed; but while he instructs his disciples to consider the prophet and his successors as persons who have been used as instruments for preserving the order and good gov­ernment of the world, he boasts a direct and familiar intercourse with the Diety; and claims, on that ground, their entire con­fidence and obedience in all that regards their spiritual interests.”

Sufism appears to have existed in Persia, under one form or another, for nearly two thousand years. There are thousands of Sufis in that kingdom at the present time, even among the mullàs or priesthood. They are divided into innumerable sects, giving rise to numerous religious orders of dervishes or faqirs. One fundamental division of these is between the ilhàmiyah, that is, the inspired, and the ittahàdiyah, that is the united.

Human life is compared to a journey (safar), and the seeker after God to a traveller (sàlik). The Sufi disciple is, in the first place, in the state of nàsut, that is, humanity or the natural state of every human being. From humanity, the disciple passes to malakut, the nature of angels: then to jabrat, the possession of power: and lastly to fanà, self-annihilation into the Deity. The Sufi doctrine of fanà is that man is first to annihilate him­self into the shaikh, then into the rasul, and then into Allàh.

Wajd among the Sufis is the ecstatic state, a sure sign of communion with the Deity, an illumination of the heart. Jazab is divine attraction. If devotion is first practised and then comes attraction, the disciple is called Sàlik-i-majzub; but if the dis­ciple is attracted without having practised devotion, he is called Majzub-i-sàlik.

It is one of the firmest convictions of the Sufi that everything is predestined by the Almighty and attraction by the Deity depends simply on His will, and never upon the piety or impiety of the disciple. Vide Chapter I., Stories 11 and 12. God is the prime mover of all human actions, and as long as man is in this world, he is a total ignoramus. Not only does he not know whether a particular action is really good or bad, but he cannot even say whether any action at all really constitutes a sin.

The Doctrine of Resignation (tavakkul) follows as a corollary from that of Predestination. If man cannot and does not know which particular action is really good and which one really bad, and moreover, when man has no control whatever over his actions, it is best to resign oneself to the will of God and not be in the least careful or uneasy about one's action. Vide Chapter I., Story 23.

Another Sufi conception is that God is to be loved for God's sake only. It is true that this world is not worth having, but so too is the other world to the Sufi with all the attractions of heaven. If you long to go to heaven, that is but a very selfish idea, and your prayers will be tainted with selfishness, because you would then love God only out of self-interest and necessity to make clear your way to heaven. The true Sufi never cares for this world, nor even for the happiness of the next, and loves God for love's own sake and not for the sake of attain­ing heaven. Union with God is the thing to be desired and before it even the bliss of heaven sinks into insignificance. Vide Chapter I., Stories 6 and 14.

In the opening of the first chapter, the author puts forth very forcibly and in a few sentences the utility of knowing the histories and maxims of great Sufis. They tend, he says, to drive away evil spirits from your heart. God himself acknow­ledged this, when he related to his prophet the maxims of saints: and finally, acquaintance with a saint, or acquaintance with any of his maxims saves you from eternal torments.

The author then proceeds to relate some stories and anecdotes of the greatest masters of Sufism, and thereby illustrates some Sufistic truths, and inculcates some moral lessons, in a way at once concise and lucid. In Story 11 we learn what sort of con­templation is required of the disciple, and how he is to keep himself aloof form every thing that is earthly. He is, again, to reveal his secrets under no circumstance, for any such revelation exposes the Sufi to the greatest troubles, as happened to the great Sufi Hallàj. Then follows a series of short interesting stories, wherein the author tries to inculcate various moral precepts, preached by sages of all times. Always forgive and never act in such a manner as may force you to ask forgiveness. Contentment is the best sauce for every poor man. Rely not upon the rich, because thereby you are likely to forget that God is your patron. Humility is the entrance to all virtues: egotism to all vices. Avarice is disappointment in a different guise. Such are the precepts which the author impresses on the mind of his young son, and most of them are in no way peculiar to the Sufi; though the fact that they have proceeded from some of the greatest masters of theology gives them additional weight and veneration, which they truly deserve.

To me this chapter appears decidedly superior to a similar one in the Gulistàn. The stories here are short, sweet and ins­tructive, and this mode of treatment compares very favourably with that followed by Sa'di.

(VI). The Second Garden.

“The Arabs furnish a striking illustration of the succession of phases of national life. They first come before us as fetich wor­shippers, having their age of credulity, their object of supersti­tion being the black stone in the temple of Mecca. They pass through an age of inquiry, rendering possible the advent of Maho-med; then follows their age of faith, the blind fanaticism of which quickly led them to overspread all adjoining countries; and at last comes their period of maturity, their age of reason. The striking feature of their movement is the quickness with which they passed through these successive phases and the intensity of their national life”

“They (the Khalifs) very soon became distinguished patrons of learning. It has been said that they overran the domains of science as quickly as they overran the realms of their neigh­bours. Cultivators of mathematics, astronomy, medicine and general literature abounded in the court of Al-mansur, who invited all philosophers, offering them his protection, whatever their religious opinions might be.”

“The whole philosophy of the Arabians was only a form of Aristotelianism, tempered more or less with Neo-platonic concep­tions. The medical and physical science of the Greeks and Greek philosophy became known to the Arabs especially under the rule of the A'bbàsides from 750 A. D. on, when medical and philosophical works were translated from Greek into Syriac and Arabic.” The works of Aristotle on natural science were studied by the Arabs with especial zeal, and they became acquainted with his writings through the agency of Syrian Christians. Grecian thought was introduced into Islam, and Bagdàd became the chief school of such philosophy. The great Khalif Mamun encouraged translations from the original into Arabic, in which work the Syrian Christians and the Magi took an active part.

“In philosophy the attainments of the Arabs have been over­rated rather than depreciated. As middle-men or transmitters, their importance can scarcely be too highly estimated. They were keen students of Aristotle, when the very language in which he wrote was unknown to Roman Christians. In reviewing the labours of the Arabians, we are struck with the facts that they were all men of high family, holding important position; they were all surprisingly voluminous; they were all Aristotelians; they were all given more or less to science, especially to medicine. Nevertheless in spite of their advantage of position, they left science very much as they found it, and cannot be said to have advanced philosophy. No germinal discoveries in science are due to them. They improved instruments: they collected facts: they kept alive the sacred fire. But their labours were frustrated by their method; and the only advan­tages the world received from them were the preservation of of what Grecian thought had achieved, and the scepticism which they impressed on European thought. In astronomy, in chemis­try, in medicine, the Arabs made some subordinate improvements, largely enriching the store of observed facts, but they dicovered no laws, they originated none of germinal conceptions, which act as impulses and regulators to research.”

“The debt which Europe owes to the Arabs for their preserva­tion of Greek writings, and the stimulus impressed upon European curiosity by the ardour of their veneration, without which stimulus the Renaissance might never have come to pass, has long been recognized and perhaps exaggerated. Another and less questionable debt is due to them for the ardour with which they prosecuted mathematical, astronomical, medical and chemical studies. There are writers who question that in­fluence and who affirm that the Revival of Learning would have brought the Greek thinkers into the course of European evolution disengaged from the Arabian apprehension. But it seems to me [Lewes: History of Philosophy] that the intellec­tual condition of Europe at the close of the 12th century was fast relapsing under despotism, which would have prevented the influence of Greek thought from taking effect unless some other concurrent causes had been at work. It is quite true that the authority of Aristotle was never wholly lost, even dur­ing the darkest of the dark ages. But we must guard against exaggeration on this subject. It is misleading to assert, with­out qualification, that culture was never entirely lost, because a few monasteries preserved a few works of Greek and Latin writers which no one read.”

Regarding the second chapter, we find the author pro­pounding no philosophical system, nor advocating or criticis­ing any. He only wants to impress on the mind of his young son some of those common maxims of prudence, which a man of the world ought to know, and without which it would be hard to begin a successful life. Knowledge must be accompanied with practice, and religious knowledge is the first thing to be acquired, as, without it, life would be a sin. Then comes the long story of Alexander, who learns from the philosopher that man's worth lies not in his beautiful externals. It is not the scabbard but the sword which does the work; so it is the inner soul, not the outward appearance, that constitutes man's nobility and beauty. Then follow various interesting stories, illustrating the evils of greed, envy, oppression, excess in eating and drinking, egotism, pride &c., which need no explanation. On the whole, the author fails to give, in this chapter, that pleasure and satisfaction, which we get by reading some of the stories of the eighth chapter of the Gulistàn. The maxims that he illustrates are too trite and common-place, and the language itself has not the richness and rhythm of the author of the Gulistàn.

(VII). The Third Garden.

The third chapter is a very interesting one, inasmuch as it gives us many a happy glimpse into the inner life and character of some of the great rulers of men. It must here be observed that, in spite of all harsh and adverse criticisms regarding the justice and humanity of the Mahomedan rulers of Persia, if any person is inclined to go minutely through their histories, he will find that they differ very little from many European monarchs, who, in their days, were as absolute and un­restrained by any democratical fetters. Human nature is generally found almost the same all over the world at the corre­sponding epochs of history under similar circumstances. Much of the tyranny of Mahomedan kings arose more from their religious bigotry than from their personal caprices, and this is what has happened in the case of many European sovereigns also. It would be out of place here to ascertain whether the subjects of Mahomedan kings were happy or not, for the question will turn more upon the different notions of happiness than upon any other fact. The Mahomedan conception of a king is that the king is the ‘Shadow of God extended upon this earth.’ The king is not thus a mere deputy appointed by divine authority, but something more nearly connected with God, whose shadow he is. From the earliest times, the rather submissive oriental mind was imbued with such ideas of monarchy, and was beyond all cure habituated to every sort of regal servitude. Again, the Khalif was not a mere temporal ruler: he was supposed to succeed Mahomed not only in his temporal but also in his pro­phetic kingdom,—a circumstance which led to much enhanced respect and obedience on the part of the subjects. If the Khalif was a tyrant, it was because the subjects were disobedient and sinful. The character and actions of the king are determined by those of his subjects. Not only that, but if the Khalif is a tyrant, it is because God has wished to punish the people on account of their sinful mode of life. This is what the tyrant Hajjàj said to his people when they complained before him of his tyranny.

The author begins this chapter with one of the most cele­brated names in oriental history, a name that has become synonymous with everything that is just and equitable, the name of the great Persian king Nawshirwàn. It is profane to utter this name without calling forth God's blessing and bene­diction thereon, and the founder of the Mahomedan religion him­self actually gloried in the circumstance that he was born in the reign of a just king. Then follow stories, wherein some moral lesson is preached to the king or the courtier. The king should be well-informed of the condition of the subjects and the army, otherwise he can never inspire any awe in them, and the king's courtier is bound to anticipate dismissal and disgrace, a circum­stance which ought to make him kind and considerate when he is enjoying the king's favour. The chapter, though very short, is interesting to read, and to me it appears that in point of novelty and interest, it is much better than the first chapter of Sa'di's Gulistàn. Looking to the quality of the matter, one might well have wished to see the subject more fully treated by the author.

(VIII). The Fourth Garden.

One of the most prominent features of the Arab character is a very keen and exalted sense of hospitality. “A stran­ger's arrival is often the occasion of an amicable dispute among the wealthier inhabitants as to who shall have the privilege of receiving him; and though three days are often popularly spoken of as the limit of such entertainment, practice sets no precise bounds to its length; and an Arab host always care­fully abstains from putting any question to his guest as to when he is going or where. Indeed if the guest be descreet and acceptable in his manners, he will soon find himself on the footing of one of the family; and even the women of the house will come in to sit and converse with him not less freely than they would with their own relations.”

The eighth story is only one of the many historical facts which go to prove to what extent the hospitality of the Arabs extended. The names of Hàtem and Ma'n Záhed are proverbial among the Mahomedans for charity, and some of the stories of these men and especially of the former, are as pathetic as they are interesting, showing us to what degree of nobility and self-sacrifice the human mind can rise, even among a race notorious for its plundering habits and for an unfailing spirit of revenge. It must also be noted that the Arabs of our time have in no way degenerated from their former reputation, a fact which seems to have been proved by the personal experience of many an inquisitive European traveller.

Another thing to be noted is that the hospitality of the Arabs was not confined to the human species alone, but extended to the lower animals also. A deer taking refuge in the hut of an Arab was as safe as any other human protegée; and there is a story that one of these hospitable Arabs refused to betray a deer, that had taken shelter under him, even to the great king Behràm Gur.

“The character of the (modern) Persian is that of an easy­going man. He is hospitable, obliging and specially well-dis­posed to the foreigner. To the poor, the Persians are unostentati­ously generous; most of the rich have regular pensioners old servants or poor relations, who live on their bounty; and though there are no work-houses, there are in ordinary times no deaths from starvation, and charity, though not organized, is general.”

The Arabs are said to be accomplished in three thing: oratory, expertness in the use of arms and horsemanship, and hospitality. “Hospitality was so habitual to them and so much esteemed that the examples of this kind among them exceed whatever can be produced from other nations.”

(IX). The Seventh Garden.*

The author begins by giving the definition of poetry. According to the definition of the ancients, poetry is the mere offspring of imagination, and the requisites of metre and rhyme are of later growth. It is a remarkable feature to note that the ancient definition comes nearer to the present accepted definition of poetry, which regards rhyme as something artificial and only an accident of poetry. It must be noted that Persian poetry has never been written in blank verse, and rhyme and metre are regarded as the life and soul of it.

Then comes in a very elaborate sentence intended to justify and glorify the creators of verse. The Qorán itself is poetry, but not poetry of the ordinary sort. It is divine poetry in­imitable and not imitated by even the greatest poets. After this comes an enumeration of thirty-seven great poets, with short biographical sketches and still shorter selections from the works of each. The list of poets enumerated by the author, though by no means exhaustive, includes some of the most celeb­rated names in Persian poetry. The chapter no doubt has been a very useful piece of contribution to the biographical literature of Persia, and contains a large number of interesting sketches and anecdotes. But so far as intrinsic criticism goes, there is as much of it in this chapter as in any other history of poets. Excepting a few staple remarks, the author has little to say about the nature and characteristics of any poet, and the chapter is a mere collection of selections made from various poets, which selections too are not the most discriminate nor always the happiest. Persia has never possessed a genuine literary critic, and in fact the Persians knew no such thing as the art of criticism.