NÚRUDDÍN ABDURRAHMAN, Son of Mauláná Nizámuddín Ahmed, and descended on the Mother's side from One of the Four great “FATHERS” of Islam, was born A. H. 817, A. D. 1414, in Jám, a little Town of Khorásán, whither his Grandfather had removed from Desht of Ispa-hán and from which the poet ultimately took his Takhallus, or Poetic name, JÁMÍ. This word also signifies “A Cup;” wherefore, he says, “Born in Jám, and dipt in the “Jám” of Holy Lore, for a double reason I must be called JÁMÍ in the Book of Song.”

* He elsewhere plays upon his name, imploring God that he may be accepted as a Cup to pass about that Spiritual Wine of which the Persian Mystical Poets make so much.

He was celebrated afterwards in other Oriental Titles—“Lord of Poets”—“Elephant of Wisdom,” &c., but latterly liked to call himself “The Ancient of Herát,” where he mainly re­sided, and eventually died.

When Five Years old he received the name of Nú-ruddín, the “Light of Faith,” and even so early be­gan to show the Metal, and take the Stamp that distinguished him through Life. In 1419, a famous Sheikh, Khwájah Mohammed Pársá, then in the last Year of his Life, was being carried through Jám. “I was not then Five Years old,” says Jámí, “and my Father, who with his Friends went forth to sa­lute him, had me carried on the Shoulders of one of the Family and set down before the Litter of the Sheikh, who gave a Nosegay into my hand. Sixty Years have passed, and methinks I now see before me the bright Image of the Holy Man, and feel the Blessing of his Aspect, from which I date my after Devotion to that Brotherhood in which I hope to be enrolled.”

So again, when Mauláná Fakhruddín Loristání had alighted at his Mother's house—“I was then so little that he set me upon his Knee, and with his Fingers drawing the Letters of ‘ALÍ’ and ‘OMAR’ in the Air, laughed with delight to hear me spell them. He also by his Goodness sowed in my Heàrt the Seed of his Devotion, which has grown to In­crease within me—in which I hope to live, and in which to die. Oh God! Dervish let me live, and Dervish die; and in the Company of the Dervish do Thou quicken me to life again!”

Jámí first went to a School at Herát; and after­ward to one founded by the Great Timúr at Sa-marcand. There he not only outstript his Fellow-students in the very Encyclopædic Studies of Per­sian Education, but even puzzled his Doctors in Logic, Astronomy, and Theology; who, however, with unresenting Gravity welcomed him—“Lo! a new Light added to our Galaxy!”—And among them in the wider Field of Samarcand he might have liked to remain, had not a Dream recalled him to Herát. A Vision of the Great Súfí Master there, Mohammed Saaduddín Káshgharí, appeared to him in his Sleep, and bade him return to One who would satisfy all Desire. Jámí returned to Herát; he saw the Sheikh discoursing with his Disciples by the Door of the Great Mosque; day after day passed him by without daring to present himself; but the Master's Eye was upon him; day by day drew him nearer and nearer—till at last the Sheikh an­nounces to those about him—“Lo! this Day have I taken a Falcon in my Snare!”

Under him Jámí began his Súfí Noviciate, with such Devotion, both to Study and Master, that going, he tells us, but for one Summer Holiday into the Country, a single Line sufficed to “lure the Tassel-gentle back again;”

“Lo! here am I, and Thou look'st on the Rose!”

By and by he withdrew, by due course of Súfí In­struction, into Solitude so long and profound, that on his return to Men he had almost lost the Power of Converse with them. At last, when duly taught, and duly authorized to teach as Súfí Doctor, he yet would not take upon himself so to do, though so­licited by those who had seen such a Vision of him as had drawn himself to Herát; and not till the Evening of his Life was he to be seen taking that place by the Mosque which his departed Master had been used to occupy before.

Meanwhile he had become Poet, which no doubt winged his Reputation and Doctrine far and wide through a People so susceptible of poetic impulse. “A Thousand times,” he says, “I have repented of such Employment; but I could no more shirk it than one can shirk what the Pen of Fate has written on his Forehead”—“As Poet I have resounded through the World; Heaven filled itself with my Song, and the Bride of Time adorned her Ears and Neck with the Pearls of my Verse, whose coming Caravan the Persian Hafiz and Saadí came forth gladly to salute, and the Indian Khosrau and Hasan hailed as a Wonder of the World.” “The Kings of India and Rúm greet me by Letter: the Lords of Irák and Tabríz load me with Gifts; and what shall I say of those of Khorásán, who drown me in an Ocean of Munificence?”

This, though Oriental, is scarcely bombast. Jámí was honoured by Princes at home and abroad, at the very time they were cutting one another's Throats; by his own Sultan Abú Saïd; by Hasan Beg of Meso­potamia—“Lord of Tabríz”—by whom Abú Saïd was defeated, dethroned, and slain; by Mohammed II. of Turkey—“King of Rúm”—who in his turn defeated Hasan; and lastly by Husein Mírzá Bai-kará, who somehow made away with the Prince whom Hasan had set up in Abú Saïd's Place at Herát. Such is the House that Jack builds in Persia.

As Hasan Beg, however—the USUNCASSAN of old European Annals—is singularly connected with the present Poem, and with probably the most im­portant event in Jámí's Life, I will briefly follow the Steps that led to that as well as other Princely Intercourse.

In A. H. 877, A. D. 1472, Jámí set off on his Pilgri­mage to Mecca, as every True Believer who could afford it was expected once in his Life to do. He and, on his Account, the Caravan he went with, were honourably and safely escorted through the in­terjacent Countries by order of their several Poten­tates as far as Baghdád. There Jámí fell into trouble by the Treachery of a Follower whom he had re­proved, and who misquoted his Verse into dispar­agement of ALÍ, the Darling Imám of Persia. This, getting wind at Baghdád, was there brought to sol­emn Tribunal. Jámí came victoriously off; his Ac­cuser was pilloried with a dockt Beard in Baghdád Market-place: but the Poet was so ill pleased with the stupidity of those who had believed the Report, that, in an after poem, he called for a Cup of Wine to seal up Lips of whose Utterance the Men of Bagh-dád were unworthy.

After four months' stay there, during which he vis­ited at Helleh the Tomb of Alí's Son Husein, who had fallen at Kerbela, he set forth again—to Najaf, (where he says his Camel sprang forward at sight of Alí's own Tomb)—crossed the Desert in twenty-two days, continually meditating on the Prophet's Glory, to Medina; and so at last to MECCA, where, as he sang in a Ghazal, he went through all Mo­hammedan Ceremony with a Mystical Understand­ing of his Own.

He then turned Homeward: was entertained for forty-five days at Damascus, which he left the very Day before the Turkish Mohammed's Envoys came with 5,000 Ducats to carry him to Constantinople. On arriving at Amida, the Capital of Mesopotamia, he found War broken out and in full Flame between that Sultan and Hasan Beg, King of the Country, who caused Jámí to be honourably escorted through the dangerous Roads to Tabríz; there received him in full Díván, and would fain have him abide at his Court awhile. Jámí, however, was intent on Home, and once more seeing his aged Mother—for he was turned of Sixty—and at last reached Herát in the Month of Shaabán, 1473, after the Average Year's absence.

This is the HASAN, “in Name and Nature Hand- some” (and so described by some Venetian Ambas­sadors of the Time), who was Father of YAKÚB BEG, to whom Jámí dedicated the following Poem; and who, after the due murder of an Elder Brother, succeeded to the Throne; till all the Dynasties of “Black and White Sheep” together were swept away a few years after by Ismail, Founder of the Sofí Dynasty in Persia.

Arrived at home, Jámí found Husein Mírzá Bai-kará, last of the Timuridæ, seated on the Throne there, and ready to receive him with open Arms. Nizámuddín Alí Shír, Husein's Vizír, a Poet too, had hailed in Verse the Poet's Advent from Damas­cus as “The Moon rising in the West;” and they both continued affectionately to honour him as long as he lived.

Jámí sickened of his mortal Illness on the 13th of Moharrem, 1492—a Sunday. His Pulse began to fail on the following Friday, about the Hour of Morning Prayer, and stopped at the very moment when the Muezzin began to call to Evening. He had lived Eighty-One Years. Sultan Husein under­took the pompous Burial of one whose Glory it was to have lived and died in Dervish Poverty; the Dig­nitaries of the Kingdom followed him to the Grave; where twenty days afterward was recited in pres­ence of the Sultan and his Court an Eulogy com­posed by the Vizír, who also laid the first Stone of a Monument to his Friend's Memory—the first Stone of “Tarbet'i Jámí,” in the Street of Mesh-hed, a principal Thoro'fare of the City of Herát. For, says Rosenzweig, it must be kept in mind that Jámí was reverenced not only as a Poet and Phi­losopher, but as a Saint also; who not only might work a Miracle himself, but leave such a Power lingering about his Tomb. It was known that an Arab, who had falsely accused him of selling a Camel he knew to be unsound, died very shortly after, as Jámí had predicted, and on the very selfsame spot where the Camel fell. And that libellous Rogue at Baghdád—he, putting his hand into his Horse's Nose-bag to see if the beast had finisht his Corn, had his Forefinger bitten off by the same—from which “Verstümmlung” he soon died—I suppose, as he ought, of Lock-jaw.

The Persians, who are adepts at much elegant In­genuity, are fond of commemorating Events by some analogous Word or Sentence whose Letters, caba­listically corresponding to certain Numbers, com­pose the Date required. In Jámí's case they have hit upon the word “KAS,” A Cup, whose signification brings his own name to Memory, and whose relative letters make up his 81 years. They have Táríkhs also for remembering the Year of his Death: Rosen-zweig gives some; but Ouseley the prettiest of all;—

Dúd az Khorásán bar ámed
The smokeof Sighswent up from Khorásán.

No Biographer, says Rosenzweig cautiously, records . of Jámí's having more than one Wife (Granddaugh­ter of his Master Sheikh) and Four Sons; which, however, are Five too many for the Doctrine of this Poem. Of the Sons, Three died Infant; and the Fourth (born to him in very old Age), and for whom he wrote some Elementary Tracts, and the more fa­mous “Beháristán,” lived but a few years, and was remembered by his Father in the Preface to his Khi-radnáma-i Iskander—Alexander's Wisdom-book —which perhaps had also been begun for the Boy's Instruction. He had likewise a nephew, one Mau­láná Abdullah, who was ambitious of following his Uncle's Footsteps in Poetry. Jámí first dissuaded him; then, by way of trial whether he had a Talent as well as a Taste, bade him imitate Firdausí's Satire on Sháh Mahmúd. The Nephew did so well, that Jámí then encouraged him to proceed; himself wrote the first Couplet of his First (and most cele­brated) Poem—Laila and Majnún—

This Book of which the Pen has now laid the Foundation,
May the diploma of Acceptance one day befall it,

and Abdullah went on to write that and four other Poems which Persia continues to delight in to the present day, remembering their Author under his Takhallus of HÁTIFÍ—“The Voice from Heaven” —and Last of the classic Poets of Persia.

Of Jámí's literary Offspring, Rosenzweig numbers forty-four. But Shír Khán Lúdí in his “Memoirs of the Poets,” says Ouseley, accounts him Author of Ninety-nine Volumes of Grammar, Poetry, and Theology, which, he says, “continue to be uni­versally admired in all parts of the Eastern World, Írán, Túrán, and Hindústán”—copied some of them into precious Manuscripts, illuminated with Gold and Painting, by the greatest Penmen and Artists of the time; one such—the “Beháristán”— said to have cost some thousands of pounds—auto­graphed as their own by two Sovereign Descend­ants of TIMÚR; and now reposited away from “the Drums and Tramplings” of Oriental Conquest in the tranquil seclusion of an English library.

With us, his Name is almost wholly associated with his “Yúsuf and Zulaikhá;” the “Beháristán” aforesaid: and this present “Salámán and Absál,” which he tells us is like to be the last product of his Old Age. And these three Poems count for three of the brother Stars of that Constellation into which his seven best Mystical Poems are clustered under the name of “HEFT AURANG”—those “SEVEN THRONES” to which we of the West and North give our characteristic name of “Great Bear” and “Charles's Wain.”

This particular Salámán Star, which thus conspicu­ously figures in Eastern eyes, but is reduced to one of very inferior magnitude as seen through this Eng­lish Version,—is one of many Allegories under which the Persian Mystic symbolized an esoteric doctrine which he dared not—and probably could not—more intelligibly reveal. As usual with such Poems in the story-loving East, the main Fable is intersected at every turn with some other subsidi­ary story, more or less illustrative of the matter in hand: many of these of a comic and grotesque Char­acter mimicking the more serious, as may the Graci­oso of the Spanish Drama. As for the metre of the Poem, it is the same as that adopted by Attár, Jelá-luddín and other such Poets—and styled, as I have heard, the “Metre Royal”—although not having been used by Firdausí for his Sháh-námeh. Thus it runs:

a pace which, to those not used to it, seems to bring one up with too sudden a halt at the end of every line to promise easy travelling through an Epic. It may be represented in Monkish Latin Quantity:

Dum Salámán verba Regis cogitat,
Pectus illi de profundis æstuat;

or by English accent in two lines that may also plead for us and our Allegory:

Of Salámán and of Absál hear the Song;
Little wants man here below, nor little long.

‘‘Welcome. France of Horsemen, welcome’ Ride a field, and strike the Ball’