THE Lord, the Absolutely Wise* [May his wisdom be glorified!] the glad tributes of whose praise and adoration flow on and circulate upon the tongues of all created beings, both high and low, according to the saying, ‘And there is nothing which does not celebrate his praise;’* and the benefits of the tables of whose infinite favours, in accordance with the enduring rule, ‘And He bestowed on each thing creation, and then guidance,’* pervade and extend through the collective parts of all creatures both in heaven and earth:

Secret-teacher of the reason that can measure subtleties!
Giver of perceptive powers to the spirits of the wise!
Gem-bestower, Thou! of knowledge too refined for grosser sight,
Gradual back to day Thou bringest the decreasing shades of night.

in His Word ancient and venerable, and in His Book deserving of precedence and reverence, addressed* the Lord—the Asylum of prophecy, the Sulṭán of the throne, ‘I have with God,’* the knower of mysteries, according to the words, ‘And He taught thee that thou didst not know,’* the lucidly eloquent, as it is said, ‘I am the most eloquent of Arabs and Persians,’*

From past eternity to th’ unending future ’tis
Muḥammad’s name that gilds whatever is.
Sole lamp is he, whence beams of radiance shine,
In him Creation’s splendours all combine.

On him be the blessings and benedictions of God, and on his offspring, and on his immediate companions, and on his followers, and on those who trace up to him!—with reference to the guidance of those who study the subjects of discipleship,* and the protection of those who seek the objects of advantage*in the manner following: and pointed out to that Teacher of wisdom (of whom it is said, ‘One mighty in power taught him’)* the path of instruction for the candidates of the school of manners, and the way of information and the method of improving the understanding of the students of the college of industry and research, after this fashion, ‘Invite to the path of thy Lord with discretion and with gracious exhortations.’* The meaning of these words of happy tendency is as follows:—‘O Summoner of mankind to the tables of the benefits of wise counsel and salvation, and O Guide of men to the paths of welfare of the present existence and of the world to which all return!* invite my servants to the right way discreetly, and direct my adorers with kind admonitions from the gulf* of sensual desire to the garden of God’s favour; since it is not possible to discipline the headstrong appetites save by the lash of wisdom, nor can the sensual temperaments be brought to reason but by salutary admonition; according as it has been said, ‘Hadst thou been severe of heart, they would have been scattered.’*

Each horse-tamer, who would vanquish the unbroken, fiery steed,
Must the young colt first with kindness, and with gentle measures lead:
Fury will but stir the courser to more headlong heat; and so,
From the rider’s want of spirit, steeds will dull and sluggish grow.

Just as the taming of horses new to the bridle is, without observing the niceties of gentle management, impracticable; so, to reduce to submission the passions of the many—who, in consequence of brutish and ferine* violence having got the mastery over their natures, have fed without prohibition or repulse in the pasture-ground, ‘Leave them that they may eat and enjoy them­selves,’* and who have not experienced the bridle of the check from forbidden things, and the lash of the commandment [to do] what is right—will, with­out the application of preliminary prudent measures, be in like manner impossible;

Wisdom can solve things difficult, and bring
To the expectant heart each wished-for thing.

and [it is said] ‘He who has received wisdom, verily he has received a great good.’*

Seek wisdom, study greatness, that men aye
May note thy morrow happier than to-day.*

The ‘gracious exhortation’ spoken of in the enjoined invitation is declared to be a discourse* of such a nature that the hearer is made aware* that it is purely wholesome counsel and essentially benign and clement, and they say that ‘gracious exhortation’ is speech of such a comprehensive description that each one of those who hear may derive benefit from it, in proportion to the degree of his capacity and aptitude. Such is the exhortation of the Ḳur’án, and the advice [contained in] the sacred book,* which comprehends both exoteric and esoteric kinds [of knowledge], and contains all mysteries reli­gious and mundane, and from the words and meaning of which every one, whether reader or hearer, according to his degree, reaps advantage, and ‘to it the speaker alludes.’

The young spring of its loveliness makes soul and spirit fresh;*
Its scent delights the pious, and its hue enchants the flesh.

And this kind of speech has been poured out and sent down on not even one of the greatest prophets, except our Prophet (May blessing and peace be upon him!); nay, it is the distinctive privilege of His Holiness, the seal of prophecy*; as he (The blessing and peace of God be upon him!), indicated in this, ‘I have received the All-comprehensive Words*:’ and, inasmuch as sincerity of obedience is a cause of inheriting special intimacy with God, and productive of the verification of relationship to Him, assuredly the minds of a select number of His great people (who are characterised by the mark, ‘Ye are the best nation that hath been raised up unto mankind’*), have become the recipients of the lights of the most resplendent rays of that universality [of knowledge] the borrowing of which may be [affirmed to be] from the niche of the high prophetical office of that holy person*; and hence they consider that to be perfect discourse, in the survey of the beauty of the meaning of which, the eye of the superficial observers derives benefit from the words, and is irradiated by the expressions; while the nostril of the esoteric examiners is perfumed by the sweet odours of the truths and niceties which are discover­able under its external sense; so that each individual, in proportion to his capacity, has derived a share from its table of unlimited advantages.

No seeker passes from it uncontent.

And, from the tenor of these premises, it is understood that the more the face of each word is adorned with the soft down and mole* of knowledge, and the more the cheek of each advice is embellished with the cosmetic of universal wisdom, so much the more is the heart of true lovers inclined to survey its adornments.*

The more each one is lovely ’mid the fair,
The more the gaze of all is centred there.

And of the many treatises,* the foundations of whose composition are [laid] on the questions of philosophy; and of the multitude of books, the rules of whose arrangement are so grounded, and which comprise the auspicious things of advice; the book of Kalílah and Damnah* is one which the philosophers of Hind have composed in a peculiar style, and the methods of whose compre­hensive knowledge the Bráhmans, who are adorned with the bright rays of learning, have arranged in a special manner, and have combined with one another philosophy and merriment and mirth; and, having disposed the form of the narrative in tales, on account of the bias of most dispositions to them, have recounted the stories and fables by the tongues of wild beasts and animals and birds, and in the body of them have interwoven a variety of wise rules and salutary counsels, so that the sage may peruse them with a view to profit, and the ignorant person may read them for recreation and the [amuse­ment of the] romance, and that the lecturing on them may be easy to the teacher and the recollection of them to the student: and, in point of fact, that enlightened book is an orchard, the branches of the hidden meanings of which are made bright with the flowers ‘And therein shall they enjoy whatever their souls shall desire, and whatever their eyes shall delight in,’* and the environs of the rose-garden of which are aromatised and perfumed with the gentle breezes of [the verse] ‘What eye hath not seen nor ear heard.’

Each maxim there a blossom is more bright—
More dazzling—than the insect lamp of night.*
Its words youth’s gracefulness and freshness shew,
With meanings fraught which like life’s waters flow.

And the gushing over of that fountain of truths and sage meanings is to this degree, that, from the beginning of the display [of creation] to this time, it has in every age conferred benefit on the students of the assembly of disciple­ship and the apt scholars of the convention of felicity, and the garment of the following beautiful verses is a graceful and becoming robe of honour on the lofty stature of this book:

Its form is fringe like to the robe of joy* and happiness,
Its sense the gem that decks the ring of fortune and success:
While from its verses’ tinted cheek love’s wiles and witchcrafts beam,
Its diction’s labyrinthine curls like musky ringlets seem.

And that sage of luminous mind, the Bráhman Bídpáí, composed this book in the Hindí tongue, in the name of the world-adorning Hindú sovereign Dábishlím, who was the ruler of several countries of Hindústán; and, perhaps, in the commencement of the exordium some portion is on this account inserted by the pen of narration, and the said sage has founded his discourse on exhorta­tions, in order that in the government of their subjects, and in the expansion of the carpet of justice, and in clemency, and in educating and maintaining the fathers of the state,* and in repelling and opposing the enemies of the realm, it might prove of service to rulers; and Dábishlím made this book the pole­star* of his wishes and the pillar of his designs, and with the key of the perusal of this [volume] he always opened* the doors of the solution of difficulties and unveiled knotty points, and in his time this precious jewel was hid from the sight of every one, like a peerless gem in the cabinet of its cell, and like a ruby of Badakhshán, shewed not its face from the recess of the mine save after a thousand toils;* and after him each one of his descendants and kinsmen who succeeded him on the imperial throne trod the same path and exerted himself to conceal it; and, notwithstanding all this excessive caution, the fragrant breath of the excellencies of this book had filled the regions of the world with odour, like the borders of a rose-garden; and the musk-scattering bag of its virtues caused the nostrils of the diligent inquirers* after the odours of history and tradition to be scented with ambergris.

Like musk is moral worth; from sight concealed,
’Tis by its odour to the sense revealed.
So the sun’s face* is ne’er obscured with clay,
But still its rays diffuse a brighter day.

Till in the time of Kasra Núshírwán* this intelligence became universally diffused that ‘Among the treasures of the kings of Hindústán there is a book which they have compiled from the speech of animals and brutes and birds and reptiles and savage beasts; and all that befits a king in the matter of government and vigilance, and is useful for princes in the observance of king-craft, is exhibited in the folds of its leaves, and men regard it as the stock of all advice and the medium of all advantage.’ Núshírwán (by the rain of whose beneficence the trees of the river of justice were rendered verdant, and by the drops of the showers of whose favour the freshness of the rose-garden of equity was augmented,

His justice added to the world fresh grace,
And swept oppression dust-like from its face),

felt the greatest eagerness and most unspeakable desire to peruse this book. The physician Burzuyah,* who was chief of his class in Párs,* at the request of Núshírwán proceeded to Hindústán, and was there during a long period; and, by a variety of artifices and devices, having secured* the book, got possession of it, and, having translated the Indian words into the Pahlaví* dialect, which was the language at that time spoken by the Sulṭáns of Írán,* submitted it to Núshírwán, and, being so fortunate as to have [his gift] accepted, was honoured with [the monarch’s] approbation. [Hereupon] His Highness the Sháh’s estimation of the book ascended the ladders of perfec­tion; and the actions of Núshírwán, as might be traced in his development of justice, and in his beneficence, and his conquest of countries, and his [method of] soothing the hearts of his subjects, were based on the perusal of the book: and, after Núshírwán, the Persian kings also honoured it, and kept it out of sight with excessive care, until the time when the second Khaliph of the ’Abbásís, Abú J’afar Manṣúr-bin-Muḥammad-bin-’Alí-bin-’Abdu’ lláh-bin ’Abbás* (May God approve of them!) heard news of that book, and displayed the greatest eagerness* to obtain it, and, by some clever devices, having got possession of the Pahlaví copy, commanded Imám Abú’l-Ḥasan ’Abdu’lláh-bin-Muḳann’a,* who was the chief of the learned men of that age, so that he translated the whole of it from the Pahlaví into Arabic, and he (the Khaliph) kept it continually under perusal, and based his imperial ordinances and his regulations as regards justice and clemency, on those counsels and precepts. Next, Abú’l-Ḥasan Naṣr bin Aḥmad Sámání* commanded one of the learned men of the age, so that he translated the work from the Arabic language into Persian, and the poet Rúdakí,* by direction of the Sulṭán, arranged it in order of verse; and, again, Abú’l-Muzaffar Bahrám Sháh-bin-Sulṭán Masa’úd,* one of the descendants of Sulṭán Maḥmúd-i Ghází of Ghazní, who is cele­brated by the sage Sanáí,* issued a command, so that the most eloquent of eloquent men and the most powerful of rhetoricians, Abú’l Ma’álí Naṣru’lláh-bin-Muḥammad-bin-Al-Ḥamíd (God rest his soul, and grant him increasing triumph in the mansions of Paradise!) translated it from the copy of Ibn-i Muḳann’a, and this book, which has now become celebrated by [the name of] Kalílah and Damnah, is the translation of the aforesaid learned man*; and, in truth, its style in elegance resembles the sweetness of life; and in freshness it is like many-hued coral; and its fascinating words are like the love-allurements of honey-lipped mistresses, whose charms provoke dissension; and its life-increasing meanings may be compared to the ringlets of tender youths, who delight the heart.

Its words are like the ringlets of the beauties of Chigil;*
And in its every page new joys th’ enraptured spirit fill,
Its meanings, [sparkling] underneath its letters’ inky night,
Are brilliant as the sunny ray, or like the moon-beams bright.

To the blackness of its letters, which may be termed the collyrium of the jewels* of meaning, a place might be given on the white page of the tablet of the visual organ; and to the whiteness of its paper, which may be called the dawn of the morning of joyousness, a location might be assigned on the dark pupil of the world-viewing eye.

On the white tablet of a Ḥúrí’s eye ’t were due,
That Eden’s penman traced its letters’ inky hue.

And, although those who sit on the throne of the court of style are unanimous in praise of the magnificence of the words, and in applauding the eloquence of its compounds,

Truly the word is that which Ḥaẕám* said;

nevertheless, through the introduction of strange words and by overstraining the language with the beauties of Arabic expressions and hyperbole in meta­phors and similes of various kinds, and exaggeration and prolixity in words and obscurity of expression, the mind of the hearer is kept back from enjoy­ment of the meaning of the book, and from apprehending the pith of the subject; and the disposition of the reader also is unable to perform the task of connecting the beginnings of the story with the terminations, and of adjusting the commencements of the discourse with the conclusions; and this circumstance will undoubtedly be a cause of disrelish and a source of ennui both to the reader and the hearer, especially in this age, so characterized by fastidiousness, in which the minds of its children have become nice to such a degree that they expect* to perceive the meaning without its being decked out on the richly ornamented bridal-bed, as it were, of language; how much more when in some of the words they may require to employ a minute comparison of the dictionary, and to examine glossaries* with care. Hence, too, it all but came to pass that a book of such preciousness [as this is] was almost neglected and abandoned, and that the people of the world were deprived of its advantages and excluded from them. On this account, at the present time, His Highness the seal of sovereignty, whose luminously gifted nature comprehends all perfections, and whose sublimely characterized qua-lities have risen from the dawning-place of excellence and spirituality, the magnanimous Lord, who, notwithstanding his proximity to His Majesty the Sulṭán of the age and the Kháḳán* of the time, the spreader of the carpet of security and peace, the Diffuser of the marks of goodness and beneficence, the Sun of the zenith of the Khaláfats and empire, the Jupiter of the zodiac of dominion and principality,

King! thou art balm to eyes of princes, ruler thou of east and west!
Abú ’l-Ghází Sulṭán Ḥusain,* realm and doctrine on thee rest.

(May God perpetuate his kingdom and his power!) yea, notwithstanding the being looked on with favour by the glances of that high personage, endowed as they are with the properties of the philosopher’s stone, [still] he has shaken free his magnanimous skirt from the dust of worldly pageants (‘But the present life is only a deceitful provision’)* and has not permitted the page of his pure heart to be inscribed with

The magic of this five-day, fleeting dream—
Land and domains—which fools perpetual deem,

and has kept in full view, [as a guide] to his own affairs, this saying of happy tendency—

Fairer the mole of self-restraint upon the cheek of might;
The robe of charity appears upon the rich more bright,

and regards the promoting of the wishes of the oppressed and the disappointed, and the furthering of the affairs of the bereft, as the means of acquiring provision for the final state; nor has suffered himself to be stigmatized with neglecting the meaning of this excellent memento,

Fortune’s ten-day fickle friendship is a false, bewildering spell:
Deem advantage lies in serving those, my friend! who love thee well.*

And he is the great Amír, the place where all excellencies and high qualities* centre through the sublimity of his spirit, the favoured with the gifts of the sole King, the Orderer of the state and of religion, the Amír Shekh Aḥmad, celebrated by the title Suhailí,* (may God bestow on him, as an especial distinc­tion, the peace of Salmán amd the perfection of Kumail,)* who, without compliment, is the star Canopus, shining from the right hand of Yaman, and a sun, diffusing radiance from the dawning-place of affection and fidelity.

Where’er, Canopus! falls thy ray, and where
Thou risest, fortune’s marks are surely there.

With a view to the universal diffusion of what is advantageous to mankind, and the multiplying what is beneficial to high and low, he condescended to favour me with an intimation of his high will that this humble individual, devoid of ability, and this insignificant person of small capital, Ḥusain-bin ’Alí-u’l-Wá’iz, known by the name of Káshifí (May God most High strengthen him with His hidden favours),* should be bold enough to clothe the said book in a new dress, and bestow fresh adornment on the beauty of its tales of esoteric meaning, which were veiled and concealed by the curtain of obscure words and the wimple of difficult expressions, by presenting them on the stages of lucid style and the upper chambers of becoming metaphors, after a fashion that the eye of every examiner, without a glance of penetration or penetration of vision, may enjoy a share of the loveliness of those beauties of the ornamented bridal-chamber of narrative, and the heart of every wise person, without the trouble of imagining or the imagining trouble,* may obtain the fruition of union with those delicately reared ones of the closet of the mind.

Thus spake the man of eloquence to me,
‘O gardener of the garden of debate!
Thou in this garden, pure and heavenly,
So plant the trees of hidden meaning that
Whoe’er the taster of the fruits may be,
Shall thus address thee, “O thou fortunate!
Sweet are the fruits that this thy garden fill,
Each than the last seems fairer, lovelier still.”’

And as there was no evading obedience to that peerless mandate, and the maxim ‘Wisdom is from Yaman,’ shewed itself from the dawning-place of the light of Canopus,

Wisdom from Arabia come—so the Prince of Arabs* said;
Should we marvel if Canopus has then wisdom on us shed?

After prayer for the blessing of God, and asking leave, I entered on this undertaking; and, whatever has flowed from the tongue* of my pen and the pen of my tongue from the invisible world,—that has been written down: and [the reader] must know that the basis of the book Kalílah and Damnah is on practical wisdom,* and by practical wisdom is meant knowledge of the actions of the will and the practices natural to the human race, in a manner that may be conducive to the ordering of the affairs of the world to which we must return, and the present world of men, and may tend to arriving at perfection in those things at which men aim. And this kind of wisdom is first of all divided into two kinds, the one, that which may be referred to each person individually; the second, that which relates to a body of men viewed in association. The former of these, which is referable to each person individually, and in which the society of another is not supposable, they call ‘refinement of morals;’ and the other, which has reference to a collective body, admits of a second two-fold division,—the one, partnership in abode and habitation, which they call domestic economy; and the other community in city and country, and, moreover, in clime and realm, which is named civic economy; and the said book comprehends the three kinds that have just been mentioned, and various advantages connected with the latter sorts, and that which has reference to ‘refinement of morals,’ is not treated of, save incidentally. Wherefore, although the means existed of adducing somewhat as to the excel­lencies of morals, we were loth to allow of a complete change in the arrange­ment of the book, and hence avoiding the hindrance of an increase to its chapters, we adhered to the same plan that had been adopted by the sage of Hind, and having dropped the first two chapters, in which no extraordinary advantage was discoverable, and which did not enter into the original design of the book, we wrote the other fourteen in a clear and easy style, and included in the composition the tales in the way of dialogue between the King and the Bráhman, after the manner mentioned in the beginning: and before introducing the opening chapters, we thought it necessary to commence with a story, which may serve as a source of the narrative; and further, since the style adopted in the said book is to employ as a medium obscurity of expres­sion, so, if in the composition of the said work the reins of narration have turned from the usual road in which authors write, and from the mode of composition of ordinary writers to the path of descent, the excuse will be plain.

I that have strung these pearls of sense, indite
No word but that which others bade me write.

It is further to be noted that in the midst of the tales I have but briefly availed myself of the various sorts of Arabic expressions, by introducing certain verses from the Ḳur’án and sayings of the Prophet necessary to be mentioned, and traditions and well-known proverbs; and have not clogged the work by employing Arabic verses, but have adorned the page of the narrative with the jewels of Persian poetry, which is inlaid like blended gems and gold.

Let thy discourse be blent in skilful wise,
Now sink to prose, and now poetic rise.
Since now in this the changeful mind finds ease,
Now that delights, and this has ceased to please.

Moreover, in the place where the different chapters are written, wherever the introduction of a story or the recital of a maxim seemed pertinent, in accord-ance with the observation,

’Tis fit that nosegays should with grass be bound.

I shall proceed with the steps of boldness on the road of self-discretion, and this poor person, though he sees that in attempting this work he is a mark for the shafts of censure, nevertheless submits with* the tongue of humility in the audience-hall of apology, and on the standing-ground of respectful representation, to the orators arrayed with eloquence, and the eloquent invested with* oratory, this apophthegm, ‘He that is commanded is excused’; and in reply to the threatening sentence, ‘Whoever composes, makes himself a butt,’ he offers this rejoinder deserving of acceptance, ‘He who composes produces something new.’*

When equity informs the sight we pass
As pearls, what are in truth but beads of glass.
I for my failure am with shame oppressed;
Do not with sarcasm wound anew my breast.
For none amid the ranks of pious men,
Reproach the fallen, or th’ abased contemn:
No faults are seen by merit-searching eyes,
And we may well the blame of fools despise.
To ev’ry fault the eye of favour’s closed.

May God graciously guide us to that which He loves, and be pleased with and seal up our states and our hopes and our fates happily and fairly; and this book, which is entitled the ‘Anvár-i Suhailí,’ has fourteen chapters after the manner that is herewith particularly detailed:

Chapter I. On avoiding the talk of slanderers and calumniators.
    „ II. On the punishment of evil doers, and their disastrous end.
    „ III. On the agreement of friends, and the advantages of their mutually aiding one another.
    „ IV. On the subject of attentively regarding the circumstances of our enemies, and not being secure as to their stratagems and machinations.
    „ V. On the detriment of giving way to negligence, and of permitting the objects of desire to escape from one’s hands.
    „ VI. On the calamitious results of precipitation, and the injurious­ness of haste.
    „ VII. Of vigilance and deliberation, and of escaping from the injuries of foes.
    „ VIII. On avoiding the malevolent, and not relying on their pro­fessions of attachment.
    „ IX. Of the excellence of clemency, that it is the best attribute of kings, and the most pleasing quality of the mighty.
    „ X. On the subject of requiting actions by way of retribution.
    „ XI. On the detriment of seeking more and failing in one’s object.
    „ XII. Of the excellence of mildness and calmness, and tranquillity and composure, especially in kings.
    „ XIII. On the shunning the speeches of the perfidious and the traitorous by kings.
    „ XIV. On abstaining from regard to the vicissitudes of time, and the basing one’s actions on the decrees and will of God.

After the list of the chapters the story commences, which will form the source of the narrative: and success is from the One God.