In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Clement.

Praise and thanks and glory to that King who, by*

the instrumentality of the Cherubim and Angels of the Spirit World, brought into being the World of Return and Restoration, and, by means thereof, created and adorned the World of Becoming and Decay, maintaining it by the Command and Prohibition of the Prophets and Saints, and restraining it by the swords and pens of Kings and Ministers. And blessings upon the Lord of both worlds, who was the most perfect of the Prophets, and invocations of grace upon his Companions and those of his Household, who were the most excellent of Saints and Vicars. And honour to the King of this time, that learned, just, divinely-favoured, victorious, and heaven-aided monarch, Ḥusámu'd-Dawla wa'd-Dín, Helper of Islám and the Muslims, Exterminator of the infidels and polytheists, Subduer of the heretical and the froward, Supporter of hosts in the worlds, Pride of Kings and Emperors, Succourer of mankind, Protector of these days, Fore-arm of the Caliphate, Beauty of the Faith and Glory of the Nation, Order of the Arabs and the Persians, noblest of mankind, Shamsu'l-Ma'álí, Maliku'l-Umará, Abu'l-Ḥasan 'Alí b. Mas'úd,*

Help of the Prince of Believers, may his life be filled with success, may the greater part of the world be assigned to his name, and may the ordering of the affairs of Adam's seed be directed by his care! For to-day he is the most excellent of the kings of the age in nobility, pedigree, doughty deeds, judgement, statesmanship, justice, equity, valour, and generosity, as well as in the adorning of his territory, the embellishment of his realms, the maintenance of his friends, the subjugation of his foes, the raising of armies, the safeguarding of the people, the securing of the roads, and the tranquilizing of the realms,*

and also in that upright judgement, clear understanding, strong resolve, and firm determination, by the excellence of which the con­catenation of the House of Shansab*

is held together and maintained in order, and by the perfection of which the strong arm of that Dynasty is strengthened and braced. May God Almighty give him full portion, together with the other kings of that line, of dominion and domain, and throne and fortune, by His Favour and His Grace!

But to proceed. It is an old custom and ancient practice, which custom is maintained and observed, that the Author, in the introduction to his discourse and preface of his book, should commemorate somewhat of his patron's praise, and record some prayer on behalf of the object of his eulogy. But I, a loyal servant, instead of praise and prayer for this prince, will make mention in this book of those favours ordained and vouchsafed by God Almighty to this King of kingly parentage, that, these being sub­mitted to his world-illuminating judgement, he may betake himself to the expression of his thanks for them. For in the uncreated Scripture and unmade Word, God says, “Verily if ye be thankful, We will give unto you increase*;

for the gratitude of the servant is an alchemy for the favours of the Munificent Lord. Briefly, then, it behoves this great King and puissant Prince to know that to-day, upon the whole of this globe of dust, and within the circle of this green firmament,*

there is no king in more ample circumstances than this monarch, nor any potentate enjoying more abundant good than this sovereign. He hath the gift of youth and the blessing of constant health; his father and mother are alive; congenial brothers are on his right hand and on his left. And what father is like his sire, the mighty, divinely-strengthened, ever-victorious, heaven-aided Fakhru'd-Dawla wa'd-Dín,*

Prince of the realms of Írán, King of the Mountains (may God prolong his continuance and continue to the heights his exaltation!), who is the most puissant of the monarchs of the age, and the most excellent of the princes of the time in judgement, statecraft, knowledge, chivalry, swordsmanship, strength of arm, treasure, and muniment! Supported by ten*

thousand men bearing spears and handling reins, he hath made himself a shield before his sons, so that no disturbing blast of the zephyr may so much as blow on one of their servants. Under his high protection and unassailable precaution (may God increase their degree!), prayers, of which each clause is breathed upwards at full morning-tide to the Court of God, co-operate with a far-trailing host and wheeling army. What a brother, too, like the royal Prince Shamsu'd-Dawla wa'd-Dín, Light of Islám and the Muslims (may his victories be rendered glorious!), who reaches the extreme limit of endeavour in the service of this my master (whose exaltation may God perpetuate!). Praise be to God that this my master omits naught either in reward or retribution!*

And a favour yet greater is this, that the All-Perfect Benefactor and Unchanging Giver hath bestowed on him an uncle like the Lord of the World and Sovereign of the East, 'Alá'u'd-Dunyá wa'd-Dín Abú 'Alí al-Ḥusayn b. al-Ḥusayn,*

Ikhtiyáru Amíri'l-Mú'minín (may God prolong his life*

and cause his kingdom to endure!), who, with fifty thousand mail-clad men, strenuous in endeavour, obliterated the hosts of the world, and set in a corner all the kings of the age. May God (blessed and exalted is He!) long vouchsafe all to one another, and give all long enjoyment of one another's company, and fill the world with light by their achievements, by His Favour, and Bounty, and Grace!