401. “Bears them off”; i.e., inherits them.

“The waster”; lit., “the money-killer,” sīm-kush.

“The collector”; lit., “the money-collector,” sīm-kash.

Such an assumption as is conveyed in this and the preceding distich is tantamount in Persian to an assertion of the uselessness of the act alluded to in the assumption.

402. I translate from the reading Ānki, “that that” or “this that”, which is preferable to the alternative reading Ānchi, “that which”, in so far as the act is spoken of in the second hemistich, not the object of the act.

Both zar, “gold,” and sīm, “silver,” mean also simply “money”.

403. i.e., the person who spends not for his wants has no pleasure in life: the digger of the well instead of enjoying the water is injured by it.

404. Lit., “is the enlivener of joy.”

405. By “a stone” is meant “gold”.

406. “That ruin” means “the world”.

407. Dīvs, i.e., demons, are said to inhabit ruins and wastes.

408. Jahān, “the world,” means also “the world’s goods”, so that the sense of the distich is, “How long would you bear the world’s goods merely as a porter might, and make them serve no useful purpose?”

409. “The four porters” are “the four elements”. Hence “the four porters’ house” is either “the world” or “the human body”. Here the latter sense only is applicable, and the meaning is that however much a man may collect he will bear away (to the tomb) only his own body.

410. “The air without (the letter) alif” is bād without the long “a” (ā), reducing thus to “bad”, which means “bad, evil, wickedness”. The meaning is that the two kinds of elements opposed to you are the earth, which is devoid of “friendliness” (ilf), i.e., “the world,” and the air without alif, i.e., “evil.”

411. Some editions read tāj, “crown,” but others bāḥ, which has no meaning. Hence I think that we may readily surmise bāj, “tribute,” to be the correct reading, one dot in bāḥ in the original doing the office of two.

412. Sīkh is presumably used here in the sense of tīr, a “rolling-pin”, tīr-i tutmāj being a rolling-pin to prepare tutmāj.

Sīkh in the sense of “spit” is quite inappropriate here, since tutmāj, translated “paste”, is not a dish which could be prepared by or cooked on a spit, being “fresh made pastry cut into strips and stewed with meat”.

413. Lit., “in whose stomach there is a drum”; i.e., whose stomach grumbles through emptiness.

i.e., necessaries are preferable to luxuries; or everything should have its appropriate place. (For tutmāj, see Note 412.)

414. Dāna-yi dur is here equivalent to dur-dāna.

415. i.e., greediness and covetousness lead to vexatious interference and strife with others.

416. Sa‘dī says in the Būstān:

Na-y-arzad ‘asal, jān-i man, zakhm-i nīsh: “The honey, dear friend, is not worth the wound of the sting.”

417. Jigar, “liver, heart,” means also “pain, grief, trouble”. “The butcher’s shop” is, of course, “the world.”

418. i.e., thousands fail for one that succeeds. Life is only a lottery.

“The sky” means “fortune” or “the malice of fortune”.

419. i.e., the world or fortune is quite uncertain and untrust­worthy.

420. The meaning is apparently that if the gratification of a person’s wish should be destined to have contrary results it is better that the wish should not be gratified. In the frustration of his wish he would be happier than in the gratification of it. Cf. the Anvār-i Suhailī, Book III., Story 1:

Basā murād ki dar ẓimn-i nā-murādīhā-’st! “How many a gratification is involved in frustration of one’s wishes!”

The best MSS. I have consulted read nā-murādī, “frustration,” but some MSS. and printed editions have bī-murādī, “not wishing,” which is simpler, but makes the sense rather pointless.

421. The Author apparently implies that success gained late in life is likely to be of a more solid, self-sustaining, durable, and complete nature than that gained early in life; for cf. the next distich. In this success, which, from its implied nature, should endure to the end of life, the business of life may be said to be perfected.

422. i.e., How long would you waste all your energies in seeking to shine and to make all you can of yourself before the people of the world?

423. “This bestial den” is “the world”.

“This jar of crockery” is “the sky”. Both mean “fortune”.

424. By “this seven-rooted tree” is meant the sky, of which the roots are, as it were, the seven earths. The sky means fortune, and the sense is “do not let yourself be dependent upon fortune: have nothing to do with it”.

“This four-nailed shoe” is the world as consisting of the four elements, and the meaning is, “have nothing to do with the world or fortune.”

425. “The mat-covered well” is “the world covered by the sky”. The word “stone” is used with reference to the stones employed in the construction of the well. “Dead as a stone or a mat” may possibly apply to the person admonished, and would then signify “dead or insensible to the attractions of the world or the allurements of fortune”, but I think the applica­tion to the world or fortune is preferable.

426. i.e., sacrifice your life for intellectual and spiritual perfection, and think not of cultivating or indulging the body.

427. Pīr; i.e., Ṣūfī chief. This distich is omitted by I.O. MS. 1168.

428. i.e., “have full and entire faith in God.”

After this distich, I.O. MS. 1168, only, has a distich of which the following is a translation:

“If you are a disciple, behold, you are in bad estate; rise from the midst, that you be isolated (from all ties).” The only sense of this can be, “you are only on the road to improvement,” but this is far from being good sense.

429. The Author is possibly alluding to his life of retirement, upon which Jāmī in the Nafaḥātu ’l-Uns lays much stress.

430. The village-chief entertains stranger guests.

It should be remembered that the king has, in a way, called Nizāmī from his retirement by asking him to write a poem. Nizāmī seems to hint here that if he does not write no one can do so in a worthy manner.

431. The Author possibly means that he is aiming at the poet who is a pretender.

432. i.e., possibly, destitute of taste, judgment and appre­ciation of real merit.

433. The Author means possibly that where he is the people prefer bad poetry to good. Turk amongst its various meanings has that of “a beauty”. Hence Turkī (here a noun, not an adjective) means “something of a beautiful or delightful nature”. The Author in the second hemistich likens this to dūgh-bā, which is here equivalent to māst, or the Turkish yōghūrt, “specially prepared thick curds of milk,” a favourite dish of the Turks.

“This Ethiopia,” or “these Ethiopians”; i.e., these uncivilized people.

434. “This furnace” means “the world”.

Lit., “I had any rawness”; i.e., probably, I was still somewhat inexperienced in the affairs of the world. The only other sense could be that his early work was somewhat immature, but this I think is inadmissible.

435. i.e., fortune, or rather plagiarists, took advantage of my inexperience and made use of the works of my genius.

Tūtiyāhā-yi ḥiṣrimī is equivalent to tūtiyā-yi ghūra, “tutty dissolved in the juice of sour grapes and applied as a remedy to strengthen the sight.”

436. The Author again alludes to plagiarists, of whom he complains too in the Sikandar-nāma. He seems to imply not only that they have robbed him but also that they have depre­ciated him.

The idea in this and the two preceding distichs, taken all together, seems to be that he has always, even from the time when he first began to write, suffered from plagiarists.

437. I.O. MS. 1168 and the B. ed. of 1328 read:

Mai ki juz jur‘a-yī zamīn na-buvad
qadr-i angūr bīsh az-īn na-buvad.

The sense seems to be that he, as a spiritual teacher, deserves better treatment than he implies he has received. In Ṣūfī phraseology “wine” means “the knowledge and love of God”. The Author has previously alluded to its superiority to water as a fertilizer. (See Note 312.)

438. The Author means possibly the quiet, retired life of the Ṣūfī recluse.

439. “Frozen water or ice” refers possibly to the Author, as living a quiet, retired life of contemplation, bound up, as it were, in himself.

There may possibly be some reference to him as a writer of recondite Ṣūfī poetry in his retirement—poetry which is bound up, as it were, and closed to the comprehension of the com­monalty.

440. The reference is possibly to the reflection of the sun upon snow or ice.

441. i.e., ice in itself is like silver and not gold.

442. It seems probable from the three preceding distichs that by “silver” the Author means himself, and by “gold” the Deity, of Whom he is only a reflection, as the moon is of the sun. Cf. too the next distich.

443. Sīm, “silver,” without the middle letter is “sim”, which is like mis, “copper,” and it is identical with it when reversed.

The sense intended is probably that the creature, a reflection of the Creator, loses value by not invoking Him, being a vocative particle. By using the word “reversed” the Author may be pointing to the supposition of the creature’s being depraved, as well as wanting in prayer.

444. By “iron” the Author means probably his ṭab‘ or “poetical genius”.

By “with gold inlaid” he refers either to the dedication to the king or the latter’s patronage.

By “its silvery work” are meant the sweetness and beauty of the verse.

Or perhaps it would be more in accordance with the next distich to interpret “iron” as his “poetry”. Then “in composition” would mean “when he composes”; but this seems a little strained.

445. The meaning is that the Author is enriched by his poetical genius (or possibly his poetry), because, though he calls it “iron”, it has the value of “silver”, and can be sold for silver. (See the preceding distich.)

Most of the I.O. MSS. read:

Mard-iāhan-firūsh zar pūshad k’āhanīrā ba-nuqra bi-firūshad: “The dealer in iron who sells a quantity of iron for silver can dress in gold”; or, “The dealer in iron can dress in gold because he sells, etc.” I have taken the reading of I.O. MS. 1168, but conjectured bi-firūsham for na-firūsham in the second hemistich.

446. i.e., “(my iron is silver); alas for him whose gold is less than silver!”

447. Āsmān and rīsmān; i.e., “the sky” and “cord”. The words are brought together from a certain resemblance in sound, as in several English proverbial expressions.

448. Lit., “gold in boxfuls, and silk in ass-loads.”

449. i.e., since riches distribute themselves so unworthily, why should one fear their not distributing themselves at all? Farāghat is exactly the opposite of kār.

450. “Such a ruin” is “the world”. “Into a ewer (or cup) draw a sun,” or perhaps, “confine a sun in a ewer (or cup),” means probably “have the mind or soul in its greatness and splendour trammelled by the visible world, which is in reality so small and insignificant”.