1,501. Kabābs. (See Notes 568 and 1,340.)

1,502. This distich is the peroration of Malīkhā’s speech. The first hemistich means “Solve difficulties in such a manner”.

1,503. In this and the preceding two distichs Bashr is alluding to the way in which he and Malīkhā respectively interpret the jar and water.

In the first hemistich of this distich I have rendered pīshī by “at first”, which is most probably its meaning here, though the dictionaries explain it only as a noun. But there is no reason why it should not have an adjectival signification, and hence an adverbial. Its adverbial use might be explained too on the analogy of ‘āqibat for ba-‘āqibat or dar ‘āqibat.

1,504. “Wallets”; i.e., travellers’ food-wallets, which can be spread out as cloths.

“Drank water (from the jar)”; lit., “gave out water,” āb dar dādand; i.e., presumably, ladled it out with their hands.

1,505. Lit., “Do not be a mixer of colours in such a jar”; i.e., do not mix the colours of your dirt in its water. But rang-āmīz, “a mixer of colours,” means also “deceitful, full of strata­gems, crafty”, so that we might also translate “Do not play tricks upon, or be treacherous to this jar” (which has given you water).

1,506. “With stimulated heart,” bā dil-angīzī. (See Note 1,404.)

1,507. It should be remembered that mirrors were made of metal.

1,508. “Tried,” fitna, here used as maftūn.

1,509. i.e., henceforth we must be strangers.

1,510. “That sample of the base,” ān namūna-yi ni‘āl; lit., “that sample of shoes.”

Ṣaff-i ni‘āl, “the line or rank of shoes,” is the place near the door where the shoes of those who enter the house are left and where people of the lowest class sit. Hence I am assuming that these people are taken as the shoes among which they sit. Cf. the term sifla, “a low, mean, or ignoble person,” applied by Bashr to Malīkhā in the third distich after this.

1,511. This second hemistich is very elliptically and obscurely expressed. It means that Malīkhā spoke contemptuously of people as no better than dead, and so neither men nor women.

1,512. If sar-gushāda be for the comparative, sar-gushāda-tar, the sense would be, “A well more open than a road before (you).”

1,513. i.e., the decision of neither was founded upon the real nature of the water, although one of the two might have been so, since they were contrary or most widely opposed to one another, one being good, the other bad.

With respect to the literal meaning, the property of water which corresponds best with “clashing” is its forcefulness, especially when we keep in mind the other senses of āb, “water,” namely, “lake, river, sea, ocean.” Then āb itself too means “power, forcefulness”, as well as “lustre, radiance, effulgence”; and, as it signifies also the Universal Spirit, we may perhaps assume that this is the real meaning of the jar and water; for though the jar would seem to circumscribe, it will be noticed that when Bashr examines it more closely it appears to expand indefinitely.

1,514. i.e., taking the jar and water as the Universal Spirit (see the last Note)—all our philosophical disquisitions and formal inquiries into its nature result only in trouble and affliction to our individual, partial spirits. It can only be appreciated by the Ṣūfī saint who has attained to its position by following out the Path. (See C. E. Wilson’s Translation of Rūmī’s Masnavī, Book II.)

1,515. “The work”; more literally, “the picture or form (made)”; i.e., the result in this phenomenal world of God’s idea in the spiritual world was not what we thought it.

This seems to refer more to Bashr’s previous words regarding God’s pre-recordings, but with respect to the Universal Spirit it would mean that, though it may be appreciated by the Ṣūfī saint, the idea which the philosopher by formal inquiry conceives of it is not in accordance with its real nature.

1,516. i.e., no one can find a clue to the mysteries of the universe, because there is a veil between us and the spiritual world. The Author conceives the sky or sphere as a circular thread, of which the two ends are knotted together, so that no one can find the clue.

1,517. A durust is said in the Commentary to Graf’s Būstān to have been a dīnār or ashrafī. A dīnār was worth about ten shillings. The modern Persian ashrafī is worth about eight shillings, but the Indian ashrafī or muhr (mohur) is worth about £1 16s.

1,518. “The person of the house,” ahl-i sarā, probably means Malīkhā’s wife, the word ahl being used to avoid the use of a word which actually means “wife”.

1,519. Lit., “at last the water remaining in his mouth”; i.e., remaining to stay, so that he was suffocated.

1,520. Where many bodies are, so to say, stored; but jīfa-gāh, “a place of carrion carcasses,” is a name given to the world itself.

1,521. I read this second hemistich, bi-purad k’ān khvad āyad az magasī, where bi-purad means “he should be filled, or fill himself”. The verb is perhaps not commonly found, but it is used by Sa‘dī in the following line:—

Inā-ī ki pur shud digar chun purad? “How can a vessel filled be filled again?”

Parīdan means “to fly”, and this would naturally be associated with a fly, but it would make no sense here, and I think the Author is using the rhetorical device of seeming to say one thing whilst meaning another. It is possible he may intend by magas, “fly,” magas-i angubīn, “the honey-fly,” i.e., “the bee.”

1,522. Especially the last, I should think.

1,523. In the first hemistich “pearl” presumably means “face”. In the second “moist cornelian” means “dewy lips”, and the “dry impression” means the “veil”. The metaphor is drawn from the fact that the stone (here cornelian) of the seal-ring is moistened before the impression is taken.

1,524. The second hemistich could also be rendered, “She got a fair inkling (of the truth), and read his soul.”

1,525. i.e., he has seen a fairy, not a demon, and therefore he is not a demoniac, as one is supposed to become after seeing a demon. He is, however, in a way fascinated, possessed, or even crazed, that is, with love. (See Note 1,342.)

1,526. “The marriage-gift” or portion, kābīn, the Arabic mahr, which the bridegroom engages to pay the bride, part of it generally at once, mahr-i mu‘ajjal, and the rest, mahr-i mu‘ajjal, by instalments or on a divorce.

1,527. The evil eye is supposed to affect particularly one who is especially fortunate.

1,528. i.e., he restored her from a wretched to a happy con­dition: he made her Autumn, as it were, a Spring.

1,529. i.e., green dress, which suggests the Spring, is more suitable than yellow, which suggests the Autumn.

A contrast may also be intended between green, the sacred colour of Muslims, and the yellow cloth-badge, yahūdāna, pāra-yi zard, or girda, which the Jews were formerly obliged to wear in the East.

1,530. A tall, graceful person is often likened to a cypress.

1,531. Called here the best day of the week as being the day of “Bahrām”, the name of the king as well as of Mars.

1,532. i.e., Bahrām was the namesake of Mars, and of every­thing of martial hue.

1,533. “Pearls from cornelian”; i.e., sweet and eloquent words from her mouth or lips.

1,534. “To bore pearls” is to speak sweetly and eloquently.

1,535. i.e., too blind to see your grandeur.

1,536. “The ruby mine” means her mouth or lips. “Purest rubies”; i.e., sweet and eloquent words.

1,537. i.e., compared with her the sugar had no sweetness, and the taper neither brightness, nor slenderness and upright­ness of form.

1,538. Hair is compared with musk in respect of its darkness of colour.

1,539. Mercury, the god of wisdom. The sense is that she had all the beauty of Venus and the wisdom of Mercury.

1,540. Nard is the Persian game of backgammon.

1,541. The “Brazen Fort”, the celebrated fortress in Turkistan described in the Shāh-nāma (Turner Macan’s edition, vol. iii., pp. 1142-3). It is there said to have been three leagues high and forty long; to have been defended by 100,000 men, and provisioned for ten years. It had one gate towards China, and one towards Persia. It was taken by Isfandiyār, the Persian king, from Arjāsp, who was killed.

The great extent ascribed to it might lead one to suspect that the idea of it arose from some vague accounts of the Great Wall of China, if the position of the latter were not opposed to this supposition.

1,542. “The fragrant wine,” rāḥ-i raiḥānī; lit., “the wine scented with sweet basil.” The word raiḥānī is possibly an allusion to Abū Raiḥān Albīrūnī, who was as famous an astrologer as a historian and chronologist. The meaning would be that she had studied works as learned as those on astrology by Abū Raiḥān, the author of the famous work the Kitābu ’t-tafhīm fī ṣanā‘ati ’t-tanjīm. It should be added that it is evident from several of Nizāmī’s works that he had considerable knowledge of astrology.

1,543. Chinese painting was much esteemed in Persia.

1,544. “She tied knots on the water”; i.e., she accomplished marvels. “Like a shell”; i.e., like any oyster shell, which was supposed to form the pearl from a drop of water which had fallen into it, so that, in a manner, it tied knots (i.e., pearls) on the water admitted.

1,545. Her black paint on the white ground is compared with the ḥūrīs’ locks upon their bright faces.

1,546. The connexions of the talismans would be those fixed between themselves, the object to be guarded, and the person to be guarded against.

1,547. i.e., reveal this secret.

1,548. “Poison-flasks”; i.e., the heads of those killed, which seemed as poison to any aspirant. Zahr, poison, is contrasted with nūsh-nāma, “honeyed letter, page”; nūsh meaning, besides “honey, treacle”, “an antidote against poison”.

1,549. “Rings,” ḥalqa; possibly ring-cakes, so common a cake as to give the term ḥalqa-jī, “a maker or seller of rings, i.e., ring-cakes.” (Cf. the Turkish sütlü ḥalqa, “a milk-cake in the shape of a ring.”)

“Spines among the dates”; see Notes 56 and 527.

1,550. “Dwell not on the small”; i.e., do not be distracted from the main business by petty details.