O Nizami! thou art a great Master of Fame;
Old thou art become, yet art thou fresh (with spiritual power) as before.

Like lions, expand with power thy claw;
Like the fox, stain not thyself with colour (of deceit).


For poetry's sake, the sign of the vocative is, in the original, omitted.


“Sar-panja” signifies—panja,e dast.

The word sar is redundant.

This couplet hints at abandoning retirement, and choosing entertain­ment.

The second line means—

Display not deceit for the sake of not coming forth from the corner of retirement.

I have heard that, in Russia, the coloured (decorated) fox
Is self-adorning, in the manner of a bride.

When the day is raining, or the wind whirling,
He brings not forth his hair (fur-coat) from the lair (“earth”).


He makes his abode, in a corner, without victuals,
Licks not (anything) save his own leg and foot;

(And) devours his own blood (from hunger) for the sake of his fur coat:
—Everyone cherishes the body; he, his fur-garment.—

In the end, when Death approaches him,
His hair becomes painful to his body.

For the sake of that fur-coat, they attempt his blood:
With ignominy, they pluck it from the body.

Why is it necessary to adorn such a carpet (outward person),
The rising from which (to go to the grave) is unavoidable?


Every animal, that is not self-adorning,
For his injury, avarice has no desire.

Come out of this screen of seven colours (of outward self-decoration) and be content (with God)!
For, the mirror beneath the blight is black (Ethiopian-like).


“'Arús” signifies—a man, or a woman, married not longer than three days and nights.

“Naward” signifies—surákh-i-pechídár, a winding hole.

“Rang” may signify—irz. Rús is said to be a country (Russia) near to the Land of Darkness.


“Wabal” signifies—ná-gawár shudan.

“Múyina,” or “múyína,” is like—zarína, párína. The termination is sometimes redundant, as in—ganjína.


“Ná-guzír” signifies—arúr.


“Zangí” here signifies—habshí. See canto xix. couplets 242, 243; xx. 64.

“Parda,e haft rang” may signify—inconstant time; the world of seven climes; the seven skies, each of which has a different colour; the corner of retirement.

Thou art neither red sulphur, nor white ruby,
That the Seeker should be hopeless of (finding) thee.

Enough—evoking these sorceries (of self-approval and self-adornment)
Not mixing, like the magicians, with persons.

Mingle with men, if thou be a man;
For to a man a man is habituated.


If thou be a mine of treasure, (and) come not to the hand (of men),—
Much treasure there is of this sort (despised) beneath the dust.

When the fruit-possessor (tree) falls (is) far from the fruit-devourer,
Whether the date, or the thorn, be the date-tree's,—what matter?

Youth departed, and (length of) life remained not;
Say to the world: “Remain not, since youth remained not!”

Youth is the beauty of a man;
When beauty departs, how may joyfulness remain?


“Gú-gird” signifies—kibrít.

There are four kinds of sulphur—white, black, red and yellow.

Red sulphur, like the white ruby, is very rare.


Magicians associate not with persons.

Enough—building up charming verse, magic-like, and by them making men desirous of thy society; and, like the magicians, not asso­ciating with persons.


Khú-gar” signifies—ulfat-gíranda. The Sages have said:

“The man who claims intellectuality desires union with others.”

“Mardum” (both singular and plural) is here plural.


If thou choosest retirement, it is nothing to be proud of; much trea­sure lies buried and despised beneath the soil.


“Ma mán” signifies—ma-básh; níst-shau.

To the child is hope of youth; to the youth, of old age; and to the old man, of nothing.

In youth, the abandoning of retirement and the choosing of society is pleasant; in old age, the issuing from retirement is irksome and difficult.

What treasure (of excellence and skill) is that which is not a portion for me?
Alas! youth. Not mine is youth.


When the nerve (the great vein) became sluggish, and the (back-) bone worn out,
Utter no more the tale of beauty.

When from the hand departed the pride of youthfulness,
Wash thy hand (despair) of joyfulness.

The brightness of the face (aspect) of the flower-garden (of youth) is as long
As the box-tree (a youth) is laughing with the tulip (a damsel).

When the autumnal wind (old age) falls upon the garden (season of youth).
Time gives the place of the nightingale (joyousness) to the crow (sadness).

The leaf (the teeth, or the hair) goes falling from the lofty bough,
The hearts of the gardeners (old men) become sorrowful.


The sweet odours of Basil (joyousness) disappear from the flower-garden;
No one seeks the key of the door of the garden.

O ancient nightingale, years-endured (Nizami)! Bewail,—
That the cheek of the red rose became yellow:


The second line may be:—

Alas! My youth is not (in duration, even) like the smallest division of time.


When the pride of youth, which is like the flashing of an ignited chip, leaves thee, and old age comes,—put aside insolent-bearing; for youth returns not.

Couplets 21, 22, and 23 form a ḳi'a-band.


“Rihá,in” (sing. rihán) signifies—the rare perfume called “Holy Basil.” It is sold by Piesse and Lubin, of London, in bottles at 2s. 6d., 5s. and 10s. each.

Neither desires the old man joyousness, nor shows him anyone joy­ousness.


Some say that the nightingale's lament is in spring, not in autumn.

(That) the decorated straight cypress became bent;
The gardener (youthfulness), risen from the shade (of the garden of the body), went.

When in years, the date (of life) came to fifty,
The state of the hastener (to the next world) became changed.

The head, through the heavy weight (of old age), came to heaviness (became weak);
The dromedary (of the body) came to distress, on account of the difficult path (of old age).


In regard to demanding wine, my hand remained helpless;
In regard to rising, my foot became heavy.

My body took the hue of lapis-lazuli (blackishness);
My rose (face-complexion) cast its ruddiness, and took yellowness.

The steed (of the body, once) the swift-mover, loitered on the path;
Need of the pillow-place (rest) came to my head.

Verily, the steed (of the body, once) rearing and curveting, wind-footed,
Moves not from his place, with a hundred blows of the chaugán (resolutions of the heart).

The key of joy (wine of youthfulness) in the wine-tavern (of the body) became lost;
The stain of remorse (for youthful deeds) appeared.


“Kadíwar” signifies—kadáwar; kad-áwar; kad-khána; șáhib-i-khána; șáhib-i-tan.

It means—(meta.) bághbán; nishá-i-'umr.


“Ba sang dar ámadan” signifies—'ájiz yá shíkasta shudan.


By reason of coldness and dryness,—softness and ruddiness de­parted.


“Chaugání” here signifies—quick-moving.

The chaugán is a stick, curved at one end, used in the game of chaugán, the modern “Polo.”


From the mountain (the head) came up the cloud, camphor-raining (white hair);
The nature of the earth (the body) became camphor-devouring (virility-wanting).

Sometimes, the heart inclines to moving;
Sometimes, the head makes praise of sleeping.

he reproach of brides (damsels) came to my ear;
The jar (of the body) became empty (of the wine of pros­perity); and the Cup-bearer (youth's vigour), silent.

The head turned from sport (of youthfulness); and the ear from song;
For the time of farewell to the marching-place (this world) became near.

The corner (of retirement),—better than the Karavan-sara,e (the public edifice) at such a time,
When Time widely displays hand-stretching (for plunder of life).


“Káfúr khwar” signifies—very cold.


Sometimes, the temperament desires exercise; but, through feeble­ness, the body moves not. Sometimes, the head, from complete ex­haustion, desires sleep; but, from aridity of brain, sleep comes not.


“Sáḳí” here means—a bride (damsel); or youth's vigour. See couplet 68.

The brides (damsels) reproached; for they considered me not worthy of their society.

If nayáyad be read for dar ámad, the first line will read:

The reproach (cajolery) of damsels came not to my ear (they regarded me not);

For the jar (the body) …

“'Itáb” signifies—náz va andáz.

By reason of old age, the heart turns away from the acceptance of their caresses.


The word gáh in kúch-gáh may signify place or time as—

subh-gáh, morning time șaid-gáh, hunting place
shám-gáh, evening time ramídan-gáh, terrorizing place

The world is a place from which it is necessary to march.


“Káj” is the name of a Káraván-sará,e between Kirm and Ray.

“Dast-yází” (from dast yazídan, to stretch out the hand) signifies— dast darází; ghárat-garí. See canto viii. couplet 2; xxii. 116; xxx. 171; xxxi. 129.

Couplets 39, 43 and 48 refer to the invitation given in couplets 13 and 14.


Of the moth, the spectacle (sight) is as long as
The candle, night-illuminating, is laughing (burning).

When thou makest the house, void of the candle (of youth­fulness),
Thou seest not again the painting (form) of the moth (of gladsomeness).

In the day of youthfulness, and of being newly born (freshness),
I boasted of old age and decrepitude.

Now, in grief (weakness of body), when may I exhibit joy­ousness?
With the reverent head (of old age), youthfulness how may I display,

(Who am) like a rotten stick (bark stripped), which, in the garden-corner,
Is at night an illuminator, like a candle?


If I had beheld, in myself, an increase (of life),
I would have sought, in myself, a place of repose:

Would have made Life anew, in comfortableness;
Would have pledged the world for joyfulness.

When the day of youth arrived at an end,
The white dawn (white hair) appeared from the east (head and face).


The time of man's joy is as long as youth remains.


In this state of old age, I am like a rotten stick, bark-stripped, whose naked body appears, at night, like a burning coal; or which (like a fire­fly, night illuminating), gives a soft light.

Illumination to such an extent only is left to me; the effulgence of youth, like the resplendent sun, has departed.


If a person seized the world and gave joyousness in place of it,—I would choose the joy.


This is in astonishment. Because, when the white day is ended, black night appears; but here there is no night, yet the white morning of another day appears.

In thought of that, I am—how I may place my head (in devotion to God);
How I may put my foot out of (abandon) the work of the world.

That head (person) that is worthy of the crown,—
Its chin must be musk (black), not ivory (white).


Before that these seven swift compasses (the seven skies around the world)
Rend the (straight) line of my life,

I will bring my hand (of power) to every musical plectrum (of lustrous verse);
Will preserve (in verse) the fame of my own existence:

Will practise sorcery with every counter (of the subtlety of verse);
Will apply a remedy (lustrous speech), for the purpose of remaining (in men's recollection).

When my Gilan-steed (swift-moving life) leaves this bridge (the clayey body),
I have not the desire of returning to Gilan (the world).


“Sar nihádan” signifies—á'at va safr kardan; khwáb va ásá,ish kardan; dar káre shághil shudan.

I am in thought how I may depart from this world; come forth from its cares; and prepare myself for the future world. This being so, how may I seek for the joyousness of youth.


How I may choose a work which may remain a token of me; and, by the accomplishing of which I may remain at rest.


“Sarín gáh” signifies—sarún gáh; nishast-gáh-i-sar; baná gosh; bálá,e gosh; mú,e ḳafá zanakh dán.

The man fit for empire must be young (black haired), not old (grey haired).


“Muhr” signifies—muhra,e falak; uraḳ-i-saná'í va badá'í,e shá'irí.

Since the sky desires to efface me without leaving trace or name, I will do a work (the Sikandar-Náma) by which I shall have an existence that may be called—eternal life.

On this path (of life), are many sleepers (dead-men) like me;
No one brings to mind that anyone is here.


O fresh mountain-partridge (vigorous youth)! bring me to mind,
So that, when thou passest over the head (tomb-stone) of my dust;

Seest—the herbage spring up from my dust;
The hips disintegrated; the pillow (of my composition) scattered;

All the dust of my couch (the grave) wind-carried;
Of me, none of my time recollection taken;—

Thou mayst place thy hand on the grave-stone of my dust,
Mayst remember (in prayer for my welfare) my pure jewel (body)!

Shouldst thou shed over me a tear (of prayer) on account of my being far (concealed from thee),
I will shed on thee, from the sky, the light of Divine grace.


As quickly as possible, on thy prayer,
I will put—Ámín! so that, it may be accepted (of God).

Shouldst thou cause a prayer to reach me, I will cause a prayer (for forgiveness) to reach thee:
Shouldst thou come, I will descend from the vault of Heaven.


If sar be read for sarín in the second line, we have—

The decomposed head of the scattered pillow (back-bone).

According to Muhammad, the whole of a man's body is consumed save the al ajb (os coccygis) which, as it was the first formed, will re­main uncorrupted till the last day as a seed, whence the whole is to be renewed by a forty days' rain, resembling sperma hominis, coming from the living water under God's throne, covering the earth to a depth of twelve cubits.


“Dárúd” signifies—

From God, șalvat va rahmat, benediction and mercy.
From angels, istighfár, forgiveness-seeking.
From men, du'á, prayer.
From animals, tasbíh, praise.

See canto xxxix, couplet 53.

Consider me alive, like thyself;
I will come in the soul, if thou come in the body.

Think me not free from (thy) society;
I behold thee, though thou behold me not.

Make not the lip (of prayer) silent, regarding the few sleeping ones (holy dead men);
(Nay), forget not (at all) the sleeping-ones (all dead men).


When here (at my tomb) thou arrivest, first cast wine (of senselessness) into the cup (of thy body);
(Then) move proudly to the sleeping-place (the tomb) of Nizami!

O Khizr of auspicious foot! think not
That, by reason of wine, the desire for wine is mine.

From that wine, I sought all senselessness;
With that senselessness, I adorned the assembly (of my Time).

For me, the Cup-Bearer is the Divine Promise (of behold­ing God's majesty);
The morning-draught (especially intoxicating) is rapture; wine, senselessness.


See canto x. and lxix.

Niámí here calls himself Khizr; because, like Khizr, who drank the Water-of-Life and became immortal,—he will (by this Book) become immortal.


“Mai” here signifies—be khudí, ecstasy, or senselessness, the state in which a person considers himself non-existent, on beholding the majesty of God.

Kharábí” signifies—a state in which a person makes himself en­raptured (kharáb), or perfectly senseless, in the knowledge of God.

Kharábí va be khudí is the state (described in couplets 67 and 68) of the true lovers of God, Most High.

Note that—

sáḳí means the Divine Promise, not Cup-Bearer.
șabúh means kharábí which have been not morning-draught.
mai means be khudí defined not wine.

The words are so used throughout this work.

“Sáḳí” occasionally means—murshid; mabda,a e fiyáz.

Otherwise, by God! as long as I have been (existent),
I have not stained the skirt of my lip with wine.


If ever, with wine, I became stained of palate (lip),
Be the lawful (to myself in the sight) of God unlawful to Nizami!

Come Cup-Bearer! put the sleep (of carelessness) out of my head;
Give pure wine (of senselessness) to the pure Lover (of God).

The wine which came like limpid water,
Has become lawful in every sect (of Islam).


Halál refers to the blessed verse of the Ḳurán—

“Their Lord will cause them to drink pure wine.”


In some copies, bahar chár mazhab occurs.

This reading is probably erroneous; for there are seventy-two sects (firḳat), not four, in the faith of Islám.