O (my) heart! so long as thou acquirest not greatness,
It is not fit to sit in the place of great ones (people-counselling).

Is greatness necessary to thee? In this power of (magic speech),
Bring forth thy soul, in memory of (past) great ones.


“Dast-ras” signifies—isti'dád-i-sukhanwarí; tawángarí; jamí'at; sámán.

See canto vii. couplet 39; xxii. 116; xxx. 121; xxxi. 171.

The recollecting of men is the cause of the descending of mercy.

So long as they (men of the time) ask not for speech, keep the lip closed;
If thou mayst not break the jewel; keep quiet the mattock (tongue).

Whoever uttered speech unasked,
Placed on the wind (squandered) every word of his own.


One cannot show the lamp (of speech) to the sightless one (non-desirous of verse);
For, only the heart of the seeing one wishes for the garden (of speech).

It is profitable to utter speech, at that time,
When, from the uttering of it,—reputation becomes lofty.

When an answer suitable to the speaker (the questioner) comes not,
To utter foolish words—proper is not.

Stitching up the tongue with an iron nail;
And consuming that uttered—better than speaking.

O non-hearing man (ignorant of my purpose)! What say I?
Thy ear (is) intent on the tale of sleeping and of eating.


What knowest thou what knowledge I myself express?
I will strike the drum (of call) at my own door.

I have much goods of great value;
I bring them not forth, so long as no one desires them.


“Gawhar shikastan” here signifies—ná pursída sukhan guftan.


“Lafta” signifies—gufta.


“Nayushanda” or “Shinvanda” signifies—a title applied to those careless of the path of delight of speech, in the way of exciting desire.


“Duhul zadan” signifies—awázdádán. By this speech, I call the seekers of speech to myself.


In some copies, after this couplet, the following occurs:—

Let not valuable jewels be dull (in price) in the market;

Or, if they be, let it only be the defect of (attributed by) the enemy.

The pearl-purchaser (the seeker of my pure speech), oyster­like, stitched up his eye:
In this dulness (of market), it is not proper to sell pearls.

With such valuable jewels (of verse),—mine,
The need of one, jewel-appreciating, constantly arises.

From (the companions of my) Time, I desire a hearer,
To whom I may utter the mystery of the Teacher (God).


I will dig diamonds (of lustrous verse) from my own mine (the heart);
I will place with his (the hearer's) soul the package (of Divine mysteries) of my own soul.

Time gives many trades like this;
One takes a pearl; the other gives a pearl.

Where, a heart, which is without a soul-scratcher (sorrow)?
(Where), a noose, which is without a noose-remover?


“Durr” signifies—marwáríd-i-ṣadaf; ghiláf-i-marwáríd. Without the desire of one, eloquence-appreciating, I cannot reveal the capacity of my ability.


The teacher may mean—God; Niámí's heart; the tale of past kings; the seekers of verse.


In the second line, his refers to the one jewel appreciating in couplet 13.

“Ján-i-khud ba ján-i-dígare bastan” signifies—making another acquainted with one's own affairs.


“Bar” in the first line, and “dar” in the second, may be redundant. In the text they are rendered as “pur” and “durr.” The second line may be—This one takes; that one gives.


“Dúr-básh” signifies—a sort of two-pronged spear, shaft ornamented with gold and jewels, used by kings, before whom it is carried. If any­one casts a noose at the king, they repel it by means of the dúr-básh (lit: be far!). People seeing it leave the road clear. See canto xxiv. couplet 67.

This couplet, a complaint against Time for the consolation of Ni-ámí's heart, describes his own good nature and others' bad nature.

Perhaps, on this account, the snake (the ill-natured poet) sate above the treasure (of lustrous verse),
So that the jewel-stone may not, without labour, come to the hand (of the seeker).

One can keep the road-watch by the watchman;
Maintain the fire with ash.


If the date-tree be not lofty,
It receives injury from the plundering of every child.

By reason of this pleasant disposition, which is my nature,
Many are the breaches in my sowing and sown-fields (works).

Other road travellers (poets), who have bound their loins for this (versification),
Have, through ill-naturedness, escaped from the highway­men (time-wasters).

For the reason that the children of the road may fly,
Why is it necessary to become black, like an Ethiopian?


Perhaps “dar kunj” should be read for “bar ganj.” If so:—

Perhaps, for this reason, the snake sate in the corner,

So that its jewel head-stone may not, without labour, come to the hand.

See canto xi. couplet 72.


Through my good nature, all my time is wasted. Everyone who troubles me with speech (of laudation) I cannot drive away and not do his business.

The explanation—criticisms on and thefts of my poems are many—is wrong.


At the expense of metre the first line may be:—

Other road travellers have bound the loins of malice.


“Badán tá” signifies—bará,e ánki.

Foolish jesters, blackening the face, wearing long teeth, and assuming a frightful appearance, used to go in the streets at night and frighten children.

On that road (to the next world) on which I wish to go chattel-drawer (a traveller),
My road-provision (present), the good disposition is enough.


My jewel (of self) adorned with a pleasant temperament, —best.
For this, I lived; also in this I shall pass away.

When for everyone's sake pearl-piercing (versifying his history) is necessary,
For my own sake also, song-uttering (of my history) is necessary.

Of so many eloquent ones (ancient poets)—remember (this my) speech:
“I am the remembrancer of (their) speech in the world.”

When, by me, speech assumed integrity (lustrousness and correctness),
By me, it will display stability till the judgment-day.

I am—the cypress-pruner (gardener) of the garden of speech;
Like the cypress-tree, in attendance, loin-girt (erect).


“Rakht kash” signifies—musáfir.

“Ráh-áward” signifies—ááma ki hamráh-i-musáfir báshad.


The second line is from the “Sháh-Náma” (begun A.D. 980, finished A.D. 1009), by Firdausí, who says:—

I am the praise utterer of Muhammad and Haydar ('Alí);

For this, I lived; and in this I shall pass away.

The “Sikandar-Náma,” by Niámí, was written A.D. 1200, according to the “Royal Treasury,” by Mír Ghulám 'Alí Azád.


At the expense of metre the first line may be:—

Of so many eloquent ones, speech-remembering.


“Sarv-pírá” signifies—píráyanda,e sarv.

“Árástan” signifies—adding, so as to increase beauty. As applying collyrium and putting on splendid raiment.

“Pírástan” signifies—taking away, so as to increase beauty. As reducing the verbiage of a commentator, and clipping the hair of the head.


Like the sky—far from the deriding of all;
The chief; yet (through humility) the foot-kisser of all (poets);

Like Jupiter—for battle with every ill-thinker,
I possess the bow; but (through clemency) raise not the bow (for striking).

Like Venus,—I place dirams (sparkling speech) in the balance (of judgment),
But, when I give—I give without weighing.

Like the lightning,—I laugh not at anyone's affliction,
Lest that from (my laughing like) the lightning, sparks should fall on me.

Like the (perfume of the) rose, I express a cordial invita­tion to every thorn (injurer);
Like the reed, I express a great cry of joy to every wounder (slanderer).


“Fusos” signifies—be ráh kardan; bígár; kár giriftan be muzd; daregh; istihzá; sakhríyat.

“Dur az fusos hama” may be a parenthesis.

As much as the sky is lofty (bálá), just so is it profound (zer); for it embraces and comprehends the world. Hence, it is the foot-kisser.

Like the sky, my excellence is such that I am far removed from the state of doing the work (of versification) without the reward (of fame). I am the chief of poets; the violence of plagiarists affects me not. As none can reach the sky, so none can attain unto my skill.


Barjís (Jupiter) has two constellations—Ḳaus (Saggitarius) and Hút (Pisces). Jupiter's bow is his mansion (Saggitarius); Niámí's, his inward power. Niámí compares himself to Jupiter (living in Ḳaus) in not waging battle, though bow-possessing.


The first line signifies:—

Mine is the wealth of the world, not poverty.

Of the devotees of God, wealth is in the grasp.

Venus has two mansions—Mízan (Libra) and aur (Taurus).

Like Venus, I utter weighed speech, but I give it unweighed.

“Dar tarázú nihádan” signifies—háșil dáshtan, to acquire.


The lightning laughs at the weeping cloud; but, in the end, in retri­bution it consumes and disappears.


“Șalá,e” signifies—a kind invitation.

“Șalá,e gul” signifies—the pleasant perfume that the rose gives. In poetry, they liken the pleasant disposition to the pleasant perfume of the rose.

“Nawá” signifies—a cry of joy, such as that which rises from the reed.

Khár” signifies—the injurious man.

“Gul” signifies—the beneficent man.

Whoever injures me I come before him joyfully and not in pursuit of vengeance. I make the evil speaker ashamed by my pleasant disposition; and express a salutation of honour to the injurer.


Verily, this scorched (grief-stricken) heart is fire,
Which from thorn devouring (calamity suffering) became enkindled.

Like the river, I became the defect-washer of the enemy;
Not like the mirror, the defect-seeker of the friend.

To those asking (the beggars), I give of my property and treasure (of verse),
That, by treasure-giving, I may not come to affliction.

I display barley; but, I put wheat in its place;
Not like those barley-sellers, wheat-displaying.

My rear and front are alike, sun-like;
My effulgence (purity of heart) is great; deceit, little.


Behind anyone's back, I so pass not by,
That, before his face, I should bear shame.

The ill-spoken word of the evil-speaker, I conceal (from him);
By the return of goodness I make (him) penitent.

I utter not evil of the enemy even,
Lest that, from that uttered, I should be my own enemy.


By ill speaking, I become deserving of the torment of hell.

By reason of this goodness, they (the men of the world) bring me—from the desert and the river bed,
From the good (holy men) and those renowned (kings)— blessing.

And, if also I wander from this state (of life of the world),
I may become the place of pilgrimage of good men.


On my own diram-scatterer (Benefactor), I become gold-scatterer;
But, with arrogant-ones, I display arrogance.

From being without a tool (of excellence), I remain not in the corner (of retirement);
The world, wind; and the orange (the lamp) fears the (strong) wind.

Of the kings of (past) time in this deep pit (the world that has devoured the dead),
To whom was there a rare companion (of excellence) like me (to keep their memory living)?

Who has beheld (singing) over a coloured rose (Nasratu-d-din)
A nightingale (a poet) of more lofty voice than me?

On every kind of knowledge, a book prepared;
For (the explanation of) every subtlety, a pen desired.


Niámí's tomb is a place of pilgrimage. See the “Life of Niámí.”


The orange, a large fruit, is easily cast down by the wind. Both the orange and the lamp may signify—the rich man, who, by the wind of calamity, may be overthrown.


In the solving of one difficulty, I have written so much that (the first pen being worn out) I asked for another pen for the explaining of another subtle point.


I am—like the book, adorned with every kind of knowledge;

Like the reed (pen) adorned with every kind of subtlety.


From every science, understanding (in lustrous verse) taken,
Separately, in every science, a scientist.

I know how to excite sugar (sweet laughter) from every lip;
To pour rose-water (bitter-tears), from every eye.

The one, whom (by burning words) I bring to wee??ping, like water,
Him, I cause to smile again like the sun.

From Fortune of pleasant (concordant) rein, in my hand,
White sugar (sweet laughing) became like this; and the red willow (blood-weeping), like that.

I am able—to stitch up the door of (abandon) abstinence;
To come to the banquet, to illumine the assembly.


But, my tree (of existence) sprang from a corner;
If I move from my (corner) place, the root (of abstinence) may become languid.

When the (periods of) forty days (chilla) became forty (in number); and (times of) retirement (khilwat) a thousand,
It is far from the work (of the hermit) to come to the banquet.



Taken—from every science, luminousness;

Separately from every art, artfulness.

Couplets 49 and 50 may qualify the nightingale (Niámí).


Rose-water is bitter of taste.


In the first line, “dar” is redundant.

The sweet laughter became like this, that I make the hearer joyous by my joy-exciting words; and the weeping like that, that I cause him again to fall to weeping from my terrible words.


Since I have become—“one sitting in a corner,” and “one choosing retirement”—it is possible that, if I come out, the root of my austerity may become languid.


In Súfí,ism, “khilwat” signifies—a retirement of three days' dura­tion.

At the time of the torrent (of weakness through austerity) being evident,
It is not proper (though short the distance) to go from Ray to Bukhara.

With such a stormy wind (vicissitudes of Time),—verily, best,
That I bring not forth, like the rose, my chattels (body) from the corner (of retirement).

I seldom become the people's guide to myself;
The (bird) Huma, from being seldom seen, is auspicious.


My head turns from sleeping and rising;
I know not again how to make a remedy (in old age).

Save that, with speech, I should chaunt the rose (utter a modulated melody);
Should express, over that rose, a (joyous) cry like a night­ingale.

If I had seen a rose-tree (an ancient or a contemporary poet) better than myself,
I would have plucked from it the red or the yellow rose (of profit and subtlety).

Since, it is necessary to eat roast meat of my own thigh (to undertake trouble),
Why should I wander in beggary (around other authors) like the sun (around the world)?


The Humá, descending at night, snatches rotten bones from the desert. He on whom its shadow falls becomes auspicious.


In the first line, “gul” may signify—naghma,e rangín.

To the ancient poets, verse heart-expanding and ease-giving was alto­gether pleasure. For they used to bring into verse the jewel of speech regarding God's mysteries.


Since by my own endeavour I can acquire anything—why should I beg of authors?

In the “Nakhzan,” Niámí says:—

I have not taken a loan from any;

What my heart said, verily I have uttered.

Vexation (on account of my old age) took (the people of) Time from me;
I took ease in the corner of the garden of Iram (Paradise).


Like the Simurgh (of pleasing cry) I sit in a corner;
I give from the mouth, treasure (magic words) to the ear.

Like the lofty sky, on the door of the house,
I fixed the lock against the world, and the bolt against myself.

I know not how time goes—
Whether, in the world, it moves well or ill.

I am (as) one dead proceeding by manliness (lofty resolu­tion);
Neither of the men of the Karavan, nor of the goods of the Karavan (the World).


For a description of the garden of Írám, made by Shudád, see Ouseley's “Persian Collections,” vol. iii. No. 1, p. 32; and Sale's Kurán, c. 88 and the P. discourse.

“Malálat” refers to what the philosophers have said:—

When a person chooses retirement it is necessary to think—Since the people are vexed with my wickedness, I will sit in the corner, and men shall escape from my wickedness and I from theirs.


Thus far, the poet describes his wish for the corner of retirement. Now, he speaks of the acquisition of his desire.

Some put couplet 64 after couplet 65.

The Símurgh, or 'Anḳa, a bird equal to thirty birds, endowed with reason, existed many revolutions of ages and of beings before Ádam; it lives in the mountains of Ḳáf (Caucasus); eats daily forty elephants; and has a mournful but delightful cry. See the “History of Kaharman.”

In musical modes, the note 'Anḳa is considered the best.


So that there might come—neither the people to me, nor I to the people.

The sky is supposed to shut its own door against the world, so that its mystery may not be known.

In some copies—zadam az jahán kufl va az khulḳ band—occurs. The second line will then be:—

I fixed the lock on account of the world; and the bolt, on account of the people.


“Káraván” (compounded of kár raván) signifies—the goods of a kárávan.

“Káravání” signifies—șáhib-i-káraván; one of a ḳáfila.

I am neither of the men of the world, nor of the goods of the world (káraván). Nay, I am free from every breath, and am come truly into the recollection of God Most High. I am neither a follower of any, nor followed by any.

With a hundred toils of the heart, I express a breath (of verse);
So that by it I may not sleep (lost to fame), I strike the bell (of verse).


I know no one who, with soul and body (inwardly and outwardly)
Loves me more than his own body.

I turned away my face from the love of persons;
I found myself the friend of myself.

Although, in the opinion of lovers (of the world) I may be bad,
Verily best—that I myself be the beloved of myself (and abandon their love).

Against the people, the door of need closed,—best;
From beggary at every door, escaped—best.

If from the love of persons, daily food be not mine,
God is the Provider, victuals causing to arrive.


Would that mine were that power,
Which would permit to man no need of man.

In this dusty stage (of the world), from fear of blood-shed (my being slain),
I am unable to bring my head beyond the line (of retire­ment).

The state—behold what it is—of the stage-wanderer,
Who is the captive of the stage of blood-shed (the world)!


The second line may be:—

So that by it I may not sleep (careless of God), I strike this bell (of verse).


Kha” may signify—an enchanter's circle; or God's order.

I have clay-plastered the door of (against) the people,
In this path (of the world) I have rested in this empire (of retirement).

Forty days, I seized the rein of myself (rested);
For the perfumed leather (of Yaman) becomes perfect (bulghar) after forty days (a little time).


When in the four cushions (the four elements) I experienced no repose,
I sate down within these four confined walls (of retire­ment).

For every grain (morsel of food) that I cast into the ass-mill (of my body),
I gave back a great pearl (of lustrous verse) to the jewel-recogniser (the poet).

A thousand praises on the speech-cherisher (Nizami),
Who fashions a jewel out of every grain!

These my tears (from desire of God), and (this my) cheek (lean from austerity),—the wet and the dry,
Have plastered my walls (body) with the mud-plaster (of austerity).

Here (this world), the body with barley-meal prepared;
There (the next world), the heart with the treasure (of God's mystery) adorned.


I passed not my time in sport,
For business is other than sleeping and eating.


“Zimám” is the rein attached to the camel's nose-stick.

“Chila” refers to the period of forty days of holy travellers.


In some copies, in the first line, “az” (of description) in place of “ín” occurs; then:—

The wet and dry, descriptive of my tears and my cheek.


“Ínjá” may signify—the body, or outward state.

“Ánjá” may signify—the heart, or inward state.

“Ganjína” may signify—the jewel of speech.

I slept not a single night, joyful on a couch,
On which night I opened not a door of knowledge.

My mind (in drawing forth verse) is not woman (in need of the husband) but the fire-striker (steel),
Which, like Miriam, is virgin (yet) pregnant (with strange subtleties).

To it (my mind), how may come the wish for that husband (speech),
That may come to it from the stone and iron (the mind of other poets)?

Virgin (lustrous) words with this heart-enchantingness,
One can only with difficulty bring forth by the path of thought.


In both lines “ash” refers to átash zan; the second line qualifies shúe, the husband; “sang va áhan” signify—the fire striker.


(a) Since my mind is itself husband and not woman, how may it (the mind) desire that husband that is of the same nature? One fire striker desires not another fire striker, both being of the same nature and independent in producing fire.

(b) My mind is not less powerful than the minds of other poets that it should take profit from those of its own nature.

(c) How may come to it (the fire striker) the desire of that husband that comes forth from stone and iron (the fire striker itself)?

Again, in both lines, “ash” may refer to—amír, the mind.

(d) My mind is not woman (zan) who derives profit from the husband. Nay, it is a fire striker (átash-zan) in which fire (its child) is produced without marriage. For it is like Miriam (the Virgin Mary).

(e) My mind is not woman (zan), but fire (átash-zan), which nominally is (zan); for, like Miriam, it is both virgin and fecund.

(f) How can the desire come to my mind for that husband (words which issue from the stone and iron of the temperament of other poets)? and how can my mind be desirous of union (marriage) with other poets? Fire takes no profit from fire; but the female from the male.


“Átash” (átash-zana) may signify—the Ḳaḳnus, a bird of which there is but one representative in the world. This bird cohabits not; has a bill with three hundred and sixty orifices, or organ-pipes; lives a thousand years; collects, at the time of dying, all matter as fuel; seats itself on the funeral pile; sings a melodious air through the three hundred and sixty organ pipes; and, by God's power, through the flapping of its wings, kindles a fire and consumes the pile and itself. From the ashes it springs into existence again.


To utter virgin (lustrous) words is to pierce the soul,—
Not everyone is fit to utter (virgin) speech.

Neither consider the pearl of earthenware (base-utterance) pierced (uttered);
Nor consider an (unpleasant) song in the hot bath place uttered.

Think of those wide deserts (of lofty speech),
Where the throat (of eloquence) becomes rent, rent by (delivering) the voice.


Virgin words and fresh significations are not as the pearl of earthen­ware (base utterance), and the song (of no grace) in the hot bath place, that are produced with ease.

In fancy, pierce not the pearl of earthenware (base utterance), for it is no great matter; and if thou canst sing the base song in the hot bath place, sing it not. For no credit attaches to the performance, since in the hot bath the voice graceless and toneless appears agreeable.

In the desert (where is difficulty of producing a sufficiency of sound) the lovely and the ugly voice become apparent.

If ba durre be read for na durre, we have:—

Grant—a (piece of) earthenware threaded with a pearl—what then?

Grant an (unpleasant) song uttered in the hot bath—what then?

These two are easy; for when they thread the piece of earthenware on the jewel-cord, by the decoration of the cord, it appears beautiful. Even so the unpleasant song appears pleasant in the hot bath, by reason of the reverberation that arises from the walls.


If thou display fancy for those lofty modes of speech, think well; for the contemplative power of a poet, by the gathering of such ideas and bringing of them into verse, becomes broken.

Consider how much abstinence it is necessary to endure, so that the voice of song may, in the wide desert, display sufficiency. In the wide plain, by raising high the voice, the throat becomes rent.

“Gulú-shákh” refers to—the reciting of histories in a loud voice in the midst of assemblies so that all may hear.

When thou strikest the gold (of thy speech) on the King's die (of eloquence),
So strike that if it (the gold of thy speech) shatter, thou shatter not (the die).


“Zar rá bar sikka,e sháh zadan” signifies—displaying the gold.

“Sikka,e sháh” signifies—the iron die, or stamp, on which is the king's image, with which they stamp on the pieces of money so that they may become current and legal tender.

If thou give publicity to the gold of thy speech, so give it that if the gold (through its defect) shatter—thou shatter not (become not ashamed).