A Jew (by way of deceit) gold plated a piece of copper;
The profit on it he made—the plundering of his shop (by those deceived).

Neither becomes the fig (the poet) the name of every fruit (sweet verse),
Nor is every widow like Zubaida.


The couplet refers to the shattering of the base gold of speech.


Harúnu-r-rashíd, or Aaron the Well-advised, was the fifth Khalífa of the house of 'Abbas, A.D. 786-809. In the “Arabian Nights' Entertain­ments,” one reads a good deal of him. Zubaida, his wife, was celebrated for her liberality, the marks of which are still to be seen at Madína.

A writer in the new “Quarterly Magazine,” January, 1879, page 161, says:—

“Harunu-r-rashíd seems to have been a compound of the worst cha­racteristics of such despots as Philip II. of Spain, Francis I. and Henry VIII., combining with the superstitious bigotry of the first the insatiable rapacity of the second and the ferocious sensuality of the third, a blood-thirsty savagery peculiarly his own, and the sensitiveness to music, poetry, and wit that distinguishes the Arab.”

Zubaid was as fanatically pious, superstitious, cruel, and cultivated as Harúnu-r-rashíd.

Two Hindus (poets) came forth from Hindustan;
One may be the thief (of the verse of others), the other the watchman (of his own verse).

From the water of this shining silver (of my polished verse),—I
Separated the stains of the dust (of unworthiness).


I let loose the bird (my own speech) from this form (the sweet fruit of the tongue) at that time,
When, like the lofty palm, it (the speech) is matured.

When thou reachest the unripe fruit (the book yet un­purged),
If thou shake it (from the tree) thou art a raw person.

By pressing, the unripe fig becomes soft (and apparently ripe);
But, shouldst thou eat (it), blood issues from thy palate.

The blossom which, out of season, (quickly) laughs (blos­soms) on the bough,—
Produces it much fruit on the tree?

That land which possesses defective soil,
One cannot truly establish in it a foundation.


“Hindú” signifies—a man of Hind; a watchman; a thief. The Hindú is black through the overpowering effects of Saturn.


So long as I mature not, amend not, and complete not my speech—I display it to none.


From this picture (of the Sikandar-Náma), I uplift the sheet (veil) at that time,

When, like the lofty palm, it (the Sikandar-Náma) is matured.


In the opinion of the sages, the eating of the unripe fig fissures the throat and causes blood to flow.

If thou take this Sikandar-Náma (yet unpurged of defect),—like the fig finger-pressed, or the apple house-ripened, it will not gain thy acceptance.


The blossom that appears in the early spring produces little fruit; that which blossoms tardily, much.


“Bar” signifies—zamín-i-nákáshta.

“Búm” signifies—zamín-i-káshta.

“Bar o búm” signifies—zamín-i-khushk va ná-ránda.


If the fig-eating birds (plagiarists) had been many,
There would not have remained a single fig (hidden subtlety of verse) on any bough (of my book).

With splendour (of excellence), I can execute this work (of the Sikandar-Nama);
With want of splendour, work issues not from man.

When, in respect to the grain, there is hope of profit,
The husbandman enters the harvest-field.

When the corn becomes dull and low in price,
The seed-scatterer abandons working.

Those music-understanding, melody-hearers,
Took their ear (off) from (listened not to) the melody of the singer (Firdausi).


It became necessary—to make this employment (of versi­fying);
To prepare a delightful book (the Sikandar-Nama), in such a way

That when, in writings, it becomes place-occupying,
To the scribe, may be no help as to using it.

With such decoration that the great cypress (the Shah-Nama) is small,
I displayed pre-eminence by this tale (of the Sikandar-Nama).


The fig (enclosed and concealed in its leaves) has a viscid juice, which renders it difficult for a bird to eat it, for the juice glues together the jaws of the beak. When the crow (the only bird that can eat it) devours it he cleans his jaws against a stone or in a stream.

The poets contemporary to Niámí are compared to the crow; Niámí's verses (on account of their lusciousness), to the sweetness of the fruit of the fig.

This couplet is sometimes placed as couplet 3.


Like the sowers of the world, I desire profit for my verse,—not like the ignoble, who, without being asked by kings, proffer their works and obtain scanty reward.


In the Sháh-Náma, by Firdausí, are tales of many infidel kings; in the Sikandar-Náma, by Niámí, those only of the prophet Sikandar.

More than this pleasing acquaintance (the Sikandar-Nama), no tale
Is approved by the true ones (the sages).

Other books (of Sikandar) first (prepared) which thou mayst search,
Are not correct, according to the crowd of (professors of) the religion of Islam.


A (true) book like this is not falsehood-raising,
Written with so many sharp pens (trustworthy histories).

With the power of the point of such (sharp) pens,
This (the Sikandar-Náma) has honour above other books.

On account of that royal wine (tale of Sikandar), which is in its cup,
Its name is—“Sharaf-Náma,e Khusraván!”

The former poet, the sage of Tus (Firdausi),—
Who (with verse) adorned the face of speech, like the bride,

In that book (the Sháh-Náma) in which he urged pierced jewels (previously uttered subtleties of verse),
Fit to be uttered (of Sikandar),—much that he left un­uttered.

And if whatever they (the moderns) had said of the ancients,
He (Firdausi) had uttered, the tale (of the Sharaf-Náma) would have been long.


“Tazwír-khez” signifies—anything produced by falsehood.


“Mai-i-khusraví” signifies—a wine of 'iráḳ, greatly exhilarating, and may here mean Sikandar's fashion of world-seizing and peasant-cherishing.

This title signifies—“The Exalted Book of Kings,” a title of the Sikandar-Náma.


In the Sháh-Náma the number of couplets is variously stated at 60,000. See Clarke's translation.

Whatever was not pleasing to him, he uttered not;
Of which no help was his—verily (that only) he uttered.

The rest for friends (us future poets) he placed (as) rem­nants;
For alone it is not fit to eat sweetmeats.

Nizami, who drew jewels (of speech) on the thread (of verse),
Drew his pen on (rejected) the pen-seen tales (of Fir-dausi).

With an unpierced pearl (unuttered subtlety), which he found in the treasure (of genius),
The word-weigher found his own balance (tongue).


He (Nizámi) made “the Sharaf-Náma,” wide of renown;
In it, he made the old tale (of Sikandar) fresh.

Come Cup-Bearer, that ruddy wine (of senselessness on beholding God's majesty),
Give me, that, intoxicated, I may become abandoned (drowned in the love of God).

Perhaps, by reason of that rapture, I may express a song;
(And) give an invitation (to myself) to the tavern-haunters.


The tales that Niámí found in the Sháh-Náma, he wrote not in the Sharaf-Náma,e Khusraván, or Sikandar-Náma.


Kharábí” signifies—one who stays in a tavern.

Kharábát” may be—the plural of kharába.

Kharábátiyán” signifies—those altogether senseless on beholding God's majesty.

In Muhammadan countries, through fear of the true Muslims, the tavern is often situated in ruined or abandoned spots.

The second line may mean:—

And call (to myself) the tavern-haunters (those senseless from beholding God's majesty), so that they may obtain a portion of my senselessness.