Come gardener! display joyousness!
The rose has come; open the door of the garden.


In the Persian text of Muhammad Gulví, pages 124 to 136, many poetical and Súfí,istical explanations of couplets 2 to 29 are given. In this translation those of couplets 2 to 18 only are given, as space cannot be spared.

At the time of revision, Niámí put this tale here as a variegated garden.

Nizami has come from the city wall to the garden!
Adorn the garden with painted silk.

To the lip of the rose-bud (the child) to which the smell of milk comes,
Blow by desire of the red rose (its mother) pleasant per­fume.

Draw out widely (increase) the stature of the straight cypress;
Give news to the turtle-dove (the lover of the cypress) that the bough is green.


To the nightingale take secretly a piece of glad tidings,
That the cradle of the rose (the branch) has come back to the wine-tavern.

Niámí has come from the city wall (a) the closet of retire­ment to the garden (a) of verse
(b) the closet of retire­ment (b) the spectacle of the morning hues
(c) of corporeal affections and lust (c) of inward purity
Adorn the flower garden (d) of verse with the silk of Chín (d) easy explanation
(e) the air-space (e) the whiteness of dawn
(f) of my interior, the place of manifestation of God's majesty (f) worthy of God's majesty
To the lip of the rose-bud (a) simple meanings to which comes the smell of milk (a) being immature
(b) the false dawn (b) immatureness
(c) Divine inspiration (c) fancy and life
Blow by desire of the red rose (d) its mother pleasant perfume (d) subtle meanings
(e) the true ruddy dawn (e)
(f) inward purity (f) blessing
Draw out widely the stature (a) the lofty meanings of the lofty cypress (a) the Sikandar-Náma
(b) the form (b) the extended morning rain-cloud
(c) (c) the science of the knowledge of God.
Give news to the turtle-dove (d) the seeker of this book that the bough (d) poetic image is moist and fresh
(e) the seeker of the rain-bloud (e) cloud
(f) the seeker of God's majesty (f) knowledge

In some copies bustán faráz occurs in place of mai-khána, which in Pehlaví signifies—gulzar, a rose bed.

Give secretly to the nightingale the glad tidings that the rose (its beloved) has blossomed to such an extent that its branches have reached the wine-tavern (in the desolate place). O nightingale! why art thou careless, when thy beloved has gone from her abode to the dwelling of another.

To the nightingale (a) the seeker take secretly a piece of glad tidings,
(b) the poet
(c) the holy traveller
That the cradle of the rose (d) the branch of varied subtleties has come to the garden (d) the Sikandar-Náma
(e) the cloud of rosy dawn (e) the plain of the air
(f) inward purity (f) the heart of the holy man

Wash down the dust from the forehead (surface) of the verdure;
For lapis-lazuli becomes luminous by washing.

The tulip's heart that with blood is agitated,—
Smooth down (comfort) and cover its great blood with a little dust.

To the head of the narcissus, with its white hair,
Give blackness with the shade of the musk-willow.


Lapis lazuli, that has been well washed, is used as a colour.

Wash down the dust (a) of adulteration from the surface of verdure (a) speech freshly attired
(b) the light cloud (b) the azure sky
(c) of lust (c) the perfectly holy traveller
For lapis lazuli (d) lustrous verse becomes luminous by washing (d) amending
(e) the azure hue of the sky (e)
(f) the splendour of purity (f) praying

“Faro mál” signifies—faro rez; berún kun; ișláh kun.

The couplet may mean:—

Decorate the tulip and permit it not to lie in the dust.

If ma posh be read for bi posh, the second line will be:—

Rub blood on it, and cover it not up with dust.

When vicious blood in a man's veins brings forth overpowering lust­fulness and upsets the equilibrium of the temperament—by bleeding, they pour the blood out of the body and cover it with dust.

The heart of the tulip (a) varied verse requiring revision that with blood is agitated (a) rendered ruddy
(b) clouds, ruddy and joyous (b) rendered joyous and ruddy
(c) the holy man (c) in desire to reveal God's majesty through love to Him
Smooth down (d) efface and cover with (d) a little dust its (d) little blood (d) ruddiness
(e) efface (e) a little (e) little (e) ruddiness so that it may appear yellow
(f) make quiet (f) much (f) grent (f) of tumult

In the case of the third (last) meaning the following remark is necessary.

God forbid that his passionate desire (of uttering God's mystery) should become manifest, and that he should be slain with the sword of punishment.


The flower of the narcissus is white; of the musk-willow red. The meanings are:—

To the head of the narcissus with white hair (the ancient history of Sikandar),

Give blackness with the shade of the musk-willow (the colouring of varied verse).

The old man, by dyeing his hair, makes youths incline towards him in pleasure.

In the midst of the trees of the garden, all youths of rose-cheek,—the flower of narcissus with the hue of old age appears ugly. Dye it with the shade of the musk-willow that it may appear ruddy and young.

To the head of the narcissus with white hair (a) white paper with light marginal line
(b) the whiteness of morn after ruddiness of dawn
(c) the splendour of the rays of God's majesty
Give blackness (d) write with the shade of the musk-willow (d) Nizámí's pen
(e) conceal (e) the light cloud
(f) conceal (f) the veil concealing God's majesty

In the case of the third (last) rendering the following remark is necessary.

Lest the holy traveller should be effaced; for, in this world, the beholding of God's majesty is difficult to man.

Make wine-stained (ruddy) the lip of the pomegranate;
Make the earth gold-encrusted (adorned) with safflower.


From the red arghaván give a salutation to the lily of the valley;
Despatch water to the rose-bush.

Look towards the newly risen ones (plants) of the parterre (needing nurture);
Draw not a line on (efface not) that delicate plot.

Make wine-stained (ruddy) the lip of the pomegranate (a) the commentator
(b) the border of the extended light cloud
(c) the holy traveller
Make the earth (d) the Sikandar-Náma adorned with safflower (d) subtle passages of verse
(e) the air-space (e) the yellowness and ruddi­ness of dawn.
(f) the body of the holy traveller (f) the knowledge of God
From the red arghaván (a) pleasant phrases give salutation to the lily (a) decorated speech
(b) the ruddy sun at dawn (b) the whiteness of dawn
(c) the perfect holy man (c) the holy traveller of pure in­terior and luminous heart
Despatch water (d) lustrous verse to the rose-bush (d) the Sikandar-Náma
(e) rain (e) the light ruddy cloud
(f) bounty (f) the beginners on this path

Khia” signifies—a piece of ground on which they draw lines of fencing so that none may there alight; it now means—a prosperous city.

The meanings are—

(a) Yet look at the newly risen ones (freshly uttered verses) of the parterre (of verse);

Draw not a line on (efface not) this newly prosperous city (of verse).

(b) Yet look at the newly risen ones (portions of thin clouds) of the parterre (of the air);

Draw not the line (of carelessness) as regards those newly sprung regions (of cloud).

(c) Yet look at the newly risen ones of the parterre (of the world);

Draw not the line (of oblivion) as regards that delicate region (the sons of A'dam).

From the love of persons like myself—with freshness,
Cause much salutation to reach every green thing (in the garden).

Temperate is the air; heart-alluring, the garden;
For that reason, the desire of the heart of friends is happy.

The trees blossomed by the border of the garden;
Each flower, lamp-like, lit up.


To the bird (nightingale) tongue-bound (on account of autumn) give voice,
Saying:—Renew the flight (of song) of the past year.

Make the wail of the harp the speaker;
Bring forth this (my) sorrowful heart to dancing.


The meanings are—

(a) From the love of persons like myself (matured poets), with freshness, Cause much salutation to reach to every green thing (portions of the sky or the cloud).

Note.—Poets love the morning slightly clouded.

(b) From the love of persons like myself (holy travellers), with fresh­ness,

Cause much salutation to reach to every green thing (the perfections of the holy traveller).

Note.—For we are desirous of God. Come and cause us to reach the stage.


Temperate is the air (the Divine bounty has descended); heart alluring, the garden (of verse);

The desire of the heart of friends is happy by it.


To the bird tongue-tied (the seeker of Divine mystery) give voice,

Saying:—Prepare the past song, and read this book, delight-giving,


If murgh-i-zabán basta (in couplet 15) signify—the setting sun, the first line will be:—

Make the wail of the harp the speaker (the rays of the sun pro­longed like the note of the harp).

If murgh-i-zabán basta (in couplet 15) signify—the holy traveller, possessing internal grace, the first line will be:—

Make the wail of the harp the speaker (shake the chain of desire),

Make a collar of (twist) the ringlet-tip of the beloved one;
(Then) cast the collar on this neck (of mine).

Bind a handful of odoriferous herbs (as a bouquet);
Scatter (them) on the stature of the (flowerless) lofty cypress.

With that silver-like (white) coin of the fresh spring (the white rose newly blossomed),
Scatter coin at the fountain head of the stream (the Sikandar-Náma).


About the lake (the Sikandar-Náma), water (verse) con­taining,
Cast a carpet of silk from the water lily (of lustrous verse).


“auḳ sákhtan-i-sar-i-zulf” signifies—twisting the ringlet-tip, or adorning speech with the twist and turn of varied meanings.

“Gardan-i-auḳ-báz” signifies—the neck, collar-playing (wearing), or the obedient neck (person); for servants wear the neck-collar of service.

Make a collar (of rare imagery) of the ringlet-tip of the beloved (the bride of verse).

Cast it on this my neck, collar-playing (obedient).

“Ma'shuḳ” may signify—God Most High, Who, in the form of a painter, sometimes ravishes the heart.


“Dasta” may signify—a bouquet.

“Dasta band” may signify—collect and versify.

The meanings are:—

(a) Bind (bring into verse) a handful of odoriferous flowers (lustrous poetical images);

Scatter them on the stature of the lofty cypress (the Sikandar-Náma).

(b) Gather (collect) the succulent herbs (portions of moist morning cloud);

Scatter them on the lofty cypress (the long cloud).

(c) Gather the succulent herbs (the splendours gained by the austere holy traveller);

Scatter them on the lofty cypress (the stage of the knowledge of God attained by the holy traveller).


See footnote, couplet 1.

Move proudly in that kingly banquet (of Nasratu-d-dín);
Cast the royal wine (the Sikandar-Náma) into the cup (of preparation).

Give (it) to me; for I have learned wine-drinking (tale-uttering of past kings);
Especially when I am parched with thirst (the desire of relating),—I drink

To the memory of friends (past poets, or holy travellers) journey-taking (to the next world),
Of whom I behold none in his place.

In a season so joyful and concordant,
I went towards the lofty cypress (Nasratu-d-dín) in the garden (the Sikandar-Náma).


Through the perfume of the rose (the nature of Nasratu-d-dín), and the shade of the cypress tree (his perfect justice),
The joy of singing came to the nightingale (Nizámí).

For rose-plucking (hidden inspiration taking) came into the garden (of the lofty world, the poet's own) a bride (the luminous mind of Nizámí),
Resplendent of face, like the luminous lamp.


It is the custom to drink to absent friends.

“Mai” (wine) and “tushnagí” (thirst) may each signify—senselessness.


The season may signify—

(a) The time of the blessing of hidden inspiration in Niámí's heart.

(b) The time of the sun's rising at the moment of appearance of the ruddy cloud-portions.

(c) The time of the descending of Divine thoughts.

'Arús” may signify—the sun; or hidden circumstances from the hidden world.


“Gul” may signify—scattered cloud portions; or inward purity.

“Bágh” may signify—the time of morn that, with varied clouds, is as a rose-bud; or the heart of the holy traveller.

“Ba gul chídau” may signify—for the sake of plucking away (putting far) the rose (scattered cloud-portions). For, when they pluck the rose, it becomes far from its place.

Drawing the (long) ringlet-tip (lustrous verse) into the fold of her skirt (the completed chain of decorated speech),
Scattering roses (subtleties), from her face; sugar (plea­santries), from her laughter.

A face—ruddy like the rose; and on the rose sweat (fresh­ness or bashfulness) expressed;
She gave me a cup (of verse) full of milk (sweetness) and wine (joyousness),

Saying:—In memory of the World King (God), drink!
Save this, whatever thou hast (in mind) forget.


I habitually sate with the world-experienced ones (the historians);
Of the approved ones (past kings), stories I uttered.

Of some tales, beautiful and strange,
That I sifted from the fountain of blood of the brain,

My tongue is not yet wearied of uttering;
When the arm (power of verse) is,—no fear of the sword (of the critic) is.

I prepared many old treasures (tales of former kings);
Cast into them new subtleties of verse:

Summoned resolve first towards “the Makhzanu-l-Asrár.”
In which work (of subtlety), I displayed no idleness at all.


Niámí's poetical nature gave to his corporeal nature a cup of milk and wine.

“Jám púr az shír va mai” may signify—the mouth and lip of a mistress; the wine of paradise; the stream Kausar. But these meanings are inapplicable.

The couplet may mean:—

A face (the sun) like the rose (ruddy), and on the rose freshness expressed,

Gave to me a cup of milk and wine (its orb, whose whiteness and ruddiness—joy-exciting—are like milk and wine).


In couplets 34 to 38 Niámí names the five books forming his work, called “the Khamsah.”


And than that (Makhzan), evoked (a work) more lustrus and pleasing;
I saturated (my soul) with (the tale of) Shírín (the lady) and Khusrau Parvíz (the king).

And out thence, I pitched the screen (completed the tale);
Knocked at the door of the love of Lailá and Majnún.

When I completed that tale,
I urged the steed (of eloquence) towards “the Haft Paikar.”

Now, on the carpet of eloquence,
I beat the drum of the fortune (sovereignty) of Sikandar!

Urge speech regarding his pomp (of sovereignty) and skill (in knowledge);
Exalt his crown and throne.


(Of Sikandar's life) many the events that formerly (long ago) passed,—
Them, I make living by my own water of life (lustrous verse).

Sikandar,—who took the path of truth (spirituality),
Tracked out the fountain of life (the water of immortality):

Wandered, so that by the path of good-fortune,
He might, by the fountain of life, become living:

Sought the road to the fountain of life (Nizámí's lustrous verse),
—Found now that fountain, which then he (vainly) sought.


If bar angekhtan be read for tar angekhtan, the couplet will read:—

From it (the Makhzan) I arose, complacent (of temper) and sweet (of tongue);

I engaged in (the tale of) Shírín (the lady), and Khusrau Parvíz (the king).

Khusrau Parvíz (A.D. 591) married Irene (Shírín), the daughter of Emperor Maurice.


The author proceeds to summarize the tale of Sikandar.


Although Sikandar was disappointed as to apparent life, he is not as to real life. For until the Day of Judgment, they will read his history from this book.

Arrian (A.D. 100) says:—

“Alexander pronounced Achilles happy in having Homer to herald forth his praise. And, in truth, Achilles might in this light be justly pronounced happy by Alexander, as he himself did not experience his general good fortune in this respect. Neither have his deeds been worthily blazoned among men, either in prose or in heroic verse; nor has he been sung in lyric strains like Gelo, Theron, Hiero, and others not to be compared to him. Thus his exploits are far less known than the most trifling ancient deeds. Even the ascent of the ten thousand that aided Cyrus against Artaxerxes; the sufferings of Klearkhus, and of the generals captured with him; and the retreat under Xenophon's command are, through Xenophon's own writings, far more renowned among men than the achievements of Alexander, who stands unrivalled among Greeks and barbarians, both for the multitude and for the magni­tude of his splendid actions. This was the reason that induced me to undertake this history, as I regard myself not unworthy to spread among men the renown of Alexander's deeds.”

The king of speakers (Muhammad) expressed a saying such as this—
Namely:—“Seekers are finders.”


O Nizámí! when thou drinkest wine (of lustrous verse) with (to the memory of) Sikandar,
Preserve respect, so that thou mayst enjoy benefit of thy­self (thy mention of him).

When thou art sitting at the same table with the prophet Khizr on this side of the stream (of verse of the Sikandar-Náma),
Wash (carefully) thy lip with seventy and seven waters.


Niámí here apologizes for couplet 43, in which he has attributed Sikandar's fame to the immortality of his own verse.


Since in this tale thouart fellow-sitter with Khizr (Sikandar's obedient servant), utter the name of each with respect.

O Niámí! thou art of the same rank as Khizr. For even as he had honour with Sikandar, thou also before Nașratu-d-dín (like Sikandar in disposition) art like Khizr. Then wash with caution thy lip in speaking of Nașratu-d-dín.

Khizr. See canto x. couplet 1, and Sale's “Ḳurán,” chap. xviii.

Come, cup-bearer! that water of immortality, pleasant tasting (pleasant speech),
Entrust to the glory-reciter of Sikandar (Nizámí).

So that fortune may give the kiss on his (Nizámí's) head,—
He (Nizámí) gives wine to Sikandar's inheritance-enjoyer (Nasratu-d-dín).


The second line may be:—

Give to the palace of Sikandar.

See canto vii. couplet 68.


At the time of giving the cup, the cup-bearer kneels, kisses the lip of the cup, and then presents it to the king. See canto lxiv. couplet 211.

The inheritance-enjoyer may be Niámí, who extols Sikandar.

In the text “tá” signifies—cause; if it mean condition, the couplet will be:—

That when fortune gives the kiss on his (Niámí's) head,

He (Niámí) may give wine to Sikandar's heir (Nașratu-d-dín.)