Now forasmuch as that scanty territory which is the native country of this poor compiler, was in the possession of the court of this prince, and honoured by his fortunate vicinity, and he com­manded (residence) there for many times and exalted years, and was attached to the open country of that plain, for the enjoyment of hunting, when my turn came to stand before his happy stirrup, there passed into my mind (Verse)

“There is no guile with thee to lead thee, nor wilt thou be led by wealth; speech may succeed if circumstances do not.”

a passage, which may the Solomon of the kingdom realize, that as a mouse it may perchance be of service, and with this writing like a locust’s foot transcribe a volume, and that in this way might form a composition of the histories and names of kings, and of the chronicles of emperors, and might convey it as a gift to the high presence, in order that, at times of leisure and hours of privacy, he might receive recreation from hearing it, and might derive example from the vicissitudes of cir­cumstances and the changes of the eminent; And upon this subject I requested the advice of the just lord, Múíd Mansúr-Muzfir-Mahdí-addunya-wa-addín, glory of Islam and of Muslims, Sayyad of Viziers in both worlds, generous, learned, Abúl Kasim ’bn Muhammad ’bn Abi Hanífá (Allah guard his splendour and perpetuate his destiny!) who was the Asaph of the kingdom and pillar of the empire. I requested a reply upon the point. He gave me the most extreme encouragement, and indicated that “the Kitáb Yamini, compiled by ’Utbi, is a useful book, and is comprised in few sections and light bulk, being an explanation of the events and incidents of Sultán Mahmúd Sabaktagín, with much of the affairs of the family of Sámán and a little of the days of the family of Boyah, and which contains also some of the his­tories and traces of the kings of those countries, and lords of those regions.” It would be fitting (he said) in order that these (historical) exemplars should approach nigh unto the understanding, and that Turks and citizens should be directed thereby, that you should translate it into the Persian, and not be higher than the frame of the book’s style, and avoid ruggedness and ambitious phrases, and not regard it incumbent upon you to employ uncouth Arabic words and expressions, but what­soever the intelligent mind and generous nature approves, to be therewith content, so that I may act as father to this bride, and may make the unsaleable goods of this stock pass freely with the Amír. For, at the present day, two particular kinds of advantage will accrue from this book: one, that this Prince (may his fortune last for ever!) when he contemplates the circumstances and the territories of the kings and sultans, his predecessors, the extent of their empire, the distance to which their authority penetrated, the glory of their power, autocracy, and command­ments, may also know that their declining fortune, and the transference of cities and peoples, rendered them not permanent, and all their state has decayed, and there remaineth nothing of them, except their good name, their virtues, their generous acts, their examples, and their mercy. His eyesight, by passing over these subjects of thought, may become firmer, and his wishes, by traversing these chapters, may become more true; And, secondly, that people of virtue, excellence, and honour may know that these kings caused to cir­culate amongst the people of the sword the valu­ables of earth and the riches of the world, and to their subjects brought valuable property to support the kingdom’s slenderness, making them sharers and partners in the possessions of the earth, And none of them deceased before the full space of life, or was not useful even after the consummation of the days of his age, And a writer, with five folds of paper and a long ball (of ink) which cost (but) two drachms of silver, hath painted their memorials in a volume of annals, and, having placed their impress upon the forehead of time, hath rendered their name perennial unto perpetuity everlasting, and hath adorned the interior of his volume and the contents of his book with the commemora­tion of their days, their words, and their deeds. Nearly three hundred years* have elapsed since they framed histories in praise of Mahmúd Sabak­tagin, and spoke as friends of the family of Boyah (Verse)

“Though camels and bread should be no longer, yet the glorious memory of the sons of Marwán will be, and thou shalt see the congratulatory river flow for ever. Of all that the sons of Sámán and the kings of the vigorous have col­lected, they will sing sweetly after that Hasán hath (no longer) spoken of Ghasán (the excellent of the imbecile).”

As to the Seljúks, from whose eminent kingdoms these two princes were but a dis­tillation, and the rule of these two sovereigns but a drop in the sea of their royalty and empire, they are no longer preserved for any sufficient period, and their name will be blotted from the books of minds; and as in their days people of virtue found no success, and derived no aid from their diffused grandeurs, ordinances, or victories, no one preserved their memory, and no memorial remained of the vestiges of their eleva­tion.

I accepted this intimation of the Sahib, the just, Heaven augment its help to him, and exhibited to him this exemplifying parable, and I appended this (proposed) arrangement to the (other) successive aids and marks of favour, and gifts, and presents, which in the course of my life I have found from that court of his brilliancy, and portico of his merits and endowments, and I translated this book from Arabic into Persian.

Men of information and intelligence are aware that in the barbarian (Persian) dialect there is no power of affording much gratification, and Abú an Nasar Al Utbi, in the narration and composition of this book exhibited lawful magic, and displayed wonderful novelties, and if any one from the zenith of eloquence and delicacy of that model, and the copiousness of those expressions, should contem­plate the low cellars* of this translation and the wretchedness of these words nothing but a blush of shame would be the result. I am convinced of the fact of my deficiencies, and in my poor mansion (of mind) and confusion of intellect well know both the scantiness of my capital stock and the deficiency of my workmanship. However my apology comes to light upon two grounds; one is that I wished not that the intricacies and niceties of the aims and drifts of the book should remain under the veil of obscurity, and that the arrow of understanding should never attain unto it; and the second that I wished the Arabian plain (of language) to possess a perfect amplitude and complete space, and if any one will peruse the writings of this poor author in Persian verse and rhythms perhaps water* may again come upon the face of his labour, and there may ensue pacifica­tion towards the standard of these words, and reconciliation to the motes of these idle tales, and it may thus be known that, although my Persian hackney be restive, my Arab charger is a pleasant goer, and although my striped Persian robe is in tatters yet my Arabian embroidered garment is fair and new;* and if, in the time of the family of Sámán and the days of the house of Boyah, which was a time of the Bázár of virtue and excellence, when the divers of good manners and arts found valuable pearls and choice jewels, in the sea of their humanity and liberality, and in the gardens of their protection, and science possessed fields of sugar-cane, and delightful parterres, and were blessed with their rich society and admirable nobleness, if in the gardens of their generous benefits they struck up (songs) like the sweet-toned nightingale, and like the starling warbled by the border of the rose-garden— no matter, At present, when the breeze favourable to virtue hath passed away, when the fire of pride in heroes is stanched, when excellence is superfluous and men are wearied with the learned, and the tree of their art would be without fruit, unless these last breathings of dying generosity, these relics of liberality from the just Sahib, the Chief of Viziers (Heaven add lengthened reserves to the remnants of his life!) gave them heart again, and com­manded a liveliness to commerce in their lofty occupation, and a ready sale in their market. It is forbidden then to draw a black pen over this whiteness, but esteem should be in our minds for this magazine of books. This poor author hath composed nearly two thousand verses, in praise and commendation of this nobleman (Allah encircle him with glory). The greater portion is concealed in the collection known as “The Gardens of Melancholy,” but some more seasonably placed in the volume of “The Flame of Souls.” The fol­lowing is a Kasidah, which was compiled in praise of his blessed feet, at a time when he came, having composed something.* I have a perfect confidence in the generosity and liberality of the Maulawi, the great Sahib Chief of Viziers (may Allah per­petuate it!) that he will draw the line of indul­gence over these blunders and errors, and cover with the train of the robe of mercy and pardon these slips and mistakes,