THE Divan-i Makhfi is a collection of poems in Persian by Zebunnisa, daughter of the Emperor Aurangzeb, who adopted the pseudonym of Makhfi, meaning hidden, or occult.

She belonged to the mystical school of which the most eminent exponents were Fariduddin Attar and Jalaluddin Rumi. She shared the ruling ideas of these writers on the divinity of the human soul and their aspirations to Union, meaning thereby the reapproachment of the spirit to its source, consummated in its reabsorption into God. In their cryptic language ecstatic feeling is expressed in terms of love and wine and revelry. The Creator is the Beloved, the Beautiful One, and the disciples are lovers. The world is a garden and the Creator is the gardener [58, in example 7]; devotional rapture is wine and He is the cup­bearer [57], and the souls into which the wine is poured are cups [335]. He is a Moon and a Rose [see note to 558]. His tresses or curls as a rule typify the phenomena by which He manifests Himself in the world.

I hope these hints will help to make the following pages intelligible to all readers. Where, as constantly happens, the Beloved is denoted simply by a personal pronoun, this is indicated by the use of a capital letter.

The translations were made at various times and without any uniform method. Some are free and some literal. Here and there couplets have been omitted or displaced, and the Persian practice of inserting the nom de plume of the author in the con­cluding couplet has sometimes been followed and sometimes ignored.

I have set apart from the translations proper certain imitations and examples of metres.

The former consist of aberrant translations, expansions, and patchwork from different poems.

The examples illustrate most of Makhfi’s favourite metres. The slow, trailing measures of Hazaj-i salim and Ramal-i maqsur are those which occur most frequently, especially the latter, which, as observed by Professor Browne, is closely akin to the metre of Tennyson’s “Locksley Hall.” The specimens have been chosen rather for their brevity than their merit, except in the case of the last [58], which, in the original Persian, is of remarkable beauty.

I have disregarded the Persian rules of rhymes which have nothing to do with the metre.

NOTE.—The bracketed numbers here and throughout the volume are the numbers of the poems in an edition of the Divan under preparation.