Mír 'Alí Sher, or 'Alí Sher Amír, the enlightened minister of Sultán Husain of Persia, was born about A.H. 844 (A.D. 1440).

Mír 'Alí Sher was of an illustrious family of the Chaghatáí tribe. His father, Bahádur, who was a man of deep learning and science, and whose chief pride it was to give a finished education to his children, held one of the principal offices of government during the reign of Sultán Abú-l Kásim Bábar, son of Tímúr, and 'Alí Sher was himself employed at Court, having ingratiated himself with this prince so much, as to obtain from him the title of son. He gained this favour by means of his literary accomplishments, and especially by the display of his talent as a composer of Turkish and Persian verses. When this prince died, Mír 'Alí Sher retired to Meshhed, and subsequently to Samarkand, where he devoted himself to study. Some time afterwards, Sultán Husain Bahádur Khán, having made himself master of Khurásán, invited Mír 'Alí Sher, with whom he had been educated, and for whom he entertained a great affection, for the purpose of entrusting to him the administration of the Government.

After being employed in the capacity of díwán and minister for some time, love of study induced him to resign, but Husain pre­vailed upon him to accept the government of Astarábád, which also proving too busy an occupation for one of his literary tastes, he resigned it after a short period, and bidding a final adieu to public life, passed the remainder of his days in composing Turkish and Persian works, of which Sám Mirzá recounts the names of no less than twenty-one. Though himself an ambitious author, he was far from being jealous of the accomplishments of others, and proved himself one of the most eminent patrons of literature. Daulat Sháh the biographer, Mírkhond and Khondamír the historians, dedicated their works to him; and amongst other men of genius who were cherished by his liberality may be mentioned the celebrated poet Jámí. He patronized also sculpture and architecture, and several edifices dedicated to religion and humanity were raised at his sole expense. He was also very partial to music, and himself composed several pieces of merit, which are said still to maintain their credit.

His collection of Odes in the Chaghatáí, or pure Turkish dialect, which he wrote under the poetical title of Nuáí, amounts to ten thousand couplets; and his parody of Nizámí's five poems, containing nearly thirty thousand couplets, is universally admired by the culti­vators of Turkish poetry, in which he is considered to be without a rival.

In the Persian language also he wrote a collection of Odes under the poetical title of Fanáí, from which Hájí Lutf 'Alí, in his Átish-kadah , has selected the following as a beautiful specimen:

“O you who say, ‘Don't curse Yazíd, for possibly the Almighty may have had mercy on him.’ I say, if the Lord pardoneth all the evil which Yazíd did to the Prophet's descendants, He will also pardon you, who may have cursed him.”

'Alí Sher died A.H. 906 (A.D. 1500), five years before his royal friend and master Sultán Husain Mirzá, and Khondamír has re­corded the date in an affectionate chronogram:

“His highness, the Amír, the asylum of divine guidance, in whom all the marks of mercy were conspicuous, has quitted the thorny brake of the world, and fled to the rose-garden of pity. Since the ‘light of mercy’ has descended on his soul, those words represent the day of his departure.”*