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A Literary
History of Persia
Volume III
The Tartar Dominion

FOURTEEN years have elapsed since the second volume of my Literary History of Persia, * of which the present work is in fact, if not in name and form, a con­tinuation, was published. That the appearance of this continuation, which comprises the period between Sa'dí and Jámí, and extends from the death of Húlágú the Mongol to the rise of the Ṣafawí dynasty (A.D. 1265-1502), has been so long delayed is due to a variety of causes, at one of which, operative for five or six years (A.D. 1907-12), I have hinted in the Preface (p. xx) to my Persian Revolution of 1905-9. While Persia was going through what repeatedly appeared to be her death-agony, it was difficult for anyone who loved her to turn his eyes for long from her present sufferings to her past glories. Often, indeed, I almost abandoned all hope of continuing this work, and that I did at last take up, revise and complete what I had already begun to write was due above all else to the urgency and encouragement of my wife, and of one or two of my old friends and colleagues, amongst whom I would especially mention Dr T. W. Arnold and Mr Guy le Strange.

The delay in the production of this volume has not, however, been altogether a matter for regret, since it has enabled me to make use of materials, both printed and manuscript, which would not have been available at an earlier date. In particular it has been my good fortune to acquire two very fine collections of Persian and Arabic manu­scripts which have yielded me much valuable material, namely, at the beginning of 1917, * some sixty manuscripts (besides lithographed and printed books published in Persia) from the Library of the late Sir Albert Houtum-Schindler, and at the beginning of 1920 another forty or fifty manu­scripts of exceptional rarity and antiquity collected in Persia and Mesopotamia by Ḥájji 'Abdu'l-Majíd Belshah. So many Persian works of first-class importance still remain unpublished and generally inaccessible save in a few of the great public libraries of Europe that the possession of a good private library is essential to the student of Persian literature who wishes to extend his researches into its less familiar by-paths.

I regret in some ways that I have had to produce this volume independently of its two predecessors, and not in the same series. Several considerations, however, induced me to adopt this course. Of these the principal ones were that I desired to retain full rights as to granting permission for it to be quoted or translated, should such permission be sought; and that I wished to be able to reproduce the original Persian texts on which my translations were based, in the numerous cases where these were not accessible in printed or lithographed editions, in the proper character. For this reason it was necessary to entrust the printing of the book to a press provided with suitable Oriental types, and no author whose work has been produced by the Cambridge University Press will fail to recognize how much he owes to the skill, care, taste and unfailing courtesy of all responsible for its management.

I hope that none of my Persian friends will take ex­ception to the title which I have given to this volume, “A History of Persian Literature under Tartar * Dominion.” I have known Persians whose patriotism has so far outrun their historical judgment as to seek to claim as compatriots not only Tímúr but even Chingíz and Húlágú, those scourges of mankind, of whom the two last mentioned in particular did more to compass the ruin of Islamic civilization, especially in Persia, than any other human beings. When we read of the shocking devastation wrought by the Mongols through the length and breadth of Central and Western Asia, we are amazed not so much at what perished at their hands as at what survived their depredations, and it says much for the tenacity of the Persian character that it should have been so much less affected by these barbarians than most other peoples with whom they came in contact. The period covered by this volume begins with the high tide of Mongol ascendancy, and ends with the ebb of the succeeding tide of Túránian invasion inaugurated by Tímúr. Politically, during its whole duration, Túrán, represented by Tartars, Turks and Turkmáns, lorded it over Írán, which, neverthe­less, continued to live its own intellectual, literary and artistic life, and even to some extent to civilize its invaders. It is my hope and purpose, should circumstances be favourable, to conclude my survey of this spiritual and intellectual life of Persia in one other volume, to be entitled “A History of Persian Literature in Modern Times,” covering the last four hundred years, from the rise of the great Ṣafawí dynasty, which restored the ancient boundaries and revived the national spirit of Persia, to the present day.

There remains the pleasant duty of expressing my thanks to those of my friends and fellow-students who have most materially helped me in the preparation of this work. Nearly all the proofs were carefully read by two Government of India Research Students of exceptional learning, ability and industry, Muḥammad Shafí', a member of my own College and now Professor of Arabic in the Panjáb University, and, on his departure, by Muḥammad Iqbál, a young scholar of great promise. To both of these I owe many valuable emendations, corrections and suggestions.

Of the twelve illustrations to this volume four (those facing pp. 8, 66, 74 and 96) have already appeared in the edition of the Ta'ríkh-i-Jahán-gushá published in 1912 by the “E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Trust” (vol. xvi, 1, pp. lxxxvii, 147, 154 and 222), and are reproduced here by the kind permission of my fellow trustees. To my old friend Pro­fessor A. V. Williams Jackson, of Columbia University, and to Messrs Macmillan, his publishers, I am indebted for permission to reproduce the photograph of the Tomb of Ḥáfiẓ at Shíráz which originally appeared in his Persia, Past and Present (p. 332), and here appears facing p. 310. The facsimile of Jámí's autograph facing p. 508 of this volume is reproduced from vol. iii (1886) of the Collections Scientifiques de l'Institut des Langues Orientales du Ministère des Affaires Étrangères à St Pétersbourg: Manu-scrits Persans, compiled with so much judgment by the late Baron Victor Rosen, to whose help and encouragement in the early days of my career I am deeply indebted. The six remaining illustrations, which are new, and, as I think will be generally admitted, of exceptional beauty and interest, were selected for me from manuscripts in the British Museum by my friends Mr A. G. Ellis and Mr Edward Edwards, to whose unfailing erudition and kindness I owe more than I can say. Three of them, the portraits of Sa'dí, Ḥáfiẓ and Sháh-rukh, are from Add. 7468 (ff. 19, 34 and 44 respectively), while the portraits of Húlágú and Tímúr are from Add. 18,803, f. 19, and Add. 18,801, f. 23. The colophon of the beautifully written Qur'án transcribed at Mawṣil in A.H. 710 (A.D. 1310-11) for Úljáytú (Khudá-banda) and his two ministers Rashídu'd-Dín Faḍlu'lláh and Sa'du'd-Dín is from the recently acquired Or. 4945. * All these have been reproduced by Mr R. B. Fleming with his usual taste and skill.

Lastly I am indebted to Miss Gertrude Lowthian Bell, whose later devotion to Arabic has caused her services to Persian letters to be unduly forgotten, for permission to reprint in this volume some of her beautiful translations of the odes of Ḥáfiẓ, together with her fine appreciation of his position as one of the great poets not only of his own age and country but of the world and of all time.


April 5, 1920.