From the literary point of view the period which we are now considering is, as we have seen, chiefly remarkable Poetry in the Mongol period for the quality and quantity of historical writers which it produced. That it was also rich in poetical talent cannot be disputed, but this is less remarkable, since at hardly any period was there a dearth of poets in Persia. Almost every well-educated Persian can produce moderately good verses on occasion, and it would be a hopeless and useless task even to mention all of those who, transcending the rank of mere versifiers, can fairly claim to be poets. Severe selection is necessary but not easy, for on the one hand due regard must be paid to the judgement of the poet's own countrymen, even when it does not entirely accord with our own; and on the other hand care must be taken not to overlook any poet of originality and talent merely because he has not found favour with the Persian biographers, who, especially in their treatment of contemporaries, are apt to be swayed by personal, political, and even religious prejudices and pre­dilections.

In the period with which we are now dealing there lived at least a score of poets whose claims to consideration The two greatest poets who sur­vived into this period, Jalálu'd­Dín Rúmí and Sa'dí, discussed in a previous volume cannot be denied. The two greatest by far were Jalálu'd-Dín Rúmí and Sa'dí of Shíráz, of whom the former died in 672/1273 at the age of 66, and the latter about 690/1291 at the very advanced age, as is generally asserted, of 110 lunar years. Both these poets, therefore, belong rather to the period preceding this, and have accordingly been already discussed in a previous volume, * to which the reader is referred. They might with equal justice have been included in this volume, which is the poorer for their omission, since their literary activity extended into the period which it covers, and both poets came into relations with some of its leading personages, Sa'dí with the Ṣáḥib-Díwán and his brother 'Alá'u'd-Dín of the great Juwayní family, and even with Abáqá Khán himself, * and Jalálu'd-Dín Rúmí with the unfortunate Parwána of Rúm, Mu'ínu'd-Dín, who was put to death by Abáqá for suspected complicity with the Egyptians in 675/1276-7. * It would be easy to devote many pages to each of them in this place without repeating anything that has been said before, but the difficulty is to limit rather than to extend the scope of this chapter, and, in spite of all temptations to the contrary, they must there­fore be omitted here.

For similar reasons I shall content myself with a very brief mention of three other poets of this time whom many Omission of poets who, though they wrote in Persian, were not of Per­sian race or resi­dence Persian students, especially such as have pur­sued their studies in India, would place next to the two great poets mentioned above; I mean Amír Khusraw and Ḥasan of Dihlí and Badr-i-Chách, all of whom are highly esteemed in India, but none of whom, so far as is known, ever visited, much less resided in Persia. To reduce the subject-matter of this book within any reasonable limits, it becomes more and more necessary to exclude the great and increasing number of Indian writers of Persian. Two considerations Grounds for ex­cluding Indian­Persian literature besides that of space seems to me to justify this procedure. The first is that, owing to the greater interest in India which naturally prevails in England, far more has been written about these Indian-Persian authors, whether poets or historians, than about the purely Persian men of letters. The second is that, so far as a foreign student may be permitted to express an opinion on matters of literary taste, this Persian literature produced in India, has not, as a rule, the real Persian flavour, the <text in Arabic script omitted> as the Irish call it, which belongs to the indigenous product. Without making any invidious comparisons, it will hardly be contested that there is just as good reason for treating the abundant Persian literature produced in India from the middle of the thirteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century as a separate subject as for a similar procedure in the case of the English literature produced in England and that produced in America; and that therefore the omission of Amír Khusraw from this chapter is as justi­fiable as the omission of Walt Whitman from a modern English literary history, especially as a very long notice of the former is given in Elliot's History of India. * The same observation applies in lesser degree to the Persian writings produced in Afghánistán and Turkey respectively, though Persian still remains the natural speech of a large number of Afghans, and Turkish Sultans (notably the great Salím “the Grim”) * have not disdained, even when at war with the Persians, to make use of their language for literary purposes. Exceptions will be made, however, especially in the period succeeding that included in this volume, in the case of native-born Persians who, attracted by the munificence of the Moghul Emperor of Dihlí, emigrated to India in the hopes of disposing of their intellectual wares more profitably than was possible in their own country.

The attention of those who read Urdú should be called to a very excellent modern book entitled Shi'ru'l-'Ajam

Note on a good modern Urdú work containing critical studies of Persian poets (“Poetry of the Persians”) by the late Shiblí Nu-'mání, lithographed at 'Alí-gaṛh in two volumes in or about 1325/1907, and containing critical studies of about a score of the classical poets of Persia from Firdawsí and his predecessors to Ḥáfiẓ. Amongst these a long notice * is devoted to Amír Khusraw of Dihlí, which contains incidentally a good deal of information about his friend, contemporary and fellow-poet Ḥasan of Dihlí. Those who do not read Urdú may be referred to another excellent and scholarly work produced by Indian scholarship under the auspices of my friend Sir Edward Denison Ross, the Catalogue of the Arabic and Persian Manuscripts in the Oriental Public Library at Bankipore, of which the first volume, containing the Persian poets from Firdawsí to Ḥáfiẓ, was published at Calcutta in 1908. Twenty pages of this volume (pp. 176-195) are devoted to Amír Khusraw and his various works, and the four following pages to his friend Amír Ḥasan. Both were disciples of the great Saint Niẓámu'd-Dín Awliyá, who died in 725/1324, only seven months before Amír Khusraw, who was buried beside him. Amír Ḥasan only survived them a few (pro­bably two) years.

Amír Khusraw, not less notable as a musician than as a poet, was of Turkish race, his father Amír Sayfu'd-Dín Brief account of Amír Khusraw Maḥmúd having fled before the Mongols from the region of Balkh to India, where he finally settled at Patyálí. There the poet was born in 651/1253. He was therefore seventy-one years old when he died, and “lived to enjoy the favour of five successive kings of Dihlí.” He was enormously productive; Dawlat-sháh credits him with nearly half a million verses. Of these “Mírzá Báysunqur, after ceaseless efforts, succeeded in collecting 120,000,” but having subsequently discovered 2000 more from his ghazals, he “concluded that it would be very difficult for him to collect the complete work of the poet, and gave up the idea for ever.”*

Although, for the reasons given above, I do not propose to speak at length of Amír Khusraw, yet, in accordance with the well-known Arabic saying * of which the gist is that what cannot be fully included need not therefore be wholly omitted, I shall give here “for good luck and a blessing” (tayammunan wa tabarrukan) one short extract from his Laylá wa Majnún in which he mourns, with a remark­able touch of feeling, the death of his mother and younger brother, both of whom died in 698/1298-9. The poet's love for his mother, which is in strong contrast with his lack of appreciation of his daughter, is one of the most attractive features of his character.*

<text in Arabic script omitted> <text in Arabic script omitted>

Amír Khusraw's lament on his mother's death “A double radiance left my star this year:
Gone are my brother and my mother dear.
My two full moons have set and ceased to shine
In one short week through this ill luck of mine.
By double torture I am racked of Fate,
By double blow doth Heaven me prostrate.
Double my mourning, double my despair;
Alas that I this double grief must bear!
Two brands for one like me is't not a shame?
One fire's enough to set the stack aflame.
One breast a double burden should not bear,
One head of headaches cannot hold a pair.
Beneath the dust my mother lieth dead;
Is't strange if I cast dust upon my head?
Where art thou mother mine, in what strange place?
Canst thou not, mother, show me thy dear face?
From heart of earth come smiling forth once more,
And take compassion on my weeping sore!
Where'er in days gone by thy feet did fall
That place to me doth Paradise recall.
Thy being was the guardian of my soul,
The strong support which kept me safe and whole.
Whene'er those lips of thine to speech were stirred
Ever to my advantage was thy word.
To-day thy silence makes its dumb appeal,
And lo, my lips are closed as with a seal!”