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For FEBRUARY, 1810.
An. I. .xX^ J«kj iS-J>j+x> cfA*w ^yi vljUX^»
T^ wJo& Worh ef Sheekk Sddee of Shecraz. 2 Vols, folio, pp. 106* By John Herbert Harrington, Esq. (now Puisne Judge in Bengal.} Calcutta, at the Hon. Company's Press. 1791. 1795.
r£UE attention which of late years has been directed to Asiatic literature, and especially to the Persian language, is without doubt to be ascribed, in a great measure, to the talents, zeal, and perseverance of Sir W. Jones. That elegant scholar, not less distinguished by the extent of his erudition than the generosity of his temper, strenuously endeavoured to recommend to the notice of others the objects of his own successful pursuit. Persuaded of the Value of treasures at that period almost unknown, he wished to engage new adventurers in the discovery; and Was equally anxious to awaken their ambition and facilitate their progress. "The Persian language," says this accomplished writer, "is rich, melodious, and elegant; it has been spoken for many ages by the greatest princes in the politest courts of Asia; and a num* ber of admirable works have been written in it by historians, philosophers, and poets, who found it capable of expressing, with equal advantage, the most beautiful and most elevated sentiments. It must seem strange, therefore, that the study of this language should be so little cultivated, at a time when a taste for general and diffusive learning seems universally to prevail; and that the fine productions of a celebrated nation should remain in MS. upon the shelves of our public libraries, without a single admirer who might open their treasures to his countrymen, and display their beauties to the light." Prrf* to Persian Gram.
This remonstrance, for in this light we may view it, Wat not altogether in vain. Many of our countrymen, as well in India as in Europe, began to apply themselves with laudable diligence to a study so favourably recommurtded; yet we have
Vol. VI. .1
to lament that, whatever might be the proficiency of indivi-> duals, the general interests of polite literature were, in comparison, but little promoted. The acquirement of the language was but a secondary object: the first was the appointments in the service of the East India Company. Many, indeed, who would gladly have studied the Persian on account of its intrinsic excellence and beauty, were deterred from the pursuit, partly by the'scarcity and high price of MSS., and partly by the difficulty of reading and understanding them, occasioned by the confused and inaccurate manner in which most of them are written. We have collated many MSS. of the same work, of which no two could be found to agree, either in the order of the treatises, the collocation of the paragraphs, or even in the arrangement of the Lines. Add. to this, that a vast profusion of various readings, multiplied by the vanity and caprice of successive copyists (who frequently preferred their own sense to that of their author), perplex the eye in every page; insomuch that nothing less fhan a most intimate acquaintance with the author's genius and phraseology, can possibly lead to a detection of the spurious,readings. In many instances, even the collating of a variety of MSS. affords but little assistance, so great and universal is the corruption; and conjectural emendation, the dernier resort of a genuine scholar, becomes, in this case, his only refuge.
No maji was more capable of estimating the extent of this evil than Sir W. Jones; and to prevent its further progress, as well as to restore, as far as possible, the most esteemed works to their original-parity, he proposed the measure of printing them, after the best MSS. of eack work had been carefully collated. To shew the practicability of this scheme, he printed at Calcutta, in .1788, _the small poem of Leihj and Me/noon, by the poet Ilatafee, in one volume Svo. which contains only the Persian text, as amended on the authority of MSS., with a short preface in English. This preface appears to have been the chief inducement to undertaking the present work. "The incorrectness of modem Arabian and Persian MSS." (says this illustrious scholar) "is truly deplorable: nothing can preserve them in a state of accuracy but the art of printing; and if Asiatic literature should ever be general, it must diffuse itself, as Greek learning was diffused in Italy after the taking,of Constantinople, by mere impressions of tha best MSS. without versions or comments, which future scholars, would add at their leisure to future editions: but no Printer could engage in so expensive a business, without the patronage and purse of monarchs or states, or societies of wealthy individuals, or, at least, without a large public
subscription." Stimulated by this example, as well as convinced by this reasoning, Mr. Harrington published proposals in August, I7S8, tor publishing by subscription the Persian and Arabic works of the poet and moralist Sadee. If we judge frorii the list of subscribers nrefixed to the first volume, the encouragement given to th.s undertaking was poor indeed. Many persons indeed of the first respectability in India, both Natives and Europeans, subscribed, and several took from two to ten copies; yet the whole number subscribed lor appears not to have exceeded one hundred and thirty. Such manifest and proclaimed indifference, we cannot but consider as a fatal blow, for the present at least, to all similar undertakings. When a printed edition of the works of one of the most popular atKl esteemed authors in- Indi;i, recommended too by such names as Sir W. Jones, Lord Teignmouth, Sir G. H. Barlow, &c. receives such very penurious encouragement, scarcely any individual, however indefatigable or sanguine, will be found bold enough to embark in a similar project, where the expence must be so great, and the sale so limited.
Of the poet and moralist Sadee very little is known, except from his works; and not much indeed from them. The only original account of this author hitherto kuown, is contained in the Toozkerrat ool Shodra, or Lives of the Poets, by Daxlat Shah, who flourished about 200 years after the poet's death. Other accounts, indeed, are extant, but with the ex-^ ception of a few traditions, preserved in the Dufterool Letaerf, they are all evidently derived from the work of Dowlat Shah. On this subject, Mr. Harrington seems to have collected every thing within his reach: and to those who ma}' have no opportunity of consulting the Persian biographer, or Mr. H.'s publication, the following curious account, extracted from it, cannot be unacceptable.
* The proper name of the enlightened Shykh, the most poignant of the eloquent, Shylh Sadee, of S/ieeraz, was Mooslih-oo-deen. The learned bear testimony to his erudition and eminence. He lived a hundred and two years; thirty of which he spent in the acquisition of knowledge; thirty in travel, when he visited the four quarters of the habitable globe; and the remainder in retirement and devotion. He was born during the reign of Atabuk Sad i)hi-i-Zungee, by whom, it is said, his father was employed, and thence he derived his surname Sadee [happy, fortunate]. The Dewan of the Shykh has been called the Salt-mine of poets. His studies were commenced in the Nizameeah College at Bagdad, under the tuition of Ab-ool-fer'h-ibn-i-Jozee. The learned Moolha Coot'b, of 6heeraz, the pupil of Khaujeh Neeser-oo-deen Toosee, was his maternal wcle. He made the pilgrimage, at the appointed period, fourtean time*, and generally on foot. He assisted in the wars against the infidels of Room and Hind; saw the distant regions of the earth; and attentively observed the peculiarities of mankind in every clime; as he himself relates in the following couph ts: " I have wandered to the various regions of the world, and every where have I associated with every one. I have tricked up something in every corner; 1 hate gleaned an ear from every -f" harvest. But no place have 1 found so pure as SheerSz; prosperity attend this land of fcurity." During »<he' period of Sadee's devout retirement, princes arid the great men of his age are said to hare visited hira. The middle orders of people also held him in the highest degree of veneration, *nd constantly supplied him with provisions; the remnants of which, after satisfying himself, he suspended in a basket from the window of his house, for the use of the poor wood-cutters. One day a person disguised himself
Ka wood-cutter with a view ofplundering thecontentsof the Shykh's basket, t on touching it, his hand became withered, on which he called out to th« Shykh to relieve him. The latter answered, " If thou art a wood-cutter, where are thy marks of emaciating toil, thy thorn-wounds and handblisters? Or, if a robber, where are thy climbing-ropes, thy weapons, and the fortitude which should have restrained thee from crying out f" At length, however, the Wretch's intreaties prevailed: he was healed; and aho received in charity the viands he had attempted to take by stealth. It is further recorded that a just man, who resided at SheerSz, had a dream, in which he beheld the empyrean heaven in violent agitation, and, listening to an assemblage of persons who were singing, heard them say, "These verses of Shykh Sadee are equal to a year's praises and hallelujahs of angels." This induced the holy man, when he awoke, to go immediately to the habitation of the Shykh, whom, on his entrance, he found in a state of extacy, singing one of his own odes, which begins with this couplet: *' The foliage of the newly clothed tree, to the eye of the intelligent, id every leaf displays a volume of the works of the Creator." He instantly prostrated himself at the feet of the Shykh, communicated his dream, and congratulated him.
• The Shykh was, moreover, eminently endowed with wit and vivafcity; and, notwithstanding his religious abstraction, associated with persons of merit, and frequently entertained them by his facetiousness. It ia related, that happening, in a bath at Tubreiz (Tauris) to meet Khaujeh Hoomam, a man of learning and rank, who was bathing in great form, he, as is usual with holy men, poured a bason of water over the Khaujeh'a head, on which the latter, accosting him by the name of dervise, asked him whence he came: he answered from the pure land of Sheeraz. "Strange !" replied »he Khaujeh, "the Sheerazeeans are more in this city than the dogs." "The re verse. o£ which is the case in my city," rejoined Sadee; " there the Tubreizeeans are less than the dogs." The Khaujek ■was piqued, and the Shykh seated himself in a corner. Soon afterwards, however, whilst the former was standing before a comely young man, who was fanning him after the usual custom, he asked Sadee whether the poems of Hoomam were read at Sheeraz, and was answered," Yes» they have the greatest celebrity there.-" "Do you remember any," said he; Sadee again replied in the affirmative, and repeated, " Hoomam is the 'veil between me and my beloved; but the time is come whea this sWU be removed." The Khaujeh was immediately convinced that the person whff addressed him was Sadee ; and the Shykh, on being solemnly questioned, acknowledging himself, he fell at his feet, made apologies for his behaviour, and took him to his house, where he entertained him with magnificent hospitality. It may be observed the Khaujeh's ghuz'ls (odes) were* elegant, as are the Shykh's Caseedehs (elegies).
•The Shykh died at Sheeraz, in the reign of Atabuk Mohummud Shah bin-i-Mozuffur-USeleghur Shah, bin-i-Sad, bin-i-Zungee; and an eminent person has recorded the date of his decease, in the following stanza. "It was the night of Friday, in the month of Shewal, in the year of Arabia 690 ; when the pure soul of Sadee spread her eagle wing, and fled from her corporeal tabernacle." His burial place is in a delightful situation, adorned with fountains and buildings ; and is held in the greatest veneration.'
Thus far Dowlat Shah. What follows is from a recent work by Alee Ibrabeem Khan, an eminent scholar and highly respectable magistrate of the city of Benaris.
* The proper name of this illustrious person was MoosVih-oo-deen. He was of the number of men of eminence, distinguished by their piety, and celebrated for their perfections. The king of his time being Sad-bini-Zungee he took the surname Sadee (fortunate, prosperous.) During the first part of his life he studied under Shykh Abool-fer'h-ibn-i. Jozee in the Nezameeah College at Bagdad. In the Kholasut-ool-ashaar it is related that the Shykh meeting fiukeemi-Nezaree in the bazar of Sheeraz, and seeing him to be a person of eminence, asked him whence he came; to which the other answering, from Khorasan, the Shykh replied, " do you remember any of the poetry of Sadee I" yes, rejoined the Hukeem, and repeated, " Sadee loves the new sprung-down and not the common pack thread." The Shykh then asked if he recollected any of Nezaree's poetry, and was again answered in the affirmative by Hukeem, who also repeated the following couplet of his own, " Rumour gives it out that I have forsaken wine, but gross is the calumny ; what have I to do with repentance" ? Sadee's discernment immediately perceived that it was Nezaree himself who spoke; and he embraced him, took him to his house, and for some tifne entertained him with the utmost hospitality. At length when Nezaree departed, he said to one of Sadee's servants, " your master should not treat his guests as he has treated me : if he comes to me at Khorasao he. will know the proper manner of receiving them." After this Sadee went to Khorasan, and visiting Nezaree, was served by him, on the first day, with some boiled milk ; on the second, with tome toasted bread; and on the third, with a piece of meat. "In this manner," said.the Hukeem, "I can entertain you for years ; whereas the expensive hospitality I received from you could not have continued many days."
-' The merits of Sadee are too well known to require praise, or further exposition. He was a disciple of Shykh Adb-ool Cadir of GeeIan, and once performed the pilgrimage with him ;after which he repeated it fourteen different times. A sight of the rarities of different cities, experience of the vicissitudes of life, interviews with illustriout Shykhs, the aequisition of both theoretical and practical knowledge, and the refresh.