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OF THE HONORABLE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S BENGAL MEDICAL SERVICE :

AUTHOR OF

SOHRAB, A POEM ; AN ABRIDGMENT IN PROSE AND VERSE OF THE

SHAH-NAMEH OF FIRDAUSI; LA SECCHIA RAPITA,

FROM THE ITALIAN OF TASSONI, &c. &c.

The course of true love never did run smooth.

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies that apprehend,
More than cool reason comprehends.
He will not be commanded.

SHAKSPEARE.

PUBLISHED UNDER TIE SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE ORIENTAL

TRANSLATION FUND OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.

LONDON :

A. J. VALPY, M.A.
PUBLISHER TO THE ORIENTAL TRANSLATION FUND, &c.

RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET,

M.DCCC.XXXVI.

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LONDON: ILARRISON AND SONS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE,

PRINTERS IN ORDINARY TO JIER MAJESTY.

PREFACE.

The story of the loves of Laili and Majnun is one of the most popular in the East. There are several poems on the same subject by different authors, but that by Nazámi is considered the best; and I believe this is the first time it has appeared in the European language.

Every nation has its favourite tales of love as well as chivalry. France and Italy have their Abelard and Eloisa, their Petrarch and Laura ; and Arabia has its Lailí and Majnún, the beautiful record of whose sorrows is constantly referred to, throughout the East, as an immortal example of the most faithful love. The reader will, I think, be pleased with the manner in which the Persian poet has depicted the character of a frantic lover, and also the tender affections of his Lailí. The sentiments will be found to differ very little from those of the Western world.

Human nature is every where the

same.

Nazámi is said to be a native of Ganja, or Kenja, near Tefilis, and flourished in the twelfth century, or sixth of the Mohammedan era. He died about the 597th year of the Hijrah ; but no mention is made where he was buried.

Besides Lailí and Majnún, he wrote the story of Khosrú and Shirin, the Treasury of Secrets, and some other works. His last and most con

poem was

was the Sekandar-Namea, an epic, celebrating the career of Alexander the Great. At the period it was finished, he is reported to have been more than sixty years of

age.

siderable poem

Nazámi was eminently distinguished through life for his rigid sanctity, which formed indeed the peculiarity of his character, cherishing, as he

did at the same time, the amatory or metaphysical sentiments which pervade his romantic poem of Lailí and Majnún. But he may have been a Súfi, and aimed at describing the passions of the soul in its progress to eternity. The Odes of Hafiz have been supposed to have a similar spiritual object !

In honour of Nazámi, it is related that Ata Beg was desirous of forming and cultivating an acquaintance with him, and with that view ordered one of his courtiers to request his attendance. But it was replied, that Nazámi, being an austere recluse, studiously avoided all intercourse with princes. Ata Beg, on hearing this, and suspecting that the extreme piety and abstinence of Nazámi were affected, waited upon him in great pomp for the purpose of tempting and seducing him from his obscure retreat ; but the result was highly favourable to the poet; and the prince ever afterwards looked upon him as a truly holy man, frequently visiting him, and treating him with the most profound respect and veneration. Nazámi also received many substantial proofs of the admiration in which his genius and learning were

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