The Fourth Era of Āb-e ḥayāt:
#221# Bursts of laughter are heard. Do you see? The members of the mushairah have arrived. These are unusual people. /Their coming is the coming of a tumult./ They're so lively and full of vitality that their high spirits and zest will never yield an inch under the weight of seriousness. They will laugh so much, and make others laugh so much, that everybody's jaws will ache. But they will neither move the steps of progress forward, nor raise earlier buildings higher. They will go leaping and gambolling around among those upper stories. They will decorate one house with the contents of another, and will display every object in a series of changing colors. Taking the same flowers and dipping them in perfume, they will sometimes weave a garland, sometimes adorn curls of hair, sometimes make flower-balls and fling them around until the Holi festival is put to shame. These lucky ones will also live in a good time. They will have such appreciators available that every flower from their garden will be sold for the price of a whole bed of saffron.
In this daur, Miyāñ Rangīn prepared the newest bouquets and displayed them before the people of the mushairah--that is, from out of Rekhtah he produced reḳhtī. We would certainly have said that the romantic poetry of India had returned to its roots. But since previous poetry was founded on truth, and reḳhtī is meant only for laughter and joking among friends, we cannot call it anything but buffoonery. In fact, if we declare that the volumes of Rangīn and Sayyid Inshā have sown the seeds of Lucknow's Qaiṣar Bāġh and its affairs, we will not be guilty of casting any false aspersions. Although the original invention was that of Miyāñ Rangīn, even greater feminine skills were shown by Sayyid Inshā.
In the age of these gentlemen of accomplishment, hundreds of the elders' expressions were given up. Nevertheless, those that remain will be revealed in the verses given below. Indeed, from some of Shaiḳh Muṣḥafī's #222# words it seems that he is much in love with his inheritance from the elders. Sayyid Inshā and Jurʾat have given up many of those words. But they casually say nit, ṭuk, añkhṛiyāñ, zor (that is, much). And vāchhṛe, bhallah re, jhamakṛā, ajī are the special style of Sayyid Inshā. Indeed, he has adopted such a style in his poetry that he says whatever he wants. We don't know whether this is his daily speech, or he is indulging in buffoonery. In any case, I record some verses, from which it can be seen what ancient idioms that now have been given up had survived to this time. The rest of the words will be known from those gentlemen's ghazals that have been quoted after the accounts about them. Thus Shaiḳh Muṣḥafī says, [twenty #223# verses]. And Sayyid Inshāʾallāh Ḳhān says: [eight #224# verses]. And Jurʾat says: [twenty-one #225# verses].
SHAIḲH QALANDAR BAḲHSH JURʾAT
With the pen-name of Jurʾat, and known as Shaiḳh Qalandar Baḳhsh, his real name was Yaḥyā Amān. He is known as an Akbarābādī [from Agra], but his father, Ḥāfiz̤ Amān, was a resident of Delhi proper.a It is written in every anthology that his family's lineage derives from Rāʾe Amān of the time of Muḥammad Shāh, and the term 'Amān' has come down as a title of honor in his family since the time of Akbar. Ḥakīm Qudratullāh Qāsim says that his ancestors used to be doorkeepers in the royal court.
An anecdote: The saying of the elders is true, that if you want to inquire about the ability and status of someone's parents and elders, look at that person's name. That is, the name the person bears will be according to their [=the elders'] worth. The truth of the situation is that Rāʾe Amān was a doorkeeper in the time of Muḥammad Shāh. Although even the doorkeepers of that time were better than the holders of high posts nowadays! But the greatest reason for his fame was that when Nādir Shāh ordered the general massacre, #226# some people held their reputation and their family's honor in higher regard than their lives, and arranged to defend their homes. When Nādir's soldiers arrived there, they met sword with sword. In the process, lives were lost on both sides. After the truce, when the deaths of Nādir's soldiers and the reasons for them were investigated, those people were seized. Rāʾe Amān was among them. Thus they were strangled with shawls and sashes, and put to death.b
Jurʾat was a pupil of Miyāñ Jaʿfar ʿAlī Ḥaṣrat.c In addition to the art of poetry, he was a master of astrology, and had a keen interest in music also. Thus he played the sitar very well. First, he took up a post in the service of Navab Muḥabbat Ḳhān, son of Ḥāfiz̤ Raḥmat Ḳhān, Navab of Bareilly. Jurʾat and Mīr Inshāʾallāh Ḳhān used to be boon companions. Accordingly, Jurʾat composed this verse:
/I was always such a flower-picker in the garden of love
Even when I became a servant, it was of Navab Muḥabbat [=Love] Ḳhān/.
In A.H. 1215 [1800-01], he arrived in Lucknow, and took up a post in the service of Mirzā Sulaimān Shikoh. One time his salary was late. With an elegance of request, he composed the concluding verse of a ghazal:
/Jurʾat, now that the salary is cut off, I say
'As long as God doesn't give, how will Solomon give?'/
It's a proverb in Persian: 'Until God gives, how can Solomon give?'
How he lost his eyesight: About Miyāñ Jurʾat, in all the books the only sad fact given is that in the prime of his youth he lost his eyesight. Some say that this accident happened due to smallpox, but my late Ustad said one day, 'My friend, each age has two eyes: the eye of virtue looked with great appreciation at his accomplishment; the eye of evil could not see it, and showed an unattractive stain on the hem of his garment'. They say that originally he was not really blind. For some purposes--the demands of youthful mischief--he himself feigned blindness; gradually, he #227# became truly blind.
The unfolding of the details of an instructive story: The elders say, 'Nobility of character and descent are in love with poverty'; 'Wealth and noble descent are [hostile] co-wives'. This is true, and the reason is that the principles and laws of noble character can be well upheld only by the poor. 'Prosperity came--Doomsday came; property came--calamity came.' Miyāñ Jurʾat's high spirits, his telling of anecdotes, had passed beyond the limits of buffoonery, and the nobles of India had no task more important than this buffoonery, nor any boon beyond this. They say that Mirzā Qatīl, Sayyid Inshā, and he lived in such a way that they couldn't even manage to stay at home. Today Jurʾat is at one noble's house, the next day some other noble comes calling. He gathers Jurʾat up and carries him away; Jurʾat stays there for four or five days. Some other navab comes, and takes him away from there. Wherever he goes, even more than comfort and ease, provisions for pleasure have been made. Night and day, bursts of laughter and merriment.
In the house, a Begam Sahib heard his witticisms and anecdotes, and was very much pleased. And she said to the Navab Sahib, 'I too wish to hear his conversation. Bring him inside for dinner.' Curtains and screens were hung--the ladies sat inside, he sat outside. After some days, except for a few noble ladies who kept purdah in name only, the ladies of the household began to move around freely in his presence. Gradually the ladies who kept purdah began to feel so free with him, that they themselves began to converse with him. In the house some addressed him as 'Grandfather', some as 'Uncle'. Once the Shaiḳh Sahib's eyes became inflamed and diseased. After using for some days the excuse of weakness of sight, he made it appear that his eyes had failed him. The idea was that he should see beautiful people, and delight his eyes. Thus he began to enter houses freely. Now what need for purdah?
I take refuge in God--what a secret was revealed! It is also the rule that when husband and wife take a lot of care of some guest, the servants begin to grow jealous of him. One day in the afternoon, after a nap, he rose. The Shaiḳh Sahib said to a servant girl, 'Fill the large pot with water, and bring it to me'. The girl said nothing. He again called out. She said, 'Madam has taken it into the necessary place'. From his mouth there dropped, 'The slut has gone mad! It's right in front of your nose--why don't you give it to me?' The Begam was in the other verandah. The servant girl went and said, 'Oohh, Madam, this wretch says #228# that he's blind--he's plenty sharp-eyed! Now this is what just happened to me.' At that time the whole secret was revealed. But there's no doubt that in the end he had to lament the loss of his eyes: [one Persian verse].
Although Jurʾat was not fully educated in the usual disciplines, and in fact was ignorant of the Arabic language, he was well acquainted with the byways of this road [of poetry]. And like the parrot and nightingale, he had brought with him a temperament for metrical composition. He lived in Lucknow to the end of his life, and died there in A.H. 1225 [1810-11]. Shaiḳh Nāsiḳh composed a chronogram:
/When Miyāñ Jurʾat left the garden of the world
to go to the garden of Paradise,
Nāsiḳh composed this chronogram line:
'Alas, the poet of India has died!'/ (1225)
His poetry is on people's lips everywhere. His volume is available, but with difficulty. In it are ghazals of every kind, quatrains, some quintains, lover's complaints, some satires, and chronograms. In the volume there aren't a lot of 'wet and dry' [highs and lows]. It's clear that the ustads' styles and manners that he's inherited, he's used with good sense. In addition, his extensive practice has given him an air of clarity that has covered up all shortcomings, and has made him famous as a poet with a style of his own.
He never turned his hand to the ode: A great proof of his fine discrimination and understanding of poetry is that he never turned his hand to genres of poetry like the ode, and so on. In fact he never gave a thought to the Persian language. Seeing how his temperament ran, he adopted the ghazal, and the company of nobles and musicians made his ghazals even sharper and brighter. He took up exactly Mīr's style. But to its eloquence and simplicity he added such a manner of boldness and rakishness that the popular taste has decreed for him everlasting fame. The fame of his accomplishment spread among the common people, and the elite were astonished.
What his style is in the ghazal: His style is his own invention, and to this day is unique to him. Just as it was universally popular at that time, it is so regarded to this day. Its special feature is that it captures the very spirit of eloquence and idiom. Only affairs of beauty and love figure in it, and thoughts of the lover and the beloved create a delight like that of pure fine wine. #229# His temperament was exactly suited to the ghazal. He was comradely, full of humor, high-spirited, with the temperament of a lover. Indeed, intellectual attainments and mental exertion are the greater part of poetry; but his temperament was luxury-loving rather than labor-loving. The surprising thing is that the age gave this sugar-eating sunbird a steady diet of sugar: he spent his whole life among appreciators and nobles who put up with his caprices, where night and day nothing else was talked about [except poetry]. If these things had not been in his nature, and if through intellectual attainment he had developed in his nature a power and capability for concentrated thought, he would certainly have commanded all the genres of poetry--but then, where would this delight and mischief have been? If a nightingale didn't have a passionate temperament, what would become of its song? Or rather, if the spring flowers were as you wish them, how could there be the delight of spring as it is now?
The point is that sharpness and quickness were in his nature, but 'a cold affects the weakest part'. This is the reason that in his poetry there is no high flight, no grandeur and splendor in the words, no complexity in the *meanings--a lack that did not let him reach the ode, and brought him into the road of the ghazal. In this state, whatever things happened to him and passed through his heart, he said. But he said them in such a way that even now the heart still leaps with excitement. When he recited a ghazal in a mushairah, the whole gathering was repeatedly overwhelmed. Sayyid Inshā, in spite of his learning and accomplishment, donned different colorful costumes and created a great stir in the mushairah. Jurʾat himself, with only his plain and simple ghazals, achieved the same effect.
The opinion of the late Mīr Taqī: There used to be a mushairah at the home of Mirzā Muḥammad Taqī Ḳhān 'Taraqqī', and all the well-known nobles and important poets would gather there. The late Mīr Taqī too used to come. One time Jurʾat recited a ghazal--and that too such a ghazal that the verses couldn't be heard for the clamor of praise. Miyāñ Jurʾat, either through the warmth of joy that suffuses a man in such a situation, or out of impertinence and a desire to tease Mīr Sahib, seized the hand of a pupil and came and sat down near him and said, 'Hazrat! Although to recite a ghazal in your presence is discourtesy and shamelessness--well, still, have you heard the nonsense that this foolish one babbled?' Mīr Sahib frowned, and remained silent. Jurʾat repeated his question; #230# Mīr Sahib made some vague noises, and again put him off. When he insisted, Mīr Sahib said these words:d 'This is your situation: you don't know how to compose verses. Go on composing your kisses and caresses.' The late Mīr Sahib was the supreme paterfamilias of the poets. Whatever words he might use to convey his meaning, he was an accomplished jeweler; he assessed the jewels very well. There is no doubt that Jurʾat expressed the secrets and longings of lover and beloved, and affairs of beauty and love, with a liveliness and piquancy that are his alone; to this day they have not been vouchsafed to anyone else. He has written a number of ghazals on ghazals of Mīr and Saudā. Their poems were kings of poetry, but he makes one writhe with the pleasure his liveliness gives.
[Six verses in the same pattern, one each by Mīr, Saudā, Muṣḥafī, Jurʾat, and two by Żauq 'in his youth':]
/If that idol would come with the veil lifted from her face
The spectacle of God's creative power would be revealed/
/How can flame stand against that heart's hot sighs?
When its cold sighs give even lightning pause/
/May the desire of the beloved's heart never come true--
Oh Lord, may dawn never come after the night of union!/
/How can one be successful with one who is so hidden?
Even if she were to appear in a dream--her face would be veiled/
/The defective one will get nothing from the one who practices purity
The blind one--what can he see with glasses?/
If in Heaven there is mention of that sweet lip
The fountain of Paradise will drool with greed/
[Three verses in the same pattern, by Mīr, Saudā, and Jurʾat:]
/Now by forgetting, you will make me unhappy
But when I'm not there, you'll remember a lot/
/The day you are cruel to someone else
Remember this: you'll feel the lack of me!/
/Who has a heart on which you can perform this cruelty?
Here, I give you my heart--you'll always remember this!/
[Three verses in the same pattern, by Mīr, Saudā, and Jurʾat:]
/The opponents stand there and plainly denounce me
And you sit silently and listen--what do you say about it?/
/You've murdered Saudā, it's said--
If it's true, oh cruel one, what do you say about it?/
/People of pure heart call your face a mirror
My heart is caught by this--what will you say about it?/1
One opening verse of Saudā's is famous.e My late Ustad used to recite an opening verse of Jurʾat's on it. I remember one line, the second I've forgotten. Now I've searched through the whole volume, and I don't find it. It seems that it's traveled from tongue #231# to tongue and reached us here, while there it was never entered in the volume. A number of verses by Nāsiḳh and Ātish are in this state. I've heard these verses from the lips of trustworthy individuals who themselves used to take part in their mushairahs, but now those verses are not found in their volumes. Hundreds of verses of my late Ustad's are in this state, as the present sinful writer knows: I myself remember them, or they are on the lips of one or two other people. When these people no longer remain, the verses will be consigned to oblivion. May the Generous Maker bring my Ustad's collection to completion as well! Saudā has an opening verse: [one verse by Saudā, another in the same pattern by Jurʾat].
[Two verses in the same pattern, by Mīr and Saudā:]
/When anyone spoke your name in front of me
With difficulty I controlled my oppressed heart/
/In the garden at dawn, when I spoke the name of that quarrelsome one
The dawn breeze made the flowing wave act as a sword/
[A verse on the same theme by Jurʾat:]
/When yesterday I went and sat next to someone of the same name as you
The moment I heard the name I was frozen with my hand clutched to my heart/
[Three verses in the same pattern, by Mīr, Saudā, and Jurʾat:]
/Yesterday in the garden, when the rose made a claim to beauty
The beauty of the beloved made its face good and red/
/When the rose thought itself to equal you
The dawn breeze gave it a slap and made its face red/
/When the beloved's sword thought of shedding blood
The lovers too made the sword's face glowing and red/
The bird of fame had not yet opened its wings for flight, when an anecdote involving Mirzā Rafīʿ and Mīr Soz [and Jurʾat] took place in a gathering. See page #188#. It's true that the poet brings his poetry with him when he comes out of his mother's womb.
Certain points are worthy of note: In his poetry there are some points on which the eyes of knowledgeable people linger in disapproval. For example,
/When that one becomes angry with me and wanders away [pare phirte haiñ]
I wander around with my hand pressed to my liver/.
The line is a hot one, but if he had said pare pare phirte haiñ, then the idiom would have been completed. [Three other illustrative verses.] Z̤ahūrullāh Ḳhān 'Navā' and he had had a disagreement about something or other. Jurʾat composed a satire on Navā #232# in the form of a repeated-line poem. And in truth he composed it very well; the verse containing its repeated line is:
/Why shouldn't it be the manifestation [z̤ahūr] of Doomsday, when the bald blackbird
Would raise his voice [navā] to sing in the presence of the nightingale of the garden!/
Z̤ahūrullāh Ḳhānf too composed a lot, but whatever he composed never achieved fame. All I remember at present is a verse from a repeated-line poem of his:
/At night, having run my hand over my wife's face, I said
'Through the power of God, "A quail has come into the blind man's hand"'/.
Karailā the jester: Karailā,g a veteran jester [bhāñḍ] who lived in Delhi, had gone [to Faizabad] with Navab Shujāʿ ud-Daulah, and was an accomplished master in his art. One day in some gathering his troupe [of comic actors] was in attendance. Shaiḳh Jurʾat too was present there. Karailā presented a farce [naql]. He took a walking stick in one hand, and put out his other hand the way blind people do. He began to grope his way around, and to say, 'Your Excellency, the poet is blind, and the verse too is blind, and the theme too is blind:
/Oh lovely one, I hear that you too have a waist--
Where is it, to which side, in which direction?/h'
The Shaiḳh Sahib was very angry, but he too was an important member of the gang of Sayyid Inshā and Mirzā Qatīl. After he came home, he composed a satire against Karailā and gave him a good going-over. When he heard it, Karailā became very bitter.2 Thus in another gathering he again imitated a blind man. Just as before, he carried a walking stick and began to wander around. Shaiḳh Jurʾat has a ghazal:
/Tonight we'll tell stories about your black curls, by God!
What a night it is, what a night it is, what a night it is, by God!/
#233# Every time the word 'night' occurred, he changed the way he leaned on the stick. 'What a night it is, what a night it is, what a night it is, by God!' Every verse of this ghazal has something of this kind as its second line. Thus he wandered through the gathering, reciting the whole ghazal in this way. The Shaiḳh Sahib grew even angrier, and again came home and composed a satire. It was a repeated-line poem: /The first one swings, the next one swings--in the month of Sāvan, the karailā blooms/. Karailā too heard about this, and he boiled with rage. Then in some gathering he performed a show [svāng] of being a woman who was about to give birth, and made it clear that a small demon had entered into her stomach. He himself became the Mullā, and just the way exorcists wrestle with Jinns, he abused him, 'Oh unlucky wretch, why have you seized on the life of your poor mother? If you have courage [jurʾat], then come out, so I can burn you up at once and turn you into ashes!'
Finally, one time Jurʾat heard that Karailā had presented himself to attend upon him. Karailā asked pardon for his offense and said, 'If I break off the stars and bring them down to earth, even then the deed will be talked about only as far as the circle of our gathering extends. Your words will become famous in the world the moment you speak them: they'll become a line drawn in stone, which will not be erased until Doomsday. Please just excuse my offense'.
Although I have heard this incident from the elders, among the many manuscripts of his Complete Works that I have seen, I find nothing among his satires about which a jester would be so anxious that he would come and obtain pardon for his fault.
An anecdote about Jurʾat and Mīr Inshāʾallāh Ḳhān: One day Mīr Inshāʾallāh Ḳhān came to see Jurʾat. He saw that Jurʾat sat with his head bowed, thinking about something. He asked, 'What are you thinking about?' Jurʾat said, 'A line has occurred to me. I want it to become an opening verse.' He asked, 'What is it?' Jurʾat said, 'It's a good line, but until I have a second line I won't recite it. Otherwise, you'll put a second line on it and snatch it away too!' Sayyid Inshā asked again and again to hear it. Finally Jurʾat recited it: '/It came to me to call the tresses a long dark night/'. Sayyid Inshā instantly said, '/The blind man #234# in the darkness had farfetched thoughts/'. Jurʾat burst out laughing, and ran forward with his walking stick upraised to beat him. For a long time Sayyid Insha dodged around, avoiding him, and Jurʾat came groping behind him in pursuit. God is great! What lively people they were! What a time it was of lightheartedness and freedom from care!
A puzzle based on the word 'Jurʾat': Sayyid Inshā composed a puzzle based on Jurʾat's name: sarmūñḍī nigoṛī gujrātan [=headless footless Gujarati woman].3 The subtlety was that Gujrātan was the name of Jurʾat's mother.
One time Navab Muḥabbat Ḳhān's steward was somewhat late in distributing the regular winter clothes. Jurʾat recited a quatrain that earned him a robe of honor on the spot:
/Please don't be proud of your position--
what they call 'position' is as weak as the [barren] castor-oil root,
Give us our winter clothes--otherwise
you'll suffer abuse if we suffer cold!/
Ghazals: [Two ghazals #235# by Jurʾat.] There is a pattern for an extended-line poem at which Muṣḥafī and Sayyid Inshā also tried their hands. Look at the achievement of each one, and compare them. Jurʾat composed a head-to-foot description [sarāpā]: [thirty-two stanzas of #236# #237# #238# an extended-line poem. Then seven ghazals #239# #240# #241# by Jurʾat.]
His pen-name was Ḥasan, his name Mīr Ġhulām Ḥasan, and he was from Delhi proper. There was a muhallah in Old Delhi called Sayyidvāṛah; #242# he was born there. In his youth, he went with his father to Faizabadi and entered the service of Navab Sarfarāz Jang, son of Navab Sālār Jang. He lived for some time in that city, then came to Lucknow. By temperament he was cheerful, lively, and fond of joking, but he never loosed his hold on courtesy and sophistication. He was of middle stature, pleasing appearance, and fair complexion. He upheld all the family values and rules of good breeding inherited from his father. There was only one exception: he shaved his beard. My God, my God, youth is a law unto itself! /Oh Youth, where are you--I remember you with good feeling/. On his head a rakish hat, on his body a light cotton robe, tight sleeves, a sash tied around his waist--
/If there's a rakishness in your pride too, then it's even better--
Add to the rakish wrinkle in your brow, a piquant angle of the cap/.
Correction of his verses: As long as he stayed in Delhi, he received correction first from his father, then from Ḳhvājah Mīr Dard. When he went to Avadh, he became a pupil of Mīr Ẓiyā ud-Dīn 'Ẓiyā', and showed his ghazals to Mirzā Rafīʿ Saudā as well. When he came to Lucknow, his poetry stirred up the breezes of fame.
His style of poetry: His verses are roses flowering on the root of the ghazal. And the fine expressiveness of his idioms is dyed in the colors of romantic themes. His style much resembles that of Mīr Soz. The anthology-writers say that his odes were not of the same rank. And this is no surprise, for the two paths are remote from each other.
The masnavi 'Badr-e munīr': He wrote the incomparable [benaz̤īr] qiṣṣah of Benaz̤īr and Badr-e Munīr, and gave this masnavi the name of Siḥr ul-bayān. The age has recorded a testimony, through all the poets and anthologists, to its magic of expression [siḥr ul-bayānī]. Its limpidity of expression, the delightfulness of its idiom, the liveliness of its themes, its manner of expression and delicacy of deportment, the cut-and-thrust of its 'question-and-answer' repartee, are beyond the limit of praise. With what fineness of hearing Nature endowed the ear of his eloquence! Was he #243# able to hear the speech of a century later? For whatever he composed at that time uses exactly the idiom and the colloquial language that you and I are speaking today. Look at the speech of the poets of that time! On every page there are many words and constructions that today are considered undesirable and have been given up. His poetry (with the exception of a handful of words) is just as delightful and charming as it was then. What am I saying? Whose lips today can shape even five verses with those excellences? Especially the proverb or saying--in his verses he interweaves these sayings with such beauty that the reader smacks his lips and can't identify the delightful fruit. The universally recognized master of the world of poetry, Mirzā Rafīʿ Saudā, and the crown of poets Mīr Taqī Mīr, have also composed a number of masnavis. In the library of eloquence, they have not found room in the same cupboard with him. Siḥr ul-bayān is in every house, in every shop--and in fact its verses are alive on every tongue; thus there's no need to record them here.
An opinion about 'Badr-e munīr' and 'Gulzār-e nasīm': In our realm of poetry hundreds of masnavis have been written, but only two works among them have turned out to be so much according to people's taste as to receive the authority of general acceptance. One is Siḥr ul-bayān, the other Gulzār-e nasīm, and the surprising thing is that the two take entirely different paths. For this reason it is incumbent upon Āzād to write something, and to ask appreciators of poetry whether his opinion is accurate or faulty. The masnavi is in reality a narrative or an account of events; it ought to be considered a branch of history. In this respect, it has been written about its principles that it ought to be in extremely fluent language, just the way you and I speak.
The late Mīr Ḥasan composed in this way, and with such clear language, eloquent idioms, and sweet conversation. And he presented them with a mood like that of flowing water. The shape of the original event was drawn into the eyes, and the sounds of those events that were happening there at that time began to fall on the ear. Despite this, he never deviated even a hairsbreadth from the principles of the art. Popular esteem took his masnavi in its hands and touched it to its eyes; and the eyes confided it to the care #244# of people's hearts and lips. The masnavi did not content itself with the praise of people knowledgeable about poetry: the common people, without even knowing the alphabet, began to memorize it as if for ritual recitation.
Pandit Dayā Shañkar 'Nasīm' composed Gulzār-e nasīm, and composed it very well. Its path was quite different from that of Badr-e munīr. For the Pandit Sahib presented every theme through the curtain of simile and the convolutions of metaphor. And that style of presentation appeared as the airs and graces of a beloved. Its convolutions are the same twists of rakishness that [women lovely as] Parizads exhibit when they wear their [shawl-like] dupattahs at a rakish angle, and most of the ideas have been presented through the style of hints and *implications. In spite of this, his language is eloquent and his poetry limpid and pure.
How it came to be shortened: Brevity too must be mentioned as a special quality of Gulzār-e nasīm. For he has presented everything in a form beyond which no further compression is possible--and if you remove one single verse from it, the story [dāstān] becomes garbled. In these respects, the book should have pleased only the elite; however, it became famous among both the elite and the common people. Whether or not they understand its fine points and subtleties, people all buy it and read it. However much they understand, they are pleased with that and continue to adore it. When he first wrote the masnavi, it was extremely long. He took it to Ḳhvājah Ātish, his own ustad, for correction. The ustad said, 'My boy, who will even look at such a long book? Apply the rule of "One-tenth" here as well.' (This suggestion hints at the Pandit Sahib's position as a clerk in the royal army; according to bureaucratic practice, he deducted one-tenth from everyone's salary. This complaint was talked about in every house.) The Pandit Sahib took the masnavi away with him. And when he compressed it, he did it in such a way that he brought out its essence.
In addition to 'Badr-e munīr', there is another masnavi: On one occasion the late Mīr Ḥasan chanced to travel in company with a procession of Shāh Madār's flower-garlanded sticks. Thus he cast the events of the trip in the mold of a masnavi. In it he has praised Faizabad and satirized Lucknow.j From it one can also learn the sort of clothing women wore there at that time, and the details of the rituals #245# performed by those who bore the sticks. I had seen this masnavi before the  destruction of Delhi. Now it is not to be found. People write a great deal in its praise, but the truth is that it does not reach the level of Badr-e munīr. There was a third masnavi too, but it did not become famous.
His volume: His volume is now not to be found. Ḥakīm Qudratullāh Ḳhān Qāsim says that it is overflowing with different sorts of poetry.
The late Mīr Ḥasan's letter: The author of Gulzār-e ibrāhīmī says in A.H. 1196 [1781-82], 'The aforementioned Sayyid has sent me his poetry. And in the letter he has described it as follows: "Comprising all kinds of poetry, my verses as put in this volume number eight thousand. I have also written an anthology of the poets of Rekhtah, and I have received correction from Mīr Ẓiyā. It's been quite some time now since I arrived in Lucknow from Delhi; I spend my life with Navāb Sālār Jang and his son Navāzish ʿAlī Ḳhān Sarfarāz Jang Bahādur."' It's a pity--God bestowed virtuous offspring on him, but none of them gave thought to increasing the radiance of their father's name [by preserving his poetry]. There were a number of reasons. Their time gave no opportunity to the sons, nor did their pursuit of religious merit give them leisure. And at that time, the printing press itself had not come this way from Calcutta. He had grandsons--the late Mīr Anīs, and others. Their pure faith and virtuous intent earned them an auspicious time to live in, and their time placed them on so high a pedestal that their grandfather's accomplishment looked very small. Then, too, they considered that their own accomplishment had no need of their grandfather's reputation and fame.
That is all true, but the present generation soon, and future generations for a long time, will regret it. The times have changed, and they keep on changing. That time is gone; later this time too will vanish. Today things have reached such a pass that I couldn't find even five complete ghazals that I could record in this book. To make a long story short, in A.H. 1201 [1786-87], on the first of Muḥarram, he set off from this transitory world. He was buried in the back of Navāb Qāsim ʿAlī Ḳhān's garden, in Muftī Ganj. His age is unknown. They write that he was over fifty years old. Two of his sons made a name for themselves: Mīr Ḳhalīq and Mīr Ḳhulq. Shaiḳh Muṣḥafī composed this chronogram, and thus fulfilled the claims of friendship: [two Persian verses].
#246# [Three ghazals by Mīr Ḥasan.]
a Rāʾe Mān kā Kūchah, in Delhi's Chāndnī Chauk, came to be known by his name.
b See the Nādir nāmah, by ʿAbd ul-Karīm.
c Ḥaṣrat too was a well-known poet. But his true profession was that of a pharmacist. His volume is available. It has all the relish of weak sherbet. Mirzā Rafīʿ [Saudā] composed a ghazal in his honor, of which the opening verse is: /A hurricane caused a heap of quince seeds to blow around in the air / Every bird ate them and filled its belly/. In this way the whole shop was blown into dust by the hurricane of the satire.
d See the anthology of Ḥakīm Qudratullāh Ḳhān Qāsim.
1 My heart is mesmerized by looking into your smooth mirror-like face.
e My old friend Ḥāfiz̤ 'Vīrān' says so.
f Z̤ahūrullāh Ḳhān Navā died in A.H. 1240 [1824-25].
g The time of Muḥammad Shāh, and the times before and after his, were a heavenly period from the point of view of prosperity. Any noble who went from the court to any other place used to take necessary things and skilled persons from Delhi with him, so that in every task, every custom, every matter, every function, the practice would remain what it was in the capital. When Navab Sirāj ud-Daulah was appointed to the governorship of Murshidābād, he took with him not only the officers and servants, but a number of jesters, two or three singers, two or three prostitutes, one or two mimics, two or three bakers, one or two green-grocers and grain-parchers as well. And it was such a time that even the grain-parchers refused to leave Delhi unless they received ten or twelve rupees a month.
h This verse is by Shāh Mubārak 'Ābrū'.
2 Karailā is the name of a bitter-tasting gourd.
3 If the word gujrātan is made sarmūñḍī [=head-cut] by the removal of its first letter, gāf, and then is made nigoṛī [=without-foot] by the removal of its last letter, nūn, the remaining letters spell out the name Jurʾat.
i Faizabad was formerly the center of government. Lucknow was a provincial town. The late Āṣif ud-Daulah became interested in settling it, and began to spend much time there. For this reason the courtiers too were obliged to spent much time here [in Lucknow], and it became necessary to construct buildings. But they all had two houses: they kept one foot here and one foot there.
j In truth, at that time Lucknow was indeed in just such a [bad] condition.