The Third Era of Āb-e ḥayāt:

Part Two


His pen-name is Saudā, his name Mirzā Muḥammad Rafīʿ, his accomplishments a cause of pride to the city of Delhi. His father Mirzā Muḥammad Shafīʿ was from the aristocracy of Kabul. The profession of his ancestors was soldiery. Mirzā Shafīʿ came to India by way of trade. The dust of India that clings to the hem of garments, seized such hold of his feet that he remained here. Some say that his father's being a merchant [saudāgar] was the reason Saudā chose his pen-name. But the truth is that the poets of Asia, in every country, live and breathe through love; and saudā [=madness] and dīvānagī [=madness] are born together with love. Thus madness too is a cause of pride to lovers. So with regard to this he chose 'Saudā' as his pen-name, and thanks to saudāgarī [=merchandising] the verbal device of punning came as a 'special free offer' into his poetry.

Saudā was born in A.H. 1125 [1713-14]. He was raised and educated in Delhi. Their house was in the Kābulī Gate area. His gatherings used to be held in a large gatehouse. That gate was destroyed in the destruction of Delhi. Shaiḳh Ibrāhīm Żauq, may God have mercy upon him, often used go by that way when taking a stroll. I would be with him. Speaking of Mirzā's1 times and his sayings, he would exclaim at the power of God.

Saudā, according to the custom of the time, became the pupil first of Sulaimān Qulī Ḳhān 'Vidād',a then of Shāh Ḥātim. #142# Shāh [Ḥātim] too, in the introduction to his volume in which he provides a list of his pupils, has recorded Mirzā's name in such a way that it exudes the perfume of pride. Happy is the fortune of an ustad in whose lap such a pupil finds nurture and grows to maturity! He was not a pupil of Ḳhān-e Ārzū, but received much benefit from his company. Thus at first he always used to compose verses in Persian. Ḳhān-e Ārzū said, 'Mirzā, Persian is not now your mother tongue. In Persian you cannot be such that your poetry, in comparison with that of native speakers, would be worthy of praise. You have the temperament for metrical composition, you have an extremely great affinity for verse. If you compose in Urdu, you will be unique in your age.' Mirzā was persuaded, and he acted on his aged ustad's advice. In short, through the suitability of his temperament and the amount of his practice, in a city like Delhi his ustadship found recognition among both high and low: even during his lifetime his ghazals were on the lips of high and low, in every house and street and bazaar.

When the fame of his poetry conquered the world [ʿālam], then the emperor Shāh ʿĀlam began to give him his poetry for correction, and began to make demands on him. One day the king pressed him for a certain ghazal. He offered some excuse. His Majesty commanded, 'Mirzā my friend, how many ghazals do you manage to compose every day?' Mirzā said, 'My Lord and Guide, when the urge is upon me, I manage to compose three or four verses'. His Majesty commanded, 'My friend, while I'm seated on the toilet I'm able to compose four ghazals'. With hands folded he petitioned, 'Your Majesty, that's what they smell like, too'. With these words, he came away. The king again sent for him a number of times, and said, '*Do my ghazals; I will make you "Chief of Poets"'. He did not go, and said, 'What's the good of Your Majesty's "Chieftainship of Poets"? If anything does it, then my poetry will make me "Chief of Poets"!' Then he composed a long shahr āshob in the form of a quintain: /Today I said to Saudā, 'Why this shakiness?'/. Those who have no feeling, who look only at externals, say that it is a satire about the king and the royal court. If you look closely, then you see that his compassion for the country composed it as an elegy for his homeland.

Mirzā, broken-hearted, kept to his house. Appreciators of poetry were there, so that he had no cause for worry. Among them many were nobles and aristocrats, especially Mihrbān Ḳhān, and Basant Ḳhān the Steward. Thus this is the same Basant Ḳhān #143# in whose praise he has composed an ode: [two verses]. Thanks to these people, he lived his life entirely free of care. So much so that when Navab Shujāʿ ud-Daulah in Lucknow heard the fame of his poetry, and wrote to him with the greatest eagerness, addressing him as 'My brother, my affectionate and kind friend', sending the expenses for the journey, and asking him to come, he could not bear to leave Delhi. In reply, he merely gave in this quatrain the ultimate in elegant excuses:

/Saudā, how long will you run after this world?

How long will you wander from this street to that?

Isn't the fruit of this that you will attain the world?

And even if you do--then how long will you be here?/

After many years, those appreciators died; the times changed. Saudā felt very distressed. In that period, for such misfortune-stricken ones there were two places of refuge: Lucknow and Hyderabad. Lucknow was near, and a Ganges of bounty and generosity was flowing there. For this reason whoever left Delhi headed there at once, and found so much there that from then on his thoughts never went elsewhere. At that time the rulers there, and in fact even the ruled as well, sought for accomplishment. They purchased a single subtle point for the price of a whole book.

In short, at the age of 60 or 66 years he left Delhi, and stayed for some time in Farruḳhābād, with Navab Bangash. He wrote a number of odes in praise of the Navab. In A.H. 1185 [1771-72], he arrived in Lucknow and attended upon Navab Shujāʿ ud-Daulah, who treated him with great honor and expressed perfect delight at his coming. But either through informality or sarcastically, he said this much: 'Mirzā, that quatrain of yours is still engraved on my heart'. And he recited it once again. Mirzā felt great grief at his own situation, and because of his respect for consistency of style he never went to the court again--for so long that Shujāʿ ud-Daulah died, and Āṣif ud-Daulah succeeded him.

In the service of Navab Āṣif ud-Daulah: #144# In Lucknow Mirzā Fāḳhir 'Makīn' was a famous poet in the Persian language. He and Mirzā Rafīʿ quarreled. And their quarrel took on such magnitude that word of it reached the court of Navab Āṣif ud-Daulah. (A detailed account of it will be given shortly.) The result was that Saudā received, in addition to gifts and honors, an annual pension of six thousand rupees, and the Navab began to look on him with extreme kindness. He would often be dining in the ladies' apartments, and when Mirzā was announced, he would come out at once. He would listen to his verses and be pleased; and he would please Mirzā with a reward.

As long as Mirzā lived, the appreciation shown by the late Navab (may God shelter him in His forgiveness!) and by the people of Lucknow, enabled him to live entirely free of care. At the age of almost 70b years, in A.H. 1195 [1780-81], in Lucknow, he departed from this world. Shāh Ḥātim was alive. When he heard the news, he wept profusely and said, 'What a pity, my champion of poetry has died'.

Ḥakīm Qudratullāh Ḳhān 'Qāsim' says that Mirzā left Delhi toward the end of his life. In the Tażkirah-e dilkushā it says that he left at the age of 66 years. It's surprising that in the Majmūʿah-e suḳhan, which was written in Lucknow, it says that Mirzā came to Lucknow in his young manhood. In short, since Shujā ud-Daulah died in A.H. 1188 [1774-75], Mirzā must have lived more or less 70 years.

After him, accomplishment too vanished from his family. The present sinful writer went to Lucknow in A.D. 1858; after much searching, one person was found who was said to be his maternal grandson. The poor man wasn't even literate, and was in an extremely wretched condition. It's true that /If you want your father's legacy, acquire your father's learning/.

/You have become a servant of love--renounce your lineage, Jāmī

For in this path 'So-and-so son of So-and-so' is nothing/.

His Complete Works, and details about it: His Complete Works can be obtained everywhere, and is regarded with respect and admiration. Ḥakīm Sayyid Aṣlaḥ ud-Dīn Ḳhān compiled it, and wrote an introduction for it. If we ignore for a little while its archaic idioms, we'll see that from start to finish it's an exemplary model for Urdu poetry and literature. #145# First come the Urdu odes in praise of religious elders and persons of substance. Then some Persian odes of this kind. There are twenty-four masnavis and many tales and versified anecdotes. Then a short volume of his Persian poetry, complete in all respects. Then in his volume of Rekhtah there are many incomparable ghazals, and opening verses, quatrains, *extended-line poems, verse-sets, chronograms, riddles, lover's complaints, *repeated-line poems, quintains--he has composed everything. And in every form of poetry there are satires that turn the hearts and livers of his enemies sometimes to blood, sometimes to kabobs. There is an anthology of Urdu poets that is now not to be found.

Evaluation of the odes: People had previously been composing ghazals in Urdu, but until the second period, if poets composed anything by way of praise then it was such that it couldn't be called an ode. Thus his first boast is to have composed odes, and to have reached--with such resounding rhythms--a high level of eloquence and rhetoric. In this field he didn't merely ride neck-and-neck with the renowned horsemen of Persian, but in some areas he even emerged ahead of them. The power and force of his poetry surpass that of Anvarī and Ḳhāqānī. And in the refinement of his conceits he puts ʿUrfī and Z̤ahūrī to shame.

Evaluation of the masnavis: There are twenty-four masnavis, and many tales, anecdotes, and so on. They all, in their organization and eloquence of speech, reveal his natural talent. But the romantic masnavis don't come up to a level worthy of him. Not to speak of the late Mīr 'Ḥasan', they haven't even reached the level of Mīr Sahib's Shuʿlah-e ʿishq and Daryā-e ʿishq.

The volume of Persian poetry: In the short volume of Persian poetry, the full [alphabetical] set of refrains are present. The creative power and principles of composition are all established. The style is that of Ṣāʾib, but those with experience know that practice and achievement in one language is a stumbling block on the way to reaching a high level of accomplishment in another language. Thus Shaiḳh Muṣḥafī has written in his anthology, 'Toward the end of his life he became inclined toward composing poems in Persian also. But this was something not to be expected of a person of his intelligence and wisdom. In short, he organized by refrain his Persian ghazals, including those he wrote at Lucknow, and included them in his Rekhtah volume, and this is an innovation of his.'

The volume of Rekhtah: Leaving aside the language of the time, the volume of Rekhtah is, with regard to the essential quality of its poetry, *ornamented from head to foot. Many ghazals are in attractive and pleasing meters that had not up till then #146# come into Urdu. The grounds are *stony, and the refrains and rhymes very difficult. But the way he's joined them together, they've become so joined that if anyone would fit them in another way--only then would he realize [Saudā's skill].

About the satires: In addition to the fervor of his speech, the wit that drips from his tongue makes it clear that right up until his old age, childish mischief shows its impulse in his temperament. But every page of the collection of satires in his Complete Works encloses a Kashmiri saffron-field2 for those who like to laugh. This shows that the exuberance and liveliness of his temperament didn't allow any kind of anxiety or doubt to come near. His fieriness and the sharp swiftness of his temperament had the effect of lightning--and a force that no reward could extinguish, and no danger could suppress. The result was that even a little annoyance caused him to lose control. He was unable to do anything else. Instantly he prepared a whole long bundle of a satire.

He had a servant named Ġhunchah, who always attended upon him and carried his pen-case with him everywhere. When he grew angry with someone he instantly called out, 'Oh Ġhunchah, bring the pen-case! Let me just take care of him! What does he take me for?' Then, closing the eyes of modesty and opening the mouth of shamelessness, he said such wild things that even Satan would ask for a truce.

Arabic and Persian are the two storehouses of Urdu. In their treasuries are bags full of satires, but up to that time the poets of Urdu used to clear the dust from their hearts with only one or two verses. This special style that made the satire a thick branch in the garden of this poetry, was his excellence alone. Learned, ignorant, faqir, rich man, good, bad--nobody's beard was safe from his hands. He pursued people so relentlessly that they grew tired of life. But Mīr Ẓāḥik,c Fidvī, Makīn, Baqā,d #147# and other such accomplished poets didn't leave him alone either. They gave back as good as they got. Still, wide acceptance and general fame is a blessing that is not in just anyone's power; God gave it to him, but the others remained deprived of it. Whatever Mirzā composed is on the lips of every child; what they composed is not to be found, even if you look for it. Among these [lost poems] is one verse that came from the poetic temperament of Fidvīe in honor of Mirzā Sahib: #148# [one verse]. '/He's a pimp, he's a jester--this came about through madness [saudā]/' [--Fidvī].

The satire about the elephant: Mirzā composed a satire in the form of a masnavi about Raja Nirpat Singh's elephant. In reply to it, somebody else also wrote a masnavi, and a good one. Thus Mirzā says,

/Bring out your elephant of meaning,

And let it clash in combat with my elephant once or twice/.

Sayyid Inshā has written that it ought to be [not the singular do ṭakkar but the plural] do ṭakkareñ [=two collisions], but that's just the Sayyid Sahib's bullying.

Among the satires is a cupbearer poem, in which a poet called Fauqī is ridiculed. Originally it was a satire on Qiyām ud-Dīn Qāʾim.f That gentleman had, although he was Mirzā's pupil, turned against him. Once the cupbearer poem was written, Qāʾim grew anxious and came and obtained pardon for his offense. Mirzā removed his name, and inserted the name of Fauqī, an imaginary person.

Elegies and salāms: He composed many elegies and salāms as well. At that time the *sestain was not so widely used. Most of the elegies were 'four-liner' ones, but seeing the progress that elegy-composition has made today, it is embarrassing to mention them. Perhaps it was with reference to these early elegies that in earlier times the proverb became famous, 'An inept poet becomes an elegy-composer, an inept singer becomes an elegy-reciter'. The truth is that the poet who composes elegies is like one stricken with misfortune who bewails his misery. When some loved one dies, the poor bereaved person, in a state of grief and sorrow, says whatever comes to his lips. Who is so heartless as to find fault? How can one seek out soundness and error, verbal devices and wondrous creations? These people, #149# keeping in view nothing but religious faith, composed elegies and salāms. Thus they paid little heed to the grammatical rules of poetry--and no one objected. Nevertheless, when the sword of Mirzā's language shows its fine temper, the hearers' hearts are pierced with knives. One opening verse is,

/It's not the crescent moon of Muḥarram that's in the sky--

The scimitar of grief and tribulation has been raised against the sky/.3

The opening verses of another elegy are,

/Friends, listen, for the Great Creator's sake,

Give a fair-minded answer, for Ḥaidar's sake

Was that a place for the Prophet to kiss,

or for tyrants to slash with daggers?/

Despite the faults mentioned above, where he shows some situation and state of affairs, even a heart of stone turns to water. And the elegy-composers of today ought certainly to pay heed--for they have been seduced by their own accomplishment, and have turned aside from this path.g

Miscellaneous points about the chronograms: The lover's complaints, the quintains, the repeated-line poems, the extendeded-line poems, the verse-sets, the quatrains, the riddles, and so on--in their own ways, they're incomparable. Especially the chronograms: they are so precisely calculated, so well-placed, so apropos, that it's surprising they aren't well known. In short, whatever he has composed, he has brought to a high level of accomplishment.

Evaluation of the Urdu prose: Everyone knows the state of Mirzā's language in verse--that it's 'sometimes milk, sometimes sherbet' [and thus always pleasant]. But in prose there's a great difficulty. One has to chew on [lumpy undissolved] sugar-crystals. And it's apparent that his Urdu prose is still a child. The child has not found his tongue. Thus the speech of his Shuʿlah-e ʿishq is obviously Urdu, but it sounds like Mirzā Bedil's Persian prose. I don't have this book with me now. But in an introduction he has written a little prose also. From it the style of the story can be perceived. See page #22#.

A general evaluation of his poetry: All poetry people agree that in this art Mirzā was a fully authoritative ustad. He was born with a temperament designed only for verse and literary style. Mīr Sahib too considered him the complete #150# poet.h His poetry says that the lotus of his heart remained always fully open. On top of that, he could harmonize with all colors, yet in every color show his own flowing wave. Whenever you look you see a temperament full of passion and brimming with turmoil and vitality. He tried his hand at every branch of poetry, and never faltered. He has certain special qualities that distinguish his poetry from that of all other poets. The first is that he has a masterful command over language. The force in his poetry grapples with the subtlety of his themes, the way heat and light are inseparable in a flame. The trimness of his structures and the faultlessness of his constructions join each word so tightly to the next that it is like a European pistol that has been cocked, and this is his portion alone. Thus when you forget something from a verse of his, until you put the exact word back in place, the verse gives no pleasure. He uses subtle ideas and fresh themes, but his eloquence enhances these intricate patterns. Similes and metaphors are there, but like salt in food or color in a rose. He doesn't let the real meaning become lost behind a curtain of colorfulness.

His temperament was not inclined to follow one manner steadily. In whatever ways he could bring together novel ideas and snappy rhymes, he brought them together. And that was his specialty: that the listeners couldn't help but be pleased; or it was the excellence of his tongue that whatever issued from it seemed to be in a novel and attractive style. The ustads themselves who were his contemporaries always acknowledged that the things that they searched out and created with much effort, he found lying around underfoot.

Among those individuals who cleansed and brightened the Urdu language, Mirzā is supreme. He inserted Persian idioms into Bhasha and melded them into one, just the way an expert chemist, causing one substance to absorb another, makes a third substance such that no acid can dissolve the bond. With Persian idioms and metaphors, he gave the Hindi language extreme force. Some of them became current, others didn't last.i

#151# His was the vigorous temperament with the sensitivity to make of two languages a construction from which a third language was born--one that became so widely accepted that it was established as India's language for the future, one that took control of the courts of the rulers and the treasuries of learning. Thanks to this, our language will obtain the badge of eloquence and literary style, and will receive an honorable seat in the court of civilized languages. The people of India ought forever to bow their heads with respect and gratitude before his greatness. How many such temperaments are born, that feel the pulse of the popular choice, and produce things that popular acceptance agrees on--things it endorses with a writ that lasts for many years?

Examples of the *manipulation of language: In every language, accomplished people have the practice that when they use certain words from a foreign language, they make changes according to their own idiom. Sometimes the intent is to show the power of their command over language, sometimes to be faithful to the common idiom. The ignorant person says that the poet has made an error. Mirzā too has such usages here and there: [illustrative verses and lines, #152# with brief commentary].

Indian themes: Mirzā often used words and themes from Hindi, in the subtlest way, as *incorporations; he did justice to the true nature of the language of India. He and Sayyid Inshā both share this expertise. Thus he says, [one line and five verses].

Carving out words: Mirzā himself carved out his own words--and carved them so beautifully that they were liked by high and low. He composed an ode in praise of the late Āṣif ud-Daulah. I record some verses of it. Along with the Indian themes, look at how well he has used his beautiful skill in carving out words: [nine #153# verses]. The other verses are similar: [fifteen examples of rhymes and refrains]. As with most poets of India and Iran, all his compositions are in one Complete Works, so that we cannot say which poem was written when and how his temperament inclined from time to time--and especially, what reforms he made in his language, and when. It was a matter of chance that Mīrj Sahib had occasion to compile his six separate volumes. Those who compare the poetry of earlier and later poets say that in the huge bulk of Saudā's compositions, there is waste paper as well--and a lot of it.

In his whole Complete Works there are seventy-two daggers: Thus just as they say there are seventy-two lancets in Mīr Sahib's poetry, from Mirzā's forceful poetry they prepare seventy-two daggers. I too have to concur in this opinion: that beyond a doubt his poetry in accord with today's style is at such a lofty level that even our praise can't ascend that high. But if you ask about the effect on the heart, then those verses that we treat as trash, on the charge of archaic idioms, are such that thousands of today's idioms can be sacrificed for them. Just please listen:k

/To do me justice, I showed the fullest faithfulness--

As soon as down appeared [on your cheek], everyone left; now you are, and I am/4

#154# /The one whom you praise--what's there to say about him?

But just take a look this way, beloved--what the hell, it's me!

I remember the drunken state of her eyes, Saudā

Take the wineglass from my hand--I'm gone/.

My late Ustad used to say that when someone read this [latter] verse before Saudā, or it came to Saudā's own lips, he used to go into ecstasies, and enjoy it fully. I recall a verse like this of Naz̤īrī's; although it is in Persian, I don't want to deprive my friends of pleasure:

/I smell the scent of my beloved from this one of weak loyalty

Take away the rose from my hands, for now I'm done!/5

An elegant excuse: Flower-pickers of the springtime of poetry! That was a time when in the earth of the Hindi Bhasha where dohrās grew as wild foliage, seeds of Persian poetry had been sown. At that time merely to compose a verse in Persian meters, and to bring idioms from there to here, and to dress Persian themes in Indian clothes, was a great accomplishment. This master of invention, through the vigor of his temperament and the power of his language, compiled verbal devices, Persian constructions, and original themes, and made such excellence that people forgot punning, *alliteration, and the other verbal devices that were the foundation for Hindi dohrās. If the poetry of such a time should be like an alternation of 'wet and dry' [i.e., good and bad], why should that be surprising? We don't take this accusation amiss.

At that time, there was not just a single plague on the ground of poetry. On the one hand, there were the difficulties already mentioned. On the other hand, a jungle of old words that would be difficult to cut down. Thus some individuals came who dug out a number of flowerbeds and sowed seeds, before they went away. Those who came after them cut down the jungle. They pruned the trees and cultivated a wider extent of garden. Those who followed them decorated the garden with paths, flowerbeds, trellises, flowering borders, trees, rosebushes. In short, from one period to the next, reforms kept being made and will keep on being made. The language that we have today adorned with the garland of immortal perfection, so that we now sit happily--will it remain the same forever? Not possibly! How can we have the face to boast about our language? Have we forgotten how it was for past eras? Just turn around and look--you'll see an assembly of the elders of the early generation, wearing 'windowed' turbans in the style of Muḥammad Shāh's court, and robes made of fifty yards of fabric. Bring your poetry and join them. That language you dress in the robe of honor of new shapes and inventions and productions-- #155# will they accept it? No, absolutely not. They will think our appearance mean and our conversation shallow, and will turn away from us. Then just turn your telescope so it points ahead. Look: a queue of educated people will come--and will pass on, laughing at us.

/This garden will remain, and thousands of creatures

Will utter their calls--and pass on/.

The opinion of Mirzā Qatīl: Mirzā Qatīl says in Chār sharbat, 'In Rekhtah, Mirzā Muḥammad Rafīʿ Saudā has the same rank as Mullā Z̤ahūrī. Aside from the fact that their language is different from each other's, no distinction can be made between them'. The late Mirzā Qatīl was a gentleman of accomplishment. I, who am not accomplished, have received many benefits from his writings. But Z̤ahūrī's poems, whether ghazals or odes, are silk thread tangled in the knots of metaphors and similes. If Saudā can be compared to anyone, it is Anvarī, who is the lord of idiom and language, and the king of ode and satire.

Sufism: This matter too is worth recording: that in Sufism, which is the favorite delicacy of the poetry of Asia, Mirzā is insipid, and that [mystical] portion falls to Ḳhvājah Mīr Dard.

Odes and ghazals: They say that Mirzā is the king of odes, but that his ghazals are not as burning and melting as Mīr Taqī's. There is some truth in this. In fact it seems that this matter was discussed in his presence too. Thus he says,

/People say that Saudā's odes are fine--

I'll go and present this ghazal in their service/.

That is, look and see--is the ghazal inferior?

Ḥakīm Qudratullāh Ḳhān's judgment about Mīr and Mirzā: Ḥakīm Qudratullāh Ḳhān Qāsim too says in his anthology, 'Some claim that the fragrance of ghazal-composition has not touched Mirzā Muḥammad Rafīʿ Saudā, who is the leader of all poets who are full of eloquence. But the truth is, /All roses have different colors and different scents/. Mirzā is a shoreless ocean, and Mīr is a magnificent river. In the knowledge of the rules [of poetry] Mīr is superior to Mirzā. In power of versification Mirzā has kingship over Mīr'.

The truth of the judgment: The real truth is that in the ode, the ghazal, the masnavi, and other genres of verse--every street has a separate way. Just as for the ode grandeur of words and loftiness of themes, tightness of construction, and so on, are essential, #156# similarly for the ghazal the love-related thoughts of lover and beloved, mention of union, complaint over separation, pathetic and sorrowful situations, conversation as informal, simple, and tender as if the two lovers sit talking--to express its themes, the words too are different. And its meters are special as well. Mīr Sahib's temperament was by nature affecting, and his heart full of longing, which is the life of the ghazal. Thus he composed his best work in the ghazal, and in special meters and rhymes. Mirzā had a multifaceted and multitalented temperament, a mind like lightning, and a well-practiced tongue. He found that the steed of his inspiration, like a tough-mouthed horse, went its own way and couldn't be restrained. Whatever meter and rhyme might come to hand--he didn't maintain the special quality of 'ghazalness'. In whatever appropriate theme he could use the meter or rhyme, he used it. Undoubtedly a number of verses of his ghazals, in trimness and soundness, have the quality of odes.

A judgment of Mīr and Mirzā made before Ḳhvājah Bāsit̤: One day in Lucknow two people became involved in a prolonged dispute about the poetry of Mīr and Mirzā. Both were disciples of Ḳhvājah Bāsit̤. They went to him and petitioned that he should decide. He said that both were accomplished masters, but the difference was only this: that Mīr Sahib's poetry is a sigh [āh], and Mirzā Sahib's poetry is a 'Bravo!' [vāh]. As an example, he recited this verse of Mīr Sahib's:

/Speak softly near Mīr's bed--

He's just now wept himself to sleep/.

Then he recited this verse of Mirzā's:

/On Saudā's pillow there was the tumult of Doomsday,

The respectful servants said, 'He's just now gone to sleep'/.

An anecdote after the anecdote: One of the two, who was a partisan of Mirzā's, came to Mirzā and told him the whole story. Mirzā too, hearing the verse of Mīr's, smiled. And he said, 'The verse is Mīr Sahib's, but the appeal seems to be that of his old nurse'.

How the pamphlet 'ʿIbrat ul-ġhāfilīn' came to be written: The pamphlet ʿIbrat ul-ġhāfilīn serves as a stairway for the poet's temperament. It shows that Mirzā was not merely a poet by temperament, but also a master of the roots and the branches of this art. His #157# Persian work too shows his vitality and liveliness, along with his knowledge of language. There is a story about how the pamphlet was written, and it's worth hearing. At that time, there was a man of good family named Ashraf ʿAlī Ḳhān. Using Persian anthologies and the volumes of the ustads, he worked for fifteen years to arrange a selection. And to have the errors removed, he took it to Mirzā Fāḳhir 'Makīn', who in those days was the best known of the Persian poets. He, after many refusals and protestations and insistences, took the selection and began to examine it. But in many places he thought the ustads' verses meaningless and struck them out, in many places he wounded them with the sword of correction. When Ashraf ʿAlī Ḳhān Sahib learned of this state of affairs, he went and, after much to-ing and fro-ing, took the selection away. The manuscript had been disfigured by the corrections, which caused him much grief. He brought it in this state to Mirzā, told him the whole story, and asked for justice. And he also said, 'Please remove the errors yourself'.

Mirzā said, 'I'm not a practicing Persian poet. I simply string together a few words of Urdu, and God knows how they've managed to receive the robe of honor of acceptance in people's hearts. Mirzā Fāḳhir Makīn knows Persian and is masterfully accomplished in Persian. Whatever he did, he must have done for a reason. If you want correction then there's Shaiḳh Āyatullāh 'Ṡanā', the pupil of the late Shaiḳh ʿAlī 'Ḥazīn'; and there's Mirzā Bhachchū, with the pen-name of Zarrah, the pupil of Mīr Shamsuddīn 'Faqīr'. There's Ḥakīm Bū ʿAlī Ḳhān 'Hātif' in Bengal. There's Niz̤ām ud-Dīn 'Ṣāniʿ' Bilgrāmī in Farruḳhābād. There's Shāh Nūr ul-ʿAin 'Vāqif' in Shāhjahānābād. This is a task fit for those people.'

When Mirzā mentioned the names of these renowned Persian scholars, Ashraf ʿAlī Ḳhān said, 'Mirzā Fāḳhir wouldn't give them the time of day'. In short, because of his insistence Mirzā accepted the selection. When he looked at it, he found that the verses of accomplished poets, poets who have been taken as fully authoritative masters from ancient times to today--those verses all lay wounded and writhing. Seeing this state of affairs, Mirzā too was grieved. Appropriately to the #158# circumstances, he wrote the pamphlet ʿIbrat ul-ġhāfilīn [=Advice to the Heedless], and with regard to the principles of literature he suitably exposed Mirzā Fāḳhir's foolishness and misunderstandings. Along with this, he cast an eye over Makīn's own volume as well, and described its errors; and where it was possible, he provided suitable correction.

Mirzā Fāḳhir learned of this. He was very much alarmed, and wanted to wash out these stains with oral messages. Thus he sent Baqāʾullāh Ḳhān 'Baqā' to speak with him. Baqā was Mirzā Fāḳhir's pupil, and a very practiced and knowledgeable poet. Mirzā and he had various full discussions, and certain of Mirzā Fāḳhir's verses, the objections to which had reached Mirzā Fāḳhir through rumors, also came under disputation. Thus one of his [Persian] verses was:

/In this company my heart was constricted like a wine-glass,

The bloom on the wine's face made me blossom out/.

Mirzā's objection was that it was inappropriate to speak of a wine-glass as having a constricted heart. People of literary style had always used for the wine-glass the simile of a blooming flower, or that of laughter, because a wine-glass must necessarily be open. Baqā, in response, shed a great deal of the 'sweat of pupilship'. And at length he brought in a [Persian] verse of Bāẓil's as an authority:

/What pleasure would wine give to me, desolate without you?

Because the wine-glass is like a constricted heart without you/.

When Mirzā Rafīʿ heard this, he laughed heartily and said, 'Tell your ustad that if he's going to keep studying the verses of the ustads, he should also try to understand them. For this verse supports my objection: that is, although the wine-glass is proverbial for laughter and bloomingness, and the wine-glass is part of the equipment of pleasure, even it itself has the attributes of a sad heart.'

In short, when this scheme didn't succeed, Mirzā Fāḳhir took another tack. He had many pupils in Lucknow, especially the Shaiḳhzādahs, who at one time had been the rulers of the land of Avadh; the fever of impertinent aggressiveness and arrogance had still not left their minds. One day Saudā, all unaware, was sitting at home, and they forcibly invaded his house and surrounded him. They placed a knife against his stomach and said, 'Take along everything you've written, and come before our ustad, so things can be decided'. Mirzā #159# knew very well how to make the roses and flowers of themes, and the 'parrots and mynahs' of discourse, but this was quite a new theme! He was completely at a loss. The poor man gave his folder of poems to a servant, and himself climbed into the palanquin and went with them. That Satanic crew was all around him, he was in the middle. When they reached the Chauk, they wanted to dishonor him there. After some argument, they again began to quarrel with him.

But who can dishonor him to whom God has given honor? By chance Saʿādat ʿAlī Ḳhān and his entourage came by that way. Seeing the crowd, he halted; and inquiring about the circumstances, he seated Saudā with him on his elephant and took him away. Āṣif ud-Daulah was in the ladies' apartments, having a meal. Saʿādat ʿAlī Ḳhān went in and said, 'Dear brother, it's an awful thing--while you rule, such a calamity in the city!' Āṣif ud-Daulah said, 'What is it, brother, is everything all right?' He replied, 'Mirzā Rafīʿ, whom Father used to call 'Brother' and 'Kind and affectionate friend' when he wrote letters to him--whom Father used to beg to come, but who never came--today he's here, and in such a state that if I hadn't come along the ruffians of the city would have dishonored the poor man!' Then he told him the whole matter.

The angelic-natured Āṣif ud-Daulah was distressed and replied, 'Brother, if Mirzā Fāḳhir did this to Mirzā, it's as though he had dishonored us too. When Father wrote to him as "Brother", he became our uncle.' Saʿādat ʿAlī Ḳhān said, 'There can be no doubt about that!' At once Āṣif ud-Daulah came out. He heard the whole story. He was very angry, and ordered that the whole neighborhood of the Shaiḳhzādahs should be torn down, and they should be expelled from the city, and that Mirzā Fāḳhir should be brought, in whatever condition he was found. Saudā's lack of malice is worthy of note: he folded his hands and petitioned, 'Your Excellency, our battles naturally settle themselves in the field of pen and paper. Let Your Lordship not enter into them. It would bring your servant into ill repute. The help that Your Lordship's powerful fortune has given me is enough.' In short, Mirzā Rafīʿ took his leave with honor and prestige. The Navab sent soldiers with him as a precaution.

When his rivals found out about this, they ran to the nobles of the court. The decision they arrived at was that #160# the matter was not one of money or estates: they should all take Mirzā Fāḳhir and go to Mirzā Rafīʿ's house and obtain his pardon. The next day Āṣif ud-Daulah summoned Mirzā Fāḳhir before the full court and said, 'This has been very unbecoming misbehavior on your part. If you're a champion in the field of verse, compose a satire right now in Saudā's presence'. Mirzā Fāḳhir said, 'Far be it from me!' Āṣif ud-Daulah said angrily, 'Very good! That is far from you, but this you can do: send your devils down on the head of the poor helpless Mirzā! They dragged him out of his home into the bazaar, and wanted to trample his honor into the dust.' Then he gestured to Saudā. On his side, without the least delay, he recited an extemporaneous [Persian] quatrain:

/You are the faḳhr [=pride] of Ḳhurāsāñ, and the fe is not in it

You have a gauhar [=pearl] in your mouth, and the re is not in it

Day and night I pray to God the Most High

That He may give you a markab [=steed], and the be is not in it/.6

This incident passed off, but they continued to abuse each other from a distance in satires. The entertaining part is that no one even knows the satires of Mirzā Fāḳhir; while whatever Saudā composed against him is on the lips of thousands.

Mirzā Fāḳhir Makīn was Kashmīrī by origin. First he received correction from Futuvvat Ḥusain Ḳhān Kashmīrī, then he became a pupil of ʿAz̤īm Kashmīrī. About Makīn's accomplishment there is no room for doubt: he worked very hard at philological research and at ascertaining the correct forms of words. His volume never became popular, but his best verses are in various *notebooks. And then, the verses he composed against Saudā are famous--since Saudā made them into incorporations and and turned them against him. Some verses Saudā recorded in ʿIbrat ul-ġhāfilīn in the context of his objections. In any case, it seems that they were not without a certain mood. The age he lived in also gave him the full appreciation that was his due. He acquired hundreds of pupils, both poor and rich, from Lucknow and the vicinity. He practiced trust in God, and with his disdain for worldly things he added to its luster. [A brief anecdote about Makīn's rude refusal to accept Maulvī Ġhulām 'Ẓāmin' #161# as his pupil.]

It is also said that Saudā rarely took the initiative. Indeed, if someone provoked him, then Saudā pushed the matter beyond all bounds. This will be seen in our account of the late Mīr Ẓāḥik.l

One time Āṣif ud-Daulah had gone hunting. Word came that the Navab had killed a lion in the Bhīls' forest. Although Saudā was under heavy burdens of constant favor and kindness, he at once said,

/Friends, this is Ibn-e Muljim who has been born again,

Who killed the Lion of God in the forest of the Bhīls/.

The Navab too heard about this. When he returned, he himself said, by way of friendly complaint, 'Mirzā, have you made me into the murderer of [Hazrat ʿAlī] the Lion of God?' Laughing, Mirzā said, 'Your Excellency, the lion was surely God's alone--it did not belong either to Your Excellency, or to your humble servant'.

Anecdote--a satire on a little girl: The late Āṣif ud-Daulah's wet-nurse had a daughter who was little, but very mischievous. The angelic-tempered Navab was, in the first place, patient and tolerant; moreover, he had drunk the milk of this child's mother. Indulgence turned the little girl's mischief into naughtiness. One day it was afternoon; the Navab was asleep. The child made such a commotion that his sleep was interrupted. He was very irritated, and came angrily out. Everyone was afraid: 'Today the Navab is enraged--may God protect us!' When he came out, he ordered, 'Send for Mirzā!' Mirzā was at once in attendance. He commanded, 'Mirzā, my brother! This girl has been constantly upsetting me--compose a satire about her!' As for Mirzā, his ammunition was always ready. At once he opened his pen-case and sat down. And he composed a masnavi, of which I record one verse:

/A girl is one who plays with girls

not one who does pushups with boys/.

I've also heard [an alternative account] from some elders: that in Delhi, by the canal, there lived an innkeeper-woman. She herself was quarrelsome, but her daughter turned out even more shrewish. Whenever he passed by and saw the daughter, she was always quarreling. One day an idea came to him, and he wrote this satire about her.

An anecdote involving Shaiḳh Qāʾim ʿAlī: #162# Shaiḳh Qāʾim ʿAlī, who lived in Etawah, was a poet with a fine creative temperament. With the greatest enthusiasm he, along with Maqbūl Nabī Ḳhān the son of Inʿāmullāh Ḳhān Yaqīn, came to Mirzā, hoping to become his pupil; and he recited his verses. Mirzā asked, 'What's your pen-name?' He said, 'Ummīdvār' [=Hopeful]. Mirzā smiled and said,

/Thanks to someone's bounty, his tree is burdened

Thus he has made his pen-name "Ummīdvār"/.m

The poor man, embarrassed, went away. He adopted the pen-name of Qāʾim, and became someone else's pupil. The mischief in Mirzā's temperament was in reality not as great or fearful as people have made it. No doubt he made mincemeat out of anyone who fought with him. But he was not without good manners and a sense of justice.

An anecdote: a meeting with Rāsiḳh ʿAz̤īmābādī: I have seen Rāsiḳh ʿAz̤īmābādī's volume; it's very well-measured poetry. He was a long-practiced poet, and everyone in that area considered him an ustad. He came to become a pupil of Mirzā's. Mirzā said, 'Recite a verse'. He recited,

/I have become weak; now my weeping is worth seeing,

The tears on my eyelashes are the stars of the morning of old age/.

Mirzā rose and embraced him. A similar scene had occurred with Jurʾat.n

An anecdote involving Miyāñ Hidāyat: One day Miyāñ Hidāyato came to visit. After the usual courtesies, Mirzā asked, 'Tell me, Miyāñ Sahib, what are you doing nowadays?' He said, 'The cares of the world give me no leisure. Still, I'm prey to the disease of babbling nonsense--once in a while I happen to compose a ghazal.' Mirzā laughed and replied, 'What's the point of ghazals? Compose satires!' The poor man was astonished, and said, 'Whom would I satirize?' Mirzā said, 'What do you need for a satire? You satirize me, I'll satirize you!'

An anecdote about a strange happening: An Afghan who was a respected military officer made an extraordinary spectacle of himself. Saudā composed a satire about him, and in one gathering he began to recite it before his face. The Afghan sat and listened. #163# When the satire was finished, he rose and came to sit near Saudā. And seizing him by the waist, he let loose a continuous, flowing rain of abuses. Until that day, Saudā had never had such an experience. Astonished, he said [in Persian], 'Is everything all right? Is everything all right? Āġhā, this kind of speech is not worthy of your rank.' The Afghan drew his dagger from his sash, placed it against Saudā's stomach, and said [in Persian], 'You said your poetry--now listen to this prose! Whatever you said was verse. I cannot compose verse, so I express myself in prose.'

An anecdote: the youth of Sayyid Inshā: Sayyid Inshā was a young man. In a mushairah, he recited a ghazal:

/Scolding indeed, haughtiness indeed, frown indeed

Everything indeed, but a refusal--no indeed!/

When he recited this verse,

/If you take offense at my calling you 'sweetheart'

Look at me--I'm a sweetheart indeed!/

Saudā was in his old age. He was present at the mushairah. He smiled and replied, 'Indeed you are!'

An anecdote: alas, woe is me! One day Saudā was seated in a mushairah. People were reciting their ghazals. A boy of twelve or thirteen years old, from a good family, recited a ghazal with this opening verse:

/The heart's blisters burned from the scar in the breast

This house caught fire from the lamp in the house/.

At the fieriness of the poetry, Saudā too was startled. He asked, 'Who recited this opening verse?' People told him, 'Hazrat, it was this boy'. Saudā too praised the verse very much. He made him recite it a number of times, and said, 'My young friend, I don't see you living till you grow up'. Look at the power of God--in those very days the boy burned to death.

A meeting with Shaiḳh ʿAlī Ḥazīn: When the pride of the poets of Iran, Shaiḳh ʿAlī 'Ḥazīn', came to India, he asked [in Persian], 'Among the poets of India, is there today any person of accomplishment?' People mentioned the name of Saudā. And Saudā himself went to meet him. The Shaiḳh's high opinion of himself and quick temper were universally famous. Asking Saudā's identity, he said, 'Recite some of your poetry'. Saudā said,

/Your arrow never spared any prey in the world--

Even the weathervane-bird writhes in his nest/.

The Shaiḳh asked, 'What does 'writhes' mean?' Saudā said [in Persian], 'The people of India say 'to writhe' for [the Persian] t̤apīdan'. The Shaiḳh had him recite the verse again. And he struck his thigh with his hand, and said [in Persian]: 'Mirzā Rafīʿ, you've done something wondrous! There was just one bird, the weathervane-bird, remaining-- #164# and you didn't let even that one go by!' With these words, he rose and embraced him, and made him sit down near him. But some people report that the Shaiḳh said, 'You are not bad among the wretched poets of India'.

An anecdote: Ḳhān-e Ārzū's jest on Saudā's *appropriation: There used to be a regular mushairah at Ḳhān-e Ārzū's house. Saudā was a young man in those days. He recited an opening verse:

/Seeing the forehead wet with drops of sweat

The stars keep glancing down from the sky to earth/.

Either from ignorance, or through fear of the fire of his speech, no one spoke. But Ḳhān-e Ārzū--whose skill had, like a nurse, nurtured Maz̤har, Saudā, Mīr, Dard, and other young men--at once recited this verse, and thus made a gesture toward an opening verse [in Persian] by Qudsī:

/The verse of Saudā is a ḥadīṡ-e qudsī [=God's own word]

The angels ought to write it and preserve it in the sky/.

By Qudsī:

/Seeing the forehead wet with drops of sweat

The star from the sky looks at the face of the earth/.

Saudā enthusiastically rose and embraced Ḳhān-e Ārzū. And along with this expression of gratitude, he also made his happiness clear, as if indeed Ḳhān-e Ārzū had accepted his poetry as a ḥadīṡ-e qudsī. Another verse of his is like this:

/The springtime passes by without my having the shield of the cup and the beloved

The spring breeze passes like an arrow through the breast/.

In Persian, some ustad says,

/The springtime passes by without my having the shield of the cup and the beloved,

The spring breeze passes like an arrow through the side/.

But those with analytical skill say that such a special case should not be considered *plagiarism, but translation. For to translate a verse into a verse is itself a difficult verbal device. Leaving this aside, after this opening verse just look at other verses and see what pearls he has strung. And his collection is an ocean, full of different types of gems. Who can say that a poet of this rank was in desperate need of an opening verse, so that he stole it? [A report of another case involving Abuʾl Faẓl and Niz̤āmī in Persian, and #165# Mutanabbī in Arabic.]

The reason for the composition of a quintain: The account has been passed down orally from Saudā himself, that Maulvī Nudrat Kashmīrī composed a satire about him in the form of a Persian ghazal, and Mirzā made it into a quintain and turned it back against him; then Ḳhān-e Ārzū *joined a line to form its opening verse. All the rest of the quintain is Mirzā's.

/It is better to compose Rekhtah than an unmetrical verse--

When did I ever murder anyone's theme to compose Rekhtah?

It is shamelessness to say, having heard my Rekhtah:

The wine-drinking Rafīʿ has spilled the blood of theme

Out of the frenzy of his madness he has spilled the honor of Rekhtah/.7

An anecdote: The masculinity or femininity of 'nightingale': [A humorous discussion of the gender of 'nightingale', with examples by Saudā, Surūr, Ātish, and Rind.] But the truth is that at that time the question of masculinity or femininity of words had not been decided. There are many words that Mirzā and Mīr Sahib treated as masculine, that after them from Sayyid Inshā, Jurʾat, and Muṣḥafī to the present everyone has always treated as feminine. [Illustrative verses #166# by Jān, Dīd, and Sair.]

When Mirzā Rafīʿ was a boy, Mīr Jaʿfar Zaṭal was in his old age. People of former times often carried in their hand a colorful walking stick, nicely carved. One day near evening, Mīr Zaṭal, leaning on a green walking stick, came out for a stroll. Mirzā, with a bag of books under his arm, was coming from the opposite direction. In that time there was a great insistence on maintaining formal courtesies. People considered it a great boon to greet an elder respectfully, and to receive a blessing from his lips. Mirzā bowed, and greeted him most respectfully. He was pleased, and gave him a blessing. Since even in his childhood Mirzā was known for his poetic temperament, Mīr Zaṭal Sahib began to speak with him. Mirzā walked along with him. In order to enhance the skill of a beginner [in Persian], he said, 'Mirzā, come on--join a line to this line: /Why does the poppy in the garden have a scar?/'

Mirzā thought, then said, '/Its life is short, and its sorrow is great/'. Mīr Sahib said, 'Mirzā, you've been hungry all day--you ate up the 'h'!'8

Mirzā said, '/The sorrow of love turns its breast into blood/'. Mīr Sahib said, 'Wonderful, my boy! A heart can turn to blood; a liver can turn to blood--how can the breast turn to blood? The breast becomes full of blood'.

Mirzā thought again for a little, and said, '/What can it do--it has an inner burning/'.

Mīr Sahib said, 'Yes, the line is good, but give it a little more effort and try again'.

Mirzā was vexed. He at once said, '/It has a green stick under its ---/'.9

The late Mīr Jaʿfar burst out laughing. Lifting his walking stick, he said, 'What! Even to me! Wait and see, I'll tell your father! "You play so much that you even play with your grandfather's beard!"' Mirzā was just a boy, after all--he ran away.

Look at the styles of both ustads: Some verses are presented, through which the poetic styles of Mīr and Mirzā can be distinguished from each other. In these verses, the temperaments of both ustads vie with each other. But take note of both their styles: [pairs of similar #167# verses by each poet]. Some comparisons of this kind are made in the account of Jurʾat also (see pages #230-231#). #168# [Seven ghazals #169# #170# #171# by Saudā.]

[A brief account, drawn from the anthologies by Ibrāhīm ʿAlī Ḳhān and by Qāsim, of Saudā's son Mirzā Ġhulām Ḥaidar 'Majżūb'. A number of Majżūb's verses are recorded, along with a complimentary #172# verse about him by Mīr.]

1Throughout this section, the title 'Mirzā' will refer only to Saudā.

a Mirzā Muḥammad Zamān was known as Sulaimān Qulī Ḳhān; his grandfather came of Isfahani stock. He himself was born in Delhi. He led an honored life in the employ of Navab Mūsavī Ḳhān; he received three hundred rupees a month and pleased himself by reciting verses. See Muṣḥafī's anthology of Persian poets.

b [An Urdu chronogram by Faḳhr ud-Dīn; Persian chronograms by Muṣḥafī and Mīr Qamar ud-Dīn 'Minnat'.]

2 There is a folk belief that when people see a Kashmiri saffron-field, they laugh.

c On Mīr Ẓāḥik, see pages #173-175#; on Fidvī, page #147#; on Makīn, pages #157-160#; for the anecdote involving Shāh Ḥidāyat, see page #162#.

d With the pen-name of Baqā and the name of Baqāʾullāh Ḳhān, he came from Akbarābād [=Agra]. He was born in Delhi, and went and settled in Lucknow. He was the son of Ḥāfiz̤ Lut̤fullāh Ḳhushnavīs, and a contemporary of Mirzā and Mīr Sahib. He received correction in Rekhtah from Shāh Ḥātim, and in Persian he was the pupil of Mirzā Fāḳhir [Makīn]. His temperament was extremely suited to the art of verse. He wrote clear Urdu. One opening verse of his has come down in poetic assemblies with proverbial fame; it is incomparable. See page #275#. He didn't think much of either Mīr or Saudā. Thus in one place he says,

/The verse composition of Mīr and Mirzā,

Since it has earned quite sufficient fame in the world--

When I opened the volumes of both gentlemen,

oh Baqā, and made a tour through them

I found nothing there by way of poetry except

one would insult you and one would sob/

Look at the rest about Baqā, pages #158, 211-212, 275#.

e Fidvī was a Hindu by birth, his name was Mukund Rām. He became a Muslim. His homeland was the Panjab. He had little learning, but his temperament was suitable. He composed Urdu verses. He was a pupil of Ṣābir ʿAlī Shāh, and lived in a faqir-like style. When he went to mushairahs, sometimes he sat down, sometimes he recited a ghazal while still standing and went away. When he composed an ode in praise of Aḥmad Shāh, the king gave him a thousand rupees cash and a horse and a sword by way of reward. His head was turned, and he began claiming to be 'Chief of Poets'. He made some criticisms of Mirzā. At this Mirzā composed the satire about the owl and the grocer. At length the satires on both sides passed beyond bounds. Fidvī had entered the service of Navāb Ẓābit̤ah Ḳhān, and finally he too had to go to Lucknow. His volume is extremely interesting, and he concludes every ghazal with a naʿt of the Prophet or a poem in praise of some other Imām. At the command of the Navāb Sahib, he also made a translation of Zulaiḳhā. The Gulzār-e ibrāhīmī says that he was a vain man. He came to Farruḳhābād in order to have an encounter with Mirzā, and he went back humiliated.

f This accomplished gentlemen was a resident of Chāndpūr, but he was perfect in the art of verse. We cannot at all rank his volume below those of Mīr and Mirzā. But what can anyone do--wide popularity is another thing. He never became well-known. At first he became the pupil of Shāh Hidāyat; he so fell out with him that he wrote a satire against him. The surprising thing is that Shāh Hidāyat, despite the extreme humility of his temperament, also composed a verse-set against him. Then Qāʾim became a pupil of Ḳhvājah Mīr Dard. He wrote against him too, and parted from him. Then he attached himself to Mirzā--and turned away from him. Mirzā was Mirzā, after all--he straightened him out.

3 The description applies to the standards carried in Muḥarram processions.

g The funny thing is that the people of that time used to say that Saudā's elegies contained not 'elegiac-ness', but poetry. And Saudā himself complains about this injustice!

h See page #208#.

i See pages #43-44#.

j We can obtain this benefit from Muṣḥafī's eight volumes also.

k See pages #127-128#.

4 When the beautiful boy reaches puberty, he ceases to attract admirers.

5 The rose is of 'weak loyalty' because it blooms only briefly, and because it has 'ears' but does not hear.

6 Faḳhr without the letter fe becomes ḳhar [=donkey]; gauhar without the letter re resembles [=excrement]; markab without the letter be becomes mark [=marg, death].

l See pages #172-175#.

m When a woman is pregnant, in women's idiom they say that she is in a state of hopefulness, or that she has hopes from God's court.

n See pages #188-189#.

o A grave, elderly gentleman who was among the respected poets of that time; he was a pupil of Ḳhvājah Mīr Dard's.

7 That is, the first three lines of this opening verse are by Ḳhān-e Ārzū, the last two by Nudrat Kashmīrī.

8 Saudā had turned kotah ast [=is short] into kotāst, to fit the meter.

9 Meter and rhyme show that the missing word must be kūn [=asshole].