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Appendix III: Sharwānī’s Nuz’hat al-Majālis and the Early Persian Rubāʿī
(3,335 words)

In Volume 5: Poetry of the Pre-Mongol Period

previous chapter: Appendix II: Some Afterthoughts on the Chronology of Niẓāmī’s Works and That of the Sharwān-Shāhs

Thanks to the generosity of Dr ʿAbd Allah Ghūchānī (Tehran)1 I now have a copy of Muḥammad Amin Riyāḥī’s edition of the Nuz’hat al-Majālis of Jamāl al-dīn Khalīl Sharwānī,2 the unavailability of which in London libraries has already been the object of regret (supra p. 142).

The Nuz’hat al-majālis is a collection of no fewer than 4139 rubāʿīs arranged in seventeen thematic chapters. The majority of the quatrains are attributed here to some known or unknown author, though quite a large number are quoted anonymously (with rubrics like li ghairih, lā adrī, lā aʿraf, li qāʾilih, or merely with a thematic heading); some are headed with the ambiguous rubric ākhar (‘another’ by the same poet? Or ‘another poet’?). It is preserved in a unique manuscript (Istanbul Carullah 667) dated Thursday 25 Shawwāl 731/1331 and copied by Ismāʿīl b. Isfandyār al-Abharī, who in the earlier literature (Rempis et al. ad Khaiyāmī, Meier ad Mahsatī) was considered to be the author. However, it seems that the real author is the minor poet Jamāl al-dīn Khalīl Sharwānī. A fairly large number of quatrains in the anthology are ascribed to this Sharwānī himself, and indeed most sections end with one or more poems of his. In particular he is the author of the last attributed quatrain (no. 4125), which addresses ‘shāh i Sharwān, ʿAlāʾ i dīn’, and which is followed immediately by a qaṣīdah (pp. 613–5) in which the same poet3 addresses this king by name (Shah i Sharwān, ʿAlāʾ al-dīn ⟨Far⟩īburz)4 and refers to the safīnah which he has prepared for him,5 that is to say the present anthology. From this dedication we can conclude not only that Sharwānī is indeed the author of this anthology, but also that it was compiled during the reign of Farīburz iii, which we have dated (in the preceding appendix) to (probably) 622/1225 to (at the latest) 653/1255–6. It would seem that in its original form the Nuz’hat must have ended with this qaṣīdah; the fourteen rubāʿī s that follow it in the manuscript, all quoted anonymously, were evidently added at some time in the fairly short interval separating the compilation of Sharwānī’s anthology and the copying of the unique manuscript in 731/1331. And elsewhere in the manuscript we find, here and there, a small number of quatrains ascribed to well-known political figures from the second half of the 13th century, e.g. one (no. 1270) by ‘Ṣāḥib i saʿīd Shams al-dīn’, doubtless Shams al-dīn Juwainī, who was executed in 683/1284, three decades after the latest possible date for the compilation of the anthology. And indeed, with a miscellany of this kind it seems inevitable that any copyist, or indeed owner, would find it normal to add some of his own favourite quatrains at a suitable place in the collection. The gap of, at the very most, a century between compilation and copying means, however, that these additions do not really make a great deal of difference.

A number of quatrains are quoted more than once, in different sections, and are sometimes ascribed to a different poet on their second occurrence. And it should come as no surprise that a large number of quatrains ascribed elsewhere to Khaiyāmī, Abū Saʿīd, Rūmī and others, or included in the published dīwāns of some well-known poet, are found here with an entirely different attribution. Sharwānī’s anthology illustrates as well as anything else that the problem of ‘wandering quatrains’ is by no means specific to Khaiyāmī; the Persian rubāʿī wanders by nature.

As has been mentioned, Sharwānī is the oldest substantial source for the quatrains ascribed to Khaiyāmī and to Mahsatī, and his anthology has for a long time now been exploited, in manuscript, by scholars working on these two figures. It is, however, worth mentioning that Sharwānī also ascribes two quatrains (no. 252 and 1567; the former is one of the anti-religious quatrains elsewhere, and famously, ascribed to Khaiyāmī), to Pisar i Khaṭīb i Ganjah, alias Amīr Aḥmad, the doubtless fictitious lover of Mahsatī;6 there is also one (no. 87) ascribed to Khaṭīb i Ganjah and another7 to Dukhtar i Khaṭīb i Ganjah. It seems thus that the anthologist (or whoever else is responsible for these entries) had before him some early version of the romance of Mahsatī and Amīr Aḥmad and had no scruples against quoting the fictitious characters in that novel as if they were no different from the historical personages cited elsewhere in the book. But in the light of this the value of the Nuz’hat al-majālis as a source for the ‘authentic’ quatrains of Mahsatī, and indeed of Khaiyāmī, seems somewhat diminished.

Among the authors cited by Sharwānī there are quite a few others of whom one does not know whether they are real or fictitious, and indeed this makes little difference, as their names are in any case otherwise unknown. Many of these are doubtless poets of Transcaucasia, compatriots and contemporaries of the anthologist. The rubāʿī is the principal form of occasional verse in Persian and it is thus not surprising that a large number of the items in this anthology are ascribed not to professional poets, but to various political, scholarly and literary personalities. Among the latter is the well-known Arabic writer ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan al-Bākharzī (died 467/1075),8 to whom four quatrains are ascribed;9 a few samples of his Persian verse, among them several rubāʿī s, are known already from ʿAufī (i pp. 68–71), who tells us that his Persian quatrains were collected, and arranged alphabetically, in a book with the title Ṭarab-nāmah. It is worth mentioning that in one of the entries in his own Dumyat al-qaṣr wa ʿuṣrat ahl al-ʿaṣr10 Bākharzī cites Arabic quatrains in the rubāʿī metre by several authors (among them himself and his father, Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan b. Abī l-Ṭaiyib al-Bākharzī11) and in particular one by Abū l-ʿAbbās Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm al-Bākharzī, the brother of his father’s teacher, thus bringing the history of the Arabic rubāʿī back as far as the 4th/10th century.12 Also represented in Sharwānī’s anthology is Muʿīn al-dīn Aḥmad b. ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Ṭanṭarānī, who wrote a famous Arabic qaṣīdah tarjīʿīyah for Niẓām al-mulk,13 and who is credited here with five Persian quatrains.14 Or again the famous religious author Aḥmad b. Muḥammad Ghazālī, to whom seven quatrains are attributed,15 and several other well-known persons.

Students of Persian literature are indebted to the editor, M.A. Riyāḥī, not only for making this important source available in print, but also for his useful indexes and notes and for a long introduction, which contains in particular an alphabetical list of all the authors quoted in the Nuz’hat al-majālis, with brief biographical notes on those of whom something is known. Had the book been available earlier I would probably have made somewhat different decisions about the chronological scope of the present volume, as well as about which authors were to be included. But as it is it will for now probably suffice to add references only to those poets who have already been included in this survey and who are represented also in the Nuz’hat al-majālis. These addenda have been kept as brief as possible, giving in most cases only a cross-reference to our discussion above and to the relevant section in Riyāḥī’s introduction. It is my intention to discuss some of the further poets quoted in this anthology in the first chapter of pl vi.

The following list follows the order of the entries in this survey and gives an instructive overview of the anthologist’s tastes. It shows that only eight of the authors discussed in our chapter ii are quoted here and all these are represented only by a small number of rubāʿī s. The overwhelming majority of the cited authors are from the 12th or the early 13th century.

Abū Ḥanīfah Iskāf (supra § 10; Riyāḥī p. 55): three quatrains.

Abū Saʿ īd b. Abī l-Khair (supra § 21; Riyāḥī p. 55): only one quatrain (no. 101; also in the Asrār al-tauḥīd) explicitly ascribed to him.

Asadī (perhaps Asadī Ṭūsī; supra § 37; Riyāḥī p. 59) is cited as the author of one quatrain (no. 3738).

Farrukhī Sijistānī (supra § 57; Riyāḥī pp. 89–90): one quatrain (no. 649).

Fakhrī Gurgānī (supra § 62; Riyāḥī p. 89) is given as the name of the author of one quatrain (no. 686); another (no. 3031) is ascribed to perhaps the same ‘Jurjānī’.

Abū ʿAlī (i) Sīnā (supra § 70; Riyāḥī pp. 55–6): his name is cited thus as that of the author of two quatrains.

ʿIyāḍī (supra § 76; Riyāḥī p. 86): one quatrain.

ʿUnṣurī (supra § 149; Riyāḥī p. 86): two quatrains (no. 3021, 3232).

ʿAbd al-Wāsiʿ Jabalī (supra § 158; Riyāḥī p. 83): two quatrains.

Abū l-Maʿālī Naḥḥās (supra § 162; Riyāḥī pp. 56–7, with further references and discussion): is quoted five times (no. 879, 2468, 2600, 3590–1), (the same?) Abū l-Maʿālī once (no. 635).

Aḥmad i Jām (supra § 164; Riyāḥī p. 58): one quatrain (no. 99).

Anwarī (supra § 170; Riyāḥī p. 61): 23 quatrains.

Athīr Akhsīkatī (supra § 175; Riyāḥī pp. 57–8): 14 quatrains.

ʿAṭṭār (supra § 176; Riyāḥī p. 85): only one quatrain (no. 1275).

Falakī Sharwānī (supra § 188; Riyāḥī p. 90): 4 quatrains.

Farīd Dabīr (supra § 191; Riyāḥī p. 90, with further references): two quatrains.

Futūḥī (supra § 195; Riyāḥī p. 87): one quatrain.

Ḥasan Ghaznawī (supra § 202; Riyāḥī p. 76): 89 quatrains ascribed to Saiyid Ḥasan or Saiyid Ashraf Ghaznawī.

ʿImād Ghaznawī, alias ʿImādī, (supra § 207; Riyāḥī p. 86): 3 quatrains.

Ismāʿīl Bākharzī (supra § 209; Riyāḥī p. 59): four quatrains, plus two ascribed only to ‘Bākharzī’ (him, or the above-mentioned ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan?)

Jalāl al-dīn Khuwārī (supra § 211; Riyāḥī p. 64): three quatrains.

Jamāl Ashharī (supra § 212; Riyāḥī pp. 59–60, with further references and discussion): 119 quatrains.

Jamāl Iṣfahānī (supra § 213; Riyāḥī pp. 64–5) is quoted passim either under this name, or as Jamāl (i) ʿAbd al-Razzāq. Moreover, there are eight quatrains (no. 1538, 2619, 2672–3, 3239, 3260, 3747, 3997) ascribed to ‘ʿAbd al-Razzāq’ which seems to be an erroneous designation for the same poet.

Jamāl Naqqāsh Iṣfahānī (supra p. 212 with fn. 148; Riyāḥī pp. 64–5): five quatrains. One of these is ascribed in one place (no. 3559) to Jamāl Naqqāsh, but in another (no. 3997) to ʿAbd al-Razzāq. One might wish to see this as evidence for the identity of Jamāl Naqqāsh with Jamāl i ʿAbd al-Razzāq, were it not for the fact that elsewhere we find two consecutive quatrains (no. 1159–60) ascribed to Jamāl Naqqāsh and Jamāl (i) ʿAbd al-Razzāq respectively, which evidently indicates that the anthologist considers these to be two different authors,16 as well as the fact that this book not uncommonly ascribes the same quatrain to two different authors.

Kamāl Ismāʿīl Iṣfahānī (supra § 217; Riyāḥī p. 92): 283 quatrains, and a further 12 ascribed merely to Kamāl Iṣfahānī, Ismāʿīl or Kamāl.

Kamāl Ziyād Iṣfahānī (supra § 218; Riyāḥī p. 93, with further references): 12 quatrains ascribed to Kamāl Ziyād and three (no. 165–7) to Kamāl Asʿad (read: al-dīn?) Ziyād.

ʿUmar i Khaiyām (supra § 220; Riyāḥī p. 68) is explicitly given as the author of 31 quatrains (no. 33–8, 54–8, 91, 112, 236–9, 4024–32, 4096–9).

Fakhr al-dīn Khālid (supra § 223; Riyāḥī p. 87): 11 quatrains attributed to Fakhr al-dīn Khālid Harawī, Fakhr Harawī, Fakhr Khālid or Khālid Harawī.

Khāqānī (supra § 224; Riyāḥī p. 81): 20 quatrains.

Jamāl Khujandī (supra § 227; Riyāḥī p. 65) is quoted 13 times (no. 156, 916–7, 1201, 1311–2, 1801, 3042, 3235, 3269, 3371–3), all without specification of his personal name. Two further quatrains are ascribed merely to ‘Khujandī’.

Laṭīf Zakī Marāghaʾī (supra § 233; Riyāḥī p. 72, with further references): 7 quatrains. The editor is probably correct to identify this poet with the author of an ode addressed to the Ghorid Muʿizz al-dīn Muḥammad b. Sām (ruler in Ghaznah from 569/1173 to 602/1206) quoted by Badāʾūnī,17 although the printed text has ‘Nāzukī Marāgha(ʾī)’, but he is wrong to make this poet a contemporary of Abū l-Faraj Rūnī, rather than of his son Kāfī b. Abū l-Faraj.

Luʾluʾī (supra § 234; Riyāḥī pp. 94–5): four quatrains, and one (no. 655) ascribed to Luʾluʾ Samarqandī, presumably the same poet.

Mahsatī (supra § 235; Riyāḥī pp. 97–8): 61 quatrains.

Majd al-dīn Abū l-Barakāt (supra § 236; Riyāḥī p. 55): one quatrain by (this?) Abū l-Barakāt.

Majd al-dīn Pāyēzī (supra § 237) is presumably identical with the Majd tʾyydy to whom quatrain no. 1241 is ascribed.

Masʿūd i Saʿd (supra § 240; Riyāḥī p. 96): 3 quatrains (no. 632, 2107, 3436).

Fakhr al-dīn Mubārak-shāh Ghūrī (supra § 243; Riyāḥī pp. 88–9): 54 quatrains.

Muḥammad Ghaznawī (supra § 244; Riyāḥī p. 66) is quoted once under this name (no. 3970) and is presumably also the person cited as Jamāl Muḥammad (no. 1988) and as Jamāl Ghaznawī (no. 2925).

Muʿizzī (supra § 247; Riyāḥī p. 96): 22 quatrains.

Mujīr Bailaqānī (supra § 248; Riyāḥī p. 95): 41 quatrains.

Najīb Tirmidhī (supra § 251; Riyāḥī p. 99): one quatrain (no. 2031).

Saʿd al-dīn Najjārī Samarqandī (supra § 254; Riyāḥī p. 73) is perhaps the Saʿd Samarqandī to whom quatrain no. 1292 is ascribed.

Niẓāmī Ganjaʾī (supra § 258; Riyāḥī p. 100) is explicitly credited with three quatrains (no. 303, 1016, 1933); a further seven are ascribed merely to (presumably the same) Niẓāmī (no. 1044–5, 1079, 2478, 2634, 2829, 3545). Riyāḥī says that none of the ten are in Dast-girdī’s edition of Niẓāmī’s dīwān.

Qiwāmī Ganjaʾī (supra § 264; Riyāḥī p. 91) is cited as the author of one quatrain (no. 551); another is ascribed merely to Qiwāmī (no. 3408).

Badr Qiwāmī (supra § 265; Riyāḥī p. 62): two quatrains.

Khuwāfī is cited five times; perhaps Qiwāmī Khuwāfī (supra § 266; Riyāḥī p. 68).

Raḍī Nēshābūrī (supra § 268; Riyāḥī p. 70) is explicitly credited with 13 quatrains; a further 26 are ascribed to Imām (or Maulānā) Raḍī (al-dīn) or simply Raḍī (al-dīn).

Rafīʿ Lunbānī (supra § 502; Riyāḥī pp. 70–1): two quatrains.

One quatrain (no. 1885) is ascribed to ‘Marzbān’, presumably Rafīʿ al-dīn Marzbān Fārisī (supra § 271; Riyāḥī p. 96, with erroneous information).

Rashīdī Samarqandī (supra § 272) is perhaps the same as the Rashīd Samarqandī to whom one quatrain is ascribed (Riyāḥī p. 69).

Abū l-Faraj Rūnī (supra § 275; Riyāḥī p. 56): one quatrain (no. 753).

Adīb Ṣābir (supra § 276; Riyāḥī p. 59): 5 quatrains.

The ‘Saifī’, to whom 5 quatrains are ascribed, is perhaps Saifī Naisābūrī (supra § 281; Riyāḥī p. 76).

Samāʾī (supra § 283; Riyāḥī p. 75): one quatrain.

Sanāʾī (supra § 284; Riyāḥī p. 75): 33 quatrains.

Shahryārī (supra § 287; Riyāḥī p. 80): one quatrain.

Shams Sujāsī (supra § 290; Riyāḥī pp. 72–3, with discussion): 67 quatrains. Riyāḥī draws attention to the fact that there is a Ms. of the Ḥikmat al-ishrāq of Suhrawardī in Ankara, Ismail Sâib 649 (Mīkrūfīlm-hā i p. 317) signed by presumably the same Shams Sujāsī and dated 14 Shaʿbān 617/1220. Consequently, the date 602/1205–6 which Mustaufī gives for his death is probably wrong.

Shams Ṭabasī (supra § 292; Riyāḥī p. 79): two quatrains.

The Shafrūh (Shufurwah) family (supra § 296, 312; see also ei2 s.v. ‘Shufurwa’) is represented by 17 quatrains by Sharaf al-dīn Shafrūh (Riyāḥī pp. 76–7), seven by Ẓahīr Shafrūh (Riyāḥī p. 82), two (no. 1053 and 1123) by ʿIzz al-dīn Shafrūh (Riyāḥī pp. 84–5), who is perhaps identical with the ʿIzz al-dīn Iṣfahānī given as the author of six further quatrains (no. 1169–73)18 and also with the ʿAzīz (al-dīn) Shafrūh to whom two others (no. 169, 1632) are ascribed, and finally by 17 quatrains ascribed merely to ‘Shafrūh’. We can add that Ibn al-Fuwaṭī19 has an entry on one ʿImād al-dīn Abū l-Faḍl Asʿad b. ʿAbd al-Qāhir b. al-Iṣbahānī, a member of a famous family and author of ‘a dīwān in Persian’, and quotes two Arabic verses ‘which I read in his handwriting in a majmūʿah belonging to one of my friends’. There seems to be no other mention of a poet by this name. But Ibn al-Fuwaṭī is, as we have had so many occasions to observe in the course of this survey, a hopelessly unreliable source as far as personal names are concerned.

Shihāb i Muʾaiyad (supra § 298; Riyāḥī p. 80): one quatrain.

Sōzanī (supra § 302; Riyāḥī p. 75): one quatrain.

Abū l-Ḥasan Ṭalḥah (supra § 304; Riyāḥī p. 55): 18 quatrains ascribed to Abū l-Ḥasan Ṭalḥah, Abū l-Ḥasan, or Ṭalḥah; also one ascribed to Ibn Ṭalḥah and one anonymous quatrain which ʿAufī attributes to this author.

Rashīd Waṭwāṭ (supra § 308; Riyāḥī p. 69): 4 quatrains.

Kāfī Ẓafar (supra § 310; Riyāḥī p. 91): 3 quatrains (no. 875–6, 2580) under this name, and one (no. 2676) ascribed to Kāfī Hamadānī.

Ẓahīr Fāryābī (supra § 311; Riyāḥī p. 83): 24 quatrains, and 11 others ascribed only to Ẓahīr.

next chapter: Appendix IV: Textual Problems of Early Persian Dīwāns


^ Back to text1. Dr Ghūchānī, with whom I have been able to discuss a number of points concerning early Persian poetry, is the author of a valuable study of the rubāʿīs and other poetical fragments inscribed on the 13th-century glazed tiles from Takht i Sulaimān (Ashʿār i fārsī i kāshī-hā i Takht i Sulaimān, Tehran 1371sh./1992). These tiles are important evidence for the dating of the individual quatrains, but, since the verses are in all cases cited anonymously, they do not, unfortunately, contribute very much to the solution of the bio-bibliographical questions that are the subject of the present book.

^ Back to text2. Tehran, 1366sh./1989.

^ Back to text3. The author’s name is not mentioned in the superscription, but does occur, as ‘Khalīl’, in vs. 12.

^ Back to text4. Vs. 14.

^ Back to text5. Vs. 24–5.

^ Back to text6. A ghazal of four verses by ‘Pisar i khaṭīb i Ganjah’ is cited by Saif Harawī, Tārīkh-nāmah i Harāt p. 449. Four verses by ‘Shaikh i Ganjah’ are quoted in Ṣiḥāḥ p. 86, 191, 209 fn., 294 .

^ Back to text7. No. 1680, but the text is not quite in order here, for the next quatrain is headed ‘li ghairih’ not ‘li ghairihā’.

^ Back to text8. See Brockelmann i p. 252, Suppt. i p. 446; ei2 s.v. ‘Bākharzī’ (D.S. Margoliouth); ʿAlī Jawād al-Ṭāhir, al-Shiʿr al-ʿarabī fī l-ʿIrāq wa bilād al-ʿajam fī l-ʿaṣr al-Saljūqī, 2nd. ed., Beyrouth 1405/1985, pp. 181–202. Ṣafā’s article ‘Bāk̲arzī’ in EIr is full of nonsense.

^ Back to text9. Riyāḥī pp. 85–6. He is perhaps also the author of the quatrain (no. 2597) ascribed to Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī (see Riyāḥī p. 55).

^ Back to text10. Bākharzī no. 338.

^ Back to text11. For whom see Thaʿālibī, Tatimmah ii pp. 37–40; Bākharzī no. 439.

^ Back to text12. Entries on this Abū l-ʿAbbās can be found in Samʿānī, new edition, ii p. 17, and Bākharzī no. 450. Neither source gives his dates, but the fact that his brother, Abū Naṣr Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm al-Aʿrābī, was the teacher of Bākharzī’s father indicates that he must be put two generations before the author of the Dumyat al-qaṣr.

^ Back to text13. Brockelmann i p. 252, Suppt. i p. 446.

^ Back to text14. See Riyāḥī p. 96. One verse by ‘Amīr Muʿizz (read: Muʿīn) al-dīn Ṭanṭarānī’ is quoted in Ṣiḥāḥ p. 273, and another by ‘amīr Muʿizz ṭrṭry’ in the same lexicon, p. 244.

^ Back to text15. See Riyāḥī p. 58.

^ Back to text16. When two or more quatrains of the same author are quoted in succession the second and subsequent ones are as a rule introduced only by ‘wa lahu’, without repetition of the author’s name. To this rule there is, it seems, only one exception: nos. 1066–7 are both headed by the name of Shahryār Zauzanī.

^ Back to text17. Muntakhab al-tawārīkh, Calcutta 1868, i p. 54. This poem is followed by another in praise of the same ruler by ‘Qāḍī Ḥamīd Balkhī’, evidently not (unless Badāʾūnī is mistaken about the identity of the patron) the well-known author of the Maqāmāt i Ḥamīdī, Qāḍī Ḥamīd al-dīn ʿUmar b. Maḥmūd al-Balkhī, who died a century before the time of Muḥammad b. Sām, but some later namesake.

^ Back to text18. ʿIzz al-dīn Iṣfahānī is quoted as the author of a quatrain in Hidāyat, Majmaʿ i p.

^ Back to text19. Op. cit., no. 982.

Cite this page
“Appendix III: Sharwānī’s Nuz’hat al-Majālis and the Early Persian Rubāʿī”, in: Storey Online, Charles Ambrose Storey. Consulted online on 22 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2021

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