Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

is all the poet's own, they often unite the fublimity of the Shahnamali of Ferdosi, and the benevolence and niorality of the good and gentle Sadi.

The popularity of Hafız, however, seems to have depended upon the exquisite beauty of his güzels alone; for, notwithftanding his retirement, he by no means kept himself unspotted from the world. The pleasures of the ruby-coloured wine' (11.6 detsmo) were too powerful for his resistance; and' his voluptuous wanderings among the fair sex did not constitute, if we may credit his own writings, the most criminal of his amours. To rescue him, however, from so foul a charge as this last, his commentators have pretendeù that his gazels are full of religious iiyfieries, and that almost every expreffion has a two-fuld meaning, the external and cupidinous being only a veil for the efoteric and concealed, which is all purity and devotion. Mr. Hindley has paid a due tribute of respect to two of these generous annotators, whose names are Feridun and Sudi, and who have defended the falacious bard with all the elegance and force of the Turkish language, in which their commentaries are written. And D'Herbelot himself has been half persuaded to credit their fantastic explanations, from the poet's having preferred a life of seclusion to the pomp of courts and the tumult of public society. Our English translators, however, notwithstanding the interpretation which has been ingeniously contended for by the Turkith and Afiatic expofitors in favour of this · eloquence of myflery,' (lijan ghaib) as it has been characterised by a celebrated Persian biographer, feel themselves under the perpetual neceflity of curtailing its luxuriance, and often of giving a very different idea to that conveyed by the text; and under their plastic power of transformation, ilic peri-laki and muglie pecké (v ino) the angel-faced cup-bearer' and ' infidel boy' are converted into damsels and nymphs of paradise.

In seality, howerer, the wildly figurative languages of the East, and the boid excursions which all Afiatic poets allow themselves, lay an ealy fourdation for the belief of an exoteric or mysterious meaning among readers of a warm and luxuriant imagination: аrid, on this account, the same kind of double interpretation has been citen attributed to the Song of Solomon by rabinical as well as by Christian expofitors; who, with undue fastidiousness, have been discontenied with its obvious and exoteric intention: as if the most exquitite picture that can be conceived of conjugal affection and domefiic felicity, ale luring us to the firs duties of life by example instead of by precept, were not worthy, without some myitical and recondite interpretation, of a place in the sacred scriptures.

With respect to Hafiz it is obvious, however, that religion occupied no great portion of his life, and, of course, that his gazels have little pretensions to pietism, both from his own confession and the conduct of the populace upon his decease. It is thus he expresses himself in a gazel of high merit, but which is not inserted in the collection before us :

۲م کارم زخود کامي ببر نامي کشببر آخر

Al ny voluntary actions have tended finally to procure me a bad

nane.' And, on his death, so great was the opposition made to his enjoying the rites of interment, by many of the chief men of Shiraz., on account of the indecency of his poems, that a violent contest ensued between his friends and his opposers. It was at length, as fir W. Jones inforins us, (Poeseos Aliaticæ Commenr.) agreed, by way of appeal to heaven, to open the poei's works, and to be decided by the first stanza that should occur; which, luckily for Hafiz, happened to be the following:

ترم وریغ مدار از جنازه حافظ ارچر غرق کنام ست میرود بهشت

i Oh turn not your steps from the obsequies of Hafiz,

For, though immersed in fin, he will enter into heaven.' The priests no longer hesitated, and the poet, as we have before observed, was interred in the Valley of Mosellay, whose delightful bowers he had so often celebrated in his poetry. His epitaph, which is not very commonly known, we shall extract from Mr. Hindley's introductory observations,' premising that it is elegantly and faithfully translated. "In the year feven hundred ninety and one, A world of excellence and genius departed to the residence of mercy, The incomparable, fecond Sadi, Mohammed Hafiz, Quitted this perilable region, and went to the garden of paradise. Khojeh Hafiz was ihre lanip of the learned ; A luminary was he of a brilliant lustre: As Mofella was his chosen residence, Search in Moseila for the time of his decease.' P.21.

. We may here remark (what, indeed, has been frequently done by others), that there is no work in Persian literature more deserving the attention of the learned than this work of Hafiz. Independent of its literary beauties (which clearly place it, if not first, at least in the first rank ainoogst the most splendid compositions in that elegant language), it has the merit of illustrating, in a consider

able degree; the manners, not only of a magnificent and intelligent people, at a period highly refined and polished, but of other great kingdoms and principalities of Asia. Princes, statesinen, warriors, poets, learned and venerable characters, of various courts and coun. tries, are frequently alluded to throughout the poems; and, next to Sadi and Firdaus, we inay rank our author as one of the most cor. rect in style, and as one in whom we may reasonably expe&t to find some of the least corrupt remains of the pure and ancient Perlian. The few gazels hitherto printed and explained, have spoken suffciently for themselves, with the learned world, to raise an anxious with for the publication of the whole series : and from the specimens already given of the commentaries, we are authorifed to conclude, that the untranslated part must contain much new and curious mate ter, interesting, no doubt, to the Oriental historian, philologist, and philosopher, since the best copies of the Diwan are known to contain at least five hundred sixty-nine gazels, fourteen only of which have been regularly published, with these elucidations.

- Hafiz himself, his commentators, and other writers, are amply descriptive of the effect his poetry had in those times. So extravagant indeed was the general enthusiasın of those days, that national veneration seems to have carried its fondness for him into a wild and frantic superstition, as may be inferred from many wonderful narratives of serious appeals made to the fupposed oracular and omia nous influence of thele composicions, both at and after his death, by a mode of footh-laying, or divination similar to that of the Sortes of the Latians, and familiar to the Asiatics. An old anonymous PerGan poet, preserved by Sudi, declares, that the delicate suavity of there gazels is completely unparalleled in the productions of any poet whatever: and in truth Hafiz himself is but too often found, like Horace, trumpeting forth his own praise, and pluming himself on the univerfality of his fame, from the extensive celebrity of his works over the then known world.

• We have abundant evidence of the operation of his poetry on fucceeding ages, from a variety of sources, but particularly from the researches of grammarians, as will very fully appear on consulting Sindi's introduction to his paraphrase on the Diwan, where, wih all the panegyrical and enthusiastic phraseology of an admiring must!. nian, he alerts, that the pocíy of Hafiz derived its innate grace from having been bathed in the waters of life, and that it equalled the virgins of paradise in beauty; and from the narratives alio of travellers, among whom it may fuffice to mention the names of fir Thomas Herbert, Kæmpfer, Chardin, and captain Francklin. Againg We are assured, on the authority of gentlemen belonging to the Hon. East India company's service in Hindustan, that, even at that di. stance from Shiraz, the gay and liveiy airs of their mirih-inspiring Persian are more frequently introduced in their musical festivities, than the compofitions of any other poet, however celebrated, whe,

ther native or foreigner, Hindu or Muselman, either of Bengal or Dekkhan.' P.17.

Among the gentlemen whose names are here deservedly mentioned, or are referred to in the subjoined notes, we are attonished we have not met with that of Mr. Richardson, who is well known to have been a considerable proficient in Oriental literature, and to have enriched the European world with many Oriental publications : one of thein, indeed, upon the immediate subject of the present work, being • A Specimen of Persian Poetry, or Odes of Hafiz, with an English Translation and Paraphrase. This specimen did not, we believe, include more than three distinct gazels, neither of which are to be found in Mr. Hindley's selection ; but both the metrical paraphrase and the profe version are possessed of great merit, and may at least challenge a competition with the labours of the author before us. To these were also added a copy of the translated odes in the original Persian, and a variety of useful notes, historical and grammatical. Mr. Richardson was a particular friend of the late fir W. Jones, prior to his leaving his native country; and when the former conceived the design of publishing a new edition of the learned Meninski's Thesaurus, with an English translation, the latter generously engaged to superintend and assist in the publication. We are forry to add, that, from want of due encouragement, this very valuable work was obliged to be relinquished, after the translator had bestowed an intinity of labour upon it, and incurred a conLiderable portion of expense.

We have dwelt the longer upon this subject because we were hurt at the filence with which Mr. Richardson's naine is past over in the work before us, and because it seems almost imposible that such a silence could be the effect of mere accia dent. Mr. Hindley states the number of gazels composed by Hafiz to amount to five hundred and fixty-nine ; and most of the copies of the Diwan give us no more. There is a difa ference of iwo or three, however, in several of them ; but we fuliy believe with our author, that Meninski and Kollar must have made an egregious mistake in calculating them at not less than six hundred and seventeen, and we think he has satisface torily accounted for the error in the commencement of bis Apa pendix, where he compares the manuscript of Meninski with that of the Chetham library. It is easy to account for some variety, however, in the different copies, froin the recollection that there were several other poets of Persia besides Mohainmed Sheinseddin who were honoured with the firname of llafiz, or “meo of extenlive menory,' although this adjunct has been almost exclulively appropriated to himself by the worid at large; and it is not improbable that one or two of the

Crit, Rev. Vol. XXX, November, 1800,

fupernumerary gazels may have been erroneously copied from the diwans of these minor poets. Independently of which some degree of confusion must necessarily exist in determining the originality of many individual lines as well as complete beits, since, like Virgil and Terence, Mohammed Hafiz never helitated to copy from other bards a verse that he thought was possessed of super-eminent merit, and to amalgamate it with his own productions. Occasionally, indeed, he went beyond his native tongue ; and the very first gazel under the letter eliph begins and ends with a line borrowed from the Arabic of the kalif Yezid : and when upbraided for this pillage from a Mohammedan bard, he replied to his expostulator · Dost thou not know this inaxim, that it is lawful for the faithful to rob the unbeliever? This gazel is not in Mr. Hindley's selection: it is, however, one of the most beautiful of the whole Diwan, and the Arabic line with which the last beit concludes is peculiarly animated and tender.

متى ما تلق من تهوي ع الدنيا و اهملها

• When thou shalt possess the maid thou lovest, bid adieu to the . world, and abandon it.'

(To be continued.)

Geological Essays. By Richard Kirwan, Esq. &c. 8vo. gs.

Boards. Bremner. COSMOGONY has been the object of ridicule, not because it is in itself a trifling or an unsatisfactory study, but be'cause it has 100 often been a structure of the imagination only.

A fertile genius night contrive a thousand methods by which this planet may be supposed to have been constructed, as Des Caries is faid to have found it more difficult to prefer one of his many fysens of the world than tu invent them. Even within the period of strict philosophical investigation, the reveries of Buffon, to which we may add those of Dr. Hutton, hive had scarcely any support from observation ; while Saussure, De Luc, Dolonicu, and naturalifts of the first credit, have fupplied numerous facts on which a system may securely repole. In reality, if founded on facts only, colinogony is a branch of science highly respectable: it raises the mind from earth to lieaven, from the creation to the Creator; and though undoubtedly, in the series of profound investigation, errors may arise, they are not more numerous than in other fcicntific pursuits, and more easily corrected from observation. It is not one of the least of its advantages, that, in the hands of true

« ZurückWeiter »