Poems from the Divan of Hafiz
SHEMSUDDIN MAHOMMAD, better known by his poetical surname of Hafiz, was born in Shiraz in the early part of the fourteenth century. 1 His names, being interpreted, signify the Sun of the Faith, the Praiseworthy, and One who can recite the Koran; he is further known to his compatriots under the titles of the Tongue of the Hidden and the Interpreter of Secrets. The better part of his life was spent in Shiraz, and he died in that city towards the close of the century.
The exact date either of his birth or of his death is unknown. He fell upon turbulent times. His delicate love songs Avere chanted to the rude accompaniment of the clash of arms, and his dreams must have been interrupted often enough by the nip of famine in a beleaguered town, the inrush of conquerors, and the flight of the defeated. 1 For the history of the times of Hafiz, see Defremery in the Journal Asiatique for 1844 and 1845, Malcolm's " History of Persia," Price's "Mohammedan History," Markham's "His- tory of Persia." For the life of the poet, ; Defremery in the Journal Asiatique for 1858; Sir Gore Ouseley and Daulat Shah, whose work is mainly a string of anecdotes I have been told that Lutfallah's is little better.
The history of Persia in the fourteenth century is exceedingly confused. Beyond a succession of wars and turmoils, there is little to be learnt concerning the political conditions under which Hafiz lived. Fifty years before the birth of the poet, Hulagu, a grandson of the great Tartar invader Chinggis Khan, had conquered Baghdad, putting to death the last of the Abbaside Khalifs and extinguishing the direct line of the race that had ruled over Persia since 750. For the next 200 years there is indeed a branch of the family of Abbas living in Cairo, members of which were set up as Khalifs by the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt; but they were destitute of any real authority, and their position was that of dependants in the Mamluk court.
The sons and grandsons of Hulagu succeeded him as lords of Persia and Mesopotamia, paying nominal allegiance to the Great Khan of the Mongols in Cambalec or Pekin, but for all practical purposes independent, and the different provinces of their empire were administered by governors in their name. About the time of the birth of Hafiz, that is to say at the beginning of the fourteenth century, a certain Mahmud Shah Inju was governing the province of Fars, of which Shiraz is the capital, in the name of Abu Said, the last of the direct descendants of Hulagu.the book details :
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