Collection of Poems by Shāhī


Dīvān-i Shāhī (Collection of poems by Shāhī) is a divan (collection) of verse by Amīr Shāhī Sabzavārī (died 1453; 857 A.H.), a prominent Persian poet of the Timurid era who composed in many of the classical forms of Persian poetry. Amīr Shāhī’s poetry belongs to the tradition of Persian mystical love poetry. The collection includes poems composed in the ghazal (a metrical form expressing the pain of loss and the beauty of love), qaṣīda (lyric poem), and rubā’ī (quatrain) forms. Amīr Shāhī was born in Sabzevar (present-day Iran), but received his education in Herat (present-day Afghanistan), where he joined the court of Timur’s son Shāhrukh (1377–1447) and that of Shāhrukh’s son Baysunqur Mīrzā (1397–1433). Biographers refer to Amīr Shāhī as a superb poet, but also as a painter, musician, and calligrapher. His poetry was greatly admired by his celebrated contemporary ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (1414–92), as well as by later authors, such as Alīshīr Nawā’ī (1441–1501). In Tadhkirat al-Shuʿarā (Memorial of poets), Dawlatshāh Samarqandī (died circa 1494) describes the premature death of Baysunqur Mīrzā after a bout of drunken revelry, and singles out the elegy for him composed by Amīr Shāhī as having surpassed those of all his peers in its pathos. It is said that Amīr Shāhī wrote more than 12,000 verses, but his surviving anthology contains less than a tenth of that number. He himself is believed to have destroyed that portion of his verse he considered inferior. Amīr Shāhī died in Gorgan and is buried in Sabzevar in a khānaqāh (Sufi dervish lodge) founded by his ancestors. The present manuscript of Dīvān-i Shāhī is an illuminated, undated copy written in a flowing nastaʿlīq hand. An unusual feature of the work is the manner in which each poem is set off by the Arabic wa lahu ayḍan or ayḍan lahu (furthermore, he wrote).

Last updated: November 12, 2014