John Lang and Sadi of Shiraz.
Recently I was lent a book which was full of references to many botanical and garden writers written in a light hearted fashion It was called Of Flowers and a Village. An entertainment for flower lovers by Wilfrid Blunt. Yes there is reference to Sadi of Shiraz but not to John Lang. This is what Blunt wrote :
Last week in Oxford I bought at Blackwell's, for a sum so small that I'd hate Sir Basil to know, a sixteenth century manuscript of Sadi's Gulistan, or 'Rose Garden'--that most popular of all Persian books. The miniatures in it, though damaged are lovely; one is a chenar (oriental plane) that would have pleased Xerxes [who fell in love with one mentioned earlier] and in another a youth who plucks a spray of almond blossom from a tree that's enchantingly patterned against a golden sky. At the same time I bought Eastwick's translation first published in 1852. [John Lang published his translations in 1845 in India]. The Gulistan is a collection of moral tales written by Sadi of Shiraz in the thirteenth century. In his preface he tells how, 'it being the season of spring, when the asperity of winter was mitigated and the time of the roses' rich display had arrived', he decided to write a book; I have copied out a bit of it for you because I liked it so much. 'One night it happened that I was walking at a late hour in the flower garden with one of my friends. The spot was blithe and pleasing, and the trees intertwined there charmingly. You would have said that fragments of enamel were sprinkled on the ground, and that the necklace of the Pleiades was suspended from the vines that grew there.... In the morning, when the inclination to return prevailed over our wish to stay, I saw that he had gathered his lap full of roses, fragrant herbs, hyacinths and sweet basil, with which he was setting out for the city.' I said, 'To the rose of the garden there is no continuance ... The sages have said that we should not fix our affections on that which has no endurance ... For the recreation of the beholders and the gratification of those who are present, I am able to compose a book, THE GARDEN OF ROSES, whose leaves the rude hand of the blast of autumn cannot affect, and the blitheness of whose spring the revolution of time cannot change into the disorder of the waning year...'
This is a delightful way of saying a book preserves forever the beauty of roses and spring. At least it has survived eight hundred years so far.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||General Notes|
|Publication:||M A R G I N: life & letters in early Australia|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2003|
|Previous Article:||A Sailor's Story.|
|Next Article:||Book notes.|
|1. Eerste nag.|
|The missing 1846 copies of The Mofussilite was it censored?|
|Shops at Columbus Circle earn superior design award.|