INTRODUCTION: Mahsati Ganjavi (also spelled as Mahasti Ganjehii) was an Iranian poetess of 12th century. Her birth-date is unknown but her birth-place is considered to be in Ganja (also spelled as Ganjeh). Ganjeh is presently the second largest city of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a country which is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. Mahsati was contemporary to Seljukid Dynasty who ruled most parts of Iran from 1037 to 1194 AD. She was a poetess laureate to the courts of Sultan Muhammad I (1118-1131) and his uncle Sultan Sanjar (1131-1157).
HER POEMS: In the history of Persian Poetry, Mahsati is known as a famous composer of the Quatrains (Rubaiyat), which are glorifying the joy of living and the fullness of love. It is documented that Mahsati obtained the title of poetess laureate to the court of Sultan Sanjar due to the extemporizing (in Persian: Felbedaheh Sorodan) poem on 'Silver Sheet', which she composed it one evening when Sultan Sanjar found a sudden fall of snow had covered the ground as he left the Court Hall to mount his horse. Here is the English version of the quatrain of Silver Sheet as translated by the late Professor Edward Granville Browne (1862-1926), a British scholar on Persian Literature:
For thee hath Heaven saddled Fortune's steed,
O, King, and chosen thee from all who lead,
Now over the Earth it spreads a silver sheet
To guard from mud thy gold-shod charger's feet
Here are also a selection of the quatrains composed by Mahsati Ganjavi:
"Don't ever wait from other any help when you're in need
O Heart, they scarcely would proffer a dried and withered reed.
Stinginess makes each a beast, but thriftiness sustain at least,
So when your means are rather poor, watch with care expenditure": Ttranslated by Gladys Evans.
View the Persian text on Poem 1: here.
"No force can bind us: pull of moment, arrows flying home,
Nor any wild nostalgia that seized our hearts whilom.
Though my soft braids turned chains of steel and anchored in your heart,
Could any chain keep me at home if I should wish to roam": Ttranslated by Gladys Evans.
Another translation of the same poem by an Unknown Translator:
We can't be halted by tip of the arrow
In a melancholic cell
The one whose hair is like a chain for the lover
Can't be chained indoor.
View the Persian text on Poem 2: here.
"Since there is nothing left for whatever exists except wind through the hand
Since everything is immutable and has an end
Think that everything that exists, does not exist
And that which does not exis it is like it exists": Unknown Translator.
Another translation of the same poem by this author (MSN):
"Nothing is eternal but a gusty wind
Everything can be worn out and has an end
You better think nothing exists in this global atmosphere
And just imagine the things that do not exist are really somewhere here": MSN.
View the Persian text on Poem 3: here.
"There is goblet in our one hand, Quran is in other
We are sometimes awake, sometimes drunken
Who are we in this frail world?
We are not giaour, but not real Muslim too": Unknown Translator
View the Persian text on Poem 9: here.
The Persian texts of some other verses composed by Mahsati can be viewed online.
HER POPULARITY IN IRAN AND ELSEWHERE: After almost 900 years, Mahsati Ganjavi is still highly respected in most parts of Iran for her courageous poetry condemning religious fanaticism, religious prejudices, hypocrisy and dogmas. In the city of Ganjeh in the Republic of Azerbaijan, a street, a school, an academic institution, a museum, and some other places have been named after Mahsati Ganjavi. The Monument of Mahsati Ganjavi was also set up in Ganjeh in 1980.
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD
Brown, E. G. (1924): A Literary History of Iran, ed., Cambridge University Press.
Evans, G. (2001): Online Article on 'Azeri Literature', Translated by Gladys Evans.
Geocities Website (2006): Online Article on 'Mahsati Ganjavi-XII century'.
Saadat Noury, M. (2006): Various Articles on the History of the Persian Poetry.
Saadat Noury, M. (2006): Online Article on Iranian Poetess Masati Ganjavi.
Saadat Noury, M. (2006): Online Note on the Poetry House of Masati Ganjavi.
Saadat Noury, M. (2010): Online Article on Masati Ganjavi & her Poems (in Persian).
Various Sources (2010): Persian Texts of the poems composed by Mahsati.
Wikipedia Free Encylopedia (2010): Online Article on 'Mahsati Ganjavi'.
Read more about Moments with some Iranian Poets on MISSING MOMENTS
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