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2007-05-14 09:24:01
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Hafiz is by universal consent the supreme master of the art of the persian Ghazal - a literary form generally equated with the lyric;though perhaps the sonnet is in some repects a closer equivalent.
When it is considered that literary critics of undoubted authority have estimated persian poetry as an important contribution to the art of selfexpression in metre and rhyme,and the persian Ghazal as a form unsurpassable of it's kind , it may be readily concede that Hafiz is a poet eminently worth study; and it may be without undue optimism be conjectured that as a master of asplendid artform he can still teach useful lessons to all who are interested in the evolution of poetic expression.
If it is added , as a personal opinion,that Hafiz technique can be modified imitation inspire new developments in western poetry, perhaps a claim so extravagant will not be rejected so summarily as asimilar claims less solidly founded;for Hafiz ia as highly esteemed by his countrymen as Shakespeare by us,and deserves as serious consideration.
Shams al-Din Hfiz of Shiraz was born at the capital of the province of favs about the year 720/1320 , some sixty years after the great catastrophe of Islamic history, Hulagu Khan's capture and sack of Baghdad;rather less than a century after the death of Muhyi al-Din Ibn Arabi(d. 638/1240),the greatest theosophist of the Arabs;and fifty years after the death of Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 672/1273) , persia's most original mystical poet.
He grew up in an age when the finet Arabic literature had already been written, and in the shadow of the reputation of his distinguished fellow- citizan,Shaikh Sadi (d. 690/1291) or (691/1292).
Persian poetry had thus reached its consummation in the romantinc epic (Nizami probably died in 599/1202), the mystical MATHNAVI , the RUBAI, the GASIDA (Anvari died between 585/1189 and 587/1191),and gnomic vers, Hafiz spent little time on the GASIDE and RUBAI,and none at all on the other classical forms , but elected to specialize in the GHAZAL , no doubt supposing - and not without cause- that he had something to contrebute to this delicate of all poetic forms.


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