chapter  9
13 Pages

Neo-classical Persian literature: Bazgasht-e Adabi in the nineteenth century

Brief reference will be made to two examples from Fath’ali Khan Kashani, whose takhallos (nom de poésie or nom de plume) was Saba, the founder of the Saba clan of our time which included academics, artists and members of the higher professions, notably Abolhasan Saba, the renowned composer and instrumentalist of the twentieth century. Saba was a contemporary of Aqa Mohammad Khan and Lotf’ali Khan Zand, to the latter of whom he was at first devoted. Later he was made poet-laureate at the court of Fath’ali Shah, who himself was a poet, signing his poems as Khaqan, has a published Divan, and was a generous patron of poetry and poets. There is an anecdote that once in a poetry reading session at the court the shah read one of his own and asked Saba what he thought of it. Saba’s response not being sufficiently complimentary, the shah ordered that he be held in the royal stables for a while. On another occasion long afterwards the shah once again asked Saba for his opinion of a poem which he had just recited, whereupon the poet-laureate rose and began to walk towards the door. Puzzled, the shah asked him what he was doing. ‘Sire, I am going to the royal stables’, the poet replied.