ḤOSN O DEL, an allegorical work by Fattāḥi Nišāburi, which is closely connected subject with his other work Dastur-e ʿoššāq. The latter poem has 25,000 bayts in hazaj-e mosaddas-e maqṣur meter (mafāʿilon, mafāʿilon, mafāʿil) and sometimes the last part is omitted (mafāʿilon, mafāʿilon, faʿulon). The author, Yaḥyā Sibak Fattāḥi Nišāburi, was a well-known poet and writer of the era of Šāhroḵ (807-50/1404-46). His pen-name (taḵalloṣ) was Fattāḥi, but Amir ʿAlišir Navāʾi in Majāles al-nafāʾes and Ḵᵛāndmir in his Ḥabib al-siar have said that his pen-name originally was Toffāḥi and later it was changed to Fattāḥi (“toffāḥ” [apple] is the Arabic for Persian “sib” and hence his other pen-name “Sibak,” which is diminutive of “sib”). He died in 852/1448. Apart from his Divān, his poetry includes Dah-nāma, Dastur-e ʿoššāq, and in prose Šabestān-e ḵiāl and Ḥosn o del, which were all well known to his contemporaries.

The maṯnawi of Dastur-e ʿoššāq was completed in 840/1436 and in the story Del (heart) is the lover of Ḥosn (beauty). The poet starts his work with a description of the king ʿAql (intellect) and then goes to prince Del and the minister of the state Naẓar (judgement). Then he is sent out of the castle of Dohd (piety) and conducted to the city of Ḥemmat (endeavor).

A summarized version of the same story is the subject of Ḥosn o del, which was written in an ornate and rhyming prose—one of the best examples of such prose of Timurid period. This story is an allegorical account of Del the son of ʿAql, who dwells in the “Dome of Intellect” in the realm of the “Fortress of Body.” He is in search of water of life and sends Naẓar to spy for him. After passing from the city ʿĀfiat (wellbeing), by the help of Ḥemmat, the king of the city Hedāyat (guidance), he finds the signs of the water of life in the East, which is the land of love. The story continues in this allegorical manner.

Ḥosn o del was translated into English by A. Browne and published in Dublin in 1801, and W. Price published another English version in 1828. The German translation by Rudolf Dvořák was published with the Persian text and annotations in Vienna in 1889 as Ḥosn u dil (Schön-heit und Herz) Persische Allegorie . . . , hrsg., übers., erklärt und mit Lâmi’is türkischer Bearbeitung). Dastur-e ʿoššāq was published by R. S. Greensfields in Berlin in 1926. Ḥāji Ḵalifa in Kašf al-ẓonun says (under Ḥosn o del) that it was once translated into Turkish by Ebn Seddi, known as “Āhi” (d. 923/1517), but it was left unfinished. Later Mahmud b. ʿOṯmān, known as Lāmeʿi of Bursa (d. 938/1532), completed the translation, and the Turkish poet ʿOmri versified it. There have been other imitations and adaptations of Ḥosn o del in Turkish.



Ḡolām-Reżā Farzānapur, ed., Ḥosn o del, Tehran, 1972, introduction.

Alessandro Bausani, “Fattāhi,” in EI2 II, pp. 865-66.

Dawlatšāh Samarqandi, Taḏkerat al-šoʿarā, Tehran, 1959, pp. 314-15.

Amir ʿAlišir Navāʾi, Majāles al-nafāʾes, Tehran, 1944, p. 188.

Ḵᵛāndmir, Ḥabib al-siar IV, p. 15.

Ehsan Yarshater, Šeʿr-e fārsi dar ʿahd-e Šāhroḵ, Tehran, 1955, pp. 180-84.

(Ḏabiḥ-Allāh Ṣafā)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 23, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 5, pp. 520-521