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A Love Song by Khagani Shirvani

Khagani Shirvani (1126-1199)

Afzaladdin Khagani Shirvani, the poet-thinker of the 12th century, is one of the most famous literary figures not only of Azerbaijan, but of the entire East. He is the first and most brilliant representative of the Renaissance period literature in Azerbaijan.

The poet who had been brought up in an Azerbaijani family in the city of Shamakhi mastered Arabic and Persian literature, linguistics, Koran and mathematics.

Khagani who was the author of the first poem called “Tuḥfat al-ʿIrāqayn” (“Gift of the Two Iraqs”)” in Azerbaijani literature influenced the outstanding personalities of the East, such as Amir Khosrov Dahlavi, Abdurrahman Jami, Mahammad Fuzuli, etc. He brought a strong social-humanist content and high artistry to the literature. The poet’s traces can already be felt in the works of Nizami, who started his creativity 15-20 years after Khagani.

Khagani's rich literary heritage consists of 17,000 beyts of lyric verses, and 60 letters  ̶  the interesting patterns of artistic prose. The poet wrote his works in the genres of qasida, ghazals, rubai, marsiyeh, habsiyah. Such socio-philosophical works as Shiniyya, The Ruins of Madain and the poem Habsiyya brought him fame.


A Love Song

As long as my heart is still beating,

the one that I love shall be you.

As long as I hold something dearer

than life, it shall always be you.

Affection within my soul burning

lent strength to my heart in the past.

The impulse to keep my heart beating

forever, my dear, shall be you.

Whatever the wound I may suffer

the balm for my pain shall be you.

Whatever disorder afflicts me

the cure for my ill shall be you.

I always shall be at your service,

whatever your heart may desire.

One sultan in life I acknowledge,

and that one shall always be you.

If ever I write about faith

and ingratitude, now I proclaim

The title shall start with the letter

which begins my beloved’s first name.

In matters of state, or of faith and apostasy you can’t

deceive me…

For you Khan, my Belief, my idol – al one and

the same! –

Who is Khagani?Oh, my sloe-eyed sweet beauty, approach

me and claim

To be Khagani’s khagan, be my monarch demanding acclaim.

Translated by Tom Botting




◄ My love has tired me of my life – will she not tire of cruelty?


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