Selections from the Poetry of the Afghans, by H.G. Raverty, , at sacred-texts.com
Æabd-ul-Ḥamīd, the author of the following poems, was born at Māshū Khel, a small village belonging to the Kudrīzī clan, or branch, of the Afghān tribe of Mohmand, one of the purely Afghān tribes at present dwelling in the Peshāwar district. Hence, Ḥamīd, like Raḥmān, was a Mohmand, but of a different clan. The exact year of his birth I have been unable to discover, but it was certainly about the middle of the last half of the seventeenth century. He was brought up to the priesthood, and is said to have been endowed with a considerable amount of learning, which he acquired at Peshāwar; and students from all parts of the surrounding districts sought his instruction.
He is the cynical poet of the Afghāns—the Shaykh Sāædī of the Pushto language—and the beauty of his compositions is fully acknowledged, even amongst a nation so rich in poets as the Persians, by whom he is styled "Ḥamīd the Hair-splitter." His poetry, though generally of a moral tendency, and breathing contempt of the world and its vanities, is still tinged with Ṣūfi doctrines, as all Muḥammadan poetry, in whatever language written, more or less is. He was the author of three works—a poem entitled "Nairang-i-Æishḳ," or "Love's Fascination;" "Shāh Gadā," or "The King and the Beggar;" and a Collection of Odes, entitled "Dur-o-Marjān," or "Pearls and Corals," from which the following translations have been selected.
The year of the poet's decease is, like that of his birth, somewhat uncertain; but the people of his native village account his death
to have taken place about the year a.d. 1732; and his descendants, on inquiring of them, state, that four generations have passed since that event occurred, which, at the usual computation of thirty years for each generation, agrees within five years with the period mentioned. An aged man of the same village, who died about twenty years since, in the 107th year of his age, had been, repeatedly, heard to say, by the people of the hamlet, that he had, in his youthful days, seen Mull Ḥamīd frequently, who, at that time, was upwards of fifty years old. Another patriarch, Malīk Æazīz Khān, who is about a century old, states, that he had heard his father and grandfather relate, that they remembered Ḥamīd well; and that he was just coming into notice as a poet, towards the close of Raḥmān's life; and some of Ḥamīd's odes having reached the ear of Raḥmān, he sent for the poet to come and visit him; and was so pleased with his modesty and humility, that he gave him his blessing, and prayed that his verses might be sweet unto all men, and that no one might ever excel him in Afghān poetry. Up to the present day, certainly, Ḥamīd has not been surpassed.
The poet's grave is still pointed out by the people of his native village. Some of his descendants continue to dwell at Māshū Khel, and some are dispersed in other villages. The dwelling in which Ḥamīd was born, lived, and died, is now in ruins.