About this text
Saib Tabrizi (c.1592-1676) was the son of Mirzā ʿAbd-al-Rahim, a successful merchant. His uncle, Shams-al-Din of Tabriz, had earned the title Shirin Qalam (‘Sweet Pen’) for his calligraphy. Saib’s family was evacuated from Tabriz by ʿAbbās I during Ottoman incursions and settled in Isfahan. Saib set off to the east in search of patronage in 1624-25. In Kabul, he made friends with the governor Mirzā Ahsan-Allāh Zafar Khan, also a poet who wrote under the penname Ahsan. Saib accompanied Zafar Khan when he was called to court to pledge his allegiance to Shāhjahān in 1628. Saib’s attempts to accompany his patron on his military campaigns in the Deccan were unsuccessful, however, as rigors of army life and the climate in Burhānpur did not suit him. When his father arrived in Agra to persuade him to return to Persia, Saib requested permission to depart, which was ultimately granted in 1632. Saib was a prolific poet, and during his 65-year literary career, he compiled one of the largest divāns in Persian literature, containing around 75,000 lines of poetry.