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Khwajeh Khalifeh had conceived a strong dislike to Humaiun, in consequence of some circumstances which arc not explained, so that the court of the expiring conqueror became the scene of intrigue and cabal. Khalifeh, as prime minister,1 possessed the chief authority among the Turki nobles. He did not wish that the succession should be in the children of Baber, and had pitched on Mehdi Khwajeh, Baber's son-in-law, as his successor. Mehdi Khwajeh was a brave, but extravagant, and wild young man, and had long been closely connected with Khalifeh. When it was known that Khalifeh was in his interest, and intended to raise him to the throne, the principal men in the army lost no time in paying their court to Mehdi Khwajeh, whose succession was regarded as secure, and who began to affect the deportment of a sovereign prince. Everything seemed to promise that he was to be the Emperor of Hindustan, when suddenly, he was ordered by Khalifeh to remain in his own house under a guard. Aneedote of The cause of this sudden change has escaped the researches of Abulfazl and Khafi khwajeh. Khan. It is explained, however, by a well-informed historian, who relates the aneedote Oh the authority of his father:—" It so happened," says he, " that Mir Khalifeh had gone to see Mehdi Khwajeh, whom he had found in his tent. Nobody was present but Khalifeh, Mehdi Khwajeh, and my father Muhammed Mokim. Khalifeh had scarcely sat down an instant, when Baber, who was at the last extremity, suddenly sent for him. When he left the tent, Mehdi Khwajeh accompanied him to the door, to do him honour, and to take leave of him, and stood in the middle of it, so that my father, who followed, but, out of respect, did not push by him, was immediately behind. The joaag man, who was rather flighty and harum-scarum, forgetting that my father was present, as soon as Khalifeh was fairly gone, muttered to himself, • God willing, I will soon flay off your hide, old boy!' and, turning round, at the same instant saw my father. He was quite confounded, but immediately seizing my father's ear, with a convulsive eagerness, twisted it round, and said hurriedly, • You, Tajik! The red tongue often gives the green head to the winds.' My father having taken his leave and left the tent, sought out Khalifeh, and remonstrated with him on his line of conduct; telling him, that in violation of his allegiance, he was taking away the sovereignty from Muhammed Humaiun and his brothers, who were accomplished princes, to bestow it on the son of a stranger; and yet how did this favoured man behave? He then repeated what had passed just as it happened. Khalifeh, on the spot, sent off an express for Humaiun, and dispatched a body of Yesawels, or special messengers, to Mehdi Khwajeh to inform him that the king's orders were, that he should instantly retire to his own house. The young man had now sat down to dinner, which was still before him. The Yesawels communicated their message, and forced him away. Mir Khalifeh then issued a proclamation, prohibiting all persons from resorting to Mehdi Khwajeh's house, or waiting upon him ; while Mehdi Khwajeh himself received orders not to appear at Court."2
Baber-, in the midst of these intrigues, with which he was probably unacquainted,
1 His title was Xiaam-ed-din Ali Khalifeh.
* For the fragment of the anonymous history from whence this extract is made, and which contains the Memoirs of Hindustan, from Baber's invasion of that country down to the beginning of Akber's reign, I am indebted to Captain William Miles of the Bombay establishment. The author calls his father Muhammed Mokim Hcrvi (of Herat). His own name I have not been able to learn.
successful inroads than skilful campaigns. But he showed a genius and a power of observation which, in other circumstances, would have raised him to the rank of the most accomplished commanders. As he had the sense to perceive the errors which he committed in his earlier years, so, with the superiority that belongs to a great mind, conscious of its powers, he always readily acknowledges them. His conduct, during the rebellion of the Moghuls at Kabul, and the alarm of his army in the war with Rana Sanka, bears the indications of the most heroic magnanimity. The latter per riod of his life is one uninterrupted series of success.
But we are not to expect in Baber that perfect and refined character which belongs only to modern times and Christian countries. We sometimes see him order what, according to the practice of modern war, and the maxims of a refined morality, we should consider as cruel executions. We find him occasionally the slave of vices, which, even though they belonged to his age and country, it is not possible to regard in such a man without feelings of regret. We are disapjiointed to find one possessed of so refined an understanding, and so polished a taste, degrading both, by an obtrusive and almost ridiculous display of his propensity to intoxication. It may palliate, though it cannot excuse this offence, that it appears to have led him to no cruelty or harshness to his servants or those around him, that it made him neglect no business, and that it seems to have been produced solely by the ebullition of high spirits in his gay and social temper. We turn from Baber, the slave of such vices, which probably hastened on a premature old age, and tended to bring him to an early grave, and view him with more complacency, encouraging, in his dominions, the useful arts and polite literature, by his countenance and his example. We delight to see him describe his success in rearing a new plant, in introducing a new fruit-tree, or in repairing a decayed aqueduct, with the same pride and complacency that he relates his most splendid victories. No region of art or nature seems to have escaped the activity of his research. He had cultivated the art of poetry from his early years, and his Diwan, or collection of Turki poems, is mentioned as giving him a high rank among the poets of his country. Of this work I have not been able to learn that any copy exists. Many of the odes in it are referred to in his Memoirs, and quoted by the first couplet. A few specimens of his Persian poetry are also given, which show much of that terseness and delicacy of allusion so much admired in the poets whom he imitated. His Persian Mesnevi, which he published by the name of Mabeiin, I have never met with, though Abulfazl speaks of it as having a great circulation; nor have I seen his versification of the tract of Khwajeh Ehrar, which has been already mentioned.1 He also wrote a work on Pro
1 Abulfazl, in the introduction to the Akbemameh, quotes a few of his Persian verses with approbation. The following quatrain is not unhappy in the original:—
Though I am not related to Dervishes,
Say not that the state of a prince is remote from that of a Dervish,
I know that separation from thee were my death,
Else might I tear myself from this city.
But, while my heart is encircled with the locks of my beloved,
I forget the world and its cares.
432 SUPPLEMENT TO THE MEMOIRS OF BABER.
sody and some smaller productions, which he sometimes alludes to in his Memoirs. He was skilful in the science of music, on which he wrote a treatise. But his most remarkable work is, undoubtedly, the Memoirs of his own Life, composed by him in the Turki tongue. The earlier part of them is written with great spirit, and the whole bears strong characteristies of an ingenious, active, and intelligent mind. No history, perhaps, contains so lively a picture of the life and opinions of an eastern prince. The geographical descriptions which he gives of his hereditary kingdom, and of the various countries which he subdued, have, what such descriptions seldom possess, not only great accuracy, but the merit of uncommon distinctness. The Memoirs, however, will be found of unequal value, according to the periods of which they treat. Some years, particularly in the later periods of his life, present little more than a dry chronicle of uninteresting events, probably written down as they occurred, and never rewritten, as the earlier period certainly have been. It probably was his intention to have connected the whole, and completed them in the same strain of happy narrative that runs through the first half of them, a design which it is to be regretted that he did not live to execute.
A striking feature in Baber's character is, his unlikeness to other Asiatic princes. Instead of the stately, systematic, artificial character, that seems to belong to the throne in Asia, we find him natural, lively, affectionate, simple, retaining on the throne all the best feelings and affections of common life. Change a few circumstances arising from his religion and country, and in reading the transactions of his life, we might imagine that we had got among the adventurous knights of Froissart. This, as well as the simplicity of his language, he owed to his being a Turk. That style which wraps up a worthless meaning in a mist of words, and the etiquette which annihilates the courtier in the presence of his prince, were still, fortunately for Baber, foreign to the Turki race, among whom he was born and educated.
Upon the whole, if we review with impartiality the history of Asia, we shall find few princes who are entitled to rank higher than Baber in genius and accomplishments. His grandson Akber may perhaps be placed above him for profound and benevolent policy. The crooked artifice of Aurengzib is not entitled to the same distinction. The merit of Chengiz Khan, and of Tamerlane, terminates in their splendid conquests, which far excelled the achievements of Baber: but in activity of mind, in the gay equanimity and unbroken spirit with which he bore the extremes of good and bad fortune, in the possession of the manly and social virtues, so seldom the portion of princes, in his love of letters, and his success in the cultivation of them, wc shall probably find no other Asiatic prince who can justly be placed beside him.
Page xvi. I 5 from bottom, for Tibat-Balti, read Tibet-Balti.
10, 1. 9 from the notes, for Isan, Doulet Begum, read Isan-Doulet Begum.
18,1. 8 from the notes, for I'/.im Hussan, read Uzim Hassan.
49, note 3, for Abdal la, read Abdalla.
50, 1 . 7 from the bottom, for Ibrahim, read Abraham.
55, 1. 5, for that prince's eldest son Muhammed Sultan. Jehanglr-Shahrokh Mirza conferred, Ac.
read that prince's eldest son, Muhammed Sultan Jehingir. Shahrokh Mirza conferred, &c .
78, 1. 4 from the bottom, add on the margin, March 1500.
83,1. 21, for circumstance, read circumstances, i
90,1. 5 from the notes, for nor, read or.
101, note 2, for Boslan, read Boston.
137, I* 16, for lake, the three, read lake, and the three.
138, note 6, for raweid, read rawend.
Note 5, for Rag-rcwan, read Reg-reman.
150,1. 11, for Daragha, read Darogha.
152, Note 1,1. 5, for Sihabend, read Siihbend.
158, 1. 24, dele the.
164,1. 16, for in, read on.
167, Note, for K orchis, read Korchi.
170, 1. 1,/nr Gurkam, read Gurkan.
178,1. 12, at the end of the line, for a comma, put a full point
193, Note I, for Amienitatis, read Amaenitates.
231, Note 1, for"Makar, read Mukur.
234, Note 6, for Rawask, read Rawash.
236, Note 2, 1. 3, for of the Moghuls, read of the Moghul.
270, Dele Note 2, and tubttitutc, Khost lies N. or NW. of Dour, on the Kurram ; Anderab
SW. of Badakhshan.
355, 1 . 23,for after a few days' repentance, read after a few days, repentance. Ate.
368, Note 4, for £350, read £250.
369, On the margin, at beginning of paragraph, insert April 3.
404,1. 16, insert a comma after the word, unaccompanied.
429, L 16. for or, read of.
430, 1 . 22, for seems, read seem.