Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

RSPA 40 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library

Jones Collection

Royal Society Arabic and Persian


Mas̱navī-i Maʿnavī, Book 6 of 6

Language(s): Persian

Incipit: بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم. ای حیات دل حسام‌الدین بسی *** میل می‌جوشد بقسم سادسی
Explicit: آب جان را ریز اندر بحر جان *** تا شوی دریای بیحد وگران

Jones commissioned the six volumes of the Mas̱navī which make up MSs RSPA 35-40. This is clear from a note in MS RSPA 35 in which he acknowledges the scribe: "Written by Maulavī Aâzzu'ddīn began 21 Jan 1790. Began 21 Jan. 1790 25S.R. a month, asked; 30S.R. given". The scribe's name was Mavlavī ʿIzz al-Dīn.

On f1r, Jones has written out the same poet circle as found at the end of MS RSPA 31, in which he writes the names of Firdawsī, Rūmī (written as Maulavī), Saʿadī, Anvarī, Ḥāfiẓ and Niẓāmī in a circle together.

The final forty-five lines of poetry are a poem by Rūmī's son and are not found in the usual recensions of the text. This poem begins "مدتی رین مثنوی چون والدم *** شد خمس کفتش ولد ای زنده ام" on f334v under the red heading explaining the contents.

Colophon: تمام شد دفتر سادس مثنوی مولوی جلال الدین رومی رحمة الله علیه

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Strong white European paper. Paper bears G.R. and E&P watermarks.
Extent: ff.ii+337+iv
Dimensions (leaf): 230 × 180 mm.
Dimensions (written): 160 × 125 mm.

European numerals in pencil.


The manuscript is in excellent condition.



Very neat black nastaʿlīq with red ink headings.



Very frequent annotations by Jones. He highlights large sections with curly brackets, stars and underlining and translates some sections of poetry. He also, at times, narrates the contents of the poem. In particular, there are lots of annotations surrounding the story of Nimrod at the end of the textblock, which he explains in his marginal comments and also repeatedly remarks how beautiful the poetry is.


Standard India Office half leather binding with wine-coloured marbled endpapers.

Accompanying Material


Origin: 1790 - 1792 CE ; India

Provenance and Acquisition

RSPA 1-118 were presented to the Royal Society in January 1792 by Sir William and Lady Jones. These manuscripts were all given by Sir William Jones.

The Royal Society's collection of 280 Persian and Arabic, and 86 Sanskrit manuscripts were transferred to the India Office Library in 1876.


India Office Library

Record Sources

Manuscript description based on E. Denison Ross and E. G. Browne, Catalogue of two collections of Persian and Arabic manuscripts preserved in the India Office Library (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1902), p.29-30 no.XXXV-XL


Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card for admissions procedures contact British Library, Registering for a Reader Pass. Contact apac-enquiries@bl.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript. For information on catalogues and ordering manuscripts see Finding and ordering Persian manuscripts in the British Library.

Funding of Cataloguing



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