Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 262 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This complete copy of the Dīvān of Ḥāfiẓ (ca. 1315–1390) contains variant ghazal lyric poems but no quatrains and compositions typically found in other copies. Written primarily in a bold clear hand, the margins features extensive commentaries written in an unusual diamond-shaped format. While unsigned and undated, a seal impression on ib dated 1193 AH, regnal year 21 (1780 CE), corresponding to the reign of Mughal Emperor Shāh ‘Ālam II (b. 1728, r. 1760–88; 1788–1806).
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio ib): حمد بیحد و ثنای دو سپاس مقایس مر حضرت خداوند...
Explicit: برگ ۷ر (folio 7a): در گذارنا دانه علی ذلك قدیر وبالاجابة جدید والله الموافق والمستعان به والحمد لله وحده و ثلی الله علی محمد واله اجمعین. انکه از سر عیب گوید راز * هست دیوان حافظ شیراز..
Colophon: تم بالخیر کتبه العبد الفقیر محمد کاتب اللاری سنة ثمان وثلاثين وتسعماية
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): اَلا یا اَیُّهَا السّاقی اَدِرْ کَأسَاً و ناوِلْها * که عشق آسان نمود اوّل ولی افتاد مشکل‌ها
Explicit: برگ ۳۶۳پ (folio 363b): بیادگار نوشتم خطی بعد از من * بدین وسیله عزیز آن کند از من(؟) | هر آنکه نام من از راه نیکوی سرد * همیشه در دو جهان نام او به نیکی باد.
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian

One of ten copies of this work held in the Rylands, for others see Persian MS 14, 34, 50, 263, 288, 563, 842, 945, 946, and 1001–1003 (3 vols).

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of thin-weight, cross-grained, buff-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~10 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 368 folios, no endpapers (ff. 364)
Dimensions (leaf): 269 × 173 mm.
Dimensions (written): 137 × 80 mm.
Foliation: Pencilled Arabic numerals inconsistently added to the upper-left corners of the a sides every ten folios starting on folio 1Aa, hence under by one.


Undetermined. No catchwords.


Handle text with caution. In fair condition, with moderate water and insect damage and historical repairs throughout.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 11 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide for both the central text and surrounding margins.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.


Ruling: Central text margins ruled from folio 8b onwards, in double red lines surrounded by single blue lines, with single red lines for vertical column dividers, horiztonal section breaks, and the outer margins throughout. 1b and 2a ruled in gold outlined with thin black lines, and surrounded by another single line.

  • The first folio a side (f. ia) bears unsigned hastily written Arabic pious phrases and prayers and a Persian devotional couplet.
  • Folios first folio b side (f. ib) bears the name ‘Hafiz’ pencilled at top in Latin script.
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/D’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 482’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘262’ written aside.


Originally bound in the Indian subcontinent then later restored in Europe.

Sewing undetermined due to tight gutters. Edges trimmed, and chevron endbands of yellow and blue threads twined at head and tail, now deteriorated. Originally covered in dark brown goatskin leather. Original boards mended by covering the spine and board edges in medium-brown goatskin leather and block-printed decorated endpapers.

Original boards decorated with scalloped central mandorlas and detached pendants, possibly also cornerpieces. Subsequently blind-tooled after restoration on the repair leather with a wide decorative roll featuring cartouches with a sunburst alternating with scrollwork designs on the board margins and spine. The latter also bears a later green goatskin leather label titled in gold:

275 × 174 × 52 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In poor condition, with the right board broken but still attached, with extensive insect and water damage on the original boards, and significnt surface abrasion to the repair leather.


The first folio b side, top (f. ib) bears a small rectangular seal impression, intaglio carved in 3 nasta‘līq script lines, single-ruled, with the name of a former owner or associate named ‘Abd al-‘Azīz’, dated 1193 AH, regnal year 21 (1780 CE) , corresponding to the reign of Mughal ruler Shāh ‘Ālam II (b. 1728, r. 1760–88; 1788–1806).
11 × 13 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in the Mughal Empire; undated, but possibly 18th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently owned by ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, as per his seal impression on the first folio b side, top (f. ib)dated 1193 AH (1780 CE)

While the circumstances under which this volume arrived in Britain remain unclear, scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865) acquired it from an unidentified source for his library at Randalls Park, Leatherhead.

After Bland's death, London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1866, and moved to Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1908 to the John Rylands Library, Manchester.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s, concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023 with reference to the volume in hand.


To book an in-person or online appointment to consult the manuscript, visit Using the Special Collections Reading Rooms. For any other enquiries please email uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk.


    C. H. de Fouchécour, 'Ḥāfiẓ', Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, (2018)
    Ḥāfiẓ, The Dīvān Translated by Col. W. H. Clarke, 2 Vols. Calcutta: Government of India Central Printing Office, 1891.
    Howell and Stewart, A Supplement to Howell and Stewart's Catalogue of Oriental and Oriento-Biblical Literature for 1827 Including the Most Extensive and Valuable Collection of Eastern Manuscripts Ever Offered for Sale (London: Printed by J. Moyes, 1827) p. 91, no. 4350.
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 168, no. 561.
    G. Ouseley, Biographical Notices of Persian Poets; with Critical and Explanatory Remarks... (London: Oriental Translation Fund, 1846), pp. 23–42, no. 2.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), pp. 627–632 [British Library Add. 7759, &c].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), cols. 578–592, nos. 815–853 [Bodleian MS Ouseley 148, &c.].
    Tawfīq Subḥānī, 'Kitāb'hā-yi khaṭṭī-i Fārsī fihrist nashudah dar Kitābkhānah Jān Rāylāndz, Manchistir' Majallah-'i Dānishkadah-i Adabiyāt va ‘Ulūm-i Insānī n.s., Vol. 1, Nos. 2-3 (1372 SH [1993 CE]): p. 165, no. 4. [Rylands Persian MS 965]
    E. Yarsharter et al, 'Hafez', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. XI, Fasc. 5 (2002), pp. 461–507.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Persian Heritage Foundation


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