Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 266 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Laylā va Majnūn by Hātifī, (d. 1520–21), a nephew of ‘Abd al-Raḥman Jāmī, to whom the first couplet is ascribed. Written in a more explicit and straightforward manner than earlier versions, it was widely esteemed, in the Ottoman empire and also influenced the Azerbaijani Turkish poet Fużūlī. Sir William Jones published the first English translation in 1788. This clearly-written, unembellished manuscript was likely produced in India, where it was probably acquired by its first documented owner, one Capt. H. F. Cane (d. 1828). Additional Persian couplets are copied on folio 69b.
Incipit: برگ ۱ب (folio 1b):
ملاها تقی جامی نامش * و خواهرزادهٔ ملا عبد الرحمن جامی است
Explicit: برگ ۶۹ب (folio 69a): کردند نداء این کهن‌ویر * کا حسنت احسنت تمّ بالخیر
Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex

Thin Indian laid paper, lightly sized with starch and minimally burnished, and used crossed-grain. Laid lines approximately 1 mm apart, with barely discernible chain lines, approximately 28 mm apart.

Endleaves of late 19th–early 20th c. machine-made cream coloured paper.

Extent: 79 folios (ii+78+ii)
Dimensions (leaf): 236 × 155 mm.
Dimensions (written): 155 × 86 mm.

Foliation marked in pencil at top-left corner of the a sides in Arabic numerals.


Catchwords on b side of nearly every folio.


Moderate insect damage along the outer edges, apparently repaired when the volume was rebound. The binding is in excellent condition.


Written in 1 to 2 columns, with 7 to 16 lines per page.


Nasta‘liq script in black ink, in a medium, clear hand for the majority of the text, with rubricated chapter headings

Nasta‘liq script in black ink, in a medium but clear hand that transcribed an unrelated couplet by Sa‘di on folio 79b.

Nasta‘liq script in black ink, in a heavy, rudimentary hand that transcribed six unidentified couplets on folio 79b.


Rebound, presumably for Crawford, in half dark blue morocco-grain goatskin leather binding, possibly by the Zaehnsdorf firm. Paper sides of British-made dark blue moirée Spanish patterned with printed marbled gold veins, with tooled gold fillet lines. Spine features blind and gilt fillet lines with full titling. 241 × 162 × 11 mm.

Accompanying Material

folio 1a. Note: "Lilu Mignoon by Hatefee –H. F. Cane."


Origin: Probably India; ca. late 18th-early 19th century CE

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly belonged to Captain H. F. Cane (d. 1828) who inscribed the volume on folio 1a, then later acquired by the Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), after whose death his oriental manuscripts were sold through Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880).

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.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898. Emended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2020 with reference to the manuscript.


The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader, see Becoming a Reader for details. Please contact uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript.


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute


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