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them, he had contracted an intimate friendship: from them he learned, that a powerful monarchy had been established for ages in Iràn before the accession of CayU'MERS,' that it was called the Mabábádian dynasty, for a reason which will soon be mentioned, and that many princes, of whom seven or eight only are named in the Dabistàn, and among them Mahbul, or MAHA Beli, had raised their empire to the zenith of human glory. If we can rely on this evidence, which to me appears unexceptionable, the Iranian monarchy must have been the oldeft in the world ; but it will remain dubious, to which of the three stocks, Hindu, Arabian, or Tartar, the first Kings of Iràn belonged, or whether they sprang from a fourth race distinct from
of the others; and these are questions, which we shall be able, I imagine, to answer precisely, when we have carefully inquired into the languages and letters, religion and philosophy, and incidentally into the arts and sciences, of the ancient Persians.
I. In the new and important remarks, which I am going to offer, on the ancient languages and charafters of Iran, I am sensible, that give me credit for many assertions, which on this occasion it is impossible to prove; for I should ill deserve your indulgent attention, if I were to abuse it by repeating a dry list of detached words, and presenting you with a vocabulary instead of a dissertation ; but, since I have no system to maintain, and have not suffered imagination to delude my judgement; since I have habituated myself to form opinions of men and things from evidencé, which is the only solid basis of civil, as experiment is of natural, knowledge ; and since I have maturely considered the questions which I mean to discuss ; you will not, I am persuaded, suspect my testimony, or think that I go too far, when I assure you, that I will affert nothing positively, which I am not able satisfactorily to demonstrate. When MUHAMMED was born, and ANU'SH I'RAVA'n, whom he calls the Just King, sat on the throne of Persia, two languages appear to have been generally prevalent in the great empire of Iràn; that of the Court, thence named Der), which was only a refined and elegant dialect of the Pársı, so called from the province, of which Shiráz is now the capital, and that of the learned, in which most books were composed, and which had the name of Pablavi, either from the beroes, who spoke it in former times, or from Pablu, a tract of land, which included, we are told, some considerable cities of Irák: the ruder dialects of both were, and, I believe, still are, spoken by the rusticks in feveral provinces ; and in many of them, as Herát, Zábul, Sistàn and others, distinct idioma
were vernacular, as it happens in every kingdom of
great extent. Besides the Pársi and Pahlavi, a very ancient and abstruse tongue was known to the priests and philosophers, called the language of the Zend, because a book on religious and moral duties, which they held sacred, and which bore that name, had been written in it; while the Pázend, or comment on that work, was composed in Pablavi, as a more popular idiom ; but a learned follower of ZERA'TUSHT, named BAHMAN, who lately died at Calcutta, where he had lived with me as a Persian reader about three years, assured me, that the letters of his prophet's book were properly called Zend, and the language, Avestà, as the words of the Veda's are Sanscrit, and the characters, Nagari; or as the old Saga's and poems of Iseland were expressed in Runick letters : let us however, in compliance with custom, give the name of Zend to the sacred language of Persia, until we can find, as we shall very foon, a fitter appellation for it. The Zend and the old Pablavi are almost extinct in Iràn; for among fix or seven thousand Gabrs, who reside chiefly at Yezd, and in Cirmàn, there are very few, who can read Pahlavi, and scarce any, who even boast of knowing the Zend; while thé Pársi, which remains almost pure in the Shábnámah, has now become by the intermixture of numberless Arabick words,
and many imperceptible changes, a new language exquisitely polished by a series of fine writers in prose and verse, and analogous to the different idioms gradually formed in Europe after the subversion of the Roman empire : but with modern Persian we have no concern in our present inquiry, which I confine to the ages, that preceded the Mobammedan conqueft. Having twice read the works of FIRDAUSI' with great attention, since I applied myfelf to the study of old Indian literature, I can assure you with confidence, th hundreds of Pársi nouns are pure Sanscrit, with no other change than such as may be observed in the numerous bhásbà's, or vernacular dialects, of India; that very niany Persian imperatives are the roots of Sanscrit verbs; and that even the moods and tenses of the Persian verb subftantive, which is the model of all the rest, are deducible from the Sanscrit by an easy and clear analogy: we may hence conclude, that the Pársi was derived, like the various Indian dialects, from the language of the Brábmans; and I must add, that in the pure Persian I find no trace of any Arabian tongue, except what proceeded from the known intercourse between the Perfians and Arabs, especially in the time of BAHRA'M, who was educated in Arabia, and whose Arabick verses are still extant, together with his heroick line in Deri, which many suppose to be the first attempt at Persian versification in Arabian metre: but, without having recourse to other arguments, the composition of words, in which the genius of the Persian delights, and which that of the Arabick abhors, is a decisive proof, that the Pársi sprang from an Indian, and not from an Arabian, stock. Considering languages as mere instruments of knowledge, and having strong reasons to doubt the existence of genuine books in Zend or Pahlavi (especially since the well-informed author of the Dabistàn affirms the work of ZERA'TUSHT to have been loft, and its place supplied by a recent compilation) I had no inducement, though I had an opportunity, to learn what remains of those ancient languages; but I often conversed on them with my friend BAHMAN, and both of us were convinced after full consideration, that the Zend bore a strong resemblance to Sanfcrit, and the Pablavž to Arabick. He had at my request translated into Pahlavi the fine inscription, exhibited in the Gulistàn, on the diadem of CyRUS; and I had the patience to read the list of words from the Pázend in the appendix to the Farhangi Jebangiri : this examination gave me perfect conviction, that the Pablavi was a dialect of the Chaldaick; and of this curious fact I will exhibit a short proof. By the nature of the Chaldean tongue most words ended in the first