Another early Persian poet, Nizami, made the story specially his own.
His native place, or at any rate the abode of his father, was in the hills of Kum, but as he spent almost all his days in Ganja in Arran (the present Elizavettpol) he is generally known as Nizami of Ganja or Ganjawi.
The religious atmosphere of Ganja, besides, was most favourable to such a state of mind; the inhabitants, being zealous Sunnites, allowed nobody to dwell among them who did not come up to their standard of orthodoxy, and it is therefore not surprising to find that Nizami abandoned himself at an early age to a stern ascetic life, as full of intolerance to others as dry and unprofitable to himself.
The first poetical work in which NizAmi embodied his thoughts on God and man, and all the experiences he had gained, was necessarily of a didactic character, and very appropriately styled Makhzanul Asrar, or "Storehouse of Mysteries," as it bears the unmistakable stamp of Sufic speculations.
As in all his following epopees the subject was taken from what pious Moslems call the time of "heathendom" - here, for instance, from the old Sassanian story of Shah Khosrau Parwiz (Chosroes Parvez), his love affairs with the princess Shirin of Armenia, his jealousy against the architect Ferhad, for some time his successful rival, of whom he got rid at last by a very ingenious trick, and his final reconciliation and marriage with Shirin; and it is a noteworthy fact that the once so devout Nizami never chose a strictly Mahommedan legend for his works of fiction.
Ramin (about the middle of the 11th century), can compete with Nizami in the wonderful delineation of character and the brilliant painting of human affections, especially of the joys and sorrows of a loving and beloved heart.
Nizami accepted the royal gift, but his resolve to keep aloof from a servile courtlife was not shaken by it, and he forthwith returned to his quiet retreat.
In this poem, which was written 593 A.H., at the request of Nur-uddin Arslan of Mosul, the son and successor of the abovementioned `Izz-uddin, Nizami returned once more from his excursion into the field of heroic deeds to his old favourite domain of romantic fiction, and added a fresh leaf to the laurel crown of immortal fame with which the unanimous consent of Eastern and Western critics has adorned his venerable head.
Nizami died at Ganja in his sixty-fourth year, 599 A.H.
The fullest account of Nizami is given in Dr W.
Brilliant pictures of the struggles and passions in the human heart (see NIZAMI), sent forth its first tender shoots in the numerous love stories of the Shahndma, the most fascinating of which is that of Zl and Rdabeh, and developed almost into full bloom in Firdousis second great mathnawi Yisiif u Zalik/z, which the aged poet wrote after his flight from Ghazni, and dedicated to the reigning caliph of Bagdad, al Qadir billah.