Abul Qasim Hasan Unsuri Balkhi (Persian: ابوالقاسم حسن عنصری بلخی‎) (died 1039/1040) was a 10-11th century (4 -5th solar Hejri) Persian poet. ‘Unṣurī is said to have been born in Balkh, today located in Afghanistan, and he eventually became a poet of the royal court of Mahmud of Ghazni, and was given the title Malik-us Shu'ara (King of Poets) under Sultan Maḥmūd of Ghazna.[1] His Divan is said to have contained 30,000 distichs, of which only 2500 remain today. It includes the romance epic Vāmiq u ‘Adhrā. The following dialog between an eagle and a crow, translated by Iraj Bashiri, is an example. In it the King of Poets, Unsuri, compares his own status vis-a-vis that of a young poet who has joined the court recently.

Qajar-era miniature of the poets Ferdowsi, Unsuri, and Asjadi

The Eagle and The Crow: A DialogueEdit

Translated by Iraj Bashiri:

A dialogue occurred, I happen to know,
Betwixt the white eagle and the crow.
Birds we are, said the crow, in the main,
Friends we are, and thus we shall remain.
Birds we are, agreed the eagle, only in name,
Our temperaments, alas, are not the same.
My leftovers are a king's feast,
Carrion you devour, to say the least.
My perch's the king's arm, his palace my bed,
You haunt the ruins, mingle with the dead.
My color is heavenly, as everyone can tell,
Your color inflicts pain, like news from hell.
Kings tend to choose me rather than you,
Good attracts good, that goes for evil too.[2]


  1. ^ Cf. Thomas Hägg, 'The Oriental Reception of Greek Novels: A Survey with Some Preliminary Considerations', Symbolae Osloenses, 61 (1986), 99-131 (p. 106), DOI: 10.1080/00397678608590800 .
  2. ^ Bashiri, Iraj. "A Brief Note on the Life of Abul Qasim 'Unsuri". Bashiri Working Papers on Iran and Central Asia.

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