Rumi, who wrote and preached in Persia during the thirteenth century, is one of history’s most celebrated mystics. His vast body of poetry includes a lengthy epic of religious mysticism, the Mathnavi, and more than three thousand lyrics and odes. A. J. Arberry, who selected four hundred of the lyrics for translation, calls Rumi "one of the world's greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, he stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism." Arberry’s authoritative translation is one of the few done directly from the original Persian.
A. J. Arberry (1905-69) was professor of Arabic at Cambridge University.