Stolen Book Found/Byron’s Poetry Banned – Poetry News Roundup January 21st

Today in our poetry round-up we take a look at the rare stolen book that has been found and also the church council who will not allow Byron’s poetry on a headstone.

Rare Stolen Copy of “Prince of Persian Poets” Found

A rare manuscript that was reported missing in Munich in 2007 has been found. The 15th-century book


was the work of Hafez, a famous Persian poet and was owned by a book dealer before his death in an old people’s home.

The book has been located by a Dutch art detective, Arthur Brand, who has been nicknamed the


has previously had great success locating missing art.

The volume has been estimated to be worth approximately one million euros and was the property of an antiques dealer from Iran. Its disappearance was discovered by his family when he died in 2007. It was eventually found using a connection in the murky underworld of stolen art.

Given the importance of the book, it is possibly the most significant find that the detective has located to date.

Hafez, whose full name is Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafiz Shirazi, is amongst the most well-known mystic bards alongside Rumi. His nickname


was coined by Ralph Aldo Emerson, the American essayist.

The popularity of his Divan is such that copies are still found in most homes in Iran and it is often read from during the New Year there.

The manuscript is said to date from between 1462 and 1463 and was one of several ancient manuscripts the were found to be missing in 2007. 174 of the stolen manuscripts were in the home of another Iranian in 2011 but the Diva of Hafez, the most important piece, was missing.

In 2016, a reward of 50,000 euros was offered for its return and a description was issued but it wasn’t until 2018 that there was any mention of the book.

Brand eventually received a phone call from someone wanting to meet with him and the story that followed seems like something out of a spy novel. The un-named man had been approached by alleged Iranian secret agents also looking for the book, he was scared and wanted to help Brand get the book back. The book was found it had been sold illegally and the buyer wanted their money back, so approached the original seller. By late 2019 Brand had finally got his hands on the book and next week he plans to return it to the German police so it can be reunited with its rightful owners.

Byron Banned From Churchyard

The court of the Church of England has deemed the poetry of Lord Byron inappropriate for a Christian cemetery and have denied the request of a man who wants to inscribe his late wife’s headstone with “So We’ll Go No More a Roving”.

They have ruled that the inscription should be a bible passage of a “classical Christian poem”.

When his wife died in 2017 the widower requested permission for a pyramid headstone with his wife’s details and a  few lines of the poem, and the parochial council agreed. However, that decision was overturned by the diocese who also have an issue with the shape as well.

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