Henry Wilberforce Clarke

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Henry Wilberforce Clarke (1840–1905) was the translator of Persian works by mystic poets Saadi, Hafez, Nizami and Suhrawardi, as well as writing some works himself. He was an officer in the British India corps Bengal Engineers, and the grandson of William Stanley Clarke, Director (1815–1842) and Chairman (1835–1836) of the East India Company.[1]


Born in 1840,[2] his father was Richard Henley Clarke and mother was Charlotte Raikes (Clarke). His siblings were William Henley Stanley Clarke, Caroline Eliza Stanley Clarke and Alice Mary Clarke. His grandfather was William Stanley Clarke, Director (1815–1842) and later chairman (1835–1836) of the East India Company.[3]

He started his career with the Royal Engineers, and joined Bengal Engineers, then a part of the British Indian Army's Bengal Army, in 1860. He took part in the Abyssinia campaign of 1867, Nile Expedition of 1884–1885, and was subsequently made Lt. Colonel in 1887.[2][4]

Personal life[edit]

He married Florence Lucy Hurt in 1872 at St James's Church, Westminster, London.[3]


Wilberforce Clarke was the author of a critical translation of The Dīvān of Hafez, printed at his expense at the Central Press of the Government of India, Calcutta (1889–1891)

The work (1891) was presented as follows:

The Dīvān
written in the fourteenth century
Khwāja Shamsu-d-Dīn Muhammad-i-Hāfiz-i-Shīrāzī
otherwise known as
Lisānu-l-Ghaib and Tarjumānu-l-Asrār.

Translated for the first time out of the Persian into English prose, with critical and explanatory remarks, with an introductory preface, with a note on Sūfī,ism, and with a life of the author,

by: Lieut.-Col. H. Wilberforce Clarke
Royal (late Bengal) Engineers,
Life-Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland; and Member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.
Author of "The Persian Manual";
first translator (out of the Persian) of the "Būstān-i-Sa'dī" (Saadi) and of "The Sikandar Nāma,-i-Nīzamī" (Nizami)
Author of "Notes on Elephants"; of "The Sextant"; of "Longitude by Lunar Distance"; and of "The Transverse Strength of a Railway-Rail"

The book was dedicated to his uncle Henry M. Clarke, Bengal Civil Service (1826), winner of a gold medal for Persian at Haileybury,

In 1974 a facsimile edition of Clarke's translation was published by The Octagon Press.[5]


As translator[edit]

  • The Divan of Hafez
  • Saadi's Bostan
  • The Sikandar Nama (Romance of Alexander) of Nizami[6]
  • "A Dervish Textbook" (a partial translation of the Gifts of Deep Knowledge, the Awarif el-Maarif) by Suhrawardi (1891). This book was reprinted by Octagon Press in 1980.[7]

Own works[edit]


  1. ^ "William Stanley CLARKE". genealogy.links.org. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Parvin Loloi (4 March 2004). Hafiz, Master of Persian Poetry: A Critical Bibliography. I.B. Tauris. pp. 329–. ISBN 978-1-86064-923-3. 
  3. ^ a b "Henry Wilberforce CLARKE genealogy". genealogy.links.org. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  4. ^ James McGonigal; Richard Price (2000). The Star You Steer by: Basil Bunting and British Modernism. Rodopi. pp. 193–. ISBN 90-420-1214-5. 
  5. ^ Hafez, Khwāja Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad-i-Ḥāfiz-i-Shīrāzī (1974). The dīvān. Translated by H. Wilberforce Clarke. London: Octagon Press. ISBN 0-900860-18-9. 
  6. ^ available online at persian.packhum.org
  7. ^ Muḥammad-i-Sahrawardī, Shahābu-d-Dīn ʻUmar bin (1980). A Dervish textbook from the ʻAwarifu-l-maʻarif. Translated by H. Wilberforce Clarke (Reprinted ed.). London: Octagon Press. ISBN 978-0-900860-73-7. 

External links[edit]