Mehmed II the Conqueror, his favorite boy-page Yurgi and the famous ottoman poet İsa Necati.
“The young poet, who according to Ashiq* was skilled in calligraphy and in the composition of prose as well as of verse, made his way to Constantinople some time towards the end of the reign of Mehemmed II. A marginal note to my manuscript of Ashiq’s Tezkire tells us the curious way in which Nejati contrived to bring himself under the Sultan’s notice. According to this story, which is given on the authority of one Naqshi Chelebi, who had it from Nejati’s son Huseyn Chelebi, the poet wrote on a sheet of paper one of his ghazels which begins with the couplet : — "What shall I ? the sigh of day-break maketh none impress on thee! My love, may God the Lord bestow of gentilesse on thee”. This paper he set in the turban of a familiar of the Sultan, named Chekraghi*, when the latter was about to go into his master’s presence. While playing a game of chess with his favourite, Mehemmed noticed the paper in his turban, took it out, and read it ; and so pleased was he with the verses that he at once appointed the poet to a secretaryship with a daily salary of seven aspers. Hasan says that it was during a severe winter that Nejati arrived in the capital, and that he composed and presented to the Sultan a qasi'da describing the rigour of the season which met with much approval, as did another equally beautiful poem that he wrote when spring came round".
*Ashiq or Aşık Çelebi, Ottoman Historian of 16 century
*The transliteration of this name (چکرغی) is only conjectural : Von Hammer has Tschekrighi. The name is not Turkish; it appears to be European possibly Greek or Italian.
*Hasan Kınalı-Zade (1546-1604) Ottoman scholar, bibliographer and poet.
(A history of Ottoman poetry vol 2. E. J. W. Gibb )
Necati Ghazal 647. My (Elfira Ahmetova) translation from Ottoman Turkish original:
1. My lips are not pressed to yours, Mesti Çelebi!
You cast the dagger glances, Mesti Çelebi!
2. If you will not hold your eyes, you will kill me ―
A Muslim with your two infidels, oh Mesti Çelebi!
3. Not me alone, but the whole humanity is waiting for your orders,
You, with the face of an angel, Mesti Çelebi!
4. Competing with your figure and cheeks, it will die with shame,
The beauty of cypress and redness of rose, Mesti Çelebi!
5. Sell me one kiss - I’ll give you sweet helva,
My soul, right in your ruby lips, Mesti Çelebi!
6. I tried to measure your mouth - it’s not even the size of a grain!
My love, your lovers wait by your door, Mesti Çelebi!
7. Oh, Necati, your cup is full of bloody tears,
So let’s the lover drain that cup with a drink, Mesti Çelebi!
Original ottoman transcription:
1. Dehenüñ añduġuma yoḳ yire Mestī Çelebī
El urur ġamzelerüñ ẖançere Mestī Çelebī
2. Gözüñe hey dimez iseñ diyeler öldürtmiş
Bir müselmānı iki kāfere Mestī Çelebī
3. Yaluñuz ben degülem her kişi dīvānedürür
Sen perī çehre melek-manzara Mestī Çelebī
4. Ḳad ü ruhsāruñı beñzetmege ādem utanur
Serv-i nāz ile gül-i ahmere Mestī Çelebī
5. Baña bir būse ṣatarsañ vireyin halvālık
Cānum ol la’l-i şeker-pervere Mestī Çelebī
6. Aġzuñuñ ölçüsin aldum yoġ imiş ẕerre ḳadar
Mihr ḳapuñdaki ʿāşıḳlara Mestī Çelebī
7. Ey Necātī ḳabaġuñ ḳanlu yaş ile ṭoldur
Ola kim meyl ḳıla sāġara Mestī Çelebī
And I also love everything about this painting, including the historical part about it. But my most favorite details are definitely the boy in red and the chess game~