John Payne (23 August 1842 - 11 February 1916) was an English poet and translator. Initially he pursued a legal career, and associated with Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Later he became involved with limited edition publishing, and the Villon Society. He is now best known for his translations of Boccaccio's Decameron, The Arabian Nights and the Diwan Hafez. After completing his translation of Omar Khayyam, Payne returned to the rendition of Hafiz eventually published in 3 vols. in 1901. Payne argues that Hafiz takes the whole sweep of human experience and irradiates all things with his sun-gold and his wisdom.Payne once said that Hafez, Dante and Shakespeare were the three greatest poets of the world.
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