It is a strange phenomenon that when a civilization is in its death throes it often throws up some of the finest art the world has seen.
Thus, the Mughal Empire was on the decline after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, and the Mughal Empire thereafter shrunk to the vicinity of Delhi only under the later Mughals. But it was in the time of the later Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah Rangila ( Mughal Emperor from 1719-1749) that Hindustani ( North Indian ) classical music really flowered, due to his Court musician Niamat Khan (also known as Sadarang ) inventing the 'khyaal' form of music, which replaced the ancient 'dhrupad' ( as it was more melodious and flexible ).
When the kingdom of Avadh under its Nawabs was on the decline thumri in music and kathak in dance were invented.
When the Czarist rule of the Romanov family was on the decline ( before the October Revolution of 1917 ) the great Russian literature of Pushkin,Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Chekov, Gogol, Lermontov, and Gorki was produced.
When the Bourbon rule was on the decline the great works of Moliere, Voltaire, Rousseau, etc were produced.
So also, Urdu poetry reached its zenith in the reign of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Among the great poets of that time were Ghalib, Zauq, Momin, etc, and the Emperor himself was no mean poet.
Though Mirza Ghalib is generally regarded as the greatest Urdu poet of all time, Momin Khan Momin ( known as Momin ) was also a great poet who adorned the Emperor's Court.
According to legend, Mirza Ghalib (his contemporary and also a rival) offered Momin his entire diwan (collection of poetry) in exchange for a particular verse of Momin. The couplet in question was:
تم میرے پاس ہوتے ہو گویا
جب کوئی دوسرا نہیں ہوتا
"Tum mērē pās hōtē hō gōyā
Jab kō'ī dūsrā nahīⁿˡ hotā"
which translates to:
You are close to me [as if]
When no one else is.
This couplet's beauty is in its succinctness and multiple layers of meaning. One of the meanings is When you're with me(on my mind), no-one else is and a second meaning/interpretation is You are with me (on my side), when no-one else is. The two meanings emerge by the use of words gōyā and jab (when)."
One of his very famous ghazals starts with the following matla (the first line of the opening couplet of a ghazal).
Woh jō ham mēⁿ tum mēⁿ qarār tḣā; tumhēⁿ yād hō, keh nah yād hō:
Wohī, yaʿnī waʿdah nibāh kā; tumhēⁿ yād hō, keh nah yād hō
That understanding which we had between us... whether you remember it or not...
That promise of trust and faithfulness...whether you remember it or not.
This has been sung beautifully by Begum Akhtar ( see on Youtube )
The following sher ( couplet ) of Momin is also very well known
ʿUmr sārī tō kāṫī ʿišq-e butāⁿ mēin Momin,
Ākhrī waqt mēin kyā khāk Musalmān hōngē?
"You spent all your life in the love of Idols Momin
How can you now become a Muslim, now that the end is near?"