Warner, Arthur George and Warner, Edmond;
The Shahnama of Firdausi
(London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Truebner and Co) 1909.
|p9 Par. 1 The Prelude THE world, while thou anguishest, passeth away, Abate both the woe and the weal of the day, But if thou adventure the pathway of greed The process of this world is longsome indeed One view is - 'Tis well after greatness to seek All be that it lurk mid the Dragon's own reek, And servants of greed and provokers of strife Will hear not commendment from any in life The other - What reek if, since none can abide, Our Hostel of Sojourn be narrow or wide ? Whenas the tall Cypress is bent in the grove, And darkened the light of the Lustre above, When leafage is withered, when roots are unsound, And top is beginning to nod toward the ground, From dust having issued to dust it will go, While all is dismayment and horror and woe. Man's nature, when prudence and wisdom are his, Accepteth untroubled the world as it is, Yet travail of body, if long be thy stay, Enforceth the need for thy passing away. Life's ocean is deep, and no bottom we see ; A hoard 'tis of secrets whose door bath no key. Thy wants will but greaten what while thou remain, And each day's provision prove provand for pain. But three things are needful - food, raiment, and bed For these no reproaches descend on thy head. Content thee, for all else is travail and greed, And greed is a torment no lighter than need. Thou knowest that this world is fleeting, why let Thy soul and thy spirit with covetise fret ? Enjoy what thou bast, seek not more to possess, For greed will but make thine own glory the less. |p10 Par. 2 How Afrasiyab called together his Host The Turkman monarch's heart, as I have heard, Was ever vexed by greed. When he had quitted The field where Rustam gloomed the world for him He fared apace until he reached Khallukh, Avoiding other kings in his disgrace, And entered with a heart fulfilled with anguish His palace with his prudent veterans - Piran and Garsiwaz, his counsellor, And Shida, Kurakhan and Karsiyun, Human, Kulbad, Ruin son of Piran - A warrior-crocodile - and Farshidward. He spake with them at large of what had passed, Recalling every circumstance, and said :- "Since I assumed the crown of sovereignty, And sun and moon bestowed on me their light, I have held sway among the potentates, And nobody hath turned aside my rein; Thus ever since the war with Minuchihr Iran hath not laid hand upon Turan. Now from Iran they make a night-attack Upon my life at mine own palace-door ! The craven hath become courageous, The Stag hath ventured to the Lion's lair We must be up and doing in this strife, Or they will make our marches reek. 'Twere well To scatter messengers about the realm, And gather of the Turkmans and from Chin A thousand thousand girded for the fray To compass all the army of Iran, And make a battlefield on every side." Then all the priests advised him shrewdly, saying :- Cross we Jihun and beat the royal tymbals |p11 On yon wide plain, and, speeding night and day, Camp at Amwi ; that is the place for battle, For bloodshed, and for fighting Giv and Rustam - Those haughty, city-taking warriors, Who privily have dipped their hands in bane." Thereat the monarch's face and fortune brightened, And, as the great are wont, he praised the priests And paladins, then called and charged a scribe. He sent ambassadors to the Faghfur And monarch of Khutan, sent through the realm, Moreover, letters to all chiefs and nobles, And summoned troops because he purposed war, Enraged at Rustam's doings. Two weeks passed, Then from the Turkman states, Chin, and Khutan, A host assembled ; like a troubled sea Earth heaved ; it was so that the waste was hidden. Afrasiyab collected in the city All horse-herds running wild, undid the sacks Of treasures closely kept and handed on For generations since the time of Tur, And parted with dinars by night and day. When all the army was equipped for war, So that there was sufficiency for all, He chose out fifty thousand warriors, Arrayed for strife and eager to engage, And said to Shida, his heroic son, Exalted o'er the Lions of the fight :- "I give to thee this well-appointed host Prepare to march toward Kharazm; there guard The borders and be ever girt for battle." He bade Piran choose fifty thousand men Of Chin, and said : "Go thou against Iran, And set a throne above the young Shah's throne ; Seek not in any wise the door of peace, And speak no word unless of war and vengeance ; To mingle fire and water spoileth both." |p12 Those two illustrious, prudent paladins Went at the bidding of Afrasiyab, The old at leisure and the young in haste, With iron mace and sword and golden gong, And, like a cloud that thundered, roared along. Par. 3 How Kai Khusrau sent Gudarz to fight the Turanians Thereafter tidings reached the conquering Shah :- "A Turkman host bath marched upon Iran. Afrasiyab, that tyrant-miscreant, Can neither rest nor slumber in his vengeance, But fain would raise his head from its disgrace, And from all sides hath sent forth troops to war ; He rubbeth poison on his lance's point, If so he may turn rein upon Iran. Three hundred thousand warlike cavaliers Will cross Jihun and thence send up the dust In battle-time to heaven. The warriors Can sleep not at his court for tymbal-din. What with the blare of brass and clang of bell Thou wouldst have said: 'Men's hearts are in their mouths !' If that host cometh to Iran for battle No lion, lusty though he be, will meet there. Piran is posted by Afrasiyab With no small army on the Iranian coasts, While fifty thousand girded for the fight Have marched toward the borders of Kharazm. Their chief is Shida of the lion-heart, Whose scimitar will pluck the core from fire. The troops resemble maddened elephants, Such as would level mountains in the strife." The monarch at the news sat full of thought, |p13 Then said: "Ye wise! the archimages say:- The Turkman moon, when heaven's height is won, Shall meet disaster from the Iranian sun. Strike the black snake that cometh from its bed Toward the cudgel with uplifted head. The king that shall unjustly plant a tree Will lose his fortune and his sovereignty."' Then, having summoned all the archimages, He laid before them that which he had heard. The great men and the warlike sages sat In secret with the monarch of Iran, As Zal and Rustam, as Gudarz and Giv, Shidush, Farhad, and brave Ruhham, Bizhan, Ashkash and Gustaharn, Gurgin and Zanga, And Gazhdaham, great Tus, son of Naudar, And Fariburz, blest scion of Kaus, With all the other nobles of the host, Who were the worldlord's flock. He thus addressed The paladins: "The Turkmans seek to war Against my throne, so we too must prepare." He gave command and at his palace-gate The trumpets blared and brazen cymbals clashed. He went forth from the palace to the plain. They set his throne upon an elephant; He mounted, dropped the ball within the cup, And "smeared earth," thou hadst said, "with indigo," Such was earth's hue; the air was black with dust; The brave troops of the host resembled leopards, .With maces in their claws and war at heart; The land heaved like a sea with warriors. A proclamation went forth from the court:- "Ye paladins of the Iranian host ! None that can ply the stirrup and the rein May now abide at home in idleness." The monarch gave command: "We need," he said, "Three hundred thousand warlike cavaliers, |p14 With warriors and mighty men from Rum And Hind, and gallant Arabs of the desert, Accoutred well-fierce Lions girdle-girt. Those that reach not the presence of the Shah In forty days shall not obtain a crown." They sent out horsemen with the royal letters On all sides. Two weeks passed; throughout the realm Troops were in motion at the Shah's command, And battle-cries went up from all the world. One morn at cock-crow rose the tymbals' din On all sides, and the chiefs of provinces Arrayed their troops before the monarch's gate. He oped his ancient treasures and bestowed Such largess that all heads were crowned with gold, While with horse-armour and men's coats of mail The massed array looked like a hill of iron. As soon as this equipment was complete The Shah made choice among the cavaliers Of thirty thousand armed with scimitars, Put them in Rustam's charge, and said : "Famed hero Lead these toward Sistan and Hindustan. When at Ghaznin make for the upper road,' So thou mayst win a signet, crown, and throne ; But when thou hast achieved the sovereignty, And pard and sheep are drinking at one trough, Give Faramarz the signet and the crown Together with such troops as he may choose; Then sound the kettledrums, the horns, and pipes, And stay not in Kashmir or in Kabul, Because this war against Afrasiyab Depriveth me of provand, rest, and sleep." He gave the Alans and Gharcha to Luhrasp, And said : "O hero of illustrious race ! Go with a mountain-like array. Select it Out of the host, and lead thy seasoned horsemen |p15 To rob the Turkmans of the breath of life." He bade Ashkash march forth with thirty thousand - Impetuous Lions, brandishers of spears, An army that was like a ravening wolf - Toward Kharazm with mighty kettledrums, Set up his place hard by the entering in, And challenge Shida to the battlefield. He gave a fourth host to Gudarz and said :- "O hero of a race of paladins Go with the great men of Iran, with Zanga, Gurgin and Gustaham, Shidush, Farhad, Kharrad and Giv, the general Guraza, And brave Ruhham." He bade them arm for war, And hasten to the marches of Turan. Gudarz, son of Kishwad, the general, The paladins and nobles, all obeyed And mounted, and Gudarz assumed command. The Shah then bade him : "Thou art bound for battle ; See that thou do not aught injuriously: Destroy no house that is inhabited, And see that no non-combatant be harmed Since God approveth not our evil deeds ; Here we have no abiding but pass on. In leading forth the host toward Turan Keep head and heart both cool. Be not agog Like Tus, mount not the drams on all occasions. Be just to every one in every thing, Remembering God - the Source of good. Dispatch Some wise and heedful veteran to Piran, Thus by much counsel gain that general's ear, And clothe hire in the raiment of good will." The captain of the host said to the Shah :- "Thy hest is higher than the orbed moon. I will go even as thou biddest me, For thou art worldlord and I am a slave." |p16 Then from the portal of the paladin Shouts rose; the earth rocked with the din of drums; The soldiers trooped to camp, and all the scene Grew dark with horsemen's dust. Before the host Three score fierce elephants weighed down the world, And of those mighty elephants of war Four were caparisoned for royal use Upon their backs was placed a throne of gold Whereon a Shah might sit encrowned in state, But there the monarch bade Gudarz to sit, And, as he urged the elephants, the dust Suggested this conceit of happy presage :- "Piran's soul will we make go up in smoke As these beasts send the dust up with their feet." Then by the Shah's command the host moved on From stage to stage, inflicting harm on none. Par. 4 How Giv was made the Bearer of Overtures from Gudarz to Piran Now when Gudarz was drawing near Raibad He chose him captains out of all the host - A thousand valiant wielders of the spear, Exalted and renowned, and furthermore Ten famous horsemen of the Iranians, All ready speakers well beseen in fight. The chief next summoned Giv, told what the Shah Had said, and added this: "My prudent son, Whose head is lifted over many a head I have selected for thee worthy troops - Men who are chieftains in the provinces - That thou mayst make a journey to PIran To speak to him and to receive his answer. Thus say to him: 'I with a host have reached |p17 Raibad according to the Shah's commands. Thou knowest what thy words and deeds have been, What peace and toil and trouble have been thine, And how the country of Turan hath girt, With its illustrious kings, its loins for ill. The glorious Faridun had cause to weep, While in this world, for pain and misery, Iran was full of pain, the Shah of grief, The moon shone not through mourning for Iraj. Thou only of the people of Turan Dost pride thyself on kindness and good faith, Though that word kindness is a lie with thee ; I see not peace and kindness in thy heart; Howbeit that courteous Shah of ours said thus Tome: "Address him with all gentleness, For in the days of noble Siyawush He built no ill, and hath a claim upon me As being guiltless of my father's blood." The Shah condoneth all thy past misdeeds, And holdeth evil on thy part as good, Since thou hast wronged not any of our Shahs. Thou art not to be slaughtered by my hand Because thy many faults are overlooked; Else in this warfare with Afrasiyab Thy destiny would make short work of thee. The great men of Iran and this my son Will tell thee mine advice. Hold parle with them: Then, if thou art persuaded, thou art quit Of care and sure of life, thy land and kindred Will flourish, and thy neck escape my sword; But if the fault be thine thy life will be In danger from the Shah, and in this strife We will not rest and sleep, my mace and I, The field of battle and Afrasiyab, To take revenge on whom our sovereign Hath no need to array a mighty host; |p18 But if thou wilt attend to mine advice, And wilt give credit to my prudent words, Then first: all those that brought about the feud, Those that rolled up their sleeves for shedding blood, Put forth their hands to murder Siyawush, And wrecked the world by their unrighteousness, Thou shalt dispatch to me in chains like dogs That we may send them to the Shah, for him To take their heads or to forgive their crimes. My Shah, who is the warden of the world, Hath given me a list of all their names. Hast thou not heard that which the mighty lion Said to the wolf - a pregnant utterance ? "Fate hath no place except the dust in store For him whose hand hath shed a monarch's gore.' Moreover all the treasures that thou hast Are but the enemies of thy dark soul; So thou shalt send to me thy noble steeds, Thy gems, dinars, brocade, crowns, scimitars, Horse-armour, coats of mail, casques, Indian swords, The equipment of thy troops, thy gold, and silver. With that which thou hast gained by force or fraud Thou mayst buy life and see the pathway opened To safety. What is worthy of a king Will I send to the monarch of the world, And give the rest as booty to the troops Instead of taking vengeance for wrong done And furthermore when thou shalt have dispatched Thy favourite son - the guardian of thy throne And signet - with those leaders of thine army, Thy brethren twain, who ever lift their necks Above the moon - all three as hostages That I may feel assured - to this famed host, Then will thy tree of honesty bear fruit. Consider now and choose between two courses. By taking one thou wilt approach the Shah, |p19 Wilt go with kith and kindred to Khusrau, And rest beneath the shadow of his love, Wilt put away that of Afrasiyab, And never even dream of him again. I will give pledges to thee that Khusrau Will raise thy head above the shining sun; Thou knowest best the kindness of his heart, And that he will entreat thee royally. Or if from terror of Afrasiyab Thou art not willing to approach Iran, Go from Turan and lead thy troops to Chaeh, Take thy teak throne and set thy crown on high ; But if thy heart is with Afrasiyab Depart to him and battle not with us, For in regard to those with whom I strive I have a lion's heart, a leopard's claws, And I will leave the Turkmans naught of throne My bows are clouds that pour down showers of bane. If thou wilt none of this but willest strife, And thy head be all ill advice and guile, Rise and come hither all equipped for war If thou canst face the lion ravening. When both the hosts shall be arrayed for battle Will those in fault appear as innocent? Nay, and unless thou hearken to my words Thou wilt repent at last, but then repentance Will profit naught, fate's sword have reaped thy head The paladin with these words charged his son, "Repeat them to Piran," he said, " each one." Par. 5 How Giv visited Piran at Wisagird Giv left his father's presence, and departed To Balkh, with all those bitter words in mind. |p20 Alighting there he sent a messenger Before him as directed by Gudarz, On that same night assembled all his troops, And left the gates of Balkh for Wisagird, The city where Pir.in was with his powers, And menaced the frAnian crown and throne. The messenger in audience of Piran Said thus to him: "Giv bath arrived at Balkh With nobles and with gallant warriors." Piran pricked up his ears on hearing this, While shouts rose from the warriors of the host. He blew the trumpets and bound on the ty inbals The horse-hoof's turned the earth to ebony As five score and ten thousand cavaliers Came forward dight for war from his array. He left the more part, called his veterans, Advanced to the Jihun and ranked them there, Made by the stream a wall of spears, and held An interview with Giv. Two weeks they parleyed In order that they might not war unjustly; The Iranians spake on all points, and Piran Heard; but the Turkmans did injuriously, For while the Iranian chiefs employed their tongues, And grew more instant with their enemies In speech, Piran dispatched a messenger To hasten to Afrasiyab and say:- "Gudarz, son of Kishwad, bath with his troops Placed his own helmet o'er the Iranian throne. And Giv, his favourite son - the shatterer Of hosts - bath reached me with an embassage But I attend to thy commands alone, And stake my life upon my loyalty." Now when this reached the monarch of Turan He chose him thirty thousand mighty men Among his troops who drew the scimitar, And sent them to Plraan, the cavalier, |p21 With these words: "Draw the scimitar of vengeance, And rid the earth of them ; spare not Gudarz Or Giv, Farhad, Gurgin or brave Ruhham, For troops, whose object is the Iranian throne, Flock from all sides. These will I lead, will snake The whole land of Iran a stream of gore, And by the counsels of the wise and brave Send up this time the dust from Kai Khusrau." Piran, when he beheld that mighty host, Each man as thirsty as a wolf for blood, Was, being reinforced, inclined to war. He washed his heart of honour and chose ill That heart so well disposed grew overbearing, Grew full of thought and passionate for strife. He said to Giv : "Arise and go thy ways Back to the paladin and say to him:- "Seek not from me what sages will condemn - First to surrender to thy hands these chiefs Of high renown! How is this possible? And for thy next demand - the arms and troops, The noble chargers and the throne and crown, A brother who is my bright soul, a son - My well-beloved and my paladin - "These things," thou sayest, " put afar from thee!" Can words so crude be uttered by the wise ? Death would be better for me than such life Shall I that am a prince do slavishly ? In this regard the leopard coming near To battle with the fearless lion said:- "To have thee shed my blood and keep my fame Is better than to live a life of shame." Besides instructions from the king have come To me, and troops, with orders to engage."' Giv with his chiefs on this reply departed, Whereon Piran, the captain of the host, Prepared for fight, sent up the battle-shout, |p22 Pushed on to Kanabad and set his ranks In war-array upon the mountain-flanks. Par. 6 The Arraying of the Hosts Giv, when he reached the presence of his sire, Informed him of the answer word for word, And said: "Array the host upon the spot Where thou wilt fight ; Piran hath no idea Of peace, no room for justice in his heart. I told him all thy words, appealed to him In all ways. When the fault proved clearly theirs He sent the king a camel-post to say:- 'Gudarz and Giv are come to fight, and troops Must be dispatched to me forthwith.' Thereat Came reinforcements from Afrasiyab, And crossed the river while we were returning. Now bind the drums upon the elephants For battle since Piran forestalleth us." Gudarz said: "He is sick of life. I thought No other of the miscreant, and yet By order of the monarch of the world I had to send - there was no remedy - And now the Shah hath proved him to the heart. I spake to that effect before the Shah When he gave orders for the troops to march I said to him: 'Put from thy heart the love Of one whose heart and tongue do not accord. Piran's whole love is for the Turkmans ; let The Shah wash hands of him."' The brave Piran Led in Giv's tracks his army lion-like, And when Gudarz knew that the host approached He beat the tymbals, marched out from Raibad, |p23 And drew his army up on that broad plain With mountains in the rear. The day's light failed What time Piran marched forth from Kanabad. A hundred thousand Turkman cavaliers Went girt for battle, mailed, and carrying Long spears and Indian swords. The embattled hosts Looked like two mountains with their iron helms. Then there arose the sound of clarions, And thou hadst said: "The mountains are astir!" The hosts stretched from Raibad to Kanabad The vales and plains were black and blue with them. The lances' heads were stars, the swords were suns, The clouds were dust-clouds and the ground was iron. The earth re-echoed with the warriors' shouts, The sky was iron with the helms and spears. Gudarz surveyed the army of Turan, Then all in motion like a heaving sea, Flag following flag and troop succeeding troop Without a break till night rose from the hills. Both hosts placed elephants to bar the way, Lit up the watch-fires, and thou wouldst have said At all the shouting of the eager chiefs:- "The world is ┬hriman's and full of foes From skirt to sleeve ! " That darksome night the rocks Were riven to their cores with tymbal-din ! The dawn ascended from the sombre mountains, And then the leader of Iran bestrode A fresh horse in the presence of the host, And made his dispositions on all sides. The army's right wing rested on a hill, Undaunted mid the battles of the brave, While to the left a river ran, as apt As soul for body. In the front were ranged The spearmen with the footmen in their rear With coats of mail and iron-piercing shafts, And bows flung o'er their arms. The soldiers' blood |p24 Boiled in their veins. Arrear of these there came The warlike cavaliers, whose falchions robbed The fire of lustre, then the elephants Like mountains; earth was wearied with tile tramp. Full in the centre of the host and shining Moon-like with jewels stood the glorious standard. What with the flashing of the blue steel swords ' Beneath the shadow of the flag of Kawa Thou wouldst have said: "The sky, this darksome night, Is shedding stars! Gudarz arrayed the host Like Paradise and planted in the garden Of loyalty the cypress of revenge. He gave the army's right to Fariburz Hajir was with the baggage in the rear. Guraza, chiefest scion of Givgan, And that o'er-looker of the Kaian throne, Zawara, went to aid, and ranked themselves With, Fariburz. Gudarz then bade Ruhham :- "O thou, the inspirer of crown, throne, and wisdom! Go with the cavaliers toward the left. Like Sol from Aries on New Year's Day Illuminate the army by thy Grace, And nurse it tenderly, but like a lion Smite foemen with thy chief-consuming steel." Ruhham went forth with his companions, With Gustaham, and matchless Gazhdaham, And Furuhil whose arrows pierced the sky. Gudarz then bade ten thousand cavaliers On barded steeds to go with Giv, committing The rear to him, a post for men of war; Gurgin and Zanga bare him company. A banner and three hundred horse to guard The army's river-flank, as many more To guard the mountain-flank, Gudarz dispatched. |p25 A watchman went upon the mountain-top, And kept his neck outstretched both night and day Above the army, with his eyes intent To watch the movements of the Turkman troops, And shout, if he perceived an ant's foot move, To rouse Gudarz, who ordered so that field That sun and moon were eager to enrage. The valiant crocodile will not affright The host whose leader is well seen in fight. Gudarz then took the post of chief command To guard the army from the enemy. He raised the flag that gladdeneth the heart, And gave the chiefs that battled at the centre To each his station, summoning them all. Behind him was Shidush, Farhad before. Thus posted in their midst Gudarz, their leader, Had Kawa's standard over-shadowing him, And dimming sun and moon. Piran from far Looked forth upon that host, upon that pomp Acid circumstance of war, and hearts whence care And travail ebbed. Dale, desert, mount, and waste Were full of spears, and rein was linked to rein. The chieftain of Turan was sorely grieved, And raged at fortune's gloomy sun. Thereafter, Surveying his own host, the battlefield Displeasured him; he saw not room to fight Or rank his troops, and in his anger smote His hands together, being forced to form As best he might since he must charge the brave. Then of his own chiefs and his men of war, And of the warriors of Afrasiyab, That longed for fight, he chose him thirty thousand, Men fit for war and armed with scimitars. He gave the centre to Human - a host Of lion-flinging, battle-loving troops. |p26 Andariman he summoned with Arjasp, He gave Burjasp the chief command of both, And put the army's left wing in their keeping With thirty thousand gallant warriors. The brave Lahhak and Farshidward drew up With thirty thousand heroes of the fray Upon the right, and earth turned black with iron. He sent the brave Zangula and Kulbad, Along with Sipahram, the good at need, And spearmen twice five thousand, to support The cavaliers, the wielders of the sword. Then with ten thousand warriors of Khutan Ruin in brazen panoply marched forth To ambush like a lion in the wood, With outposts on the river and the mountain To threaten the Iranian general, On whom, if he advanced beyond his lines And ventured forward on Piran himself, Ruin the chief should fall, as 'twere a lion, And take him boldly in the rear. Piran Placed likewise scouts upon the mountain-top To watch by day and count the stars by night, That if a horseman of the Iranians Should turn his reins toward the Turkman chief, The keeper of the watch should raise a cry, And all the battlefield be roused thereby. Par. 7 How Bizhan went to Giv to urge him to .fight Three days and nights the opposing hosts - all men Of name and eager for the fight - remained Embattled face to face: thou wouldst have said:- "No one's lip moveth ! " Quoth Gudarz : "If I |p27 Yield to the foe my station, and advance, They will assail my rear; I shall but grasp The wind." Both night and day before the host He stood in quest of favourable signs From sun and moon. " Which is the auspicious hour," He thought, "for action when the wind of battle Will blow and blind the Turkman horse with dust? Then haply I may get the upper hand, And lead the army onward like a blast:' Piran on his side waited anxiously Until Gudarz should seethe at heart with rage, And by advancing leave his rear exposed To those in ambush. Came Giv's son, Bizhan, The fourth day, from the rearward to the centre, Came to his father's presence with his clothes Rent, flinging up the dust to heaven and crying:- "Why tarriest thou thus indolently here, My veteran sire ? The fifth day now approacheth, Yet all is peace by day and night. The sun Beholdeth not our warriors' scimitars, And no dust riseth to obscure the sky. Our cavaliers are in cuirass and helm, And yet the blood hath stirred in no man's veins Once, after famous Rustam, in Iran No cavalier was equal to Gudarz ; But ever since the battle of Pashan, And all the carnage of that mighty field, When at Ladan he saw so many sons Slain and Iranian fortune overturned, He hath been liver-stricken, all distraught, And indisposed to see another fight. We must consider that the man is old, And that his head is turned toward heaven above, As one who counteth not his followers, |p28 But reckoneth the stars around the moon. Know that he now is bloodless and hath grown Too feeble for the battles of the brave. I wonder not at veteran Gudarz, Whose heart is no more set upon this world, My wonder, O my father! is at thee, From whom fierce Lions seek accomplishment. Two hosts are looking at thee. Rouse a little Thy brain to action and display thy wrath. Now when the world is warm and air serene The army should be ordered to engage, For when this pleasant season shall be goine, And earth's face bound as hard as steel with frost, What time the hand is frozen to the spear, With war in front of us and snow behind, What warrior will come before the host. To challenge combat on this battlefield ? While if thou art afraid of ambushes, Then of the soldiers and the men of war Thou shouldst commit to me a thousand lhorse Of mine own choosing, apt for fight, and we Will raise our foemen's ambuscade in dust, And send their heads cascading o'er the moon." Giv smiled to hear Bizhan, praised his byrave son, And said to God: "I give Thee thanks that Thou Hast granted me a son so excellent, And made him strong, God-serving, and discreet, Versed in affairs and eager for the fray. In this brave youth restored to me I have; The typic offspring of a paladin. Thus said the lion to the lioness:- 'Suppose our cub should prove a coward, Will own no love or consanguinity, His dam shall be the dust, his sire the sea.' Yet, O my son, impetuous in thy speech! |p29 Loose not thy tongue against thy grandsire thus, For he is wiser and experienced, And is the leader of this noble host. The veteran needeth not in auoght a teacher. If our own cavaliers have much to bear The Turkmans are not very bright and fresh, But luckless and dejected, with their eyes Suffused with tears and livers full of blood. This ancient veteran would have the Turkmans Advance to battle. When they leave the hills He will attack in force, and thou shah see How he will ply the whole march with his mace. He watcheth too the aspects of the sky, And, when the auspicious tune shall come, will void Earth's face of Turkmans." "Chief of paladins!" Bizhan said, " if my glorious grandsire's purpose Be such we need not carry Ruman mail. I will depart, put off my fighting-gear, And make my shrunken face rose-red with wine, But when the chief of paladins bath need Of me I will return in battle-weed." Par. 8 How Human asked Piran for Leave to fight Within the Turkman army brave Huma n Came like a lion to his brother, saying:- "O paladin of great Afrasiyab We long for fight. The fifth day is at hand That all these cavaliers have borne their mail; Their loins are chafed with iron, their hearts with vengeance, Their eyes are on Iran. Why keep the hosts Confrontina thus ? What is thy purpose? Speak! |p30 If thou intendest to engage, engage, And if thou meanest to retreat, retreat, For 'tis a shame to thee, O paladin:, And old and young will laugh at thy proceedings. 'Twas this same host that fled from us in battle, Disgraced and pale; their slain filled all the field; The whole earth ran with blood; but, as for us, We lost not any cavalier of name; Moreover Rustam is not in command. If thou distastest fight and bloodshed choose Some troops, give them to me, and be spectator." PIran, on hearing, answered: "Be not hasty, And harsh. Know, brother! that this man of war, Who thus hath come against me with a host, Is of the chiefs of Kai Khusrau the choicest, The greatest noble, and a paladin. Now in the first place Kai Khusrau is higher Amidst all peoples than my sovereign; Next, of the paladins of Kai Khusrau I know not any equal to Gudarz In dignity, position, manliness, In prudent counsel and sagacity; Then in the third place he is inly seared, And full of anguish, for his many sons, Whom with their heads dissevered from their trunks We left, and laid the earth's dust with their blood; So long as life is in him he will writhe In serpent wise to compass his revenge; And fourthly he hath brought and massed two hosts Between two mountains. Seek where'er thou wilt There is no way to him. Perpend, for this Is no brief toil. We must induce the foe To quit their station on yon walls of rock, And haply they may make through weariness Some weak manceuvre and attack us first; Then, when the foes have left their vantage-ground, |p31 We will pour showers of arrows on their heads, Enclose them as with walls and, like fierce lions, Prey on their lives, appease our lust on them, And our renown shall go up to the sun. Thou art the army's stay, our monarch's chief; Thy crown is raised o'er Saturn and the sky, Should one so famous hanker still for fame ? Moreover none among their famous men Will venture forth against the roaring Leopard: Gudarz will send out from among his troops Some one of small renown, and much ambition To fight with warriors, to contend with thee; And then if thou shouldst roll earth over him 'Twould not enhance thy fame, while to the Iranians It would be no great loss, but should he shed Thy blood the Turkman host would be dismayed." Human gave heed to what Piran was saying, Yet thought his conduct foolish and replied:- "What cavalier among the Iranians Will come to fight me ? Thou art bent on kindness, But lust of fighting hath come over me. If thou art not desirous to engage, And hast no fire of battle in thy soul, I will go saddle me my gallant gray, And challenge combat at the break of day." Par. 9 How Human challenged Ruhham Human on reaching his encampment gnashed His teeth as wild boars do. When morning came He mounted on his steed, like some fierce lion, And, taking with him an interpreter, Approached the Iranian host. His heart was full Of fight, his head of vengeance on Khusrau. |p32 Grief made the world seem narrow to Piran On learning that his brother had gone forth To battle, and in deep distress of heart He called to mind some sayings of his sire's:- "The wise deliberateth every way, And hasteth not to mingle in a fray; The fool exhibiteth both dash and go At first, but in the end thereof is woe. Although the tongue within a brainless head Should shower pearls none would be profited." "I know not," said he, " what Human will gain By showing so much temper in this fight. May God, the Judge of all the world, assist him, Because I see not any help besides." Now when HLlmdn, the son of Wisa, bent On challenging the brave, drew near to where Gudarz, son of Kishwad, lay with his host, The captain of the watch encountered him. The outpost - Horsemen of Iran and all Suspicious - came to the interpreter, And asked: "Why doth this eager warrior Display himself as freely on the plain As he had been a herald and yet carry A mace in hand and lasso at his saddle?" He said: "The time for sword and mace and bow Hath come, for this famed, lion-hearted man Desireth to encounter you in fight. He is the head of Wisa's sons, Human By name; his scabbard is the lion's heart." Now when the Ininians saw his mace, equipment, And royal stature, all their spear-armed hands Refrained from action through that chieftain's Grace. All turned from him to the interpreter, And said: "Go tell Human our words in Turkman :- We have no purpose to contend with thee For want of leave to combat from Gudarz ; |p33 But to the famous leader of our host The way is open if thou seekest battle." They told Human at large about the chiefs Of that proud host, told who the soldiers were, And who commanded on the left and right. The outpost sent a cameleer in haste To tell Gudarz: "The leopard-like Human Hath come to combat with the paladin." Hflman passed by the outpost, came apace Toward Ruhham, and shouted lustily:- "Son of the chief whose fortune is discreet! Ply now thy reins upon this battlefield Between the hosts arrayed. Thou dost command The left wing and thou art the Lions' Claws, A guardian and a captain of Iran ; Thou shouldest fight me. Be the where thy choice - Stream, mountain, desert. If not, Gustaham And Furuhil perchance will charge together. Who will fight me with sword, spear, massive mace ? WHower cometh, fortune will make earth Reel under him. Pards' hides and lions' hearts Burst in the battle when they see our sword." Ruhham replied: "O famous warrior! Among the Turkmans we considered thee As wise; but thou art other than we thought, For thou hast come alone upon this field To brave a host, and weenest that no swordsman, Nor any cavalier, can be thy match. Recall to mind a saying of the Kaians, And, being snared by wisdom, save thy neck :- 'No need for him who leadeth an attack To settle by what road he will go back.' All whom thou challengest by name are keen For fight but, since the general of the Shah Hath not so bidden, will not volunteer. If thou art fain to combat warriors |p34 Why dost thou not accost the paladin ? Get licence for the combat from Gudarz, And then ask us to prove our readiness." Human said: "Ply me not with fond excuses, But take a spindle and put down the spear; Thou art not one for war, no cavalier." Par. 10 How Human challenged Fariburz Human, departing toward the centre, sped To the other wing. With his interpreter To Fariburz, like furious elephant, He came and shouted: "Wretch, degraded one! Erst horsemen, elephants, and golden boots Were thine with Kawa'S flag, but on the day Of battle thou didst yield them to the Turkmans. Iranian chieftains hold thy manhood cheap. Thou wast the leader; but hast been reduced, And shouldest wear the girdle of a slave. As brother of the noble Siyawush Thou rankest o'er thy chief. I am from Tur, King of Turan, perchance in composition Thine equal. Since thou art of worth to challenge Thou shouldst prepare for fight; so now for once Come forth with me upon the battlefield That we may wheel in presence of the hosts. Thou wilt be famous to the shining sun Through meeting me. If thou wilt not, so be it. See where Zawara and Guraza are, Bring to encounter me some warrior That bath a name among the Iranians." Then Fariburz replied: "Forbear to fight The rending lion; days of battle end For this in triumph, and for that in woe. |p35 When thou hast conquered, fear calamity, Because high heaven keepeth not one stay, And angry men bring things to such a pass As to lay desolate their own old home. The king deprived me of the flag, 'tis well. He gave to whom he would the elephants And host. Since Kai Kubad, in Kaian wars, If any one hath donned the crown of power, And girt himself to make earth prosperous, it is the chief Gudarz, son of Kishwad, Who ever fighteth foremost. His forefathers Have been the chiefs and champions of the Shahs, And through his mace no doubt thy leader's day Will end. 'Tis for Gudarz to give command. If he shall bid me fight with thee, and leecheth The sear upon my heart, thou shah behold How I will raise my head from shame to heaven Upon the battlefield." Human replied:- "Enough! I see thee great in talk. What fighter Hast thou e'er hurt when girded with that sword ? Contend then with that despicable mace ; On helm and breastplate it will leave no trace." Par. 11 How Human challenged Gudarz Human, returning thence triumphantly, "A Lion," thou hadst said, "intent on mischief," And keen for vengeance on the noble chief's, Approached Gudarz, son of Kishwad, and shouted:- "U haughty chieftain, binder of the Div! I heard about thy converse with the Shah, And thereupon thy leading forth the host, About the Shah's gifts and about thy pledge |p36 And exhortations to Piran our leader. An envoy reached the army of Turan - Giv, thy dear son, the refuge of the troops - And afterward thou swarest by the Shah, By sun and moon and throne and diadem:- 'If e'er mine eyes shall light upon Piran In battle I will take away his life.' Vierce as a lion hast thou ranked thy powers In thine anxiety to fight with us, Then why sulk thus behind a mountain-range As though thou wast a wretched mountain-sheep Thus doth the quarry in its headlong course, When fleeing from the lion's bold pursuit, Make for some narrow covert in the wood, Forgetting honour in its fear for life. Lead just for once thine army to the plains. Why keepest thou the host behind the heights ? Was this thine understanding with Khusrau - To make a hill thy stronghold in the war? " Gudarz replied : "Attend to ale: 'tis right That I should speak. That none took up thy challenge Thou thoughtlessly imputest unto me. Hear that I proffered oath and covenant By order of the Shah, but. now that I Have come with this great host - the pick of all The valiant chieftains of Iran-ye lurk Like old fox in a brake, frayed by the hunter Ye practise cunning, artifice, and guile To 'scape mace, spear, and lasso. Brag not thou, Nor challenge us, for foxes meet not lions." Human, on hearing what Gudarz replied, Raged like a lion on that scene of strife, And answered: "If thou comest not to fight 'Tis not that fight with me disgraceth they, But ever since the battle of Pashan Thou hast avoided Turkmans in the fray. |p37 Thou didst approve me at Ladan and praise My prowess on the field, and therefore now, If it is even with thee as thou sayest, And thou art eager to make good thy words, Choose thee a champion from among thy troops To counter me upon the battlefield. I like a lusty crocodile have challenged Ruhham and Fariburz, and passed along Before thy host, not one opposing me. They were restrained from fighting by Gudarz 'Twas waste of time to listen; but thou art The man that with : 'In battle with my sword Will I make tulips on the yellow hills'' So let some warrior with his massive mace Confront me here. Thyself hast many sons, O man of name! and all have girt themselves To fight with us; set one of them against me, For if thou seekest fight why this delay?" "Which of the warriors," Gidarz considered, "Shall go ? If I oppose some famous man, Some raging Lion, to this enemy, And if Htiman be slain upon the field, None of the Turkmans will come forth to fight; Their general will writhe for grief of heart, And will not take the offensive in the war; His host will tarry on Mount Kanabad, And we shall have to fight at disadvantage; While should one of the nobles of this host Be lost so would my fame. The warriors Would have but broken hearts for this campaign, And would not tarry on the waste. 'Tis best Not to engage and foil the ambuscade. His troops may grow adventurous, seek fight, And march against us from their cramped position." Then to Human : "Depart, thou art a boy In action, and intemperate of speech. |p38 Thy words have made me know thee in and out. Hath none among the Turkmans wit to think Aright ? Know'st not that on the day of battle The savage lion smircheth not his paws With fox's blood ? Besides both hosts are ranked, All necks are stretched for war, and all the chiefs Will gnaw their hands if only two engage. Let all advance and combat, host with host. Now go back to thine army and exalt Thy head before thy boyish chieftains, saying :- 'I challenged oftentimes the Iranians, But no one stirred unless to heave a sigh.' This field of battle will exalt thy name, Piran too will fulfil thy whole desire." Human exclaimed: "What sort of chieftains then And warriors are all these ? I am reminded Of what a king said - one that ruled the world:- 'Thou longest for a throne - stop that desire! Or still long on resolved to face the fire.' Thou wishest not for war; but know that one Who plucketh roses must encounter thorns. Thou hast no lion-man to counter me Before the host and wouldest by a shift Dismiss me, but to know me is to know That I reject thy guile." The warlike chiefs Said to Gudarz : "Thou shouldst send one of us To fight him," but Gudarz said: "Not to-day." Human, when he had had his fill of speech, Raged like a valiant lion, laughed and, turning His back upon the chief, sped toward an outpost. He strung his bow and flung four cavaliers Upon the meadow. When they saw from far The shots of that Turanian chief the guards Gave way and fled, attempting no resistance. He went toward the heights like one bemused, |p39 And laid the mountains prostrate with his shouts He brandished round his head his spear and cried "Human, the son of Wisa, triumpheth ! " When his spear waved the blare of clarions rose Above the desert, and the exulting Turkmans Touched with their helms the orbit of the moon. Now when Human departed thus in triumph Gudarz was troubled at his insolence, And sorely vexed at that indignity. Rage and vexation tyrannised o'er him Whose warriors sweated under such disgrace, But still he drew this augury of good:- "The eagerness for blood is on their side, Ill will be his who unto ill is guide." Then, casting round his haughty chiefs his eyes, He sought the fittest for the enterprise. Par. 12 How Bizhan heard of the Doings of Human Bizhan was told: "Human the lion-like Came boldly to thy grandsire, having challenged The chiefs of both the wings. Not one went forth ; He then withdrew in anger and disdain, First having slain four horsemen of the host, And flung them to the ground despitefully." Bizhan raged like a leopard; his hands itched For combat with Human. He bade to saddle His favourite elephantine charger, donned His Ruman war-mail, quickly Birthed Shabrang, And came, full of resource, before his father, To whom he spake about his grandsire, saying :- "My father ! said I not so, point by point ? 'Gudarz,' I said, 'is failing in his wits; Dost thou not see the change in him ? His heart |p40 Is full of fear, his liver full of blood Through his exceeding grief for all his sons Slain and beheaded on the battlefield.' For proof - this Turkman boldly, lion-like, Carne midst our warriors to Gudarz, with spear In hand and shouting like a drunken man, And yet no horseman of this noble host Was fit to fight, to loft hiln on a spear, And make him like a bird upon the spit! Array, my loving and most prudent sire! My shoulders in the mail of Siyawush, For none but I may battle with Human, And cause his manhood to go up in dust." Giv said, " My prudent son! give ear a while. I said to thee: 'Be not impetuous, And say not aught untoward to Gudarz, Because he hath experience and more wisdom, And is the leader of this noble host.' ' His cavaliers would fight an elephant, Yet bade he none to battle with Human ; But youth, as it would seem, hath made thee rash; Thou hast set up thy neck and come to me With this request ; I am not of thy mind, And therefore let me hear no more thereof." Bizhan replied: ''If thou accedest not To my desire thou wouldst not have me famous. I will go girded to the general, And smite my breast for leave to fight Human." He wheeled his charger, hurried to Gudarz, Saluted him, and told him all with sorrow:- "O paladin of our world-ruling Shah, Versed in affairs, thou glory of the throne ! I see this cause for wonderment in thee, Though I am one of little wit, that thou Hast made a pleasance of this battlefield, And purged thy heart of warfare with the Turkmans ! |p41 The seventh day is hard at hand; but day And night bring rest, not action, for the sun Beholdeth not the warriors' scimitars, And no dust riseth in the face of heaven ! More wonderful than that - from yonder host One Turkman - one misguided wretch - came forth, Whom God who giveth good, but bringeth ill On evil men, led from TLiran in arms In order to be slaughtered by thy hand, And thou didst spare the netted onager ! I do not understand thy policy. Supposest thou that, if Hulnan were slain E'en now, Piran would not come forth to fight? Think not that ever he will be the first To move his army to the open field. Behold now I have bathed my hands in blood, And girded up my loins to fight Human, Whom, if the paladin will give me leave, I will encounter like a furious lion. Now let the general order Giv to give me The arms of valiant Siyawush, the helm And Ruman mail, unbuckling them himself." On hearing what Bizhan said and perceiving His courage and his wise advice Gudarz, Rejoicing, mightily applauded him, And answered : "Fortune ever prosper thee. Since thou bestrod'st the pardskin, crocodiles Have held their breath and lions sheathed their claws. Thou never restest but art first in fight And in adventures, faring gallantly And, like a lion, always conquering. Still ere thou challengest Human think well If thou canst meet him on the battlefield, For he is a malignant.Ahriman, And like a mail-clad mountain in the fray, |p42 While thou art but a youth. Heaven scarce hath turned Above thy head. Thou lovest not thyself. Wait, and I will dispatch to fight with him Some veteran Lion, like a thundering cloud, To shower arrows down on him like hail, And pin his steel casque to his head." Bizhan Said: "Paladin ! a gallant youth should have Accomplishment. If thou saw'st not my fight Against Farud now is the time to prove me. I rolled up earth when fighting at Pashan. None hath beheld my back upon the day Of battle, and I am not fit to live If I have not such prowess as the rest. Now if thou dost deny me this, and say :- 'Adventure not thyself against Human,' I will complain of thee before the ShAh, And give up belt and helm from this time forth." Gudarz smiled joyfully upon the youth, So like a noble cypress-tree, and answered :- "How fortunate is Giv in such a son! And may I ne'er forget the glorious day Whereon a virtuous mother gave thee birth. Pards' claws have proven impotent since thou Didst stretch thy hands to fight. Thou mayest meet Human, and may good fortune be thy guide. Now in the name of God who ruleth all, And by the triumphs of our warriors' Shah, Endeavour that destruction may o'erwhelm This Ahriman, God willing, by thy hand. Now will I say to Giv : 'Give to Bizhan The suit of armour that he asketh for.' If thou shalt vanquish thine antagonist Thou shalt receive addition at my hands, And shalt be greater than Farhad and Giv |p43 In treasure and in troops, in throne and crown." Thus spake the grandsire to the grandson - one Full of resource and ruse - who, lighting, kissed The ground and praised him. Then the paladin Called Giv. Talk passed about the youth and how He fain would combat in that royal mail. "Chief paladin ! " said to the sire the son, 'This one is mind and soul and world to me His life is not so worthless in mine eyes ; I would not lose him down the Dragon's maw." "Fond one ! " Gudarz said, " think not thus of him, Bizhan, though young and fresh, is led by wisdom In all things, and besides we should fight here, And purify the world of Ahrimans. We, whom the Shah commanded to take vengeance For Siyawush, may not heed kin or spare Our lives although the clouds rain swords of steel. We must not break Bizhan's heart for the fight, Or veil his hopes of fame. A youth if slothful Will prove but mean of spirit, dull of soul." Giv, left without resource by such reply, Made yet one more endeavour to persuade His son, if haply he would shun the strife. The son replied: "Thou wilt disgrace my name." Then Giv said to Gudarz : - Chief-paladin When our own lives are put in jeopardy We cease to care about son, host, and treasure, Respect for, and command of, chief and Shah. I have a rugged time in front of me; Why should I sacrifice my life for him? Where are his own arms if he fain would fight? He hath his mail: why should he ask for mine?" The champion said: "I do not want thy mail. Think'st thou that all the warriors of the world Will seek for fame in thine accoutrements, And no chief aim at glory and renown |p44 Unless he hath the arms of Siyawush ? " He spurred his charger from the troops around That he might quit them for the battleground. Par. 13 How Giv gave the Mail of Siyawush to Bizhan Now when Bizhan had vanished from the host Giv's heart swelled up with sorrow, and repenting He wept blood in his anguish. See what grief And love a son may cause! He raised his head To heaven with full heart and with liver stricken, And said to God: "O Judge of all the world! Vouchsafe to look upon this wounded heart. Oh ! burn it not with anguish for Bizhan, My feet are in the mire made by my tears! O Thou, the Omnipotent ! restore me him Unhurt." He went in sorrow for the youth, His son, and thought: "I pained him wantonly Why did I thwart his wishes? Should ill come Upon him from Humln, what good to me Are armour, sword, and belt ? I shall be left All anguish, care, and wrath; on his account My heart will ache, mine eyes will weep." He went Like dust, approached his son upon the field, And said: "Why dost thou grieve us thus and haste When thou shouldst tarry? Doth the black snake rage So greatly on the battle-day that so The crocodile may issue from the deep ? And is the shining of the moon so bright As to eclipse the radiance of the sun ? Now thou art rushing on Human and turnest Thy head from my behest, adopting thus |p45 Thine own course, knowing not the task before thee! Bizhan replied: "Turn not, my valiant sire My heart from its revenge for Siyawush. Human is not of brass or iron, not A mighty elephant or Ahriman. He is a man of war. I challenge him, And backed by thy good fortune will not shrink. My fortune may be written otherwise Than I desire, the Judge disposeth all Since what must be will be grieve not nor trouble On mine account." Giv, hearing his brave son Whose loins were girt for battle like a lion, Dismounted, gave to him the steed and mail Of Siyawush, and said: "If thou art bent On fight, and self-will lordeth thus o'er wisdom, Mount on this rapid charger, which will roll Earth under thee. My mail too will be useful, Since thou wilt have to fight an Ahriman." When he beheld his father's steed before him Bizhan alighted from his own like wind, Put on the mail and made the buckles fast Then, having mounted on that royal charger, Bound tight his girdle, took his mace in hand, Chose from the army an interpreter - One well acquainted with the Turkman tongue - And went, like some huge lion, with his loins Girt up to take revenge for Siyawush. Bizhan, or ever he approached Human, Beheld an Iron Mountain - one that moved - The desert all a-gleam with the cuirass, And under the cuirass an Elephant. He bade the interpreter shout to his foe :- "Turn back if thou art eager for the fray, Bizhan is ready to contend with thee, And thus he saith : 'O veteran cavalier |p46 Why urgest thou thy steed about the field, Sent by Afrasiyab to come to ill? Thou shouldest have the curses of Turan ; Thou art the miscreant that made the feud, And art the guiltiest in all the land; I look to God for succour and I thank Him For bringing thee to meet me on this field. Draw in the reins of thine impetuous steed My blood is boiling for revenge upon thee; Select a spot whereon we may engage, And wheel with me on desert, dale, or mountain, Or else between the hosts' embattled lines, For name and fame, where friend and foe alike May look upon thee and of all the chiefs Approve thee most."' Human laughed long and loud, And answered: "Luckless one! thou trustest much Thy body haply weary of its head! 'Twill dispatch thee to the host so mauled That Giv shall be in pain and grief for thee, Soon will I separate thy head and trunk Like those of many of thy gallant kin. Thou wilt be in my clutches as a pheasant, When borne with shrieks and weeping tears of blood Above the cypress-branches by a hawk, Which sucketh at the gore and teareth out The plumes; but what availeth ? Night is near. Go sheltered by its murk and I will go Awhile to mine own host, present myself At daybreak to the chief, and hurry back With head erect and Bight to counter thee." "Begone," Bizhan replied, "and may a ditch Be in thy rear and Ahriman in front! To-morrow, if thou comest to the field, Thy king and host shall ne'er behold thee more, And I will bear thy head so far away |p47 That thou shah cease to trouble for thy troops." They wheeled and sought their camps and paladins, Then passed in troubled, vexed repose that night With hearts that were impatient for the fight. Par. 14 How Human came to Battle with Bizhan When morning breathed above the mountain-tops, And dark night's shirt was no more seen, Human Equipped himself, and told Piran : "I challenged Bizhan, the son of Giv, and spent the night Preparing." Calling an interpreter, He mounted on his wind-swift bay and reached The appointed place, expectant of Bizhan, Who with his own interpreter anon Came Bight for combat, riding Shabahang, Girt tightly, and advancing haughtily Like warrior-pard to battle. He was mailed Withal on his heroic breast, his head Shone with his royal casque. He thus addressed Human : "O light of wit ! but yesternight Thou didst bear off a souvenir from me - Thy head! To-day my hope is that my sword Will part it from its body in such wise As with thy blood to turn the dust to clay. Thou mayest take to heart an apologue The mountain-sheep once said to the gazelle:- 'Though all the plain were silk no more again The snare once 'scaped for me ! Be thine the plain.' Human replied: "To-day Giv's heart shall break For his bold son. Wilt thou contend with me Upon Mount Kanabad, or make the scene Raibad, and far from aid on either side?" |p48 Bizhan said: "Why this talk? Fight where thou wilt." They left Mount Kanabad, rode toward the waste, And reached a desert-spot where they beheld No footprints left by man, where vultures flew not, And lions trod not, far from host and help. There they agreed: "Whichever shall survive Shall spare the fallen man's interpreter To bear his king the news of what befell." This done, they lighted from their steeds, made fast The divers straps and buckles of their mail, And fixed their saddles firmly; then the twain - Those wrathful warriors with vengeful hearts - Next gat their bows in order for the fray, And hurried forward to the battleground. They strained their bows until the notches touched, Discharged their poplar arrows tipped with steel, Then took their spears, and wheeled to left and right While bits of armour flew and spearheads gleamed. Watch how the fortune of the day inclined! Their mouths gaped like a lion's with the heat; Both longed for rest and water; presently They damped their burning rage and stayed to breathe, Then took their shields and trenchant scimitars Thou wouldst have said: "The Day of Doom hath come ! " But steel was foiled by steel, though in the fight The flashing sword-strokes showered down like fire; Each hero failed to shed the other's blood, And both their hearts were still insatiate. They took their maces, having done with swords, And passed all measure in their combating; Thereafter they essayed each other's strength; Each grasped his foeman's girdle and endeavoured To drag him from his steed and fling hire down. |p49 The stirrup-leathers in the violent strain Snapped, but each rider still retained his seat, And neither of them had the mastery. Then both the warriors lighted from their chargers, And breathed themselves a while. The interpreters Held the two steeds. Anon the combatants Rose like fierce lions, wearied as they were, And gat them ready for a wrestling-bout. Thus from the morning till the shadows lengthened These champions, on the poise of hope and fear, Contended with each other; neither turned His head away; their mouths were parched, their bodies A-sweat with toil and with the blazing sun Then by consent they hastened to a pool. Bizhan, when he had drunk, arose in anguish, All shaking like a willow in a gale, And, in his heart despairing of sweet life, Called upon God and said: "Omnipotent! Thou knowest all within me and without. If thou perceivest justice in my cause, Both in my challenge and my purposes, The strength which I possess take not away, And give me self-possession in the fray." Par. 15 How Human was slain by Bizhan Human, distressed and raven-black with pain, Advanced. All wounded as they were both came Like pards to fight again, strove mightily, And first one, then the other, touched the ground. They put forth all their strength and artifice Until high heaven's own artifice was seen, For, though Human was mightier, all prowess Is but defect in him whose sun is set. |p50 Bizhan put forth his hands like leopard's claws To catch upon Human where'er he could; His left hand gripped his foeman's neck, the right His foeman's thigh, he bent that mighty Carrel, Raised him aloft, and flung him to the ground; Then holding down Human, and drawing forth A dagger, swift as wind beheaded him, And flung away his carcase like a dragon's. Human lay rolled in dust, the waste ran blood. Bizhan surveyed that elephantine form, Fall'n like a stately cypress in a meadow, With great amazement, turned away, looked up To Him who ruleth o'er the world, and said :- "O Thou that art above both place and tune, Above the revolution of the sky ! Thou and Thou only rulest o'er the world - A matter which no wisdom can gainsay. I have no portion in this doughty deed, Not having pluck to fight an elephant, Yet have cut off Human's head in revenge For Siyawush, and my sire's seventy brothers. Now may his spirit be in thrall to mine, His body rent to pieces by the lions." He bound Human's head to the saddle-straps Upon Shabrang and flung the trunk to dust, With armour shattered and with girdle snapped, His head in this place and his trunk in that. The world is all imposture, nothing more, It will not help thee when distress is sore It showeth fairly, but it doth not so, And therefore let thy heart its love forego. Human, the son of Wisa, being slain, The two interpreters ran to Bizhan To worship him as Brahmans do an image In Chin. He looked around the battlefield, And saw no way save past the Turkman Lost, |p51 And fearing lest that murderous multitude, When they perceived the upshot of the fight, Should come forth in a mountain-mass to battle While he was not prepared to fight alone, He put from him the mail of Siyawush, And donned instead the armour of Human; Then mounted on the elephantine steed, And took in hand the banner, of that prince. He went his way with blessings on the place, His wakeful fortunes, and the glorious field. Human's interpreter, when he beheld His master's fate, was fearful of Bizhan, Who said: "Fear not, I will observe the pact. Go tell thy host what thou hast seen me do." He went what while Bizhan with bended bow Rode rapidly toward Mount Kanabad. Now when the Turkman outposts saw afar The lance and standard of that chief of Tur, They sprang up cheering in their joy and sped A cameleer like smoke to tell Piran :- "Human, such is our king's victorious fortune Is hasting from the place of combating, The standard of the Iranian chief is down, His corpse defiled in dust and drenched in gore." The whole host shouted and their leader listened To hear Human's approach - a short-lived joy, And then the hail descended on their heads! Anon the interpreter returned and told What he had seen, and tidings reached Piran :- "The glory of the empire is bedimmed." From the Turanian army rose a cry, The warriors unhelmed themselves; the world Grew overcast; there was no brightness left, And all their frantic words availed them not. Now when Bizhan in crossing 'twixt the hosts Approached the shadow of the great king's throne, |p52 At once that warrior of lion-heart, The army's refuge, dipped the sable standard. The watchmen of the Iranian host, perceiving The sable banner thus inverted, turned Their faces toward the paladin and raised A shouting from the watch-tower. They dispatched Post haste a cameleer to tell Gudarz :- "Bizhan is come in triumph, lionlike, And carrieth the sable flag reversed." Giv bare himself meanwhile like those distraught, All clamorous and restless everywhere, In quest of news of his heroic son, And sorrowed greatly at a time of joy. Then tidings came. He hurried forth. He saw The well-loved face. He lighted from his steed - His fitting course - and wallowed, head in dust, Returning thanks to God, then clasped his son Upon his breast, that youth so wise and brave. Thence, still returning thanks, they sought Gudarz, Whose grandson lighting from his steed, which bare Human's head in its saddle-straps, presented, With mail besmirched with blood and head with dust, The armour, steed, and head of brave Huiman. "The paladin," thou wouldst have said, " will pour His soul out," he rejoiced so o'er Bizhan, And then began to praise the Judge of all For that good omen and unsleeping fortune. He next gave orders to the treasurer, Arid said: "Bring forth a crown and royal robe With patterns jewelled on a golden grounld, The crown and belt with pendent pearls like suns." He likewise brought ten chargers with gold bridles, And ten boy-slaves fay-faced and girt with gold, Bestowed them on Bizhan, and said: "Brave Lion! None else had laid this Dragon low. Our host Hast thou delivered by thy sword and hand, |p53 And broken too the Turkman monarch's heart, While our own warriors like lions ride On steeds which plunge and caracole in pride." Par. 16 How Nastihan made a Night-attack and was slain On the other side Piran all pain and wrath, With heart grief-stricken and with eyes all tears, Dispatched a messenger to Nastihan To say: "O famous warrior, good at need! Make ready to engage and dally not O'er this our brother's blood, attack the Iranians By night and make earth a Jihun with gore. Lead forth ten thousand cavaliers of proof, Armed for the fray. Thou mayst avenge Human, And bring our foemen's heads between the shears." Then Nastihan : "So will I do for I Will make earth like Jihun." Two-thirds of night Passed, then the plain shook with the tramp of horse-men - The Turkmans eager to exalt their necks By that emprise. As Nastihan led on His vengeful powers toward the Iranian host He came, as dawn was breaking, to a place Where from the look-out the Iranian watchman Saw him, and shouted to the scouts: "A force Is on us from Turan ! " They lightly sped Toward Gudarz to say: "A host approacheth As 'twere a gliding stream; thou wouldest say:- 'They have not speaking tongues.' The general knoweth How men are wont to make a night-attack." Gudarz said, to the troops: "Be vigilant |p54 And bright of heart, let every ear be open To any indication of the foe." With that he called the son of Giv - Bizhan, The swordsman and heroic paladin - And said: ź Success and fortune are thine own, The hearts of foes are shivered at thy name. Take whom thou needest of my famous troops, Go lion-like, receive the foemen's charge, And by thy courage bring the heavens down." Bizhan chose out a thousand cavaliers, And, when the two hosts met, they drew their maces; Murk gathered overhead wherefrom dark dust Descending veiled the Turkman soldiers' eyes. Bizhan, when he perceived the Turkman host Thus hidden, bade his warriors string their bows. The war-din rose. Encountering Nastihan He saw the flag of Wisa's family Borne by that chief whose steed an arrow reached Sent from the broad breast of Bizhan. The charger Fell in its anguish, then Bizhan came up, And with his mace smote Nastihan's helmed head, Brained it, and there an end. Then cried Bizhan :- "If any soldier handle aught but mace And scimitar, then will I break his bow Across his head because although the Turkmans Have fairy faces they are naught in fight." His warriors took courago at his words, And every one unsheathed his glittering glaive; The air seemed rusty, earth a sea of blood. Most of the Turkman troops blood-boltered fell Beneath the chargers' feet, the others fled Toward their host, the Iranians in pursuit. PIran missed Nastihan, the earth turned black To him, he bade the scouts: "Dispatch at once A cameleer to the Iranian host That he may get me news of Nastihan, |p55 Or if not I will pluck out both his eyes." They instantly dispatched a cameleer, Who went, beheld, returned to them in haste, And said: "Lo ! Nastihan is on the field With other chieftains of the Turkman host, Beheaded, lying like an elephant, His body blue with bruises from the mace ! " Piran swooned at the news, then tore his hair And wept, rejecting food, repose, and sleep. He rent his Ruman vest, and wailings rose. He said: "Almighty Ruler of the world ! In sooth I must unwittingly have sinned Against Thee, for Thou hast deprived mine arms Of might, so darkened are my star and sun Alas! that lion-quelling hero-taker, That cavalier so young and brave and goodly - My brother dearer to me than my life - The head of Wisa's race, my brave Human, And Nastihan, that Lion fierce in fight, To whose claws any leopard was a fox! Whom have I left upon the field? My course Is to lead out the host." He blew the trumpets, Bound on the drums, and with the heaven murky, The earth like ebon, sun and moon obscured, Marched from Mount Kanabad. Gudarz too sounded His clarions, marched, and took up his position. Full in the centre, guarded by blue falchions, Was Kawa's flag, while chiefs intent on strife Stood ready with the lance and ox-head mace. As morning dawned the hosts advanced, and battled Till daylight failed, then both, still fit for fight And eager for revenge, returned to camp. The Iranian general occupied Rafbad, And could not rest for his anxiety. "A mighty battle have we fought to-day, |p56 He said, " and slain the leaders of the foe, And now methinketh that Piran will send His king a cameleer and ask for succours In this campaign against me, and I now Will send intelligence to Kai Khusrau." Par. 17 How Gudarz asked Aid of Khusrau Gudarz then called to him a letter-writer, And said: "I have some secrets to impart, And if thou openest thy lips thereon Thy tongue will bring disaster on thy head." He had a letter written to the Shah About the host, the parley with Piran, The ambassage of Giv to proffer league And love, and show Piran heaven's purposes, The answer that Piran had made to Giv, And to the wise and valiant chiefs, and how A Turkman host had pard-like followed him Up to Mount Kanabad to battle there; Then how they had prepared a battlefield, And had relieved their hearts by combating. Gudarz gave to the Shah a full report About Human and valiant Nastihan, And how Bizhan upon the day of fight Had served the mace-men of Turan; that done, Gudarz spake thus about Afrasiyab :- "He hath approached the river; should he cross Thou knowest that we cannot stand against him, O monarch of Iran, lord of the world ! Unless Khusrau shall come to our support, And set a crown upon his warriors' heads; But if Piran shall come alone the troops Will need no help; Khusrau shall learn how I - |p57 His slave - have by his fortune used Piran ; And furthermore the conquering Shah perchance Will condescend to let his servant know What Rustam - binder of the Div - hath done, And what Luhrasp hath done, and wise Ashkash.░' The letter being tied and sealed, Gudarz Bade bring out many rapid courier-steeds With royal saddles. Then he called Hajir, Who though a youth was prudent as an elder, And said: "Wise son! give all thy heart hereto, For thou, if ever thou desire my favour, Canst win it now. Charged with this missive speed Forth like a blast, repose not night and day, Nor pausing e'en to scratch thy head, and bear The Shah my letter." He embraced Hajir, Who came out from his glorious father's presence And, calling from the host two of his kindred, And mounting them upon swift-footed steeds, Left his sire's camp-enclosure. With relays Of horses for each stage they ate, reposed, And slept upon their steeds both day and night, And on the seventh day approached the Shah. One went to tell Khusrau, who sent Shammakh With many haughty chiefs to welcome them. "O lion-taking son of paladins!" Shammakh said, " what hath chanced that thou hast come Thus all unlooked for to the worldlord's court?" Then at the Shah's command they raised the curtain, And let Hajir ride through, who, when the Shah Perceived him, rubbed his visage in the dust. Khusrau much greeted him, then made him sit Beside the throne, and asked about Gudarz, The leaders, and the rest. The prudent youth Of ardent sbul gave him the great men's greetings, |p58 Informed him fully of the host's affairs, Then gave the letter of the paladin. The monarch called a scribe and had it read, Then filled Hajir's mouth with bright gems and ordered The treasurer, " Bring Dinars forth and brocade," Who, when he heard the order, brought forth sacks Of coin and emptied them upon Hajir Until his head was hidden; then produced A suit of king's apparel-cloth of gold - And crown inlaid with jewels. Furthermore They led before Hajir ten noble steeds With golden saddles, while Hajir's companions Were clad in robes of honour and received Dinars and drachms and goods of every kind. They left the throne-room with the Shah and sat A night and day with wine and revelry. Khusrau considered every circumstance, And, having bathed his head and body, went First, freshly garmented in robes of service, While both his eyes were raining like a cloud, At dawn before the Ruler of the world; Then, stooping lowly with his head abased, He offered praises to the righteous Judge, To whom he prayed for Grace and victory, And pleaded for the crown and throne of might. He plained to God about Afrasiyab, And in his grief poured water from his eyes; Then, like a stately cypress, left the place, And sat upon the throne in all his Grace. Par. 18 The Answer of Khusrau to the Letter of Gudarz The Shah then called a wise scribe and dispatched A fair reply yet harsh in some regards. |p59 He lauded first the paladin and said:- "Live evermore and may thy soul be bright! Blest be the prudent captain of the host, The heedful and discerning warrior, Lord of the iron mace and blue steel sword, Who brighteneth Kawa's flag. Praise be to God, The Worldlord, that our troops have been triumphant. When fortune shone on thee it quickly raised Smoke from the foe. Thou sayest first: 'I sent Some noble, prudent warriors with Giv As envoys to PIran. What good advice I gave him ! But his ill-conditioned mind Rejected all. He would not league with me !' A king whose officer made war on him Gave utterance to a saw in this regard:- 'When subjects turn from right, and do instead Such ill as this, their lives are forfeited.' PIran, I knew, would not give up the struggle; Still for past kindness' sake I did not seek War to the death with him. Now time hath shown That all his sympathies are with Turan ; Afrasiyab is all the world to him, So strive no longer to divert his love, For he preferreth sentiment to wisdom, And no endeavour will bring grass from flint. That thou didst speak the foeman fair is good; Fair speech befitteth well the noble race. And next, from thy description of the encounter Between the warriors with their massive maces, Of our good fortune, of the favouring sun And moon, and efforts made, I am persuaded That thy might will secure the victory; But know that strength and courage are from God; Acknowledge this and give Him all the praise. And thirdly, thou hast said: 'Afrasiyab Will cross the river, having marched thereto |p60 Because Piran hath sent to ask for aid.' The matter is so, and we thus reply:- 'Know, O my thoughtful sage, mine officer Approved in all things ! that Afrasiyab Abideth not by the Jihan to fight With us; the Khan is marching forth from Chin Upon him; he is ambushed on both flanks, Or rather, through the innumerable host, Whose chiefs are now disposed around Turan, As Rustam - refuge of the warriors On battle-days - Luhrasp and deft Ashkash, AfrasiyAb is threatened on all sides, And therefore marcheth to the river-bank. If he advanceth from his present ground He will resign his country to the foe. And fifthly, since thou askest me for tidings About the chieftains whom thou lovest well, Know, and may fortune ever go with thee, That on the road that lion Rustam took The dust hath risen from Kashmir and Hind, While from Kharazm, whereto the shrewd Ashkash Went, hath gone up the battle-cry, and Shida Defeated sought Gurganj ; and where Luhrasp Marched all the chieftains gave him passage, yielding The Alans as well as Ghuz which now are ours. So if Afrasiyab shall cross Jihun These noble chiefs will take him in the rear, And leave him nothing but the wind to grasp. He will not then advance, be well assured, And leave to foes the towns and broad champaign, His fair support, whate'er Piran may urge. He openeth not his lips by day or night Unknown to me. May that day ne'er be blest When he shall lead his host across the river, And may none see the day of gloom and. straitness When he shall get the upper-hand of us. |p61 Now will I order Tus, that ardent chief, To mount the drums, seize Dahistan, Gurgan, And lands around, and thus exalt his head High as the sun; ourself will follow Tus With throne and host and elephants to aid thee. Meanwhile confront Piran, array thy troops, And offer fight; Human and Nastihan Are gone; regard his hands as full of grief, And if he challengeth our chiefs to combat Decline not thou. If he should ofler battle Be of good courage, meet him like a lion. Dread not a conflict with Afrasiyab ; Take heart and turn not from him; thou wilt win If thou hast confidence, and God, I trust, Will favour me. Methinketh that when I March to support you ye will have your will Upon your foes and raise your own names sunward." He sent the host much greeting from Kaus And Tus. The letter with his seal imprest He handed to Hajir whom too he blest. Par. 19 How Khusrau arrayed the host Now, when Hajir had left the presence, Khusrau Took counsel with a scribe. The Shah's great love Toward his troops turned all his thoughts to war. He said thus: "If Afrasiyab bestir Himself and cross the river he will drive My troops back; my course is to go myself." Thereat he called to him the head of all The scions of Naudar, commanded him To lead a host to Dahistan forthwith, To occupy the whole waste of Kharazm, Watch o'er Ashkash upon the day of battle, |p62 And enter into combat like a pard. Then from the court of Tus the tymbals, trumpets, And kettledrums resounded, chief and host Marched forth, and earth was hidden by the horse-hoofs. "The circling sun," thou wouldst have said, " stood still, Frayed by those cavaliers !" Tus marched two weeks, And light departed from the sun and moon, While news about the Shah's own movements spread, For, when Tus left, Khusrau prepared to march, With five score thousand of the chosen chieftains, Toward Gudarz with elephants and drums, The Grace and crown and throne of king of kings. Hajir sped proudly on before Khusrau, Glad, with a robe of honour, and in favour; Thou wouldst have said : "He rolleth up the earth." As he approached the camp the clarions blared, And all the golden-girdled chiefs went out To welcome him. In presence of Gudarz He told of his reception by the Shah, What graciousness and interest were shown, What magnanimity and statesmanship, Spake of the Shah's affection for his troops, And how his face cleared when he heard the message. Hajir then gave the letter of Khusrau, With greetings from the nobles, to Gudarz, Who, hearing of the monarch's graciousness, And having pressed to his own eyes and face The letter, broke its seal and handed it When open to a scribe to read to him. The chieftain called down blessings on the Shah, And kissed the ground on hearing his commands, Spent all the night consulting with his son, And took his seat at dawn for audience. Then all the men of name throughout the host Came helmed before the throne, anon Hajir Produced the letter of the glorious Shah, |p63 And gave it to a scribe who read it out. Gudarz brought into camp all steeds at grass, And bade the quarter-masters do their office, Allowing them the keys of all his hoard Of mail, dinars, gold casques, swords, crowns, and girdles ; For since the moment for revenge had come He poured that wealth out on the host till horse And foot were furnished ; thus an army gathered As 'twere a mountain ; earth shook at the tramp Of wind-foot steeds, the hearts of lions quaked At troops so whelmed with iron, gold, and silver. He bade them to prepare for strife and give Their hearts and ears to compassing revenge. They marched past their brave chief by companies - A mountain-mass of men - while he reviewed them, Saw earth obscured and heaven azure-dim, And said thus : "From Jamshid's days until now None hath arrayed the like with steeds and arms, Gold, silver, elephants of war, and Lions. Hence with God's aidance will I ride to Chin." This said he called the noble and the wise fo entertain them at a drinking-bout With harp and pipe, and with the men of might Discussed the manner of the corning fight. Par. 20 Hom Piran wrote to Gudarz Son of Kishwad News of the Shah's proceedings reached Piran And filled his heart with terror ; he took refugo In knavery, deceit, and artifice, And then - his sole resource - he bade a scribe Indite a letter to the paladin, Wherein he proffered first great praise to God - His refuge from the potent Div - then said :- |p64 "In public and in private my one prayer To God, the All-ruler of the world, is this - To ban this scene of strife between our hosts. If it be thou, Gudarz ! that hast desired Thus to fulfil the world with thy revenge, Thy lust is sated. Say, what wouldst thou more ? Behold how many of my gallant Hearts, Of mine own nearest kindred and my Lions, Hast thou flung - headless trunks - upon the dust Hast thou no reverence, no fear of God ? From love and wisdom thou hast turned thy face, And now that thou hast gained thine end 'tis time For thee to sicken of revenge and be not Henceforward bold in bloodshed. Do thou mark How many of the horsemen of Iran, And of Turan, have perished in this war ! It is high time that ruth should come to thee, With some remission in the quest of strife. In seeking vengeance for one dead and gone How many living ones wilt thou behead ? Now, since the past will not return to us, Sow not fresh seed of vengeance in the world, Vex not thy spirit nor expend thy body, But cease from bloodshed, for the dead are cursed That leave a long-enduring name for ill, And whensoever sable locks turn white Small hope of life is left. If our two armies Again encounter on this field I fear That thou wilt see none left on either side ; Lives will be lost, but vengeance will survive, While after all who knoweth which will win, Which be the luckless, which the illustrious ? But if thy resolution to shed blood, And make a fight of lions with me here, Is all to win advantage for Iran, So say and I will send a messenger |p65 To ask Afrasiyab for his commands That so we may divide earth, and lay by The strife as in the days of Minuchihr When every one observed the settlement. Declare what lands thou claimest for Iran That we may move the Turkmans out of them, From settlement and desert, field and fell, As Kai Khusrau, the righteous judge, shall order. First will I draw toward the hills, and quit Iran from Gharcha to the land of Bust, Quit Talikan as far as Fariyab Including Andarab, and cities five As far as Bamiyan, and all the coasts, And Kaian dwelling-places, of Iran, The country of Gurkan, that favoured spot, Thus titled by the master of the world, With all from Balkh as far as Badakhshan That beareth indications of his sway ; While, lower down, the desert of Amwi And Zam shall be included with Khatlan, Besides Shingan, Tirmid, and Wisagird, Bukhara and the cities round about. Proceed moreover to the land of Sughd ; None will claim aught thereof. To valiant Rustam I yield Nimruz and will withdraw the troops, Allowing him free access to the East, And all as far as Hind ungrudgingly. Kashmir, Kabul, and Kandahar with all That fronteth Sind shall likewise be included. The Alans and parts invaded by Luhrasp, And all between them and Mount Kaf, I yield, Without strife or contention to Khusrau, With all the region threatened by Ashkash. This done I will recall from every side My troops, and swear to be thy foe no longer. Thou knowest that I have been friendly, true, |p66 And upright. I will send Afrasiyab Intelligence that we have ceased from strife; Do thou moreover look on us with favour, And in thy kindness write Khusrau a letter To say that I have made thee overtures, And vie with thee no more in shedding blood. When we have ratified the covenant I will dispatch the treasures which Khusrau Demanded, and he too perchance will stop His warlike operations. Afterward I will send hostages with goods of all sorts, And by a friendly, just, and sacred treaty Will sew the eye of feud up with the hand Of good faith, broken in the great Shah's time By evil-natured Tur and savage Salm, When Faridun was well-nigh crazed with grief Because the illustrious Iraj was slain. What thou requirest else be good enough To state, then write and tell the Shah of all. Think not because I speak thee fair: 'These people Are giving way,' I only speak in love; Mine object is to make a happy ending. My treasures, troops, and military fame Surpass thine own, but this persistent strife, And impious bloodshed, cause my heart to burn Upon the troops' account, and I would stop The feud: besides I stand in awe of God Both in my public and my private life, Who as the Judge will not approve ill deeds, But utterly destroy our fields and fells. Now if thou turnest from these words of mine, And seekest war against me to the death, Condemning me though I am innocent, And not regarding aught that I can say, Since justice and injustice are all one To thee, and thou wouldst further spread the feud, |p67 Choose out some chiefs that wield the massive mace, And I too will select among my troops Such warriors as are needful for the strife. These will we pair for combat. Let us twain Encounter likewise on the battlefield. Those innocent of bloodshed then perchance Will find repose from strife. Those whom thou boldest As guilty, those that grieve thy heart, will I Bring forth to thee upon the day of battle. Moreover thou shalt make a covenant That if thou shalt prevail to shed our blood, And if the Turkman warriors' fortune sinketh, Thou wilt in no wise harm my host or burn My country and my throne, but give my troops Free passage home and ambuscade them not. If I prevail, my good star bear me fruit, I will not ambuscade the Iranians We will not be injurious or vindictive, But give them access to their king and country Without the loss of property or life. If thou consentest not, but wouldst prefer A general engagement, set thy host In order and the blood shed in the fight Shall rest upon thee in the other world." He tied the letter and then called his son, A chief of brazen body bight Ruin, To whom he said: "Go to Gudarz ; address him In prudent words and list to his reply." Ruin, when he had left the chieftain's door, Came with ten horsemen and inspired by wisdom In haste to where the paladin was camped, And, when he saw Gudarz, drew near to him With folded arms and head inclined. That chief Rose, clasped Ruin, and asked about Piran, The host, the mighty men, the king and realm. Ruin then told his message and delivered |p68 The letter, which a scribe approached and read With all its goodly language and advice, And wise Piran's proposals for a peace. Then said Gudarz : "Son of the general, And happy youth ! first thou must be our guest, And then thou mayest ask for my reply." They cleared a camp-enclosure for his use, Providing him a lodging fit for kings. Gudarz, filled with anxiety of heart, Sat with his counsellor - the twain, no more - While they prepared an answer, picking out The fairest words. A sennight thus elapsed While minstrels, wine, and harp were in request, And daily when the sun sank in the sky Ruin was called to share the revelry. Par. 21 The Answer of Gudarz to the Letter of Piran Gudarz upon the eighth day called a scribe, And bade him write the answer, planting thus Another tree of feud. He offered praise To God, then point by point made this response :- "Thy letter I have read and understand Thy purposes. Ruin too hath delivered Thy message, but I wonder at thy writing Such goodly words, because thy tongue and heart Accord not, and thy soul is poor in wisdom. In all affairs thou speakest courteously, And usest phrases so instinct with grace That any one that is not really wise Would rest with confidence on thy good will ; Yet art thou like those salt-marsh tracts which look Afar like water when the sun is on them ; But lies and trickery are no avail |p69 When it is time for mace and spear and lasso. I will have naught with thee but war and strife, This is no time for parley and rejoinder, For glozing, league, and love, but to discern The aspect of the sky, and mark to whom God will give strength, the sun, and conquering fortune. Still hear me, and let wisdom be thy guide ; First for thy saying : 'I, through loving kindness, Through fear of God, and recent happenings, Wish not for war; my heart is strait and darkened By all this coil.' Thy tongue and heart agreed not What time these words were passing through thy lips, Because if justice had possessed thy heart ThOll hadst not been the foremost to shed blood. When Giv first came to thee with prudent nobles, Brave of˝cers, and other clear-brained chieftains, With fair discourse and prudent counsellings, Thou didst array thine army for this fight, And leave thine own land to invade another. In every conflict thou hast been aggressor. This tardy wisdom should have come before, And peace been thy beginning not thine end ; But Chine ill disposition and ill strain Are forcing thee to quit the path of wisdom, Because the nature of thy race is evil - A race that is inured to treachery. Thou knowest how high-born Iraj was used By Tur in envy of the crown and throne ; How ill came on the earth through Tur and Salm, How vengeance and injustice spread around ; How Faridun in agony of heart Had open lips to curse them night and day ; And how by help of God who giveth good, Who tendered and supported Minuchihr In seeking vengeance and in justifying The world by Grace of his supremacy, |p70 Tur was requited for his wickedness. Thus much time passed until the evil strain Had reached Afrasiyab through men of name But little wit; he sought a new revenge On Minuchihr, Naudar, and Kai Kubad, Did that whereof we wot to Kai Kaus, Sent dust up from the homesteads of Iran, And lastly with the blood of Siyawush Prepared the base of new and lengthy strife. Thou hadst no thought of justice at the time When Siyawush though guiltless yielded up Sweet life. How many great men of Inin With crown and state have perished in this feud Thou sayest next : 'O thou with hoary hair ! How long wilt thou be girded to shed blood ?' Know, veteran deceiver who hast witnessed The ups and downs of life ! that God hath given me A length of days and an illustrious fortune That I, in vengeance on the day of battle, Might send the dust up sunw and from Turan ; And all mine apprehension is that God May end my life ere I have been revenged, And trodden underfoot your fields and fells. Thou sayest thirdly : 'I see not in thee The heart-felt fear and awe of holy God. Dost thou not realise that wanton bloodshed Will be thine own undoing in the end ?' If for thy gentle words I turn from fight Almighty God will ask at Question-time About the days that I have spent on earth, And say : 'I gave thee leadership and strength, With manhood, wealth, and skill ; why didst not thou Gird in the presence of the Ininians Thy loins in wreak for Siyawush ?' And when The just Judge asketh me about the blood Of all those seventy noble sons of mine, |p71 How shall I tell the Maker of the world The motives that seduced me from revenge ? And fourthly as to wreak for Siyawush Thou sayest, ancient prince ! 'For one now dust 'Tis wrong to take the lives of living men.' Remember all the foul deeds which have been Most grievous to the heart in every way, The deeds which ye have wrought upon Iran, What numbers of our monarchs ye have wronged, What treaties have been broken, feuds begun, And your eternal instancy in ill ! How can I think of these things and make peace, For all along thou hast held evil good ? Thou sayest fifthly : 'I will covenant With thee, will give the chiefs as hostages, Send treasure to Khusrau and end my travail.' Know then, O chieftain of the Turkman host ! That we have no such orders from the Shah. He bade me fight, avenging Siyawush With blood for blood, and if I disobey My soul will shame before him. If thou hopest That he will look with favour on thy words Send him Lahha.k and that stanch liege Ruin As hostages, with treasures such as may be, At once ; the road is open to Iran. And sixthly for the lands, the populous And fertile provinces, of which thou said'st :- ' We will evacuate and surrender them,' God hath forestalled thee ; if thou knowest not I will explain. Luhrasp hath all the west As far as to the marches of Khazar ; Toward the south, and all the way to Sind, The world is like a glittering Ruman glaive, For gallant Rustam with his trenchant sword Hath raised therefrom a Resurrection-blast, And hath despatched the prince of Hindustan, |p72 Together with his black flag, to the Shah. In Dahistan, Kharazm, and in those parts Where Turkmans ruled, the plains are cleared of those Who made the raids; Ashkash hath hailed on Shida, Hath brought him down nigh unto death, and sent Khusrau withal the captives and much spoil. Now here the contest is betwixt us twain. Thou hast beheld these famous Lions' prowess And mine; if thou wilt meet me face to face I will release thee from all further parley, For by God's power and at the Shah's command Will I submerge this battlefield in blood. Observe, O famous leader of the host The revolutions of the sun and moon, For heaven hath nigh enthralled thee and the head Of Turkman fortune is within the shears. Mark what the Maker will bring down upon thee For thine ill deeds; time hath uncloaked thy crimes, And ill is manifest, requiting ill. Be very heedful, ope thine ears and hearken To wise men's words. Know that this host so famed, These hundred thousand horsemen drawing swords, And all in quest of honour and revenge, Will not be charmed off from this battlefield. I reach the seventh point. Thou 'stablishest Thine honesty by oath. 'Twixt me and thee There is no talk of league; no dealings hath Thy soul with wisdom since in all thy compacts Thou leavest honesty in tears. Thine oath Wrecked Siyawush. May no one trust thy words. Thou didst not save him in his evil day, Much as he called on thee in his distress The eighth point is, thou say'st : 'My crown and throne, My valour and my fortune, are more great Than thine, and I possess more men and treasure, But out of love for thee my soul is sad.' |p73 Methinketh that thou hast without a doubt Proved me in war ere this. Thou know'st if thou Hast found me wanting in the day of battle. Now scan me well again: in wealth and crown, In throne and prowess, haply I exceed thee At every point. And lastly thou hast said:- 'Choose champions for the fray; I too will bring Exalted horsemen from the Turkman host, For, out of tenderness toward my troops, I would not spread injustice and revenge.' Thou dose not proffer this in tenderness, Because thou knowest thine own heart and purpose. The Shah, the world-lord, will be wroth with me If I shall cause our armies thus to part, Before me is a guilty host wherewith My people are aggrieved, the Shah will never Allow me to shun fight on such a plea. First in full force our armies like two mountains Must shock in battle. Let them be arrayed In line upon the space which is between them, And haply victory may declare itself; But if not, we will choose a ground and champions, And my word shall be kept though thine be broken. But if thou wilt not with thy present force Encounter me, then ask thy king for more, And carefully consider thy position. As for the wounded absent from the ranks, Among thy kith and kindred and allies, Wait till the leeches make them whole, for now To gain time is of consequence to thee. If thou wouldst have of me delay or respite Well - but if battle set thy host in order. I speak thus that upon the day of fight Thou mayst not dare excuse thyself and say:- 'Thou tamest on us unexpectedly, Didst lie in wait, and gayest us no time.' |p74 If I shall seek revenge a hundred years, Or now at once, 'tis all the same to me. There is no hope that I shall leave this feud; 'Tis ever present to me night and day." Whenas the letter of reply was done The envoy fairy-like appeared therefor With girded loins upon a rapid steed, Escorted by a band of cavaliers. Ruin the warrior lighted from his horse, And introduced his escort to Gudarz. The chieftain ordered that the archimages, And all the famous sages of the host - Wise men and shrewd - should come to him forthwith. The paladin bade read to them his answer. The, great men, having heard that cogent letter Recited by the well-graced scribe, ignored The sense and counsel of Piran, and thought His rede but shallow, while they praised Gudarz, And hailed him as the paladin of earth. He sealed and gave the letter to Rain, Son of Piran of Wisa's race, and bade, What time they rose to go, prepare a robe Of honour - Arab steeds with golden trappings" And crowns and scimitars with golden sheaths. He gave Ruin's companions gold and silver, With crowns and belts to those of rank for them. Ruin departed with his little troop Back to his host. Arrived, he came before His sire, as was his duty, and bent low Before the throne. The veteran Piran Embraced him. When Ruin had given the answer, Sent by the general of the Shah, he told What he himself had witnessed. Then a scribe Read out the letter to the paladin, Whose cheek upon the instant grew like pitch. His heart became all pain, his soul all dread; |p75 He recognised that his decline was near, But took it patiently and silently, And kept it from his troops whom afterward He thus harangued: "Gudarz is obstinate; His heart is instant with him to avenge The slaughter of his seventy sons beloved. If on the past he base revenge anew Shall I not gird me to avenge forthwith My brothers and nine hundred famous heads Lost to their bodies on the day of battle, For in Turan there is no cavalier To gird him like Humdn and Nastihan - That shadowing cypress-tree which in a breath Evanished from the copse? And now to arms ! I will not leave the Iranians field or fell, But, by God's strength and our sharp scimitars, Bring down upon that folk the Day of Doom." Such in the herds of horses as were fit He brought at once to camp from every side. He mounted all the infantry and gave To each of them two chargers fit for service. Then, opening a hoard laid up of yore, Began to make disbursements from his store. Par. 22 How Piran asked Succour from Afrasiyab This done, Piran, about the hour of sleep, Sent to Afrasiyab a messenger, Shrewd, well advised, and old, of ready speech, A warrior, a cavalier, and brave, Thus saying: "Go, say to the Turkinan king :- O righteous king who seeketh diadems! Since first the vault of yonder lofty sky Revolved above the sad, dark dust of earth |p76 No king like thee hath sat upon the state; The name of king hath not pertained to any; None else is worthy of the throne, to bind The girdle on, and compass crown and fortune. The Ruler of the world will send up dust From those that meet thee on the day of battle. A slave am I and guilty in thy sight In that I did not follow thy shrewd counsels. The Shah hath been much plagued by Kai Khusrau, And all through me, but yet I am not conscious That I did wrong; it was the will of God; What hath been hath been, much talk will not profit. The monarch, if he seeketh good in me, Will spare and pardon. Now I send him tidings How heaven hath been dealing with his slave. I led mine army to Mount Kanabad, And checked the progress of the Iranians; Upon their side a mighty host advanced, Led by Gudarz and other generals; No greater host since Minuchihr was Shah Hath issued from fnin against Turan. They took up their position at Raibad Upon the mountains. For three days and nights The hosts faced one another like two leopards. We did not take the offensive for we thought:- 'Perchance the foe will march out on the plain.' Gudarz however was content to wait, And would not leave the mountains; then Human, My brother, that world-conqueror, longed for fight, And went to challenge the Iranians ; I know not what possessed that lion-man. The son of Giv came out, encountered him, And having slain him turned my head with sorrow. Who ever knew a lofty cypress-tree Killed by a blade of grass? This broke the hearts Of our chief men, and happiness was dashed |p77 By grief; moreover noble Nastihan, With twice five thousand proven cavaliers, Departed from me at the break of day, And perished by the mace-blows of Bizhan. Grieved to the heart I led the army on, And went forth shouting to the battlefield. We fought in force till night rose o'er the hills, But when nine hundred of the king's great men Were headless on the field, and of the rest The more part had been wounded to the heart With grief, their bodies by the scimitar,' The Iranians gat the upper hand of us. Their purpose of revenge is absolute, And I am fearful that the turning sky Will wholly cease to favour us. Since then Ill news have reached me and perturbed me more, That Kai Khusrau is coming with a host To aid his general in this campaign. If this prove true the king is ware that I Can not encounter them unless he set, With his fierce troops, his face toward Iran, Take part in this campaign, avert this evil, And make revenge the girdle of his loins, For if we perish by the Iranians' hands None will be left to take revenge for us!" The messenger on this went like a blast. He mounted swift as fire upon a courser - A mighty beast whose feet were like the wind - And journeyed, till he reached Afrasiyab, Without a halt for breathing, rest, or sleep. He came swift as a blast before the king, First kissed the throne, then told his tale. The monarch, On hearing from Piran such woeful tidings, Ggrew sorely troubled and his colour changed. He was heart-broken, grieving for the slain, |p78 Whose hap became to him a lasting sorrow; He grieved too that his army had been worsted, And country harried. War pressed everywhere, The world was strait to him in his distress; Still, having heard the message of Piran, And seeing that his troops maintained their ground, He blessed the general and showed joy. His heart Grew brighter. Then he called the messenger, Bestirred himself, took counsel all that night, And when at dawn he donned the crown anew He gave the messenger an interview. Par. 23 The Answer of Afrasiyab to the Letter of Piran The monarch bade the messenger return To brave Piran, that man of prosperous counsels, With this reply: "O warrior famed and true! Since thy pure mother bare thee thou hast made Thyself my shield. Thou standest first with me, And rankest o'er the other paladins, Still choosing toil in all affairs with all Thy wealth for me, conducting hosts Iranward From Chin, and blackening foes' hearts and fortunes. Prince and the paladin of earth art thou; A thousand blessings be upon thy soul Thy friendship dateth from Pashang and Tur ; The heaven raiseth not a paladin, The army seeth not a general, And no sage girdeth up his loins, like thee. First for thy saying: 'I was most to blame For Kai Khusrau's escape and his revenge.' Know thou that I, the king, am not aggrieved, And never laid the matter to my heart, So let not thine be straitened for this cause |p79 Or fear disgrace. God will accomplish what He hath decreed, and needeth not a teacher. Call not Khusrau my grandson : it is false, Because his Grace deriveth not from me. I will not ever be a grandsire to him, Or take advantage of our hinsmanship. In this affair of his none is to blame; Nor do I strive against the Omnipotent What happened was according to His will; Why then should my heart be aggrieved at thee? And secondly thou speakest of the army, And of the bias of sky, sun, and moon ; But heaven's bias is not all one way, It giveth sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy; Be not heart-broken then on this account, Impose not chains like these upon thy soul. Thus is it written in respect of warfare The sky abandoneth all sides in turn, It raiseth to the sun and casteth down. To talk about the slain is but to dream; Forgo not to take vengeance for thy brother; The heart in anguish for a brother's loss Will not be cured by leeches' remedies. Thou sayest thirdly: 'Kai Khusrau hath left His throne and cometh with his army hither.' The tidings that have reached thee: 'Kai Khusrau Is coming from his kingdom,' are not true, For it is Tus, the general, with his troops That is upon the march to Dahistan ; May no one ever look upon the day When he shall outstrip us, for I myself Will lead the host o'er the Jihun at dawn. I will not spare Gudarz, Khusrau, or Tus, Or throne, or crown, or troops, or kettledrums, But so attack Iran that none shall see The Shah's throne more. I will not leave the world |p80 For Kai Khusrau, but take him unawares, And let his mother mourn a headless son, Unless the will of heaven be otherwise. Oh noble veteran ! God hath suffered thee To lack for naught ; all that thou wouldst is thine Of men, of treasure, and of might of hand. A splendid force of thirty thousand men - Intrepid, shrewd, and gallant cavaliers - Behold ! I have dispatched to reinforce thee, And brighten thy dark mind, for ten Iranians Would look but small compared with one of these. On their arrival tarry not a day, Deprive Gudarz of both his head and crown, Drag off with thine own steeds the very mountains Whereon he hath entrenched his host, and when Thou hast the victory be not slack in bloodshed." The envoy, having heard the monarch's message, Came to the captain of the host. PIran, On hearing, called the troops. The messenger Repeated all the words, which gave good heart To all and freed them from their griefs, albeit PIran was inly sorrowful of soul, His heart was full, his fortune soiled, he saw His king's host shrunk by battle everywhere, He feared withal an onslaught by Khusrau, And thus he prayed : "O Thou, the Omnipotent ! What marvels happen in this life of ours ! No outcast he whom Thou hast set on high ! Save Thee there is no world-lord, none abiding. Khusrau for instance ! Who supposed till now That he would be a king ? How turning fortune Hath helped a self-made man ! From withered thorns He bringeth forth fresh roses, and for him His sleepless fortune turneth dust to musk ! Do one more marvel: let that noble man Possess his soul in sorrow evermore ! |p81 Between two kings - a grandsire and a grandson - I know not why this battlefield is needed. What with two warlike monarchs of two realms, What with two armies serried face to face, How can I tell the issue of this strife And fortune's trend ? " Then wailing bitterly He prayed : "O glorious and almighty Judge If on this battlefield Afrasiyab, With other nobles of the Turkman host, Shall perish in the struggle, and the head Of all our fortunes shall be overthrown When Kai Khusrau shall come forth from Iran For vengeance, and the world be turned to him, I am content to have my breastplate pierced, And that the Omnipotent should take my soul. Ne'er may these eyes of mine behold the man That followeth the course that I have followed, For unto him whose daily course is run In disappointment life and death are one." Par. 24 How the Iranians and Turanians fought a pitched Battle Now when the sun spread out its gold brocade The ocean of the plain of battle heaved, A war-cry rose from both contending hosts, And earth shook underneath the horses' hoofs ; On every side the troops advanced in force, And all the plains and hills were clad in mail. Both chieftains, both like leopards, mustered all Their powers for that encounter. Arrows showered Like rain descending from a darksome cloud. The world was like a winter's night for murk, |p82 But what a murk! Its rain was shafts and swords ! The earth was iron with the horses' hoofs, The warriors' breasts and hands were red with gore. So many headless corpses strewed the field, That there remained no longer room to turn, Or passage for the horses' feet; the earth Was tulip-hued, the air like indigo, And waves ran high upon that sea of blood. Both chiefs said: "If our warriors thus maintain The fight by nightfall nothing will be left Save heaven, the world, and God!" Now when PIran Saw how the battle went he bade Lahhak And Farshidward : "Dispose in three divisions What troops ye have efficient to restore The fight, and let the shrewdest of the three Compose our rear while ye march to our flanks." He bade Lahhak to lead his troops in mass Toward the heights, and Farshidward withal His toward the stream, and raise dust o'er the sun. As those Turanian chiefs led on their men, Intent on fight, a watchman of Iran Sent forth a messenger to tell Gudarz, But he was with his army, on the watch, And when, along the route whereby they came To fall upon their foemen unawares, Lahhak and Farshidward sent up the dust From both the flanks the Iranian cavaliers Closed with the foe and mixed the dust with blood, While messengers from all sides came in haste To tell the paladin, who looked to see What warriors he had still keen for fight. His noble son, Hajir, that angry Lion, Was in reserve with shaft and sword; Gudarz Bade him to go to Giv, the army's Stay, Bid him send reinforcements toward the mountain |p83 And river, and withal leave in his stead Some valiant man and hurry to the front. Thereat the brave Hajir girt up his loins, And sped forth to his brother with that charge. Giv chose at once a man of high renown - A warrior named Farhad - and having called him Committed to his hands the chief command; Then ordered Zanga, son of Shawaran, With ten score valiant veterans to fall On Farshidward and raise the dust from stream And mountain. Swift as wind he gave Gurgfn, Son of Milad, two hundred with a standard, And said: "Lead hence thy glittering spears and maces, Display thy prowess and assail the foe, For their supports are broken and their chiefs Downhearted in the strife." Then to Bizhan He said: "O lion-man! a rending Tiger Art thou upon the battle-day, and now Thy lion-manhood will bestead thee well, For thou must fight the foe. Our army's hopes Are set on thee and thou must take the field. Spare not the enemy, expose thyself; The time for battle and revenge hath come. Go to the centre and engage Piran, For all his country hath its stay in him, And he will burst his skin at sight of thee. If thou shalt conquer him our work is done; May God and thy good fortune be thine aid. Then will our soldiers rest from toil and stress, Our world-possessing Shah will be rejoiced, Thou wilt obtain much treasure and much goods, And thy prosperity will be assured; 'Twill break the backbone of Afrasiyab, And fill his heart with blood, his eyes with tears." When Giv had ceased, his son girt up his loins, |p84 And urged his steed on like Azargashasp. Those heroes fell upon the foemen's centre, As they were lions on a hunting-day, Bestriding windfoot steeds with outstretched necks, And satisfied the vengeance of their hearts. The horsemen and mailed chargers of Turan Were scattered by the onset o'er the plain. What numbers fell beneath the horses' feet, Their grave the lion, mail their winding-sheet! Par. 25 How Giv fought with Piran and how Giv's Horse jibbed When, from the rear, Ruin, son of Piran, Observed the onset with its cloud of dust He issued from the mighty Turkman host With other nobles, as they had been wolves, And like a stout pard grappled with the foe. He struggled but prevailed not in the strife; Then flung away his Indian scimitar, And showed his back despairing of the battle. Piran the chief with none of his own kin Stayed at his post amazed. Giv, seeing him, Wheeled to attack, and of the body-guard Speared four and flung them vilely to the ground. Plraan, the son of Wisa, strung his bow, And showered arrows on his enemy, While bold Giv held his shield above his head, And with his spear came charging like a wolf, But, when he sought to fall upon Piran, His charger jibbed. Enraged he lashed his steed, And seethed, and cursed the foul, malicious Div ; Then with his shield of wolf-skin o'er his head, He dropped his spear, strung up his bow and drew it In hope to pin Piran's hand to his shield. |p85 Four times he hit Piran's breast, thrice his steed, But neither horse nor rider suffered aught. Piran, on Giv's companions drawing near, Fought yet more fiercely, charging him like smoke, To wound him and defeat his valiant troops. Giv too rushed forward and dishelmed Piran, But hurt him not, and Giv was vexed at heart. Bizhan approached and said: "My glorious sire I heard our monarch say: 'Piran will fight In many a fierce engagement and escape The clutch of sharp-clawed Dragons, but Gudarz Will take his life at last.' Strive not so fiercely With him, my sire! His time hath not yet come." Giv's troops, brave men and full of wrath, came up Whereat Piran turned toward his own array With groans, in dudgeon, and with livid face, And, when he reached Lahha,k and Farshidward, Said: "O my men of name, brave Hearts, and swordsmen! It was because of moments such as these That erst I fostered you upon my breast. Now when the host hath come forth to the fight, And when the world is black to us with foes, I have not seen one come before the host, And battle there for glory!" At his words The chieftains' hearts breathed vengeance. As they fared They said: "If we have not unsullied souls We need not be in terror for our bodies. Bind we our skirts together,' ne'er must we Relax our girdles from this strife." They went, Lahhak and Farshidward, to challenge Giv, And brave Lahhak thrust at his girdle, hoping |p86 To bring him from his saddle headlong down. The coat of mail was shivered by the shock Yet Giv lost not his stirrups, and his spear Pierced the swift charger of Lahhak. It fell In agony. Lahhak regained his feet While Farshidward rode up and with his sword Struck at the spear of Giv as quick as wind, Clave it in twain and gloried in the stroke. Giv, when he saw the blow of Farshidward, Drew from his girdle his huge mace and bellowed Like some fierce-breathing dragon. With one blow He sent the falchion from his foeman's hand, Struck him another blow upon the neck, And rained a fiery shower upon his body, Which made his blood from mouth to liver tingle, Took all his strength away and dazed his head. While Giv was thus engaged Lahhak bestrode As rapidly as smoke a wind-foot steed, And those two warriors with mace and spear All lion-like attacked Giv, many a blow Rained on him from those valiant chieftains' maces, Yet sat he firmly on his pard-skin saddle, And that contention frayed him not a whit. Now when Lahhak and Farshidward encountered Such stout resistance from that lion-man They said to one another in fierce wrath :- "Ill hath descended on us from the stars ! He on yon saddle hath a brain of brass," Thou wouldest say, " on chest but lion's hide ! " Giv called to his companions for a spear, And wheeled to right and left in his attack, But neither of the twain was overthrown. He thought : "A novel task confronteth me ! The chiefs have come not from Turan, but divs Out of Mazandaran ! " Upon Giv's right |p87 Guraza with a mace of Ruman steel Came dust-swift to encounter Farshidward. He rode a charger camel-like in bulk, And aimed a blow; the wary Turkman ducked, And with his spear struck at Guraza's belt, But failed to pierce the mail. Then sword in hand Bizhan came lion-like to help Guraza, And smote upon the helmet Farshidward, Whose prowess rent the earth. Bizhan then sought To clutch his foeman's helm with his right hand ; His foeman stooped ; Bizhan's attempt was foiled. Behind Bizhan came Gustaham in haste, And other nobles of Iran withal Nigh the Turanian host, with anxious hearts And eager for the fight. Andariman Came rushing dust-like to encounter them, And let fly with the mace at Gustaham To break his ribs ; he parried with his sword, Which snapped in twain and filled his heart with fear. Hajir came up to aid those warriors, And showered arrows on Andariman, Whereof one struck the saddle, piercing through The horse's mail, and horse and life grew strangers. The rider disengaged himself, held up His shield above his head, and rose crestfallen. The Turkmans shouted, and their cavaliers, Who charged like divs, made shift to bear him off In presence of the foe. From morn, till night Rose o'er the hills, the horsemen on both sides Kept sending up the dust of war, and mixed The earth with blood until all spirit went From steeds and cavaliers, and mouths gave o'er, For they could raise the battle-cry no more. |p88 Par. 26 How Gudarz and Piran arranged a Battle of Eleven Rukhs Now, when earth's face turned ebon, from both hosts The drums and trumpets sounded, and the drummers Upon their elephants made haste to leave The scene of action. Both the hosts agreed :- "Since night hath fallen we will quit the field, And in the morning choose us valiant men, Men that would send dust from the ocean's depths, Men of renown and eager for the fray,. To meet in single combat; thus our troops Will be relieved and shed no more the blood Of guiltless folk." This settled, they withdrew, And thought that they had made the long road short. The two chiefs, both perturbed at that last fight, Turned from the strife, one toward Mount Kanabad, ' The other toward Raibad. Gudarz sent out His scouts. The troops were galled by mail and helm, Their hands and falchions were adrip with blood; They loosed the fastenings, put off mail and casque, And, with their bodies freed from iron burdens, Began to feast and drink. Then young and old Alert went to the paladin for counsel. Giv said: "My father! what strange hap was mine When I had broken through the foemen's ranks, And come upon Piran, my charger jibbed, And would not stir a foot. Thou wouldst have said That in my wrath I should behead my friend. Then was it that Bizhan recalled to mind, And told me of, a presage of the Shah's That by thy hand Piran will die." "My son!" Gudarz replied, " my hand will take his life |p89 Assuredly, and in God's strength shall I Avenge on him my seventy sons beloved." Gudarz then viewed the host and saw it worn With bloodshed, stress of war, and combating, And, grieved to see his noble folk thus wan, Dismissed them to recruit. They event their ways, And at the dawn returned equipped and vengeful. They greeted him: "Famed paladin of earth ! Hast risen refreshed by sleep? Dost purpose fight?" He answered: "Noble and illustrious chiefs Be instant, all of you! by night and day In blessings on the Maker, for till now The war hath met our wishes. Many a marvel Have I experienced, and known this world As one of changes. Many men like us The sky hath fashioned, reaping what itself Sowed with delight. I instance first Zahhak, The unjust, who rose to kingship. How he straitened The world and yet its Maker suffered him! Vile as he was, and noted as a tyrant, The breezes wafted him supremacy! Thus many years passed over his ill-doings; Then God sent evil on the miscreant, The Judge endured no longer his injustice, And raised a just man to dispose of him. The glorious Faridun, that righteous Shah, Girt up his loins to win the empiry, Unloosened all the coil of Ahriman, And decked the earth throughout with righteousness. From miscreant and ill-disposed Zahhak, A man vituperated by our Shahs, The taint descended to Afrasiyab, Who looketh not upon the face of good. When he enlarged his vengeance on Iran He left the path of justice, law, and Faith; At last he slew the noble Siyawush, |p90 And robbed our country of the breath of life. When Giv came to Turan how many hardships Awaited him! his bed was dust, his pillow A stone, he lived on game, wore leopard-skin, And wandered like a madman till he found The traces of Khusrau and did him homage. When they had set their faces toward Iran, And news reached fierce Piran, he with his host Sped after to destroy them by the way, And did what harm he could, but God's protection Sufficed. Then in revenge for Siyawush Our army marched toward the Kasa rud, And at Ladan, when mighty hosts had gathered, And at the camisado of Pashan, How many of my sons were slain before me While all our chiefs lost heart! Piran again Hath come to fight and now confronteth us, But feeling weak he will procrastinate By ruse and parle till reinforcements come. Now he is challenging our chiefs to combat, And we must be prepared, for if we show Unreadiness or weakness he will find Excuse of some sort to avoid a battle. If they will fight us let us send the dust Out of their men of name; and if Piran Will keep his word and meet us on the field I swear to you that I will fight and give, White-headed as I am, my body up For slaughter in the presence of our troops. I and the brave Piran, Ruin, and Giv, Will quit ourselves like men, for none abideth For ever here, our fame alone will stay, And best it is to leave a lofty name, Since death will fling its lasso at us all; The end is one to die or to be slain, We can but little trust the turning sky; |p91 And by the self-same token do ye likewise, Armed with your lances and man-slaying swords, Gird, all of you of any name, your loins For vengeance, for our foemen's fortune falleth, And we must strike at once. Hiumin who fought With brave Bizhan had no peer in Turan ; But since when fortune turned he was o'erthrown, Beheaded wretchedly, and rolled in blood, We need not fear them or withdraw ourselves. If single combat pleaseth not Piran, And he shall lead his army forth like dust, We too must go forth like a mountain-mass, And counter him for, since our foes are downcast And fearful, sure am I that we shall gain The mastery and make them reek to heaven." The noble veterans blessed him, saying thus:- O O chieftain, true of heart and pure of Faith! Ne'er since God made the world hath man beheld A paladin like thee. Yen Faridun - The ruler of the world - had no such servant. Thou art the army's stay, the Shah's chief captain, Through thee the warriors exalt their helms. Thou bast devoted children, life, and goods, And what can Shahs ask more of their commanders? All that the Shah required of Fariburz, And Tus, he will behold achieved by thee. We are thy slaves; our hearts are full of love For thee. If now Piran shall bring a thousand Against our ten, see which will turn from strife! But should he come to fight on plain and mountain In full force we are all heart-sore for vengeance, Our loins are girt for war. Oh! may we give Our lives for thee ! To that we all are pledged." Gudarz was bright of heart at this, and cried:- O O paladins of our earth-ruling Shah ! Such ever is the wont of warriors, |p92 Of noble Lions and brave cavaliers." He bade the troops to mount and gird themselves For fight, dispatched sun-faced Farhad to lead The left wing, where Ruhham had been, and sent Katmara, a descendant of Karan's, In haste to lead the right wing in the stead Of Fariburz, and ordered thus Shidush :- "My son and ready minister in all! Be thy place in the rear with Kiwa's flag, And troops to give support to all the rest." He then commanded Gustaham : "Go to, Lead for the nonce, assume the chief command, Be watchful, prudent, and the army's stay." He issued orders: "Let no man advance Beyond his post, look ye to Gustaham, And be both night and day upon the saddle." A cry rose midst the host, the soldiers mourned, And hastened. to Gudarz, dust on their heads, Because their leader with his hoary hair Had girt his loins, and went to fight in person. Gudarz called Gustaham, gave him advice, And said to him: "Be thou a trusty guard Against the foe, be watchful night and day In mail and ready for attack, unhelm not, For, if thou shalt begin to be remiss, Sleep will assail thee, and the sleepless foe Will fall upon thee while thy head is nodding. Maintain a watchman on the mountain-top, And let the soldiers feel themselves secure. If from Turin by night and unawares They fall on us by way of ambuscade Thou must display the valour of a man And warrior's prowess. Should ill tidings come About us from the army of Turan - That they are slaying us upon the field, And bearing to Turan our trunkless heads - |p93 Avoid a battle and abide three days, For on the fourth will come the famous Shah To help with Grace and power." Gustaham Received the proffered counsels and, resolved To act with loyalty, this answer gave:- "I will obey thy bidding like a slave." Par. 27 How Piran harangued his Men of Name Since that last fight disastrous to Turan The troops were sorry and dispirited, Sons with wan cheeks lamented for their sires, And brothers were in grief for brothers slain; Thus were they full of mourning and in dudgeon High heaven loured. above them. When Piran Perceived that all his host was as a flock Rent by a ravening wolf he called the chiefs, And spake at large: "Experienced warriors, Worn, young and old alike, with combating ! What majesty, what rank and dignity, Are yours in presence of Afrasiyab ! Ye have a name for glory and success, Ye had the world at will, but now, because Defeated once, ye will not fight at all ! Know that if we retreat in cowardice The lusty leaders of Iran will come With massive maces in pursuit, and lord And liege see none of us alive again. Now put away these terrors from your hearts, And bear your griefs with equanimity. There is a saying current with archmages :- It is the part of God to conquer always: As for the world 'tis full of ups and downs, |p94 And such that we walk fearfully therein. This host that now attacketh fled from us Erewhile. Let all of you that have regard For country and for child, for life and kindred, Gird them for vengeance on the Iranians. Gudarz hath made a compact with me, saying:- 'I will make choice of chieftains from the host, Then let us set our champions face to face, Allowing both the armies to repose.' If he shall keep his compact, and produce His chieftains at their stations, be it so ; Or if he shall advance to fight in force We will go forth with eagerness to battle. Then if we give our heads up to the sword There is a day for birth, a day for death; Or if not I will set their heads on stakes; The turn of fortune maybe either way. I will behead the man that disregardeth These words of mine." At once the warriors answered:- O O paladin of great Afrasiyab ! Though from of old thou hast had throne and treasure Still hast thou chosen travail for our sakes, Girt up thy loins before us like a slave, And givest son and brother to be slain. Why then should we, thy slaves, avert our heads They spake and left the presence of Piran, And every one made ready for the fray. They spent the livelong night in taking order For all things as their prudent chief had bidden. At dawn the sound of trump and pipe arose Before his tent-enclosure, and the chiefs Were in the saddle with their bows and arrows. Thou wouldst have said: "Earth maketh for itself An iron veil of horseshoes." Then Piran Said to Lahhak and Farshidward : "Great chiefs! |p95 The safety of the army of Turan Must be your care upon this battlefield. Set ye a watchman on the mountain-top To watch by day and count the stars. If ill Should come upon us from the turning sky, And it shall wholly cease to favour us, Be ye not hasty to engage in battle, But fall back swift as smoke upon Turan, Since none, or few, except yourselves are left Of Wisa's seed, for all the rest are slain." With bitter tears and heart-felt grief they clasped Each other to the breast and then departed With lamentations on their several ways. Piran the chief, full of revenge, rode out Upon the field and raised his battle-shout. Par. 28 How Gudarz andprun chose the Warriors for the Battle of the Eleven Rukhs Piran perceived Gudarz and held a parley. "Wise paladin," he said, " how many souls Thou torturest ! But will it benefit The soul of Siyawush to cause Turan To reek? His soul is with the good in heaven; Now that he resteth why not rest thyself? Two armies hast thou flung upon each other Like elephants beheaded. All the troops Of two realms have been slaughtered, and 'tis time For thee to quit the battlefield. The world Is void of men. We battle coldly. Why Must thou destroy the guiltless ? Let us make A pact. If thou desirest so revenge Advance thy soldiers from the mountain-foot, And come thyself before them; then perchance |p96 Thou wilt attain the vengeance that thou seekest. We - thou and I - will wheel upon this field Of battle and the others in like manner, And those of us who gain the victory Shall sit on thrones with every wish fulfilled. If I shall perish by thy hand forbear Revenge upon the soldiers of Turan, Who shall submit to thy commands and give Their chiefs as hostages for their good faith; But shouldst thou perish by this hand of mine, Together with the nobles of thy host, I fight not with thy troops, and they have naught To fear from me." Gudarz, on hearing, marked How fortune darkened all Piran's endeavours, First offered praises to the Omnipotent, Then, calling to his mind the noble Shah, Made answer: "I have heard thee, famous chief! Throughout. In that way did Afrasiyab Get profit from the blood of Siyawush - Speak out, turn not away - when they cut off His head as 'twere a sheep's what time his heart Was full, his liver pierced ? Afrasiyab Thereafter sent a cry up from Iran With all his slaying, raiding, strife, and turmoil.' 'Twas on thine oath that Siyawush relied, And lightly didst thou give him to the wind; Then when my son approached thee afterward Thou didst reject my counsel, and make ready In fiery haste for war. My prayer hath been, Both publicly and privily, to Him, Who ruleth o'er the world, that I some day Might meet thee in the fight; and now that thou Hast come there is no room for tarrying, So let us twain, with our hoar heads, contend |p97 Upon this battlefield. Do thou now choose A band of champions to encounter mine, Experienced chiefs with maces, swords, and lances, And let them strive together till they bring Their foemen's heads to dust." The Turanian chief Made ready and chose out ten cavaliers, Who sped forth from the centre to the place Of combat, where no eyes were watching them. This was the compact made between the chiefs - That every Turkman warrior should encounter One from Iran. They matched Giv with Gurwf As peers in strength and pluck - Gurwi, the son Of Zira, whom of all the foe the Shah Most loathed, Gurwi who, seizing by the beard The spotless Siyawush, beheaded him. With Fariburz, the son of Kai Kaus Kulbad, the son of Wisa, hastened out, Ruhham, son of Gudarz, went with Barman In company but as antagonists, Guraza went with Siyamak, fierce Lion With snorting Crocodile. The old Gurgin, A Lion too, went with Andariman. Ruin the brave, who robbed the world of lustre In fight, went with Bizhan, the son of Giv, Akhast with Zanga, son of Shawaran, And Barta with Kuhram, the good at need, While Furuhil came forth with Zangula With all speed from the centre of the host. Hajir and Sipahram, as 'twere two divs, Sent up the war-cry on the battlefield. Gudarz, son of Kishwad, paired with Piran, And all were ready for revenge and strife. The generals, as much opposed by duty As by religion, were athirst for blood, |p98 And sware together not to quit the field Till one of them had proved victorious. Between the armies and commanding them There were two hills, the one was toward Iran, The other toward TAran, and to the plain Betwixt them went the lucky and the luckless. Gudarz said: "Let each warrior and man Of blood that conquereth his Turkman foe Bring from the spot his banner to this hill." Piran, the chieftain, had his standard raised, And gave like orders, on the other height. Then they descended to the level ground, With girdles tightly girt for shedding blood, And with their lassos, falchions, bows, and arrows, Essayed all modes of fight. As for the Turkmans - Those gallant chieftains - had a mountain faced them They would have levelled it anon, so well They plied their heavy maces, swords, and shafts, And yet their hands were slack, for God had barred The door of might against them, they were trammelled Within a net of bale for having shed Much blood without just cause, their chargers jibbed, And thou hadst said of them: "Their feet are hobbled." Among the Turkmans everything went wrong Because their day was over, and their blood Quaked. Thus the Maker of the world ordained, And thou hadst said: "Earth hath them in its grip." With all the manhood that they had they strove 'Gainst fortune for the honour of their throne, And in their fight for sovereignty surrendered Their heads without reserve for fame and glory. Both sides came rushing to the battlefield, And strove together, yet Piran the chief Knew inly that the evil day had come, (Such is the process of high heaven above - The source to thee of grief and happiness ! ) |p99 But saw that fighting was his only course; The tyrant's turn it was to suffer force. Par. 29 How Faraburz fought with Kulbad First, Fariburz, that gallant warrior, Came speeding lion-like and, having strung His bow, attacked Kulbad, the son of Wisa. He wheeled about but, since his arrows failed, Unsheathed with his right hand his glittering sword, And clave his foeman's body to the waist. Alighting he undid his royal lasso, Secured Kulbad upon his charger's back, And, having loosed the fastenings of his mail, Rode to the hill triumphantly, exclaiming:- "Oh! may our leader be victorious, And all our Shah's foes liver-stricken thus!" Par. 30 How Giv fought with Gurwi Next there went out Gurwi, the son of Zira - A valiant div - with Giv, son of Gudarz. They fought long with their spears and mixed the dust With blood till with the horsemen's combating Their spearheads dropped affrighted at the fray. They took their bows and arrows and fought on. Giv purposed to dismount his foe alive, And carry him still living to Khusrau - A novel present to him from the Turkmans. Gurwf, when Giv was closing, dropped his bow In terror and laid hold upon his sword, But gallant Giv came charging furiously, |p100 While grasping in his hand an ox-head mace, And, roaring like a mighty leopard, struck His foeman's casque and drenched his face with blood. Giv, keeping his own seat, put forth his hand And, seizing, strained Gurwi against his breast, Who, fainting in the saddle, fell to earth Insensible. The warrior-pard alighted, Bound his foe's hands firm as a rock behind him, Then, mounting, made his prisoner run in front, And rode toward his comrades. Flag in hand He scaled the hill; his shouts brought down the mountains. The king of earth had given him grace to win That triumph and he blessed the paladin, Par. 31 How Guraza fought with Siyamak Next Siyamak of the Turanian host Went with Guraza to the battlefield, Both spear in hand and both with cries like those Of maddened elephants. The chiefs were all Wrath, rancour, and revene. Anon they took Their massive maces, raged" like warrior-lions, And smote each other on the head. Their tongues Were cracked with thirst, they closed in furious fight, Alighted, clutched, and raised the dust of strife. Guraza put his hands forth like a lion, And as a storm-blast bent his foeman down; Then dashed him to the ground with violence That brake his bones; he yielded up the ghost. Guraza in the same breath bound the corpse Upon his steed, swift as Azargashasp Remounted, took the horse of Siyamak, And scaled the hill like one bemused with wine. |p101 He held the glorious flag and proudly went Rejoicing o'er his conquered enemy, The victory of the Shah, and that high fortune Achieved beneath the shadow of the throne. Dismounting then he prayed to God to bless The fortune of earth's monarch with success. Par. 32 How Furuhil fought with Zangula The fourth fight - Furuhil's with Zangula - Was that of combatants like lions loose. In truth there was no warrior in Inin To match in archery with Furuhil, Who, seeing that grim Turkman from afar, Strung up his bow and, bending it, began To shower shafts on Zangula, employing The horsemen's ambuscade. One poplar arrow, Which flew with wind-like swiftness, struck his thigh, Transfixing horse and rider. The fleet steed Came to the ground headforemost with the smart, Unseating Zangula whose face was wan; His head sank and he yielded up the ghost; Full surely he was born for evil days. Then Furuhil leaped down, beheaded him, Stripped off the Ruman armour that he wore, And made his head fast to the saddle-straps, Then took with him the steed of Zangula, And scaled the hill, as he had been a leopard, With breast and hand and sword all drenched with gore. He raised the glorious flag, glad-hearted he At having gained his end triumphantly. |p102 Par. 33 How Ruhham fought with Barman It was Ruhham, son of Gudarz, that made The fifth assay, and fought against Barman. Both seized their bows and shafts of poplar-wood, The war-cry as of valiant horsemen rose. Their bows both shivered and they took in hand Their spears and scimitars. Both warriors, Both brave, both horsemen, shrewd and veteran, Fought long till e'en the combative Ruhham Quailed, yet by thrusting at his foeman's thigh Dismounted him and had him at command. Barman made off like dust, but from the reek Of battle came Ruhham and from behind Thrust yet again and pierced him through the liver. Ruhham trailed him along, rubbed his own face With his foe's blood in wreak for Siyawush, Raised him upon the saddle and there bound him Firm as a rock, with hanging head and feet Below the girths, then mounting brought the corpse Swift to the trysting-place. Ruhham thus won High fortune through the Shah's victorious grace And throne exalted, and began to call Down praise upon him and his kin withal. Par. 34 How Bizhan fought with Ruin In the sixth fight - Bizhan, the son of Giv, Against Ruin - the warriors rushed forth, Strung up their bows and wheeled to left and right, But shot in vain. Then, brazen mace in hand, Bizhan manceuvred for the vantage-ground, |p103 And, with a rush earth-rending, smote Ruin Upon the head ; his helm ran brains and blood. There on the saddle gave he up sweet life, While calling on Piran, the son of Wisa, And from the steed came headlong to the ground - An iron body with a mouth all gore. Ere he had had full joyance of his youth He ventured all for gain and lost it all. The world is full of cark and care, good sooth ! And after every rise there is a fall. Bizhan dismounted lightly from his steed, Like Ahriman upon his fallen foe, And cut his head off with a scimitar; For him was neither grave nor winding-sheet. Bizhan next with his lasso bound the corpse Upon the saddle: there was none to mourn; Then, mounting like a furious elephant, And seizing in his hand his foeman's reins, Bizhan took up his own swift charger's bridle, And hastened hill-ward with his lion-flag, With rusty blue steel rings, in hand, and cried:- "In every contest may our monarch win, And crowned for ever be his paladin." Par. 35 How Hajir fought with Sipahram Hajir rushed seventh from among the heroes - A famous warrior and noble horseman - While Sipahram, Afrasiyab's own kinsman, A hero high in rank and estimation, Essayed fight with the offspring of Gudarz - A cavalier unequalled in the host. They went upon the ground, dark dust-clouds rose, They fought together with their scimitars, |p104 And made sparks stream from iron. Lion-like The brave Hajir confronted Sipahram Right manfully and, in the Maker's name, And by the fortune of the youthful monarch, Struck with his sword the helmet of his foe Upon the crest, and death came then and there. The Turkman tumbled headlong from his steed In miserable plight and drenched with blood. The fortunate Hajir, alighting, bound His foe's corpse firmly on the saddle, mounted His own steed, led the other and departed. He clomb the hill, he blessed his lucky star And glorious country, but acknowledged still In his bright fortune and his might God's will. Par. 36 How Gurgin fought with Andariman Gurgin was eighth and he went out to fight Andariman, one of the Turkman host. Experienced both and veteran they went And chose a battlefield. They wheeled with spears. When these broke down they took their bows, and arrows Rained while the chiefs held up their wolf-skin shields To save their faces. Arrows showered like hail On wolf-skin buckler, helm, and casque. At length Gurgin shot at Andariman a shaft That pinned the Ruman helmet to his head, And as the cavalier reeled with the smart, Gurgin shot yet another, pierced his side, And brought the blood-drops from his eyes with anguish. Gurgin gat down like wind, took his foe's head, And strapped it to the saddle. Having mounted He led the Turkman's charger, and then scaled In haste the hill, his bow slung on his arm, |p105 By God's strength who had sheltered him from hurt, And the victorious fortune of the Shah - The world-lord. Thus returned triumphantly He set the heart-illuming flag on high. Par. 37 How Barta fought with Kuhram The ninth fight was 'twixt Barta and Kuhram, The swordsman: both were men of blood and chieftains. When they had tried all other ways they took Their Indian swords in hand. Then all at once , Kuhram turned face from Barta. Barta smote Kuhram's helm-top and clave him to the chest Fear filled foes' hearts at Barta, who, alighting, Fast to his corken saddle bound Kuhram, And mounted. Shouting up the hill he went Like some fierce leopard. In one hand he grasped His Indian sword, and in the other held His conquering flag. Head-downward on his steed Was flung Kuhram. He cried: "The Shah hath won. His crown is ever higher than the sun." Par. 38 How Zanya, Son of Shawaran, fought with Akhast Tenth went forth Zanga, son of Shawaran, Armed from the warriors and mighty men, And his opponent chanced to be Akhast, Whom none had ever worsted in the fight. Both took their massive maces, and their strife Surpassed all bounds. At length both were o'ercome With their belabourings. Their Arabs jibbed; Thou wouldst have said: "They have no pulses left." |p106 The warriors when the sun began to sink, And when the desert was a-glow like iron, Were so exhausted that thou wouldst have said:- "They cannot stir a step." " Our livers now," They said, " are scorching; let us stay to breathe Awhile, and afterward renew the combat." They went accordingly and led their chargers Apart, and then securely hobbled them. Thereafter, having taken rest, they rose For fight again, and with their lances wheeled Like fire about the centre of the ground, Till Zanga got the better : rending earth He charged and struck Akhast upon the waist, Then flung him headlong from his steed face-downward, And shouted like a rattling thunder-clap Thou wouldst have said: "He split the battlefield!" Alighting, Zanga went and dragged his foe Face-downward through the dust, made shift to lift him, And flung him prone across the saddle-back, Then, mounting his own charger, led the other. Strange! what misfortunes fell upon the Turkmans ! He left the plain and reached the glorious hill, Wolf-blazoned flag in hand. He set it up Before his mates with blessings therewithal Upon the Shah and his chief general. Par. 39 How Gudarz fought with Prian Whenas the ninth hour of the day had passed There was no Turkman left on that broad plain, Their lives had been dissevered by the sword. Thou wouldst have said: "The world is pitiless! For one, whom it is tending with all care, And dowering with days, it will prepare |p107 A night-surprise amid his happiness, And bring upon him obloquy and stress. Both first and last we are the wind's possession, We ask for justice and behold oppression! " Whenas the Turkmans in those luckless combats Had struggled fruitlessly Piran descried None of his champions left upon the field; The leaders of Iran and of Turan Advanced together for their grim revenge, And set earth's surface rolling as they came, Grief in their hearts and vengeance in their heads. The sun paused dust-stayed on that day of battle. Those cavaliers tried every kind of sleight With sword and brand, with lasso and with mace, But Heaven's purposes were brought to pass, Disaster came upon Piran from God; Against that will he had no remedy - The will that made his steed fail under him. Piran saw well enough how matters stood, And knew that God had caused that change of fortune, Yet he acquitted him right manfully, And strove against the purposes of fate. The two chiefs of the host, those shrewd old men, Then took their bows and arrows in their hands. Gudarz chose out a poplar arrow - one That would pierce iron - shot it mightily, And pierced the armour of his foeman's steed, Which shivered, gasped, and fell. Piran fell under; His steed rolled o'er him; his right hand was broken. He struggled out and rose upon his feet. Though knowing well that his last hour had come, And that he could not scape from that dark day, Yet fled he from Gudarz toward the hill, Distressed by running and his injured hand, And gained the top if so the paladin Might not pursue. Gudarz, perceiving this, |p108 Wept bitterly. He feared a change of fortune, Well knowing its'inconstancy and how 'Tis ever prone to tyranny. He shouted "O famous paladin! what aileth thee That thou dost foot it thus like game before me ? Where are thy troops, O captain of the host ! Where all thy might and manhood, arms and heart, Thy treasure and thy wisdom? Prop of heroes! Afrasiyab's main stay! the sun is louring Upon thy king, and fortune utterly Hath turned its face from thee. No room is here For guile, attempt it not. Since thus bestead Ask quarter for thy life that I may bear thee Still living to the Shah. That conquering one Will pardon thee because, like me, thou art A hoary paladin." "Now God forbid! " Piran replied, " God grant that no such ill Befall my latter end and I survive. To beg my life were heaviness indeed! Born was I in the world for death, and I Thus fighting put my neck within thy power. A saying have I heard among the great:- In In this fair world, though many days be past, Inevitable death will come at last.' Herein I have no reason to complain." Gudarz rode round the hill and grieved to find No road. He lighted, took his shield and went, Like those in quest of quarry, up the mount, His shield before him and a dart in hand. Piran descried him, leaped up on the crest, And, arrow-fashion, hurled a javelin Which struck the ancient chieftain on the arm. Gudarz thus wounded by Piran's hand raged For vengeance and sped forth a dart. It hit Piran upon the breast, crashed through his mail, |p109 Transfixed his liver, and came out behind. Piran reeled and his head became distraught; His liver's blood came pouring from his mouth, His soul departed to rejoin his comrades. Thus fortune changeth sides from day to day, It heareth not what counsellors may say, But rendeth, having dipped its hands in bane, The lion's heart and leopard's hide in twain. Now when Gudarz had clambered to the summit He saw Piran o'erthrown in sorry plight, With broken arm and heart, his head in dust, His armour riven and his girdle snapped. "O Lion," said Gudarz, " chief paladin, And warrior bold! the world hath looked on many Like me and thee but will have peace with none!" He stretched his hand out, horrible to tell, Drank of his foeman's blood, smeared his own face Therewith, lamenting bitterly the murder Of Siyawush, then praised the Omnipotent, And mourned before the just Judge for the death Of his own seventy well-beloved sons. He was about to take his foeman's head, But deemed the act unworthy of himself, So raised the banner of Piran beside him, His head and body lying in its shade, And went back to his warriors, while the blood Poured from his wounded arm as 'twere a flood. Par. 40 How Gudarz returned to the Warriors of Iran Meanwhile the vengeful warriors of Iran Descended from the hill toward the host, Their slain opponents bound upon their saddles According to the usages of war; |p110 But since the paladin was not with them A cry ascended both from old and young:- "Perchance Gudarz bath steeped his head in blood, And perished by Piran's hand, through old age." The troops wept bitterly, beholding not Their paladin, but soon amid the dust They saw his flag come flaunting from the field. The drums beat in the camp, dust kissed the sky, The great men, smiling and rejoicing, went To meet him. Said the troops: "The paladin May be returning worsted by Piran, Because he is a lion-hearted hero, And hath been courting combat all his life." Then, while both young and old gave ear, Gudarz Spake, pointed with his finger to the field, And told how fortune had entreated him, Then bade Ruhham to mount and fetch Pfrdn. "Bind him upon the saddle, bring him down," He said, " from yonder height ; and bring besides His armour and his flag, just as they are, But lay no hand upon his belt or loins." Ruhham departed like a rushing wind, Laid on the saddle that illustrious form, Whose mail was drenched with gore, with lasso-coils Bound it securely and conveyed it down. Whenas the warriors and haughty chiefs Beheld Piran's flag from the trysting-place All of them blessed the chief of paladins, And said: "Grand back-bone of the Iranians, And servant of the Kaians' crown and throne Thou hast made both thy body and thy soul A ransom for the host in victory, And in defeat." Gudarz replied: "When war Began to press methought : 'Afrasiyab Will lead his host to this side of the river. |p111 His troops have been at rest from strife and toil While mine are spent with hurry.' So I sent A prudent man and gave the Shah much counsel. I said: 'If now the Turhman king shall bring His host we cannot hold our ground.' Methought :- 'Khusrau will hasten to this battlefield, And when we take the bodies of the slain Upon this scene of vengeance to the Shah, Just as ye have them now upon the saddles, He will rejoice and we shall be advanced, Because this feud of the Iranians And Turkmans came from these now passed away. All praised him: "Ne'er may earth and time lack thee. Whate'er we gain we gain it from thy words, And sun and moon take lustre from thy looks." They went and bore the slain just as they were, But forced Gurwi to walk, a lasso bound His hands, a halter was about his neck. As soon as they approached the main encampment The troops turned out to meet their general With Gustaham the Lion leading them. He came before the gallant paladin, Then kissed the ground and offered praise. He said:- Behold Behold thine army safe and sound. As thou Committed'st it to me so I restore it." With that the watchman's shout came to their ears From Mount Raibad : "The plain is dark as night With dust. A wondrous din of kettledrum And clarion ariseth ; thou wouldst say:- 'The desert is in motion!' Glittering, As 'twere the azure sea, a throne of turquoise Is borne on elephants, the air is glowing With hues of yellow, red, and violet, As 'twere a silken banner, while afar A glorious standard like a cypress-tree |p112 Appeareth, round it are mailed cavaliers, And earth throughout is violet-hued with steel. Flag followeth flag, and some are charged with dragons And some with eagles. In another day They will be here if thus they keep their way." Par. 41 How Lahak and Farshidward bewailed Piran The Turkman watch upon Mount Kanabad Beheld that wonder and came in apace; He said: "Unless mine eyes are dim, unless This sight of mine be dazed exceedingly, God hath wrought havoc on the Turkmans, all Their toils have turned to dust. The Iranians Have come down shouting from their height, and each With flag in hand. That of Piran the chief, I see, is down, his body drenched in gore, While as for those ten warriors who went hence With him, I see them far away o'erthrown, And flung with bloody bodies o'er their steeds. Toward Raibad a cloud of darksome dust Appeareth and the plain is azure-dim. Amidst the warriors is Kawa's standard, While in the vanguard glitter blue-steel swords. The standard of the king of kings appeareth With trump and drum, and earth is ebon-hued." Lahhak and Farshidward went to the look-out, And saw with their own eyes Piran the world-lord, Their chief and brother, slain, and with him those Ten chosen cavaliers, the Turkman champions. There, in the watch-tower, grievously distraught, And wailing for their brother's blood, they cried In their affliction: "O thou Lion, chief Of Turkmans, and undaunted cavalier ! |p113 What do thy greatness and thine uprightness Avail since thou hast willed to quit the world? Our foes have everything for which they toiled; The world hath ended for thee evilly. Who is there to take vengeance for thy sake, And who now will ensue thy precedents? Calamity hath come upon Turan, And on Afrasiyab, and all is lost. We must behead ourselves and whelm in blood Sword, hand, and body." When they called to mind Piran's last charge to them they acted not Upon their own wild words, for he had said To Farshidward, when challenging Gudarz :- "If I am slain abide not with the host, For earth will prove too narrow for our nobles When I am gone, and none of wits be left Of Wisa's race, and if the Iranians Slay us and bring Iran our trunkless heads Our army will ask quarter of Gudarz ; But do not ye demean yourselves so much Make for the waste and ye may yet survive." They went back to their camp, their eyes all Of blood, their bodies failing. All the host Knew that the flock was wandering shepherdless. All were exceeding sorrowful and wept; They burned as though upon consuming fire. They came before Lahha,k and Farshidward With lips that breathed forth deep, cold sighs, and said :- "What shall we do now that our paladin, The back-bone of our host, hath left the field ? Whom will he hearten more to gird his loins, And set an iron helmet on his head ? " They answered: "Who hath limited God's will? He brought it on Piran thus to be slain |p114 In battle wretchedly and miserably, To be beheaded by the scimitar, And have no winding-sheet but grimy dust, What while his foemen hale him here and there With head and mail and raiment drenched in blood. What was to be hath been - Piran hath gone, And all his work and toil have turned to wind. Alive he was the pillar of the host, His soul full of affection for his troops; He was their guardian from the enemy, And under-prized that noble head of his. The other world is his for good or ill, But surely God hath set him with the just. His care for us surviveth his departure He made this compact with Gudarz, and said:- 'I am slain upon the battlefield Thou shalt not punish the Turanian host, But let them have free passage to Turan, Not doing them a mischief in revenge.' The Iranlans will respect the covenant, We feel no apprehension on that score. There are three courses open, only three, So hearken all of you, both old and young! If ye will ask for quarter so resolve Forthwith; if ye will make for home set forward For good or evil; but if ye propose To fight, then let your spears be dipped in blood. Discuss we these then from all points of view, But God's will only can prevail at last. If ye intend to fight delay a while Because Piran asked succour, and the king Hath raised an army which may come in sight At any time, and we shall be avenged. If ye are purposed to return to land, And throne; the Iranlans surely will not hinder. If ye would ask for quarter from the Shah |p115 Ye must bestir yourselves and go at once; Each man of you is master of his fate, And if your hearts are set upon Iran Be not enraged against us brethren twain, For never will we purge our hearts of wrath, And there hath ne'er been one of Wisa's race Whose waist the girdle's buckle hath not galled. Obedient to Piran's last words we go To journey through the desert to Turin, And if the Iranians occupy the road We will contend with them while strength remaineth." Mark what the Turkmans, hearing this, rejoined :- OurOur leader and ten noble warriors Have been slain vilely thus. On the other side Khusrau is seen approaching! Who dare tarry? We have not steeds or arms or feet or wings, We have not treasure, leader, field or fell, We have not strength for fight or road for flight, And have no cause to spite ourselves. If we Retreat, and if Gudarz and Kai Khusrau Come after us with elephants and troops, Not one among us will escape with life, Or see again his home and family. To ask for quarter is no shame for us, Who, great as is our host, are leaderless. Who now will fear the monarch of Turan ? Afrasiyab is but a pinch of dust. Why was he not like Kai Khusrau, who showed What great affection to his troops he owed ? " Par. 42 How Lahhak and Farshidward took the Road to Turan Now, when the host thus answered, those two chiefs - Lahhak and Farshidward arose. They knew:- |p116 "'Tis not their time for war, the troops are right:- A flock without a shepherd perisheth." They bade the rest farewell and then they took The longsome desert route, with flag in hand, With hearts all grief and eyes all tears of blood. They journeyed with ten noble cavaliers - Brave warriors and ready for the fray. Upon the road were horsemen of Iran - An outpost-party and a gallant one. The Turkmans charged, the outpost held its ground, Strife rose unlooked for, earth grew tulip-like With blood. Of those Iranians eight were slain - Brave men and Lions on the day of battle - While of the Turkmans none escaped with life Except those two illustrious warriors, Who went - a gallant pair - upon their way, Like Lions, on their journey through the waste. Then from the look-out cried the Iranian watch:- "Ye nobles and ye gallant fighting men! Two chieftains with ten noble cavaliers Have issued from among the Turkman host; They have engaged our outpost and have mixed The earth with blood. Two Turkmans with their arms Have ridden off, and eight of ours are slain." Thereat Gudarz said: "These must be Lahhak And Farshidward, gone with their necks unbent And hearts as yet unbroken by the fight; If from Iran they journey to Turan Loss will assuredly befall our host; Let him that seeketh honours from the Shah Now set upon his head a Ruman helmet, Pursue Lahhak and Farshidward, and send The dust up from them with his scimitar." Not one among the Iranians volunteered, For they were spent, their reins were galled with iron, Save Gustaham, in fight a lion grim, |p117 Who said: "O thou who dost deserve a throne! On going forth to combat with the Turkmans Thou gavest me the drums, the camp-enclosure, And chief command. While others sought renown I had no share. Now will I compass fame Herein, go forth, and take them in my toils." Gudarz rejoiced and smiled on Gustaham; His cheeks grew fresh, care left him and he said:- "The sun hath given thee a happy fortune ! A Lion thou, thy prey the onager. Go forth, God give to thee His help, and may Three hundred like Lahhak become thy prey." Par. 43 How Gustaham pursued Lahhak and Farshidward Then Gustaham put on his mail, farewelled Such warriors as he saw, and hurried forth To fight those two proud Turkmans, while the troops Among themselves said: "Evil will befall him." Now, like a ship at sea, a Turkman host Came from Afrasiyab to aid PIran, But when they neared the desert of Daghwi, And tidings came to them: "Piran is dead ! Thus went the combat of the champions," They all returned lamenting to their king. Bizhan, informed that Gustaham had gone To fight against Lahhak and Farshidward, Thought: "If he reach Daghwi they must not send The dust up from him on the day of battle." Then with heart wrung with grief for Gustaham He went, like lion grim, to seek his grandsire, And, seeing him, spake loudly and at large:- "O paladin! it sorteth ill with wisdom Thus to surrender every man of name |p118 In thy command to wanton massacre, And make the turning sky responsible ! Two lusty warriors of the Turkman host Have hurried on their way like lions. Both Are braver than Piran or than Human, And nobles of their land by native worth. Now Gustaham hath gone to fight the two! He must be defeated. All our joy Will turn to grief if from our host we lose That lion-man." On hearing this, Gudarz, Perceiving his distress, mused much and long, Took the same view and told the warriors:- "Whower is in quest of name and rank, Let him go after Gustaham with speed To give him aid against his enemies." None of the company returned an answer, None cared for him and none was rested yet. Said to Gudarz Bizhan : "Except myself None of the warriors will succour him, For no one is aweary of his life. I must depart myself since at his case My heart is full of grief, my face of tears." Gudarz replied to him: "O lion-man, Unused as yet to this world's heat and cold! Dost not thou see that we are conquering? Rush not upon this enterprise, my son! For Gustaham will triumph and behead them. Abide and I will send a cavalier, Like lion grim, to help him in the fight, And lay upon the dust his foemen's heads." "O prudent, wise, and ardent paladin! " Bizhan replied, "he must be helped while living, Not when the foes are sending up his dust. When he is slain, and all is over with him, What profit will it be to send a horseman |p119 To find him slaughtered and his head in blood? So order me, who am concerned for him, To gird my girdle tightly in this quest; But if thou sayest : 'Go not,' I forthwith Will cut my head off with this watered steel, For if he dieth I will not survive; So seek no pretext for refusing me." Gudarz replied: "Go after him at once If thou hast no regard for thine own life. Since thou art still insatiate of fight Gird thee and stay not e'en to scratch thy head. Good Booth ! thy heart is cold toward thy sire Though thou dost burn his liver constantly; Thou wilt but cover thine own head with dust; How much I dread thy passion for the fray! " Bizhan bent, kissed the ground, and went his way. Par. 44 How Bizhan followed after Gustaham Bizhan girt up his loins, armed him for strife, And put the saddle on his steed Shabrang. News reached Giv of the doings of Bizhan, How he had armed to fight with Farshidward. Giv sprang up, mounted swift as smoke his Arab, Went to Bizhan, seized on his bridle, dragged him Aside, and said: "How often have I warned thee In vain! Thou givest me no moment's pleasure. Now whither wouldst thou hasten? Grieve me not By every act. What wouldst thou have me do, Hoar as I am? I have no son but thee, And know no happiness when thou art sorry. Ten days and nights hast thou been in the saddle, And borne the vengeful sword against the foe; Thou hast been galled by coat of mail and helm |p120 Wilt thou be never satiate with blood ? Since He that giveth good hath given us The victory, we ought to rest with joy. Why stake thy head before its time? Too much Thou trustest to thy sword. None is successful In this world save he seek his proper end. Forestall not fate so fast, for even now Its eye is on us; for thy father's sake Abandon this; thou shouldst not vex my heart." "O full of wisdom! " thus Bizhan replied, "Men think not thus of thee. Hast thou forgotten The past ? Why fondly turn away from justice ? Know, father ! what thou sayest is unjust. Hast thou forgot the battle of Ladan, The deeds which Gustaham and I performed, And our companionship in weal and woe? If in God's providence the evil day Is imminent no caution will avert What is decreed, and further talk is useless. So strive not to divert me from the fight, For I have pledged my life to this emprise." Then Giv : "If thou art fixed it will be best For us to fare o'er hill and dale together, And I will give thee aid in everything." "Now God forbid that we three warriors," Bizhan said, " of the chiefs of royal race Should chase two craven Turkmans all that way! So by our bright-souled monarch's life and head, By that famed paladin my grandsire's life, And by the blood of Siyawush, return, And let me go. I will not do thy bidding, Because thou sayest : 'Turn away from fight.'" Giv, hearing this, relented and bestowed His blessing on his son, then left him, saying:- "Go conquering and come again with joy, Heart-eased, having bound the hands of evil." |p121 Bizhan made haste to follow Gustaham Lest ill should come upon him from Turan. Now when Lahhak and Farshidward had passed The river, speeding onward like the dust, They journeyed in an hour seven leagues, And felt in safety from the Iranian host. They caught sight of a forest and a stream - A shady resting-place for warriors. Inside the wood were lions, fowl, and game, Trees overhead with grass and stream below. They halted there to hunt, and being thirsty Went to the stream, but still they needed meat, For grief and joy stay not the appetite. They went among the pastures, dropped much game, Then lit a fire and, having eaten kabab, Went to the stream. There Farshidward kept watch, Lahhak reposed. Bright is no warrior's day Whene'er he hath been worsted in the fray. Par. 45 How Lahhak and Farshidward were slain by Gustaham Now Gustaham meanwhile was drawing nigh The spot. His charger smelt the other steeds, Began to neigh, and hurried on apace. The charger of Lahhak by that same token Neighed back again as though it had been mad, While Farshidward came rushing to Lahhak, And roused him from sweet slumber, saying thus:- "Bestir thee from thy pleasant sleep and slay The head of evil fortune like a man, Because a sage once spake this weighty saw :- 'Whenas the lion from the wolf shall flee Let not the wolf go in pursuit, for he Will bring upon himself calamity.' |p122 Ho! rouse thee, for an army from Iran Hath cut us off! " Both mounted, left the meadow, And scanned the plain to see what course to take. They sighted Gustaham far off alone, And, having craned their heads and recognised The foe, spake thus together: "░ One approacheth. It cannot be but Gustaham that cometh, The banner of the brave in hand, to battle. We need not flee unless to draw him on Out to the open; there he shall not 'scape Unless our evil fortune play the tyrant." Thence turned they toward the plain with Gustaham, The vengeful, in pursuit, who drawing nigh Roared like a furious lion, raining arrows Of poplar, and when Farshidward advanced To combat smote him on the head - a sword - stroke That mixed his brains with blood. He tumbled headlong, And yielded up the ghost. So passed away That famous warrior of Wisa's seed. Whenas Lahhak beheld his brother's face, And knew that he was then at peace from strife, He trembled and became distraught with grief, While all turned black to him. His ardent soul Grew sick of life, he strung his bow, came on With weeping eyes and shot at Gustaham. First one shot, then the other. Not an arrow Fell to the ground. Both cavaliers were wounded, Then fought with scimitars, till suddenly The advantage came to Gustaham, who twitched His reins, charged, smote Lahhak upon the neck, And brought upon him Doom's Day in a moment. His head rolled under foot as 'twere a ball, And all his battles and his warfare ended. Such usage hath the turning sky above, |p123 Withdrawing from its fosterlings its love! Wouldst thou its head ? A foot will offered be! Wouldst thou a foot ? The head affronteth thee! So hurt was Gustaham, though not unhorsed, That thou hadst said: "The man will break i in pieces!" Bent down upon his saddle he advanced, And, as he urged his charger, dripped with blood. He came anear a spring, saw stream and shade, Alighted, tied his charger to a tree, And, having drunken largely of the water That he had chanced upon, gave thanks to God, But thou hadst said: "The earth hath bound him down," So writhed he wallowing in the grimy dust, His form all gashes with the scimitar, And said: "Almighty Ruler of the world Of all mine army and my family Inspire affection for me in Bizhan, Giv's son, or other famous warrior, That he may carry me alive or dead Hence to the host that they may know that I Have died with glory, and I ask no more." He moaned till morning and throughout the night Writhed snake-like on the dust in painful plight. Par. 46 How Bizhan beheld Gustahana in the Mead Now when the world grew radiant with the sun Bizhan arrived and roamed the mead to find Some trace of his lost comrade. He descried Far off a dun steed like one ridden post. It pranced and grazed, like leopards at their ease, With saddle underneath and broken reins. |p124 Bizhan descried the saddle upside down, The stirrups and the lasso drenched with blood, A sight whereat his wits abandoned him, And like a roaring lion's was his cry. Thus said he: "O my comrade kind and good! Where hast thou fallen in the pasturage ? My back-bone hast thou broken, bruised my heart, And as for dear life I have done with it. What shall I say? Where shall I seek thee now? What tricks hath yonder sky played off on thee? He followed up the horse-tracks to the spring, And there saw Gustaham upon the mead, His mail and helmet smirched with dust and blood, Himself flung headlong down - a mass of wounds. Bizhan alighted swiftly from Shabrang, And pressed his comrade in a close embrace, Removed the Ruman breastplate that he wore, And took the helmet from his wounded head, Surveyed his body in its stricken plight, Saw that the wounds, whence matter ran, were mortal If left undressed, and that his heart and soul Were filled with grief and anguish. Scanning well These wounds Bizhan lamented o'er him saying :- "O my good comrade ! thou hast gone, and I Have striven but ill. I should have sought thee sooner, And come upon the scene when thou vast fighting. I might have helped thee at the time of need, When thou vast combating with Ahriman, But now the foe hath satisfied his lust And done whate'er he would." The wounded man Was roused and breathing hard replied : "Good friend ! Grieve not for me; thy pain is worse to me Than mine own death. Re-helm my wounded head, And make some shift to bear me to the Shah. God grant that I may live to look on him, |p125 And then I shall not fear the approach of death, For none of us may couch save in the dust. The man who dieth having won his will, And compassed all his purpose, is not dead. Next as for these two cowards, craven foes, Whom God hath slain through me, thou mayst perchance Make shift to carry them upon a saddle, Or, if not so, behead them, and convey Their noble heads and weapons when thou goest That men may understand about this combat; Tell too the Shah, the ruler of the world, That, not in vain, I gave my head to wind, But roughed it everywhere in quest of fame." He pointed out those Turkmans to Bizhan, Far in the distance, slain, and cast away; Then faintness seized his soul. Bizhan, distraught With grief, went to his charger, loosed the girths, Laid, wailing bitterly, the saddle-cloth Beneath the wounded man, tore up his shirt For bandages, and bound the wounds with care. Grief-gloomed of soul he hurried to a hill, Thence spied some scattered Turkman cavaliers Upon the desert, came down swift as lightning, Distraught by dread that Gustaham might die, And all at once of those fear-stricken horsemen Saw from afar two speeding on their way. He loosed his lasso, noosed a Turkman's neck, Flung him, but gave him quarter for his life, And thus obtained a helper for himself. Thence hasting on like dust before the wind He went toward Lahhak and Farshidward, And found them on the ground and drenched with blood, While at their heads their chargers grazed at ease. Bizhan saw all and lauded Gustaham Because he had achieved complete revenge. He bade the Turkman, who had begged his life, |p126 To place those two commanders of the host Upon a saddle, then like some fierce pard Returned to Gustaham, raised him like wind Upon the saddle gently with no pain, And bade that Turkman mount upon the steed, And clasp the wounded man about the waist. The Turkinan travelled at an easy pace, Invoking fervent blessings on Bizhan, Who rode in pain and grief, all soul-distraught For Gustaham - would he avail to bring The wounded man still living to the king? Par. 47 How Kai Khusrau built a Charnel-house for Piran and for the other Chiefs of Turan, and how he slew Gurwi the Son of Zira The day was nine hours old, the sun was leaving The vault of heaven, what time Khusrau, the world-lord, Approached in state his army on the field. The chiefs, the nobles, and the warriors All went afoot to welcome him, the sages Blessed him and said: "Hail, monarch and high priest! " Khusrau was mounted that the troops might see him, And in return saluted, saying thus:- O May earth be ever peopled with the brave." Behind the army like a mountain came Gudarz, such was the custom, with his comrades - These same ten champions, who upon the field Of fight had sent the dust up from their foe - And brought the slain whose heads were hanging down, Whose bodies, arms, and mail were smirched with blood. The champions followed thus behind the host, And in their turn saluted Kai Khusrau. |p127 Gudarz went on his way toward the Shah, And lighted on beholding him far off; Then, having drawn anigh, did reverence, And wallowed in the dust before his lord, Exhibited the corpses of the slain, And told him how the champions had been paired. Giv brought Gurwi, the son of Zira, running Before the valiant leader of Iran ; Khusrau beheld him, deeply sighed, dismounted, And offered praises to the Almighty, saying:- "Praise'be to God, to Him who is our refuge, And gave to us both might and victory ! " The Shah stood up while uttering his praise, And lifted from his head the Kaian crown. He called down blessings from the righteous Judge Both on the paladin and on his troops, And said: "O famous men and fortunate ! Ye are the fire, your foes are only reeds. Gudarz the chieftain and his kin - those men As fierce as fire - have given soul and body, And ta'en the very life-breath from Turan. Now will I share with you my royal treasures, And will not grudge you e'en mine own right hand:' He then surveyed the slain and, when he saw The Turkman general, shed tears of sorrow, Remembering Piran's good offices; His heart burned so that thou hadst said: "It flameth ! " With visage stained with blood-drops from his eyes He made oration o'er that chieftain's death:- "Ill fortune is a Dragon grim and snareth Great lions with its breath; none may escape Through valour, so this sharp-clawed Dragon came. Thou hast been troubled for me all my life, And hast for my sake laboured strenuously. This man deplored the blood of Siyawush, And in that matter gave offence to none. |p128 So friendly was he yet became a foe, And filled the country of Iran with fear, For Ahriman seduced his heart and turned His rede to other ends. Full many a time I counselled him, but he misprized my words. He would not leave Afrasiyab, and now His sovereign hath thus requited him! We wished for him another recompence, Prepared for him a throne and diadem, But matters have gone further than we purposed, And heaven hath turned above him otherwise. Wrong took the place of love within his heart, So that his countenance was changed toward us. He came to fight against you with his host, And slaughtered many of the Iranians, Rejected all the counsels of Gudarz, Mine own injunctions, and my warriors' words, Made havoc of his honest heart's affection, Mixed up together bane and antidote, And when he hasted from Turan to fight His fate was on the javelin of Gudarz. He gave up son and brother, crown and girdle, Arms, men of war, and station, field and fell, All in the quarrel of Afrasiyab, And fate hath come upon him suddenly." He ordered that the body should be washed With musk, pure camphor, and rose-water mixed With spices, and embalmed with musk and camphor, And clad it stainless with brocade of Rum. The mountain was Piran's grave, and Khusrau In his affection had a charnel built, And raised its summit to the turning sky. Within it there were set up princes' thrones, Such as befitted men of high degree. They placed the Turkman paladins thereon With belted waists and crowns upon their heads. |p129 Such is the world in its perfidiousness! It raiseth oft 'and bringeth down no less, So that the sage's heart must ever be, At this'world's process, in perplexity. Khusrau then looked upon Gurwi, the son Of Zira, cursing him as he deserved, Looked on that loathly face wherefrom the hair Hung down like divs', and said: "░0 God! Thou knowest The manifest and hidden. Of a truth Kaus had done amiss and grieved the Maker In that He raised up such a div as this 'GainSt Siyawush. I wot not why Gurwi Should hate that faultless one, but by His might Who ruleth all and giveth good - the Guide - I will have vengeance on Afrasiyab For Siyawush and soon." He bade disjoint Gurwi with cords and fling into a stream, First cutting off, as 'twere a sheep's, the head. "So must I treat Afrasiyab," he said. Par. 48 How the Turanians asked Quarter of Kai Khusrau The Shah abode upon the battlefield Awhile, employed upon the host's affairs, Bestowing kingdoms, crowns, and robes of honour On those that had deserved them; Ispahan, The crown of greatness, and the throne of chiefs, Was given to Gudarz, while those that shared With him the toil and glory of revenge Had robes of honour equal to their meed. Then from the Turkman troops still on the field, O'er whom Piran had held command, there came A prudent envoy to the Shah, and said :- |p130 "We are the slaves and servants of the Shah, And take no step unless at his command. None can escape the providence of God E'en though he be within the Dragon's breath. The monarch is aware what men we are, And for what cause we girded up our loins. The case of Siyawush was not our fault, But Ahriman seduced our monarch's heart. He is a headstrong man and ill-advised, With no respect for chiefs or fear of God, And we have suffered from that day till now, And washed our cheeks in heart-felt tears. At home Our kindred is all sorrowful, our wives And children mourn us. Not through lust of fighting, Not for field, fell, and throne, have we come hither, Yet evil hath befallen us herein, And sires have lost their sons, and sons their sires. If thou wilt give us quarter we will gird Our loins as slaves before thee. We are all Within the gullet of the Crocodile In that we are at warfare with thy host; But in our army there are many chiefs Well worthy of the service of the Shah. We are in fault and he is sovereign; Whate'er we suffer at his hands is well. We will bring all our chiefs to him, but not With any thought of strife or murmuring. If in his heart he harboureth revenge On us, use warranteth beheading foes, While well it is if he shall pardon us: Let him do that which seemeth good to him." Whenas the Shah, that noble man, had heard Their lamentable speech he pardoned them, And bade them come before him. So they came At his desire to seek to clear themselves, And as they laid their heads upon the ground |p131 Their hearts were full, their eyes shed vengeful tears. Then looking up to heaven the monarch said:- "Almighty Judge, our Help! these are the troops That with their heads full of revenge desired To bring the country of Iran to dust, That scatter everywhere the bane that biteth, And fling therein the heads of noble chiefs; But now the Almighty hath so dealt with them That they lack rede and knowledge, foot and head. To Him I stretch my hands, for He sufficeth ; I want no other helper in the world. In this regard a wise man spake a saw, When mounting on his saddle for the fight:- This charger is a shining throne to me, The rest is left to sleepless destiny. In this campaign a crown and throne we seek, Or else the customary bier of teak; Or I may fall within the leopard's claws, Or with my brain replenish vultures' maws.' Your evil deeds recoil upon yourselves As every man of wisdom is aware. I have not washed my hands in blood of yours, Nor will I aggravate your evil plight. Ye are in my protection, one and all, However hostile to my throne ye be. Whower doth desire to stay can stay; He shall experience neither gain nor loss; And whosoever of you would return To his own king, I will not hinder him, For I have no occasion through God's strength For more or less, for labour or for greed." The Turkmans, having heard the Shah's harangue, Removed their casques and owned themselves o'ercome; Though warrior-leopards they became like deer. The monarch of the world bade them surrender Their armour, falchions, spears, and javelins. |p132 Those haughty Turkmans piled up to the moon Their armour for the steeds and Ruman helms, And then they set up all around the heap Their flags of yellow, red, and violet, And sware great oaths: "We all through life will be The servitors and bondslaves of the Shah, And charge our hearts with love for him." Thereon The watchful Shah forgave them their misdeeds Completely, and dispersed them out of hand In various settlements throughout the land. Par. 49 How Bizhan returned with Gustaham Thereafter from the look-out came a cry:- "The dust of horse hath risen from the way; I see afar three steeds, each with a corpse Bound wretchedly upon it, and therewith One cavalier." The Iranian chieftains all Turned to the road their eyes in wonder, asking:- "Who is this warrior of Inin that cometh So hardily across the battlefield ? " Anon Bizhan came riding up; his bow Hung on his arm; Lahhak and Farshidward Were flung across two steeds, all blood and dust, While on another steed was Gustaham, In pain and grief, borne in a Turkman's arms. Bizhan drew nigher still. He laid his face Upon the ground and kissed it when he saw His monarch's head and crown and lofty throne. Khusrau joyed at the sight of him and asked :- "O lion-man ! how went it on the field?" Bizhan then told the tale of Gustaham, |p133 Lahhak, and valiant Farshidward, the plight And wounds of Gustaham, the fight between The cavaliers, and all things great and small. He added: "Gustaham hath one desire, And one not grievous for the Shah to grant He hath a wish to look upon the Shah, And then is ready to give up the ghost." Thereat the Shah commanded in his kindness That Gustaham should be produced before him. Now Gustaham was hurt so grievously That thou hadst said: "He barely draweth breath," Yet at the perfume of the king of kings The warrior writhed and turned toward Khusrau His eyes wherefrom he showered drops of love The monarch bathed his countenance in tears Of blood, the nobles wept as they had been Consuming in fierce fire. Khusrau was grieved To lose a chief whose head beneath his helm Was battle's anvil. From Hushang, Jamshid, And Tahmuras, the Shah inherited An amulet - the hope of wounded men - And ever bare it on his arm but, since His heart was yearning upon Gustaham, He took the precious jewel off and bound it Upon the warrior's arm, and stroked his wounds. He placed by Gustaham physicians brought From Hind, Rum, Chin, Turan, and from Iran By world-wide quest for such contingencies, Recited over him all manner of spells, And thence departing to the place of prayer Much communed with the Maker of the world. Two sennights thus passed o'er the wounded man, Who was restored to health and happiness. They carried him on horseback to the Shah ; The monarch of the world, on seeing him, Said to the Iranians : "Through the grace of God |p134 We all are fortunate and happy now; When we had gained the day did not our grief For Gustaham subdue our mirthfulness? This is in brief the All Provider's love, And not man's knowledge or solicitude." He called Bizhan, the son of Giv, and set In his the hand of gallant Gustahaui, And said: "Know that good fortune is of God; So take not any credit to thyself, Because He ever is the Succourer, And only He can help us in our need. If any dead man ever came to life The World-lord hath so dealt with Gustaham." To Gustaham he said: "In these our days I have not seen a helper like Bizhan. Had he not chosen toil on thine account Who would have seen thanksgivings such as these? The Shah stayed yet a sennight at Raibad, Bestowing drachms, dintirs, and various gifts, While sending messengers on every side To great men and to nobles with commands That they should come to court equipped for war, "For we intend to fight the king of Gang." Now that the battles of Pinin are told, The combatings of Kai Khusrau unfold, And marshal, poet! in thine expert brain The choicest words to tell the vengeance ta'en By that impetuous Shah - the wreak that he Sought on Afrasiyab laboriously. |p135 PART VII THE GREAT WAR OF KAI KHUSRAU WITH AFRASIYAB |p139 Par. 1 In Praise of Sultan Mahmud God bless the Shah, the pride of crown and throne And signet-ring, bless him whose treasuries groan With his munificence, what while the fame |p140 Of majesty is heightened by his name. From sea to sea hosts answer to his call, The Glory of his crown is over all; No gold is in the mine, to men unknown, That fortune hath not reckoned as his own; And, God assisting him to all his ends, He spoileth foemen to enrich his friends. At feasts he scattereth treasure, while in fight The Elephant and Lion feel his might, And when he dominateth lands in war He bringeth Doomsday with his scimitar; But, whether jewels with his hand he fling, Or wield a sword, he seeketh one sole thing - That heaven at feast shall hail him as a Sea,' In fight as sun-faced Lion. All agree - Earth, water, and the heavenly Fount of light - That such another Shah ne'er was for fight, For gifts and toil, for glory and renown. Mixed he not love with war he would bring down, When wroth, the stars. Strong is he, his array Such that therein the wind is barred of way. Seven hundred elephants of mighty size Bring up his army's rear, and his allies Are God and Gabriel. From all the great He claimeth tribute, and from every state; While, if they pay not, all is lost to them - Their country, treasure, throne, and diadem. Who dare break fealty with him or slight His bidding who at feast is this world's Light, And Mountain with the breastplate on in fight ? Abu'l Kasim ! may that brave king - the cause That freeth onager from lion's claws, World-lord Mahmud, who bringeth to the ground Chiefs' heads in fight - be Shah, the moon be crowned By his high star, world without end, forwhy |p141 He is the Adornment of the radiant sky, At feasts a Cloud bestowing bounteously, And dowered with wisdom, justice, and renown. May this world never lack his head and crown. He hath host, courage, minister, and treasure, And one to him are fight and scenes of pleasure. O'er all the world one carpet bath been placed - His token nevermore to be effaced - And on it are a cushion and a seat - For Fazl, son of Ahmad, a man replete With justice, prudence, rede, and godly fear: No Shah before had such a minister. In his hands is the peace of all the state, For he is good and chief of all the great, Frank-spoken, with clean hands and single heart; To serve God and his sovereign is his part. With this wise, upright minister for friend My far-extending labour reached its end. I framed this story of the days of yore, Selected from the book of men of lore, That it in mine old age might yield me fruit, Give me a crown, dinars, and high repute, But saw no bounteous world-lord; there was none Who added to the lustre of the throne. I waited for a patron patiently - One whose munificence required no key, A Guardian of the Faith and crown, a Light To make the crown and ivory throne more bright, Strong in the battles of the brave, acute In why and wherefore, one to bring to fruit The bough of Faith and wisdom, and confute By mere conjecture other sages' lore, Should think no ill and rest in God secure. While three score years and five were passing by, Like spring-winds o'er the desert, poverty And toil were mine; next year like one bemused |p142 I leaned upon a staff, my hands refused The rein, my cheeks grew moon-like pale, my beard Lost its black hue and camphor-like appeared, Mine upright stature bent as age came on, And all the lustre of mine eyes was gone. When I was fifty-eight, and when in truth I still felt young though I had lost my youth, A proclamation reached mine ears at last Whereat care aged and all my troubles pass'd. It ran: "Ye men of name who long to find Some trace of Faridun still left behind See bright-souled Faridun alive again With earth and time for bondslaves. He hath ta'en The world by justice and by largessings, And is exalted o'er all other kings. Bright are the records of his earlier day, And may he flourish, fruit and root, for aye!" Now since that proclamation reached mine ear I wish not any other sound to hear; In his name have I fashioned this my lay, And may his end be universal sway, For he - this lord of sword and crown and throne Will be mine aid now that my youth hath gone. I ask of God almighty and most high That I so long may 'scape calamity That in the world-king's name I may tell o'er These tales, omitting naught of ancient lore; Then let my worthless corpse be dust, but rise My quick soul to the mines of Paradise. The righteous judge and bounteous lord of earth, In whom it seeth every kind of worth, The lord of Chin, the lord of Hindustan, Lord of Iran and country of Turan, The lord of splendour and exalted aim, Beyond the reach of calumny and blame, At whose voice crocodiles in water crack |p143 Their skins, and leopards on the desert-track, Mahmud, the world-lord, like the sun in light, A Lion with a scimitar in fight, From every want on earth will set me free, And rank me high in his nobility. For ever may his throne endure, and still May fortune turn according to his will ! At feasts what are Dinars to him but dust ? His bounty causeth not his heart distrust. Bold is the man that praiseth him, I wis Such praisers do not know what praising is, Because the world's king passeth thought. 'Tis his As Jupiter's own diadem to be. I have endured, O king! a slavery That some memorial may be left of me. The homes that are the dwellings of to-day Will sink 'neath shower and sunshine to decay, But storm and rain shall never mar what I Have built - the palace of my poetry. As years pass o'er the tale that I have writ Each man possessed of wisdom reading it Shall bless the world-lord Shah and say: "May none Behold unfilled by him the royal throne!" His own achievements celebrate his name, And all the world is witness to his fame. For me, I cannot offer praises meet, But I will laud the dust upon his feet. May this age live for him alone and may His fortune be illumed by wisdom's ray, As merry be his heart as jocund spring, May time no scath upon his person bring May he be all his people's hearts' delight, Victorious ever, and a man of might. So long as round the earth the heaven shall spin, And Jupiter pursue its course therein, May he continue in his grace and pride - |p144 No evil eye, no want unsatisfied ! I now resume mine old-world legendry From true traditions. As time's course I see I need none other to admonish me. The combatings of Kai Khusrau arise Before me: ye must hear my witcheries, For I shall shower pearls as I descant, And in among the rocks my tulips plant, Now have I got a theme long known to me, Such that the marrow of my speech 'twill be. O thou who lookest on a bygone age Joy sometimes filleth thee and sometimes rage, And wondrous 'tis how many novel smarts Yon turning sky reserveth for our hearts ! One's lot throughout his years is grief and fret, And he must taste of sorrow and regret ; Another's portion is all honey, sweet, Indulgence, luxury, and lofty seat ; Another hath to walk a treacherous way, Whiles up, whiles down. Such fosterage we meet From fortune, but the thorn-prick will out-stay The blushing of its rose, and at three score The hand should be withheld from grasping more, While to survive to three score years and ten 'Neath heaven's vicissitudes is not for men, Or if, worse hap ! one live so many years, Existence then is but a cause for tears. If three score years were but a fishing seine A wise man would not seek escape in vain, But through the turning sky or through the net Spread by the sun a,nd moon I cannot get. A king may labour and deny himself The gust of vengeance and delight of pelf, Yet must he pass hence to the other land, And leave his toils behind just as they stand. |p145 Think of Shah Kai Khusrau, for now thou hast To treat as new the doings of the past. He, having slain his grandsire, passed away ; The world peruseth not his grants to-day. This Wayside Inn doth ever treat us so ; Use thine endeavours to escape its woe. Par. 2 How Kai Khusrau arrayed his Host against Afrasiyab The warfare of Gudarz and of Piran Being ended, the victorious Shah prepared For war again, and chiefs with countless troops Flocked from all sides ; the sound of clarions Arose. They pitched the camp upon the plain, And set upon an elephant a throne Of turquoise, and the world's face grew like Nile. The Shah sat throned and crowned, from plain and court Shouts rose, no room was left to move on waste Or sleep in city. When the noble Shah, Thus seated, dropped the ball within the cup, And girt his loins, there was tarrying Throughout the realm save at the great king's gate, Such was his ordinance for all the kingdom. Of those whom he had strictly charged, and sent Out to the marches, with Luhrasp and Rustam, The strong of hand, who could despoil the deep Of crocodiles, and with far-famed Ashkash, The paladin, approven, great, and ardent, He bade the efficient to return to court. He oped his treasury to pay the troops, Spake often of the spirit of his sire, Chose envoys fluent, shrewd, and well advised, And sent this letter in the ancient tongue To all the chiefs and nobles : "Kai Khusrau, |p146 The victor, seated on his elephant, Hath dropped the ball; the land is like the Nile. Let there be neither rest nor sleep for you, But only vengeance on Afrasiyab." When all the men of leading in the realm Had read the letter of the Shah a shout Ascended from the warriors of the world, The earth began to heave as 'twere the sea, The chieftains out of all the provinces Marched court-ward with their troops, and when a host Had formed war-worthy he inspected it, And drew it up as on the field of battle. He chose out thirty thousand cavaliers, Who drew the sword, among those famous troops To occupy with him the army's centre, And bathe their hands in blood in every fight. He further chose three persons from the host, Great men and prudent, having forms of brass ; The three were Rustam, that great paladin, Gudarz, the ancient, cunning Wolf, and Tus, The paladin, who wore the golden boots, And had the custody of Kawa's standard. On his right hand the Shah placed Tus, with whom Were Manushan and well advised Khuzan - Both kings in Pars and helmed with helms of gold. Beyond these were Arash - a Fire in fight - And king Guran - the Lustre of the host - The one the monarch of the Khuzians, And fortunate in battle-time, the other King of Kirman, impetuous in strife - Sabbakh, the wary monarch of Yaman, Iraj of lion-heart - an Elephant For bulk - who was the ruler of Kabul, A worldlord and a man both wise and holy, Shammakh, who was the native king of Sur, Girt for the fray, and, greater still, Karan, |p147 The fighting-man, victorious everywhere, The shatterer of hosts, who ruled Khawar, A worldlord, wary, and imperious. All those that held descent from Kai Kubad - Great men of understanding and high birth - The Shah set on his left with Dilafruz To marshal them. The chiefs sprung from Gudarz, Who plied the sword by night despite the gloom - Bizhan, the son of Giv, and brave Ruhham, Both reckoned by the Shah among the great - Gurgin, Milad's son, and the troops from Rai, All marched as bidden by the Shah. Moreover The scions of Zarasp, who gave new lustre To glorious Azargashasp, kept guard Behind the Shah with cloud-transfixing spears. He gave the right wing into Rustam's charge, Where all the troops were one in heart and body, For all those from Zabulistan - the chiefs, And kin of Zal - he stationed on the right, Retaining for himself the chief command. Then for the left wing he selected troops, Like Sol in Aries, led by Gudarz, Son of Kishwad, Hajir, and by Farhad. The chiefs from Barda' and from Ardabil, When ranked before the ruler of the world, Requested that Gudarz might be their leader, And drew up on the left. The monarch bade To hold the way before the central host With elephants of war with towers thereon; The earth was like the Nile. Within the towers He stationed archers valiant in the fray, And thousands strong, and round each elephant Three hundred horse-famed fighting-men - as guards. The warriors from Baghdad who were with Zanga, The son of Shawaran, picked men of Karkh - He ordered with their arbalists to take |p148 Their place afoot before the elephants, And had two miles of mountain fronted them They would have pierced the rocks' hearts with their arrows; No one was able to withstand their shots. Behind the elephants he placed the footmen With head-transfixing spears nine cubits long. They held in front their bucklers of Gilan The blood seethed in their livers. After these Came foot in line with breastplate-piercing shafts And shields, then warrior-horsemen with full quivers. Out of the army of Khawar the Shah Chose thirty thousand warriors and chiefs Equipped with armour, shields, and Ruman helms, And made that gallant horseman Fariburz Their chief in consort with Tukhar, the king Of Dahistan, who scorned all enemies, And was by birth of noble Dashma's seed - A family of puissance in those days. Nastuh was at the side of Fariburz, Supported by a crowd of warriors. The great men and the war-experienced chiefs, Brought from the desert of the Bedouins, Were all commanded by Zahir, who used To pluck gazelles away from lion's claws, And bidden by Khusrau to join Nastuh, Thus piling up the left wing of the Shah. There was a host from Barbaristan and Rum, Whereof the leader hight Kishwaristan. These, thirty thousand strong in horse and foot, Set forward likewise to the king's left wing. There was another host from Khurasan, Men of ambition and experience; Their leader and their guardian in the quest Of fame was Minuchihr, son of Arash. |p149 There was a man of name too of the race Of Gurukhan - a king and of the seed Of Kai Kubad : his name was King Firuz - A chief, the lustre both of heart and host. There was the king of Gharcha too who used To spring on elephants as lions do. The Shah assigned them posts by Minuchihr, And made the head of all their house their captain. Moreover from Mount Kaf the mighty men - The offspring of Jamshid and Faridun - Advanced in all their pride with spear and mace, Incensed against the offspring of Zadsham. Khusrau selected thirty thousand swordsmen - Men of ambition and of royal seed - And gave that force to Giv, son of Gudarz, In whom the marches joyed. Supporting him, With troops in single and in double file, Was Awa, son of Samkunan ; his warriors Were brave and wary. To the right the Shah Dispatched ten thousand sworders - gallant horsemen - And to the rear of Giv, son of Gudarz, Ten thousand more brave troops. The swordsman Barta Marched with his mountaineers amid that throng - A noble band and gallant combatants - In Giv's support. The Shah sent thirty thousand Picked cavaliers of battle to the left, All warlike youths commanded by Zawara, And next selected from among the troops Ten thousand well equipped, and made their head Karan the fighting man that he might urge His steed between the embattled hosts as champion. To Gustaham, the son of Gazhdaham, The Shah said: "Be Karan the fighter's comrade," And bade the son of Tus to make the rounds |p150 Throughout the host with trump and kettledrum To stay from unjust deeds the hand of him That did not worship God, to see that none Among the soldiers was in want of food, And also that no person was oppressed. He was to ask the Shah for what was needful, And be in all the mouthpiece of the host. The world was full of wains and buffalos Sent forward with provisions by the king; His scouts were visible on every side, He roused the heads of sleepers from their slumbers, Appointed watchmen's stations on the mountains, And left behind no stragglers from the army. To every quarter he sent spies and sought With diligence to know how matters stood. Caves, deserts, hills, and plains on every side Were filled with dust raised by the troops, while rein Was linked to rein, all necks were craned for fight, And none was either fearful or distressed; The Shah took treasure with him on the march. On this wise when he had arrayed the host He sky-ward raised his Kaian diadem, And friend and foe alike forbore to have A purpose save the battles of the brave. Par. 3 How Afrasiyab heard that Piran was slain and that Kai Khusrau had arrayed his Host The Turkman king reposed upon his throne Of ivory on the further side of Jaj, And of his myriads of troops meanwhile The more part were in arms, prepared for war. Whate'er existed on that hilly march, Upon the trees or growing on the ground, |p151 The troops consumed it all - both fruit and leaf. The world was bent on death. The Turkman king Was at Baigand, surrounded by his kindred And his allies, for all the chiefs of Chin And of Machin were present there. Pavilions And camp-enclosures occupied the world; No room remained. Afrasiyab; that wise, Ambitious man, was at Kunduz and there He feasted and reposed, selecting it Because it had been built by Faridun, Who had erected there a Fane of Fire With all the Zandavasta limned thereon In gold. The name Kunduz is ancient Persian; Thou hast may be some knowledge of that tongue, But now the name is altered to Baigand, So light and fickle is this age of ours! Afrasiyab was sprung from Faridun, And was unwilling to desert Kunduz, But with his meiny camped upon the plain, Confounding with his host the heavenly sphere. His camp-enclosure, thronged with multitudes Of servitors, was of brocade of Chin; The tents within it were of leopard-skin - A usage of the Turkman king Pashang. The royal tent contained a throne of gold Adorned with gems and golden ornaments; There sat the monarch of the Turkman host With mace in hand and diadem on head. Outside stood many standards of the chiefs, And at the monarch's portal were the tents Of those whom most he honoured - brethren, sons, And others not akin. 'Twas his desire To reinforce Piran, but with the dawn A cavalier came swift as dust with tidings About him, and the wounded straggled in, Withal lamenting, dust upon their heads, |p152 Each with his own account of injuries Inflicted by Iran upon Turan, Told of Piran, Lahhak, and Farshidward, And of the nobles on the day of battle, How they had fared both in the van and rear, And how they had been worsted on the field, How also Kai Khusrau arrived one day, And with his host filled earth from hill to hill. "Our troops all asked for quarter," thus they said; "The flock was frightened being shepherdless." The monarch, when he heard it, was aghast, His face was gloomy as his heart was dark, He came down wailing from the ivory throne, And cast his crown down in the magnates' presence, A wail of anguish went up from the troops, The nobles' cheeks were wan with misery. They cleared the place of strangers and assembled The monarch's kin. Afrasiyab in anguish Wept, rent his locks, and wailed: "Ye Eyes of mine, My noble cavalier Ruin, Human, Lahhak, and Farshidward, horsemen and Lions Upon the battle-day ! no son or brother, No chief or leader, hath survived the fight!" He thus lamented. Then his humour changed, He sorrowed for the soldiers, then he sware A mighty oath and cried in grief and anguish:- "By God, I will have none of ivory throne, My head shall have no commerce with the crown, My tunic shall be mail, my throne a steed, My crown a helmet and my tree a spear. Henceforth I wish not feast and banqueting, Or e'en provision for the crown itself; I want but vengeance for my famous men, My swordsmen and my men of high emprise, On base-born Kai Khusrau, and may the seed Of Siyawush be lacking to the world." |p153 While he bewailed those tidings news arrived Of Kai Khusrau : "A host is near Jihun, And all the realm's face is o'erspread with troops." In grief and wretchedness he called his powers, Spake of Piran at large and of the slaying Of Farshidward, his brother, of Ruin And other heroes of the fight, and said:- "Ensue not slumber and repose henceforth; Our foes have mustered and have come sharp-clawed. This is no time for dallying and debate, But for revenge, for bloodshed, and a struggle For very life. Our task is love and vengeance, This for Piran and that on Kai Khusrau." With tearful eyes the chieftains of Turan Replied: "We all are servants of the king, And will not quit this vengeance while we live. None bath borne children like Piran, Ruin, And Farshidward - the seed of Faridun. We, great and small, are at the king's disposal, And though the hills and dales become a sea Of blood, we have our bodies' length of earth, Not one of us will quit the battlefield If He who is the moon's Lord aideth us:' Thereat the Turkman monarch's heart revived; His humour changed; he was himself again. He oped his treasury's door, he paid his troops, His heart all wreak, his head vainglorious, And gave up to his soldiers all the herds That he possessed upon the hills and plains. He chose him thirty thousand Turkman sworders, Equipped for war, and sent them to patrol Jihun in boats that none might cross the river By night and make a foray unopposed. He sent his forces out on every side, Employing much resourceful stratagem, But 'twas the ordinance of holy God |p154 That that unrighteous king should be destroyed. At night he sat in conclave with the wise, With world-experienced, prudent archimages They bandied earth's affairs about among them, And settled that the king should send his host Across Jihun. The king, who sought a means To counteract the mischief of the foe, Then parted all his army into two, And ordered KurakhAn, his eldest son, To come to him. For valour and for state, For mien, for looks, for prudence and for counsel, Thou hadst declared the son to be the sire. The monarch gave him half of that great host - Experienced men of name and warriors - And sent him to Bukhara, there to be Behind his father like a mount of flint. The king kept on dispatching arms and men, Provision trains ne'er ceased. He left Baigand And hastened to Jihun. The army lined The bank throughout. Above a thousand boats Were ferrying for a week until the hills And plains were naught but warriors. The crowd Of elephants and troops of Lions made The passage of the stream a busy one. Boats covered all the water and the host Marched toward the desert of Amwi. The king Brought up the rear and crossed intent on war. He sent on all sides speedy cavaliers - Men shrewd and ardent - and commanded them:- "Survey the country both to right and left For some spot large enough to hold the host." Whenas the scouts returned from every side They thus reported to the exalted king "The many troops engaged in this campaign Will need supplies and grass and halting-places. There is beside the river of Gilan |p155 A route with fodder and encamping-grounds Where men of vigilance may bring provisions By water to the army. On the way Are sands and ample room for pitching tents With palace-like enclosures." This refreshed His heart. He heightened on the imperial throne, A general was he expert in war, And went not by the words of any teacher. He ranged the centre and the wings thereof, The outposts to observe the enemy, The rear, and station for the baggage-train, He ranged the left and right. He made a camp In royal wise, with five score thousand swordsmen To form the centre, making that his station Because he took the chief command himself. Pashang, whose hands were strong as leopard's claws, Commanded on the left, in all the host A peerless noble, and unequalled horseman In any land. His sire surnamed him Shida, For he was like bright Sol, would urge his steed, Seize, and pluck out by force, a leopard's tail; He wont to use an iron spear and pierce A mountain in the fight. To him the king Committed five score thousand troops and chiefs For that campaign. He had a younger brother - His glorious peer, a warrior Jahn by name, A potent prince, his father's counsellor, Raised by his understanding o'er the throng. His sire gave him a hundred thousand horsemen Equipped for battle - Turkmans of Chigil - To guard the rear of Shida and not turn Their heads away though stones rained from the clouds. The king chose of his grandsons one who used |p156 To cut his collops out of lions' backs As leader of the right wing of the host, Which hid the sun itself in clouds of dust. The cavaliers of Tartary, Khallukh, And Balkh, all paladins who used the sword, Had for their chief Afrasiyab's fifth son - A famous warrior eager for the fight, One whom they used to call Gurdgfr the valiant - A man whose sword and shafts would pierce a mountain. With him went thirty thousand warriors - Men of the fray and armed with swords for battle. Damur and Jaranjas were his companions In rendering support to noble Jahn. Their leader was the veteran Nastuh, Whose own superior was valiant Shida. Of Turkman warriors thirty thousand men Marched forth with maces and artillery, Led by brave Ighriras who counted blood As water. Next the king chose forty thousand Whose chief was elephantine Garsiwaz - A leader of ambition midst that folk, The chief of nobles, and the army's stay; The exalted king entrusted to his charge The elephants. He next chose from the troops Ten thousand men insatiate of fight, And bade them place themselves with lips afoam Between the lines upon the battlefield To charge the foe dispersedly and break The hearts and backs of the Iranians. The rear was toward the east. At night they barred The road with elephants. Afrasiyab, The world-illuming monarch, kept before His soldiers' eyes Nfmruz as Cynosure. |p157 Par. 4 How Kai Khusrau had Tidings that Afrasiyab advanced to fight with him Now when Khusrau heard from his watchful spies About the Turkmans and Afrasiyab :- "He bath conveyed such hosts across Jihan That neither sands nor rocks are visible!" He called his warriors and declared to them What he had heard, chose from among his troops The fittest of the mighty of Iran, Men that had tasted this world's salts and sours, To succour Gustaham, son of Naudar, At Balkh, and bade Ashkash to lead to Zam A host with treasure, elephants, and drachms That none might take him in the rear and frustrate The purpose of the Lions of Iran; He ordered next his warriors to horse, Struck up the tymbals and led on the host, But marched with counsel, prudence, and no haste, For that in warfare leadeth to repentance. The Shah, when he had reached the waste, inspected The bearing and equipment of his men. The army's route was toward Kharazm, where sands And plains were fit for strife, with DahistAn To left, the stream to right, the sands between, Afrasiyab in front. The Shah in person, With Rustam, Tus, Gudarz, Giv, and a staff Of noble warriors, went round the field To view the approaches and the pathless waste; Then, having heard about his grandsire's force, He made his dispositions craftily, And, having not expected such a host, So many elephants and men of war, He strengthened his position with a fosse, |p158 And spread his scouts about on every side. He filled the fosse with water when night came Upon the side toward Afrasiyab, And scattered caltrops all about the plain So that the foemen should not traverse it. When Sol was shining out of Aries, And gracing all the surface of the world, The Turkman general reviewed his host, Struck up the tymbals and arrayed his ranks. The world was filled with din of trump and troops, The warriors put on their iron helms. Thou wouldst have said: "Earth's face is iron, and air Empanoplied with spears ! " Three days and nights The hosts abode thus and none stirred a lip. The cavalry were mounted on both sides, The footmen stood in front. Thou wouldst have said:- Earth Earth is an iron mountain, heaven is mailed." Before the two kings the astrologers, Much musing and with tables on their breasts, Sought out the secret purposes of heaven With astrolabes to find the favoured side, But heaven looked on with a spectator's eye, And left the gazers in perplexity. Par. 5 How Shida came before his Father Afrasiyab Upon the fourth day when the strain was great The valiant Shida came before his sire, And said to him: "O famed throughout the world, And most exalted of all potentates ! No monarch under heaven hath Grace like thine, And neither sun nor moon opposeth thee; An iron mount would run as 'twere a river |p159 If it should hear the name Afrasiyab. Earth is not able to sustain thy host, Or yon resplendent sun thy casque. Of all The kings none fronteth thee save Kai Khusrau, Thy kinsman but a base-born miscreant. Thou didst hold Siyawush as son, didst bear A father's pains and love for him, beteeming No noxious blast from heaven to visit him. Thou didst distaste him when assured that he Aimed at thy crown, thy throne, and diadem, And if the king of earth had spared his life The crown and signet both would have been his. The man that now hath come to fight with thee Shall not have long of this world. Father-like Thou didst encourage this black reprobate, Forbearing to consign him to the dust; Thou didst support him till he spread his wings, Fit through thy favour for the throne of gold, And bird-like flew Iranward from Turan ; Thou wouldst have said: 'He never saw his grandsire.' Look at Piran's own deeds of kindliness Toward that faithless and unworthy man; Yet he forgot Piran's love and fulfilled His heart with vengeance and his head with strife, And when he caught Piran as he desired He put that kindly paladin to death. Now hath he issued from Iran with troops To make a fierce attack upon his grandsire. He seeketh not dinars or diadem, Not treasures, horses, scimitars, or soldiers, But aimeth at the lives of his own kindred, And that is all the burden of his talk. My father is a king, a most wise monarch, And will bear witness that my words are true. What need have armies for astrologers? The brave seek honour with their scimitars. |p160 The horsemen on the right are all for battle, And, if the king permitteth, I will leave The foe no cavaliers, but pin their helmets Upon their heads with shafts in spite of fosse And reservoir." Afrasiyab replied:- "Be not impetuous. What thou say'st is true, And never should one listen save to truth; Yet, as thou know'st,the warrior Piran In this world trod the path of excellence; There was no fraud or falsehood in his heart, He sought for nothing but the good and right, He was an elephant in strength in battle, He had a sea-like heart and sunny face Hu man his brother was a warrior-leopard, So was the brave Lahhak, so Farshidward. A hundred thousand Turkman cavaliers, Ambitious men accoutred for the fight, Departed hence all seething for the fray, Though I in secret sorrowed and bewailed. They perished on the battlefield; the ground Whereon they lay was puddled with their gore. The marches of Turan are broken-hearted With sorrow, all men dream of dead Piran, And no one speaketh of Afrasiyab ; So let us tarry till our men of name, Our great men of the host, our cavaliers. Have gazed awhile upon the Iranians And have not hearts impassioned, grieved, and sore. The iranians too will see this mighty host With all its treasures, thrones, and diadems. It is not good for us to fight in force; Defeat will come and we shall grasp the wind, But warriors will I send dispersedly, And fill the wastes with our foes' blood." Then Shida :- |p161 "Sire! fight not thus. First of our warriors Am I - a brazen-bodied cavalier - And have seen none who in the battle-day Could scatter wind-borne dust upon my steed. I passion for a combat with Khusrau Because he is the new king of the world, And if he shall encounter me, as I Doubt not, withal he shall not scape my clutch, The Iranians shall be broken-heart and baek - And all their projects marred, while if another Come forth I soon will lay his head in dust." The king replied: "O inexperienced one! How should the king of kings encounter thee? If he would fight I am his opposite, 'Tis mine to trample on his name and person, And if we meet thus on the field both hosts Will rest from strife." "Experienced one," said Shida, "Inured to this world's heat and cold! thou hast Five sons before thee still. We will not suffer These thoughts of fight. No worshipper of God, Nor army even, could approve that thou Shouldst go in person to confront Khusrau." Par. 6 How Afrasiyab sent an Embassage to Kai Khusrau Then unto Shida said Afrasiyab :- "Imperious son! ne'er be mishap thy lot. Though thou wouldst fight with Kai Khusrau thyself Take not this present matter in ill part Go forth and be the Maker thine ally, And may thy foemen's heads be overturned. Convey a message unto Kai Khusrau For me and say: 'The world is changed indeed! |p162 The grandson waging war upon his grandsire Must have a head all guile and wickedness. Was it the Maker's aim to fill the world With figh - , and feud? When Siyawush was slain The fault was his for heeding not advisers ; But if the blame was mine what had Piran, What had Ruin, Lahhak, and Farshidward, Done that they should be bound to horses' backs, Blood-boltered, and like maddened elephants ? Now if thou say'st : "Thou art a miscreant, A villain of the seed of Ahriman," Behold thou art descended from my seed, And casteat an aspersion on thyself. Leave fighting to Gudarz and Kai Kaus, And let them come against me with their troops. I have not spoken thus as fearing thee, Or as grown recreant in mine old age. My troops are as the sand upon the shore, Brave warriors and Lions all prepared At my command upon the day of battle To make Mount Gang an ocean, O my son Still I am fearful of the Omnipotent, Of bloods˝ed, and calamities to come, For many an innocent and noble head Will be dissevered on this battlefield. If thou renouncest not this strife with me, Good soooh, thine own disgrace will come of it ; But if thou wilt agree with me by oath, And keep it, I will point thee out a way Whereby thy troops and treasure may be saved When thou shalt have forgotten Siyawush, And made another Siyawush of me, Then Jahn and valiant Shida, who in battle Turn Mount Gang to a sea, shall be thy brothers, And I will bid the Turkmans to withdraw From all tracts that thou claimest for Iran, |p163 And such ancestral treasures as I have - Dinars, crowns, horses, thrones, and battle-gear, Left to me by my father's sire Zadsham, Crowns for grandees, thrones, coronets, and all That thou requirest to supply thy troops - Will I dispatch just as they are to thee. My son shall be thy paladin, his sire Thy kinsman ; then both hosts shall rest from strife, And this our fight shall issue in a feast But now if Ahriman shall so pervert Thy mind that thou wilt don thy winding-sheet, Wilt make thine only object war and bloodshed, My good advice not rooming in thy brain, Come forth in presence of thy host, and I Will likewise come forth from my station here ; Let us encounter while our troops repose. If I shall perish all the world is thine, My soldiers are thy slaves, my sons thy kin, While if I slay thee I will injure none Among thy folk, thy soldiers shall have quarter, And be my chiefs and comrades. Furthermore If thou wilt not come forth but art unwilling To struggle with the veteran Crocodile, Then Shida shall oppose thee girt for fight, So be no laggard when he challengeth. The sire is old; his substitute is young - A youth of prudence and of ardent soul. He will contend with thee upon the field, And bring a lion's heart and leopard's claws. Then shall we see whom fortune fav oureth, And whom it crowneth with a crown of love ; While if thou wiliest not to fight with him, Preferring action of another sort, Wait that the troops may rest them for the night. Then when the mountains don their golden crowns, And when the dark night, drawing back its skirt, |p164 Shall hide its head beneath a veil of hair, Let us make choice of warriors from the host - Men of exalted rank with massive maces - Make earth the colour of brocade with blood, And give our foes their bodies' length of earth. The second day at cock-crow let us bind The kettledrums upon the elephants, Bring forth a reinforcement of the chiefs, And make blood run like water down the streams. The third day we will bring forth both the hosts, In mass like mountains, for revenge and strife, And find out who is loved and who rejected By heaven above.' If he refuse to hear My counsel given, challenge him thyself To single combat in some distant spot Beyond the sight of either of our hosts." Then Shida chose him of the wise men four Experienced much in this world's heat and cold, Did reverence, and went forth. The father's heart Was full, his eyelids overflowed with tears. A thousand of the troops escorted Shida - Men of discretion well equipped for fight - And presently the iranian scouts descried The flag and lances of the prince of Tar. Anon the Turkmans that were in the van - Young cavaliers and inexperiericed - Fell on the iranian outposts and shed blood In Shida's absence and against his wishes. There were some wounded on the Iranian side, And still the conflict was continuing, When Shida came himself upon the spot, And saw the Iranian outpost-guards. His heart Was sorely grieved, he called his warriors back, And said to the Iranians : "Dispatch A horseman in due form to Kai Khusrau To say: 'An ardent spirit, Shida hight, |p165 Hath brought a message from the king of Chin - The father of the mother of the Shah.'" A horseman galloped from the Iranian outpost, Approached Khusrau in haste, and said to him:- "An envoy from the monarch of Turan - A noble hero with a sable flag, Who with: 'My name is Shida' - doth demand Permission to discharge his embassage." The Shah's heart filled with shame, and as he wept Hot tears he said: "This is my mother's brother, My peer in height and valour." Looking round He saw none but Karan of Kawa's race, And said: "Go thou to Shida with good cheer, Greet him from us and hear the embassage." Whenas Karan approached the company He caught sight of the waving sable flag, Came up to Shida and gave greeting, adding That of the Shah and of the Iranians. The young man's answer was in honied tones, For he was shrewd of heart and bright of mind, Delivering what Afrasiyab had said Concerning peace and feast and war and strife, And when Karan had heard the goodly words He came and told the monarch of Iran, For wisdom and that message were well paired., When Kai Khusrau heard this he called to mind Old times and, laughing at his grandsire's action, His machinations and diplomacy, Exclaimed: "Afrasiyab repenteth crossing The stream, and though dry-eyed hath much to say; But my heart is fulfilled with ancient griefs. May be he striveth to affect my mind, |p166 And fright me with the greatness of his host, Unwitting that high heaven turneth not As we desire when evil days are toward. Mine only course is to encounter him With vengeful heart upon the battlefield, And, when I should be striving, dally not." The wise men and the captains of the host All spake out, saying: "This must never be Afrasiyab is wise and veteran, And never dreameth but of stratagems; He knoweth naught but sorcery, black arts, Deceit, malignity, and wickedness. Now he hath chosen Shida from the host Because he saw therein the key to loose The bonds of bale. He challengeth the Shah To fight that he may fill our day with dust. Adventure not thyself against his rage, Or weary of iran and of the crown. Engage not rashly in a fight with him, And let us not be left in grief and anguish. If Shida now shall perish by thy hand Their host will merely lose one man of name, But if thou perishest in some lone spot The darksorne dust will go up from Iran, And none among us will be left alive Iran will perish - city, field, and fell. We have none other of the Kaian race To gird himself to execute revenge. Thy grandsire is an old experienced man Of high repute in both Turan and Chin, Who offereth excuses for ill done, And will not fight unless he be compelled; He will, he saith, transfer the steeds, the treasure, And drachms which Tur erst hoarded for Zadsham, Besides the golden throne, the princes' crowns, The golden girdles, and the massive maces, |p167 To thee, if so he may avert this trouble. He will abandon too all lands which thou Lay'st claim to as belonging to Iran ; Let us withdraw glad and victorious, Dismissing bygones from our memory." So spake both old and young, save famous Rustam, Who wished revenge not peace in that he grieved For Siyawush. The monarch bit his lip, And turned a troubled look toward the speakers ; Anon he said: "Tis not for us to quit This battlefield and march back to Iran. Where now are all the counsels and the oaths Whereby we pledged ourselves to Kai Kaus? What while Afrasiyab is on the throne He will not cease to devastate Iran. How can we look upon Kaus, and how Excuse ourselves before him? Ye have heard Of what befell illustrious Iraj From Tur all for the sake of crown and state; And how Afrasiyab dealt with Naudar In murderous haste; and further how he slew The noble Siyawush, though innocent, And still because of treasure, throne, and crown. A crafty Turkman out of yonder host Hath formally approached and challenged me To single combat. Why are ye so pale? I marvel at it thus affecting you While making me still keener after vengeance. I never thought: 'The Iranians will unbind The girdle of revenge.' I have not seen One of Iran o'erthrown so that the rest Should be so anxious to avoid the fight For mere words spoken by Afrasiyab." The Iranians, sorry for their fault, excused Themselves and said to him: "We are but slaves And speak as love dictateth. High renown |p168 Is all the object of the king of kings, The noble outcome of his enterprises Let not the worldlord, the supreme, reproach us Since no Iranian cavalier, they say, Is able to contend against this man. The troops are shouting on the battlefield That none can do this brave deed save their Shah, Who, as the archmages' king, will not consent That we shall be disgraced for evermore." Khusrau replied: "Know, counselling archmages ! That Shida on the day of battle holdeth His father as no man. Afrasiyab Made armour for his son by magic arts Perversely, darkly, and malignantly. 'The arms which ye possess are not sufficient To pierce that breastplate and that helm of steel. The charger is of demon pedigree With lion's action and the speed of wind. A man that is not dowered with Grace from Cod Would lose both head and feet in fighting Shida; Besides he cometh not to fight with you, For that would shame his Grace and birth. The scions Of Faridun and of Kubad are twain As warriors, but one in heart and habit, And I will burn his father's gloomy soul As he burnt Kai Kaus for Siyawush." Those lion-horsemen of Iran 'gan call Down blessings on their monarch, one and all. Par. 7 How Kai Khusrau sent an Answer to Afrasiyab Khusrau then bade Karan, his faithful liege, To go back with this answer from the Shah :- |p169 "'Our controversy hath grown long and stubborn Till matters now have reached a pass indeed ! A man of honour and a warrior Is not in war a laggard. I demand not Thy treasures or the country of Turan, For none abideth in this Wayside Inn. Now mark to whom the Lord of sun and moon Shall give success upon this battlefield, For by the Maker's might, the Omnipotent, And by the diadem of Kai Kaus, Who cherished me, I grant you no more time 'than roses can withstand the autumnal blast. We need not wealth acquired by tyranny And wrong, for heart and fortune ever smile On one that hath the warm support of God. Thy land, thy treasures, and thy host are mine, So are thy throne, thy cities, and thy crown. Now Shida armed, with troops, in warlike wise, Hath come to us and challenged us to fight. Him will I entertain at break of day, And he shall view my sword that streweth heads. I see none in the Iranian host to wheel With him upon the battlefield, and therefore 'Tis plain and scimitar for me and Shida Until I bring on him the Day of Doom. If I shall prove the victor in the fight I will not rest upon my victory; We will set champions shouting on both sides, The plain shall shine and savour with their blood; And afterward will we lead forth our hosts In mass, as they were mountains; unto battle.' When thou hast spoken thus, to Shida add:- 'O full of wisdom and aspiring chief ! Thou hast come here alone within the net, Not come in quest of fame, or to deliver Thy father's message, but by adverse fate |p170 The Worldlord hath impelled thee from the host, And here will be thy shroud and sepulchre; Harm will befall thee for that harmless head, Which they struck off as though it were a sheep's; Thy sire will weep o'er thee as bitterly As Kai Kaus is weeping for his son."' Karan went from the presence of the Shah In haste and, drawing near the sable flag, Told all the message of Khusrau to Shida With frankness, not concealing anything, And he, with heart like roast before the fire, Went to his father and reported all. The monarch gloomed, grew sad, and heaved a sigh. The dream which he had dreamed in days of yore, And had preserved a secret of his own,' Now turned his head and filled his heart with fear He knew that his decline was close at hand. Then Shida said: "To-morrow on this field The ants shall find no way between the fallen." The monarch answered: "Take no thought, my son! Of fight for three days hence, because my heart Is, as thou mayst say, broken by this war; I am in case to pluck it from my body." "O monarch of the Turkmans and of Chin ! " The son replied, " fret not thy heart so much, For when bright Sol shall raise its glittering standard, And light the visage of the violet sky, Upon the field shall meet Khusrau and I, And from him will I make the dark dust fly." |p171 Par. 8 How Kai Khusrau fought with Shida the Son of Afrasiyab Whenas the azure Veil grew bright, and when The world was like a topaz, Shida mounted His battle-steed. Youth's vapours filled his head With strife. He set upon his shining breast A breastplate and a royal helm of iron Upon his head. A Turkman warrior bare His standard. Shida went forth like a leopard. Now when he drew anear the Iranian host one of the nobles went and told the Shah :- "A cavalier hath come between the lines With shouts and gestures and with sword in hand, A noble bent on fight, who biddeth us Inform the Shah that Shida hath arrived." The monarch laughed, called for his coat of mail, And set aloft the flag of majesty. He put a Ruman helmet on his head, And gave Ruhham, son of Gudarz, his flag, But all his soldiers were distressed, and wept As though they were consuming in fierce fire. They cried: "O king! let not the iron gall Thy sacred form; the wonted place for Shahs Was on the throne. May he 'gainst whom thou girdest Thy loins for fight be laid in darksome dust, His purposes and efforts be confounded." The monarch, armed with girdle, mace, and helmet, Dispatched a message to the army thus:- "Let no man quit his post on left or right, Upon the centre or upon the wings ; Let none attempt to bring on fight or skirmish, But hearken to Ruhham, son of Gudarz. By noontide ye shall see which will be worsted If Shida then shall prove the conqueror |p172 Look for instructions for the fight to Rustam, Be all of you obedient to his word, And keep in trouble near your remedy, For troops beneath the eye of such a man May face with calmness all the sleights of warfare. Let not your hearts be straitened; first and last War's wont is this - at whiles a rise or fall, At whiles rejoicing and at whiles dismay." He urged his charger on - night-hued Bihzad, Who rolled the wind before him as he sped. Khusrau was armed with breastplate, helm, and lance, His steed's hoofs sent the dust up to the clouds, While Shida, seeing him between the lines, Heaved from his breast a deep drawn chilly sigh, And said: "Thou art the son of Siyawush, A man of prudence, wise, and self-controlled, The grandson of the monarch of Turan, Who grazeth with his helm the orbed moon; But thou art not what one experienced, A man whose food is wisdom, would expect, For hadst thou brains thou wouldst not go about To fight against thy mother's brother thus. If thou desirest fight avoid the host, And choose thy ground in some sequestered spot Where no Iranian or Turanian May look on us: we need no help from any." The Shah replied: "O Lion ravening In fight! I am indeed the heart-seared son Of blameless Siyawush, whom thy king slew, And I have come for vengeance to this plain, Not for the sake of throne and signet-ring. Since thou hast moved this matter with thy sire, And challenged me of all the host to battle, I may not send a meaner opposite. So now do thou select a battleground That shall be far removed from both the hosts." |p173 They made this compact: "None shall fight in aid From either side, and for our standard-bearers Day shall not darken with calamity." The twain departed from the hosts afar, Like merrymakers going to a feast, And reached a barren spot and waterless, Untrod by lion and pard, a waste within The marches of Kharazm and fit for fight; The soaring eagle flew not over it; Part was hard, arid earth and part mirage. There those two warriors like ravening wolves Made for themselves an ample battlefield. The cavaliers, as lions full of rage Leap from the covert on a hunting-day. Wheeled with their mighty lances round and round Till, when the shining sun had passed its height, There were no heads remaining to their spears, And bridle and horse-armour reeked with sweat. They then renewed the battle vehemently With Ruman mace and trenchant scimitar Until the air was darkened by the dust; Howbeit neither wearied of the combat. When Shida saw the valour and the might Of Kai Khusrau the tears fell on his cheeks He felt: "This Grace hath been bestowed by God, And I have reason to bewail myself." His steed moreover was distressed by thirst; The man's own strength was failing. In his straits He thought: "If I say thus to Kai Khusrau :- 'Come let us try a wrestling-bout afoot, And make ourselves run down with blood and sweat,' He will not for his honour's sake dismount; His person as a Shah would be disgraced; Yet if I 'scape not by this artifice Good sooth I am within the Dragon's breath ! " He said: "All warriors fight with sword and lance, |p174 And wheel about, but let us fight, O Shah Afoot and stretch our hands out lion-like." Khusrau, the ruler of the world, perceived That which was passing in his foeman's mind, And thought thus: "If this Lion strong of hand, This scion of Pashang and Faridun, Shall once be rested he will scatter heads, And cause full many a lion-heart to wail, While if I shall contend with him afoot It may go hard with the Ininians." Then said Ruhham : "O wearer of the crown Disgrace not thus thy birth. If Kai Khusrau Must fight afoot in person to what end Are all these cavaliers upon the field ? If any must set foot upon the ground Let me who am descended from Kishwad, But thou art the exalted king of earth." The Shah replied: "O loving paladin And cavalier! brave Shida will not fight With thee, he is the grandson of Pashang, Nor hast thou prowess to contend with him The Turkmans have not such another chief. 'Tis no disgrace for me to go to battle Afoot, so let us strive like pards together." Upon the other side the interpreter Said thus to Shida : "Flee the foeman's danger. Thou hast no other course but to withdraw Because thou canst not stand against Khusrau. To flee before the enemy in time Is better than to do oneself despite." Then Shida : "But the voices of mankind Will not be hushed. Since first I girt myself I have maintained my head sun-high, but never Beheld a warrior of such strength, such Grace, And mastery on any field, yet still A grave is better for me than retreat |p175 When once I am engaged in fight; moreover, Though we may tread upon a dragon's eyes, We cannot 'seaYe the process of the heavens. If death is to befall me by his hand 'Twill not be let by friend or enemy. I recognise this might and manliness; This noble warrior hath the Grace divine, Still I may be the better man afoot, And as we struggle make him stream with blood." Then spake the monarch of the world to Shida :- "O famous offspring of a noble race Of all the men of Kaian seed not one In sooth hath e'er assayed to fight afoot, But notwithstanding if thou wishest I Hold it a wish that I shall ne'er deny." Par. 9 How Shida was slain by Khusrau The Shah dismounted from his night-hued steed, Removed his royal helmet and, entrusting The noble charger to Ruhham, advanced As 'twere Azargashasp. When Shida saw From far Khusrau approaching him on foot That warlike Crocodile dismounted likewise, And there upon the plain the champions closed hike elephants, and puddled earth with blood. When Shida saw the stature of the Shah, The breast, the Grace divine, and mastery, He sought some shift whereby he might escape; Such is the purchase of a shifty heart Khusrau, when ware of this, though not expressed In words, reached out, strong in the strength of Him By whom the world was made - the Omnipotent - And, as a lion putteth forth its paws |p176 Upon an onager and flingeth it, Clutched with left hand the neck, with right the back Of Shida, raised him, dashed him to the ground, And brake his legs and back-bone like a reed. Then, drawing forth his trenchant blade, Khusrau Clave Shida's heart in twain and, having shivered His breastplate and thrown dust upon his helmet, Said to Ruhham : "This matchless miscreant, Brave but unstable, was my mother's brother; Entreat him kindly now that he is slain, And fashion him a royal sepulchre; Anoint his head with precious gums, rose-water, And musk, his body with pure camphor; place A golden torque about his neck, a casque With ambergris therein upon his head." The interpreter of Shida looking forth Beheld the body of the famous prince, Which they had raised blood-boltered from the sands To carry toward the army of Khusrau. The interpreter drew near and cried aloud:- "O thou illustrious and just-dealing king ! I was no more than Shida's feeble slave, No warrior, cavalier, or paladin O Shah ! forgive me in thy clemency, And may thy spirit be the joy of heaven." "Tell my grandfather," thus the Shah replied, "Before the troops what thou hast seen me do." The nobles' hearts and eyes were on the road, Awaiting Shida's coming from the field. A cavalier sped o'er the yielding sand, Bare-headed, weeping scalding tears of blood, And told Afrasiyab, who in despair Plucked out his locks all camphor-white and scattered Dust on his head. His paladins drew nigh, And all who saw the Turkman monarch's face Rent hearts and garments for him; such a wail |p177 Of lamentation went up from the troops That sun and moon were moved to pity them. Then said Afrasiyab in his distress:- "Henceforth I seek not quiet or repose, And be ye my companions in my sorrow; Our sword's point shall not see the sheath, and I Will ne'er know joy again. Bind we our skirts Together,' leave Iran no field or fell. Account him not a man but div or beast, Whose heart shall not be pierced by agony; Let shamefast tears be never in those eyes That tears of hot blood fill not at our woe For that moon-faced and warlike cavalier - That Cypress-tree upon the streamlet's lip." Afrasiyab wept tears of blood for grief That leeches cannot cure. The men of name All loosed their tongues before the king and answered "May God, the just Judge, make this light for thee, And fill thy foemen's hearts with sore dismay; Not one of us will tarry day or night In this our grief and our revenge for Shida, But raise the war-cry in our soldiers' hearts, And scatter heads upon the battlefield. Khusrau, who hath not left an ill undone, Now addeth feud to feud." The warriors Were broken-hearted, grief possessed the king, The field was filled with stir and clamouring. Par. 10 How the Battle was joined between the Hosts When Sol was rising in the Sign of Taurus, And when the lark was singing o'er the plain, |p178 A sound of kettledrums arose in camp, A din of tymbals and of clarions, As Jahn led forth ten thousand valiant swordsmen Equipped for war. Khusrau, beholding them, Commanded, and Karan of Kawa's race Led like a mountain from the central host Ten thousand veterans, while Gustaham, Son of Naudar, rushed with his battle-flag Like dust-cloud to the fray; the world grew dim With horsemen's dust, troops filled the earth and banners The air. Khusrau was instant in the centre, Afrasiyab was active on the field, Till heaven dusked and warriors' vision failed; Then when the brave Karan had routed Jahn, And when the moon set o'er the mountain-skirt, The warriors came back from the field. Khusrau Exulted over the Iranians Because they had prevailed, yet they prepared All night for war and neither slept nor feasted. When Sol arose in Cancer, and the world Was full of hostile sounds and purposes, The armies of both realms arrayed themselves, And every lip was foaming for the fight. Khusrau, attended by one faithful liege, Withdrew behind the rear, and there dismounted To proffer much thanksgiving to the Maker. He laid his face upon the tawny dust, And spake thus: "O Thou justly dealing Judge ! If, as Thou know'st, I have experienced wrongs And borne them patiently for many a day, Requite the doer of the wrong with blood, And be the Guide of him that was oppressed." Thence with grieved heart, and head full of revenge Against the offspring of Zadsham, he came With shoutings to the centre of the host, And set his glorious helm upon his head. |p179 The battle-cry arose, the din of horn, Of brazen trumpet and of kettledrum. The opposing forces came on mountain-like, Troop after troop astir - a sea-like host. Jahn and Afrasiyab were at the centre. As those two hosts advanced thou wouldst have said :- "The valleys and the desert are afoot." The sun was darkened by the armies' dust, While at the flashing spear-heads, eagle's plumes, The din of trumpets, shouting warriors, And heroes' maces on the battlefield, The crocodile in water and the pard On land, the iron and the rocks and mountains, Dissolved with fear. Earth heaved and air was full Of shouts; the ears of savage lions split; Thou wouldst have said: "The world is Ahriman's ! 'Tis naught but enemies from sleeve to skirt !" While everywhere lay slaughtered, heap on heap, The warriors of Iran and of Turan. The sands were naught but blood, heads, hands, and feet; Earth's heart was shaken; underneath the hoofs The fields and fells seemed linen stiff with gore. Anon the warriors of Afrasiyab Advanced like ships upon the sea, attacking The archers' towers - defensive citadels - Borne by the elephants before the centre. Amid a rain of arrows from the towers There rose the clamours of the battlefield, As spearmen and the elephants came onward With many a warrior from the central host. Afrasiyab two miles away descried That vast array and towered elephants, And with his own huge elephants and troops Advanced; the world grew dark, no light was left. He shouted: "O ye famous men of war ! Why do ye cramp yourselves and crowd about |p180 The elephants? The fight extendeth miles. Draw from the centre and the towers, spread wide To right and left." He ordered Jahn, no novice, To quit his post with mighty men and lead Ten thousand cavaliers and veteran, All lancers dight for combat, toward the left, And thither sped that lion-warrior. When Kai Khusrau perceived that Turkman battle, And how it hid the sun, he turned toward His own chiefs - heroes of the fray - and bade them Shine on the left like Sol in Aries. They set off with ten thousand noble troops, Mailed and with ox-head maces. Next he bade Shammakh of Sur : "Among our men of name Select ten thousand youthful combatants, Unsheathe your swords between the embattled lines, And stoop your heads upon your saddle-bows." The hosts so grappled that thou wouldst have said :- "They are one mass! " From both sides rose a crash, Blood ran down from the fight in streams; they led The elephants with towers aside; the world Became like Nile. When both to right and left Dust rose, that refuge of the host - the worldlord - Called for his armour and advanced with Rustam With shouts and fury from the centre. Trump And tymbal sounded. On one hand was Tus, The chief, with Kawa's flag. The paladins, That wore the golden boots, all left their stations With smarting hearts and formed the Shah's left wing, While battle-loving Rustam and Zawara, His brother, set their faces toward the right. The veteran Gudarz, son of Kishwad, With many noble chiefs, supported Rustam, As did Zarasp and prudent Manushan. The din of war rose from the scene of strife. |p181 None will behold a fight like that. The sand Was strewn with killed and wounded - those whose day Was done. Men saw not how to cross the field For slain. The waste was as Jihun with blood, One man lay headless and another headlong. The cries of horse and rider rose above The tymbals' din. " The mountains' hearts are split," Thou wouldst have said, " and earth is fledged with horsemen." Here heads lay trunkless, there were headless trunk, While massive maces clashed. The sun was faire To flee before the flash of trenchant swords And falchions. Thou hadst said: "A murky cloud Hath risen raining blood upon the field." Fartus was slain upon the Turkman left By Fariburz, the son of Shah Kaus, While on the right Kuhila, who himself Was equal to a hundred elephants, Fell by the hand of Minuchihr. With noon Came storm and cloud. The world-illuming sun Was veiled, earth darkened and the eyes of men Were troubled. As the sun began to sink The Turkman monarch's heart was moved by terror As cavaliers from every kingdom, march, Domain, and principality, pressed on, While with the various mail and diverse flags The world was yellow, red, and violet. When Garsiwaz behind the king saw this He brought his troops up; to the right he sent A noble band - men one in soul and body - Another to the left, and spread his chiefs On all sides - forty thousand cavaliers, And chosen mighty men, that drew the sword. He hastened to Afrasiyab who, seeing His brother's face, took courage and advanced. Rose war-din, air was veiled with feathered shafts. |p182 When darkness came in rearward of the sun, And day was almost night, false Garsiwaz, That miscreant,' hurried to his brother, saying:- "Who of our warriors still desireth fight ? The earth is full of blood, the air of dust. Withdraw the army since the night hath come, Bestir thee, for the troops will wail anon, And soon thou wilt be fighting while they flee! Do not thyself such wrong." The king was wroth, And would not hear a word, but urged his steed Forth from the host; he rushed upon the field, And slew some nobles of the Iranians. Khusrau perceived this, went out in support, And both kings of both realms, thus bent on battle, Fared ill - attended by their cavaliers. Howbeit Garsiwaz and Jahn allowed not Afrasiyab to challenge Kai Khusrau ; They seized their monarch's reins, turned round his steed, And hurried toward the desert of Amwi. On his withdrawal Ustukila came Like smoke to offer battle to the Shah. King Ila too rushed forward like a leopard, And Burzuyala eminent in fight. The bodies of those three were rocks of flint, They were all fierce and ruthless warriors. The Shah, perceiving them, urged from the throng His charger, came upon them mountain-like, Smote with his lance the valiant Ustukila, Unseated him and cast him on the earth. King Ila rushed before the line and struck Khusrau upon the girdle with a spear, Which failed to pierce his breastplate or affray |p183 His glorious heart. He saw his foeman's pluck And strength, unsheathed forthwith his trenchant sword, And clave the spear asunder with a blow, Which Burzuyala seeing, and withal The monarch's courage, might, and mastery, Made off amid the gloom; thou wouldst have said:- "He burst his skin." The Turkmans, when they saw The prowess of the Shah, fled one and all. As for Afrasiyab himself, the plight, So bare and hopeless, was as death to him, And when the Turkman horse were ware thereof They charged no more. When they returned in shame Afrasiyab commanded them to shout:- "This lion-courage cometh of the night, Which causeth our retreat but, though the wind Sought thee to-day and gave a glimpse of joy, Expect us with our banner, our heart's lustre, When daylight cometh back; then will we turn The surface of the desert to a sea, And smash the bright sun into Pleiades." Thereat the several monarchs of these two Contending hosts each to his camp withdrew. Par. 11 How Afrasiyab fled When half dark night had passed, and heaven half turned Above the hills,' the Turkman leader packed His baggage, gave out helms and mail to all His troops, and bade ten thousand Turkman horse On barded chargers to be outpost-guards. He spake thus to the host: "When I have passed The river follow me, troop after troop, |p184 Leave day and night unreckoned." From Amwi He crossed Jihun that night with all his host, While all the country, road and waste alike, Was naught but empty tents and tent-enclosures. When dawn brake forth upon the mountain-tops The outposts saw no soldiers on the plain, And brought the joyful tidings to Khusrau:- "The Shah hath no occasion for more strife We see the tent-enclosures and the tents, But not a horseman of the foe remaineth." Khusrau forthwith fell prostrate on the ground While giving praises to the All Just and Holy, And saying: "O Thou glorious and almighty, The Worldlord, the Provider, and the Judge, Who gayest me Grace, strength, and diadem, And now hast blinded my foes' hearts and souls ! Oh! banish this oppressor from our world, And burden him with terror all his years." Whenas the sun took up its golden shield, And night assumed its hair of turquoise hue, The world's lord sat upon the ivory throne, And donned the crown that brighteneth the heart. The army praised him: "May he live for ever, This Shah who is so worthy of the state." The soldiers lacked no booty; it was there, Left by the army of Afrasiyab, But all the people said: "We have been tricked; He hath departed with host, trump, and drum; The famous monarch hath escaped unhurt At night-time from the clutches of the free ! " The shrewd Shah said: "Chiefs of the Iranian host! 'Tis good whene'er the Shah's foe hath been slain, And good when he retreateth in confusion. Since God, the Arbiter, hath given us Grace, Crown, majesty, and kingship over kings, |p185 Give ye thanksgiving everywhere to Him With benedictions offered day and night, Because He maketh luckless whom He will, And setteth up the worthless on the throne; We cannot question or advise or move Therein, for no slave can withstand His word. Here shall I tarry for five days; the sixth Is sacred to Urmuzd, the light of earth; Upon the seventh we will march; the foe Provoketh me and I desire revenge:' Five days they searched for their Iranian slain, And having washed the dust off gave them all, As they deserved, a worthy burial. Par. 12 How Kai Khusrau announced his Victory to Kaus Khusrau then bade a scribe to come to him, Supplied with paper, musk, and spicery. They wrote a letter from the battlefield, Couched in befitting terms, to Shah Kids. The scribe began it with the praise of God, Who is the Guide, and Object of all praise, And then Khusrau dictated: "May the power Of my great sovereign, fearful for my life As though he were my sire, last like the hills, And be his foes' hearts stricken. From Iran I reached the sandy desert of Farab, And fought three mighty battles in three nights. The horsemen of Afrasiyab were more Than sages dream oú I have sent the king Three hundred of our noblest foemen's heads - That of the brother of Afrasiyab, His son, his honoured nobles, and his kin - Together with two hundred men of name |p186 In bonds, and each a hundred lions' match. We fought upon the desert of Kharazm. In that great conflict heaven blessed our efforts, Afrasiyab hath fled and we have crossed The river in pursuit, and wait the issue." They sealed the letter with a seal of musk, And after, as he marched across the waste, "Be blessings on this battlefield," he cried, "And be each year to prosperous stars allied." Par. 13 How Afrasiyab went to Gang-biltisht Now when Afrasiyab had fled the field He crossed the river like a rushing wind; His own troops joined the troops of Kurakhan, And told their tale. How bitterly their monarch Wept, with those still surviving of his race, For his illustrious son, for his great men, His kinsmen and allies! There rose a wail Of anguish and thou wouldst have said: "The clouds Are drawing tears of blood from lions' eyes." He lingered in Bukhara for a while, And wished his Lions to renew the struggle. He called to him the great and haughty chiefs Of those who still survived but, when they came, The advisers of the army loosed their tongues, And said, for they were left without resource By that campaign: "The great men of our host Have passed away; our hearts are wounded for them. In sooth of every hundred there survive Not twenty ! Those departed claim our tears. Now for a while we have renounced our treasures, Our children, and our kin, and fought beyond |p187 Jihun as we were bidden by the king, And what unwisdom brought on us thou knowest, For thou art king and we perform thy hests. If now the monarch will be well advised He will withdraw the army hence to Chach, And, if suggestions may be made to him, Cross the Gulzaryun and wait a while At Gang-bihisht, because it is a place As fit for recreation as for fight." No other plan was mooted, all agreed. They marched to the Gulzaryun, with eyes Wet and full hearts; there spent the Turkman king Three days, recruiting with his hawks and cheetahs, Thence on to Gang-bihisht where, though he had But short repose, he thought it Paradise ; To him its soil was musk, its bricks were gold ; There he was happy, laughing in his sleep, Thou hadst said: "Safety is his bedfellow." He summoned countless troops from every side, The great men, haughty chiefs, and potentates, While he was drinking wine among the bowers And roses with companions, harp, and rebeck. He sent his spies abroad to every quarter, And revelled with his chieftains day and night, Awaiting what time's course should bring to light. Par. 14 How Khusrau crossed the Jihun As soon as Kai Khusrau had passed the river He banished banqueting, repose, and sleep, And, when he had transported all his troops Across, he sent this proclamation forth:- "Let no man be in terror at our coming, But offer prayer for us to holy God:' |p188 He gave great largess to the mendicants, Especially to those who welcomed him. He thence departed to the march of Sughd, And saw a novel world - the home of owls. Upon that country too he lavished treasure In eagerness for its prosperity, And, whereso'er he halted, cavaliers Came seeking quarter. Tidings reached Khusrau About the doings of Afrasiyab And of his army: "Kakula is with him With reinforcements like huge lions loose. He is by race from Tur, revengeful, injured, And seeketh all occasions for a fight. Afrasiyab hath sent some troops to Chach, For he would seek the Iranian throne and crown, And many with Tawurg toward the desert, Where all are hostile to the Shah, to hold The road against the Iranians." Kai Khusrau Was not perturbed, for wisdom ruled his thoughts. The troops from Barda' and from Ardabil He ordered to approach by companies, To march before him, and return the number Of leaders, frontier-chiefs, and archimages. They marched; their general was Gustaham, A man who never blenched where Lions fought. Khusrau next bade the army of Nimruz To march with Rustam, burner up of chiefs, On fiery camels and to lead their chargers; Then, changing from their camels to their steeds, To make a joint and sudden night-attack Upon the foe. So both these crown-adorners Marched forth, one to the desert, one toward Chach. The Shah continued for a month in Sughd - A district well affected to himself - Gave to his troops their pay and rested them, |p189 And sought occasion both for fight and fame. lie gathered all the warriors skilled in leaguers To aid him and dismayed the evil-doers. Thence proudly, girdle-girt, and dight for battle He led a host from Sughd and from Kashan ; The world was lost in wonderment at him, And tidings reached the Turkmans : "Kai Khusrau, The aspiring Shah, hath come in quest of vengeance." Then all of them took refuge in their holds; The world was full of bruit and turbulence. Anon the Shah harangued his host and said:- "In that our task is different to-day, As for the Turkmans who submit themselves, And in their hearts repent of making war, Fight not against them, and shed not their blood. Lead none the way to evil, but if any, Whose vengeful heart remaineth recusant, Shall seek to strive against you with a host, Then bloodshed, harrying, and combating In any quarter are permitted you." A shout rose from the army of Iran, And all obeyed the orders of the Shah ; The warriors went up against the holds, Against all holds held by ambitious chiefs, And razed the walls. No dwelling-place was left, No slaves or cattle, nothing good or bad. He traversed in this way a hundred leagues, Depopulating stronghold, hill, and plain. He marched to the Gulzaryun, explored, The land with guides, and saw a world like gardens In spring, the dales, wastes, hills, and earth all fair, Themountains stocked with game, the plains with trees - A world for favoured folk. He sent. out scouts Andspies to learn whate'er was left to know. They pitched the youthful monarch's camp-enclosure |p190 Beside a stream. The worldlord took his seat Upon the golden throne with his famed lieges, And held at night a feast till day. The dead Rose from the dust Upon the other side Afrasiyab at Gang, by day and night, Spake with his wise, experienced, prescient nobles, And said: "Now that the foe hath reached our couch How is it possible to rest at Gang ? " They answered: "Since the enemy is nigh We see no course except another battle It is not well to yield with such a host." With this they left the presence, and all night Prepared their forces for the coming fight. Par. 15 How Kai Khusrau fought with Afrasiyab the second Time At cock-crow, when the dawn began to break And when the tymbal's din rose from the court, An army marched out to the waste from Gang, And cramped the very ants and gnats for room. Approaching the Gulzaryun the host Made earth like Mount Bistun. The army marched Three days and nights. The world was full of turmoil And din of war. The column stretched seven leagues, And soldiers were more plentiful than ants Or locusts. On the fourth day they drew up In line. From stream to sun the flash of arms Ascended. Jahn, son of Afrasiyab, Whose spears o'ershot the sun, was on the right. Afrasiyab took station at the centre With chieftains, sages, and proud cavaliers. Kubard, the lion-warrior, held the left With cavaliers brave and experienced. |p191 Revengeful Garsiwaz was in the rear To guard the army from the enemy. Full in the centre on the other side Khusrau supported like a hill his host. With him were Tus, son of Naudar, Gudarz, And Manushan, high born Khuzan, Gurgin, Son of Milad, the lion Gustaham, Hajir and brave Shidush. Upon the right Was Fariburz, son of Kaus. The troops Were one in soul and body. On the left Was Minuchihr, who held his own in battle. Giv, offspring of Gudarz, the guard and stay Of every march, was in the rear. The plain Became a sea, the earth an iron hill Of horseshoe-nails, the hoofs were tulip-hued. A cloud of black dust gathered overhead, The hearts of flints split at the tymbals' din, Earth heaved like murky clouds; thou wouldst have said "It will not bear the hosts !" The air resembled An ebon robe, the drumming frayed the stars. Thefield was naught but heads, brains, hands, and feet Good sooth, no room remained. The chargers trampled On lifeless heads and all the waste was filled With trunkless heads and hands and feet. The wise Were not in evidence and both hosts owned:- "Ifon this field of anguish and revenge Thetroops continue thus a further while Nohorsemen will survive, and in good Booth The sky itself will fall! " At all the crashing Of ax on helmet souls farewelled their bodies. When Kai Khusrau observed the battle's stress, The world grown straitened to his heart, he went Apart and prayed to God to do him right :- OO Thou beyond the ken of saints," he said, |p192 "The Lord of this world and the King of kings If I had never been a man oppressed, And tried like iron in the crucible, I would not ask to be victorious, Or urge my cause upon the righteous Judge." He spake and laid his face upon the ground; His bitter lamentations filled the world. At once there came a furious blast, which snapped The green boughs, from the battlefield raised dust And blew it in the Turkmans' eyes and faces. Afrasiyab, apprised that any one Had turned his back on fight, beheaded him, And made the dust and sand his winding-sheet. Thus was it till the heaven and earth grew dark, And many Turkmans had been taken captive. Night carne and donned its musk-black garniture, Preventing fight. Then both the kings recalled Their hosts, for heaven and earth alike were dark. The mountain-skirt down to the river-bank Was naught but troops in breastplate, mail, and helm, Who set the watch-fires blazing round about, While outpost-guards went forth on every side. Afrasiyab took order for the fight, But tarried till the fountain of the sun Should rise, light up the faces of the hills, And make earth like a ring of Badakhshan ; Then would he bring his noblest cavaliers To strive for glory on the battlefield ; Howbeit God appointed differently, And everything must yield to His decree. |p193 Par. 16 How Afrasiyab took Refuge in Gang-bihisht When night was dark, dark as a negro's face, One sent by Gustaham, son of Naudar, Came to Khusrau and said: "Long live the Shah We have returned in triumph joyfully. We made an unexpected night-assault Upon the foe, who had no mounted outposts; Not one of them had wit enough for that. As soon as they were roused from sleep they drew Their massive maces and their scimitars, And when the day dawned none but Kurakhan With certain of the soldiery was left. The field is covered with their headless trunks, Earth is their couch and dust their coverlet." A cameleer moreover with good news Of Rustam came about the dawn, and said:- "We gat intelligence upon the waste, And thereupon we basted. Rustam held Upon his way alike by day and night, Insisting on the march with all dispatch. We reached the place by daylight as the sun, The lustre of the world, rose in the sky; Then matchless Rustam strung his bow and set, When he was near, the helmet on his head, And all the plain or ever he had thumbed A shaft was freed from Turkman combating. Now he bath marched for vengeance to Turan, And tidings verily will reach the Shah." A shout of joy ascended from the host, Whereat the Turkman leader pricked his ears, And called his faithful followers to horse. A cavalier moreover came in haste, With lamentation to Afrasiyab, |p194 And said thus: "Kurakhan hath left our troops, And now is nigh at hand with sixty men; There is a host too marching on Turan, Exhausting all the water in the streams." The monarch thus addressed his counsellors "A fearful struggle now confronteth us; If Rustam layeth hand upon our throne We shall be lost indeed! But at this present He thinketh that we have not heard of him, And are in grievous travail with Khusrau, So let us fall like fire on him by night, And make the plain as 'twere Jihun with blood." The warriors and prudent counsellors Agreed thereto. The monarch left his baggage, And led his army front the plain like fire. Anon an outpost from the waste reported That heaven was gloomy with the dust of troops; He saw that all the Turkmans had withdrawn, And brought these tidings to the king of men:- "The plain is full enough of huts and tents, But there is not a Turkman left inside." Khusrau knew why the prince of Chin had gone Precipitately from the battlefield, That he had tidings as to Gustaham, And Rustam, and that that had made him speed. Khusrau sent off in haste to say to Rustam :- "Afrasiyab hath turned away from us, And surely hasteth to contend with thee. Array the host and be upon thy guard, Keep to thy shaft and quiver night and day." The monarch's messenger was one who skilled To cross that pathless tract. Arrived he found The lion-hearted Rustam girt for fight, The troops with maces shouldered and their ears All strained; he thereupon declared to Rustam The message purposed to secure his safety. |p195 Revengeful Kai Khusrau upon his side Abode in quiet free from bruit of war, -e gave his soldiers all the Turkmans' tents, Enclosures, thrones, and crowns. He sought the slain Iranians, washed away the blood and mire, And gave them sepulture befitting princes. Then, passing from the dust and blood of battle, He packed the baggage, called the troops to horse, And with all speed pursuedythe Turkman king. Whenas Afrasiyab was near the city He thought thus: "Rustam hath had sleep enough, I will surprise him in a night-attack, And make the dust fly from his soldiers' hearts." But in the gloom he noticed outpost-guards, Heard how the chargers neighed upon the plain, And wondering at Rustam's work marched off, Reflecting that his troops had been defeated, And had to struggle for dear life; that Rustam, The deft of hand, was in the front, the Shah Behind with all his warlike cavaliers. Afrasiyab called any that were near, Discoursed at large in his anxiety, And questioned them: "What seemeth good to you ? " A chief replied: "The treasure of the king Is all at Gang-bihisht. What profiteth A toilsome march like this ? Gang is eight leagues In length and four in breadth; men, women, children, And troops are there; thou wilt have wealth, the foe Will still toil on. No eagles soar above Its battlements, none dreameth of such heights! There are provisions, palace, treasure, crown, And majesty, command, and throne and host. The country round about is called Bihisht, |p196 Where all is pleasure, peace, and happiness. On all sides there are fountain-heads and pools An arrow's carry in their length and breadth And sages have been brought from Hind and Rum To make that fertile land a paradise, While from the battlements the eye beholdeth All that is on the plain for twenty leagues. Is fighting all thy business in this world, Where every man is but a sojourner ? " Whenas Afrasiyab had heard these words . They pleased him and, relying on his fortune, He entered Gang-bihisht exultingly With all his arms and implements of war. He went about the city and beheld Not e'en a hand-breadth of waste ground therein; There was a palace lifted to the sky, Built by himself - a king whose word was law. Alighting there he held an audience, And gave out money for his soldiers' pay. He sent a band of troops to every gate, And put each quarter in a chieftain's charge, While sentinels all round the battlements Held watch and ward alike by day and night. The king, upon whose right hand were installed Both priests and nobles, bade a scribe be called. Par. 17 The Letter of Afrasiyab to the Faghfur of Chin They wrote to the Faghfur of Chin a letter, And, after paying countless compliments, Thus said Afrasiyab : "Revolving time Affordeth naught to me excepting war. Him whom I should have slain I tendered dearly, And now through him my life is one of hardship. |p197 If the Faghfur of Chin would come himself 'Twere well, my soul is Protestant of friendship ; But if he cannot still let him dispatch A host to march with us against the foe." The messenger arrived in Chin by night ; The great Faghfur received him graciously, And decked for him a pleasant residence. Afrasiyab for his own part at Gang Abandoned quiet, banqueting, and sleep, Arranged his catapults upon the walls, And fitted up the towers to stand a siege. He bade magicians bring up mighty stones Upon the walls, he summoned many experts From Rum, and stationed troops upon the ramparts. A prelate shrewd of heart set up thereon Ballistas, catapults, and arbalists, And shields of wolf-hide. All the towers were filled With coats of mail and helms. He kept a troop Of smiths at work to fashion claws of steel On every side and bind them to long spears To grapple any that adventured nigh, Or, if not that, to make him shun the hold. In all his dealings he was just; he gave His troops their pay and well entreated them. He gave moreover helms and scimitars, Mail for the chargers, shields from Chin, with bows And arrows to his men past reckoning, Especially to all the warriors; When that was done he and his faithful lords Reposed. A hundred harpers fair of face Met daily in his halls to make him mirth, And day and night while holding festival He called for native Turkman songs and wine. Each day he threw a treasure to the winds, And reeked not of the morrow. So away, |p198 Since fate is fixed, with sadness and be gay! He lived two sennights thus exempt from sorrow; But who can tell who will rejoice to-morrow? Par. 18 How Kai Khusrau arrived before Gang-bihisht Three sennights passed, Khusrau arrived at Gang; And, listening to the sound of flute and harp, Laughed and went round the circuit of the hold, Astonied at the inconstancy of fortune. He was amazed at seeing such a place - A heart-alluring heaven - standing there, And said: "The builder of these walls built not As one expectant of calamity, Yet now the murderer of Siyawush Hath fled for refuge to these walls from us!" He said to Rustam : "Mark, O paladin! Discerningly the bounties and the triumphs In fight accorded us by God, the Worldlord ! This wicked man pre-eminent in ill, Rage, folly, and deceit, hath made this hold His refuge, here obtained a rest from fortune, And, worst of villains, growethworse with age. If I would thank God for His mercies here I must not sleep all night; success and power Both come from Him who fashioned sun and moon." There was a mountain on one side the city, Preventing all attack, upon another A river ran, one to rejoice man's soul. They pitched the camp-enclosure on the plain, The paladins took station round the hold. The host extended over seven leagues, And earth saluted the Iranians. |p199 The camp-enclosure on the right was Rustam's, Who asked the Shah for troops, while Fariburz, Son of Kaus, and Tus, with trumpets, drums, And heart-illuming standard, marched and pitched Upon the left, and, thirdly, Giv took station. Night came; from every quarter shouts arose; Earth was all strife and stir, its heart unseated By din of trumpet, kettledrum, and fife. Whenas the sun had cleared the sky of rust, And rent in twain heaven's sable stole, the Shah Went round the host upon his night-hued steed, And spake to elephantine Rustam thus:- "O thou illustrious leader of the host ! Afrasiyab, I hope, will have no longer The world to look on even in his dreams, But whether I shall take him dead or living He shall behold the sword-point of God's slave. Methinketh that a host will come to him From every side, so mighty is his sway; They fear him and will succour him through fear, Not of their own wills and for vengeance-sake; So ere he call up forces let us seize The roads, moreover raze the castle-ramparts, And sink their dust and stones in yonder river. The day of stress is over for the troops, A day of ease succeedeth one of toil; No army feareth vengeance or attack From foes withdrawn for shelter to their walls. The city, where Afrasiyab is now Heart-broken, shall become a brake of thorns. As we recall the words of Kai Kaus We are reminded of our righteous cause, He said: 'Time shall not clothe in rust and dust The boughs and trunk of this revenge of ours. 'Twill be an evergreen, and not a heart Will shrink from dying in this royal feud, |p200 But sire to son for three score centuries Will hand it on and, when the sire shall pass, The feud shall stay, the son take up the woe.'" The mighty men called praises down on him, They hailed him as the monarch of pure Faith, And said: "Thou shalt avenge thy father thus; Be ever happy and victorious." Par. 19 How Jahn came to Kai Khusrau with an Embassage from Afrasiyab The next day when the sun rose o'er the hills, And set its golden lantern in the sky, There went up from the hold a mighty shout, Which caused Khusrau to ponder. Thereupon The portal of the hold was opened wide, And then the mystery was unveiled, for Jahn Came with ten cavaliers, all men of wisdom, Estate, and knowledge, to the royal entry, And there alighted with the other nobles. The chamberlain went in before the Shah, And said: "'Tis Jahn with ten more cavaliers." The king of kings sat on the ivory throne, And donned the crown that gladdeneth the heart, While Manushan, the warrior, went forth, And brought wise Jahn to audience. At his coming The face of Kai Khusrau was tear-bedimmed. The valiant Jahn, lost in astonishment, Removed his royal helm and drawing nigh Did reverence, and said: "O famous king! Be goodness aye thy partner through the world, Be prosperous in our land, and may the hearts And eyes of all thy foes be rooted out. Live ever happily and serving God, |p201 Thou that erst stretched thy hands upon our soil ! Blest was thy sojourn, happy is thy coming, Kind hath been all thine intercourse with us. I bring a message from Afrasiyab, Provided that the Shah will bear with me." Thereat Khusrau bade bring a golden stool. They set it 'heath that prudent man who took His seat, recalled the message of his sire, And thus addressed the Shah : "Afrasiyab Is sitting with his eyes fulfilled with tears. I first convey this greeting to the Shah, Sent by the heart-seared monarch of Turan :- 'Praise be to God, our Refuge, that a son Of ours should have attained such eminence. The Shah upon the father's side is sprung From Kai Kubad, upon the mother's side From Tur : thy head is higher than earth's kings Because thou comest of this noble stock. The swiftly flying eagles in the clouds, And in the streams the lusty crocodiles, Are guardians of thy throne, and in thy fortune The beasts rejoice; earth's great men with their crowns And coronets are thine inferiors. I marvel that the curst Div never willeth Me aught but harm. Why went my heart astray From sense of right and loving-kindliness So that my hand slew noble Siyawush, The son of Kai Kaus, and for no fault? My heart is sore thereat; I sit apart In anguish taking neither sleep nor food. I slew him not; it was the wicked Div, Who ravished from my heart the fear of God; His time had come and that was mine excuse, I was illuded. Both a sage and king Art thou, approving men of holiness; Mark then how many cities and how great, |p202 With gardens, spaces, halls, and palaces, Have been destroyed in vengeance and the plea Hath been Afrasiyab and Siyawush Mark too the fights of cavaliers, as huge As elephants and strong as crocodiles, Whose heads are trunkless and whose only shrouds Are lions' maws; the desert hath no hostel Remaining, every city here is ruined. Till Doom's Day nothing will be told of us Save that we fought with trenchant scimitars, The Maker of the world will be displeased, And we shall writhe in anguish at the last. If thou seek'st fight thy heart assuredly Will never have a moment's peace from feuds. Observe time's changes and no other teacher, For though thy heart be full, thy head all vengeance, We have the hold while thou art on the plain. I speak of Gang; it is my paradise, Its seed-time and its harvest are mine own; Here are my hoards, my host, my crown, and signet It is a place for sowing and for feasting, A place for Lions on the day of battle. The summer-warmth is past, the rose and tulip No longer bloom, cold, wintry days confront us When hands are frozen to the hafts of spears. Well know I how the clouds will lour above, And rivers be firm ground. From every side Troops at my call will come ; thou canst not strive Against the sun and moon. If thou supposest That time will render unto thee the fruits Of war, then heaven will belie thy thoughts, And others eat the produce of thy toils. If now thou sayest : "I will take the Turkmans Of Chin, will dash the heaven upon the earth And pierce this people with the scimitar," Shall I become a captive in thy hands ? |p203 Presume it not, for this shall never be None will erase a man indelible. The grandson ain I of Zadsham the king, Descended from Jamshid and Faridun, My knowledge and my Grace are both from God, And I possess a pinion like Surush. When destiny oppresseth me my heart Requireth not a teacher; I will go At slumber-time, as God commandeth use, Like stars before the sun, cross the Kimak" And yield thee realm and crown. Then shall Gang-dizh Be thine abode, both land and troops shall lose me ; But when the day of vengeance shall arrive I will array, boar-headed as I am, This host, will come to execute revenge On thee, and everywhere restore my Faith; But if thou wilt put vengeance from thy thoughts, And charm the realm with loving-kindliness, I will unlock my board of girdles, crowns, Gold, jewels, and dinars - whatever Tur, The son of Faridun, took from Iraj. Them take and never think again of vengeance. If thou wilt have Chin and Machin, 'tis well, Seize all according to thy heart's desire. Before thee are Makran and Khurasan ; Take less or more and I ain satisfied. By that same route which Kai Kaus hath traversed I will dispatch thee what thou wilt of troops, I will enrich thy whole host and bestow On thee the golden throne and diadem. I will be thy support in every war, And hail thee king in presence of all folk. Say what thou wouldest have - all thy desire - And by the past and future judge thine end But if thou shalt reject this rede of mine, And wilt wage war upon thy mother's father, |p204 Array thy Host as soon as Jahn hath gone, Fit as a pard am I for fighting on.'" Par. 20 How Kai Khusrau made Answer to Jahn At this the Shah looked smilingly on Jahn, And answered him: "O thou that seekest fame! We have heard all thy words from end to end. First for the blessing that thou gavest me, So be it on my signet, crown, and throne Then for the greeting of Afrasiyab, Whose eyes by thine account are full of tears, Let that too be upon my throne and crown May they be happy and victorious. And further that thou gavest praise to God Is pleasing to the Shah, His worshipper - The happiest of the monarchs of the earth, The most approven, glad, and conquering. God hath bestowed on me what thou hast said; May wisdom still accompany each grace. Fair words are thine at will; but thou art not Pure-hearted or a worshipper of God, For wise men's deeds are better than their words. The glorious Faridun did not become A star; his head is in the dark earth still, Yet say'st thou: 'I am higher than the sky.' In such wise hast thou purged thy face from shame. Thy heart is given up to sorceries, And words are but a trinket on thy tongue. A glozing tongue and lying heart reflect No lustre on a sage; so never call My murdered father monarch of the world Now that the bones of Siyawush have perished. Moreover from her bower thou haled'st down |p205 My mother to the street, thou hadst become so full of vengeance, and didst kindle fire Upon my head while I was yet unborn, And everybody present at thy court Cried shame upon that wayward soul of thine, For no one of the kings, the warriors, And mighty men e'er did such deeds as haling A woman out before the folk, consigning A great dame to the executioners, A daughter to be scourged until she cast Her babe. The wise Piran, when he arrived, Beheld what he had never seen or heard Before. It was God's ordinance that I Should be exalted over all the folk; He saved me from thy bale and mischief, fate Had secrets for me; soon as I was born Thou didst commit me to the shepherds' charge As 'twere a worthless brat, a meal for lions. So fared I while the days passed o'er my head Until Piran conveyed me from the waste, And brought me to thy presence; I was fit, As thou didst see, for throne and crown, and thou Wouldst have beheaded me like Siyawush, And left my body naked of a shroud, Had not all-holy God restrained my lips, And left me standing dazed before the court. Thou thoughtest that I had not heart or wit, And didst not execute thy foul design. Reflect on Siyawush and his just acts; What was the evil that thou sawest in him? Thou vast his chosen refuge in the world; He acted as befitteth men of name; He came, for thee resigning throne and crown, And hailed thee only in the world as king, Put trust in thee and quitted his own folk Lest thou shouldst say that he had broken faith; |p206 But when thou saw'st his breast and girdlestead, His greatness, might, and mien, thine evil nature Was roused, thou didst o'erthrow that holy man, And like a sheep behead a prince so dear Thou from the time of Minuchihr till now Hast been but miscreant and malevolent. Our troubles had their origin with Tur, Who bathed his hands in ill against his sire, And so it goeth on from son to son Against all kingly usage, law, and Faith. Thou didst strike off the head of king Naudar, A man of royal birth and lineage, And slay thy brother, righteous Ighriras, Who lived for honour; thou hast ever been A villain, vile, and led by Ahriman. Thy crimes, if one should count them, would surpass The revolutions of the sky in number. Thou hast sent down thy roots to Hell, and thou Wilt not declare thyself of human birth. 'The loathly Div,' thou hast gone on to urge, 'Inclined toward Hell my heart and ways.' Zahhak Put forth, so did Jamshid, that very plea, In moments of despair, and said: 'Iblis Misled our hearts and severed us from good.' 'Twas their ill nature and their teacher's promptings That gave them no surcease of evil fortune, For when one is averse from what is right Then fraud and falsehood ruin everything. Moreover at the battle of Pashan How many troops were slaughtered by Piran! The blood of those descended from Gudarz Turned earth to mire and loss was piled on loss; Yen now thou didst come forth with myriads Of Turkman cavaliers in war-array, Didst lead thy host for battle to Amwi, And Shida came forth as mine opposite; |p207 Thou sentest him that so he might behead me, And thou thereafter mightst lay waste my realm, But God, the Lord of earth, was mine ally, The fortunes of my foes were overthrown. And now thou say'st : 'Thy throne illumineth My heart, thy fortunes make me glad.' Consider; Can I recall thine acts and think it true ? Henceforth till Doomsday I have naught to say To thee save with the trenchant scimitar, And I will strive against thee in the strength Of treasure, host, fair fortune, and the courses Of sun and moon, will make my prayer to God, And ask no guide but Him. The world perchance May then be purged from evil men while I Will gird myself with justice and with bounty; With them will I regenerate the world, And haply clear the garden of ill weeds. Tell to my grandsire all my words and seek No pretext to avoid so great a strife." He gave to Jahn a crown of emeralds, A pair of earrings, and a golden torque, Who thereupon departed to his sire, Ad told him everything. Afrasiyab Raged at that answer; grief and haste possessed him He gave the troops a largess from his hoards, And furnished maces, helmets, casques, and swords. Par. 21 Hoiv Kai Khusrau fought with Afrasiyab and took Gang-bihisht All night until the sun rose in the sky, And made the mountains like white elephants' backs, Afrasiyab was ordering the host |p208 What Turkman cavalier took any sleep? Whenas the din of tymbals rose from Gang, While earth grew iron, heaven ebony, The famous Shah - magnanimous Khusrau - Bestrode his steed at dawn, rode round the hold, And noted places open to attack. He ordered Rustam to assail one side With forces like a mountain, Gustaham, Son of Naudar, to occupy another, And wise Gudarz the third, while he himself, Who prospered everywhere, attacked the fourth With tymbals, elephants, and cavalry ; Thus he disposed his forces and, resuming His seat upon the throne, required the troops To excavate entrenchments round the fortress. Then all who had experience in sieges From Rum, from Chin, and Hind, with veteran chiefs From every quarter, rode around the place, Like couriers, devising plans to take it. The monarch made a trench two spears in depth, And stationed guards that none might make a sally By night and slay his troops ere they could draw. Around were ranged two hundred arbalists, And, when a foe's head showed above the ramparts, Those engines showered like hail thereon; behind Were Ruman troops engaged in working them. 'The Shah then bade that elephants should draw Shores to the hold. He undermined the walls And shored them up : upon the wooden props He smeared black naphtha, such was his device, Whereby the walls were stayed and overthrown. When all had been prepared the king of earth Drew near the Maker of the world in prayer, Writhed in his quest of vengeance like a serpent Upon the dust, and praised the Almighty, saying:- "Thine is it to abase and to exalt; |p209 In every strait we look to Thee for succour. If Thou perceivest that my cause is just Make not my foot to slip, hurl from the throne This sorcerer-king, and give me joy and fortune:' When he had prayed he raised his head, arrayed His shining breast in armour, girt his loins, Sprang up, and rushed as swift as smoke to battle, Commanding onslaught on each gate in force. They set the wood and naphtha all ablaze, And hurled stones on the heads of the besieged. 'then twanged the arbalists while in the smoke The sun's bright visage gloomed, the scorpions, The catapults, and flying dust turned heaven To azure dimness, earth to indigo. Chiefs shouted, trumpeted the elephants, Flashed swords and massive maces. From the showers Of arrows and troops' dust thou wouldst have said :- "The sun and moon contend ! " The world was hidden To clearest eyes so viewless grew the sky! The woodwork, covered with black naphtha, blazed, And burned like firewood, for God willed it so. The walls, thou wouldst have said, came headlong down From their foundations like a mount in motion. With them fell many a Turkman, like a lion, Surrendered to ill fortune, when its head All unawares is taken in the toils. The Iranians' war-cry rose victoriously; They made with warlike Rustam for the breach. Afrasiyab, on hearing that the ramparts Were shattered, rushed to Jahn and Garsiwaz, Like dust, and shouted: "What are walls to you? The army's hold must be the scimitar. Now for your country and your children's sake, For treasure and for kin, bind ye your skirts Together, leave no foeman anywhere." |p210 Then mountain-like the Turkman troops advanced In rank toward the breach; they closed like lions, And both sides raised a shout, but in the strife The Turkman horsemen shook like willow-trees, And gave up land and country in despair. The Shah bade Rustam bring up to the breach The spear-armed footmen followed by two bands Of archers eager for the fray on foot, And armed moreover both with sword and shield, With mounted warriors as their support Where'er the stress of battle proved severe. The horsemen and the footmen on both sides Came onward like a mountain to the fight, And warlike Rustam, like a mighty lion, Led forward all his forces to the breach. He mounted on the walls like flying dust, Struck the black flag and set up on the rampart The ensign of the Shah, the violet ensign Charged with a lion, while the Iranians Hailed with a shout the triumph of Khusrau. A multitude of Turklnan troops were slain, The fortunes of the foe were overthrown, And Rustam at the crisis of the fight Gat in his Grasp brave Jahn and Garsiwaz, Those two supporters of the Turkrnan throne, The glorious son and brother of the king, Such was the evil fate that fell on them! The Iranian troops on entering the city - An army full of vengeance and heart-seared - Gave up themselves to pillaging and slaughter, While shrieks arose and lamentable cries; The women and the children wailed aloud, And left their dwellings to the conquerors. What multitudes of women and of babes Were lost beneath the feet of elephants! The people fled like wind and none took thought |p211 Of country more. In woeful plight all eyes Wept blood. The Turkman warriors' fortunes fell. The treasuries were given up to spoil, The women and the children captive borne, Their souls by heaven, their flesh by arrows, torn! Par. 22 How Afrasiyab fled from Gang-bihisht Afrasiyab departed to his palace, With full heart, weeping; having gained the roofs He looked upon the city. There he saw The more part of his warriors slain, the rest Withdrawing from the battle. There arose Cries from the cavaliers, shouts from the leaders, Din from the drummers on the elephants, Which trod from sight all that they saw alive. The place was full of smoke and shrieks for succour, And all was conflagration, sack, and storm. One side rejoiced, the other was in woe, And in this Wayside Inn 'tis ever so. Afrasiyab, beholding matters thus, Such terror and defeat, no Jahn, no brother,. No land, no throne, no realm, no gems, no treasure, Cried out in very earnest, seared and sore:- "How wantonly heaven's vault hath dealt with us! Mine eyes have looked upon a day when death And slaughter seemed to me of small account!" He came down woeful from the palace-roof, Farewelled his throne of sovereignty, and said:- "When shall I ever look on thee again Upon a day of pleasure, ease, and joy? " He thence departed dazed, and disappeared; His wits and counsel flew away like birds. |p212 Now when he built the palace in the hold He made a secret passage underground, And not a soldier of the army wooed That there was such a by-way underneath The castle. He made choice of ten score chiefs, And vanished by that secret souterrain. Emerging he betook him to the waste, While all his kingdom wondered after him, None knowing where he was because he vanished So suddenly. Khusrau approached the palace, Trod down his foe's star, and assumed the throne Amid the paladins with golden helms. They made abundant quest, but failed to trace That chief of nobles; then the Shah inquired Of Jahn and Garsiwaz about their king:- "How did he go and whither hath he gone? He vanished hence; where hath he taken shelter? They answered fully and Khusrau gave ear, But not a trace showed of Afrasiyab. The conquering Shah said to the Iranians :- "Now that my foe hath vanished from the throne His name and purpose matter not a jot; 'Tis one to us be he alive or not." Par. 23 How Kai Khusrau gave Quarter to the Family of Afrasiyab Khusrau then chose out sages from the host - Chiefs veteran and practised in affairs - And said thus: "Hail! May ye be filled with justice. The portal of this ill-starred Turkman's hoards Intrust I unto you. Be diligent. The sun from yon high heaven must not pierce The palace of Afrasiyab, nor would I That thence his women's voices reach the street." |p213 He sent out keepers for the herds that were At large about the hold and, being kingly, Harmed not the kindred of Afrasiyab. The troops marked this and clamoured: "Kai Khusrau Hath entered in such wise that thou wouldst say :- ''Tis to the portal of a host !' No thought Of sire beheaded by the sword unjustly, Of mother haled down naked by the hair From throne and high place by Afrasiyab, Occurreth to his mind ! This harmless Shah Was shepherd-reared and suckled by a sheep. Why doth he not in sharp-clawed leopards' wise Awake the Day of Doom in this man's home, Bring to the ground his halls and palaces, And make a bonfire of his kith and kin?" The Shah, apprised of all the Iranians' words, Sent and convoked the sages, spake at large, And said to them: "We must display not harshness, Or praise heads void of wits. We must be just In vengeance, and in passion think of fame, For fame is our memorial in the world Since life continueth not, and this same sky Which turneth over us may play the tyrant." He ordered: "Bring the women forth unseen, Those that are royal, have been always veiled, And never left the bower for the street." Now when the Iranians were ware of this They hurried full of vengeance to the palace. The warriors thought: "Khusrau will slay these women," So wished to bear them off with ignominy, And were prepared to pillage and to slaughter. Then from the palace rose this wail: "Thou knowest, Most just, wise Shah ! that we are powerless, And no fit objects of contempt and insult." The chiefest of the ladies with her daughters, |p214 Came wailing to the Shah ; each daughter had A hundred slaves with ruby crowns before her, Their jewelry was like the shining sun; The raiment that they wore was cloth of gold. All carried golden goblets in their hands, Their hearts were awe-struck at the king of kings; The dames were all musk, rubies, gold, and gems, And hung their heads down in their shamefastness; They carried cups and censers, and the fuel Was ambergris and undried aloe-wood. Thou hadst said: "Saturn out of highest heaven Iq showering constellations on the earth." The chiefest lady drew anear the throne, Invoking fervent blessings on the Shah, While all her delicately nurtured daughters In like wise offered up their supplications. Oh,! pity those fall'n in their day of stress From all self-pleasing and luxuriousness: The ladies mid their anguish praised Khusrau :- "O man of royal birth and blessed steps How well it were had not thy heart been grieved And vengeful with Turan ! Then thou hadst come To feast and mirth, the accredited of kings; Thou hadst been lord and master of this land, And crossed thy feet upon the royal throne; Then Siyawush would never have been slain In wantonness, but sun and moon decreed it, And base Afrasiyab hath acted so That he will never dream of thy forgiveness. I gave him counsels but without avail; He rashly turned his head from mine advice. I call upon my Maker to bear witness That blood hath fallen in showers from mine eyes, While here upon the earth thy kinsman Jahn, Galled by thy fetters, will bear testimony How in my palace both my heart and soul |p215 Were full of grief because of Siyawush, And that Afrasiyab, thine enemy, Heard much advice, but nothing profited, Until his days have ended as we see, All his dominions being overthrown, His crown and girdle given up to spoil, His day obscured, himself flung headlong down. His present life is even worse than death, And fate hath burst the skin upon his body. Now look on us as being innocent, And treat us with a kingly clemency. We are dependent wholly on Khusrau, And hear no name but his. So let him not, For wrongs done by Afrasiyab the warlock, Act hastily to those, who did no wrong, With bloodshed, outrage, and indignity, Or lightly persecute those not in fault; Unworthy 'tis for monarchs to behead The innocent. Thou hast another home, For none may tarry in this Wayside Inn, So act as God requireth at thy hands, And hold in awe the Day of Reckoning:' Khusrau, on hearing this, was greatly moved For those fair ladies in their fallen fortunes; His cheeks glowed like a lamp at their distress And anguish, and the sages' hearts were troubled, For all of them remembered child and wife, And all the captains and the valiant chiefs Invoked much blessing on the Shah and said:- "Now for the Maker's sake let not the Shah, That man of name, exact revenge on them." The prudent Kai Khusrau made answer thus:- "In spite of all that hath displeasured me I will not cause a like distress to any, However much my heart desireth vengeance, And, though aggrieved am I when I recall |p216 How that great monarch wronged my noble mother, Yet will I bring the like on no one's head." The master of the world, the holy-born, Then sent the ladies home, first saying to them "Be at your ease; hear what I say in person :- No miscreant that breaketh faith am I; Henceforward ye have naught to fear from me, And none shall entertain the wish to harm you, Or otherwise his own life shall be brief. Now in your palaces at ease abide, Your souls and bodies unto God confide. Par. 24 How Kai Khusrau exhorted the Iranians Khusrau addressed the Iranians : "Conquering fortune Hath given us the kingdom, crown, and throne; The whole realm of Turan, which we have captured, Shall, like Iran, be yours to dwell therein. Put ye away all vengeance from your hearts, And charm the land with loving-kindliness, For in their hearts the people fear us greatly, And all the dust is turned to mire with bloodshed. I give to you the treasures of Turan, And look not even for your gratitude. Be strenuous and be instant in well-doing, And where ye found it winter make it spring. My soldiers shall be satisfied anon With treasures and dinars, but let us keep Our hands from bloodshed, mot behead the guiltless; It sorteth not with manhood to be moved To anger lightly or to strike the fallen. Avert your faces from the women - all That veil themselves when going forth abroad; Respect too others' wealth since for its sake |p217 Friends are made foes; the Maker disapproveth of those that seek to harm the innocent, And all that would assist my policy Must not lay waste the land which now is mine. Besides men call a prince who layeth waste A peopled land unjust and sinister." The Shah commanded then his troops to open The treasures of the army of Turan, Save great Afrasiyab's own privy hoards, Which he reserved, but gave his men the rest - The treasures and the weapons, thrones and crowns. The scattered countless host of Turkmans flocked From all sides to the Shah, who gave them quarter, Made much of them, and ordered their affairs With all dispatch. He gave the chiefs their portion Of Turkman lands, a city to each noble, But in each province those that were rebellious Received no quarter at his warriors' hands. The country of Turan was overcome, And, when the letters to the chiefs arrived, From every quarter messengers set forth To carry to the Shah the offerings And letters of the potentates who now Were one and all the servants of Khusrau. Par. 25 How Kai Khusrau wrote a Letter with the News of his Victory to Kai Kaus Khusrau then called and charged a trusty scribe. First in the letter he gave praise to God That He had purged the earth of wickedness, Had overthrown the chief of sorcerers, And waked the fortune that had slumbered so - God, Source of might, of knowledge, and of justice, |p218 And everywhere the Joy of the oppressed - Then: "By the fortune of Shah Kai Kaus, The great, the experienced, the benevolent, This Gang that was Afrasiyab's was stormed, The head of his good fortune fell on sleep. In sooth upon a single battlefield Full forty thousand of his warlike chiefs, Illustrious men who wielded massive maces, Fell in their ranks by the Gulzaryun, And afterward there came a hurricane, Which rent the trees asunder, root and bough, And drowned a multitude that still opposed us. Afrasiyab escaped to Gang-bihisht, A place of arms completely garrisoned, And of a truth in the ensuing siege There perished thirty thousand warriors. The tyrant showed himself to be a man, But was not helped by wisdom or by fortune. His troops are scattered over all his realm, And he himself hath vanished from the world. Hereafter I will send the Shah reports Whenever further glory shall be mine." He sealed the letter with his golden signet, And, having gladly sent it to KauS, Disposed himself for mirth with fairy-faced ones To bring him wine. 'Twas thus till spring, the world Became a paradise of hue and scent, The plain resembled painted silk, the sky A leopard's back; the onager and deer Roamed o'er the waste, and time passed blithely on With hawk and cheetah in pursuit of game, With musky wine and Idols of Taraz. The cattle like so many onagers Spread far and wide; their necks grew full of strength Like lions' and their ears and heads like stags'. |p219 Khusrau moreover sent forth those that spied Upon the world's affairs to every side. Par. 26 How Kai Khusrau had Tidings of the Coming of Afrasiyab with the Host of the Faghfur Then tidings came from Chin and from Khutan How that Afrasiyab was with that folk:- "His cause is taken up by the Faghfur, And clamour filleth all the land of Chin Whence troops extend to the Gulzaryun; The Khan of Chin himself is in command. None knoweth how much wealth, how many slaves, And steeds with harness, the Faghfur hath sent Afrasiyab. A host acclaimeth him, And he hath all the treasures of Piran - Enough dinars to load six thousand camels - And as he bare them from Khutan an army Flocked round him." All that had been given quarter Thereat revolted from the Iranians, And girded up their loins to take revenge. Now when Afrasiyab came from Khutan He brought with him an army-shattering host; "Earth," thou hadst said, " will not sustain them all, The stars will not avail to reckon them ! " In dudgeon, with this warlike host, he set His face from Chin to go against Khusrau, Who, when he heard, sent scouts out on the road, And bade Gudarz and lion-bold Farhad "Abide ye here, be just and politic, And let your scouts be out both night and day:" Then said he to Gudarz : "This host is thine, Thou art its refuge both by day and night. |p220 Hang every Turkman, whom thou shalt perceive To be in favour of our enemies In aught, forthwith alive upon the gibbet, Head downward, feet aloft; forbear to vex The inoffensive. Watch o'er host and treasure." Drums sounded from the monarch's tent-enclosure, There was a blare of gong and clarion. An army such that it embroiled the sun Marched forth from Gang. When he had left the city The Shah arrayed his men against the foe. Two leagues divided host from host. Khusrau Convoked his noble chiefs, and said: "To-night Let matters rest, yet be not lax or slothful." The scouts, distributed upon the waste, Went all night long their rounds about the host. He stayed one week preparing for the strife, And on the eighth day, when the scouts fell in Reporting to him that a host had come, He had his troops arrayed in such a fashion That sun and moon grew eager for the fray. Afrasiyab beheld this, ranked his powers To face the enemy, and told his sages:- "This battlefield is sleep and feast to me; I would have welcomed it at sleeping-time, And had provoked it had it not been offered. Long have I been a fugitive, and now My heart and head are full of strife and vengeance. If Kai Khusrau's Grace, or mine own new fortune, Constraineth me I know not, but I purpose To fight with him come triumph, death, or sorrow." The sages of his kin and alien Replied: "What need for host and combating, If kings must fight in person? All of Chin And native Turkmans, of thy race as well As alien, acknowledge thee. Oh! may Our souls and bodies be a ransom for thee! |p221 Our loyalty hath never wavered yet; If hundreds perish, thousands shall come on Hold not thyself so cheap. We are thy lieges, And live but in the glory of thy crown." Then from the army there arose a shout, And earth and time grew full of strife and stir; Stars shone through tawny dust, and to the bye Sol's yellow face was lapis-lazuli. Par. 27 The Message of Afrasiyab to Kai Khusrau The Turkman chief selected from the host Two veterans and sent the Shah a message:- "Thou hast destroyed a multitude of troops. In truth between Iran and Gang, O king ! There are a thousand leagues of hill and plain, Of sandy wastes and hard, and our two armies Have been like ants and locusts while the soils From Gang and Chin until thou reach Iran, Are like an ocean with the blood of feud; So that if holy God drew from the dust To some abyss the blood of all the slain 'Twould make a Red Sea that would drown both hosts ! If thou wilt have my treasure or my troops, The country of Turan, the throne and crown, I will resign them to thee and be gone, But yield my life up only to the sword. Attempt not that; I am thy mother's sire, Descended from the warlock Faridun, And if thy heart is troubled to avenge Thy father, and thou hast no reverence left For me, the fault was all with Siyawush In that he filled my heart with grief and care; Besides the stars which circle over us |p222 Are both our shelter and our bane at whiles. Now sixty years have passed above my head Since I went out with chiefs upon the plain, While thou art young, Shah of Iran, in fight The Lions' Claws; so choose a battlefield Remote, not on thy lieges' skirts, and we Will wheel in combat far from either host. If I fall by thy hand thy hook will serve To draw forth crocodiles from waterways, But strive not with my kindred and allies; Refrain thyself, seethe not with such revenge; And if thou shalt be slaughtered by my hand, As God shall help me, I will suffer not One of that folk of thine to feel a pang, Or look upon the darksome dust of battle." Khusrau, when he had listened to the message, Said to the son of Zal, the son of Sam :- "This evil Turkman, who beguileth men, Discerneth not between the ups and downs, And talketh so of battle that perchance He fain would lie in Shida's sepulchre! 'Tis no disgrace for me to fight with one, Whose ancestor was Faridun, and sire Pashang." But Rustam answered him: "O Shah ! Have not the flame of battle in thy heart 'Tis a dishonour for the Shah to combat Although a Leopard be thine opposite. As for his saying: 'Fight not with my host, Nor yet against my family and realm,' Thine army stretcheth out from sea to sea, And never will consent. If thou wouldst make A treaty with thy grandsire in God's sight 'Tis needful that his heart be free from guile. Now let a general attack be made In force; speak not of things that cannot aid." |p223 Par. 28 How the Iranians and Turanians fought Khusrau, on hearing ancient Rustam's words, Approved thereof and answered thus the envoy:- cc So this malignant man would fight with me He gave with guileful tongue and heart intent On wrong a greater pledge to Siyawush. Go hence, and say thus to that evil-doer:- 'Speak not henceforth in such a strain as this Chiefs get no glory out of knavery; Thy mind is strangely warped, thy heart deceitful. If thou art set on fight, and fight alone, There are antagonists besides myself; There are the matchless Rustam and brave Giv, Who both are eager to contend with Lions; Besides if monarchs are to challenge monarchs What need is there for army and for mellay ? Henceforth I will not fight with thee myself, But thou shaft see a day of gloom and straitness.'" The messenger withdrew, returned like wind, And advertised his lord of what had passed, Who in his dudgeon made no haste to battle, But when the Shah moved forward to the attack The other army was obliged to stir; One host was eager, one had faire delayed, While earth was all in motion like the sea. Such were the showers of shafts that thou hadst said:- "The clouds rain hail from mighty lions' maws!" From dawn until the sun grew dim the earth Was soaked with blood beneath the warriors' feet. When night was closing in the hosts withdrew Because the horsemen's sight was failing them, And, when the king of kings returned to camp In all his glory, pomp, and circumstance, |p224 He said to Tus : "Afrasiyab to-day Did not engage in battle willingly. Methinketh he will make a night-attack To free his heart of long-enduring griefs." He bade a trench be dug across the road, Whereby the army of Turan would come, And issued orders: "Let none kindle fires, And let no jingling camel-bells be heard." Then from the host Khusrau chose cavaliers Of valour, putting them in Rustam's charge, And chose moreover from the Iranians Another force of men girt up for war, Committing them to Tus the general. With orders to set forward toward the hills, While matchless Rustam's way was toward the plain. The Shah bade: "Let them march with all dispatch To left and right still keeping on the level, One toward the plain the other toward the heights, And not make use of outposts, lamps, or torches; So if it chanceth that Afrasiyab Shall fall upon us at the time of sleep, Our warriors may take his in the rear To cut him off from help. Our troops will be Behind him and the ditch in front, and then The Shah with all his elephants and men." Par. 29 How Afrasiyab wade a Night-attack upon Kai Khusrau awl was defeated The Turkman leader, when the night closed in, Made ready with his soldiers to attack, And, having summoned all his veterans, Spake of the past at large: "This knave accursed Hath triumphed greatly o'er his grandsire's troops |p225 Now yonder host no doubt are fast asleep, And scattered widely over hill and plain; So let us put misgiving from our hearts, And make an onslaught on the foe at dawn, For if we overcome them not to-night We shall be humbled to the very dust. Unless good fortune shall regain its lustre Resource is wind, and manhood but a lie." They all agreed thereto and, having risen, Made preparations for the night-attack. Afrasiyab chose fifty thousand men Among the host, all veteran warriors And fit for combating. Spies went on first - Experienced men and lovers of the fray. Their chief approached the encampment of Khusrau Where he perceived no challenge of the watch, And everything appeared to him at rest - No scouts, no watch-fires, not a breath of wind, No thought about Turan in any heart. On seeing this he turned, went back in haste, And said: "Not one is wakeful! All of them Are dead asleep ! Thou wouldst have said: 'These men Have drunk all day!' No outposts are in sight, And only brambles stand up on the plain ! " Afrasiyab heard this, was cheered of heart, Sent his host forward, mounted on his steed, And girt him with his warriors to attack. They came on, like the waters of the sea, Apace but silently, without display, No trumpet-call, no shout; but when they neared The camp-enclosure rose the clarion's blare, Rose roll of tymbal from the saddle-backs, The sable standard was unfurled, and those That were the foremost of the assailant band Urged on their steeds and raised the battle-cry; But many cavaliers fell down the fosse, |p226 While others turned away their heads from fight. On this side Rustam came up from the plain, And dimmed the heaven with his horsemen's dust; On that side Giv, son of Gudarz, and Tus Came on; in front the drums and trumpets sounded, The king of kings with Kawa's flag was there; The air was violet with horsemen's sabres, The cry was " give " and " take " and " bind " and "slay," The steeds were jaded and their riders dazed; Two seas of blood were heaving and their waves Gave earth the hue of tulips, while the host Of steel-clad army-breakers made the mountains Shake to their centres. On that Day of Doom Those who would flee found no way to escape; Among a hundred chiefs not ten were left; The slain themselves blocked in the fugitives. Whenas accounts came from that battlefield The leader of Turan was so distressed That all his troops lamented, wept, and burned At that great anguish of their monarch's heart, Who spake thus: "Verily a sage himself Escapeth not the process of the sky But since the foe is fainer for our lives Than for our wealth we can but strive once more, And either give our bodies to be slain, Or set the crown of kingship on our heads." From both the camp-enclosures shouts arose, The world was filled with blare of clarions. The troops marched, shouldering double-headed darts And scimitars, in lines three leagues in length. That field was like the sea. Bright sun and moon Shone not. The hosts came onward, rank on rank, As in the ocean wave pursueth wave. Thou wouldst have said: "The vales and hills are full Of blood. The sun hath left the turning sky." |p227 Heaven's face was smeared with pitch and no one tendered His person. Then arose a mighty blast - A storm whose like is not in memory. It raised the dust, it blew against the heads And eyes of the Turanians and bore off Their helms. Afrasiyab was all astound. The desert was all brains and blood, the rocks Were red as jujubes to their very cores The Turkman cavaliers, who in their days Of ease thought lightly of a leopard-hunt, Declined to battle with the turning sky What time the blast uplifted man and horse. Khusrau, on seeing this and that the hearts And fortunes of the Iranians were joyous, With Rustam, Giv, son of Gudarz, and Tus, Advanced the tymbals from the army's centre, And battle-shouts arose. Upon one hand Was Rustam, on the other hand the Shah. The dust hung in the air as 'twere a cloud, And what a cloud! One raining shafts and swords ! On every side were mountain-heaps of slain With springs of blood within them from both hosts. The air was like a robe of indigo, The earth appeared to be a sea of gore, And heaven was like an eagle's wing with arrows. Afrasiyab looked on with glooming heart, Descried the waving flag of violet, And showed his flag no longer at the centre, But left his host embattled, and himself Retreated with his chiefs and men of name. He took with him a thousand of his kin, And choicest of his troops - all fit for fight - And, taking to the pathless waste, preserved His life from foemen by his body's toil. The Shah sought for his grandsire in the host, |p228 Advancing to the centre with all haste, But, though he urged his charger to the utmost, He found no traces of Afrasiyab, Whose soldiers, when they looked toward the centre And missed the sable flag, laid down their arms And asked for quarter. Kai Khusrau received them With graciousness, gave them a separate camp, Then bade his men set up the golden throne, And deck the tents with broidery of Chin, Brought forth the wine and summoned minstrelsy, Inviting many captains of the host. He made a feast which lasted till the dawn, A feast which made the dead rise from their graves. Whenas the sun's hand showed upon the sky, And wounded with its nails the dark night's face, The Iranian monarch bathed his head and body, And with the Zandavasta sought a spot Where he was hidden from the Iranians' eyes, And where wild creatures could not hear his voice. From break of day till in the Dome of Teak The moon assumed her heart-illuming crown, He offered praises to the Omnipotent For that glad turn of fortune, rubbing oft His visage in the dust and pouring down Two rivers from his eyes upon his cheeks. Thence he departed to his crown and throne With stately step, glad-hearted, fortunate. All who had fallen of the Iranians, Alive or dead, they carried off the field, But left with scorn the bodies of the foe. They turned the whole field into charnel-houses, And, when they had disposed of all the slain, The Shah bestowed the booty on his men, And thence toward Gang-bihisht he made his way With troops at all points ready for the fray. |p229 Par. 30 How the Faghfur of Chin sent an Envoy to Kai Khusrau Now when the tidings reached Machin and Chin About the Turkmans and the Iranian king, The Khan and the Faghfur both writhed with anguish; Each was concerned about his mighty throne, Repented of the aid that he had furnished, And diligently sought a remedy. Said the Faghfur : "Now will Afrasiyab Hereafter never even dream of greatness, And therefore doubtless we shall suffer loss Through having sent the treasure and the troops. Repentance is the one resource for us Since this is matter to destroy our realms." He called to him a faithful messenger, And gave him full instructions. What was fitting Among his hoards - dinars and uncut gems - He sent with his excuses to the Shah. The messengers departed on their journey; Those mighty men of Chin made no delay, And in one sennight they arrived at Gang. The conqueror received them graciously, And seated them according to their rank, Accepted that which they had brought with them - The rarities, the purses, and the slaves - And thus addressed the envoy: "Say to him :- 'Accord us not an empty reverence, Afrasiyab must never visit thee E'en in thy dreams at night.'" The envoy left Like wind and told the words to the Faghfur, Who, when he heard them, sent Afrasiyab |p230 A messenger by night to say to him : "Avoid the frontiers of Khutan and Chin, And grieve for all the evil done by thee. All those who quit the path and go astray Encounter tribulation on their way." Par. 31 How Afrasiyab crossed the Sea Afrasiyab, when he had heard the message, Repenting of his deeds of yore, betook him Across the pathless desert, and resigned The style of monarch to preserve his life; But, seeing that his days were spent in pain, Distress, and toil he made all haste to reach Mount Ispuruz, and both by day and night Avoided foes. His provand everywhere Was game. Thus fared he till he reached the sea, His loins all galled with travail, belt, and buckle. Now when he reached that deep, whereto he saw No middle and no end, he bade the shipman Prepare a ship to carry him across. The old Salt said: "Great monarch of Khutan And Chin! although my years are seventy-eight I ne'er saw ship cross hither." Said the mighty Afrasiyab : "Oh! well is he that dieth By water, not by foeman's scimitar The world accepteth him as one not slain." He issued his commands to all the captains To launch sufficient vessels and set sail Toward Gang-dizh away from good and evil. Arriving there he ate and slept in peace, And rested from the fortunes of the war. "We will be happy here," 'twas thus he spake, |p231 And not concern ourselves about the past; When my dim star hath brightened I will cross The sea, take vengeance on my foes, and make My policy and institutions flourish." When Kai Khusrau was made aware thereof - The new departure of that ancient man - He spake to Rustam thus: "Afrasiyab Hath crossed o'er to Gang-dizh, and thus made good His words to me: 'High heaven is with us.' His crossing turneth all our toils to wind. Ne'er will I hold a parley with my grandsire Save with the sword, ne'er hold this feud outworn, But in the might of God, the Conqueror, Gird me to take revenge for Siyawush, Will cover all Makran and Chin with troops, And traverse the Kimak. When both Machin And Chin are mine I shall not ask Makran For aid, but bear, if heaven will favour us, The host across the sea. Although the task Prove long I yet may take that man of blood. Ye have endured much travail, and have passed O'er field and fell and cultivated tracts, And yet to lay this travail on ourselves Is better than to give our foes the world. Our fame shall last until the Day of Doom For conquest and for foemen put to flight." Thereat the paladins were sorely downcast, Sighs were upon their lips, frowns on their brows. "The sea is rough," they said; " with all these troops The business with fair winds would take six months ! Who knoweth which of us will 'scape the waters ? Afrasiyab hath brought ill on the host On land we have to fight, and when at sea Are in the gullet of the crocodile !" Each had his plan, and after much debate Thus Rustam spake : "Ye world-experienced, |p232 Ye puissant princes, and ye veteran chiefs The toils that we have borne must not be fruitless, Or made sport for the wind of indolence; Moreover this victorious Shah should gain The fruit of his good star. We never halted, Unless to fight, between Iran and Gang. The Shah would eat the fruit of all his toil; For this he came, for this he will march on." Whenas the army heard the words of Rustam They framed their answer in an altered tone. The mighty men, the men of wisdom, rose With tongues prepared to answer pleasantly, And said: "░ We all are servants of the Shah, And he that bath our service bath our love. Thine is it to command on land and sea; We all of us are slaves and bound to thee." Par. 32 How Kai Khusrau sent the Prisoners and Treasure to Kaus with a Letter The Shah rejoiced thereat, made much of them, And seated them, each as his rank deserved, Then oped the portal of his grandsire's hoards, Unmindful of the bonds of love and kindred. They put upon a thousand lusty camels Loads of brocade, of jewels, and dinars. There were ten thousand oxen drawing wagons With implements of war, and camels laden With drachms past counting from the treasury. When night had come he issued orders, saying:- "Bear the kinswomen of Afrasiyab, And household, whether they be slaves or daughters, In litters from the palace by the road Down to the royal park, and furthermore |p233 A hundred famous and illustrious chiefs, Each one of them renowned for gallantry, And all the kindred of Afrasiyab, Whose eyes are filled with tears of grief for him, Such men as Jahn and noble Garsiwaz, in litters with their feet made fast in bonds, Besides a thousand hostages from Chin And Turkistan as pledges for those states." The Shah then chose him from the Iranians Ten thousand men. He put them in Giv's charge, And said: "O thou whose steps are fortunate ! Go with this company to Kai Kaus." He ordered next a scribe to come prepared With paper, musk, and spicery, to write A letter with rose-water, musk, and ink About the matter of Afrasiyab. The scribe, whenas his pen was wet with musk And ink, praised first of all the righteous Judge:- "He is the Upholder and the Finisher, He is the Artificer of earth and time, The Maker of the ant and elephant, Of trifling mote and of the dark blue sea, The Lord of that which is and that which is not, To whose supremacy all things submit. The sky will not turn harshly o'er the man Whom He bath fed with loving-kindliness. His blessings be upon the king of earth, The Maker of the warp and woof of peace. I reached this fortress which Afrasiyab Kept for his season of repose and ease. Within it were his throne and coronet, His greatness, diadem, his crown, and host. 'Twas forty days before the ramparts fell, And we could reach the enemy; but Giv Will give the Shah the full particulars Of all that chanced upon the battlefield. |p234 When in God's presence thou shalt ope thy lips Give thanks on my behalf both day and night. I will lead on the army to Machin And Chin, and thence will march upon Makran, And after with the aid of holy God Will cross the sea." Forthwith Giv left the presence With many troops and gallant warriors. The journey passed like wind; he neared Kaus, Who, when he heard of that auspicious offspring Of paladins, sent many troops to meet him; The nobles too set forward on the way. When gallant Giv was coming to the Shah That warrior-band looked like a plain of lions. Giv, entering the presence, kissed the ground Before the state. Kaus, on seeing him, Arose with smiles and stroked him on the face, Asked touching king and host, and how they fared Beneath the circling sun and shining moon. The gallant Giv told all that he had seen, About the great king and the warriors, In words whereat the ancient Shah grew young, Then gave the letter to a scribe to read, Who read it to the monarch of Iran, And filled the whole assembly with amaze. Then Shah Kaus descended from his throne, Took from his head the Kaian coronet, And, wallowing upon the darksome dust, Returned thanksgiving to all holy God, And thence departed to his dwelling-place, Escorted by his loyal paladins. Giv told what he had seen and what Khusrau Had said. Kaus brought wine and summoned minstrels, Inviting the brave princes of Iran, And spent in converse all the livelong night; |p235 Thus did the hours of darkness fleet away Until with lights the guests went from the presence, And made for home with glad and merry hearts. Now when the sun shot from its radiant orb its arrows and night turned its gathered reins, There rose a din of tymbals at the court, The warriors went in to audience. The ruler of the world then summoned Giv, Placed him upon the famed, imperial throne, And ordered that the spoils should be brought forth, The haughty and illustrious warriors, Together with the guiltless womenfolk - The unseen victims of Afrasiyab - With Jahn and Garsiwaz - the man of guile, Who had tripped up the feet of Siyawush. Kaus, beholding wicked Garsiwaz, Cursed him as he deserved. They brought both him And Jahn in gyves before the lofty throne, With all the prisoners and hostages. The Shah dealt with them after their deserts, Put one in ward, another into bonds; One was all hope, another in distress. Kaus beheld with eyelids full of tears The daughters of the great Afrasiyab, And made the royal bower their dwelling-place, With handmaids to attend them. All the spoils Of every kind, dinars and uncut gems, He gave to the Iranians that they Might call down blessings on the king of earth. He made the captives over to his chiefs, Retaining neither great nor small himself. They then prepared a residence for Jahn, Providing food, attendants, and a guard. There was a gloomy dungeon in a hold, Repulsive, with a charnel-house hard by, And this became the lot of Garsiwaz |p236 Such are time's changes ! Blest are they that rule With open hands and hearts devout and pure, Who reckon that the world will not endure, And never haunt the portal of the fool; But he whose wits are small and lusts debased Is by a leech among the madmen placed. Whenas the Shah had made an end of these He cleared the hall of every stranger there, And then the scribe prepared himself to write, And made his pen's point like a diamond. They wrote a letter to the provinces, To all the men of name and all the chiefs It ran: "Turan and Chin are now the Shah's, The sheep and leopard water at one cistern." He made a gift of money to the poor, And to his own attendants and his kin. Before his portal for two sennights' space Men saw no passage through the crowds that sought For largess. The third week Kaus reposed In Grace upon the throne of majesty, While mid the sound of flute and song the cup Was welcomed. From the goblet of the Shah Rose for a sennight waves of ruddy wine. When New Moon came he made a gift to Giv - A gift of gold plate set with turquoises, Of golden chargers and of turquoise goblets, Of golden girdles and of silver harness, Of female slaves with torques and earrings on, Of bracelets and of crowns of jewel-work, Of raiment also, thrones, and carpetings, Of bright stuffs, perfumes, and embroidery. The monarch sent for Giv ; they seated him Upon a golden throne and then presented The gifts before him. After that was done Giv with his face caressed the royal throne. |p237 Par. 33 The Answer of Shah Kaus to the Letter of Khusrau A scribe with paper, musk, and spicery Approached Kaus, and wrote: "I am rejoiced And well content with this God-given fortune In that my son hath proved victorious, And worthy of the greatness, crown, and throne. That bad man, who oppressed and used the world To no end but for war and harrying, Is now a fugitive therein through thee, And no one uttereth his name aloud. He was a man of bloodshed all his years, Unstable, passionate, and evil-natured; 'Twas he who struck the neck of crowned Naudar - That living monument of Shahs of old. He is a fratricide, a miscreant, A regicide, malicious, vile, insensate. Let him not set his foot within Turan, Makran, or by the sea of Chin. Perchance The world may be delivered from the villain. Now if the upright Judge, the only God, Guide thee to cleanse the earth of bad men's troublings, And of fools' gratings and performances, Be joyful in the justice of the Maker, And be a new foundation for the world. If I shall see thee come again in joy, While grief shall fill the bosoms of our foes, Thenceforth will I devote my days to prayer To holy God, from whom are hope and fear, That thou mayst be victorious and glad. May thy head flourish, justice fill thy heart, Be the Creator of the world thy Guide, Thy seat upon the throne for evermore." They sealed the letter with the Shah's own signet, |p238 And Giv went from the palace to return; He loitered not in going to Khusrau At Gang-bihisht, did reverence and delivered The letter and the message of Kaus. The Shah was joyful at his grandsire's words, Called minstrelsy and boon-companions, Exulting as a victor for three days. The fourth day, when the World-illuminer shone, He gave out helm and mail to all the troops, Gave as it is the wont of Shahs to give. With Gustaham, son of Naudar, he left A world - a noble host of warriors - Then quitted favoured Gang-bihisht for Chin, And won a fresh world with the scimitar. He battled both by day and darksome night; He was a watch by night, a scout by day, And thus it was until in tears, with dust Upon his head, he reached his father's city. He went about the garth of Siyawush, Went where the bason overflowed with blood,' And said: "If now the Judge, the only God, Will but vouchsafe to guide me on the way, Then by this self-same token will I shed Afrasiyab's own blood like water here ! " He left the spot, departing to his throne, And communed with the holy Judge alone. Par. 34 The Embassage of Kai Khusrau to the Faghfur of Chin and the King of Makran Khusrau chose envoys good at parleying, " And sent some to the Khan, to the Faghfur, And to the ruler of Makran, to say :- |p239 If Ye will choose the right, perform my hest, And in your hearts repent of your ill deeds, Despatch provisions on before my troops, For ye must needs behold me on my march, But him that turneth from these words of mine, Or faileth to present himself before me, Will I behead with trenchant scimitar, And on his palace bring the Day of Doom:' These envoys went to all the provinces, Wherever there was any famous chief, And grieved were the Faghfur and Khan of Chin, Grieved too the potentates of all those climes, But gave warm greetings to the messengers In dulcet voices and with honied words; They said : "We all are servants to the Shah, And only tread the earth to do his will. We will survey the passes where the road Is bad for troops, provision barren places, And furnish all the aidance in our power:' Those that were wise said: "If he pass us by, And leave us scathless, we will give the poor No little largess both of food and money:' Each gave large presents to the messengers, Who came back to the court content and glad; But when the noble envoy reached Makran, Approached the throne, delivered up the letter, And gave the oral message that he bore, He found the heart all other of that king, Who thoughtlessly misprized the messenger, To his folk's grief, and answered: "Tell the Shah:- ' Assume not o'er us novel powers. The age Is'neath my fortune, and my crown and throne Illume the earth, and when the bright sun shineth, Such is its love, it shineth first on us. Moreover I have knowledge and much wealth, With greatness, manliness, and might of hand. |p240 If any asketh leave to pass 'Lis well, Because the earth is every creature's realm. If thou wilt pass I will not bar the way Do thou no damage with thy troops in passing ; But if thou enter cities with thy host Thou hast no portion in this sovereignty. I will not suffer thee to cross our soil, Or even to set foot upon our marches, Nor will I let thee come off conqueror, However much thy good stars favour thee." Now when the Shah heard such an answer given He moved forth from his quarters with the troops, And took the way that leadeth through Khutan - A world-lord followed by a famous host. Then the Faghfur and Khan of Chin came forth To meet the Shah with blessings and excuses, Came with their chiefs to meet him on his way, When he was still three stages short of Chin. The route was cleared as bare as any hand, The dales and plains were like a dwelling-place, The road was well supplied with clothes and victuals, With halting-places, feasts, and carpetings; And when the troops were drawing near a city The folk put decorations everywhere. They fastened up brocade upon the walls, And sifted musk and spicery o'erhead. Then the Faghfur, when confidence returned, Went first to lead the way toward the palace, Thus saying : "We are subjects of the Shah - If we are worthy even to be subjects. May thy good fortune civilize the world, And may thy friends' hearts be rejoiced in thee. Unworthy though my halls be of the Shah I hold them not inferior to the road." Illustrious Khusrau went to the palace, |p241 And took his seat upon the famous state, While the Faghfur presented unto him hundred thousand coins - dinars of Chin - And stood there in the presence of Khusrau, Together with the prudent frontier-chiefs. In Chin Khusrau continued for three months With all the nobles of the Iranian host; Each morning the Faghfur attended him, And made the Shah new gifts continually, Who in the fourth month marched from Chin like wind Upon Makran ; but Rustam stayed behind. Par. 35 How Kai Khusrau fought with the King of Makran and how the King of Makran was slain Khusrau departed and when near Makran Chose one of much experience from the host, And sent him to the monarch with these words:- "May kings and wisdom be companions. Consider from what regions we have come We are not drunk and dozing o'er our purpose. My fortune and my crown illume the world; My throne is based on chieftains' heads. Prepare A road and provand for my host; let plenty Adorn my throne for no one fareth well When rations fail, and save I furnish them The troops will combat and will make the world Strait to their foes; but if thou wilt not hear me Thou shalt wade through the blood of multitudes, And make a desolation of Makran If thou attack the Lions unprovoked." The envoy came and did his embassage, But no advice or justice found a place |p242 In that king's heart. His foolish head was angered; He raged and there was mischief in his thoughts. He concentrated all his scattered troops, Prepared a battlefield upon the plain, And bade the messenger: "Go get thee hence Return to that malicious man and say:- 'By change from days of darkness thou hast grown Thus prosperous and world-illumining, Yet, when thou comest, shalt behold our might, And learn what men and warriors really are."' Whenas the envoy of the Shah had gone The whole state of Makran was filled with clamour, The land from mount to mount and all the marches Were occupied by troops. The monarch brought Two hundred elephants of war. " No room," Thou wouldst have said, "remaineth on the earth!" While at the chargers' neighs and soldiers' shouts The moon strayed from its pathway in the sky. The scouts approached the Shah and said to him:- "Makran is darkened with the dust of troops, The realm is full of flags and elephants; The Shah can see them now two miles away." The monarch bade his troops draw up in line, And take their maces and their swords in hand, While from Makran a scout came on the plain, And all the livelong night went round the host. Upon the Iranian side Tukhar kept watch, Who thought a fight a small thing. Those two met - A noble Lion and fierce Elephant. Tukhar struck with his falchion, clave his foe In twain, and filled Makran's king's heart with fear. The two hosts in the ordering of their ranks Made heaven viewless with the clouds of dust, They drew toward each other mountain-like, And closed; the leader Tus came from the centre, While din of trump and tymbal filled the world, |p243 With Kawa's flag before him, while behind Were warriors with their golden boots. The air Was full of arrows, earth of elephants; The world was heaving like the dark blue sea. The monarch of Makran at the army's centre Died smitten by a double-headed dart. One asked: "Shall we cut off his head, O Shah ? " Who answered: "We will treat him with respect. Who cutteth off kings' heads unless he be A villain of the seed of Ahriman ? Prepare a charnel-house, musk, and rose-water - A sleeping-chamber worthy of a king - And, seeing that the wound is through his mail, By that same token strip ye not the body, But veil his visage with brocade of Chin, For he hath died the death that heroes die." Now of that host there were ten thousand slain Of cavaliers and warriors wielding swords; Of prisoners there were seven and fifty score, And the survivors' heads were filled with anguish. The Iranians carried off the camp-enclosure, The spoil, the elephants, and splendid throne, And all the nobles of Iran grew rich, While many had a crown and throne besides. Anon the warriors, lovers of the fray, Proceeded to the pillage of Makran ; The wail of women rose from town and waste, The land was full of cries; the Iranians fired The holds and towns, dashed heaven upon earth, Transfixing many with their archery, And making women and young children captives. As soon as the Shah's wrath had been appeased He ordered that his army should withdraw, And also that Ashkash, the shrewd of wit, Should cease from pillage, strife, and harrying, And suffer nobody to do an outrage, |p244 Or treat the wretched with severity. Then all the upright people of the state Approached to plead their cause before the Shah, Thus saying: "We are innocent and helpless, And aye oppressed by tyrants. It would be Well worthy of the Shah to pardon us If he shall recognise our innocence." A proclamation went forth from head-quarters :- "Ye paladins whose counsel prospereth ! If through injustice, pillage, strife, or tumult, Henceforth an outcry riseth anywhere, Then will I cut in two the outragers That have no fear of God before their eyes." The worldlord tarried one year in Makran, And requisitioned great ships everywhere; Then when the spring arrived and earth grew green, When tulips filled the hills and grass the waste, When steeds could pasture, hunters go afield, And gardens were adorned by flowers and fruit-trees, He bade his faithful liege Ashkash remain To govern leniently and uprightly Withal, maintaining justice unimpaired, And marched out from the country to the desert, Light-heartedly accepting all the toils. 'Twas holy God's decree that in the waste They should not look on dust. The firmament Was full of cloud, the earth of springing corn, The world of tulips and of fenugreek. Provision-trains went on before the host In wagons drawn along by buffalos. The waste gave herbage, room to camp was there, Earth was all moisture, and all clouds the air. |p245 Par. 36 How Kai Khusrau crossed the Sea The warriors, when Khusrau had reached the sea, put off their mail; the Shah had taken with him The mariners from Chin and from Makran, And made those preparations on the shore That men are wont to make before a voyage; He bade prepare provisions for a year To last till he should reach the other side. The prosperous Shah, the seeker of God's way, Withdrew in all his glory from the strand, And, in the fervent importunity Of pleading with the Maker of the world, Besought of the Almighty and most High To bear him scathless to dry land again. He said: "Almighty Ruler of the world, Who knowest both the secret and the open ! Thou art the Warden both of land and sea, The Lord of heaven and the Pleiades, The Guardian of my life and of my host, The Guardian of my treasure, throne, and crown." The sea was rough and all hearts were distressed, Yet for six months the vessels were their couch. The seventh month, when half the year had passed, The north wind blew against them, and the sails Were ta'en aback : the vessels moved stern-foremost. They wandered from their proper course and reached A place which sailors call " The Lion's Mouth," Yet God so ordered it that wind and storm Dealt gently with the fortune of the Shah. The soldiers on the voyage pointed out To Kai Khusrau in great astonishment How lions fought with oxen in the waves; They sighted men with hair like lassos, men |p246 Completely covered, as sheep are, with wool! There was a troop with heads like buffalos, Their hands behind their backs and feet in front There was a fish that had a leopard's head, A crocodile that had an onager's, A lamb a hog's! The water teemed with them The Iranians showed each other those strange sights, And called upon the Maker of the world, Till by the mercy of the Lord of heaven The wind abated and the storm was hushed. In seven months the voyage was completed, They were not visited again by storms. Khusrau on landing saw a spacious plain, Then came before the Maker of the world, And chafed his face upon the dusty ground. He drew his ships and boats up from the sea, And tarried not, there was no time to lose. Before him were the desert, plain, and sands, The shifting sands o'er which he passed unhurt. The cities there resembled those of Chin ; The tongue was like that spoken in Makran He rested in those cities and required A great provision from them for his host. The Shah committed all that land to Giv, And said to him: "Partake of fortune's fruits. Treat even evil-doers leniently, For wealth and goods are worthless to my heart. Henceforward hold I no man of account, But worship God who is the Succourer." He chose out from the host a man of name, Acquainted with the language of the folk, To take a message to their kings, it ran:- WHower WHower seeketh peace and satisfaction, Let him attend this court in merry guise, With jocund heart, rich gifts, and right good will; But he that shall transgress mine ordinance |p247 Shall bear the penalty of his ill counsels." Whenas the messenger had come to them lie gave the message of the king of kings, And every one replied: "We are his subjects if we are worthy even to be such." No chief refused; they, old and young alike, Came to the audience of the Shah with gifts, The marchlord and the monarch equally. Khusrau, on seeing this, received them well, And raised their necks until they reached the sun, Then sought intelligence about Gang-dizh, The throne of power, and Afrasiyab. The spokesman of the company replied :- "No seas or mountains are before thee here, And, reckoning all roads, both good and bad, Hence unto Gang is but a hundred leagues. No life is left in that unrighteous king, But few of his unrighteous men remain, And ever since he came across the sea He and his followers have been at Gang." The Shah was glad at that intelligence, And thought the labour light. He gave the chiefs A robe of honour each, called for their steeds, And then dismissed them homeward while he went Toward Gang-dizh with all his armament. Par. 37 How Kai Khusrau reached Gang-dizh He drew the army up, gave rations out, And, mindful of the Giver of all good, Proclaimed: "Whoe'er ensueth wickedness Shall writhe beneath the chastisement of God. Ye must not so conduct you in this city |p248 That e'en an ant shall be a sufferer." Whenas the worldlord looked upon Gang-dizh His cheeks were veiled by tears. Then from his steed Alighting and with head upon the ground He praised the Maker, saying : "O righteous Judge A slave am I whose heart is filled with awe And reverence. Thou hast given me strength and rule, Grace, army, courage, fortune, feet, and wings, That I might see my father's city-walls Arising from the ground. 'Twas Siyawush Who raised these battlements from their foundations By Grace of holy God, and when a tyrant Stretched forth a hand against him wickedly His murder wounded all men to the heart." The troops with one consent wept o'er those ramparts, Wept for the blood of blameless Siyawush, Who perished by his adversary's hand - An act which sowed the world with seeds of feud. Now when these tidings reached Afrasiyab:- "The world-subduing Shah hath crossed the sea," He kept what he had heard concealed till night, And then without a word to any one, And leaving all his veterans behind, Fled unattended, full of wretchedness. When Kai Khusrau had entered into Gang His head was troubled and his heart was full. He saw a pleasance that rejoiced all hearts, With meadows like the lamps of Paradise; Each corner had its fount and rosary, The ground was hyacinths, each bough a perch For nightingales. All said: "Behold a place Where we could live in happiness till death!" The wary king thereafter gave command To seek the leader of the Turkman host. |p249 They searched the gardens, plains, and palaces, Employing guides to point them out the way. The searchers roamed about like maniacs, If haply they might find a trace of him, And in the prosecution of the quest They captured no small number of his folk, And slew full many who were innocent, But of the unjust king they found no trace. Khusrau abode a whole year at Gang-dizh, With minstrels and with revellers; the world Resembled heart-enthralling Paradise. All gardens, rosaries, and pleasances. The Shah's affection would not let him leave; He tarried there victorious and glad. The paladins of the Iranian host Appeared one day before him and said thus:- "Grant that the Shah's heart be at perfect rest, And not a thought be turned toward Iran, Still in good sooth our foe Afrasiyab Hath left this shore and gone across the sea, And Shah Kaus upon the throne is old Without an army, treasure, Grace, and power; So if Afrasiyab shall reach Iran, Full of revenge, who will watch o'er the land? Should he recover throne and diadem, Then all our travail will produce no fruit." The Shah replied: "The counsel that ye give Is mated to advantage." He convoked The chief men of the place, spake much to them Of travail past, and him that was the fittest - The first in honour and most capable - The Shah presented with a robe of honour, Intending to make Gang a marchlord's castle, And said to him: "Abide here in all joy, But never careless of the enemy." |p250 He then distributed what wealth there was, Distributed both steeds and hoarded treasures, Enriching all the townsfolk with their shares; What armlets, thrones, and coronets were theirs Par. 38 How Kai Khusrau returned from Gang-dizh to Siyawushgird Now at the hour when chanticleer awaketh The tymbals sounded in the palace-court, Whereat the army eager to depart Turned toward the desert. All the local chiefs, Wherever there was any mighty man, Went forth to furnish victuals for the way, Such as were worthy of the Shah and host. Along the route whereby the army marched The valleys and the plains were like bazars ; No man could venture to withhold his hand Upon the mountains, wastes, or camping-grounds. The great men, who with gifts and offerings Kept coming to give welcome to the Shah, Upon beholding such a glorious monarch Approached in crowds to do him reverence, While he excused them from attending him Upon the march and gave them robes of honour. Giv came forth with an army and with all The leaders of that land to give him welcome. The prudent Shah received Giv graciously, With honours such as Siyawush had paid, And, lighting when he reached the sea, inspected The sails, and stayed two sennights on the shore In talk with Giv of all that he had seen, And said: "Whoe'er hath viewed not Gang hath naught To make him wish to tarry on the earth." |p251 The Shah then bade his men to load the ships And, sending first two boats, launched after them A thousand vessels. He bade all that skilled In seamanship, and showed a dauntless heart Upon the depths of ocean, to set sail. They crossed the sea, the voyage of a year, In seven months; so speeding was the breeze That Shah and army made their way across, And not a sleeve was turned by hostile winds. Whenas the leader reached dry land once more, And disembarking looked upon the plain, He came and chafed his face upon the dust, Invoking holy God. He lavished food And raiment on the mariners and steersmen, And ordered robes of honour and dinars For those that had endured the toil aboard; Then took the desert-route while all men marvelled. Ashkash on hearing brought a host to meet him, And lighting from his charger kissed the ground, And did obeisance. They bedecked Makran Throughout, and summoned minstrelsy, the harp Was heard in all the ways and wastes, and thou Hadst said: "The harp is warp, the air is woof." They decked the walls with hangings of brocade, And scattered drachms and sweetmeats underfoot. The magnates of Makran - both men of name And mighty warriors - appeared before The conquering Shah with gifts and offerings. Ashkash presented all the land's best products. The Shah approved all that Ashkash had done As ruler of Makran, and chose a chief, Bestowing on him many gifts and blessings. When with the noble chieftains of Iran Khusrau had left Makran and drawn toward Chin, Came Rustam, son of Zal, the son of Sam, To meet him with a glad, contented host. |p252 That noble cavalier, when Kai Khusrau Appeared afar, beheld the parasol, Alighted from his steed, and did obeisance. The noble Shah clasped Rustam to his breast, Told of the wonders seen by him at sea, And how Afrasiyab, the sorcerer, Had disappeared. He stayed as Rustam's guest One sennight and then left Machin and Chin, Bestowing them on the Faghfur and Khan, Who ofttimes blessed him. Many a gift and counsel He gave them and released their hearts from care, Then took his way toward Siyawushgird Upon the Ard of month Sapandarmad. His eyes and heart were full on entering His father's city. When he reached the spot Where Garsiwaz, the man of evil mark, Gurwf, the accursed, and executioners Had shamefully beheaded Siyawush, He poured that dark dust on his head and rent His face and breast while Rustam rubbed his face In that dust too and cursed Gurwi's soul black. Then Kai Khusrau exclaimed: "Thou, O my lord! Hast left me here as thy memorial; I have forgone no jot of vengeance for thee, And will ensue it while the world endureth. I made the throne quit of Afrasiyab, And I will seek no rest or sleep henceforth In hope that I may get him in my clutches, And make the world both black and strait to him." Next turning to his father's treasure-hoard, As he had been instructed by his mother, He opened it and furnished forth supplies. He stayed two weeks with gladness in that city, And gave two hundred purses of Dindrs To Rustam and abundant gifts to Giv. Now Gustaham, son of Naudar, on hearing :- |p253 "The Shah is visiting his father's city," Set forth to meet him with a mighty escort Of chieftains and of warriors of Iran, And, seeing in the distance the Shah's head And crown, alighted and fared far afoot, While all the host acclaimed the earth's just king, Who ordered Gustaham to mount his steed, And thus they went rejoicing, hand in hand, To Gang-bihisht. The troops received high honour. Their loyalty was like a fruitful tree In constant bearing. Shah and cavalier Were busy at the banquet and the chase, While all the Turkmans of exalted rank Had every favour that they could desire. By day-time and by night-time equally Khusrau sought tidings of Afrasiyab, But nobody could show a trace of him; There was no mention of him in the world. One night the Shah, when he had bathed himself, Went with the scriptures of the Zandavasta. Apart, and all night wept and laid his head Upon the ground before the Maker, saying:- "This feeble slave of Thine hath evermore Some trouble in possession of his soul. The world - its mountains, deserts, wastes, and waters - Will I thresh out to find Afrasiyab Because he walketh not Thy way, O Judge! Contemning every one on earth as vile. Thou knowest that he is neither just nor true, A shedder of much blood of guiltless heads. Oh! that the righteous Judge, the only God, Would guide me to that doer of ill deeds, For though I am but an unworthy slave I am the Maker's worshipper. I hear No fame or rumour of Afrasiyab On earth: I see him not but Thou seest all. |p254 If Thou art pleased with him, O righteous Judge! Divert my thoughts from any further strife, Quench in my heart the fire of my revenge, And make my purposes conform with Thine." Then from the place of prayer he sought his throne, A noble youth and of unsleeping fortune. At Gang-bihisht he lived a restful life For one whole year exempt from war and strife. Par. 39 How Kai Khusrau returned from Turan to the Land of Iran When he had tarried long at Gang-bihisht, And yearned to look again on Kai Kaus, He put the country from the sea of Chin Up to Kibchak in charge of Gustaham, Son of Naudar, gave him a countless host, And said to him: "Be ware of heart and glad. Stretch forth thy hand o'er Chin and o'er Makran, Dispatching letters unto all the folk, And seeking tidings of Afrasiyab It may be that the world is rid of him." Whatever was of value in the land - Such as Dinars and precious stones uncut, Musk, camphor, golden trappings for the steeds, Slave-boys and horses, thrones and necklaces, Brocade of Chin and carpeting, and all The produce of the country of Makran - The monarch drave before him on the way, In wagons drawn by forty thousand oxen, While all men said: "None ever saw such wealth, Nor hath there been such wealth as this before!" The army was so great that day and night The troops were passing over hill and vale, And they who reached a station saw no break |p255 In those behind them. Thus Khusrau reached Chach, And hung the crown above the ivory throne; Then as he tarried one week more in Sughd Khuzan and Taliman appeared before him; He marched thence to Bukhara while the earth Was hidden by his troops. In rest and feasting One week was spent, the next, lamenting sore Past times, he donned new raiment and approached The Fane of Fire built with its towers by Tur, The son of Faridun. He showered gold And silver on the archmages and flung jewels In numbers on the Fire. Then, fain to go, The happy Shah went Nvith contented heart, And crossing the Jihun arrived at Balkh, Experienced in this world's salts and sours; Then, after he had tarried there a week, Pursued his march, and left in every city A noble of exalted rank with troops. The people decorated way and waste Where'er the Shah was passing with his host. As he neared Talikan and the Marvrud The world was full of sounds of flute and harp, The people decorated all their cities, And called for wine and harp and minstrelsy; They poured down drachms and saffron from above, Musk and dinars were strewn from end to end. Thence by the road to Nishapur the Shah Conveyed the treasure, troops, and elephants. On all the mendicants within the city, And all that lived by toil, he lavished drachms; Two score and fifteen purses were expended. He went thence on the road to Damaghan, And all the way he scattered drachms and gold. The monarch rested for a sennight there, Inspecting horses, elephants, and troops, And at the week's end went to Rai by roads |p256 Filled everywhere with minstrel, harp, and wine. For two weeks he did justice and gave gifts, And with the third departed to Baghdad, Dispatching camel-posts from Rai to go To Kai Kaus at Pars to let him know. Par. 40 How Kai Khusrau returned to his Grandsire The heart of Shah Kaus revived thereat, And thou hadst said: "He is another man ! " He set up in the halls his golden throne, And decked his palace with the gauds of Chin. They decorated all the towns and ways, The streets, bazars, and quarters of the city, And all the nobles went to meet Khusrau, The great men and the chieftains of Iran. They put up cupolas on way and waste; The world seemed all brocade of gold. The folk Mixed musk and gems, and from the cupolas Poured them upon the heads of those below. When Kai Kaus with his illustrious chiefs Had come outside the city the young Shah Beheld his grandsire while a long way off, And gave his steed the spur. The two embraced With many a kiss upon the face and head, And both of them shed tears of bitterness For having lived disconsolate so long, While Kai Kaus applauded that young Shah, So favoured by the stars and fortunate, And said : "Ne'er may the world, the crown of greatness, And throne of nobles be deprived of thee, Because the sun hath seen not such a Shah, Such steeds, such mail or such a throne and helm, |p257 Among the mighty none hath borne such toils, Or viewed so much earth's sights and mysteries. If Siyawush could quit the charnel-house He would desire the Grace that now is thins ; Since he is gone be thou the world's delight And be thy foes uprooted, heart and soul!" Khusrau replied: "All was by thy good fortune. Thins Offshoot fruited, and the grass would grow From flint for any grandson born to thee." His grandsire kissed him, teeth and lips, exclaiming:- "May I be with thee ever, day and night." Khusrau brought rubies, gold, and emeralds, And showered them upon the old Shah's head In such a manner that the jewelled throne Had all its feet concealed with offerings. Kaus commanded: "Call the company, And spread the board within another hall." The potent chiefs being seated with the Shah Within a rosary bedecked with gold, Khusrau recounted all that he had seen - Things seen and heard by none before that time. His talk was of the sea and of Gang-dizh, Which filled the lips of all the chiefs with sighs For that delightful city, plain, and upland, With meadow-lands and pleasances like lamps. Kaus was lost in wonderment at him, And, estimating what he had achieved, Said thus to him: "A young Shah's youthful words Make month and day both young. None in the world Hath ever looked upon a Shah like thee, No ear hath heard these tales. Come let us pledge This youthful star and drink to Kai Khusrau." He decked that rosary of golden work, Brought wine and revellers with ruby lips, And for a week a wave of wine o'erflowed The goblet in the halls of Kai Kaus. |p258 The Shah, the eighth day, oped his treasury, And made a recompense for toils achieved. For those great men that were with him in fight, In feast and joy and grief, there was prepared A robe of honour suited to their ranks, And that the choicest in the treasury. Then all departed, each to his own province, Each noble followed by his famous troops. The monarch dealt next with the common soldiers, And from the treasury gave them one year's pay. The grandsire and the atheling next sat In conclave with the counsellors, and thus Khusrau addressed Kaus the Shah, and said :- "Of whom shall we seek guidance save of God ? We crossed the desert, spent a year at sea, And journeyed seared of heart o'er mountain-ranges, But nowhere on the mountain, sea, or desert Saw any traces of Afrasiyab. If he shall suddenly arrive at Gang, And gather troops, toils will confront us still, Although the righteous Judge be on our side." The grandsire, giving an old man's advice, Replied: "We two will mount our steeds and seek In haste the temple of Azargashasp, Will bathe. our heads and bodies, hands and feet, As well becometh worshippers of God, And to the almighty Maker of the world, In this our trouble, proffer muttered praise. Then, as we stand in presence of the Fire, It may be holy God will be our Guide, And He that showeth justice show the way, To where Afrasiyab is lying hidden." This counsel they agreed to act upon, Not swerving either of them from the path, And, mounting swift as wind upon two chargers, |p259 Sped to the temple of Azargashasp, in white robes, with hearts filled by hope and fear. Whereas they looked upon the Fire they wept, As though they were consuming in fierce flames, Before the Master of the sun and moon; They called upon the Maker of the world, And showered jewels on the archimages. Khusrau, while bathing still his face in tears, Let fall dinars upon the Zandavasta, And thus they passed a sennight in God's presence; But think not that they used in days of yore To worship fire, 'twas but their cynosure. Tears from the eyes of worshippers might pour, Yet, though thou ponder long, when thought is done, All holy God is still the needful One. Thus at Azar Abadagan the two Remained one whole month with their retinue. Par. 41 How Afrasiyab was captured by Hum of the Race of Faridun Now thus it came to pass: Afrasiyab Roamed to and fro foodless and slumberless, His soul on thorns, his body but a curse, Through constant terror of calamity. He sought for some spot somewhere in the world Where he might have repose of mind with health, And found a cavern near Barda', a cavern Upon a mountain-top concealed from men. He saw no room for hawks to fly o'erhead, No lion's trace, or boar's haunt, underneath. 'Twas far from cities and with water near Call it the cavern of Afrasiyab. The king in his despair took to the mountain |p260 As being such an unfrequented spot, Conveyed food thither, fearing for his life, And made the cave his palace and his home, Wherein he sojourned for a certain time With full heart and repenting of his deeds. Whene'er a monarch is athirst for gore His tenure of the throne is well-nigh o'er, So when this king, this master of the state, This lord of earth, well-starred and fortunate, Shed blood then enemies grew manifest! The king that never saw kings' blood is blest. Now in those days there lived a holy man, One of the seed of Faridun, the teacher, A devotee of Kaian Grace and mien, One who was girded with a royal girdle, And used the mountain as his place of worship As being far from pleasures and from men. The name of that illustrious one was Hum, A man of prayer who shunned society. A cavern that was on the mountain-height Far from the throng was very near to him. It happened that one day he climbed the mountain That he might worship God, the righteous Judge, And as he prayed upon the top before The all-sustaining Ruler of the world, And worshipped, vestured in his woollen robe, A wailing from the cavern reached his ears "Alas ! O prince! O famous sovereign O mighty man exalted o'er the nobles, Whom Chin, Turan, and all the world obeyed, Whose stipulations ran in every place! Yet now thy portion is a cavern here! Where are thy mighty men and men of war? Where are thy treasure and thy manliness, Thy valour, courage, and sagacity? Where are thy majesty, thy throne, and crown? |p261 Where are thy country and thy mighty host Now that thou dwellest in this narrow cavern, A fugitive within this rocky hold? " Hum as he listened to the Turkman dirge Forwent his prayers and, going from the spot, Said thus: "This lamentation in the night Must be the utterance of Afrasiyab ! " Whenas he felt assured thereof at heart He sought the entrance of the gloomy cave, Discerned the cavern which Afrasiyab Had made his place of slumber and repose, And then advancing like a savage lion Put off the woollen garment round his loins, And with the lasso that he used as girdle, And which assured him of the Worldlord's aid, Grasped in his hand, gained entrance to the cave. The king, as Hum approached, leapt to his feet. They struggled long and Hum prevailed at last, Threw down Afrasiyab and tied his hands, Then going from the cavern dragged him forth With frantic efforts such as madmen use. This is a matter that is wonder-worth; But let wHower is a king on earth About his own fair reputation think Naught else-excepting only meat and drink. Thus after all his luxury and ease, His power, his army, and his treasuries, Afrasiyab to choose a cave did well; If 'twas a net of bale how could he tell? Par. 42 How Afrasiyab escaped from Hum Hum, after having bound the monarch's arms, Bore him from his retreat. Afrasiyab |p262 Exclaimed: "O pious man, thou devotee, Who knowest holy God! what wouldest thou With me - a monarch of the world although I live concealed in this unfathomed cave?" Hum said: "For thee it is no resting-place. Thou art reported through the world as one Oppugnant to the fear of holy God, Who slew midst kings his brother Ighriras, Illustrious Naudar, and Siyawush, That heirloom of the Kaians. Shed not thou The blood of kings nor flee from throne to cave Unfathomed." "Man of might!" the king replied, "Whom knowest thou in this world free from fault ? Such was the process of high heaven above me That I have brought forth travail, loss, and anguish; Though one may catch a lion by the neck He cannot thwart the purposes of God. Oh! pity me who am in hopeless plight, And am, however much I be a tyrant, The grandson of the glorious Faridun Oh ! free me from thy lasso's bondage! Whither Wouldst bear me vilely bound? Hast thou no fear Of God upon the Day of Reckoning? " Hum said: "Malignant one! good sooth, thy days Are few, thy words as weeds within a garden Thy fate is in the hands of Kai Khusrau." Albeit Hum was sorry for the wretch, And loosed for him the royal lasso's coils, While he, on finding that the holy man Felt pity for a king's bewailings, writhed, And wrenched his body from his captor's clutch, Then plunged into the lake and disappeared! |p263 It happened that Gudarz, son of Kishwad, Was on his way with Giv and other nobles in state with expedition to the Shah, And gazing from a distance at the lake Observed Hum with the lasso in his hand Disconsolately wandering on the shore, Saw too the water troubled and, observing The sorry looks of Hum, said in his heart:- "This holy man is fishing on the bank. Perchance his net bath caught a crocodile, And he is in amazement at the sight." He spake to Hum and said: "O holy man ! What is thine object ? Make it known to us ! What wouldst thou of the lake unless to wash That dusky form of thine ? " Hum answered him:- "O noble man ! consider what bath chanced I have my dwelling on yon mountain's top Afar from men and 'tis mine oratory. I passed the night, the livelong night, in prayer Till at the hour when birds begin to sing A sound of lamentation reached mine ears, And thus I thought in my shrewd heart: 'Now I Will rase the root of vengeance from the world. This bitter wailing in the hours of slumber Can be from no one but Afrasiyab: I rose, searched all the mountain and the caverns, And saw in one the famous man himself; That luckless one was lying in the cave, Lamenting bitterly o'er crown and throne. He sprang up at mine entry from his place, And gained a footing on the flinty floor, Yet bound I with my girdle both his hands Firm as a rock, so that they dripped with blood, And brought him from the mountain in all haste, What while he wailed and shrieked as women do. |p264 Moved by his great and lamentable cries And promises, I somewhat loosed his bonds. Then on this very spot he slipped my grasp, And pierced my heart and soul by his escape. He vanished in these waters of Khanjast. Now have I told thee all about the case." Gudarz, when he had heard the whole account, Recalled to mind a legend of old times, And full of thought went to the Fane of Fire, Just like a man o'erwrought, and there began To pray before the Fire, and offer thanks To Him who made the world; then told the Shahs The secret and the things that he had witnessed, Whereat they mounted on their steeds again, And full of joy departed from the Fane. Par. 43 How Kaus and Khusrau came to Hum The monarch of the world in grave concern Went instantly to Hum who, when he saw The crowned heads of the two Shahs, offered them The reverence that was due, while they invoked God's blessing on him. Then said Shah Kaus :- "Thanks be to God in whom our refuge is That I have seen the face of this good man, This man of knowledge, power, and mastery." Hum answered: "Through thy justice inay the land Be prosperous, may the days of this young Shah Be bright, and thy foes' hearts be rooted out. I offered prayer upon this mountain-top, What time the Shah was passing to Gang-dizh, That He who made the world would prosper earth Through him. When he returned I laughed for joy, |p265 And sought God's presence, offering my praises. At night-time suddenly the blest Surush Made that which had been secret known to me A cry went up from yon unfathomed cave; I heard it and attended to the voice. One bitterly lamented ivory throne, Realm, army, state, and crown. Down from the peak To that strait cave I came and grasped a lasso - My girdle. I beheld the head and ears Of him that sojourned there - Afrasiyab. I used my lasso as a cord and tied him Firm as a rock, then haled him forth all helpless. He bitterly complained of those tight knots, And said in anguish: 'O beloved of fortune! Relax for me the tightness of these bonds.' But when I did so he escaped my grasp, Plunged, and is hidden in the water there ! We must cut oil his foothold from the world. If he be still as heaven fashioned him His blood will stir with love for Garsiwaz What time the exalted Shah shall give command To bring that brother with his feet in fetters, ' And sew him to the neck in raw ox-hide, Depriving him of power to help himself. Afrasiyab, when he shall hear the voice Of Garsiwaz, will come forth from the lake." The Shah bade those who mounted guard that day To go with swords and bucklers of Gilan, And fetch the miserable Garsiwaz - The cause of all the trouble in the land. The monarch bade the executioner:- "Drag him along and show him no respect." They put him in an ox-hide to the neck So that he could not stir. His skin burst on him, He begged for mercy, and asked God for aid. Afrasiyab, whenas he heard that voice, |p266 Rose quickly to the surface of the lake, And swimming onward with his hands and feet Came to a spot that was within his depth, And listening to his brother's cries on shore Saw what was worse to him than death itself. When Garsiwaz beheld him in the water, With eyes fulfilled with blood and troubled heart, He cried and said: "O monarch of the world, The head of nobles and the crown of chiefs! Where are thy customs, state, and policy? Where are thy head and treasure, crown and host ? Where all thy knowledge and thy might of hand? Where, are the mighty men that were thy lieges? Where are thy glory and thy fame in war? Where are thy joys in goblet and in feast Since thou hast need to hide thee in the lake, And such ill fortune hath befallen thee ? " Afrasiyab thereat shed tears of blood, And answered: "I have roamed the world at large Both publicly and privily withal If haply,I might 'scape mine evil lot, But ill and worse than ill befalleth me! Now is my life grown loathsome and my soul Fulfilled with anguish for thy sake that one Sprung from Pashang and Faridun erewhile Thus should be netted by the Crocodile! " Par. 44 How Afrasiyab was taken the second Time and how he and Garsiwaz were slain While these two princes were exchanging words The mind of Hum, the devotee, devised A scheme; he went upon a spit of land, And, when he saw Afrasiyab anear, |p267 Undid the royal lasso from his waist, And came on stalking like a savage lion, Then flung the lasso that was ready coiled, And took the monarch's head within the noose. Hum dragged him forth in miserable plight, And loathing life itself, from lake to land, Resigned him to the Shahs and went his way; Thou wouldst have said: "He and the wind are mates ! " The world-lord with a trenchant sword approached, His head all vengeance and his heart all wrath, And thus Afrasiyab, the insensate, spake :- "This is the very day whereof I dreamed ! The sky hath long turned o'er me, and it now Hath rent the veil that hid its purposes. O wicked seeker of revenge !" he cried, "Why dost thou wish to slay thy grandsire ? Speak!" "O evil-doer," answered Kai Khusrau, "Well worthy of reproach and infamy ! First I allege the murder of thy brother, Who never sought to injure noble men; Next of Naudar, that famous sovereign - That world-lord and memorial of Iraj - Whose neck thou clav'st with thy sharp scimitar, And brought'st a Day of Doom upon the world; And thirdly that of Siyawush, like whom None seeth any horseman to recall him, Whose head thou didst cut off as 'twere a sheep's, And didst exalt thyself above high heaven. How was it possible to slay my sire And not expect an evil day like this ? Thou wast in haste to work iniquity, And hast for ill a recompense of ill." He said: "O Shah ! that which hath been hath been, I cannot choose but listen to thy words; |p268 Yet suffer me to see thy mother's face, And then speak on." But Kai Khusrau replied :- "Instead of asking for my mother, think What evil thou hast wrought upon my head ! My sire was guiltless ; I was still unborn ; Yet was thine evil rampant in the world ! Thou didst behead a king for whom the crown And throne of ivory wept bitterly; Now is the day when God will recompense ; He payeth ill with ill." With Indian sword He smote Afrasiyab upon the neck, Then flung upon the dust the swarthy form, Whose ears and hoary beard were red with blood, While Garsiwaz his brother lost all hope ; Afrasiyab's imperial throne was void ; The day of his good fortune reached its close ; Ill came on him for ill. Seek not, my son, A key whereby ill's bonds may be undone. Why shouldest thou ? Thou knowest that from ill Ill will befall the evil-doers still ? A king possessed of Grace divine will vent His wrath in bonds and in imprisonment, For if he sheddeth blood his life will be Forlorn, high heaven exact the penalty. To fierce Bahram thus said an archimage :- "Shed not the blood of guiltless heads. If thou Wouldst keep that crown of thine upon thy brow Be clement, let good thoughts thy mind engage. Consider what the crown said to the head :- 'O head ! in thee let brains and wisdom wed."' The cheeks of Garsiwaz were wan, his heart Was full of trouble for Afrasiyab. They dragged him from the jailors shamefully In heavy bonds, on that his evil day, |p269 Begirt with guards and executioners As such a noted miscreant deserved. When in sad plight he came before Khusrau, With tears of blood upon his livid cheeks, The Shah, the king of kings, set loose his tongue, Discoursing of the dagger and the bowl, Of Tur, the son of Faridun, fierce Salm, And of Iraj, that most illustrious prince ; Then called an executioner who came With trenchant sword unsheathed, and cruel heart, And clave the chief asunder at the waist While all the soldiers' hearts were terror-stricken. They flung those two like mountains side by side While folk stood round beholding far and wide. Par. 45 How Kaus and Khusrau returned to Pars In all haste from the lake, when he had won His whole desire from God, the Shah departed Toward the temple of Azargashasp. He and his grandsire offered to the Fire Much gold and murmured many a benison. One day and night they stood before the Judge Of all the world, the Guide, and when Zarasp, The treasurer of Kai Khusrau, had come He gave ┬zargashasp a treasure, clad In robes of honour all those archimages, And lavished drachms, dinars, and precious things. Within the city to the mendicants, And those who earned their living by their toil, The Shah gave wealth as well, and made the world Alive by justice and munificence, Then took his seat upon the Kaian throne, |p270 Undid the audience-door and shut his lips. They wrote dispatches to the provinces, To every man of name and every chief; From west to east went letters to each place Wherein there was a chieftain known to fame :- "The scimitar of Kai Khusrau hath freed Earth's surface from the.evil of the Dragon; The Shah, sustained by God the Conqueror, Hath neither rested nor relaxed his girdle; The soul of Siyawush hath gained new life In him, the world's whole surface is his slave." The Shah bestowed much wealth upon the poor, Upon the devotees, and his own kin, Then said: "Ye men of name, illustrious lords Bring from the city wife and little ones, With minstrels and provisions to the plain." Therewith he gave himself to minstrelsy. Then all the nobles of the royal seed, And all the kindred of Zarasp withal, Went to the temple of Azargashasp, And there spent forty days with Kai Kaus With minstrels, harp, and wine. When the new moon Shone like a gold crown on a young king's head, The mighty men betook themselves to Pars To rest from war and strife. In every city Along the road men gathered round the throne, Meanwhile the Shah oped treasure-bags till all The folk grew rich, except the prodigal. Par. 46 The Death of Kai Kaus Kaus, assured of peace of mind, declared The secrets of his heart to God: "O Thou Above all fortune and the Guide to good! |p271 I had from Thee Grace, state, and majesty, With fortune, valour, throne, and diadem; None else, as Thou hast me, hast Thou endowed With treasure, throne, and an exalted name. I asked of Thee that some illustrious man Might gird his loins in wreak for Siyawush, And saw my grandson, who is mine own Eye, Achieve at once my vengeance and his own. This atheling surpasseth other kings In wisdom, Grace, and height. Since fifty years Thrice told have made these musky locks of mine Like camphor, and the graceful Cypress boweth, I take it not amiss that life should cease." But little time elapsed and then his name Remained as his memorial in the world. Khusrau, the worldlord, left his throne and sat Upon the grimy dust. The Iranian nobles Went in funereal robes of blue and black, Without bright colours or perfumes, afoot, And spent two sennights mourning for the Shah. They built a lofty hall ten lassos high To be the mausoleum of Kaus; This done, the royal officers brought out The finest lawn with black brocade of Rum, And, having poured upon them aloes, musk, And camphor, wrapped the shrivelled corpse therein. They set him on a throne of ivory, Placed on his head a crown of musk and camphor, And when Khusrau had turned and left the throne They locked the portal of the place of sleep, And no man looked on Kai Kaus again He rested from revenge and battlefield. Such is the fashion of this Wayside Inn ! Thou wilt not tarry here in toil for ever. The man of lore, the mailed paladin, Obtain remission from Death's clutches never; |p272 Be we Zarduhsht himself, or be we king, Brick is our pillow, dust our cushioning. Be merry then, ensue what pleasureth thee, And afterward, when thou hast made that sure, Seek fame, but know this world thine enemy, The earth thy bed, the grave thy garniture. The Shah bewailed his grandsire forty days, Refraining from all pleasure, crown, and state. The next day on the ivory throne he donned The heart-illuming crown. The troops assembled At court, the chiefs and magnates helmed with gold Blessed him with joy and strewed the crown with jewels. There was a festival throughout the world Because he sat victorious on the throne, And thus, till sixty years had passed away, The whole world was obedient to his sway.' Par. 47 How Kai Khusrau fell into Melancholy The Shah's great soul became solicitous About God's dealings and his own high state He said: "From Hind and Chin to Rum each place Is prosperous; withal, from west to east, Mount, desert, land, and sea have I made void Of foes; the rule and throne of might are mine; The world no longer dreadeth enemies. Full many a day hath passed above my head, And I have gained from God my full desire, Besides the vengeance that I had at heart, Yet let me not grow arrogant of soul, Corrupt in thought, an Ahriman in faith, And be an evil-doer like Zahhak, Jamshid, or such an one as Tur or Salm. |p273 Sprung from Kaus on one side, on the other Sprung from Turan - all rancour and vainglory - I, like Kaus and like Afrasiyab, That warlock froward even in his dreams, May grow an ingrate unawares to God, And fray mine own pure soul. His Grace will quit me, I shall incline to falsehood and unwisdom, And when I pass within the gloom, and when My head and diadem shall come to dust, I shall but leave a bad name in the world, And make an evil ending in God's sight. This face of mine, this colour of my cheeks Will fade, my bones be clad in dust, and all Accomplishment be lost. Ingratitude Will come instead, and in the other world My soul be dark. Another will assume My crown and throne, and tread my fortune down. A bad name will be my memorial; The roses of mine ancient toils will turn To thorns. Since now I have avenged my sire, And have adorned the world with goodliness, Have slain who should be slain, because they were Perverse and hostile to all holy God, No place remaineth - settlement or desert - That hath not read the legend on my sword; While all the mighty of the world obey me Albeit they be monarchs throned and crowned. Thanks be to God who gave to me the Grace, With feet and wings amid the change of fortune. And now I deem it better to depart To God in all my glory, and perchance The Almighty's messenger may, though unseen, And while I still am flourishing, convey My 'spirit to the dwelling of the just, Because this Kaian crown and throne will pass. None will excel me in success and fame, VOL. IV. |p274 In greatness, welfare, peace, and revelry, For I have heard and witnessed this world's secrets, Its good and ill both privy and apert ; But still for husbandman and king alike There is a common end - the way to death." The Shah gave orders to the chamberlain On duty: "Whose cometh to the court Refuse admittance to him with fair words, Be courteous to him and refrain from harshness." Thus saying he departed to the pleasance With lamentations and with loins ungirt, Bathed, ere he prayed, his body and his head, And sought by wisdom's lamp the way of God, Then donned a new white robe and all devout With heart of hope paced toward the oratory, There prayed in secret to the holy Judge, And said: "O higher than pure soul, the Maker Of fire, of air, and dust ! behold and grant me Much wisdom, and to know both good and ill. I will give praises to Thee while I live, And strive to better what I have done well. Forgive whatever I have done amiss; Let me not use my power frowardly; Keep from this soul of mine the ills of fortune, And all the machinations of the Div, So that unlike Kaus, Zahhak, Jamshid, I may not yield to passion's tyranny; And if he shut on me the door of virtue, And fraud and guile grow strong, let not his power Avail to the destruction of my soul, But bear it to the mansions of the just. Look down on me in answer to my prayer." He stood thus for a week both day and night In body, but his spirit was afar. Now when the sennight ended Kai Khusrau Began to totter, for his strength had failed, |p275 And with the eighth day's coming he had gone From oratory back to royal throne. Par. 48 How the Nobles inquired why Khusrau had closed his Court The paladins of the Iranian host All marvelled at the conduct of the Shah, And divers were those famous warriors' thoughts. Now, when the illustrious Shah resumed the state, The chamberlain came to the door and bade Remove the curtain and admit the host. Then came with folded arms the mighty men - The cavaliers and men of lion-looks - Such men as Tus, Gudarz, and gallant Giv, Gurgin, Ruhham the Lion, and Bizhan, Shidush and Zanga, son of Shawaran, With Fariburz and Gustaham and others, Who, having seen the Shah and done obeisance, Disclosed to him their secret thoughts and said:- "O Shah ! O brave ! O head! O cypress-tree O ruler of the world and chief of chiefs No Shah like thee hath filled the ivory throne; From thee both sun and moon derive their light, Thou dost exalt steed, mail, and saddle, and give To glorious Azargashasp fresh lustre. Not fearing travail, toying not with wealth, Thou makest toils more numerous than treasures. We paladins are all of us thy slaves, Dependent for our lives on sight of thee, Who hast trod all thine enemies to dust, And in this world hast no one left to fear. Thine are the troops and treasure of all realms Where'er thou settest foot thou labourest. We know no reason why the monarch's thoughts |p276 Have grown so gloomy at this present time; This is thy season to enjoy the world, Not to be sorrowful and fade away. If now the Shah is vexed by any fault In us, so let him say that we may please him, And fill our cheeks with blood, our hearts with fire; Or if he tell us of some secret foe All those that wear a royal crown themselves Will pledge their thrones and crowns to take the head Of that man off him, or to lose their own, What time they don the helmet of the brave. Let him inform us what the secret is, And then devise with us." The noble Shah Replied: "O paladins, who seek the way! I am not harassed in the world by foes, My treasure is not squandered anywhere, The army doth not trouble me at all, Nor is there one in fault among yourselves. When on his foemen I avenged my sire, And decked the world with justice and the Faith, No single foot of darksome earth was left That had not read the inscription on my signet; Return ye then your falchions to their scabbards, And wield the goblet not the scimitar; Instead of twanging bows make ready flutes And harps with wine and colour and perfume, For we have done what there was need to do, And cleared the world of foes. For one whole week Have I been standing in the sight of God, Fulfilled with contemplation and good rede. I have a secret longing which I ask The Maker of the world to gratify, And will declare it when He answereth, And by His answer maketh glad my days. |p277 Do ye too offer praises unto God, Entreating Him, who is the Source of power For good and ill, to grant this boon and blessing Praise be to Him who hath revealed the way. When this is.done ensue all happiness, And banish thoughts of evil from your hearts. Know that the restless sky, discerning not 'Twixt fosterer and fostered, cherisheth The old and young alike, and we are witness Both to its justice and its tyranny." The paladins departed from the Shah, Their hearts distracted with their grief's. He bade The chamberlain: "Sit down behind the curtain, And let none, kin or alien, come to me:' At night he went forth to the place of prayer, Unclosed his lips before the almighty Judge, And said to Him: "O higher than the height, Thou who exaltest purity and goodness Vouchsafe to be my guide to Paradise Or ever I shall quit this Wayside Inn; May no perverseness turn my heart aside, But let my soul among the blest abide." Par. 49 How the Iranians summoned Zal and Rustam Now when a week had passed, and Kai Khusrau Showed not his face, there rose much talk and clamour. The paladins assembled to a man - The lords, the sages, and the counsellors - Such as Gudarz and Tus, son of Naudar, And there was much dispute of right and wrong, About the ways of autocratic Shahs - Those that served God and those that did amiss - And all narrated stories of the great, |p278 The nobles and the sages of the world. Gudarz said unto Giv : "O fortune-favoured, The servant ever of the crown and throne! Thou didst sustain much travail for Iran, Abandoning thy country and thy kindred. A sorry matter now confronteth us - One that we cannot hold of small account. Thou needs must set forth for Zabulistan, Dispatch a mounted courier to Kabul, And say to Zal and Rustam : 'Kai Khusrau Hath turned himself from God and lost the way, Hath closed the door of audience to the nobles, And surely is in conclave with the Div. We have asked questions and have made excuses, Appealing to his justice in the case; He listened much but answered not; we see His heart distraught, his head fulfilled with vapours, And fear that he will grow, like Shah Kaus, Perverse, and that the div will make him err. Now ye are paladins more wise than we, With greater influence in all affairs, So whatsoever counsellors ye have - Men of Kannuj, Dambar, and Margh and Mai, Star-readers of Kabulistan and all The sages of Zabul - bring to Iran To treat this matter. All the realm is full Of rumours since the Shah denieth speech And audience. Now that we have tried all means We look to Zal to set the matter right."' Giv, hearing this, chose out some valiant men, And went in dudgeon, brooding moodily, Toward Sistan. Arrived he told to Zal And Rustam those strange things that he had seen And heard; to noble Zal he sadly said:- "We have espoused much grief." He said to Rustam :- "Call from Kabul and summon from Zabul |p279 The wise, the astrologers, and archimages To bear us company." Then all set face Toward Zal and they departed for Iran. The worldlord stood seven days in prayer, but when The world-illuming sun shone on the eighth The audience-chamberlain removed the curtain, And Kai Khusrau sat on the throne of gold. Then all the paladins and arch images Approached. A multitude of prudent nobles And counsellors stood there before the worldlord, Who looked on them, received them graciously, And, as the Kaians used, assigned them seats; But of those famous, loyal lieges none Would take his seat or loose his folded arms; They oped their lips and said: "O turning Heaven O worldlord full of justice, bright of soul ! thine are the power and Grace of majesty; From earth to sun and Fish all, all is thine. We stand as slaves before thy presence, we Thy paladins and faithful counsellors, To ask why thou hast shut thy court to us. Now time hath passed thus and our hearts are sore And sad. If then the Shah will tell this secret To us his marchlords, who are all astray, We will turn seas to land if they annoy him, And change the robe of dust thereon to musk, We will rase mountains if they be the cause, And with our falchions cleave the hearts of foes, While if the cure be wealth let not the Shah Be troubled in respect of cash and treasure; We all keep watch upon thy treasury, And full of anguish weep at thy distress." He made reply: "I need my paladins Although my heart hath no anxieties Respecting mastery and men and treasure. |p280 No foeman hath appeared within the realm To cause me any care on his account; But yet mine ardent heart hath one desire That I will not uproot therefrom, and now Throughout the dark night till the dawn of day I wait the consummation of my hopes, And when that cometh I will tell you all, And utter what as yet I leave unsaid. Go ye your ways victorious and glad, Dismissing such thoughts from your memories." Then all the paladins, those noble men, Called blessings down on him, and grieved again. Par. 50 How Kai Khusrau saw Surush in a Dream As soon as they had gone the wakeful Shah Gave orders to the chamberlain, who closed The curtains and sat down beside the portal, Despairing of victorious Kai Khusrau. The worldlord went before the Lord most high, Entreating Him that He would be his guide, And said: "Almighty Ruler of the heaven, Who kindlest goodness, charity, and justice! This sovereignty advantageth me not Unless I am in favour with my Lord; But whether I have acted well or ill Bestow on me a seat in Paradise." Thus stood he pleading for five sennights' space Before the presence of the Lord most high. One night the Shah slept not for suffering Until the moon had risen, then he slept But with his mind awake - that spouse of wisdom - And dreamed that blest Surush thus whispered him:- "O Shah, the favourite of the stars and fortune, |p281 Who much hast handled armlet, crown, and throne Now halt thou won thy whole desire, if thou Art instant in abandoning the world. Near to the throne of God, the holy Judge, Shalt thou have place; abide not in this gloom. Bestow thy treasures on the worthiest, And let another have the Wayside Inn. Thou shalt grow rich by bounteously entreating The mendicants and those of thine own kindred. Know that the man who bath escaped the clutch Of misadventure, or the dragon's breath - Each that hath suffered travail for thy sake - Endured the toil that he might win the spoil. Give then thy havings to the worthiest, Because thou wilt not tarry here for long, And choose as ruler for the throne a man That will not hurt an ant upon the ground.' When thou hast given away the world rest not, Because the season of dispatch hath come To thee. Luhrasp hath fitting excellence; Resign to him the kingship, throne, and girdle. The place that thou bast sought from God is thine, Ascend without death and depart thou thither." He spake much else in secret to the Shah, Who marvelled at the message and, what time He wakened from his slumber, all fordone, Saw that the oratory ran with sweat ! He wept and, with his face upon the ground, Made his thanksgiving to the Omnipotent, And said: "If I shall pass away forthwith I shall attain from God my heart's desire." He went to occupy the ivory throne, And carried in his hand a robe unworn, And, having donned that raiment, sat him down, A Shah without an armlet, torque, or crown. |p282 Par. 51 How Zal admonished Kai Khusrau Now on the sixth week Zal and Rustam came In discontentment and distress of heart. The iranians when they were advised thereof Made haste, heart-broken too, to go to them. When Rustam had appeared in sight with Zal, Together with the prowest archimages, All those who were the kinsmen of Zarasp Urged on their steeds to go and welcome them, While all the nobles with the golden boots Advanced with Kawa's standard. When Gudarz Reached matchless Rustam tears ran down his cheeks; The faces of the advancing troops were wan; All hearts were seared and troubled for Khusrau. The Iranians spake to Zal and Rustam thus:- "The Shah hath erred by counsel of Iblis. The audience-chamber is completely thronged, But none beholdeth him by night or day. They ope the door of audience once a week, And thither go we but, O paladin Quite other now is Kai Khusrau than when Thou usedst to behold him bright and happy Of soul. The straight-stemmed Cypress-tree is bent, The red Rose hath the colour of the quince. I know not that the evil eye hath seen him, Or why his rosy face is withered so, Unless the Iranians' fortune hath grown dim, Or stars have brought on him this decadence ; Or whether 'tis the fear of holy God That causeth in his heart such melancholy; Or if the Div hath made him err and wrecked Once and for all the world." Brave Zal replied :- |p283 "The Shah hath grown aweary of the throri There are such things as health and sufferug, Distress and gladness too have each their One - Have not your heart so greatly sorrowful, For sorrow casteth down the blithest soul. We will speak much to him and counsel hill, And by our counsel bring his star success." The wayfarers made haste to court. The curtain Was drawn aside. They were admitted gladly In order due - Zal, elephantine Rustam, Tus and Gudarz and all their company, And then Gurgin, Bizhan, and Gustaham With all the warriors of their retinue. The king of kings, when he beheld Zal's face, And heard the voice of Rustam at the curtain, Rose to his feet in wonder from the throne And standing greeted Zal and clasped his pand. As for the wise men from Zabul, Kannuj, Dambar, and from Kabul, he greeted each;. And courteously entreated them, assigning To each his place and to the Iranians The highest. Zal did reverence and spake thus :- "Live happily while month and year endure ! Of all the famous chiefs that we can call To mind from Minuchihr to Kai Kubad, As well as Zav, son of Tahmasp, Kaus - Great men and Shahs whose steps were fortunate - And Siyawush, who was as mine own son, Endowed with stature, dignity, and Grace, None have I seen with Grace, renown, and wisdom Such as the Shah's, and may he reign for ever Victorious, intrepid, just, and wise. Thou hast pervaded all the world with justice, And come again in triumph and in joy. What king but is as dust beneath thy feet ? What bane for which thy name is not a care ? |p284 Received have I some most unwelcorme news, And thereupon have made all haste I to come. One from Iran declared: 'The conquiering Shah Hath bid the audience-chamberlain to leave The curtain down and hide our monarch from us.' I like an eagle or a ship at sea Have come in all haste, since the Iranians grieve, That I might ask the monarch of the world About the secret matter on his mind. The readers of the stars, the mighty men Whom I saw chief within their provinces, Have come with Indian tablets fromi Kannuj, Dambar, and Margh and Mai to ascertain The secret of the sky, and why the Shah Withdraweth his affection from Iran, Now all well-being resteth on three things, With which the throne of royalty is safe; The three are treasure, toil, and valiant men: Without them glory, rule, and fight are not. A fourth is that we offer praise to Gcod And make our prayers before Him night and day, Because He is His servant's succourer One who restraineth the injurious. We will bestow much wealth upon the poor, Though it should cost us what we vatlue most That He may make thy spirit bright again With wisdom for the armour of thy brain.'" Par. 52 How Kai Khusrau answered Zal Khusrau gave ear, then made a sage reply "Old man of honest brain! " he said to Zal, "Right goodly are thy counsels and thy speech. |p285 Since Minuchihr was on the throne till now Thou hast been kindly and benevolent, While Rustam of the elephantine form, That man of name, the pillar of the Kaians And people's joy, became the fosterer Of Siyawush and source of good to him. Troops that have looked on Rustam's iron mace, His breast, his helmet, and his lion-limbs, Have often fled before the fight, and dropped Their bows and arrows on the plains and dales; He helped mine ancestors to seek revenge, And was their glorious minister and guide. Were I to tell thy toils the tales would last A hundred generations and be fresh, And were inquiry made of thy good deeds My praise would only be disparagement. Next, as to what thou askest of my case In thus refusing audience and lamenting, I will inform thee of each circumstance That thou mayst know the matter point by point By God, I have no wish on earth but one - To quit this wretched world. Five sennights now Have passed while I have stood to supplicate The Judge and Guide to pardon past offences, To brighten my dark moon, convey me hence, And leave on earth no pain or grief through me. I must not quit the right and turn aside Like former Shahs. I have attained my wish, And must dispatch because glad news hath come. Whenas mine eyes were sleeping yestermorn Surush, the blessed, came to me from God, And said: 'Prepare, for 'tis thy time to go, Thy watching and distress are overpassed.' So now mine audiences, care for the host, For crown and throne and belt, are at an end." The paladins were troubled in their hearts |p286 About the Shah and knew not what to do. Zal, when he heard the monarch's words, was wroth And from his liver drew a deep, cold sigh; He said to the Iranians : "This is bad! No wisdom still abideth in his brain; Since first I girt a girdle round my loins I have attended at the Kaians' throne, But never saw I one who spake like this! Yet may we not ignore what he hath said, Or give assent thereto in any way, When he is holding forth in such a strain. He may have been in conclave with the Div, And thus his head is turned away from God. Hushang and Faridun, God's worshippers, Ne'er laid their hands on such a branch as this. I will declare to him the honest truth E'en at the cost of life:' The Iranians said:- No No Kaian e'er spake thus! We are with thee In what thou say'st to him. May God prevent His wandering from use and precedent." Par. 53 How Zal rebuked Kai Khusrau Zal heard their words, then rose and said: "Khusrau, Thou upright chief! list to the words of one Advanced in years, one who hath seen the world, And answer not if he adviseth ill. Though honest speech be bitter it will bar The door of ruin by its bitterness. Take therefore in good part the honest words, Which I will speak before this company Born wast thou in the country of Turan ; There was thy fountain-head and there thy home ; |p287 Thou hadst on one side great Afrasiyab, Who never dreamed of aught but sorcery, For grandsire, on the other base Kaus With wrinkled visage and deceitful heart. From west to east the greatness and the sway, The crown and belt, were his. Now he was fain To pass the sky and count the circling stars, And though I counselled him at large thereon, And spake with bitterness as I do now, He was not profited by all my counsels, And seared and grieved I turned away from him. He soared and came down headlong to the dust, But holy God vouchsafed to spare his life. On coming home he was ungrateful still; His heart was awed, but war was in his thoughts. Thou with a hundred thousand swordsmen mailed, And armed with ox-head maces, didst go forth, As 'twere a lion roused, to levy war, And rank upon the desert of Kharazm. Thou wentest forth, the champion of thy host, To fight afoot against the valiant Shida. If he had got the upper hand of thee Thou wouldst have brought the great Afrasiyab Upon Iran; the Iranians' wives and children Had perished; none had girt him for revenge; But God vouchsafed deliverance from his hand, Had mercy on thee and confirmed thy counsels. Thou slewest him whom there was cause to fear, Him who was thankless to the almighty Judge; But when I said: 'It is the time for peace, The time for robes, for largess, and for goblet; The king and host will rest from toil, and we Shall have our souls refreshed for months and years,' This grievous business came upon Iran, And more than ever filled our hearts with sorrow, For thou hast put from thee the way of God, |p288 And ta'en to evil paths and frowardness. Thy person will not profit by this wrong, Nor will it please the Maker of the world. If thou art bent on such a course, O Shah ! No one will go about to do thy bidding, And then thou wilt repent thee of thine acts. Consider! Do not what the divs command. Moreover if thou seekest thus their way The Worldlord will withdraw from thee the Grace, Thou wilt be left in misery and sin, And men will never hail thee, Shah again; God is our Refuge; therefore turn to God, Because He is our Guide to what is good. If thou rejectest this my counselling, And trustest unto wicked Ahriman, Thou wilt retain no homage and no fortune, No royal majesty, no crown, no throne. May wisdom be the leader of thy soul, Because the way in front of us is long. Mayst thou be prudent, may thy counsels prosper, And may thy brain be steadfast and devout." Whenas the words of Zal had reached their end The heroes all assented, saying thus:- "The old man with what we too think is best, It is not right that truth should be supprest." Par. 54 How Kai Khusrau answered and how Zal excused himself When Kai Khusrau had hearkened to their words He was a while anangered and breathed hard, Then spake deliberately: "O veteran Zal, Whose manhood reacheth countless years! if I Speak coldly to thee here before the folk The Worldlord never will approve that wrong |p289 In me. Moreover Rustam will be grieved, And through his grief loss will befall Iran ; Moreover should I reckon up his toils They would be more e'en than his famous treasures. He hath enshielded me with his own body, And suffered not our foes to eat or sleep, So I will answer thee with kindliness, And will not break thy heart with cruel words." Khusrau then cried aloud : "O noble men Whose fortunes never slumber! I have heard What Zal hath said in presence of you all. By God, the almighty Lord, I am afar Both from the way and bidding of the Div; My soul inclineth God-ward, for in Him I have beheld my remedy for care. Mine ardent heart hath looked upon this world, My breast is troubled by the woes thereof." He said to Zal: "Forbear thine anger, thou Shouldst speak in measured words. First, for thy saying :- 'None wise and shrewd hath issued from Turan,' Worldlord and son of Siyawush am I,' A prudent monarch of the Kaian stock, The grandson of the worldlord Kai Kaus - The love-inflaming, wise, and fortunate - And through my mother from Afrasiyab, Whose wrath deprived us both of food and sleep. Sprung thus from Faridun and from Pashang, I shame not at my birth because the sea Could not have purged the Lions of Iran Of fears inspired by Afrasiyab. Next for the carriage which Kaus once made To raise his head above the sovereignty, Know that no blame attacheth to a king For lofty aims. Now that I have avenged My father and have decked the world with goodnessp, |p290 Have slain my foes, and all who were on earth The common source of outrage and injustice, No work remaineth for me here below ; The miscreants have not a monarch left. Now whensoe'er I meditate awhile On kingship and long rule I go the way Of Kai Kaus and of Jamshid, and lose My footing as they did. I fear that I, As soon as icy age shall come upon me, Shall, like impure Zahhak and daring Tur, Whose outrages revolted all the world, Be haled to Hell. Again, thou saidst: 'Thou foughtest With Shida like a lusty crocodile.' The reason was - I saw no cavalier In all Iran who would engage with him, Or on engaging would not shrink and prove Of little worth with Shida as a foe, And so I battled for Iran in person ; Bright is his star who hath the Grace divine. For these five sennights both by night and day Have I unclosed my lips with orisons If so the Worldlord, the all holy God, Might free me from this grief and this dark earth, And now aweary of host, crown, and throne I have returned in haste to make all ready. Thou son of Sam, old and illustrious, Said'st that the Div had laid a snare for me, That darkly and perversely I have left The way, grown vile of soul and black of heart ! I do not know what chastisement divine Thou thinkest due to me for life misspent." Zal was confounded when he heard these words, And could not look the monarch in the face. Then with a cry he rose upon his feet, And said : "O Shah, thou worshipper of God ! I have been rash and foolish while thou art |p291 A holy man, and one divinely wise. Forgive me if the Div hath led me wrong. I have been living for unnumbered years With loins girt up in presence of the Shahs, But never saw I one who sought of God, The Judge of sun and moon, what thou hast sought. Now Kai Khusrau hath come to be the teacher: Be evil fortune ever far from him. I would not lose Khusrau ; yet, though my soul Is dark, let wisdom witness to my words That to his faithful lieges of Iran The Shah's act overrideth all their grief, So that with us there is desire to part From our just judge, beneficent Khusrau." The Shah, when he had heard Zal's words, approved The excuse thus proflered by his loyal liege, Reached forth and clasped in his the old man's hand, And made him take his seat upon the throne ; The sun-faced Shah was ware that naught could move His liege to speak such words excepting love. Par. 55 How Kai Khusrau gave his last Charge to the Iranians The Shah spake afterward to Zal, and said :- "Now gird ye, every one of you, your loins, Thou, Rustam, Tus, Gudarz and Giv and all The others that are men of name and courage ! Bear ye the camp-enclosure from the city Out on the plain with our victorious standard; Take thither all the tents and the pavilions To furnish an encampment ; there assemble The chieftains' flags, the elephants, and troops, And make a splendid feast-stead." Rustam did |p292 As said the Shah. They brought the camp-enclosure Forth to the plain, and all the Iranians Girt up their loins to do as they were bidden. The earth was filled with tents from hill to hill - Tents white and sable, violet and blue - While Kawa'S flag was in the midst and made The world look yellow, red, and violet. They pitched Zal's tent-enclosure on the plain Hard by the Shah before the array. Rustam, The paladin, was stationed on the left With shrewd chiefs from Kabul. In front were Tus, Gudara, and Giv, Bizhan the warrior, And brave Gurgin, and, in the rear, Shapur With Gustaham and nobles in attendance. The king of kings sat on the golden throne, With ox-head mace, on one side Zal and Rustam - A stately Elephant and Lion grim - Upon the other Tus, Gudarz, and Giv, Gurgin, Farhad, and valorous Shapur, While every eye was fixed upon the face Of Kai Khusrau to know what he would say About the host. He raised his voice and said :- "Ye famous men of action! everyone That is possessed of rode and wisdom knoweth That good and ill will pass away alike; We all must go, and this world passeth too What need for all this travail, grief, and care? 'Tis well to go now while we have our troops, We must not go as though impuissant; For us the bull is still within its hide, And elsewhere are reward and retribution. Be all of you in fear of holy God, And put no confidence in this dark earth, Because the day of each of us will pass, And time is reckoning our every breath. From glorious Hushang to Shah Kaus |p293 Of all that had the throne, the crown, and Grace Naught but the name remaineth to the world, And no one readeth rescripts from the dead. Of them full many showed ingratitude, And trembled for their error in the end. A bondslave am I even as they were; And striven though I have with pains, and I Have striven and endured exceeding toil, I realise that here is none abiding. Now from this Wayside Inn have I uprooted My heart and soul, and lifted them o'er care And toil; now have I won my whole desire, And turned my back upon the Kaian throne. To every one that hath borne toil with me Will I give treasure equal to his wish, And speak to God, who heareth what is good, For them whom I approve. I give the Iranians My treasures and mine implements of war. To every prince among you I will give A province. Of my purses, slaves, and steeds Have I bethought me; I produce a list And now bestow them, for I go my way, And clear my heart of this obscurity. Put forth your hands in gladness to the feast, One sennight eat and drink, and pray that I May quit this Wayside Hostel and abide Afar from toil." When he announced his purpose The warriors were all astound at him, And one among them said: "The Shah is mad, And wit is as a stranger to his heart ! I know not what will come to him, or where The crown and throne will find repose!" Anon The warriors departed band by band; Plains, dales, and mountains were all troops. The sounds |p294 Of piping and of neighing steeds ascended Above the very sky, as thou wouldst say; Thereat the spirits of the Iranians rose, And for one week none thought of briefs and woes. Par. 56 How Kai Khusrau appointed Gudarz to be his Mandatary The Shah the eighth day sat upon the throne Without his armlets, mace, and golden helm, And since the time when he must pass was near They opedthe portal of the treasury Which done he made Gudarz, son of Kishwad, His mandatary, saying: "See to all The world's affairs - the public and the secret. There is a season for amassing wealth With labour, and a time for lavishing. Look to the ruined caravansaries, As well as to the bridges on our borders ; The dried up cisterns, those within Iran And those constructed by Afrasiyab ; The children motherless, the womenfolk That have no husbands and are destitute, With those that come to want in their old age; Moreover close not thou the treasury's door To such as strive to hide their sufferings. Bestow and live in fear of evil days; See to the cities that are lying waste - The lurking-dens of leopards and of lions. Next as to places where the Cult of Fire Prevailed, but which are waste and pxiestless now, As well as every one in indigence, Who in his early days gave liberally, And all the wells grown old and waterless, |p295 Make all these flourish through this hoard of gold And silver. Think drachms vile; remember death." As to the treasure which was called " The Bride," Stored by Kaus within the town of Tus, He bade Gudarz : "Give it to Giv, to Zal, And to the lord of Rakhsh:" He reckoned up His wardrobe and bestowed the whole on Rustam. The armlets also and the chieftains' torques, The massive maces and the coats of mail, He gave to Gustaham - a just award. Then, choosing from the steeds and saddlery, He gave a herd of horses highly bred, And then at large, to Tus the general. He gave Gudarz his gardens, rosaries, And certain palaces the which he named. The body-armour that he treasured so - That precious armour worn in his campaigns - He had bestowed complete on gallant Giv What time he grew aweary of the throne. A palace, camp-enclosure with the tents, Pavilions, stalls, and horses he presented To Fariburz, son of Kaus, as well As coats of mail and helms and Ruman casques. A torque which was more bright than Jupiter, Together with two radiant rings of ruby, Engraven with the worldlord's name and known Throughout the world, " These," said he to Bizhan, "Receive as a memorial of me, And sow not any seed but that of good." Then said he to the Iranians : "My time Approacheth, and I long afresh to go; Make your requests of me for what ye need, For this assembly must be broken up:' The chiefs were overcome by grief, they wept, And burned in anguish for the king of kings. |p296 "To whom now will the Shah," inquired they all, "Bequeath the crown as his memorial? " Par. 57 How Zal asked of Kai Khusrau a Patent for Rustam When Zal, that loyal liege, had heard the Shah He kissed the ground, then springing to his feet Spake out, and said: "O monarch of the world Let me disclose to thee my heart's desire. What for Iran's sake Rustam hath achieved In combats, travails, and campaigns thou knowest. When Kai Kaus went to Mazandaran - A lengthy march of many toilsome leagues - And when the divs had put him into ward, Together with the proud Gudarz and Tus, Then matchless Rustam, having heard thereof, Went to Mazandaran in haste alone. Through desert and through gloom, midst divs and lions, Enchanters and fierce dragons, in distress And toil he cut his way, and reached the Shah ; He rent the White Div's flank, he tore the reins Both of Pulad, son of Ghundi, and Bid, And plucked off Sanja's head. His war-cry reached High heaven. Kaus went to Hamavaran, And there folk made him fast in heavy bonds With Tus, Gudarz, and Giv - those gallant hearts And wary warriors. But matchless Rustam Marched thither with a mighty host and chieftains, The chosen of Iran and of Zabul, And freed Katis, Gudarz, and Giv and Us. When Rustam slew Suhrab - a son unmatched Mid high and low alike throughout the world - |p297 When waging battle for Kaus, the Shah, He wept in agony for months and years; And when he fought Kamus in after-times His valour sent the dust up to the clouds. However I might speak about his acts The tale of them would never reach an end. Now if the Shah is tired of crown and throne What leaveth he this loyal lion-heart ? " "His actions," such was Kai Khusrau's reply, "On our behalf, his fightings and his toil, Who knoweth save the almighty Lord of Heaven - He that revealeth justice, peace, and love ? Yet Rustam's fame is manifest to all, And he hath none to match him in the world." He ordered that a scribe should come to him With paper, musk, and spicery. They wrote A patent from the monarch of the earth, The exalted Kai Khusrau, the pure in Faith, For elephantine Rustam, that brave chieftain, Praised for his valour in all companies, The foremost of the world, a lord thereof, A chieftain, vigilant, and valiant, A conquering leader and the Light of hosts, Assigning him the province of Nimruz. They sealed the patent with the golden signet, As was the usance of just Kai Khusrau, Who gave the deed to him, commending him, And saying: "May the earth be blessed in Rustam." Then to the chieftains that had journeyed thither With Zal, the son of Sam the cavalier, And astrolabes upon their bosoms bare, He gave robes, gold, and silver - each his share. |p298 Par. 58 How Kai Khusrau gave a Patent to Giv Zal, seeing this, gave thanks exceedingly To that victorious and discerning Shah. When Zal resumed his seat Gudarz arose, He urged a just request, and thus he said:- "Victorious Shah ! we never yet have seen A master of the throne to equal thee. From Minuchihr as far as Kai Kubad, And from Kaus until thy noble self, We have girt up our loins before the chiefs, And have not had a single day's repose. My sons and grandsons numbered seventy-eight; Now eight remain; the rest have passed away. Moreover watchful Giv for seven years Was in Turan, deprived of food and rest ; Upon the waste he lived on onager, And wore the skins of game. The Shah, when he Came to Iran, had seen what toils Giv bare For him. He wearieth of crown and throne, And Giv expecteth kindness at his hands." Khusrau replied: "He hath done better still, And may a thousand blessings rest upon him, The Master of the world be his ally, And may his foemen's rose be fall of thorns. My havings great and small are in thy hand. May health of body and of mind be thine." He made a grant of Kum and Ispahan - The seat of nobles and the home of chiefs. The scribe wrote out with musk and ambergris On silk the great king's letter, who impressed His golden seal thereon, blessed it, and said:- "May God be well contented with Gudarz, And may his foemen's hearts be filled with smoke!" |p299 He thus addressed the Irainians : "Know ye this, That gallant Giv, who hath the thews of chieftains And lion's claws, is my memorial To be your succour after I am gone. Submit yourselves to his authority, And not transgress the counsels of Gudarz." The chieftains of that race with one accord Renewed their blessings on their sovereign lord Par. 59 How Kai Khusrau gave a Patent to Tus Whenas Gudarz resumed his seat Tus rose, Came, kissed the ground before Khusrau, and said:- "O monarch! live for ever. May ill's hand Be ever far from thee. Of all these nobles I only am derived from Faridun ; We were the royal house till came Kubad. Before the Iranians have I girt my girdle, And never loosed that bondage from my loins. Upon Mount Hamawan the breastplate galled My body; it was all I had to wear; And in that war of wreak for Siyawush I was each night the watchman of the host. I could not save the army at Ladan, But was myself within the Dragon's breath. When in Hamavaran Kaus was bound There were chains also on the neck of Tus, And in Mazandaran I was in bonds With him, and was in dudgeon for his sake. I, whether I behaved me well or ill, Served in all places as his general. I never anywhere dispersed the host, And no one ever made complaint of me. The Shah is tired of treasury and throne, |p300 And is about to quit this Wayside Inn; . What dost thou bid me do? What power is mine? Thou knowest both my virtues and my faults." The Shah made answer: "Thou hadst greater hardships Than these from fate. Keep Kawa's standard still, Be general and wear the golden boots. Thy portion of the world is Khurasan ; None of these nobles will molest thee there." They wrote a patent out to that effect Before the magnates and the mighty men; Khusrau then sealed it with the golden signet, And gave to Tus a golden torque and girdle, Invoking blessings on him fervently:- "May my heart never more be wroth with thee." Par. 60 How Kai Khusrau gave the Kingship to Luhrasp The king of kings, when he had ordered thus The matter of the chiefs, went to his throne. Now of the chiefs Luhrasp remained, whose name None read upon the roll of royalty, And him the Shah required Bizhan to bring Before the presence with his helmet on. The worldlord when he saw Luhrasp arose, Saluted him with outstretched hands and then, Descending from the famous ivory throne, Took from his head the heart-illuming crown, Resigned it to Luhrasp and hailed him Shah Of all the Iranian realm, and said to him:- "May this thy crown prove fortunate to thee; Be all the world thy slave. On thee have I, Since mine exceeding toil and pain are over, Bestowed the crown of kingship and the treasure. |p301 Speak naught but what is just henceforth, for thou Through justice wilt be conquering and glad. Make not the Div the comrade of thy soul If thou wilt keep thy fortune vigorous; Be prudent and without offence, and set For evermore a watch upon thy tongue." He said to the Iranians : "Let your hearts Be joyful in his fortune and his throne." The Iranians were amazed, they raged like lions, And said: "Must we salute Luhrasp as Shah ? " Then from among them Zal rose to his feet To speak the righteous counsels of his heart, And said on this wise: "O exalted king ! Thou mayest make dust precious, but may dust, Dust only, fill the head of that man's fortune, And antidotes prove poison in his mouth, Who sayeth that Luhrasp is Shah by right. We never will consent to such injustice. Whenas he came Iran-ward with Zarasp I saw him poor, and owning but one horse; Thou sentest him to battle with the Alans, Providing him with army, flag, and belt. His birth I know not; I have seen no merit In him; I never heard of such a monarch. Though nobles of the royal race abound The Shah hath not remembered one of them!" When Zal, the son of Sam, had spoken thus The whole assembly sided with the speaker, And from the Iranians rose a shout: "O Shah' Henceforth we will not gird our loins or seek To fight at all upon the battlefield If now the king exalteth thus Luhrasp." Khusrau, when he had heard the words of Zal, Replied: "Restrain thyself and be not wroth, For whoso speaketh that which is not ,just Will only get the smother of the fire, |p302 Since God approveth not of ill from us, And bad men writhe 'neath time's vicissitudes, While he whom God createth for high fortune, Fit to be monarch and adorn the throne, Endowed with modesty, Faith, birth, and Grace Will flourish, conquer, and rejoice in justice. The Maker is my witness when I say That all these qualities are in Luhrasp. He is descended from Hushang the worldlord, A noble of discernment and clean hands, A scion of Pashfn and Kai Kubad, Well stocked with knowledge, righteous in his thoughts. He will cut off the sorcerers from the earth, And manifest the way of holy God, His counsels will renew the age's youth, And as he is his stainless son will be. God said to me: 'Look thou upon Luhrasp,' And I have acted only as He bade. Now do ye homage to him as your Shah, And as ye love me slight not mine advice, For if a man transgress my parting counsel I shall esteem his past exertions wind. One such as that will give no praise to God, And fear from all sides will assail his heart." As soon as Zal had heard these righteous words He reached out, set his fingers to the ground, And in the act of homage smeared his lips With grimy dust, then hailed Luhrasp as Shah, And said to that world's lord: "Mayst thou be happy. Far from thee ever be the hand of ill. Who save the Shah, victorious and noble, Knew that Luhrasp was of the royal race? As I swore fealty my lips got smeared With grimy dust: account it not a fault." |p303 The great men showered jewels on Luhrasp, And hailed him as the Shah. When Kai Khusrau Had thus achieved the matter of the kingship He thought next of the folk and told the Iranians :- "To-morrow ye will go the selfsame path, And I, on quitting this vile dust, will pray To holy God that we be reunited." In taking leave he kissed the face of each; The lashes of his eyes were full of tears ; He pressed each warrior closely to his breast, And bitterly exclaimed: "Oh ! would that I Could bear this company along with me!" A cry rose from the army of Iran :- "The sun hath wandered from its way in heaven I" Men, children, and the women in their bowers, On mountain, in bazar, and midst the throng, Were raising wails and lamentable cries, And every quarter sorrowed for the Shah, While all the chieftains bent them with their heads Upon the ground and rent their robes in grief; The earth was in convulsion everywhere, And all the mighty men were in amazement. The Shah then spake to the Iranians, And said: "Heed, every one of you, this counsel, All ye that are possessed of Grace and birth! Be happy in the justice of your lord. And now will I take order for my soul That I may pass with honour, for my heart Hath not been set upon this Wayside Inn Know that Surush hath come to be my guide." He spake and bade to bring night-hued Bihzad, While lamentations went up from the host; He reached the palace, overcome with woe, His noble cypress-stature bending low. |p304 Par. 61 How Kai Khusrau fare-welled his Women He had four sun-like damsels; none had seen Their faces e'en in dreams. He called those Idols Forth from their bowers and told his purpose, saying :- "I am about to leave this place of sojourn, But be not sad or sorry. Ye henceforth Will see me not, for tired of this ill earth I shall depart to God, the holy Judge, And see no way whereby I may return." Thereat the sun-faced four became distraught, And wailed for anguish, misery, and love; They tore their faces, they plucked out their hair, And broke their gay and scented ornaments, Then as each one regained her self-control She cried out with a lamentable voice:- "Remove us also from this Wayside Inn, And guide us to the attainment of this good." The noble Shah made answer to them thus :- "Ye too will go upon a way like this. Where are the sisters of Jamshid the worldlord? Where are the nobles with their gloryings ? Where is the daughter of Afrasiyab - My mother who came hither o'er Jihun ? Where is Tur's daughter, Mah Afrid, whose like None ever saw? Their beds are brick and dust I know not if they be in Heaven or Hell. The talons and the teeth of Death will close On crown and helm alike, wear which we may; Hence one should be adorned with righteousness, ' For that not even death will take from us. Seek not to make me sorry to depart, Because the way is bright before mine eyes." |p305 He cried aloud and called to him Luhrasp To whom he spake much of the womenfolk, And said: "These are mine Idols, and they are The glory of my garden. Keep them here Together in this home while thou remainest, And when God calleth thee let not thy soul, Through any act of thine, be shamed before Him, Or feel itself disgraced before two kings When thou beholdest me with Siyawush:" Luhrasp assented unto Kai Khusrau In all, and answered: "How should I behold them In their seclusion ? " Kai Khusrau then girt His loins, and went back to the Iranian chiefs; He said: "Go home again with all dispatch; Let not your hearts be seared and smoked for me, Nor feel at home with this world, for it hath Its Blooms though yet unseen. For evermore Be ye both great and happy. Never think Of me except for good. Be jocund all, Rejoice in God, and when ye have to pass Be it a day for smiles and happiness." Then all the nobles of the Iranian host Bent to the ground before him, saying thus:- "The counsels of the Shah will we hold fast As life itself as long as life shall last." Par. 62 How Kai Khusrau went to the Mountains and vanished in the Snow Khusrau commanded that Luhrasp should come, And said to him: "My day hath passed. Go thou, Maintain the usage of the royal throne, And in the world sow but the seed of good. |p306 Whenever thou hast any times of ease Boast not about thy treasures and thy crown; Know this that when thy day of darkness cometh The way before thee is the way to God. Seek after and perform whate'er is just, And hold the persons of the great in honour." Luhrasp alighted quickly from his steed, And kissed the ground with signs of sore distress. Khusrau said: "Fare thee well and be thyself The warp and woof of justice." From Iran Went chieftains with the Shah, great, shrewd, and valiant, As Zal and Rustam, as Gudarz and Giv, The brave Bizhan and gallant Gustaham ; The seventh was Fariburz, son of Kaus, The eighth famed Tus. The host marched troop on troop Till from the waste they reached a mountain-top, And tarried there a sennight to draw breath And wet their lips, exclaiming at the Shah, And labour which they could not understand, While every archimage said privily :- "None in the world e'er told of such a case !" Whenas the sun arose above the hills A multitude collected from all parts, And five score thousand of the Iranians, Both men and women, went before the Shah In grief; the mount was full of wails and cries, And e'en the flints were moved. The people all Said to Khusrau : "O Shah ! what aileth thee That thy shrewd heart is seared and full of smoke ? If thou hast taken umbrage at the host, Or boldest this crown worthless, tell us so, Quit not Iran nor give this ancient world A youthful Shah. We are thy horse's dust, |p307 And worship thine Azargashasp. Oh! whither Are all thy knowledge, rede, and senses fled? Surush came never thus to Siyawush We all will offer up our prayers to God, With supplications in the Fane of Fire, If haply holy God may pardon us, And thine own priestly heart illume us still." The king of kings astonied called the archmages Forth from the throng, and said: "Here all is well; Ye must not weep at happiness like this. Praise God, be happy, and acknowledge Him, For soon we meet again; mourn not my going." Then to the chiefs he said: "Turn, all of you, Back from this mountain-top without your Shah, Because the way is longsome, waterless, And hard, devoid of grass and foliage. Relieve yourselves of going to and fro, And make your souls a path toward the Light. Yon desert none may pass who hath not Grace And lofty stature." Three proud warriors Attended to the bidding and turned back - Zal, Rustam, and the old Gudarz - all men Of lofty aims, farsightedness, and heed, But Tus and Giv and Fariburz, Bizhan, And gallant Gustaham, would not return. They went together for one day and night, Distressed by reason of the waste and drouth ; At length a spring was seen upon the way, And thither went the aspiring Kai Khusrau. They lighted from their steeds by that clear spring, Partook of food, and drew their breath awhile. The Shah addressed the marchlords thus, and said:- "Here let us make our sojourn for the night, And talk at large together of the past, For henceforth nobody will see me more. |p308 What time the radiant sun shall raise its flag, And turn the darksome earth to liquid gold, Then is the time when I shall pass away, And haply with Surush for company; My heart will I pluck out if darkening It turneth from this path." As night advanced The famous Kaian went before his God, Bathed, head and body, in the limpid stream, Reciting to himself the Zandavasta, And thus addressed those famous men of lore:- "Farewell for ever! When the sky shall bring The sun again ye shall not look on me Henceforth save in your dreams. Moreover be not here on the morrow on these arid sands, Although the clouds rain musk, for from the mountains Will rise a furious blast and snap the boughs And leafage of the trees, a storm of snow Will shower down from heaven's louring rack, And toward Iran ye will not find the track." Par. 63 How the Paladins were lost in the Snow The chieftains' heads were heavy at the news, The warriors slept in pain, and when the sun Rose o'er the hills the Shah had disappeared. They roamed thence seeking him and set their faces Toward the sands and waste. They saw no trace Of Kai Khusrau and turned back from the way Like men insane, heart-straitened all and anguished, The ground well trodden but the Shah not found. Lamenting, sorrowful of heart, afflicted, They came back to the spring and lighting there |p309 They each farewelled the monarch of the world. Then Fariburz repeated what Khusrau Had said. " Be wisdom and his pure soul mates," He added, but the heroes answered thus, Not doing honour to his words at heart:- "The earth is soft and warm, the sky is clear. We cannot travel wearied as we are. When we have rested, eaten, and reposed Beside the spring, it will be time to go." They all of them alighted by the spring, And made Khusrau the subject of their talk. "None will behold a wonder such as this," They said, " however long his life may last! When saw we such a passing of a Shah ? We have not heard the chiefs e'en tell of such. Alas for his high fortune and his counsel, His majesty, his mien, and noble bearing! The wise will laugh at such a tale as this, That any one should go alive to God ! Who knoweth what on earth hath chanced to him? What shall we say ? Ears will not bear to hear!" Giv thus addressed those chiefs: "No warrior Will hear of one like him for manliness, For justice, generosity, and parts, For stature and demeanour, fame and birth. He was an Elephant amid the host In battle, and in feast a crowned moon." Thereafter they partook of what there was, And, having eaten, quickly went to sleep. Meanwhile there came up storm and cloud, the sky Became as 'twere a lion's hide, and when The snow had hoisted sail upon the earth The lances of the nobles disappeared ! They tarried in the snow, I know not why, And under it they struggled for a while, And made a hollow space, but at the last |p310 Strength failed them and they yielded up sweet life. Now Rustam, Zal, and divers cavaliers Abode for three days weeping on the mountain, But on the fourth day when the world's light shone They said: "A long affair - this tarrying Mid rocks and mountains ! If the Shah hath vanished, Blown from among us like a breath of air, Where are the other nobles gone ? Perchance They heeded not the counsel that he gave." They stayed a sennight on the mountain-height, And by the sennight's end were all distraught, All woe-begone, lamenting, and consuming Ason fierce fire. Gudarz, son of Kishwad, Shed tears, plucked out his hair, and tore his cheeks, Exclaiming: "None e'er saw such ills as come Upon me from the offspring of Kaus ! I once possessed a host of sons and grandsons; Each wore a crown, and they were worldlords all. They all were slain avenging Siyawush ; My race hath had its day, for now the rest Have disappeared. WHower saw such marvels Ashave befallen me?" Zal spake at large:- Be Be God's just dealing and thy wisdom mates! Perchance they may return and find the path Whenas the highway showeth from the snow; But we may not abide upon the mountain, There is no food and we must needs depart; We will dispatch some on the way afoot; One day they will find traces of the band." They left the mountain, weeping for distress, And every one had some one to recall - A kinsman, son, or friend, or else the Shah, Himself as 'twere a cypress in the garden. The world is always thus; it will not stay E'en with the best for ever. This it may |p311 Exalt from dust, that from the throne remove, Not that in anger and not this in love; 'Tis but the fashion of the sky above ! Where are those warriors and world-ruling kings? Oh! banish if thou canst such questionings. Par. 64 How Luhrasp had Tidings of the Disappearance of Kai Khusrau When from the troops escorting Kai Khusrau Luhrasp had tidings how the Shah had fared He sat with crown of gold upon the throne, The heroes with their golden girdles came, And, when the illustrious men and chief estates Had Wen their seats, Luhrasp looked round, arose, Spake with good feeling and straightforwardness, And said: "O leaders of the host ! ye all Have heard the parting counsels of the Shah. Whoe'er rejoiceth not at mine accession Hath not the counsels of Khusrau in mind. All that he said and bade me will I do, Will strive for good, and carry out his will. Do ye too not reject his last request, Or keep your secret counsels hid from me. The man is guilty in the sight of God, That heedeth not the last requests of Shahs, And therefore whatsoe'er ye have in mind Of good and ill ye must reveal to me." Zal answered: "Kai Khusrau gave thee the name Of Shah. Accepting his last words and bidding My foot shall stray not from the limits set. Thou art the Shah ; we are thy lieges all, And we will not transgress thy rede and orders. I, Rustam, and the people of Zabul, |p312 Will never wash our hands of love to thee. Whoe'er he be that taketh not this course Shall find no good thing left within his reach." Luhrasp, when he had heard the words of Zal, Applauded him, and then embracing him Spake thus : "God grant that justice and the right May never prove your loss and injury, For He created you with this intent That toils and ills might vanish. Kai Khusrau - The worldlord, the beloved of time and fortune - Ere he departed gave to you Nimruz. Now in addition take what else ye need. 'Tis not for me to share with you my wealth ; I and my kin and kingdom are all yours." Then said he to Gudarz : "Speak out thy mind, Whate'er it be, thou chief of paladins ! " Gudarz made answer : "I am left alone, For I have lost Bahram, Bizhan, and Giv." Then overcome by anguish for his kin He cried out in a lamentable voice :- "Woe for the hero Giv of brazen form, And that aspiring wielder of the sword Bizhan ! " He spake and rent from head to foot His robe of Chin and tunic made in Rum, And said thus to the nobles : "Blest is he Whose mate is dust. I give assent to all That Zal hath said, I have no secrets from him. Thou art the Shah, and we are all thy lieges We will keep fealty and do thy will." The chiefs with one consent called blessings down, And bent their heads in homage to the ground, While at their words Luhrasp, refreshed at heart, Drew himself up and was another man. He chose himself a most auspicious day Whereon to set the crown upon his head, |p313 And, just as Faridun of glorious birth First put the crown on in the month wherein They celebrate the hocktide of Mihrgan, Luhrasp selected that same day and month - The time of the Autumnal Equinox. He had the hall of Kai Khusrau adorned, And in his hands Iran took added lustre. Such is the world - all ups and downs - and so One man is glad, another is brought low ; From it are joy and grief; its How and When And Why are all beyond our human ken. Completed is the tale of Kai Khusrau, The acts of Shah Luhrasp engross us now ; His crown and court alike I celebrate, And place him in his seat upon the state By the triumphant grace of our great king. The author of our hopes and fears is he, To his well-wishers' hearts all good doth bring, And to the ill-disposed calamity. Hearts that have been rust-eaten by the brine Of speech will be refurbished by old wine. When eld hath stolen on a man good Booth ! Wine that hath waxen old will give him youth. Faint hearts when quaffing turn to men of might, And foxes in their cups like lions fight ; In wine too thou wilt show thy quality, And to thine own locked door thyself be key. |p314 XIV LUHRASP |p316 Par. 1 How Luhrasp built a Fire-temple at Balkh Now when Luhrasp sat On the ivory throne, And donned the crown that brighteneth the heart, He praised the Maker and besought Him much, Then said: "Have hope in God, the righteous Judge; |p317 Hold Him in fear and awe; the Artist He Of yon revolving sky, and magnifieth The Glory of His slave. When He created Earth, with its seas and mountains, He outspread High heaven over it, one turning swiftly, The other fixed; the Artist gave thereto No feet to move withal. The sky is like The polo-stick, we, bandied to and fro By profit and by loss, are like the ball. Amid thy pleasures Death with sharpened claws Is crouching like a fierce and angry lion; So let us quit the lust of covetise, Acknowledging our ignorance meanwhile, And from this crown of kingship, this high throne, Ensue but justice, peace, and goodly counsels, Lest haply in this Wayside Inn our lot Should prove but vengeance, travail, and a curse. I will do more than Kai Khusrau enjoined, And banish from my heart revenge and greed. This do and justice will bring happiness, Be peaceable and have no thoughts of vengeance." The mighty of the world called blessings down Upon him, hailed him monarch of the earth, And great Luhrasp had quiet, wisdom, wealth, And all his heart's desire continually. Thereafter he sent envoys unto Rum, To Hind, to Chin, and other peopled lands, And all the men that were possessed of knowledge, And those that practised divers useful arts, From all the marches and the provinces Went to the Shah's court and abode at Balkh A while at leisure tasting of the salts And sours of knowledge. He erected there A city with its streets, bazars, and quarters, In each whereof there was a place to hold The feast of Sada, round a Fane of Fire, |p318 And there he built Barzin, for so they call That glorious temple and magnifical. Par. 2 How Gushtasp quitted Luhrasp in Wrath He had two sons, as 'twere two moons, well worthy Of sovereignty, of throne, and diadem, One hight Gushtasp, the other hight Zarir, Who conquered lions, in all knowledge passed Their father, and in valour raised their heads Above the other troops. There were besides Among those in attendance on Luhrasp Two princes, both of whom he held in honour,' Men of high rank whose steps were fortunate; The grandsons of the worldlord Kai Kaus. The soul of Shah Luhrasp rejoiced in them, And thereby grew neglectful of Gushtasp, Who took it in bad part, but folly still Possessed Luhrasp, and so as time went on The son was full of dudgeon with the father. It was so that one day in Pars they set The throne 'neath blossom-shedding trees. Luhrasp Invited certain chieftains of the host, Who at the table called for cups of wine, And made his heart rejoice. Gushtasp too drank, Then rose and said: "O just and righteous Shah Blest be thy sitting on the royal throne, And may thy name live on for evermore! God hath bestowed upon thee casque and girdle, Besides the crown of upright Kai Khusrau. Now I am here a slave before thy gate, A servant of tby star and diadem, I hold not one a man of those that come |p319 Before me on the day of fight save Rustam, The son of Zal, the son of Sam the horseman, For none is able to contend with him. Tow when Khusrau grew weary of the world He gave the crown to thee and passed away. If then I am of noble birth appoint me Successor to the crown and Kaian throne, And I will be a slave before thee still, As I am now, and hail thee sovereign." Luhrasp made answer: "O my son! give ear, For vehemence commendeth not the noble, While I recall the advice of Kai Khusrau, That thou mayst acquiesce in what is just. ' If,' said that righteous king to me, ' a, weed Infesteth any garden in the spring, And findeth water, it will grow and spoil That garden utterly.' Thou art still young Aspire not thus; speak weighty, measured words." Gushtasp, on hearing, left his father's presence With dolorous heart and livid face, exclaiming:- Then Then cherish strangers and neglect thine offspring." He had three hundred horsemen as retainers, All warriors and ready for the fray. Alighting from his steed he summoned these To tell them all the secrets of his heart; He said: "Make ready to depart to-night, And cease to think, or look, upon this court." One asked him saying: "Whither goest thou? Where wilt thou shelter when thou settest forth:' He said: "With those of Hind. The monarch there Affecteth me. I have his letter written On silk with ink musk-scented. Thus he saith :- 'If thou wilt come to me I am thy servant, Will do thy bidding and be thine ally."' Whenas night came he mounted with his men, And started, full of choler, mace in hand. |p320 Luhrasp, who had the news thereof at dawn, Was grieved and all his joy was at an end. He summoned to him veterans from the host, And told the case to them in fitting terms. "Behold," said he, " that which Gushtasp hath done, And filled my heart with pain, my head with dust ! I cherished him until he had grown up, And was unparalleled in all the world, But even as I said 'He beareth fruit,' The tree itself departed from my garden!" He spake and for a while sat deep in thought, Then ordered that Zarir should come and said :- "Choose out a thousand valiant cavaliers, Equipped for war. Toward Hindustan speed ye, And may that land of warlocks cease to be." Par. 3 How Gushtasp returned with Zarir Gushtasp, the atheling, with tearful eyes Fared onward wrathfully before his men In haste until he reached Kabul, and looked Upon its trees and blossoms, grass and streams. Alighting at that jocund place they stayed One day and breathed themselves. The mountain-tops Were full of game, the streams like wine and milk. At night he bade the drawers bring forth wine, And carry lights down to the river-side; But when the world-illuming sun o'ershone The mountains they departed from the woods With hawk and cheetah. In hot haste Zarir Went in pursuit, with scarcely halts for rest, Till, as the warriors with Gushtasp returned From hunting, rose the neigh of steeds. He heard, |p321 And said: "'Tis from the charger of Zarir - None other - for it hath a lion's voice. If he hath come he hath not come alone, But with a gallant host in company." Now as he spake dust azure-dim appeared, A standard too charged with an elephant, And leading all the rest Zarir the chief Came onward as it were a rushing wind. He saw and hurried weeping toward Gushtasp Afoot with thanks and praises to the Maker. The brothers clasped each other tenderly, And as they fared along the field they wept. Then prince Gushtasp, the warrior, called the captains, Who sitting with him canvassed all the case, And one said: "Hero of the golden girdle! The readers of the stars, all whom we know To be expert among the Iranians, Foretell in thee another Kai Khusrau Predestined to ascend the royal throne. We cannot then consent that thou shouldst be The subject of the king of Hindustan. His people are not worshippers of God, And thou and they will ne'er be in accord, Consider then if wisdom could consent To make the Shah the subject of the Raja ! Thou hast the fairest treatment from thy father; I know not wherefore thou shouldst feel aggrieved." Gushtasp replied: "O seeker of renown I am not held in honour by my sire, Who keepeth for the offspring of Kaus His kindness, majesty, and royal crown. There is no place with him for us; he meaneth No better for us than complete subjection, Yet for thy sake will I return although My heart is full of choler at Luhrasp. If he shall give to me the Iranian crown |p322 I will adore him as idolaters Adore their idols, but if otherwise I will desert his court, no moon of his Shall light my heart. I will elude his search, And will abandon everything to him - Both land and wealth." This said, he left that land, And went back to the noble Shah. Now when Luhrasp had news thereof he with the chiefs And many followers went to meet Gushtasp. The atheling beheld his father's face Again and, having lighted from his steed, Did reverence. Luhrasp embraced him warmly, And readily accepted his excuses, Exclaiming: "May the moon's crown be thine own, The Div's hands shortened that they may not reach thee, For, like a bad king's evil minister, He is for ever teaching thee bad ways. As for the kingship-crown and throne are mine In name, but love and fealty, rule and fortune Are thine." Gushtasp replied: "My sovereign I am but as a servant at thy gate. If thou abasest me I will obey, And stake my heart upon my fealty." The great men that were with him on his journey Went to the palace of the Shah rejoicing. He had his jewelled banquet-hall prepared, They spread the board and served delicious wines; They made a feast so splendid that the stars Rained from the firmament upon the throne, And every chieftain was bemused and wore A coronal of roses on his head. Yet still Luhrasp found pleasure in the race Of Kai. Kaus, remembering Kai Khusrau, |p323 And still Gushtasp aggrieved shed tears of blood, Consulting on all points with his adviser, To whom he said: "Strive wisely as I may I cannot find a remedy herefor. If I depart with horsemen then my father Will send a chieftain after me with troops, Will in some way divert me from my journey, And ply me with appeals and with advice, While if I go alone I shall be shamed, And have besides a grudge against Luhrasp, Who joyeth in the offspring of Kaus, And loveth not his own. If I depart Without an escort, and a questioning Arise, will any take me for a king?" Par. 4 How Gushtasp set off for Rum At night he put the saddle on Shabdiz, A charger of his father's, donned a tunic Of cloth of gold of Chin, stuck in his crown An eagle's plume, and took whate'er he needed Both of dinars and royal jewelry. He left Iran for Rum, for since the father Preferred to reign the son preferred to range. On hearing what Gushtasp had done Luhrasp Was troubled, all his joy was at an end. He called to him Zarir and all the sages, Held talk with them at large about Gushtasp, And said to them: "This lion-man will bring Crowned heads to dust. What are your views herein? What course do ye advise? Treat it not lightly." An archmage said: "O fortune's favourite A crown and throne are very dear to men. None else hath had a son such as Gushtasp, |p324 No man of name e'er heard of such an one. Dispatch in quest of him to every quarter Some valiant nobles that are good at need; Then, if he shall return, deal gently with him, Do what is right, and banish selfishness, Because the Kaian crown beholdeth many, Such as thou art, but loveth no one long. Bestow upon Gushtasp a host of men, And set the noble crown upon his head. We nowhere see a cavalier like him, Save Rustam that illustrious paladin, While in respect of stature, wisdom, looks, And sense, ear hath not heard of such another.' Luhrasp sent chiefs and sought through all the world To find his son. They went their various ways, But in the end returned despairingly, Because they journeyed under sluggish stars. Luhrasp had all the censure for his share, The grief and travail were Gushtasp's affair. Par. 5 How Gushtasp arrived in Rum Gushtasp dismounted when he reached the shore, And there Hishwi - a man advanced in years, Frank, vigilant, respected, prosperous, Who was employed as toll-collector - saw him. Gushtasp saluting said: "May thy pure soul Be wisdom's mate! A rising scribe am I, Come from Iran, discreet, of ardent spirit, And heedful. It will be a lasting favour To ferry me across." Hishwi replied:- Crown, mail, and plunder are the things for thee; Tell me the truth and try not thus to cross; |p325 Give me a present or declare thyself; where are the mien and manners of a scribe?" Gushtasp said: "I have nothing to conceal; Moreover I will give thee what thou wilt - This coronet, sword, charger, or dinars." The man accepted some dinars with joy, Set sail, and took across the atheling. There was a city in the land of Rum Above three leagues in breadth. Salm was the founder Of that great seat where dwelt the valiant Coesars. Gushtasp, as soon as he arrived thereat, Sought out a lodging in that busy place, And walked about the district for a week Among the people there to seek employment Till, having eaten or bestowed his all, He went in dudgeon, sighing heavily. He tramped the city for a while, passed through A hall, and entering a public office, Addressed the chief clerk thus: "O friend in need ! A scribe of some pretensions from Iran Am I, and can perform the office-work To thy content." The scribes in that department Looked one upon another saying thus :- "A pen of steel would weep, a sheet of paper Scorch, at a man like this! A lofty charger Is what he needeth under him, with bow Upon his arm and lasso at his saddle." They cried: "We want no scribe here. Go thy ways." Gushtasp departed thence heart-sorrowful With pallid cheeks and, heaving deep, cold sighs, Sought Caesar's master of the herds, a man Brave, wise, and generous, by name Nastar. Gushtasp saluted him, was well received And seated by the master, who inquired :- |p326 "Who art thou that in mien and countenance Art like a king? " Gushtasp said : "Noble sir A horseman am I and a bold rough-rider. If thou wilt take me I will prove of use, And stand beside thee too in stress and trouble:' Nastar said: "Go thy way. Thou art a stranger, And bast no standing. Here are desert, sea, And steeds at large! How then can I entrust The herds to one unknown? " On hearing this Gushtasp went off in dudgeon. Thou hadst said:- "His skin hath burst upon him!" He exclaimed :- "A man will fare the worse for his desire To be a source of trouble to his father." He went in haste to Caesar's cameleers, Saluted him that was the chief and said :- Be Be thine an ardent and discerning mind! " That wise man, when he saw Gushtasp, advanced To meet him, offered him a place, and spread A carpet, bringing out what food he had. Gushtasp said: "Prosperous, bright-hearted friend Entrust to me one of thy caravans, Assigning me such wages as thou wilt." "O lion-man! " replied the camel-keeper, "This occupation is not fit for thee; Shouldst thou engage in such a work as mine 'Tis better to apply to Caesar's court, He will enfranchise thee from such a business, And if the way is longsome I have camels, Such as thou wilt approve, and men as guides." Gushtasp gave thanks to him and turned away. Full of distress he started for the city, His sufferings lying heavy on his heart, And turned his steps toward the smiths' bazar. There was a noted smith by name Burab, |p327 Skilled in the trade, the farrier to the court, of influence with Caesar; he employed Some thirty-five apprentices and workmen Accustomed to the hammer and the iron. Gushtasp sat in the shop until the master Grew weary of him, and exclaimed: "Good fellow ! What wouldst thou in my shop?" Gushtasp replied:- "O prosperous man ! I am not one to turn My head away from hammers and hard work. If thou wilt make me one of thine assistants I will excel them all at smithery." Burab, when he had heard Gushtasp thus speak, Received him in apprenticeship, and heating A mighty mass of metal in the fire Made haste to place it glowing on the anvil. They gave a heavy hammer to Gushtasp, And all the smiths flocked round, but when he smote He smashed the iron and the anvil also, And made himself the talk of the bazar. Burab, alarmed, exclaimed: "Young man ! no anvil, Stone, fire, or bellows will withstand thy blows!" Gushtasp, on hearing this, flung down the hammer In dudgeon, left the smith and went off hungry, Without a glimpse of food or where to lodge; But neither do the days of toil and stress, Nor those of ease and wealth and happiness, Abide with any. Good and evil here Are transient, and the sage is of good cheer. Par. 6 How a Village-chief entertained Gushtasp Gushtasp was sorrowful and railed at heaven Because in this world he had nought but bane. |p328 Hard by the city he beheld a hamlet, Trees, flowers, and streams - a gladsome spot for youth. Beside the water was a mighty tree, Its shade impervious to the sun's bright rays, And in that shade the young man sat him down, And fretted in his trouble and depression. He spake on this wise: "O almighty Judge! Grief is the lot assigned to me by fortune. My star, I see, is evil, but I know not Why 'tis that evil cometh on my head." A nobleman of that fair hamlet passed, Beheld the outcast weeping tears of blood, His chin supported by his hand, and said:- "O noble youth! why art thou sorrowful And dark of soul? If thou wilt visit me Thou for a while shah be my gladsome guest; These sorrows may be lessened to thy heart, And dried the arrowy lashes of thine eyes." Gushtasp replied: "My lord! first let me know Thy lineage." The householder made answer:- What What is the purpose of thy questioning? Descended am I from Shah Faridun, The warrior - no paltry ancestor." Gushtasp, on hearing this, arose and went With him. The chief reached home and had his hall Decked to receive his guest, he held Gushtasp As though he were a brother, and the time Passed leaving not a wish unsatisfied. A while elapsed with matters in this stay Until month after month had passed away. |p329 Par. 7 The Story of Katayun the Daughter of Caesar Now at that time 'twas Caesar's policy, Whenever he possessed a daughter grown To womanhood, well favoured by the stars, And he perceived that she was fit towed, To gather to his palace all the magnates, The sages, and the counsellors - all those Of competent degree and high estate Among the nobles - and the moon-faced damsel Would roam her father's hall to seek a spouse, But so surrounded by her waiting-maids That men could view not e'en her lofty crown. He had three daughters then within his bower, Like roses in the spring, tall, fair, and gentle, Wise, modest, and well seen in everything. The eldest was the princess Katayun, The wise, the merry, and high-spirited. One night she dreamed that all the country shone With sunlight. There appeared a throng of men, The Pleiades among them and a stranger - A wanderer of mournful heart and wise, In height a cypress and in looks a moon, Whose seat was as a king's upon his throne - And Katayun held out to him a posy, A posy bright and sweet, which he accepted. As soon as day dawned, and the sun arose, The nobles woke, and Coesar called together A vast assembly of the great and brave, Who sat rejoiced. The fairy-faced princess Was summoned, and appeared with sixty handmaids, A bunch of fresh narcissus in her hand, And roamed about until she grew aweary, But no one of the throng found favour with her. |p330 She went back from the hall to her apartments In state, but wept; her heart yearned for a husband. Meanwhile earth grew as dark as ravens' wings Until the Lamp rose o'er the mountain-tops ; Then Caesar bade that all the wealthy nobles Among his lieges in the land of Rum Should meet together in his lofty palace, That some one might find favour by his beauty. Now when the tidings came to every chieftain, To high and low alike, the same good friend Said to Gushtdsp : "How long wilt thou be hidden? Come ! It may be that looking on the palace And throne of greatness may abate thy grief Of heart." Gushtasp thereat set forth with him, And sat down in the palace but apart, Aggrieved, and sore. Shrewd-hearted slaves appeared, Then Katayun with rosy-cheeked attendants. She roamed the hall with slaves before and after, And when from far she saw GushUsp she said :- "The meaning of my dream is manifest," And set the rich and splendid coronal Upon his glorious brow. On seeing this The minister, her tutor, came in haste To Caesar, saying: "She hath chosen one In stature like a cypress in the orchard, With cheeks like rosebuds, and such neck and shoulders That whosoever seeth is astonied ! Thou wouldest say: 'Here is the Grace of God,' And yet we do not know him! Cesar answered:- Forbid Forbid it, Heaven ! that a child of mine Should wrong her race. If I give him my daughter My head will be abased in ignominy; We must behead them both within the palace." The bishop said: "Tis not so grave a case, |p331 And hath occurred to many chiefs before thee. Thou saidest to thy daughter: 'Choose a husband.' Thou saidest not: 'Choose an illustrious prince,' And she hath taken him that pleaseth her; Show then submission to the will of God. This was the custom of thine ancestors, Those eminent, God-fearing, holy men, And Rum hereon is founded; take not thou A new way when the land is prospering; It would not be auspicious. Speak not so, And by untrodden paths forbear to go." Par. 8 How Caesar gave Katayun to Gushtasp As soon as Caesar heard this he determined To give his precious daughter to Gushtasp, To whom lie said: "Go with her as thou art, I will not give thee treasure, crown, or signet." Gushtasp, on seeing that, was all astound; He oft invoked the Maker of the world, And spake to that exalted damsel, saying:- "O thou who hast been delicately nurtured ! What hath induced thee to make choice of me Amid these many chiefs and famous crowns? Thy chosen is an alien, and thou Wilt have no wealth with him but live in travail. Select an equal from these noble men, And so retain the favour of thy father." But Katayun replied: "Misdoubting one! Rage not against the process of the sky. If I am satisfied with thee and fortune Why seekest thou crown, throne, and diadem?" They left the palace, Katayun in pain, Gushtasp with sighs, and reached the village-chief |p332 In grievous plight; he made a home for them Within the village, furnished it superbly, And said: "Content you and be prosperous." Gushtasp, beholding these things, offered thanks To that kind friend of his, the pious chieftain. Now Katayun had trinkets numberless, And ample stores of gems and jewelry. From these she chose a stone, such that the eye Of expert never had beheld the like, And this they carried to a jeweller, Who lavished on it praises numberless, And gave therefor six thousand gold dinars. They purchased what was suitable or needful, And lived upon the cash that they had raised, At whiles rejoicing and at whiles in tears. Gushtasp's whole occupation was the chase; He spent all day with arrows in his quiver. Once, when returning from the hunting-field, His road lay by Hishwi. He had with him All kinds of game. He pricked along. His quiver Was full. All that he had of great and small He carried to Hishwi who, when he saw, Ran forth in high delight to welcome him, And, having spread a carpet, brought out food. Gushtasp reposed him for a while and ate, Then went back swift as dust to Katayun. Since he had formed a friendship with Hishwi, On whose discretion he relied, he used, Whenever he went forth to hunt gazelles, To give that friend two-thirds; the other third Went to the chief or other village-magnate, And thus the master of the house and he Lived in the closest bonds of amity. |p333 Par. 9 How Mirin asked in Marriage Caesar's second Daughter There was a certain Ruman hight Mirin, Rich, noble, wise, and prosperous withal. He sent a message unto Caesar saying:- "A man am I of rank, wealth, and renown. Bestow on me thy daughter Dilanjam, And give thy name and crown new life through me." "No more such marriages for me," said Caesar, "For Katayun and that ignoble man Have stayed me. Now who seeketh such alliance, Or wisheth to exalt his head before me, Must carry out some mighty enterprise That folk may call him brave among the great; So will he prove both famous in the world And helpful to ourselves. Let such an one Go to the forest of Faskun and bathe Heart, hand, and thoughts in blood. There will he see A wolf as huge as any elephant, Of dragon-form and mighty as the Nile. It bath two horns; its tushes are like boar's. The elephants themselves dare not approach it, But they, the lions, tigers, and the brave Among the people, all avoid the wood. Whoe'er shall rend that wolf's hide shall become My son-in-law, my comrade, and my friend." Mirin said thus: "Within this noble land, Since first the Maker laid the base of Rum, Mine ancestors have ne'er engaged in combat Unless with chiefs and with the massive mace. Now what with me would Caesar? Speaketh he Thus out of malice? I will practise craft, And take all prudent counsel." |p334 Departed to his'palace, and considered The matter every way. He brought and set Before him writings, tables of the stars, And his own horoscope, and there he saw Upon this wise : "At such and such a time A famous man will come forth from Iran, And by his hand three weighty enterprises, That balk the chiefs of Rum, will be achieved. He will become the son-in-law of Caesar, A diadem on that imperial head. Within the realm two wild beasts will appear, Inflicting general calamity, And both of them will perish by his hand He will not be afraid for all their might." Mfrin had heard the case of Katayun, How she had mated with the bold Gushtasp, And how Hfshwi and that famed village-chief Were both of them regarding him with favour, So hurried to Hfshwi, told what had passed And of the wonders that philosophers Of Rum predicted would befall the land. Hfshwi replied : "Be pleased to tarry here With us to-day in friendship and good will. The man whereof thou speakest is a person Illustrious mid the great, and all his days He giveth to the chase, he heedeth not The throne of him who ruleth o'er the West. He came not yesterday to me to gladden My gloomy soul, but presently will come Back from the hunting-field and doubtlessly His way will lie by us." He furnished wine And boon-companions. Mid perfumes and flowers They sat with golden goblets. Now when they Had drained four cups that valiant cavalier Appeared afar. The twain descried his dust, |p335 And went to meet him on the field. Mfrin, When he beheld Gushtasp, said to Hishwi :- "This man hath not his equal in the world He is a noble warrior by birth To have such limbs, such neck, and excellence." Hfshwf returned reply : "This noble man Is lion-hearted on the battlefield. His prowess, modesty, high birth, and wisdom Surpass his looks." When he drew near, the twain Advanced afoot dust-swift to welcome him ; Hishwf prepared a place where they might sit Beside the water and then called in haste To spread the board afresh and brought out wine To have another bout with his new comrades. When cheeks were flushed with rosy wine he thus Addressed Gushtasp : "Great man ! thou call'st me friend On earth, and knowest not another such. Mirin the warrior - a man of name And puissant - hath just appealed to me. He is a scribe both learned and well-advised, He taketh reckoning of the stars above, Discourseth of philosophers of Rum, Of regions populous and desolate, And furthermore is of the stock of Salm, Can tell his ancestors from sire to sire, And hath the scimitar that Salm was wont To carry all his years. He is right valiant, A gallant rider, and a hero-taker, And bringeth down the eagle with his arrow. He wisheth further to obtain distinction By making an affinity with Caesar, To whom he spake ; but when he heard the answer His heart was verily perturbed thereby, For 'In the forest of Faskun thou'lt find,' |p336 So Caesar said, 'a wolf huge as a camel, And if it shall be slaughtered by thy hand Thou shalt be my most honoured guest in Rum, Shalt be a worldlord and my son-in-law; Then all the world'will yield to me my rights.' Now if thou wilt assist us I will be Thy slave and he will be thy noble kinsman." Gushtasp said: "Good ! Agreed. Where is the forest ? What is this beast that frayeth small and great?" "It is a savage wolf," replied Hishwi, "Whose head is higher than a lusty camel's. It hath two tusks like elephant's, with eyes Like jujubes, and a hide like indigo; Its horns are like two beams of ebony, And in its rage it will bear off a horse. Upon this quest full many famous chiefs Have gone with heavy maces, but returned Successless, worsted, and with melting hearts." Gushtasp replied: "Bring me that sword of Salm's Together with a noble, fiery steed. I call that beast a dragon not a wolf, Do thou too deem it so." Mirin departed, And chose a sable charger from his stalls, With costly mail and Ruman casque ; he took That splendid sword of diamond-sheen which Salm Had tempered both in poison and in blood, Chose also many presents from his treasures, And five of every kind of precious jewels. Whenas the sun had rent its pitch-hued robe, And left its bower, Mirin, the ambitious one, Departed from his palace in all haste, And reached Hishwi just as Gushtasp returned From hunting, and Hishwi observing him Went with Mirin to welcome him. Both marvelled |p337 To see his charger and his scimitar. Gushtasp, when he had looked upon the presents, Chose for himself the steed and sword, and gave . Hishwi the rest which pleased his soaring soul. Gushtasp arrayed himself as quick as dust, And mounted on the charger with his bow Upon his arm, his lasso at the saddle - A noble cavalier and stately steed. Hishwi went with him and Mirin withal, The aspiring one, who had invoked his aid. Their hearts were full, they hurried on and soon Were hard upon the forest of Faskun. Par. 10 How Gushtasp slew the Wolf When forest and wolf's haunt were near, Mirin, Who feared that fierce beast, showed Gushtasp its lair, Then turned back with Hishwi, grieved, with full heart, And weeping tears of blood. Thus said Hishwi :- "We shall not see that noble man return. Woe for that breast and arm and neck of his! Woe for his courage, puissance, and mace!" Now when Gushtasp was drawing near the wood His warlike heart was full of anxious thought; He lighted from his noble charger, prayed Before the Master of the world, and said:- "O holy Fosterer of all, who sheddest Thy lustre o'er the processes of time Do thou assist me to o'ercome this beast. Have mercy on the soul of old Luhrasp, For if this monster, which the ignorant Have termed a wolf, shall triumph over me, My sire will wail when he hath heard the tidings, Will never rest again but be distraught, |p338 Like those that are insane, and everywhere Be questing and lamenting; while if I, In sheer dismay, shall shun this evil beast I may not face the folk for very shame." He mounted, raised the battle-cry, and grasped The scimitar of Salm ; with bow hung ready Upon his arm he made his way with caution And throbbing heart till he was near the spot, And then he thundered like a cloud in spring. Now when the wolf beheld him from the wood It sent a roar up to the darksome clouds, And like a lion or a savage leopard Tore with its claws the ground. Gushtasp, on seeing The monster, took in hand and drew his bow, And showering arrows from it swift as wind He made it as it were a cloud in spring. When wounded by the arrows of Gushtasp The beast became yet fiercer for the pain. It fell, but leaping to its feet came on - A lusty monster-butting with its horns, Stag-like, with smarting body and in wrath, Closed with the charger, gored its sable loins, And ripped it up from testicles to navel. The atheling drew from his waist the sword, Dismounted, smote the beast full on the head, And clave asunder back and breast and shoulder; Then in the presence of the Lord of beasts, Lord of omniscience and of good and ill, Made his thanksgiving to the Omnipotent, And thus he said: "O Thou who madest fortune ! Thou pointest out the way to them that err, And art the just, supreme, and only God. We prosper and we triumph in Thy name; All Grace and knowledge are at Thy disposal." He left the place of prayer, wrenched out the tusks, The two long tusks, and going from the forest |p339 Alone fared onward till he reached the sea Whereby Hishwi was sitting and Mirin In anguish, deep in converse of the past; Their talk was of Gushtasp and of the wolf:- "Woe for that brave and gallant cavalier Now in his arduous fight and stained with blood In that wolf's clutch!" Whenas Gushtasp appeared Afoot, all bloody, and with cheeks like flower Of fenugreek, they rose with sad exclaims, Embraced him mournfully, their cheeks all wan, The lashes of their eyes like clouds in spring, And cried: "How went thy battle with the wolf? Our hearts were bleeding at thine enterprise." Gushtasp made answer saying: "My good friends! Is there no fear of God in Rum, that thus A savage monster is allowed to live Within the kingdom for a length of years, Destroying all the people in its path, And holding Caesar as a pinch of dust? But I have cleft it with Salm's scimitar, So now all fear and dread for you are over. Go and behold this wonder while yet warm, See how the hide is rent upon the monster Thou'lt say: 'There is a mighty elephant Inside, as long and broad as is the forest!'" Then both ran thither brightened by his words, And saw the wolf as 'twere an elephant With lion's claws and indigo in hue, But cleft from head to midriff by the blow; That one skin would have held two mighty lions. Thereafter they invoked full many a blessing Upon that glorious Sun of earth, and went Glad-hearted from the wood, and came again Before that Lion of the fight to whom Mirin brought many presents, such as he |p340 Esteemed befitting, but Gushtasp accepted Naught but another steed and made for home. When, journeying from the sea, he reached his dwelling, Observant Katayun came forth to him, And asked: "Where didst thou get that coat of mail, Because thou wentest out to hunt,? He said: - "A wealthy company from mine own city Gave me this coat of mail, the sword, and helmet, With many a greeting from my kith and kin." Then Katayun brought wine as 'twere rose-water For scent, and feasted with her spouse till bed-time. The happy couple slumbered happily, But constantly he started in his sleep, While dreaming of his battle with the wolf That seemed a lusty dragon. Then to him Said Katayun : "What aileth thee to-night To be thus terrified when no one touched thee?' He said: "I dreamed about my throne and fortune." Then Katayun perceived that he was born Of royal race - a king by heart and nature, A grandee, but concealed the fact from her, And would not look to Caesar for advancement. Gushtasp said: "Moon-faced one of cypress stature, With silvern breast and odorous of musk! Prepare for us to journey to Ira.n, To journey to the dwelling of the brave. Thou shaft behold those glorious fields and fells, And therewithal the just and generous Shah." "Speak not so foolishly," said Katayun, "Nor rashly undertake such enterprises, But have an understanding with Hishwi When going. He may ferry thee. The world Renewed its youth when he conveyed thee hither; But I shall tarry here in longsome grief, Not knowing how I shall behold thee more!" |p341 They wept upon their couch o'er what might chance, No fire was needed, they were burned with sorrow; Yet when the circling sun rose in the sky The young folks, wide awake and full of hope, Arose from that soft couch and questioned saying:- "What aspect will the heaven wear for us, And will the world prove harsh to us or loving?" Mirin for his part went as swift as wind To Caesar, saying: "O illustrious lord! Our losses by the wolf have reached an end, The monster's body filleth all the forest, And thou mayst see the wonder if thou wilt. The beast attacked me with a furious charge, And gat a sword-stroke from my hand, whereby From head to midriff it was cleft asunder, And terror filled the Div's heart at the blow." The words made Ceasar heighten, his shrunk cheek Glowed as he bade men go with wains and oxen To fetch the wolf. They found the mighty beast Cut down from head to midriff with the sword, And when they haled it forth among the meadows Thou wouldst have said the very hill-tops shook. The world was there to gaze upon that wolf, That wolf ? That monstrous, fierce, and lusty div ! When Coesar saw the elephantine form Of that fierce brute, he clapped his hands for joy, And, summoning the bishop to the palace, Bestowed his daughter on Mirin that day. They wrote to the patricians, notables, And prelates of the kingdom thus: "Mirin, That Lion and that man of high degree In Rum, hath set it from that fierce wolf free." |p342 Par. 11 How Ahran asked Caesar's third Daughter in Marriage Exalted mid the warriors of Rum Was one - a chieftain younger than Mirin, A man of haughty nature named Ahran, Of brazen body and illustrious race. He sent a message unto Caesar saying:- "O famous monarch ? I surpass Mirin In treasure, prowess, swordsmanship, and all; Give me thy youngest daughter as my spouse, And make thy realm and crown revive through me." But Caesar said: "Thou surely must have heard What I have sworn by Him that watcheth o'er us That this girl shall not choose her spouse, but I will quit the custom of mine ancestors. Thou must perform some action like Mirin's That we may stand on an equality. Infesting Mount Sakila is a dragon, Which is that region's bale the whole year through; If thou wilt rid the land thereof, my daughter, My treasure, and my kingdom are thine own. It matcheth with the lion-quelling wolf Its venom-breath is Ahriman's own snare." Ahran replied: "I will perform thy hest, And pledge my soul to execute thy will." Then to his friends: "The blow that slew the wolf Was from the scimitar of one of valour. How could Mirin accomplish such a deed? But Ctesar thinketh one man like another. I will go ask Mirin ; that shifty one May haply tell the shift that he employed:' So to the palace of Mirin he went Like dust, with one before him to announce him. Mirin sat in a chamber, which the Moon |p343 Throughout her orbit bath not one to match. The ambitious man was in a warrior's garb, And crowned with an imperial diadem. The servant said: "Ahran, the elephantine, Is coming with a train of followers." Mirin thereat adorned his chamber more, While all his worthiest servants went to meet Ahran Mirin, on seeing him, embraced him, And then began to pay him compliments. When nobody remained within the hall, Save those two chieftains sitting on the throne, Ahran said to Mirin : "Come tell me this, And, whatsoe'er I ask, dissemble not. My heart is set on making Caesar's daughter, Who is the chief princess of Rum, my wife; But when I asked him he returned this answer:- 'First battle with the dragon on the mountain.' If thou wilt tell me how thou didst destroy The wolf thou wilt assist me mightily." Mirin was troubled and considered thus:- IfIf I tell not Ahran what that young hero Achieved, the matter still will get abroad. The sum of manliness is being upright, And dark, deceitful ways are cause for tears. I will inform him. Haply that brave horseman May lay the dragon's head upon its breast. Ahran will be my friend and back me up, Our enemies will only clutch the wind; Then will we raise this horseman's heart in dust, And this affair will for a time be hidden."' He thus addressed Ahran : "I will inform thee About the wolf, but first of all require A mighty oath that thou wilt not reveal This secret night or day, but shut thy lips." Ahran accepted what Mirin proposed, |p344 And swore the mighty oath. Mirin set pen To paper, wrote a letter to Hishwi, And said: "Ahran, who is akin to Caesar, An atheling possessed of throne and treasure, And just withal, demandeth Caesar's daughter, The youngest and the only one remaining, In marriage; Caesar maketh of the dragon A snare to catch Ahran and take his head; Ahran hath come to me to ask assistance, And I, to help him, have revealed the secret About the wolf and that brave cavalier, Who, having done so well for me, no doubt Will do as well for him too, will create Two princes in the land, and crown two Suns." Ahran departed with the schemer's letter And sought Hishwi. As he approached the sea The veteran ran to meet him, welcomed him, Received the flattering letter, loosed the band, And said thus to Ahran: "Dost thou not know That 'tis our friends who desolate our gardens? A youth - an alien and a man of name - Made his own life a ransom for Mirin, And yet may not escape, strive as he will, Against the dragon. Be my guest to-night, Here set thy candle, and enjoy the sea. When that fame-seeking hero cometh hither To-morrow, I will tell him what thou wilt." They lit the surface of the sea with candles, And called for wine and meat, till topaz dawn Rose in the vault of lapis-lazuli; Then by the sea the famed Ahran beheld A warrior-horseman coming in the distance. As he drew near both went with joy to meet him. Dismounting he requested meat and wine From famed Hishwi who made all haste to say:- "Rejoice, illustrious man, both day and night! |p345 Behold this warrior of Caesar's kindred - The darling of the ever turning sky. Not only is he of imperial race, But he hath wealth, Grace, fame, and everything. He faro would be the son-in-law of Caesar, And would have one to guide in that emprise. He hath no equal save in Caesar's kindred; A youth is he with Grace and thews and stature. He asked for Caesar's daughter's hand in marriage; And he was answered by a new expedient, For Caesar said: 'Be thou a dragon-catcher; If thou art of my race display thy prowess.' Before the mighty men by night and day No name except Mirin's is on his lips, And only those will illustrate his throne Who are in fame and fortune like Mirin. Near is a lofty mountain, once a place For mirth and feasting; now upon the summit There is a dragon feared by all in Rum. It draweth down the vulture from the sky, Up from the deep the savage crocodile; Its poison and its fume consume the ground, And all the region is unblessed by heaven. Now if by hand of thine it should be slain The deed would be a wonder in the world; Nathless, if holy God shall be thy helper, And if the sun revolve as thou desirest, Thou with thy stature, form, and might of hand Mayst lay that dragon with the scimitar." He said: "Go make a sword five cubits long, Including hilt, toothed like a serpent's teeth Upon both sides, and pointed sharp as thorn. The sword must be of finely tempered steel, Of watered metal and exceeding keen. Provide me too a mace, a barded steed, A gleaming glaive and royal garniture. |p346 By God's victorious fortune and decree Will I suspend that dragon from a tree." Par. 12 How Gushtasp slew the Dragon and how Caesar gave his Daughter to Ahran Ahran departed and prepared whatever Gushtasp required of him. When all was ready The hero mounted, and with his companions Set forward. When Hishwi saw Mount Sakila He pointed with his finger, breathing hard, And when the sun shot out its rays on high He and Ahran turned and retraced their steps. Gushtasp remained before the mountain-lair Of that fierce worm and, having hung his helmet Upon his saddle, thinking dragon's breath And death but trifles, drew anear the mountain, And gave a shout that made the dragon quake. Now when it looked upon that lofty form It strove to suck Gushtasp in with its breath, While he rained arrows on it swift as hail, And thick as petals from pomegranate-bloom. It closed with him. Invoking all his powers The young man thrust his sword adown its jaws, And called upon the Judge who giveth good. The dragon gnashed its teeth upon the sword Deep in its maw, while blood and venom flowed And drenched the mount until the brute grew weak. Then, scimitar in hand, the Lion clove The dragon's head and strewed the rock with brains. Dismounting next that lucky warrior Prized out a couple of the dragon's teeth, And thence departing washed his head and body; Then as he wallowed in the dust he raised |p347 His voice before the Lord, the Victory-giver, Who had bestowed on him such mastery O'er wolf and lusty dragon, saying: "Luhrasp And glorious Zarir had had enough, Both soul and body, of Gushtasp, yet I By shrewdness, courage, and sheer strength have flung A dragon such as this upon the dust! My lot from fortune is but travail, hardship, And bane spread out instead of antidote. If the Omnipotent shall grant me life To look once more upon the monarch's face, Then will I say: 'What hath the throne availed me? I sought the throne and fortune disappeared."' With tearful cheeks he mounted on his steed, Still grasping in his hand his glittering sword, And coming to Hishwi and to Ahran Informed them of that marvel, saying : "The dragon Proved naught before this trenchant blade of mine. Ye were afraid of that great dragon's breath, And in the matter of the wolf, but I Am more distressed by fight with valiant captains, Exalted and equipped with massive maces, Than by contending with a crocodile That cometh from the depths to fight with me. Seen have I many a dragon such as this, And never turned my back thereon in fight." They heard him - young in speech but old in knowledge - And those two nobles came and reverenced him:- "O Lion ! never will be born of woman One brave as thou. The Master of the world Aid thee whose might hath done the deed for us." Ahran produced abundance of rich gifts, With noble steeds caparisoned. Gushtasp Accepted for himself a sword, a bay, A bow, ten wooden arrows, and a lasso, |p348 Bestowing everything that still remained - New raiment and dinars - upon Hishwi. Gushtasp said: "Nobody must know this matter, Or be aware that I have seen the dragon, Or hearkened to the howling of the wolf." He went thence merrily to Katayun. Ahran fetched wains and oxen, and consigned The carcase of the dragon to his servants. He said: "░ Convey it unto Caesar's court In presence of the great men of the host." He went himself before the wains and oxen To Coesar. When they gat the news in Rum The veterans hurried forth and, when the oxen Descended from the mountain to the plain, A shout rose from the concourse at that stroke, And that grim dragon burdening ox and wagon. They cried: "This is a stroke of Ahriman's, And not Ahran's own sword and scimitar! " They brought forth from the palace Caesar's throne, And called the great and wise. Then o'er the dragon They held high revelry from dawn till dark. The next day when the sun had crowned the sky, And when the teaks were gilded with its rays, The bishop came at the command of Caesar, Who seated him upon the golden throne. - Then the patricians and the presbyters, So far as they were men of any standing, Assembled in the presence of the prelate, Of Caesar, of his veterans, and advisers, To marry Caesar's daughter to Ahran, Her loving mother giving her consent. Then Caesar, after all the folk had gone, Spake thus, his heart still thrilling with delight:- "This is my day of days! High heaven illumeth My heart, for none will see in all the world 'Midst great and small two sons-in-law like mine." |p349 They wrote a letter unto all the chiefs, Possessing throne and diadem, and said:- "The dragon fierce and towering wolf are slain; Two mighty heroes' hands their lives have ta'en." Par. 13 How Gushtasp displayed his Prowess on the Riding-ground In Caesar's palace was a belvedere As lofty as his own resplendent throne, And on the riding-ground both sons-in-law Were wont to entertain his gladsome heart With polo, javelin-play, and archery, And wheeling to display their horsemanship; Thou wouldst have said: "They are consummate riders." It came to pass at length that Katayun, Who always took the lead, came to Gushtasp, And said: "O thou that sittest moodily Why is it that thy heart is plunged in grief? There are two chieftains in the land of Rum, Enjoying treasures, crowns, and diadems; One slew the dragon mid no little peril, And never showed his back, the other rent The wolf's hide; Rum is ringing with his fame. Now on the riding-ground these two send dust To heaven ! Go see, for Caesar will be there It may perchance relieve thy melancholy." I Gushtasp replied: "My beauty ! what remembrance Or interest can Caesar have in me ? He keepeth thee and me outside the city, How then should he be friendly if we meet? Yet notwithstanding if it be thy counsel I will not disregard it, O my guide ! " Gushtasp bade put the saddle on a steed |p350 That rolled the earth up under it. He came To Caesar's riding-ground and watched the polo, Then asking for a stick and ball he cast The ball amid the throng and urged his steed; The warriors paused, not one could see the ball, His stroke had made it vanish in mid air' How could the cavaliers recover it? Not one was minded to renew the game, The Rumans' faces paled and all was din And clamour. Then they turned to archery. Some gallant cavaliers advanced, and when Gushtasp the hero saw them, " Now," he said, "Must I display my prowess." So he flung The polo-stick away and gripped the bow. Both string and arrow were astound at him. When Caesar looked upon that noble man, With such a grasp, such shoulders, and long stirrups, He asked and said: "Whence is this cavalier, Who wheeleth on such wise to right and left? Full many noble warriors have I seen, But never heard of cavalier like that. Call him that I may ask hire who he is - An angel or a mortal seeking fame." They called Gushtasp to Caesar whose ill mind Was troubled. Caesar said: "Brave cavalier, Head of the proud and coronal of war What is thy name ? Tell me thy race and country." Gushtasp made no reply concerning this, But answered thus: "A wretched stranger I . Whom Caesar drave aforetime from the city. When I became his son-in-law he banned me, And no one readeth on his roll my name, For Caesar treated Katayun with harshness Because of all the world she chose a stranger, Yet only followed custom in the matter, |p351 And was disgraced albeit she did well. Within the forest that pernicious wolf, And on the mountain that ferocious dragon, Lost through my blows their heads, to which emprises My prompter was Hishwi. The teeth moreover Are at my house, the blows that my sword dealeth Are proof besides. Let Caesar ask Hishwi ; The matter is still recent, not outworn:' Whenas Hishwi had come and brought the teeth He told to Caesar what had passed, who framed His tongue to make apology: "Injustice Is over, youth! Now where is Katayun, My well-beloved ? Well mayst thou call me tyrant!" Indignant with Mirin and with Ahran He said: "Things cannot be concealed for ever." Then mounting on his windfoot steed he went To ask forgiveness of his prudent daughter, And said: "O pure, well-fortuned child of mine! Thou art my right eye in the world. My heart Hath no wish but for thee. I prithee ask Of him who is thy husband and companion To tell the secret of his home and kindred, For otherwise he will not speak the truth To us." She answered: "I have questioned him, But never saw him on the skirt thereof. He talketh not before me of his secret, And he is reticent to every one. He answereth not with candour to my questions, And only saith : 'My name is Farukhzad.' But I suspect that he is nobly born, For he is fond of fight and valiant." Then Caesar parted palace-ward and heaven Turned for a while with matters in this stay Until the morning when Gushtasp, whose head Was full of wisdom, rose and went to him, |p352 Who, when he saw Gushtasp, was mute but gave him A seat upon the famous golden throne, Called for a signet, belt, and jewelled crown, Befitting princes, from the treasury, And having kissed him placed it on his head, Recounted his achievements in the past, And said to those concerned: "Be diligent, Both young and old! Do fully the commands Of Farukhzad and not transgress herein." This order was dispatched on every hand To all the ruling men throughout the land. Par. 14 How Caesar wrote to Ilyas and demanded Tribute Now Caesar's nearest neighbour was Khazar, Whose folk made dark his days. Ilyas, the son Of veteran Mihras, was chief thereof, And Caesar wrote to him, thou wouldst have said:- "He dipped his pen in blood " : "Thou, O Khazar ! Hast lived on us and flouted us for long, But now the day of thy delight is over. Send me a heavy tribute and a fine, With many of thy chiefs as hostages, Else Farukhzad like some mad elephant Will come and make the surface of thy realm Bare as my hand." Ilyas perused the letter, Then dipped his pen-point into gall and answered:- "Such power was not in Rum in days of yore, And if I ask not you to pay me tribute, Why then rejoice therefor, both field and fell. Are ye so heartened by this single horseman, Who sheltered with you? Know him for a snare Of Ahriman's and, though an iron mountain, |p353 Still but one man; so do not trouble him With this campaign for I shall not be long." When news came to Mirin and to Ahran About Ilyas, and how he spread his toils Mirin dispatched a message unto Caesar :- "No dragon this. to let himself be snared, Nor yet a wolf to perish by a sleight, And be convulsed by being smeared with poison ; Ilyas, when he is raging in the battle, Will make the atheling weep tears of blood. Mark how completely this proud warrior Will quail before him on the battlefield." Concerned was Caesar when he heard their words; He withered at their dark designs and said To Farukhzad : "A man of might art thou, As 'twere a gem upon the head of Rum. Know that Eyas is one to conquer lions, A brazen-bodied, elephantine horseman. If thou bast strength to fight against him say so, But seek not to deceive me through vain-glory, For if thou art not able to withstand him I will deal with him in a kindly sort, Divert him from his purpose by mine unction, And lavish on him words and subsidies." Gushtasp said: "Why this talk and questioning? When I shall plunge my charger in the dust I shall not fear the marches of Khazar; But in the day of fight we must not reckon Upon Mfn and on Ahran, for they Will show their hatred, devilry, and guile; So, when the foe arriveth from that coast, Do thou with one son guard me. Then will I, Strong in the only God - the Conqueror - Lead on the troops, annihilate Ilyas, His throne, his crown, his host, and majesty, |p354 Will grasp his girdle, take him from his saddle, Raise him aloft and dash him to the ground:' One day what time the sun was up, and streams Reflected in their depths its golden shield, The brazen trumpets sounded from Khazar, And dust rose sunward. Noble Caesar bade Gushtasp : "Lead forth the host." He left the city, Marched with his peers and warriors to the plain, Armed with an ox-head mace, and as he went Looked like a lofty cypress by a stream; He chose upon the plain a battlefield, And sent the dust to heaven. Anon Ilyas Observed the breast and bearing of Gushtasp, His whirling mace and battle-ax, and sent A horseman to beguile his subtle mind. The horseman came and said: "Exalted chieftain! Be not so proud of Caesar for thou art Thyself his cavalier, his Spring, and hero. Withdraw thee from between the embattled lines. Why art thou thus with lips afoam ? Ilyas In battle is a lion, one that sendeth The dust up cloudward with his scimitar. If thou desirest presents he hath treasure; Gall not thy hands with travailing for wealth. Choose where thou wilt to rule, it shall be thine; I will be thy companion and thy subject, And never break my faith." Gushtasp replied "It is too late and things have gone too far. Thou vast the person to begin this quarrel, And now thou turnest back on thine own word; But nothing that thou sayest will avail, Tis time for battle and the grip of war." The messenger returned life wind and told The answer to Ilyas, but time for fighting |p355 Was not, the sun was sinking rapidly, Night hid the pallid orb with ebony. Par. 15 How Gushtasp fought with Ilyas and slew him When Sol had issued from his bower, and mounted Upon the throne of Sagittarius, The realm of Rum became like sandarach, The roar of trump and drum and clash of arms Rose from the armies on both sides, the field Of battle was as 'twere a stream of blood; Then Caesar came on quickly on the right, Set his two sons-in-law to guard the baggage, And his own son Sakil upon the left The elephants and drums remained with Caesar. The din of battle went up from both hosts Thou wouldst have said: "The sun and moon contend:' Gushtasp kept moving up and down the line, His steed a Crocodile, his sword a Dragon; Thereat Ilyas said to his warriors:- "This is why Caesar lath demanded tribute; He hath a Dragon such as this at court, And therefore is thus minded." When Gushtasp Beheld Ilyas he said: "Now is the time To show accomplishment." Both cavaliers Rushed on with lances and mail-piercing shafts. No sooner had Ilyas discharged an arrow, In hope to give the first wound, than Gushtasp Struck at his foeman's hawberk with a spear, And in a moment pierced his warrior-form, Dismounted him like one bemused, reached out, And, having clutched his hand, haled him along, |p356 Bore him away before the cavaliers, And gave him up to Caesar. Then Gushtasp Led on the host in mass against the foe, Advancing like a blast. What multitudes He slew and captured, while the world looked on Astound! Perceiving all the Ruman forces In full pursuit he turned and came with triumph And exaltation into Caesar's presence, Who, seeing him approaching, went attended To welcome him, right gladly kissed the hero On head and eyes, and greatly thanked the Maker. Thence they returned with joy. The general . Assumed the crown of greatness while all Rum Came gladly to the presence of the king, And brought him many a gift and offering. Par. 16 How Caesar demanded from Luhrasp Tribute for Iran Heaven turned awhile with matters in this stay, Concealed its purposes, and made no sign, Till Caesar spake thus to Gushtasp : "Great chieftain! Consider wisely what I say; 'tis matter Requiring thought. I will dispatch an envoy, Experienced and noble, to Luhrasp To say to him: 'Thou hast without dispute The treasures of the great and half the world. If thou wilt pay me tribute for thy land Both wealth and worship shall continue thine ; But if not I will send a host from Rum, Such that thou wilt not see the land for horse-hoofs."; "'Tis thine," Gushtasp made answer, " to determine, For all the world is underneath thy feet." There was a nobleman Kalus by name, Wise, learned, well advised, and powerful; |p357 Famed Caesar called that sage and said: "Depart, And tell the Shah : 'If thou wilt pay me tribute, Perform my bidding, and submit thyself, Thou mayest keep the Iranian crown and throne, And thou shah be a conquering worldlord still; If not, behold forthwith a mighty host Of Rumans and the spearmen of the desert! Their battle-shout shall rise above the plain, Victorious Farukhzad shall be their leader; I will make all your country desolate, The lurking-place of leopards and of lions."' The envoy came as swift as wind; his head Was full of wisdom and his heart of justice; On drawing near the mighty Shah he saw The portal and the splendid audience-chamber, And when the chamberlain was 'ware he came With stately step before the monarch, saying:- "There is as ancient statesman at the gate; In sooth he is an envoy sent by Caesar, A cavalier with whom are many spearmen, And seeketh audience of the Shah." Luhrasp, On hearing this, sat on the ivory throne, And donned the crown that gladdeneth the heart, While all the great men of the kingdom sat Below him, happy in their high estate. The monarch gave command to raise the curtain, And introduce the envoy cordially, Who, coming near the throne, called blessings down Thereon, did reverence and, himself a man Of wisdom and of justice, gave the message Of noble Caesar. At his words the Shah Was grieved and raged against this turn of fortune. They had a splendid banquet-hall prepared, And called for wine and harp and minstrelsy. The Shah sent tapestries of cloth of gold, |p358 With raiment and with provand ; but at night Lay down distracted by anxiety, "The spouse of pain and grief," as thou hadst said. Now when the sun sat on the golden throne, And dark night tore its visage with its nails, The monarch called Zarir who spake at large. They cleared the hall of strangers, introduced The envoy for an audience, and Luhrasp Addressed him thus: "O man fulfilled with wisdom ! May thy soul have no other sustenance. I will interrogate thee. Answer truly, And pander not to guile if thou art wise. Such puissance was not heretofore in Rum, And Caesar was submissive to the Shahs, Yet now he sendeth and requireth tribute Of every realm, demanding throne and state! Ilyas, who ruled the kingdom of Khazar, A warrior with the Grace, hath Caesar taken A captive, binding him and all his host. From whom hath Caesar learned the path of glory ? " The envoy said: "I went, wise Shah ! to ask For tribute to the marches of Khazar, And bare much travail in the embassage, But no one ever questioned me in this wise. Yet hath the Shah entreated the so kindly That I must not essay to misinform him. A cavalier, who taketh with his hands The lion from the wood, hath come to Caesar; On battle-days he laugheth at the brave, In banquet he is mighty at the goblet. In fight, in feast, and on the hunting-day The eye ne'er looked on such a cavalier. Upon him Caesar hath bestowed his daughter, The goodliest and dearer than the crown. This cavalier hath made his mark in Rum By vanquishing a dragon; furthermore |p359 A wolf, like elephant upon the plain, Such that e'en Caesar dared not pass that way, He overthrew, prized out the teeth thereof, And kept Rum scathless: ' Said Luhrasp : "Truth-speaker Whom doth that lover of the fray resemble ? " The envoy answered: "Thou ivouldst say at once :- 'In countenance he favoureth Zarir.' And further: 'It is brave Zarir himself In height, appearance, courtesy, and counsel."' Whenas Luhrasp heard this his visage cleared. He showed much kindness to that man of Rum, And gave him many slaves and many purses, So that on leaving he was well content, But said the Shah : "Give Caesar this reply:- 'I march against thee as an enemy.'" Par. 17 How Zarir carried a Message from Luhrasp to Caesar Luhrasp mused long, then called Zarir, and said:- "This man must be thy brother, therefore take Thy measures instantly and tarry not. If thou delayest all is over with us; Rest not and order out no halting steed. Take throne, a led horse, and the golden boots, Take Kawa's standard and the crown withal, For I will give to him the sovereignty, And lay no obligation on his head. March on thy saving mission to Halab, But speak before the troops of battle only." The worshipful Zarir said to Luhrasp :- "I will discover all the mystery; If 'tis Gushtasp he is both liege and lord, And all the other lords are but his lieges." |p360 This said, he chose a noble company, The great, illustrious grandsons of Kaus And of Gudarz, son of Kishwad, as well As those who were descended from Zarasp - Bahram the lion-queller and Rivniz - And those exalted grandsons of brave Giv The athelings Shiruya and Ardshir, Two doughty Lions, offspring of Bizhan, Both haughty warriors of stainless birth. These chieftains went, each with two steeds, and shone Bright as Azargashasp. None stopped to rest Until they reached the marches of Halab, And filled the world with trumpets, gongs, and tumult. They raised the glorious standard, pitched the tents And tent-enclosures, then Zarir committed The host to proud Bahram, and journeyed on As one that is the bearer of a message, Or bringeth monarchs tidings of great joy, With five wise, prudent warriors of his meiny, And when he had arrived at Caesar's court, The chamberlain descried him from the gate. Now Caesar with the wise Gushtasp was sitting In dudgeon in the palace and, on hearing The chamberlain's announcement, granted audience. Gushtasp joyed at the coming of Zarir, Who at his entry seemed a lofty cypress, And sitting by the throne gave Caesar greeting, And complimented all the Rumans present. Then Caesar said: "Thou slightest Farukhzad, And heedest not the rules of courtesy." The blest Zarir replied: "He is a slave, Who, weary of his service, left our court, And now he hath attained position here." Gushtasp made no reply, but of a truth His thoughts were on Iran. Shrewd-minded Caesar Grew serious as he heard the young man's words, |p361 And thought: "He must be speaking truth and yet The truth alone is hidden." Then Zarir Declared to him the message of Luhrasp, Which ran thus: "If just judges grow unjust I will make Rum my seat, and leave behind A scanty population in Iran. Set forth, O warrior ! prepare for battle, And tarry not when thou hast heard my words. Iran is not Khazar and I myself Am no Ilyas, whose people thou hast robbed Of him." Then Caesar answered: "I am ready For battle always. Since thou art an envoy, Depart. We will prepare to take the field:' The glorious Zarir was sore distrest At hearing this, and stayed not long to rest. Par. 18 How Gushtasp returned with Zarir to the Land of Iran and received the Throne from Luhrasp On his departure Caesar asked Gushtasp :- "Why madest thou no answer to Zarir ? " Gushtasp replied: "When I was with the Shah What deeds I did both troops and people tell. The best course is for me to go and hold A parley with them. I will get for thee All that thou wishest, and will make thy fame Shine in the world." "Thou art more wise than I," Said Caesar, " and canst best achieve our ends." Gushtasp on that bestrode his eager steed, And, crown on head, approached Zarir his brother. Now when the Iranian host beheld Gushtasp, |p362 Luhrasp's most glorious son, they went afoot To welcome him, but in distress and tears, Yet thankfully for their long toils were shortened. Zarir, of discord weary, came to him Afoot. Gushtasp embraced his well loved brother, And with his first words sought to make excuse. They sat upon the throne in company With warriors, chiefs, and great men of Iran, And blest Zarir said to Gushtasp : "Mayst thou Companion with the throne while life shall last! Our father's head is hoar, thy heart is young. Why dash the expectations of the old? The throne is but affliction at his age, He hath become a devotee of God, And herewithal he sendeth unto thee The crown and treasure; let thy hardships cease. His words were these: 'Iran is all thine own, The throne, the army, and the crown are thine. For me a corner of the world sufficeth, Because the throne of greatness is another's ; Thy brother bringeth thee the glorious crown, The earrings, torque, and throne of ivory."' Gushtasp rejoiced to see his father's throne, And, sitting down upon it, crowned his head. The grandsons of the worldlord Kai Kaus, And all the prosperous scions of Gudarz, Bahram too and Shapur, Rivniz, and such As were of high degree, with brave Ardshir, Son of Bizhan, who was their general, A lion-taking chief, and all the host, Hailed him as Shah and named him king of earth, While all the warriors stood before his presence With girded loins. Gushtasp perceived their love And earnestness, and sent to Caesar saying:- "Thy business with Iran bath been achieved, |p363 For matters have attained a pass indeed; Zarir and all the army are in hopes That thou wilt come alone and feast with us. We all will join in league with thee and make Our souls the pledges of our loyalty; So, if it irk thee not, come to the plain, For fortune bath accomplished thy desire." The envoy, having entered Caesar's presence, Declared what he had seen and heard; then Caesar Bestrode without delay a windfoot steed, And sped as swiftly as an autumn-blast Until he reached the warriors of Iran. He saw upon the ivory throne and crowned With turquoise crown Gushtasp who, coming forward, Embraced him tenderly, and spake at large. Then Caesar, knowing him to be Gushtasp, The lustre of the Shah's throne, praised him greatly, And showed him all respect. They took their seats, And Caesar made excuses for the past In great amazement at that wondrous fortune. Gushtasp accepted all the monarch's words And, having clasped his head in fond embrace, Said to him: "When the sky becometh dark, And it is well to set the lamps alight, Send to me her who chose me for her husband, For she hath borne exceeding pain and travail." Ashamed and weary Caesar went away To reckon with his own ill bent at large. He sent to Katayun a store of wealth - A ruddy coronet, five gems, a thousand Young Ruman slaves, both boys and girls, a torque That was one mass of jewels fit for kings, Five camels' burden of brocade of Rum, And, in the charge of all that wealth, a sage, Who, having carried them before Gushtasp, Accounted to his treasurer for all. |p364 Upon the troops and chieftains of Iran, Upon the scions of the mighty men, And every notable and valiant swordsman, Did Caesar then bestow both arms and money, With presents to the captains every one. He oped the portal of the treasuries, With praise to Him who made both earth and time. As soon as Katayun had joined the Shah The roar of kettledrums rose from the court, The troops began to march toward Iran, And horses' dust to overcast the sky. The Shah turned Caesar's rapid charger round When he had gone two stages on the march, Made him retrace his steps with oaths of friendship, And sent him Rum-ward with good wishes, saying:- "I will not while I live ask any tribute Of Rum; that country is a joy to me." He journeyed on till he approached Iran, Approached the monarch of the brave. The Shah, On hearing that Zarir came with Gushtasp, His brother, that fierce Lion, went with all The chiefs, great men, and warriors of Iran To welcome them. Gushtasp alighted quickly, And homaged joyfully Luhrisp who seeing His son embraced him, grievously deploring The tyranny of heaven. Whenas they reached The royal palace at their journey's end, Like Sol in Pisces, said Luhrasp to him:- "Look not askance, the Maker so ordained, And thus perchance 'twas written o'er thy head That thou shouldst be an exile from thy kingdom." Luhrasp then kissed Gushtasp and, having crowned him, Did homage to him and rejoiced in him. Then said Gushtasp : "O Shah ! God grant that time May never look on me deprived of thee. |p365 Thou art the king; I am thy liege and I Will trample on the fortune of the foe. May all thine ends he prosperous. God grant Thy fame may never perish, for the world Abideth not with anyone and each, While in the body, hath full many a toil:' Such is this fickle world! With might and main From sowing seeds of ill therein refrain. One day a man may be in want of bread, Another day may be a king instead. The righteous Judge, and only God, I pray That from this world I may not pass away Till in my goodly tongue I shall have told This story of the kings in days of old; Then let mine honoured body go to dust, And my poetic spirit join the just.