In His name Who is Lord of moon and sun,
The name revealed by wisdom to the heart,
The Lord of being and uprightness - One
That brooketh not perverseness on thy part -
The Lord of Saturn, Mars, and Sol, from Whom
Our gospel are, our hopes, and dread of doom!
I know not how to praise Him though in thought
I pour my soul. He fashioned space and time;
The emmet's foot with proofs of Him is fraught.
From yonder circling sun to earthly grime,
Bright fire, air, water, all are witnesses,
And give thy soul assurance, that He is.
Let it be throe the Maker to revere,
Who hath no need of aught, no need of crown
And throne, of minister and treasurer,
Of less or more, of fortune's smile or frown;
Yet, though He needeth naught, His slaves are we,
And bow before His bidding and decree.
Since He created wisdom and the mind,
Past doubt, and set the heaven and stars on high,
In Him supreme the sole Creator find,
And Source of happiness and misery,
Of night and day, of circling sphere above,
Of food and sleep, of anger and of love.
Of Rustam's wondrous deeds there is no scant,
His legend in the hearts of all is rife;
A crocodile in water, elephant
On land, wise, shrewd of heart, a man of strife,
Consummate both in war and valiancy,
A man of knowledge, wit, and weight was he.
His battle with Kamus I next present
In mine own words but based on document,
So turn now to the rustic minstrel's lay,
Mark what that man world-proven hath to say.
How Khusrau reviled Tus
The troops with Fariburz, Gudarz, and Giv -
The chatterer of hosts - went to Iran
In grief with tearful cheeks. When they had reached
The road toward Charam and had Kalat
Above, the waters of Mayam below,
They spake about the conflict with Farud,
And all their gain was anguish and remorse.
Fear of the Shah filled every heart with pain,
For they were guilty and their eyes wept blood.
They came before Khusrau with souls abashed,
With wounded livers, and as men in fault
For having slain their monarch's blameless brother,
And yielded crown and signet to the foe;
They came with hearts seared and with folded arms,
As slaves are wont, before their sovereign.
Khusrau regarded them with angry looks;
His heart was full of pain, his eyes of tears,
And thus he spake to God: "O righteous Judge
Thou gayest to me fortune, throne, and prowess,
But now I shame before Thee. Thou dost know,
Far better than I know, the why and how
Of things, or else I should command to set
A thousand stakes forthwith upon the open,
And Tus and all that carried arms with him
Should be impaled. I mourned my father's death,
My heart was filled with sorrow, pain, and trouble,
And now there is new vengeance for Farud,
For I must needs smite off' the head of Tus.
I said: 'Avoid Kalat, avoid Charam,
Though people should shower drachms upon thy herd,
Because Farud is with his mother there.
He is a hero of the Kaian race -
A warrior! Should he know vile Tus or why
The army marched? Of course he would attack,
And from the mountain slaughter many chiefs.
Why did inhuman and insensate Tus
March in such haste against that hold? Good sooth
The Master of the sky no longer favoureth
Him and the host. The kindred of Gudarz
Fared ill through him. Be he, his elephants,
And drums accursed. I gave him robes of honour
And gifts, and sent him forth to fight - my brother
Away with chief's like Tus son of Naudar!
May no such paladins be generals
Alas! alas! the son of Siyawush -
Farud - with that stout heart, that mace and sword,
Who, like his sire, was slain though innocent,
Slain by my general and by my troops
None know I worse than Tus, and he is ripe
For chain and pit. Brainless and veinless too
The wretch is as a dog to me."
With stricken liver to avenge his brother
And father's blood, dismissed the troops disgraced,
Wept his heart's blood, and shut to them - the door
Of audience, being wounded to the soul
With anguish for Farud. The warriors
Went sad and sorry to the court of Rustam,
And thus excused themselves: "God willed it so!
Who wished to fight Farud? Still when the son.
Of Tus was slain the chieftains' heads grew dark
At that disgrace and, when his son-in-law
Rivniz fell too, misfortune's worst was done.
Who knew the name and bearings of Farud,
And wished to wound him through our monarch's
Plead with the Shah. Perchance he will refrain
From vengeance on the host. Was not Rivniz,
The son of Kai Kaus, slain grievously .
In fight as well - a younger son and warrior,
Dear to the father of moon-faced Khusrau?
Such is the issue that all battles have,
To this a crown, to that a narrow grave! "
How Khusrau pardoned the Iranians
When Sol had gilt earth's face, and darksome night
Was taken in the toils, shouts rose before
The palace portal and the peerless Rustam
Came to the Shah, and said: "O great Khusrau!
Throne, crown, and signet-ring rejoice in thee.
The Shah is wroth with Tus and with the host;
But pardon their wrong-doing for my sake.
When Tus beheld his son and son-in-law
Both slaughtered, prudence left his brain and heart,
For first, he is not wise but choleric,
And next, a son's life is no light concern;
So when Rivniz was slain before his face,
And that proud cavalier Zarasp withal,
No wonder if he blazed. The Shah should not
Take vengeance on him. Then again the host
Was ill disposed toward thy glorious brother
Because he had not visited the Shah.
Know that the date when each must die is fixed,
And be not grieved hereat. Our spirit passeth,
Or else is made to pass. Three hundred spells
Will not delay it."
Kai Khusrau replied:-
O paladin! I sorrowed for this youth,
But now thy rede is solace to my soul,
Though still I ache at heart."
Then Rustam kissed
The ground before the monarch of the world.
So when the sun had shot its rays on high,
And hastened to ascend upon its curve,
When it had rent its turquoise robes of gloom,
So that its ruddy, shining form showed through,
The general, Giv, and other warriors
Approached the Shah with blessings, and Tus said:-
"Live fortunate till time shall be no more.
Be earth the basis of thy crown and throne,
And heaven the guardian of thy Grace and fortune.
My heart is sorrowful, my liver wounded
With pain for my misdeed, my mind is full
Of shame, my tongue is all excuse, my soul
All fault, I burn as 'twere Akzargashasp
In anguish for the pure souls of Farud
And of Zarasp. If I am guiltier
Than others I am writhing for my deed.
When valued with Bahram and with Rivniz
Mine own life is not worth a single mite;
So if the Shah will cease from wrath with me,
And with this noble but offending host,
I will go forth to cancel this disgrace,
And will exalt our fallen heads anew;
I will share all the army's toils myself,
Be it to keep my life or lose my head.
Henceforth I will not look at throne and crown,
My head shall see naught but a helm of Rum."
The monarch graciously received these words;
His heart grew fresh as roses in the spring.
He counselled much with Rustam, with the chiefs
And warriors, then sent Tus 'gainst Turan
With elephants and shawms and kettledrums.
The company dispersed without delay,
And Rustam also homeward took his way.
How Khusrau sent Tus to Turan
When bright Sol showed, and when from night's bent bow
Dawn brake, Tus with the great men of the host
Came to Khusrau who said: "Trace of this feud
Is never lost. Begun by Salm and Tur
It had fresh impulse given by Minuchihr,
But never was a Shah so shamed as I,
Or earth so glutted with his warriors' gore!
The hills have girt them with Gudarzians' blood
For whom weep bird and fish by land and sea.
O'er the Turanians' waste the Iranians' hands
And feet and trunks lie scattered! Are your counsels
Auspicious? Are ye all heart-stirred to vengeance?"
The gallant warriors, with folded arms
Before that sunlike and aspiring one,
All kissed the ground together - warriors,
Such as Ruhham, Gurgin, Gudarz, and Tus,
Kharrad and Zanga son of Shawaran,
Bizhan and Giv and other men of might.
They said: "Well starred, good-hearted Shah who hast
The heart withal to pluck out lions' hearts!
We all of us are slaves of thine and hang
Our heads in reverence, O Shah! before thee,
If now the Shah so biddeth we will all
Pour out our souls in fight, nor shall he mark
Aught ill from us if sun and moon shall lour not."
Khusrau then summoned Giv and seated him
Upon the throne of greatness, praised him much,
Bestowing many a gift and mark of favour,
And said: "Thou seekest toil on mine account,
But sharest not my treasures. Tus though leader
Must not employ the drums and elephants
Against thy counsel rashly. Didst not see
How in Bahram's case (may his soul rejoice!)
Great skill in warfare fashioned for itself
A dark, strait dwelling through the quest of fame
And ill advice? Brief though our sojourn be
Fame should remain behind us, not disgrace:'
Khusrau gave money, called the commissaries,
Spake much with Tus, and sought a lucky day
According to the stars for setting forth.
The chieftain Tus then came as general,
Received the standard, elephants, and drums,
And did obeisance while the soldiers shouted.
The earth heaved underneath the chargers' tramp;
A dust-cloud gathered from the horses' hoofs;
The trumpet's blast went up. What with the mass
Of mail and Kawa's flag earth's face all turned
To violet. "The sun," thou wouldst have said,
"Is quenched, the sky and stars are all asleep."
The Shah abode upon the plain with mace
And elephant till Tus the general
Had passed, who on an elephant outspread
A turquoise litter and thus Shahd-ward sped.
The Message of Piran to the Army of Iran
A cameleer bore blast-like to Piran
This message: "I have reached the river Shahd
In arms and ready to contend with thee."
Piran, on hearing this, was sorely grieved
That, 'gainst his will, he needs must pack the loads,
And went forth with his chiefs - choice cavaliers
And brave - to learn about the Irainian host,
How many chiefs, and who, were there with Tus.
He drew his troops up on his side the stream,
And sent a greeting to the Iranian chief.
He said: "I everywhere showed kindliness
To Farangis and to the Shah. I cried,
And seethed as on fierce fire, for Siyawush;
But now the antidote doth bear the bane,
I share in all these ills."
Tus was distressed,
Grieved at the words and sufferings of Piran,
And said: "Go to Piran of ardent soul,
And say: 'If thou speak'st sooth we have no quarrel.
Drop fealty, abandon thy surroundings,
And bar this door of fear and road of loss.
Go to the Shah alone, he will requite thee,
Give thee a royal crown and paladinship.
When he recalleth thy good deeds thy pangs
Will pain him to the heart. Gudarz and Giv
And other chieftains, nobles shrewd of heart,
The envoy went like wind
Back to Piran and told what he had heard
From Tus and from Gudarz of ardent soul.
Piran made answer: "I by night and day
I will go over, taking of my kin
Those who are wise and list to mine advice,
And send them, bag and baggage, to Iran.
An honoured head is more than crown and throne."
He did not purpose acting in this way,
But sought to gain occasion by delay.
How Afrasiyab sent an Army to Piran
Piran dispatched a camel-post by night
To tell Afrasiyab: "Troops have arrived
With shawms and tymbals from Iran, commanded
By Giv, Gudarz, and Tus, whom I have duped
And much advised with. Choose a warrior-host
Or else the war will be inglorious.
We may uproot the foe and fire their land,
Else in their vengeance for prince Siyawush
The Iranian army ne'er will rest from strife."
Afrasiyab thereat convoked his captains,
Told what had chanced, and said: "Prepare for war."
Afrasiyab arrayed a power that dimmed
The eye of Sol; that host, so great that earth
Was hidden, on the tenth day reached Piran,
Who having victualled and disposed the troops,
And loaded up the baggage, marched in haste,
Regarding not his promise, to the Shahd.
A scout came in to Tus and said to him:-
"Bind thou the drums upon the elephants
Because Piran, perceiving downfall nigh,
Spake guilefully. We see the tyrant's standard
And army drawn up on the river-bank."
Tus put his battle in array. They ranged
The elephants and tymbals on the plain.
The two lines, like two mountains, clashed in fight -
The Iranian horsemen and the Turkman troops.
The dust-clouds of the hosts so dimmed the sun
That fire rose from the stream - the flash of sword,
Of dart and javelin - and thou hadst said:-
"Earth planted air with tulips! " With the stir
Of horsemen with their golden belts, and all
The golden helmets and the golden shields,
A cloud in hue like sandarach arose,
And earth became like ebony with dust.
The horsemen's heads beneath the mighty maces
Seemed anvils 'neath smiths' hammers. Thou hadst
The river is a wine-press running blood,
The air is like a reed-bed with the spears!"
Then many heads were caught in lasso-coils,
Then many an honoured form was cast away.
The shroud was mail, the pillow blood and dust;
The bosom had been hacked by scimitars.
Earth was a cercis-bloom, air ebony;
The din of tymbals filled the starry heaven.
What though the ambitious man a crown may gain.
Or but the battle's surge of blood and dust,
Yet from this world of ours depart he must,
Whate'er his portion - antidote or bane.
I wot not of the end but, this I know,
It is a cause for tears to have to go.
How Tus slew Arzhang
There was a famous Turkman named Arzhang,
One whose renown in warfare reached the clouds.
He sent the dust up from the battlefield,
And challenged the Iranians. Tus from far
Saw him and shouted, drew his sword and asked
That son of Zira: "What name bearest thou?
Who is thy fellow in the Turkman host?"
He said: "Arzhang am I, a warrior -
A noble Lion who can bide his time.
Now will I make the earth quake under thee,
And cast thy head upon the field of fight."
Tus, hearing but disdaining all reply,
Smote with the glittering falchion in his hand
That chieftain on the helm, and thou hadst said:-
"His body never bore a head at all!"
Piran grieved sorely and the Turkman host,
And none came forth, but all the warriors
And chieftains of Turan drew scimitar
And massive mace, and shouted to each other,
Those Lions: "Let us charge and make the world
Strait to the heart of Us."
Then said Human:-
"To-day we will prepare. Be not cast down.
If any noble of the Irainians
Shall come to challenge us we will dispatch
A man to fight him and will mark the issue,
But not provoke them rashly. What we need
Is respite for a day, but when the host
Is stirring, and the tymbals sound in camp,
Then from beyond the stream be onslaught made
With mace in hand if God and fortune aid."
How Human fought with Tus
Human bestrode and spurred his eagle-steed.
Thou wouldst have said: "He is an iron wall,
Or Mount Alburz in mail! " He came before
The host to fight and grasped a glittering spear.
Tus too advanced; earth rang with clarion-blare.
"And so from luckless Wisa," he exclaimed,
"A miserable Tree like this up-springeth!
Hast thou indeed come forth to fight since thou
Hast come forth mounted and with spear in hand?
By the Shah's life and head I would oppose thee
Without my breastplate, mace, and Ruman casque,
Just like a pard that clutcheth at its prey
Among the mountains. Thou shaft see how heroes
Fight if thou venturest."
Be not o'er-weening for it is not good.
Though fate hath come upon one luckless chief,
And by thy hand, hold not the rest in scorn.
Arzhang had deemed himself no man at all
If matched with me upon the day of battle.
But have the Iranian warriors no shame?
Doth not the warm blood boil in any breast
In that their leader hath to champion them?
Have their hands failed to fight? Where are Bizhan
And Giv - those noble ones - and where Gudarz,
Son of Kishwad, that taker of the world?
If thou art paladin why hast thou left
The centre for the field? The wise will own not
Thy kinship and the sane will hold thee mad.
Go, hold up Kiwa's standard; generals
Come not to fight in person. Look for one
On whom the Shah bestowed a robe of honour,
Some warrior in quest of crown and signet,
And order him to battle with the Lion,
And bring the hand of the high-handed down.
Ill would befall this noble host of thine
If thou Overt slain by me, thy troops become
Abandoned, spiritless, and, if they lived,
Discomfited. Save Rustam son of Zal,
And Sam the cavalier, I see no noble
Like thee within Iran whose ancestors
Were men renowned and Shahs. No need of army
If thou wilt fight in person! Go thy way
That some aspirant from the host may face me;
Besides, if thou wilt list to true advice,
Wherein my soul and heart confirm my tongue,
The bravest smart when they encounter me."
Tus said: "Exalted man! I am the leader,
But am withal a horseman of the fray.
Thou art a leader of the Turkman troops
Thyself! Why then hast thou come on the field?
If thy heart will accept advice of mine
Seek, 'tis my counsel, for a league with me.
Come with the noble captain of thy host
Before the Shah because, while one surviveth,
These troops will rest no jot from this revenge.
Give not thyself thus madly to the wind,
And may my counsel ne'er recur to thee.
Leave those who should be slain to fight with us,
For not one guilty shall escape our vengeance,
So act the wise man's part. The Shah directed:-
'Harm not Piran. He is my foster-sire,
Experienced, and my friend. Strive not with him
Unjustly, wantonly, and fee that he
Hear throe advice.'"
Human said: "Right or wrong,
When bidden by a king of glorious race,
We must go forth: we have no remedy,
But must surrender all our heart to him.
Piran himself desireth not this strife,
For he is noble, good, and generous."
While Tus was parleying, the face of Giv
Resembled sandarach, he left the host
Like wind, "O Tus of glorious race!" he cried,
"A wily Turkman with his lips afoam
Hath come between the lines; why should he speak
So long with thee apart? Seek not the door
Of peace, speak only with thy scimitar."
Human, on hearing, raged and said to Giv
Of sleepless fortune: "Wretchedest of all
The free! perish Gudarz son of Kishwad
Upon the day of battle at Laidan
Thou sawest me with Indian sword in hand
Where not one of his seed survived that read not
The inscription thereupon. For thee, thy fortune
Is like the face of Élhriman, and mourning
Is ever in thy house. If Tus slay me
Men still will use the mace and kettledrum.
Piran is living and Afrasiyab,
Who will avenge me promptly, but if Tus
Shall perish by my hand none of his troops
Will reach Iran. Bewail thy brothers' pangs,
Why railest thou at Tus son of Naudar?"
" What wrath is this?" said Tus, "I am thy foe;
Come let us wheel about, begin the encounter,
And bend our brows in battle."
"All heads beneath a crown or helm must die.
Since death must come 'tis best upon the field,
And by the hand of some skilled cavalier,
A leader, prince, and ardent warrior."
Then, grasping each his massive mace, they charged.
Earth reeled, day darkened, and a dust-cloud gathered
Above the scene of strife. Thou wouldst have said:-
"The night hath come on them by day, the sun -
The lustre of the world - is blotted out!"
Those mighty maces clashed and bent like bows
Of Chach, the ring of steel rose to the sky,
The wind of that contention reached the Shahd!
Thou wouldst have said: "Stone heads are in those helms,
Those warriors' blows have blackened death's own face!"
They took in hand their Indian scimitars,
And sent sparks streaming out of stone and steel
Till with the chieftains' might the trenchant blades
First bent, then shivered. Dust-smirched and athirst
Each warrior clutched the other's leathern belt,
And pressed with all his weight. upon the stirrups,
But neither came to dust. Human's belt snapped.
He leapt upon a fresh steed while Tus took
His quiver, strung his bow, and set thereon
A poplar arrow. He began to shower
His shafts upon his noble foe and wheeled
To left and right as horsemen use to do.
The points of steel and eagle-plumes bedimmed
The mid-day sun, the world became as 'twere
Night's second watch, its face like diamonds.
Pierced by a poplar shaft Human's steed fell;
He raised his shield to save his face and head.
On seeing him afoot upon the field,
And holding not his own, the Turkman chiefs
Brought him a noble mount, but when Human
Had seated him upon the bark-lined saddle,
With Indian sword in hand, the men of name
And warriors all drew near to him and said:-
"It groweth dark, there is no time, and strife
Is over for the day. May evil eyes
Be far from thee and fighting end in feast."
Hurnan the warrior turned his rein (Tus raising
His own lance to him), left the field, and sought
Piran. A shout rose from the Turkman host
"How didst thou fare when face to face with Tus,
O warrior? Our hearts were full for thee!
God only knoweth what we felt! "
Replied: "O brave and veteran warriors!
The day will bring us triumph, we shall take
Yon shining flag, all joy will be your portion,
And I shall have the stars of heaven for mine."
Tus for his part was shouting through the night
Till cock-crow: "Is Human the man for me?
A raging lion should my foeman be."
How the Iranians and Turainians fought the second Time
Now when high heaven had made its Crown of Jet,
And flung Pastilles on Lapislazuli,
The pickets hurried forth on every side,
And set the watch around the camps, but when
Sol showed in Cancer, and the world became
Fair as a Ruman's face, from both the camps
The sound of tymbals rose, the world was filled
With the blare of clarions, air was thick with flags,
Which gleamed red, yellow, black, and violet,
The warriors bared their weapons, and rode forth
To battle. Thou hadst said: "Heaven, earth, and time
Don iron," while the radiant sun was veiled
By dust of caracoling cavaliers,
And, what with neigh of steeds and din of drums,
Heaven kissed the earth. Human the chieftain wheeled
Before the ranks, a shining dart in hand,
And cried: "When I shall raise the battle-shout,
Urge on my charger and seethe up with rage,
Then draw ye forth your falchions as one man,
And hold your shields of Chin above your heads.
See nothing but your horses' crests and reins,
I want no bow, I want no lance's point,
But armed with sword and club and massive mace,
As is the use and wont of warriors,
Throw down your reins upon your horses' necks,
And give and take the buffets as they come."
This said, the gallant horseman lion-like
Went to Piran: "O paladin!" he cried,
"Unlock the weapons of our warriors,
Keep not dinars within the treasury,
And hoard not arms. If we prevail to-day
Thy heart shall pluck the fruit of favouring stars."
On his side Tus arrayed his host as 'twere
The eye of chanticleer. The warriors blessed him,
And hailed him as the paladin of earth,
Who triumphed in the battle, and whose valour
Sent dust up from Human. Then to Gudarz,
Son of Kishw tid, said Tus: "Let all wot well
That if we march forth, and our foes prevail,
Our trust must be in God, not in ourselves;
He may assist us, else the day is lost.
At present let the chief's with golden boots
Remain with Kawa's standard. Let none quit
The mountain; this is not the day and season
For strife and stir. Good Booth! the enemy
Out-number us two hundred times or more!"
Gudarz replied: "If God will but avert
Our evil day the fact of more or less
hnporteth not. Daunt not the Iranians,
For if the sky turn over us for ill
To wait is no avail. Array the host;
Dash not our souls with what may be."
The chieftain, put the battle in array -
Men, drums, and elephants of war; the footmen
Went with the baggage to the heights, Gudarz
Was on the right, Ruhham shared with Gurgin
The left, the troops were ranked, anon the sky
Shook with the roar of drum and clarion,
The heart of circling heaven was rent, the sun
Was choked with dust, none saw the ground beneath him,
The murky clouds rained showers of diamonds,
Fire flashed from helm and sword, the spear-heads
And massive maces whirled. Thou wouldst have said:-
"The air is mace and iron, and the earth
Horseshoes and mail." The plains and dales ran blood,
And swords were lamps that lit a world of night.
No one knew head from foot, such was the din
Of drum and clarion! Tus said to Gudarz:-
"Night cometh and the astrologer bath told me:-
'To-day until the night's third watch is passed
The warriors from their scimitars will pour
Blood on the field, like rain from some dark cloud;
But victory, I fear me, in the end
Will rest with our revengeful foes.'"
Ruhham, Giv, Gustaham, Kharrad, Farhad,
And brave Barzin came forth between the hosts,
Came liver-wounded, eager for revenge,
Like troops of divs upon a murky night,
While in all quarters din assailed the clouds.
Human on his side mountain-huge led forth
His army troop on troop, and none could tell,
Amid the mass of maces, mallets, swords,
And spears, the stirrups from the reins. He said:-
"Our work to-day must not be like the fight
Of yesterday, but we must sweep the earth
Of foemen lest they seek revenge hereafter:"
Then Tus advanced with foot-men, elephants,
And kettledrums, while spear-men, pavisers,
And javelin-men drew up before the horse-men.
"Leave not your posts," he said, "and hold your shields
And spears in front of you, and we will see
The massive mace-play of their chivalry."
How the Turanians used Sorcery against the Host of Iran
Among the Turkmans there was one Bazur
By name, adept in magic, versed in guile.
And sorcery, and learned in the tongues
Of Chin and ancient Persia. To that warlock
Piran said: "Scale the mountain-top and send
Snow, cold, and blast upon the Iranians."
That sorcerer sped thither, and forthwith
Came snow and storm. The Iranian spearmen's hands
Failed in the snow and stress. Amid the tumult
And icy blast the warriors' war-cry rose,
And arrows rained. "Let all the army charge,"
Piran bade. "While their hands freeze to their spears
None can show prowess."
With a shout Humdn
Charged like a lusty div. They slaughtered so
That 'twixt the lines there was a sea of gore,
The vales and wastes were filled with snow and blood,
The horsemen of Iran were overthrown,
Till corpses left no room to wheel; the ground
Was blocked by snow and fallen. Tus the leader
And other chiefs cried bitterly to heaven:-
"O Higher than all knowledge, sense, and reason,
Not at, or in, but everywhere! we all
Are Thy transgressing slaves and in our straits
Appeal to Thee, for Thou wilt help the helpless,
And art the Lord of fire and icy blast.
Deliver us from this excessive cold;
We look for aid to Thee and Thee alone."
A sage approached Ruhham and showed the height
Where bold Bazur was stationed with his spells.
Ruhham wheeled round and quitting field and host,
And girding up his mail-skirts to his waist,
Clomb to the mountain-top. The warlock saw him,
And, grasping a steel mace of Chin, advanced
To fight. Ruhham, approaching, quickly drew
His trenchant scimitar and hacked away
The warlock's hand. Like Doomsday came a blast,
And swept the murk from heaven. Staying thus
The sorcerer's hand the brave Ruhham descended,
Regained the plain, and mounted while the air
Resumed its azure vault and radiant sun.
Ruhham said to his sire: "'Twas sorcerer's work,
And how he played the mischief as we fought!"
The Shah's troops saw the field a sea oi' blood
Strewn with Iranian heads and headless trunks.
Then spake Gudarz to Us: "No need have we
For elephant or drum-beat. Let us all
Draw sword and charge, and slay or else be slain.
Good Booth: our time is coming to an end;
This is no day for lasso, shaft, or bow."
Tus said: "O thou experienced veteran!
The sky is ridded of that icy blast.
Why should our heads be scattered to the winds,
Now that the Helper giveth Grace and strength?
Expose not thou thyself, for in this strife
Our warriors will avail to do our will.
Go not to meet thy fate or recklessly
Advance against our foes but tarry thou
With Kaiwa's standard at the army's centre,
And blue steel sword in hand. Bizhan and Giv
Together lead the right; upon the left
Is Gustaham; Ruhham is with Shidush
Before the lines; GurAza's lips are foaming
For vengeance. If I shall be slain, retreat
Back to the Shah, but death is nobler far
For me than shame and every foeman's jeers.'
Such is the world, all anguish and all woe
Seek not addition if thou canst forbear,
For that will bite thee some day and will ne'er
Prolong existence for thee here below.
Again arose the blast of clarions,
The clangour of the gongs and Indian bells.
What with the din of warlike cavaliers,
The gleam of sword and crash of battle-ax,
What with darts, maces, shafts, and javelins,
The earth became as 'twere a sea of pitch.
The plain was filled with trunkless heads and arms,
The crashing of the maces filled all ears,
But, since the face of cruel fortune loured
The Iranian warriors showed the foe their backs.
Then Tus, Gudarz, and gallant Giv, Shidush,
Bizhan, and lion-like Ruhham all took
Their lives in hand and went in quest of fame
Before the embattled lines. All those with Tus,
The nobles and the chiefs, poured out their blood
Before the host, but those behind them fled.
Then said an archmage to that warrior-chief:-
"The army is no longer at thy back
The foe must not surround thee and destroy
Both host and general."
Tus said to Giv:-
"Our soldiers' brains and wisdom are no mates
Since they have left us thus, and in their folly
Turned from the fight; go thou and rally them;
Protest our foemen's jeers, our monarch's shame."
Giv went; the host returned; the plain and desert
Seemed filled with slain. Then Tus addressed the
This This is a struggle and a strife of chiefs
But since the cheek of day is darkling now,
And all the land is like a sea of blood,
Seek we a resting-place if night can rest.
Our slain perchance a bed of sand may have,
And coverlet of earth by way of grave."
How the Iranians retreated to Mount Hamawan
The Irainians drew back with heads abashed
And livers wounded for their friends, and when
The moon rose o'er the mountains as it were
A king triumphant on his turquoise throne,
Piran the chieftain called his warriors,
And said: "Not many of the foe remain,
And, when the Topaz Sea shall dash its waves
Upon the Realm of Lapislazuli,
I will destroy those that survive and make
The Shah's heart writhe."
The troops went off rejoicing,
And all the night before the tent-enclosure
Sat sleepless through the sounds of harp and rebeck;
But for their part the Iranians mourned, the sires
Lamented for their sons, the killed and wounded
Hid all the plain, earth ran with great men's blood.
To right and left the field was strewn with hands
And feet unsortable. All night men raised
Their stricken friends, bound up and stitched their wounds,
Left strangers to their fate, and burned the slain.
Full many of the kindred of Gudarz
Were hurt or killed or captive. At the news
He wailed, earth shook beneath the Iranians' cries,
The chiefs all rent their raiment, he himself
Cast dust upon his head, exclaiming: "None
With hoary head bath seen such ills as mine!
Why must I still survive with my white hairs
Now that so many of my sons are laid
In dust? Since that dark day when I was born
I have not doffed my tunic. When I went
With heroes and my cavaliers to war
My grandsons and my sons supported me,
But none of them surviveth our first fight
Upon Turanian soil! May be my sun
Was once for all extinguished with Bahrdm,
And hence I see so many chieftains slain."
Tus, hearing of Gudarz, wept tears of blood,
And turned as pale as sandarach. He raised
A bitter Magian cry: "Had not Naudar,
That holy man," he said, "set in life's garth
My feet and roots then travail, pain, and grief,
Woe for the dead and anguish in the strife,
Had ne'er been mine, for since I girt my loins
My heart hath oft been pierced though I survive.
Now where there is a pit inter the slain,
Restore each trunk its head, and bear the baggage
Toward Mount Hamawan. Take all the army,
The tents, and tent-enclosures to the mountain.
We will dispatch the Shah a camel-post;
His heart will burn and he will send us troops.
I purposed when I sent the cavalier
To carry news of us before the battle,
That Kai Khusrau should send the son of Zal
To lead the reinforcements to the field."
He loaded up and, thinking of the slain
With anguish, called his men to horse again.
How the Host of Turan beleaguered Mount Hanaawan
Now when the bright sun showed its crown, and strewed
The Ivory Throne with Camphor, Tus, good Booth!
What while the foe were sleeping with fatigue,
Had marched ten leagues, and fared thus day and night
With heart all sorrow and unbroken fast.
He reached Mount Hamawan and ranked his troops
Upon its outskirts. Every eye was bloodshot,
Their hearts were seared, their souls like ravens' plumes
With anguish. Then spake Tus to Giv and said:-
"O full of wisdom and illustrious chief!
For three days we have marched with neither food
Nor sleep! Come eat a little and repose
At ease without thy mail; Piran no doubt
Will follow us anon intent on fight.
Go to the mount thyself, and leave behind
The freshest of our soldiers with Bizhan:'
Giv bare the wounded, weary of the world
And sick of life, up to the mountain-hold,
And chose the freshest of his troops for duty.
"This mountain-top," he said, "must be our home.
We must recruit."
The outpost-guards descended
To hold the approaches that no foe might pass,
And, what with challenges and sound of gongs,
Thou wouldst have said: "The stones and rocks cry
Now when the sun rose o'er the mountain-tops
The Turkmans' hearts were full of eagerness.
A sound rose from Pirain's pavilion
As of an earthquake. He led forth the host
Like fire, and told Human: "The contest surely
Will soon be over. All their cavaliers
Are slain or, being wounded, cannot fight."
He beat the drums; a shout rose from the waste;
He led in person. When they reached the field
They only found a camp without an army,
And one who went to spy came to Piran,
And said: "There is not an Iranian here! "
A shout of triumph rose, the troops awaited
The orders of Piran who thus addressed
The wise men: "Sages famed and worshipful!
What shall we do now that our foes have fled?"
The horsemen of the host, both old and young,
Wroth with the paladin, exclaimed: "The Iranians
Have fled defeated, and the battlefield
Is full of dust and blood! This is no time
To fear them. We should follow up the foe.
Strange if thou partest with thy wits and wisdom
The fugitive from wind plunged into water,
And we had better hasten than delay."
Piran replied: "In war the foot of haste
Is feebler than delay's. A sea-like host
Is gathering before Afrasiyab;
Let us delay till that great power with all'
Its warriors and fighting-men shall come;
Then will we leave none living in Iran
Such is the counsel of the wise. Enough.
Human said to Piran: "O paladin!
Vex not thy soul so much on this account.
A host - all paladins and cavaliers,
Brave men who wield the lasso and the sword -
Have left their ground, their tents, and tent-enclosures,
Abandoned all and fled. Be sure of this,
That they were forced to flee and once for all
Show us their backs. We will not let them reach
Khusrau and muster at his court afresh;
Then from Zabulistan will Rustam march
Upon us, this delay cause fearful loss.
Now is the time for me to fall on them,
And put in practice ruse and artifice.
We have the certainty of laying hands
Upon Gudarz and Tus the general,
The royal standard, elephants, and drums
Shall we do better by delaying here?"
Piran replied: "Be still thus shrewd and ardent.
So do because thy star and rede are good,
And heaven's vault is not so high as thou."
He set forth with his army in pursuit,
And bade Lahhak: "Now tarry not but ply
The rein with ten score cavaliers and loose not
The girdle from thy loins till thou bast seen
Where the Irzinians are."
He went like wind,
And took no thought of rest and food. At midnight
The Irinian outpost-guards caught sight of him
Upon the dusky plain, and from the mountain
Rose shout and sound of gong. 'Twas not the time,
He saw, to tarry, went back to Piran,
And gave him tidings of the Iranian host
"'Tis on Mount Hamawan with front well guarded."
Piran said to Human: "Ply rein and stirrup
In haste, take with thee cavaliers enough,
Take nobles, warriors, and men of name,
For with their flag and troops the Irainians
Have taken refuge on Mount Hamawan.
This war involveth further toil, so sharpen
Thy wits to find a remedy; if thou
Canst capture Kaiwa's legacy - his standard -
Then daylight will be darkened to our foes.
If thou prevailest cleave the flag and staff
To pieces with thy trenchant scimitar.
Lo, I will follow after thee like wind,
And dally not."
Human chose thirty thousand
Turanian horse with shields and scimitars.
Now, when the shining sun displayed the face
That filleth earth with love, that army's dust
Appeared afar and from the look-out rose
The watchman's shout: "An army from Turan
Appeareth! Upward to the darksorne clouds
Its dust ascendeth!"
Tus, on hearing this,
Assumed his mail, rose din of trump and drum,
And all the Iranian chivalry in mass
Ranged on the mountain's foot. Whenas Human
Beheld that mighty army brandishing
Sword, mace, and spear, and raging like fierce lions
With Kawa's standard in their midst, he shouted
Thus to Gudarz and Tus: "Ye left Iran
With elephants and drums to be avenged
Upon Turan and to invade our coasts; ,
Now to the mountain have ye fled like game,
In utter rout and all fordone with fight!
Feel ye no shame hereat and no disgrace?
Are food and rest and sleep in rocks and stones?
To-morrow, when the sun shall top the hills,
Will I turn this thy stronghold to a sea.
Will bring thee from this lofty mountain down,
Will make thy hands fast in the lasso's coils,
And send thee to Afrasiyab, deprived
Of provand, rest, and sleep, and thou shaft know
That this thy shift is but a shiftless one,
And one to be deplored."
He sent Piran
A camel-post full speed. "What sort of fight
Did we expect?" he said. "Our thoughts were other,
And we made ready to attack the foe,
But all the mount is troops and kettledrums,
The standards wave behind Gudarz and Tus!
Take. order that as soon as bright day shineth,
And when the world's Light showeth in the sky,
Thou mayst be here with troops in war-array,
And make the plain's face dark with hosts of men.'
The message roused Piran; no time was lost;
That night he marched on with a sea-like host.
How Piran went in Pursuit of the Iranians to Mount
When Sol, aweary of its veil of gloom,
Had bursten through it and come forth, Piran;
The leader, reached Mount Hamawan, and earth
Was hidden by the dust of troops. "Abide,"
Thus said he to Human, "here where thou art;
Set not the troops in motion for a while.
I will hold parley with the Iranian leader,
And say: 'Why hast thou set up Kawa's standard?'
Who told him of Mount Hamiwan and now
When there what hopeth he?"
In hate and vengeance
He came anear the Iranian host and cried:-
"Illustrious Tus, the lord of elephant,
Of mace and kettledrum! five months have passed
Since thou provokedst war, and on the field
The noblest kinsmen of Gudarz lie headless,
While thou hast fled, thy soldiers panting after,
And like a mountain-sheep hast taken refuge,
Full of revenge and rancour, in the heights!
But thou wilt surely come within the toils:'
Exalted Tus replied: "I mock thy falsehoods.
Thou didst set wreak afoot among the mighty
Throughout the world for Siyawush. Hast thou
No shame of thy vain words? Hot though they be
They will not bring me to those toils of throe.
Ne'er may the world possess a paladin
Like thee among the men of might and name.
Thou by an oath didst ruin Siyawush,
And wreck earth with his blood, thou madest him
Stay in Turan; now war and vengeance stay
In earth through him. Alas! for that great prince
And noble man whose face once gladdened all
Thou by this practice, such deceit and lies,
Wilt gain no lustre in a true man's sight.
We could not forage on the battlefield,
And therefore have I marched to Hamawan.
News now hath reached the monarch of the world,
Who with his mighty men will come anon.
The great men of the host have gathered - Zal
And Rustam of the elephantine form;
And when the Shah is fairly on the march
I will not leave Turan field, fell, or crop.
Since thou art here behold a task for men
This is no time for ruse and ambuscade."
Piran on that sent forward troops to seize
The approaches, and the army mountain-like
Moved, troop on troop, upon that mountain-skirt.
Piran, when thus the foemen's foraging
Was straitened, laid his plans.
" We," said Human,
"Must get possession of the mountain's foot,
And I will deal so that the Iranians
Shall never gird themselves for vengeance more."
Piran replied: "The wind is in our face,
And none would think of fighting with it so;
But as they have not room for foraging,
And nobody would guard a barren rock,
They will no longer heed their general;
With warlike eyes grown dim the troops will come
To seek not fight but quarter; 'tis a day
For grace and not for setting in array."
How the Iranians made a Night-attack
Gudarz and Tus suspected this; the chiefs
Were in dismay. Said old Gudarz to Tus
"We must fight now. If we have three days' provand
We have not more, and not one road is open
We have no tents, no huts, no baggage-train,
And this great host will starve! So, when the sun
Is wan of face and night's dark veil is seen,
Choose we brave cavaliers, descend the heights,
And try our fortune in a night-attack,
To perish one by one, or else to gain
The hero's crown. Such is the end of battles!
One hath the dust, another rank and glory:'
Tus hearkened to Gudarz; his heart was full
Of pain and of the ancient feud. He bode
Till night appeared. The sun set; all was dark.
When one watch passed, and men had fallen silent,
Tus made him ready, called the men of action,
Gave one wing to Bizhan, one to Shidush
And bold Kharrad; the glorious Hag he gave
To Gustaham with much advice and counsel,
Then, shouldering with Giv, Ruhham, and others
The massive mace, made for Piran and shocked
Like fire the Turkman centre. All the field
Grew like a sea of blood, a mighty shout
Rose from the host, the standard of Piran
Was cloven, and his troops were panic-stricken.
Human, when he had heard that cry, bestrode
His Arab black, came up, saw many slain,
And many turning from the fight dismayed,
Wept tears of blood upon his breast, and shouted:-
"Was there no outpost here? Had ye no stomach
For fight? We are three hundred to their one;
It is ill sleeping on the field of battle!
He! out with sword and mace, and up with shield
Of Chin. Now that the moon o'er yonder height
Is drawing forth its sword, cut off the foe
On every side and let none, combatant
Or laggard, 'scape."
Arose the clarions' blast,
The warriors pressed forward, and surrounded
The Iranian cavaliers like savage lions.
Sparks flashed from helm and sword: thou wouldst
The The sky is raining maces from the clouds!"
Night, scimitars, and dust concealed the stars
And shining moon. Thou'dst said: "The Iranians
Are walled by coats of mail and in a murk
As of a sea of pitch! " Then to his men
Human exclaimed: "Enough! slay not the chiefs;
Bring me them captive and not arrow-pierced."
They shouted back: "Their plight is hopeless now.
Lay on, lay on with mace and javelin,
And crown these chieftains' heads with crowns of blood."
Then Tus said to Ruhham and Giv: "Good Booth!
Our lives are but a jest! Unless the Almighty
Shall save our souls and bodies from this scath
We are but poised upon an eagle's wings,
Or struggling in the waters of the deep!"
Like savage lions leaping from their lairs
They charged together, while the sound of drum
And pipe and clang of Indian bells and gongs
Rose from the foe, men could not see their reins,
The horses' crests, or spear-points at their eyes.
"Ye have no room," exclaimed Hu man, "for fight
Or flight, and evil fortune Brave you forth,
That ill might reach the guilty."
'Mid such strife
Abode that warrior - three with paltry powers!
Much thought they then of Rustam, everywhere
The prowest in the fray, and of Shidush,
Bizhan, and Gustaham, of great and small;
"Good Booth! " said they, "one of the Iranian host
Would help us here! We came not to a fight,
But madly to the maw of crocodiles!
Woe to the throne and portal of the Shah,
For they will capture us anon! Great Rustam
And Zal are in Zabulistan! Iran
Will be destroyed! "
The din of mace and drum
Reached the Iranian host, and Giv and Tus
Returned not! Said Shidush and Gustaham,
The Lion: "Tus is long engaged!"
Said to Bizhan: "Our leader's task is long! "
Anon the din of drums rose from the plain,
Air turned pitch-dark and earth to ebony.
The warriors made toward the voice of Tus.
The field ran blood. As they came up behind
All drew their massive maces. Tus, aware
That succour had arrived, roared tymbal-like,
Loosed rein, and pressed his stirrups, for he felt
His fortune rising, while Ruhham and Giv,
Cheered by the voice of brave Bizhan, became
Like lions. Thus they fought till break of day,
Until the world's Light shone above the mountains,
Then they recalled the host and drew it off
Toward the rocky heights. The chieftain Tus
Harangued the troops: "From set of sun to drum-beat
Far from the noble be the evil eye,
And may our fighting end in festival.
I never heard of warriors displaying
Such gallantry as I have seen in you.
My first prayer is that Holy God will keep
Afar from us the eyes of evil ones.
He is my refuge evermore and He
Will take you out of this. I trust withal
In Him that presently and swift as smoke
An army may come up to our support.
Assuredly my speedy camel-post
Hath reached ere now the monarch of the world.
My letter will inflame his heart anew,
The elephantine chief will come to aid us,
And with a noble company of Lions.
We shall return in triumph, well content,
And eager to behold Khusrau again.
We will report to that triumphant world-king
All that hath passed in public and in private,
And through his kindness and his satisfaction
Obtain, each one of us, the fruits of fortune."
Both hosts ceased fighting, breathed themselves, and left
The battle drawn. On both sides scouts advanced
Upon that plain of valiant warriors.
Human came forth, saw corpses block the road,
And thus addressed Piran: "Withdraw to-day;
The battle hath not answered our desires,
But when our warriors, approvers horsemen,
And men have rested I will make a fight
Such as the sun and moon ne'er saw."
Their converse done, each on his schemes intent.
How Kai Klausrau had Tidings of his Host
News reached Khusrau: "Piran hath gained the day,
Tus hath retired upon Mount Hamawan,
And many a chieftain of the host is missing.
The portal of the palace of Gudarz,
Son of Kishwdd, is void of men of war
And chiefs. The very stars are wailing them,
The rose no longer groweth in the garden,
The world through them is filled with dust and blood,
And Tus' high star hath fallen! "
The famous, heard, and his heart quaked. He bade
The elephantine Rustam come to court,
And with his host. The sages and the archmages,
Famed and experienced of Iran, all came;
Khusrau, the chief of chieftains, loosed his tongue,
Told how the host had fought, and said to Rustam:-
"Exalted one' our ancient state, I fear,
Is tottering, whereat my heart is full
Of dread. Thou fosterest the crown and throne,
World-ruling fortune hath its light from thee,
The heart of heaven is on thy sabre's point,
And under thee are sky and time and earth.
Thou didst dig out the White Div's heart and brain
The age's hopes are based upon thy love,
Earth is the servant of thy charger's dust,
And time to thee is like a loving mother.
The sun is set a-burning by thy sword,
And Venus weepeth at that mace of throe.
Thy plumed and pointed shafts make lions weary
Of fighting with thee on their day of bale.
Since thou hast been a man and worn a helm
No foe hath cast his eye upon Iran.
Now Tus, Gudarz, and Giv and other chiefs,
With many of the warriors of this land,
Have with full hearts and eyes that flowed with tears
Fled from the soldiers of Afrasiyab.
Full many of the kindred of Gudarz
Fell on the day of fight and sleep in dust.
Those of the army that escaped with life
Are broken-hearted on Mount Hamawan;
Their heads are lifted heavenward; they pray
The Almighty, who is Lord of time and place,
That elephantine Rustam may perchance
Come to them in God's strength at my command.
As I perused the letter in the night
I shed my heart's blood freely on my cheeks.
I told the thing to no one for three days
Save only unto God the Succourer,
But now, because the matter bath surpassed
All bounds, my heart is full of care therefor.
Thou art the hope of host and general
Mayst thou be sound in health and bright in mind;
May thy head flourish and thy heart rejoice,
Be thy pure person free from hurt of foe.
Ask me for plenty of whate'er thou wilt,
Of steeds, of arms, of treasure, and of troops.
Go with good counsels and a joyful heart
So great a work must not be slackly done."
The hero answered: "May the signet-ring
And crown ne'er lack thee. Heaven remembereth not
A king like thee for Grace, for stature, justice,
And rede. Khusrau bath heard that ever since
Kubad assumed the imperial diadem
I have been girded in Iranian quarrels,
And have not sat at rest a single day.
Mine have been waste, gloom, lion, elephant,
Enchanters, lusty dragons, mighty men
Both of Turan and of Mazandaran,
Dark nights, and massive maces, and withal
Long journeyings and thirsts, for I preferred
The door of travail to the stead of ease.
So many toils and hardships have I seen
That I have never asked a day of pleasure.
Thou art the world's king, and a slave am I
Grieve for the slain, but let thy foes look wan.
With belted waist will I draw near to Tus,
And gird me to avenge the Iranians,
For liver-wounded have I been and girt
With mourning for the scions of Gudarz."
When Kai Khusrau heard Rustam's words he wept,
And said: "Without thee I desire not life,
Or majesty or crown or royal throne.
Now be the welkin in thy lasso's noose,
And crowned heads in thy bonds."
Unlocked the royal hoard of jewels, crowns,
Dinars, helms, lassos, bows, and belts, oped too
The sacks of drachms. The Shah gave all to Rustam,
Thus saying: "O illustrious warrior!
Go with the mace-men of Zabulistan,
And mighty men and warriors of Kabul,
Swift as the blast, not tarrying thyself
Or bidding others tarry. From the host
Choose thirty thousand swordsmen dight for war,
And give to Fariburz son of Kaus
Some troops to go on first and seek revenge."
The peerless Rustam kissed the ground and said:-
"The bridle and the stirrups are my mates.
We will urge on the chiefs; far be repose
And idleness from us."
He paid the troops,
Went forth upon the plain, prepared for war,
And said to Fariburz: "Lead forth at dawn,
Conduct the van, and sleep not day or night
Until thou come to Tus the general.
Say to him: 'Risk not fight, use guile, gain time,
And be not rash. Lo! like a blast I come,
Not dallying upon the road. Gurgin,
Son of Milad, approved in war, will know
How Fariburz asked to Wife Faranflis, the Mother of Kai Khusrau
"O warrior, distributor of crowns,
Lord of the breastplate, battle-ax, and Rakhsh! "
Said Fariburz, "I have a secret wish
That I can tell to no one in the world
Except to thee, O paladin of earth,
Who well deservest ring and crown and signet,
And art the stay and refuge of the host!
In thee the warriors exalt their helms.
Know great one of Ira,n! and may God bless thee,
That I and noble Siyawush were brothers,
rind one in blood. 'Tis fit that I should take
His widow as my wife, exalted chief!
Urge this upon the Shah, and thou wilt set
A crown upon my head."
Then Rustam answered:-
"'Tis throe to bid. I will achieve thy wish."
The elephantine chief went in and said:-
O O famed Khusrau! I have a thing to ask
That will exalt my head above the moon,
And I will ask it with the monarch's leave,
For God approveth. Love and justice reach
All men through thee, twin-visaged like the sky.
Now Fariburz among the chiefs and princes
Hath not a peer; withal for rede and prowess
I do not see his match, and he desireth
This of the Shah - the place of Siyawush,
So that, when he is marching to avenge
His brother's blood, the guardian of his house
And wealth, the confidant in all his cares,
May be the daughter of Afrasiyab,
None else, they twain to be as sun and moon."
Khusrau on hearing gave consent and said:-
O famous man! the feet of fortune trample
All that reject thy counsel. Naught but good
Will come from words of throe. Live ever glorious!
I cannot urge this, as thou know'st. Such speech
To her would be misplaced, but I will give
My mother, if she will consent to listen,
The counsels most conformable with wisdom."
They went together to the moonlike dame -
The peerless Rustam and benignant Shah,
Who said to her: "Thou memory of my sire,
In good and ill my refuge! I may govern,
But thou art Shah to me. Thou know'st the toil
And travail of the army in this war,
How many of our mighty men have perished
In battle with furan! I mean to send
A host with Rustam son of Zal as chief,
While Fariburz will lead the van, and Rustam
Himself be champion. He would have thee be
The wife of Fariburz. What is thy pleasure
Therein? Be greatness and all good thy mates."
On hearing this she thought about old times,
Distressed and vexed at heart; at length in tears
She said: "I blame not Rustam; if I did
It would be misplaced now, for only heaven
Can say him nay when he requesteth aught."
Then Rustam said to her: "O dame of dames,
Extolled for spotless worth! Oh! may thy foes
All perish! Thou, may be, wilt hear my counsel.
Thou knowest that a woman cannot rest
Without a spouse, the young without the young,
And best of all a mate of Kaian race,
For man is for the woman's sake, and she
Is far more eager than her spouse for her.
Victorious Fariburz son of Kaus,
Fit for the crown, the lustre of the throne,
The brother and the peer of Siyawush,
Is ruler of the more part of Iran;
The peopled land and desert both are his.
By leave, advice, and order of the Shah
Do I approve thee as the prince's spouse.
What sayest thou? Is he approved by thee?
Doth Fariburz appear a fitting mate?
Thou wilt do well to hearken to my words
Heed what I tell thee and the Shah's advice."
The Shah of ladies held her peace awhile
In grief, ashamed to speak before her son,
Then sighing deeply answered Rustam thus:-
"O full of prowess, leader of the folk
Although there is none like him in Iran
He cannot take the place of Siyawush;
Yet is my tongue, as thou mayst say, in fetters
By reason of thy words, O paladin!
What doth the famous monarch now command?
I must be girded to perform his will."
Thus, blushing like the roses in the spring,
The monarch's mother gave consent. The matter,
Since Rustam was so instant; was soon sped
They called the archmages and drew up the contract.
Then Fariburz became Shah's sire-in-law,
And being franked by Kai Khusrau and Rustam
Increased his quality and dignity,
And gained a robe of honour and new crown.
Three days prepared, the fourth achieved, the business,
Then Rustam with his gallant warriors
Fared toward the plain, while Fariburz with troops
Went in advance, resplendent as a star
In heaven. Arose the din of clarions,
And matchless Rustam led his army forth.
The Shah, the world-lord, with his mind all care,
Fared with him for two leagues, while Rustam turned
Two stages into one upon his way,
And rested not at all by night or day.
How Tus saw Siyawush in a Dream
One night, about the hour of drum-beat, Tus,
Heart-seared and full of trouble, slept and dreamed
That from the deep a radiant lustre rose
About an ivory throne, and Siyawush
Thereon with Grace and crown, with smiling lips
And tongue fair-spoken, turned a sun-like face
Upon him. "stay the Iranians here," he said,
"For thou shall conquer in the fight. Lament not
The kindred of Gudarz, for there is here
A rosary all new, and we will quaff;
How long we wot not, underneath its blooms."
With joyful heart released from pain and grief
Tus woke. Then to Gudarz: "World-paladin!
I have beheld a vision in my sleep!
Take note that Rustam like a rushing wind
Will come anon!"
He bade the pipes to sound,
The troops upon the mountain left their posts,
The warriors of Iran girt up their loins,
And set up Kawa's standard, while Piran
Upon the other side led forth his powers;
The dust-clouds dimmed the sun; its eye was dazed
By warriors' shouts and by the rain of arrows.
The two hosts met, but not a champion showed
Before the lines. Human said to Piran:-
"We must attack. Why hesitate? The troops
Are not out hunting. Man and beast bear weight."
Piran said: "Peace! 'Tis not the time for haste
Or argument. Yestreen from yonder lines,
And unawares, three with a paltry force
Assailed us, hungry lions they, we sheep
Whom cold is driving from the mountain-tops.
I found the whole plain. like a stream of blood,
And famous heads laid low. The Iranians hold
A barren rock, their chargers sniff at thorns
Like musk. Wait till they burn upon the crags,
And die resourceless. Leave no way to pass,
Side, front, or rear-ward. Since without your fighting
The foe will come to hand, why change delay
For haste? Why should we fight? Ten horse will serve
As scouts upon the plain. Wait we until
Our foes lack food and drink, and ask for quarter.
Unless they can subsist on thorns and flints
When provand faileth they will take to them
They left the field, went to their tents,
And scouts were posted while the warriors loosed
Their belts and turned to sleep and banqueting.
The chieftain Tus went also to his camp,
With full heart and with cheeks of ebony,
And thus addressed Gudarz: "Affairs grow dark;
The fortunes of the Iranians are distraught.
Troops compass us, our beasts' feed is all thorny,
And food is not o'er-plenteous with the host
Unsheathe at dawn. Rank on the mountain-skirts.
If our good star prove helpful it will give us
Our will upon our foes, while if the Judge
Of heaven shall end us with the scimitar,
No more or less can hap than His decree,
So measure not your breaths in your dismay.
Death too with high renown is goodlier
Than life with fear and overthrow."
With what their fortune-favoured chief proposed.
Afrasiyab sent the Khan and Kamus to help Piran
When from the sign of Cancer Sol reached out,
And rent the musk-hued Veil, a messenger
Came from the monarch to Piran and said:-
"Troops throng from every side - a host whose dust
Would make a desert of the sea of Chin
Upon the battle-day. A chief is there
From Ma wara 'u'n-Nahr; his head is raised
O'er circling heaven; a hundred lions' strength
Is his; he quelleth mighty elephants!
In height a cypress and in looks a moon,
A potentate whose toys are crowns and thrones,
Kamus, this chief of chiefs, will have his will
Upon Gudarz and Tus. The troops comprise
All those that dwell 'twixt Sipanjab and Rum.
I reckon first the Khan of Chin, whose crown
Is heaven, his throne the earth, next brave Manshur,
Whose falchion layeth warriors' heads in dust,
And next Kaimus, the swordsman of Kashain,
Whose eyes ne'er saw defeat. His works all prosper;
When he is wroth he bringeth blast and snow."
Piran harangued the army of Turan,
And said: "Ye chiefs and warriors of the king
Rejoice ye, young and old! at this good news,
dent by the king, and be ye bright of soul;
Now must we wash the trouble from our hearts
I will not leave Irun field, fell, or crop.
The pains and troubles of the king are over
In seeking vengeance and arraying troops,
And ye shall see Afrasiyab supreme
By land and sea, at home and in Iran."
From those approaching powers fresh messengers
Kept coming to the captain of the host
With joyful news: "O famous paladin
Live glad and bright of soul for evermore.
Be thy heart joyful to behold these kings,
And may thy soul cease troubling. From Kashmir
All, till thou comest to the river Shahd,
Is elephants and litters, flags and troops,
While from Saklab Kundur the lion-man
Is coming with that warring Heaven Biward
Of Kait, with Garcha from Sagsar, Shangul
From Hind. Flags fill the air and swords the earth.
Chaghan hath sent Fartus, the Light of hosts,
Gahan hath sent Gahar, who scorcheth heroes,
With Shamiran of Shakn, first of the age,
Who scattereth poison with his spear and sword.
Now lift thy head and take thy pleasure here,
For this glad news would make an old man young."
Piran laughed out with all his heart and soul,
Thou wouldst have said: "He that was dead reviveth! "
Thus spake he to Htiman: "I will go forth
To meet them. They have had a longsome march,
Equipped for fight and full of care. They hold
Their heads as high as loth Afrasiyab,
For they have treasure, lustre, throne, and state.
I will go forth and see what men they are,
How many, with what chiefs and warriors,
Will do obeisance to the Khan of Chin,
And kiss the ground before his throne withal
I will behold Kamus, the exalted one,
And find Tus an opponent in Shangul.
Returning hither I will gird myself
To rob the Iranians of the breath of life,
And, if they cannot hold their own, will make
Day dark and strait to them. I will secure
With heavy bonds about their feet and necks
Those that survive among the Iranian chiefs,
And then dispatch them to Afrasiyab,
Not taking rest or sleep till it be done,
Behead the common soldiers that I capture,
Burn them, commit their ashes to the winds,
And take no thought about the place again.
Then will I part our army into three,
And darken the Iranian monarch's day.
I will dispatch one army unto Balkh,
And make day bitter to the Iranians,
Another to Kabulistan and bring
Kabul the ashes of Zabulistan,
And lead the third compact of mighty Turkmans
And Lions 'gainst Iran. I will spare none,
Not women, little children, young or old,
But overthrow Iran, both field and fell.
May not a hand or foot be left to them!
But till I order matters seek not fight."
Thus spake Piran and went with wreakful heart;
Thou wouldst have said: "His very skin hath burst."
Human said to the troops: "Away with care! -
For two days let us labour but to keep
Watch on Mount Hamawan, for fear our foes
Steal off by night just when our flags will fill
Completely road, plain, valley, stream, and hill."
How the Iranians tool Counsel how to act
Now when Sol mounted to the vault of heaven
The hearts of Tus and of Gudarz grew troubled:-
"Why are the Turkmans still to-day? Are they
At counsel or bemused? But be they sad
Or glad I look for ill! Know that if aid
Hath come to them ill hap hath come to us!
Consider all the Iranian troops as slain
Or, if still living, fleeing from the fight.
If Rustam cometh not upon the field
Disaster will befall us from yon host,
And we shall have no sepulture, no grave,
But horses' hoofs will trample on our heads! "
Giv said to Tus: "O general of the Shah
What aileth thee to think upon mishap?
We need not look for ill; God is thy Helper;
We are His worshippers, and have broadcast
Much seed of good. Such fortune hath the Shah,
The lord of scimitar and throne and crown,
That God will not withdraw His help from'us,
And leave our enemies to work their will.
With Rustam's coming all our soldiers' cares
Will end. Let no man cease to trust in God
Though day should turn to night. Let not thy heart
Be straitened needlessly because our foes
Forbear to fight one day: they have not shut
Heaven's door on us. Fear not the foe's designs.
If God most high ordaineth loss for us
(quit vain imaginings for come it will.
Let us construct a trench before the host,
As warriors rise, then draw the sword, provoke
A fight and slay our foes; we shall no doubt
Perceive their aims and lay their secret bare.
News from Iran will come and there will be
Light on the boughs of our tall Cypress-tree."
How Gudarz had Tidings of the Coming of Rustam
Gudarz departed from the host and clomb
The mountain-summit. From the look-out came
A grievous cry: "The Iranian warriors
Are ruined now! As yon bright sun declined
The whole world eastward grew as dark as night
With dust, which standard-bearing elephants
Sent up, and through that dust the shining sun
Was lustreless! "
Gudarz heard that and cried:-
Dark Dark earth is my sole hiding-place! "
Became as pitch, and like one arrow-pierced
He cried: "My share is ever strife and battle,
My lot ill-hap and bane for antidote.
I had a host of sons and grandsons, men
Reputed in the land, but all were slain
For Siyawush, and all my luck hath gone!
I hope no more from life, my day is dark!
Would that my mother had not brought me forth,
High heaven ne'er turned o'er me!"
To the watch
He said: "Long-sighted man and bright of mind!
Look forth upon the hosts and see who cometh.
Where is the banner of the Iranian chief?
Look to our left and right."
The watchman answered:-
"I see no movement and reconnaissance
On our side, but on theirs all is astir;
Of us thou wouldest say: 'They are asleep.'"
Thereat the paladin shed bitter tears,
And cried in sorrow: "Saddle me my steed,
Axed for the future make my bed of brick!
I go to fill mine eyes and arms once more,
Emrace Shidush, Bizhan, Ruhham, and Giv,
Those brave, impetuous cavaliers, kiss each
Farewell upon the cheek and shower tears."
His gallant bay was saddled when there came
The watchman's shout: "Rejoice, world-paladin!
And banish care, for on the road that leadeth
Toward Iran a black, day-darkening dust
Ariseth; many standards like the moon
Are lifted from the centre of a host;
The first one bath a wolf, a moon the next,
The third a dragon with a lion's head
In gold upon the staff!"
"Then live for ever,
And may the evil eye be far from thee!"
Gudarz exclaimed. "When what thou utterest
To such good purpose shall be brought to pass
I will bestow on thee such varied treasures
That thou shaft have no need to toil henceforth.
Hereafter, when we go back to Iran, .
Some day, and to the monarch of the brave,
I will forthwith present thee at his throne,
And lift thy head above the nobles there.
Now prithee leave thy look-out-post, approach
Our generals, and tell what thou hast seen;
Be quick; use whom thou wilt upon the road."
"I may not leave the look-out for the host,"
The watchman said, "but when 'tis grown so dark
That I can see no longer I will carry,
Like the Simurgh, the tidings to the troops
Down from my station here."
Rejoined: "Be shrewd of heart and bright of soul.
Look forth from this high mountain yet again,
And see how soon they will be here."
Yon Yon host will reach Mount Hamawan to-morrow
The paladin conceived such joy
As would have brought a corpse to life.
For his part, swift as flying dust-clouds led
Those reinforcements to the battlefield.
A horseman went on first to tell at large
The joyful news which when Human had heard
He laughed and said: "Now surely sleepless fortune
Is with us."
From the field a shout of joy
Rose cloud-ward from the army of Turan.
The Iranian nobles full of care and pain,
With faces sallow and with livid lips,
Dispersed themselves upon the mountain-side
To give their last instructions. Everywhere
Groups gathered and bewailed themselves, and said:-
"Woe for these warriors of royal race,
Who are forgotten by the Iranians,
For now the lions' maws will be their tombs,
And earth be saturate with heroes' blood! "
The chief bespake Bizhan: "Arise, explore
This secret, scale the mountain-top and mark
The character and number of this host.
See by what road they are approaching us,
What camp-enclosures and what thrones they have."
Bizhan the son of Giv then went apart,
And climbed the mountain's solitary peak,
Saw flags and horsemen, elephants and troops
On all sides, ran back to the general,
With heart all pain and soul all care, and said:-
"Earth's surface bath become like indigo,
So many are the troops and elephants!
The flags and spears pass count, the sun is dim
In heaven with dust, the troops are countless, boundless,
The ear is deafened by their kettledrums."
Tus listened, sad at heart and face all tears,
Then called to him the captains, sorely grieved
About his men, and said: "Time showeth me
Naught but the woes of war. I have experienced
Full many a rise and fall, but never fear
Like this. We have but one resource: although
Our arms and troops are few we will get ready,
Attack to-night, and make earth a Jihun
With blood. If we shall perish in the fray
There will be generals while there are kings
Men shall not say: 'He died ingloriously,'
Although they have to lay me in the dust."
The leaders present all agreed thereto.
Now when the face of earth became like pitch,
When Venus, Mars, and Mercury were hidden,
And when the moon rose from the Sign of Pisces,
And to the navel rent the robe of night,
The watchman with a face like sandarach
Ran in to Tus and said: "O General!
The Shah hath sent an army from Iran! "
The leader Us laughed with the other chiefs,
And said: "O men of name and warriors
We need not now seek fight since aid hath come,
We have our times for haste and for delay.
The elephantine hero by God's strength
Will come to our assistance with this host;
Then on the Turkmans will we satisfy
Our lust, and our renown shall reach the sun."
They thought no more about a night-attack;
The troops and leader joyed; the watchman made
Their spirits bright again, and young and old
Told those glad tidings. Tus sent forth his scouts,
Shouts and the clang of bells rose from the mount,
And all the folk, grown happy and soul-bright,
Talked of the chief of paladins all night.
How the Khan of Chin went to reconnoitre the Army of Iran
Whenas the sun arrayed its host in heaven,
And black night disappeared, the Khan of Chin
Assembled the Turanian chiefs and warriors,
And thus addressed Piran: "We will not fight
To-day, and we do need a day's repose,
But, while our proud chiefs and man-slaying horsemen
Rest from the travail of the tedious road,
And from their hurried march o'er hill and dale,
I will survey the Iranians - how they fare
Upon the field."
Piran replied: "The Khan
Is a wise king and worshipful, so let him
Do what he will to-day for he is leader."
There rose a clamour from the camp-enclosure
With sounds of kettledrum and clarion.
They mounted seats upon five elephants,
Housed with brocade of Chin of turquoise hue,
And broidered with gold thread. The seats themselves
Were gemmed with emeralds, the fittings golden,
The saddle-flaps were made of leopard-skin,
And golden were bells, gongs, and rattle-boxes.
The drivers' heads were decked with crowns, and all
Wore torques and ear-rings. With so many flags
Of painted silk the air was yellow, red,
And violet like some bazar in Chin.
The troops marched to the field as if to keep
A feast, the earth was beauteous as the eye
Of chanticleer with trappings, colours, drums,
And pipes. The kings set forth, the air was filled
With blare of clarions, the spearpoints gleamed,
The plain was black with troops. Tus from afar
Saw them and ranged in line what men he had,
The warriors of Iran girt up their loins,
And Giv brought Kawa's standard. From the plain
Of battle to the summit of the mount
The army of Iran stood troop on troop.
Now when Kamus went forward with Manshur,
Biward, Shangul the prescient, and the Khan
To view Mount Hamawan, they never thought
To face a foe, but when the Khan afar
Looked forth and heard the Iranian horsemen's war-cry
It pleased him and he said: "Behold a host
Of men - o'erthrowing, warlike cavaliers
Piran the chieftain told us otherwise,
But brave men's qualities should not be hidden.
The chieftain masketh the pit's mouth with brambles,
And thither will his horse speed at the chase.
What better is it vainly to besmirch
The foemen's prowess on the day of fight?
I have not looked on cavaliers and chiefs
So stamped with chivalry and manliness."
" Men reek not of so few," Piran replied,
"Upon a field like this."
" But," said the Khan,
"What shall we do?"
Piran said: "Thou hast fared
Far over hill and dale. Let us remain
Three days to rest the troops. I will divide
The host; the day of fight and fear is over.
Half of our warlike, glorious cavaliers
Shall fall upon the foe from dawn till noon
With double-pointed dart, sword, bow, and mace;
And then till night ariseth from the hills
The other half shall strive. At dark will I
Bring up the rested troops and press the foe;
We will not let them have a moment's peace -
We and our eager cavaliers in arms."
Kamus replied: "Not good! No such delay
For me! With all these men and such strife toward
Why seek so long a respite? Let us both
Attack and straiten dale and height for them.
Hence we will march upon Iran, will leave not
Throne, crown, or diadem, lay waste all fields
And fells, and act as warriors and Lions.
No women, little children, old or young,
No Shah, or man of rank or paladin
Will I leave in Inin, no field or fell,
No hall or palace or four-footed beast.
Why should we pass so many evil days
To get but care and grief and needless pain?
But ope not to our foes a door to-night
To get away. As soon as morning breatheth
The troops must move. I with the king of Hind
Will bear my flag up yonder height. To-morrow
Thou shaft behold a heap of corpses there
To make the Iranians weep that look thereon."
The Khan said to Piran: "There is no course
Save this: he is a peerless general."
The nobles all agreed to what Kimus,
The conqueror of Lions, had proposed.
The conference being o'er they went their way,
And passed all night in ordering their array.
How Fariburz reached Mount Hamazvan
Whenas the sun had pitched a camp-enclosure
Of gold brocade upon the azure realm
A loud cry from the look-out reached Gudarz
"O captain of the host! the troops have come!
They are at band; Their dust hath dimmed the day:"
Gudarz sprang up, had his swift charger brought,
And rode toward that dark dust with anxious heart.
He came. When near to them he spied the flag
Of Fariburz the chief, who led the van,
The well approven and the new Shah's kinsman.'
Then old Gudarz alighted as withal"
Did Fariburz the wise, the army's Lustre.
The twain embraced. Gudarz wept tears of blood
Upon his breast. "Old chief," said Fariburz,
"Still forced to fight! revenge for Siyawush
Hath cost thee dear! Alas! those cavaliers
Gudarzian' May much good news of them
Still reach thee, may the fortune of the foe
Be over-turned! Praise to the Lord of sun
And moon that I have seen thee safe and sound."
Gudarz wept blood for those that slept in dust.
"Observe," he made reply, "how evil fortune
Is ever bringing evil on my head!
No son or grandson hath survived this strife,
No soldiers, flags, and kettledrums are left
But I dismiss all thought of conflicts past;
Now is the time for fighting and emprise.
The troops on plain and dale have made earth like
A raven's wing, so many are they, and all
The host of Tus is as the one black hair
Upon a white bull by comparison!
The wastes and settlements of Chin, Saklab,
Of Rum and Hind, can have no creature left!
All must have girt themselves to fight with us
But till thou tellest me where Rustam is
My back will not be straightened from its griefs."
" He is behind me," Fariburz replied,
"Intent on war. All through the night till dawn
He marcheth with all speed. Now where shall I
Encamp and whither lead this little band?"
Gudarz made answer: "What did Rustam say?
His words should be reported."
Replied: "Illustrious one! the peerless Rustam
Bade us not fight. 'Stay on the field,' he said.
'Ye must not show yourselves before the host,
But take your ease until my flag appeareth. "'
Then Fariburz, Gudarz in company,
Marched toward Mount Hamawan right speedily.
How Piran took Counsel with the Khan of Chin
When from his look-out the Turanian watch
Espied these troops he went back to the host.
"Gird all your loins for fight," he told Piran,
"For from Iran an army bath arrived,
Advancing o'er the plain! "
Went to the Khan of Chin, and said: "An army
Is coming from Iran, how great I know not,
Or who the leader is. What shall we do?"
Kamus said: "Keep thyself to throe own force.
Thou bast the warriors of Afrasiyab -
An army like the waters of the sea -
Yet what hast thou accomplished in five months
Against a foe so small? Now that the earth
Is full of troops led by the Khan, Manshur,
And me, let us display our prowess; thou
Hast locked the door but we will bring the key.
Although the world's face be as silk of Chin
With soldiers from Kabul, Zabul, and Hind,
Yet, should I fight alone, the Irai,nians
Were nothing. Thou wilt say of them: 'They are
Thou wouldest scare me with illustrious Rustam;
Him will I slaughter first; if once I catch him
His name shall not be talked of any more.
Thou art oppressed and fearful of this host
Approaching from Sistan, but once behold
My hand in battle, when the dust-cloud riseth
Upon the plain, and thou wilt recognise
A hero in the world, what brave men are,
And what fight is."
Piran said: "Live for ever!
May evil's hand be always far from thee.
Enough! may what thou sayest be fulfilled,
And no one prove thine equal."
Said the Khan:-
"Thou bast allowed Kamus to lead the attack;
He will perform his word, for he hath Mountains
As his allies and Elephants for mates.
Daunt not the troops, for these Irinians
Are no great matter, and I will not leave
One noble in Iran, but send up dust
From hill and vale; as for the men of worship,
I will dispatch them to Afrasiyab
In heavy fetters and behead the rest.
We will not leave Iran a leaf, a tree,
A Shah, a palace or a crown or throne."
Piran with smiles did reverence to the chiefs,
And to the Khan of Chin, then went rejoicing
Back to the camp, where all the nobles sought him,
Such as Hurnzin, Lahhak, and Farshidward -
Great men and Lions on the day of battle.
"A host," they said, "arriveth from Iran,
Led by a sable flag; a noted scout
Went forth to spy and is but now returned.
They say 'tis Fariburz son of Kaus,
A noble, loyal soldier."
"Let us dismiss our cares. In Rustam's absence
We need not be afraid of Fariburz;
His breath is no cure for a bane like this.
But though according to Kamus indeed
The elephantine Rustam is no man
In war, God grant he come not though Kamus
Be such a Crocodile!"
Human replied: -
"Why lost thou keep thy spirit dark with care?
This is not he, or army from SistAn
Here are the blood and dust of Fariburz."
Piran said: "I have given u.p the throne
And state in dudgeon with the sun and moon,
For when I heard that from Iran a host
Marched, and was coming to this battlefield,
My brain went, anguish filled my soul and head,
And from my heart I drew a chilly sigh."
Kulbad said: "Why this grief? What need is there
To weep because of Rustam or of Tus?
With all our soldiers, maces, elephants,
And scimitars we block the wind itself.
Why fear then Rustam, Tus, and Kai Khusrau?
What are the Iranians but as dust to us?
They were dispersed in flight from yonder field,
And straggled to their tents."
Anon Tus heard:-
The land is full of beat of kettledrum,
And elephantine Rustam hath arrived
With Fariburz and soldiers from Iran."
He bade bring forth the drums, Mount Hamawan,
Wherefrom shouts rose, grew ebon with dark dust,
And earth shook underneath the trampling steeds.
Then Tus harangued the troops, he spake at large
About Mazandaran, what Rustam did
In battle with the divs, and how he triumphed.
The soldiers called down' blessings on their chief,
They said: "Be ware of heart and bright of mind.
We may pour out our souls at this good news,
Which easeth them. When peerless Rustam cometh
Yon host will not withstand the Crocodile.
Then will we battle on this mount forthwith
To cast this shame off from the Iranians.
The standard of the illustrious Khan, the crown,
The golden shields, and throne of ivory,
His elephant-attendants' crowns of gold,
Their golden girdles and their golden torques,
Their golden cymbals and their golden bells,
Unmatched on earth, his jewelled parasol
Of peacocks' tails, these will we seize, and more,
When we arc fighting with our lives at stake."
Tus said: "We are exposed to fear and blame;
Our foes surround the mount, our nobles' heads
Are snared. When Rustam cometh he will speak
Upbraidingly, not asking what bath chanced,
And say: 'Thou writ a bird caught in a net;
The cause was sodden but the fight was raw.
As with the general so with the host
I have not seen one eager for the fray!'
So let us charge like lions, and the foe
May yet be shifted on this side the mount."
The troops replied to him: "Soar not so high.
Refrain from words like these, let none advance
Till Rustam bath surveyed the scene of strife.
We will make prayer to God, the Guide to good.
By His command, Who holdeth sun and moon,
The matchless Rustam will approach this field.
Why have disaster for thy star? Bestow
Dinars and drachms upon the poor."
Raised shouts of joy upon the mountain-top
As merrily they sought their place of rest,
Each man to spend the night as seemed him best.
How Giv and Tus fought with Kurds
When Sol laid hand on Taurus, and the larks
Began to carol o'er the plain, a shout
Ascended from the encampment of Kamus,
That man-o'erthrowing chief who led the van.
He massed his troops and gave out mail; his heart
Was full of fight, his head of vapouring.
He changed his robe for armour, donned a helm
Instead of crown, a breastplate for a tunic,
And chose troops panoplied in steel and iron.
The armies' dust began to show itself,
Men could not see their way for scimitars
And coats of mail. Then from the Iranian look-out
A shout rose: "On our side a host hath come;
The standard of the elephantine chief
Is visible behind it. On the other
Turanian troops have clouded all the air.
Their leader is a horseman like a rock,
And earth is shaken by his charger's hoofs.
His mace's head is like a buffalo's;
Troops follow him and spearmen lead the way.
Thou well mayst muse at one that shouldereth
A mace like that! "
On his side Tus sent up
The drum-roll to the clouds, he heard the watchman,
His soul grew bright, he joyed, while from Gudarz
A horseman sped to Fariburz to say:-
"The army of Turan arrayed for battle
Is near at hand. They must not in full force
Assail us scattered thus and overthrow us.
Act as thy nature biddeth, for thou art
A noble and Shah's son. The dust of Rustam
Is rising from the road, and lie is entering
Then Fariburz joined force with Tus
And Giv. They ranged the host on Hamaw an,
And raised the glorious flag. All being ready,
Right, left, and centre, rear and baggage-train,
The clarions blared and all the host came on
As 'twere the starry sky; so when Kamus
Advanced to fight he had no need to wait,
But, like a river speeding down a height,
Led on his troops and fronted Hamawan.
Air was like indigo and earth was hidden.
When he was near he faced toward the mount,
And with his cheeks all smiles addressed his powers:-
"It is a coward's business to oppose
The Iranians, yet a vast, brave host is here
And not Piran, Human, and all that crew!
What champion have they to contend with me?"
Then shouting to Mount Hamawan he cried:-
"Ye lion-men upon the day of battle!
Behold my breast, my stature, and my bearing,
This arm of mine, this sword and mace! "
On hearing, flared up, raged, and drew his sword,
But said, when he drew nearer to Kamus:-
"None but a furious elephant can match him! "
He took and strung his bow, he called on God,
The Giver of all good, and showered arrows
From bow like clouds in spring upon Kamus,
Who, when he marked Giv's mastery, concealed
His own head 'neath his shield, and with his lance
Charged wolf-like. Air was full of dust, and earth
Of death. On drawing near his foe he speared
Giv's waist, who reeled and, as he reeled, Kamus
Plucked out his own sword, shouted, raged, proclaimed
His name, came grimly on the cavalier,
And clave his lance obliquely like a pen.
Tus from the centre saw the fight with grief,
And thought: "Giv is not man enough; I only
Can wield a spear like that."
He left the centre
With shouts to succour Giv and join the fray.
Kamus wheeled, rode between the chiefs, and struck
The steed of Tus a sword-blow on the neck;
That prince's face became like ebony.
The charger fell, the gallant rider rose;
Then like a roaring lion took his stand,
And on the battlefield with spear afoot
Contended with Kamus before the hosts.
Two noble warriors fought one cavalier;
He of Kashan was still insatiate!
Thus, till the sun's place darkened, all the field
Was in confusion and, when it grew ebon,
Kamus and Tus gave o'er. The hosts again
Went to their several camps on mount and plain.
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