The night was like jet dipped in pitch, there lent
No planet lustre to the firmament,
The moon, appearing in her new array
In readiness to take her throneward way,
Much brightness lost by sojourning below;
Her waist was shrunk, her heart was full of woe,
Her crown was well-nigh lapis-lazuli;
Through rust and dust she journeyed through the sky.
Night's retinue had spread out everywhere
A carpet black as raven's plumes, the air
Was like rust-eaten steel; thou wouldst have cried:-
"Its face is smirched with pitch!" On every side,
Like some black serpent with its jaws stretched wide,
Was very Ahriman, each sigh of whom
Was like a negro making charcoal fume.
The garden and the stream's lip seemed to be
Like billows surging on a pitchy sea
O'er which the circling heaven paused wonderingly.
The sun had lost its power; thou wouldst have said:-
"Earth sleepeth with a pitch-like robe o'erspread."
The world's heart trembled at itself; no sounds
Were heard but watchmen ringing on their rounds;
The birds refrained from song, the beasts were still,
The world's lips closed alike for good or ill,
And height and depth were lost. Amid the woes
Of that long vigil strait at heart I rose.
I had one in the house, a loving wight,
To whom I called and bade to bring a light.
Descending to the garden presently
My darling Idol came and said to me:-
"What need for light? Will sleep not visit thee?"
I said: "Mine Idol! I am not at one
With slumber. Bring a candle like the sun,
Set it in front of me, then spread the board,
Take up the harp, and let the wine be poured."
My darling Idol fetched me lamps a-shine,
Fetched quinces, oranges, pomegranates, wine,
And one bright goblet fit for king of kings,
Then plied at whiles the wine, at whiles the strings.
"Harut performed enchantment," thou hadst said,
My heart grew victor over drearihead,
And it seemed day with me in dark night's stead.
Hear what my loving comrade said to me
What time the goblet had - joined company.
Thus said to me that sun-faced Moon of mine:-
"May heaven have joyance of that life of thine.
Quaff thou thy wine while from this volume's store
I will read out to thee a tale of yore.
Or ever part thereof shall reach thine ear
Thou wilt admire the process of the Sphere.
The theme is love, spell, war, and stratagem,
All worthy that a sage should list to them."
"O Moon-face!" said I to that Cypress-stem,
"Recite, recite," who answered: "That will I,
And thou shalt weave it into poetry."
I said: "Begin, my fair-faced Moon! to read,
And make me love thee more. I may be freed
From my distemperature, and sleep betide
In musings, darling mate! by thee supplied.
Then will I turn the story, every whit,
To verse exactly as thou tellest it,
And, telling, offer praise to God above,
O my discreet companion and my love!"
That darling Idol read the tale to me
Out of the book of ancient legendry,
So now give ear the while that I rehearse,
And exercise thy judgment on my verse.
How the Iranians appealed to Khusrau
When Kai Khusrau went forth to take revenge,
And sought to change the order of the world,
The throne and state departed from Tunin,
But his throne topped the sun because he leagued
Heaven and Iran together, and lavished love
Upon the noble race, the age renewed
Its youth and bathed his face in loyalty;
And though the prudent maketh not his couch
A torrent-bed though dry, yet for a while
The more part of the world acknowledged him
That sought to be avenged for Siyawush.
One day he sat carousing in his joy,
And drinking to the warriors of the host.
His throne was ornate with brocade, a crown
Of gems was on his head, and in his hand
A jewelled cup of wine. Thus, all enraptured,
He listened to the harp. The nobles present
Were Fariburz the son of Kai Kaus,
And Gustaham, Gudarz son of Kishwad,
Gurgin son of Milad, Farhad, and Giv,
Shapur the brave, Tus, shatterer of hosts -
Head of the scions of Naudar - Kharrad,
And bold Bizhan. These loyal paladins
Had royal wine in hand. Inside the goblets
The wine was like carnelian of Yaman,
And in the midst were handfuls of dog-roses.
Before Khusrau stood slaves with fairy-faces,
Whose musk-black ringlets fell on skins of jasmine.
The banquet-hall was decked, and in the presence
Girt for attendance stood the chamberlain.
Approaching him discreetly from the curtain
An usher said: "Iranians wait without -
Chiefs of the march between this and Turan
They fain would have an audience of the Shah,
For they have travelled far to seek redress."
The prudent chamberlain approached the throne,
Announced his tidings, sought the royal pleasure,
And introduced the envoys in due form.
They came before the presence of the Shah
With tears and cries for aid; their arms were folded,
Their faces swept the ground; as they drew nigh
They said: "O Shah triumphant! live for ever,
For thou art worthy of unending life.
We come for succour from a distant land,
Khan-i-Irman, between this and Turan,
And bring this message: 'Ever live, O Shah!
In every clime the succourer from the evil,
O'er all seven climes the king, and in each state
The help against the bad. Turan and we
Confine, which is a source of bale to us,
While toward Iran there was a forest-tract -
Our present cause of trouble. What a wealth
Of cultivated lands was ours therein,
And fruit trees, our chief means of sustenance!
Now do us right, O monarch of Iran
Because wild boars in numbers numberless,
With tusks like elephants', and big as hills,
Have seized on all those woods and meads, and put
The country of Iran in consternation.
What mighty ruin have they brought on us
Both in our cattle and our growing crops!
The boars delight in rending with their tusks
The cultivated trees whereof we speak.
Hard stones will not withstand such tusks, and fortune
May be hath utterly abandoned us!"
Now when the Shah had heard the suppliants' words
He was much grieved and, pitying them, addressed
The exalted warriors: "Who among my chiefs
And mighty men is eager for renown?
Let such depart to yon boar-wasted forest,
And, all intent on fame and combating,
Behead them with his sword. I will not grudge him
My gems and other treasures."
At his bidding
The treasurer laid upon the dais a salver
Of gold whereon they showered mingled gems;
They brought ten steeds, whose brand-mark was "Kaus,"
With golden bridles, trapped them with brocade
Of Rum, and called the nobles from the throng.
"O men of name and worship!" said earth's king,
"What man will make my toil his own and then
My treasure his?"
None answered him a word
Except the son of Giv of glorious race -
Bizhan - who stood forth midst the warriors,
And called God's blessing down upon the Shah:-
"Ne'er may thy palace see another master.
And be thy bidding done throughout the world.
I will adventure on this enterprise
At thy command: I only live for thee."
Giv, who was standing by, marked with displeasure
His son's words, called down blessings on the Shah.
Then took Bizhan to task: "What boyishness
Is this, and this conceit of thine own might?
A youth may have both wit and native worth,
But he must train to win accomplishment;
He must exhaust all kinds of good and ill,
Must taste of every salt and bitter. Go not
By paths that thou hast never trodden or brag
Before the Shah so recklessly."
Shrewd, though impulsive, and of sleepless fortune,
Replied in anger: "My victorious sire!
Impute not weakness to me in thy thoughts,
But bear with what I tell thee: I am young
In enterprise but I am old in counsel,
And I, Bizhan, who am the son of Giv,
The army-shatterer, will behead the boars."
The Shah rejoiced thereat, invoked God's blessing,
Bade him depart, and said: "Thou man of worship!
Thou art a buckler ever 'gainst all ill.
The lord that hath such lieges as thou art
Would be a fool to fear a foe."
Said to Gurgin son of Milad: "Bizhan
Is ignorant of the road toward Irman,
So bear him company with mule and steed
To show the way and be his help in need."
How Bizhan went to fight the wild Boars
Bizhan made ready for his setting forth,
Girt him, and set a casque upon his head.
He took with him Gurgin son of Milad
To help in battle and in time of need,
And left the court with cheetahs and with hawks
To hunt withal upon his longsome journey.
Like foaming lion he fared and took the heads
From onager and antelope; the plain
Was thick with wild sheep torn; their hearts and breasts
Felt the warm impress of the cheetah's claws.
His lasso ringed the necks of onagers,
He seemed like Tahmuras who bound the Div,
While overhead the pheasants clutched by falcons
Dyed jasmine-leaves with blood. Thus sped the twain,
And thought the road a garden, till they reached
The forest that had caused the Shah's concern.
Now when Bizhan cast eyes thereon the blood
Boiled in him with excitement, while the boars
Roamed freely, knowing not: "Bizhan hath mounted."
On drawing near the forest to attack
He spake thus to Gurgin son of Milad:-
"Go thou inside or stand aside, and when
I go to shoot the boars seek yonder pool.
Then, when a tumult riseth from the wood,
Take up thy mace, be ware, and with one blow
Behead each boar escaping."
The warrior, answered: "Such was not the compact
With our young Shah. Thou hadst the jewels, silver,
And gold, and didst adventure for this field;
Ask but mine aidance then to show the way."
Bizhan heard with amaze, his outlook darkened,
But lion-like he went inside the forest;
Undaunted strung his bow, roared mightily
As 'twere a cloud in spring, and brought the leaves
Down like a shower of rain, then sword in hand
Like some mad elephant he chased the boars
While they rushed at him, tusking up the earth.
Then came one boar, a very Ahriman,
Whose tushes cut through trees like files through stone,
And rent his hauberk while the reek of fight
Rose o'er the mead. Bizhan's sword smote the boar
And clave its elephantine form. The beasts
So fierce before grew fox-like; all were stained
With blood from sword-cuts; they had had enough
Of combating. Bizhan cut off their heads,
And tied them to his charger's saddle-straps,
That he might lay the tusks before the Shah;
And furthermore, in order to display
His courage to the Iranian chiefs, he flung
Some headless trunks, like mountains, on a wain,
And buffalos were wearied with the strain.
How Gurgin beguiled Bizhan
Malevolent Gurgin, the insensate one,
Apart drew near the forest sullenly,
And all the wood gloomed in his eyes albeit
He praised Bizhan and made a show of joy.
That matter grieved his heart, he feared disgrace,
And Ahriman seduced him. He was fain
To do Bizhan a mischief; 'twas his wish,
And so ordained. He thought not of the Maker,
But he that diggeth pitfalls in the way
Hath reason to walk warily himself.
Gurgin for his own profit and renown
Spread out his nets upon the young man's path,
And said: "O paladin, thou Heart of combat,
And Soul of wisdom! many an enterprise
Like this thou wilt achieve through thy high fortune
And God's support. Now I must tell thee somewhat,
For I have been here often in past time
With Rustam and with Giv and Gustaham,
With Gazhdaham and Tus son of Naudar.
How many a feat of prowess done by us
Hath heaven witnessed on this spacious plain -
Feats that have raised our reputations high,
And rendered us the dearer to Khusrau
There is a pleasure-ground not far away,
And only two days' journey from Turan,
Where thou wilt see a plain all red and yellow -
One to rejoice a hero's heart, all woods
And pleasances and rivulets, a spot
Fit for a paladin, with painted silk
For soil, and airs musk-laden: thou wouldst say:-
Perchance it is rose-water in the streams.'
The jasmine-branches bend beneath their burden;
The roses, which the pheasants love to haunt,
Are there the idols, and their worshippers
The bulbuls singing in the cypress-boughs.
Now from this present for a little while
Yon river's marge will be like Paradise,
And on the plain and uplands thou wilt see
In merry parties fay-faced damsels sitting.
Manizha, daughter of Afrasiyab,
Will make that garden radiant as the sun,
And with a hundred handmaids - perfect pictures,
All daughters of the Turkmans, modest maids,
As tall as cypress-trees, with musky hair,
And cheeks like roses, dreamy eyes, and wine
That savoureth rose-water on their lips -
Will set up her pavilion on yon meadows.
Thou wilt behold the plain bedecked throughout
With riches like an idol-house in Chin.
Now if we go toward that pleasure-ground,
And hurry o'er the journey in one day,
We may bear off some of those fay-faced damsels,
And win the approbation of Khusrau."
In this wise spake Gurgin. Bizhan was young,
And all the paladin was stirred in him.
He was a youth and followed youthful fashion,
Some whiles pursuing fame and some whiles passion.
How Bizhan went to see Manizha, Daughter of Afrasiyab
They set off on the tedious journey, one
Led by desire, the other by revenge.
Bizhan, the refuge of the host, alighted
Between two forests after one day's march.'
He and Gurgin enjoyed two days with hawk
And cheetah in those meadows of Irman.
On hearing that that marriageable maid
Had come, and decked the whole waste like the eye
Of chanticleer, Gurgin informed Bizhan,
And told him of the minstrelsy and feasting,
Whereat " Now will I," thus Bizhan responded,
"Go forward and examine from a distance
The scene and manner of the Turkmans' revels;
Then with my polished spear-head lifted skyward
Will I turn rein. We shall advise the better,
As feeling more assured, when we have seen."
He bade the treasurer: "Bring the crown that used,
Worn by my sire, to light the banquet-hall,
Because our way is banquet-ward. Bring likewise
The earrings and the torque that Kai Khusrau
Bestowed on me, and Giv's bejewelled armlet."
He donned a glittering tunic made in Rum,
And stuck an eagle's feather in his crown.
They put the saddle on his steed Shabrang
While he bade bring the girdle and the signet
That marked the paladin, and having mounted
Went to the spot in haste.
He reached the forest,
His heart preoccupied with its desires,
He drew anigh that Fair's pavilion,
Desire contending in his heart the while,
And went beneath a lofty cypress-tree
For shelter from the sun. The plain, with all
Its sounds of harp and song gave, thou hadst said,
His soul a welcome. When the fair one saw
The visage of the chieftain from her tent -
The cheeks as 'twere Canopus of Yaman,
Or jasmine blossoming mid violets -
While on hid head he wore the crown that marked
A chief of paladins, and all his breast
Blazed with brocade of Rum, the maiden yearned
For love of him, who came in quest of love,
And sent her nurse as envoy, saying thus:-
"Go 'neath the boughs of yonder lofty cypress,
And find out who he is - yon moonlike one.
Can it be Siyawush returned to life,
Or else a fairy? Question him and say:-
How How hast thou come and who hath brought thee hither?
Art thou of fairy-birth or Siyawush
That thou dost fill our hearts with love for thee,
For thou hast lit a raging fire of love,
Unless the Resurrection be upon us,
Because for years have I been holding revel
Upon these meads each spring, and we have seen
None in this pleasance; but I now see thee,
O noble Cypress! and it is enough:
Say to him: 'Whether thou art than or fairy
Come to our festival. I have not looked
On aught resembling thee, O moon-faced one!
Inform us of thy name and whence thou comest."'
The nurse, when she had come and done obeisance,
Gave him Manizha's message, and his cheeks
Bloomed like the rose. He saw his wish achieved,
And answered thus: "I am not Siyawush,
Or fairy-born, sweet-spoken messenger!
But from Iran - the country of the free.
Bizhan am I, the son of Giv, and came
All keenly thence to battle with wild boars.
I took their heads and threw them by the way
To bear their tushes to the Shah; but hearing
About this pleasance did not hurry back
To Giv, son of Gudarz, if so good fortune
Might show me though but in a dream the face
Of her - the daughter of Afrasiyab;
And now I see that all the plain is decked
With treasures like an idol-house in Chin.
If thou wilt show me kindness I will give thee
A crown of gold with earrings and a girdle,
And thou shalt lead me to yon lady fair,
And bring her heart to love me."
And bore the secret to Manizha's ear:-
"His countenance and mien are such and such,
In such and such wise hath the Maker made him."
Manizha sent an answer back forthwith:-
What What seemed a fancy is within thy grasp,
For now come to me with thy noble gait,
And shed a light on this dark soul of mine.
Mine eyes will brighten at the sight of thee,
Vale, plain, and tents will turn to rosaries."
With neither heart nor ear for aught beside
Her words he followed and she acted guide.
How Bizhan went to the Tent of Manizha
No room was left for further parleying.
Forth from beneath the shadow of the cypress
Bizhan proceeded hastily afoot
Toward Manizha's tent and entered it,
In favour like a stately cypress-tree,
Girt with a golden girdle round his loins.
Manizha came and clasped him to her breast,
Unloosed the royal girdle from his waist,
Asked of his journey, equipage, and business,
And said: "Who came with thee to fight the boars?
Why trouble with a mace, O comely one,
Who hast a shape like this, such mien and bearing?"
They bathed his feet in musk and pure rose-water,
Then hasted to set meat, they spread the board
With various viands in profuse abundance,
And held high revelry with wine and harp,
Excluding every stranger from the tent.
The handmaids standing in attendance there
Played on the lyre and lute. The ground resembled
The colours of a peacock with brocade
All dappled with dinars like leopards' backs,
While all the tent-enclosure was adorned
With musk and jewels, ambergris and gold.
Old wine in crystal cups gave to Bizhan
New strength, but, when three days and nights had passed
In pleasure, sleep and drink prevailed at last.
How Manizha carried of Bizhan to her Palace
Manizha, when her time for going home
Arrived, still longed to gaze upon Bizhan,
And, since his face was gloomy, called her handmaids,
And bade them mingle with a grateful draught
A drug that maketh senseless. This they gave him,
And he, bemused already, swallowed it;
His head sank down and he was lost to sense.
She made a litter to transport the sleeper,
A couch for him on one side, on the other
An easy seat for her. She sprinkled camphor
Upon his couch, and with rose-water drenched
On coming near the city
She veiled the sleeper in a woman's wrapper,
And, entering the palace privily
By night, preserved her secret. She prepared
A chamber and, impatient for Bizhan
To wake, poured in his ear a rousing potion
To bring his senses back. He woke and found
That jasmine-bosomed beauty in his arms,
His head and hers both resting on a pillow,
And in the palace of Afrasiyab!
Distracted with himself he turned for refuge
To God from Ahriman and thus exclaimed:-
"As for myself there will be no escaping,
O God Almighty! hence. But oh! that Thou
Wouldst execute my vengeance on Gurgin,
And hear the pains and malisons - that I
Invoke on him! He led me into this,
Reciting over me a thousand spells."
Manizha said to him: "Be of good cheer,
And treat all save the present as mere wind.
Adventures of all kinds occur to men,
And feast and fight by turn."
Before them was the gibbet or espousal:
They called the rose-cheeked damsels from their bowers,
And decked them in brocade of Chin; forthwith
These girls with fairy faces took the harp,
And fleeted day and night in merriment.
Anon the chamberlain got wind thereof,
And, since one acting on an idle rumour
Will shake the fruit down from the tree of bale,
He took upon him to investigate,
Inquiring who the man was, from what country,
And what he sought in coming to Turan,
So learned the truth and, fearing for his life,
Went, as the only way to save himself,
Before Afrasiyab and said to him:-
"Thy daughter hath a lover from Iran!"
The monarch called on God, and thou hadst said:-
He He trembled like the willow in a blast."
Then from the lashes of his eyes he wiped
The tears of blood and raged, and spake this saw:-
"One with a daughter in his house to guard
May have a crown indeed but is ill-starred."
He was confounded at Manizha's deed,
Called to him princely Kurakhan and said:-
"Advise me in the matter of this wanton."
Then Kurakhan: "Examine with more care
"If so it be there is no more to say,
But hearing is not seeing."
The monarch looked at Garsiwaz and said. -
"What we have borne and still bear from Iran!
And why doth fortune link in one ill chain
Iranian troubles and an evil child?
Go take with thee some prudent cavaliers,
Keep watch upon the palace-roof and gates -
Look well, and any man whom thou shalt see
Therein secure with bonds and drag to me."
How Garsiwaz brought Bizhan before Afrasiyab
As, Garsiwaz approached the gate the sound
Of feast and revelry was heard within,
The music of the rebeck and the harp
Rose from the palace of Afrasiyab.
The cavaliers seized on the roof and gates,
And occupied the outlets everywhere.
When Garsiwaz found that the palace-portal
Was fastened, and heard revels going on,
He broke down all obstructions, rushed within,
And sought the chamber where the stranger was.
Now when he reached the door and saw Bizhan
His blood boiled up with rage, for in that chamber
There were three hundred handmaids busied all
With harp and wine and singing, and among them,
With red wine at his lips and making merry,
Bizhan! Then Garsiwaz cried out in anguish:-
"O reckless and abandoned profligate!
Now art thou in the savage Lion's clutch.
How wilt thou 'scape with life?"
Bizhan writhed, thinking:-
How How can I fight unarmed, without Shabrang,
Or aught to ride? Luck, sure, hath gone to-day!
Where now is Giv son of Gudarz, that I
Must throw away my life? I see no helper,
He always carried in his boot
A blue-steel dagger; this he drew and holding
The door exclaimed: "Bizhan am I and sprung
From that high chief of paladins and nobles,
Kishwad. None e'er shall break my skin unless
His body is aweary of its head,
And though 'twere Doomsday none should see my
He cried to Garsiwaz: "Ill fortune thus
Hath dealt with me. Thou knowest my forefathers,
My monarch, and my rank among the chiefs;
If ye will fight am prepared to bathe
My hands in blood in battle, and behead
Full many a Turkman chief; if thou wilt bear me
Before the king I will explain. Do thou
Ask him to spare my life, and make all end
Then Garsiwaz, perceiving
The resolution, the dexterity,
And readiness to fight shown by Bizhan,
Confirmed a covenant with him by oaths,
And courteously advised him, thus obtaining
The dagger from him by that covenant,
And making him a prisoner by smooth words;
Then bound him cheetah-like from head to foot.
With fortune gone will prowess aught avail?
Thus is it with yon hump-backed sky above,
Thou'lt feel its harshness when it looketh love.
They carried him with sallow cheeks and eyes
Fulfilled with tears before Afrasiyab.
The hero, when he came with pinioned arms
And bare of head before the sovereign,
Did reverence and said: "Vouchsafe, O king!
To seek the truth. I came not to this court
By any wish of mine; none is to blame.
I left Iran to fight against wild boars,
And chanced on this Turanian festival.
I sent my kindred and my retinue
To seek a falcon that had gone astray,
And went to sleep beneath a cypress-tree,
So that its shade might shield me from the sun.
A fairy came. She spread her wings and took me,
Still sleeping, in her arms. She left my charger,
And bore me where the escort of thy daughter
With troops of cavaliers and many litters
Passed by upon the plain. Then there appeared
Hemmed in by horse a Turkman parasol,
And brand-new litter canopied with silk;
Within a lovely Idol slept; her crown
Was lying on her pillow. Suddenly
The fairy called on Ahriman, and, rushing
Like wind among the horsemen, set me down
Inside the litter, and recited charms
Above the charmer there, that I might sleep
Until I reached the palace of the king;
So I was not to blame, nor hath Manizha
Been smirched by what hath passed. Assuredly
That fay had marred my fortune by her spells."
Afrasiyab replied: "Thine evil day
Hath come apace. Departing from Iran
Thou soughtest fight and fame with mace and lasso;
Now with hands bound thou tellest women's dreams;
Like one bemused, and triest lies upon me
To save thy life."
Bizhan replied: "O king!
Hear what I say to thee and be advised.
Boars with their tusks and lions with their claws
Are alway fit for fighting; so are heroes
That have their scimitars and bows and arrows;
But how when one is naked with bound hands,
The other in a panoply of steel?
How can a lion pounce without sharp claws
However fierce? If now the king would see
My prowess shown to all, let him provide
A horse and massive mace for me, and make
Choice of a thousand chieftains from the Turkmans;
Then hold me not a man if I leave one
Alive of all the thousand on the field."
The king regarded him with angry looks
At this, then turned to Garsiwaz, and said:-
"Dost thou not see that this fell Ahriman
Is meditating further ills for me,
And not contented with the evil done
Would fight'as well? Take him bound hand and foot,
Just as he is, and rid the world of him.
Command to set a gibbet in the road
Before the gate, there hang the wretch alive,
And never speak of him to me again,
So that no native of Iran may dare
Henceforth to cast an eye upon Turan."
They dragged him, stricken to the heart with anguish,
His eyes a-stream, forth from Afrasiyab,
And, when Bizhan the wretched reached the door,
His feet stuck in the mire made by his tears.
He said: "If God Almighty hath decreed
That I must die in miserable plight
I do not fear the dying or the gibbet;
My smart is for the warriors of Iran,
And royal fathers' blame when I am dead.
Alas! mine adversaries will exult,
Their lust will all be satisfied upon me.
Alas! the king of kings! the looks of Giv!
Alas! thus to be parted from the brave!
Go, breezes! to the country of Iran,
And bear my message to the well-loved Shah.
Tell him: 'Bizhan is in an evil case;
His body is beneath the Lion's claws.'
Say from me to Gudarz son of Kishwad:-
'My glory hath departed through Gurgin
He cast me into evil so that now
I see not any one to succour me.'
And to Gurgin: 'What greeting shall I have
From thee, false warrior! beyond the grave?'"
How Piran begged Bizhan's Life from Afrasiyab
Howbeit God had mercy on his youth,
And foiled the king's intent, for as they dug
A hole wherein to plant the gallows-tree,
Piran, for so it chanced, was seen approaching.
Now when he reached the place and saw the road
All occupied by Turkmans under arms,
And that a lofty gibbet had been reared,
Wherefrom a twisted lasso dangled down,
He asked the people: "Wherefore is this gibbet?
Who hath incurred the anger of the king?"
Then Garsiwaz made answer: "For Bizhan
The Iranian, the monarch's enemy."
Piran urged on his charger and, when near
Bizhan, beheld him stricken to the heart
And naked, with his two hands bound behind him
Firm as a rock, his mouth parched, his cheeks wan.
Piran inquired of him: "How camest thou hither?
Thou camest from Iran no doubt for blood."
Bizhan related all that he had suffered
From his false friend. Piran had pity on him,
And weeping bade them leave Bizhan awhile
Unhung; he said: "Detain him here that I
May have an audience with the sovereign,
And show him what will be the happiest course."
He galloped palace-ward, approached the king
In humble attitude with folded arms,
And walking quickly to the throne called down
With fervour blessings on Afrasiyab.
When, like an honest guide and minister,
He stood before the throne, the king knew well
That he was standing there to ask a boon,
And smiling said to him: "What wouldst thou?
None is more honoured with me than thyself.
If thy petition is for gold or jewels,
For realm or army, I will not withhold
My treasures. "Why hast thou bestowed these pains!"
Piran, the loyal, heard and kissed the ground,
Leaped up and said: "Sit on the throne for ever,
And may good fortune haunt no other place.
The monarchs of the earth proclaim thy praises,
The bright sun blesseth thee. Through thy good fortune
I need not horses, followers, or power.
I ask not for myself, none of thy subjects
Hath need to ask; my fortune is thy rule,
My stay thy glorious chiefs. Concerned am I
Lest any suffer through my reticence,
And my good name be lost. Have I not often
Advised the king erewhile? But since my words
Availed not I have held my peace of late.
'Slay not the son of Kai Kaus,' I said,
"Twill make thee enemies of Tus and Rustam,
And Siyawush who is of Kaian race
Hath girt his loins to serve thee loyally;
Peace will be broken and the Iranians
Will trample on us with their elephants.'
Yet didst thou out of simple wantonness
Slay Siyawush, and mingle bane with sweets.
It may be that thou hast forgotten Giv,
And Rustam the brave chief of paladins.
Hast thou not seen what ills the Iranians
Have wrought upon the country of Turan
By trampling with their beasts the greater part,
And turning fortune's stream to bitterness?
As yet Zal's sword-point is not worn away
Inside its sheath, for Rustam scattereth heads
Therewith, and spurteth blood upon the sun.
Wilt thou seek war in peace, and wantonly
Sniff at the bloom of bane? If thou shalt shed
Bizhan's blood in this matter from Turan
There will go up a dust-cloud of revenge.
Thou. art a wise king; we are only lieges;
Ope thy heart's eye, consider how the Shah
Requited thee for former injuries.
In sooth thou art provoking fresh demands,
And bringing into fruit the tree of bale.
We cannot bear, O mighty sovereign,
And master of the world! another war.
Thou knowest Giv, none better! and brave Rustam,
That savage Crocodile, and him who will
Come forth to fight us for his grandson's sake,
Gudarz, son of Kishwad, whose hand is steel!"
As he threw water on the raging fire
Afrasiyab replied: "Dost thou not know
What he bath done, and brought disgrace upon us
Both here and in Iran? Dost thou not see
How mine abandoned daughter bath heaped shame
Upon my hoary head, and made the names
Of all my women-folk the common talk?
For this disgrace all lands and mine own troops
Will ever make my court their laughing-stock;
If he shall live all men will wag their tongues
At me, I shall be wretched and despised,
And ever from mine eyes shed tears of gall."
Piran did reverence ofttimes and replied:-
O monarch of good fortune and just speech
'Tis as the king hath said. His only object
Is his good name. But let my lord consider
The prudent counsel that I offer him.
Let us confine Bizhan with heavy chains,
Such that he would prefer death on the gibbet;
'Twill be a warning to the Iranians,
Who will not strive to injure us hereafter,
For no one readeth on the muster-roll
The names of captives in thy prison-house."
The monarch acted as Piran advised,
Perceiving that his heart and tongue agreed.
Good ministers with their good counsellings
Illume the Grace divine and throne of kings.
How Afrasiyab put Bizhan in Ward
Afrasiyab commanded Garsiwaz:-
"Prepare a gloomy pit and weighty bonds,
Secure with chains Bizhan's hands to a yoke
Bridge-like, as Rumans do, from head to foot
Chain him and make all sure with heavy rivets;
Then throw hirn in the pit head first - no more
Of sun and moon for him! Take elephants,
And fetch the boulder of the div Akwan,
Which God raised from the ocean-depth and cast
Upon a wood in Chin. Thus will I be
Avenged upon Bizhan. Convey this stone,
Which covereth the dungeon of Arzhang,
Upon high-crested elephants, and cover
Bizhan's, then leave him to go mad with anguish.
Take horsemen, sack the palace of that wanton -
Manizha, who hath shamed her quality -
Deprive her of her fortune, crown, and state,
And say to her: 'Thou wretched and accursed,
Who art unworthy of the throne and crown!
Thou hast abased my head among the kings,
And cast my diadem upon the dust.'
Then drag her naked to the pit and say:-
'Behold him whom thou sawest on the throne
Here in this pit! Thou art his Spring, console him,
And wait upon him in his gloomy cell.'"
So Garsiwaz departed from the presence.
They carried out the monarch's evil purpose;
They haled the son of Giv back from the gallows,
And bore him to the pit's mouth in his bonds,
There fettered him from head to foot in iron,
His waist with Ruman chains, his hands with gyves,
While smiths with steel and hammers made secura
The massive rivetings, and then they flung him
Head-foremost down the pit and set the stone
Upon it. Garsiwaz thence led his troop
To where the daughter of Afrasiyab
Dwelt, gave up all her treasury to spoil,
And made a fresh disposal of the wealth.
Manizha was reduced to naked feet,
Bare head, and single wrap. He hustled her
Forth to the pit. Her eyes wept tears of blood;
Her cheeks were like the spring.
" Behold," he said,
"Thy house and home! Henceforth thou art to be
This prisoner's drudge!" '
He turned back, and Manizha,
The spouse of woe, roamed wailing o'er the plain.
Now when a day and night had passed she came
With lamentations to the pit, and made
A passage large enough to pass one hand.
Thereafter when the sun rose o'er the hills
She used to gather food at every door
By day-long wanderings and pass it through
The crevice to Bizhan, and weep. Thus she
Lived for a while in abject misery.
How Gurgin returned to Iran and lied about Bizhan
When one week passed, and still Bizhan returned not,
Gurgin began to search on every side
In haste and bathed his face in tears of blood.
Repenting of his ill intents he sought
The place wherein Bizhan had gone astray,
Went all about the forest but saw no one,
And heard not e'en a twitter from the birds.
He sought too in the mead, and all at once
Spied in the distance on the river-bank,
With bridle broken and with saddle dragging,
With hanging lip and in an angry mood,
His comrade's steed, and knew: "Bizhan is sped!
He will not live to come back to Iran.
By gibbet or by prison or by bonds
Ill hath befallen him from Afrasiyab."
Repentant and perplexed he flung his lasso,
And turning led Bizhan's steed from the meadow
Back to his tent where he abode one day,
Then, sleepless and unresting, sought Iran.
The Shah, on hearing that Gurgin had come
Without Bizhan, would fain have been the first
To question him, so told not Giv, yet Giv
Heard of his brave son's loss, rushed to the street,
Pierced to the heart with anguish and with cheeks
All tears, and cried: "Bizhan returneth not!
I wis not why he stayeth in Iran."
Then, vengeful as a crocodile at heart,
He gave command to put the poplar saddle
Upon Kishwad's own bay, which he was wont
To hold reserved against the day of need,
And, having mounted, parted like a blast
To meet Gurgin and ask him where Bizhan
Was, and about the case. "Good sooth!" he thought,
"Gurgin hath done him mischief secretly.
I will behead Gurgin or see my son."
Gurgin on catching sight of Giv dismounted,
Ran up to him and, wallowing in the dust
With head uncovered and torn cheeks, exclaimed:-
"O thou that art the chosen of the host,
Chief of Iran and captain of the Shah
Why hast thou come to meet me on my way?
Why hast thou come thus weeping tears of blood?
I shall not wish to live if aught more wretched
Shall now betide me. All ashamed am I
To look thee in the face; I too am pouring
The hot blood from mine eyes, but be not troubled
About his life. No harm hath cbme to him
As I will prove to thee."
Giv, when he saw
His son's horse and Gurgin, all dust and dazed
Like one bemused, thus leading it, and when
He heard those words, fell from his steed and swooned.
His head was hidden by the dust. He rent
The raiment that he wore as paladin,
Plucked out his hair, and with a cry of anguish
Poured dust upon his head.
"O Thou," he said,
"Who art the Almighty Master of the sky,
And hast endowed my heart with sense and love!
I hold it good, now that my son is lost,
That thou shouldst snap my cord of life and take
My spirit to the mansions of the blest
Thou knowest best the anguish of my heart.
I had no son but him to soothe my griefs
Or aid me; now ill hap hath severed us,
And I am left thus in the Dragon's maw!"
He asked Gurgin again: "How went it all?
Hath fate filled up his place or did he will
To quit thy sight? What ill befell him? Speak
Who flung at him the meshes of the sky?
What div encountered him upon the mead?
Who murdered him and ruined everything?
How didst thou find this charger riderless?
Where didst thou quit Bizhan?"
"Compose thyself and listen. In respect
To fighting with the wild boars in the wood,
Know, O thou paladin! and understand,
And be for aye the lustre of the throne,
We went to fight the boars and reached Irman.
We saw a wood converted to a waste,
With trees cut down and trampled pasturage.
It was a haunt of boars, the people melted
Because of them! We raised our spears in fight,
And made a mighty shouting in the wood;
Wild boars came charging like so many mountains,
Not one by one but everywhere in herds.
We battled like two lions, and day failed
Before our hearts were satiate of strife.
We threw their elephantine carcases
In heaps and prized their teeth out. Thence we set
Our faces toward Iran and merrily
Went after game. An onager was started,
And none will see a goodlier sight. Its coat
Was like Gulgun's, the charger of Gudarz;
Its face was like Farhad's grey Shabahang,
With limbs like the Simurgh's, and hoofs like steel.
'Twas like Bizhan's Shabrang in head and ear
And tail, its neck was lion-like, its speed
Like wind. Thou wouldst have said: ' Its sire is Rakhsh.'
Like some tall elephant it charged Bizhan,
Who flung his lasso o'er its head. To fling
Was one with to be borne away! Off rushed
The onager! Bizhan sped after it,
And through the beast's pace and the horseman's dust
A reek arose, the earth heaved like the sea,
The lassoer and onager both vanished.
My steed was weary, so I ran o'er hill
And plain, but found no traces of Bizhan,
Except this steed whose saddle dragged behind.
My heart burned at his plight: 'How will he fare
In his contention with the onager? '
I tarried long upon the pasture, searching
On all sides for him, and have come back hopeless,
For that fierce onager was the White Div!"
Shrewd Giv, on hearing, deemed: "Bizhan is sped!"
He marked Gurgin's confused account, those eyes
That could not look him in the face, those cheeks
Grown wan with terror of the Shah, that body
A-tremble, and that conscience-stricken heart,
And ascertaining that his son was lost,
And that the whole account was fraudulent,
Was moved by Ahriman to lay Gurgin
Dead on the road in vengeance for Bizhan,
The well-beloved, although disgrace might follow.
Albeit on reflection he perceived
That this would leave the matter dark, and said:-
"What shall I gain by slaying him save pleasing
Malignant Ahriman? How will it aid
Bizhan to slay Gurgin? We must employ
Another means; revenge is no great task;
He is no wall to stop my lance's point;
So let us tarry till his guilt is clear
Before the Shah."
He cried out at Gurgin:-
"Thou wicked and injurious Ahriman!
Thou hast deprived me of my Sun and Moon -
The choicest of the horsemen and my Shah -
And set me searching all the world for aid.
Where through thy practice, guile, and lies shall I
Henceforward find contentment, rest, and sleep?
I will not suffer thee to go at large
Until I have an audience with the Shah;
Then with my poniard will I wreak on thee
Revenge for him who was mine Eye to me."
How Giv brought Gurgin before Khusrau
With bloodshot eyes and vengeance in his heart
Giv went before the Shah, blessed him, and said:-
"For ever fleet the world in joy, O king!
Thou blessed, well-starred monarch! seest thou not
What hath befallen me? I had one son -
A youth who was my care both night and day.
I wept for fear of danger to him, burned
For fear of losing him; and now, O Shah!
Gurgin hath come back with an idle tongue,
With guilty soul, and evil news of him -
My stainless and illustrious minister.
Gurgin hath brought a steed in disarray,
But not another token of Bizhan!
If now my lord will carefully consider
My case, and see me righted in the matter,
He will do justice for me on Gurgin -
The man that put this dust upon my head."
The Shah was troubled at Giv's grief, assumed
The crown in anger, sat upon the throne
With pallid cheeks in sorrow for Bizhan,
And said to Giv: "What is Gurgin's account?
Where saith he that he left his upright comrade?"
Giv told the tale about his gallant son
As given by Gurgin. Then said Khusrau:-
"Brood not nor fret; Bizhan is safe; be easy
And hopeful touching that lost son of thine,
For I but now heard from the archimages -
The men of wisdom shrewd of heart and famous -
That I shall lead the Iranian cavaliers
Against Turan anon to seek revenge
For Siyawush, and with mine elephants
Destroy that land. Bizhan will take the field
And fight like Ahriman. Depart in peace;
Good sooth, I greatly long for him. myself."
So Giv withdrew in tears, pale and distraught.
Gurgln, on coming to the palace-gate,
Found it deserted; all the paladins
Had gone with Giv lamenting for Bizhan.
Gurgin, his wicked soul fulfilled with shame,
Went in to audience. Having reached Khusrau
He kissed the ground and offered reverence,
Then laid the boars' tusks hard as diamonds
Before the throne and did obeisance, saying:-
"May Kai Khusrau be all victorious,
His life like New Year's Day, and may the heads
Of all thy foes be severed by the shears,
Ken as the heads of these wild boars."
Gazed on the tusks and asked: "How went the journey?
Where did Bizhan part company? What evil
Hath Ahriman wrought on him?"
Spake thus Gurgin stood all confused with tongue
That idly blabbed and guilty soul. His cheeks
Were pale, he shook in terror of the Shah,
And babbled much and incoherently
Of forest, onager, and pasturage.
Now, when his words accorded not, Khusrau,
Perceiving him malicious and confused,
Was wroth and drave him out, upbraiding him,
And saying: "Hast thou heard not Zal's old saw:-
'To meet the offspring of Gudarz in strife
Would put a period to a lion's life?'
But for the shame, and that thou wouldest make
An evil ending in the sight of God,
I would bid Ahriman pluck off thy head,
As 'twere a bird's."
Then said he to a smith:-
"Forge Forge heavy shackles with the rivets strong."
He had Gurgin's feet fettered presently,
Because the knave is schooled by bonds, and said
To Giv: "Compose thyself. Do thou be instant
In seeking for him everywhere, and I
Will send out many cavaliers well armed
In all directions to obtain some news
About him, and be prompt and vigilant;
But, if I hear not soon, still keep thy wits
And wait for Farwardin, until the sun -
The object of our worship - groweth bright.
When roses glad the garden, breezes strew
The petals o'er thy head, when earth is donning
Its robe of green, and zephyrs sigh o'er roses,
Then shall my pious prayers rise to Urmuzd -
Prayers that our God commandeth. Then will I
Call for the cup that mirroreth the world,
And stand before God's presence. In that cup
I shall behold the seven climes of earth,
Both field and fell and all the provinces,
Will offer reverence to mine ancestors,
My chosen, gracious lords, and thou shalt know
Where thy son is. The cup will show me all."
Giv was rejoiced, ceased from solicitude,
And smiling did obeisance, saying thus:-
"May time and earth ne'er be deprived of thee!
May heaven above attend thy will, and may
No ill befall thee from the evil eye."
When Giv had gone the Shah sent cavaliers
To search in every quarter for Bizhan;
In all Iran and all Turin they sought
For traces of him, but discovered naught.
How Kai Khusrau saw Bizhan in the Cup that
showed the World
When jocund New Year's Day arrived Giv yearned
For consultation with that glorious cup,
And came, bent double on his son's account
But hopeful, to Khusrau who, seeing him
With shrunken cheeks and sorely stricken heart,
Went and arrayed himself in Ruman garb
To seek God's presence. Then before the Maker
He cried and ofttimes blessed the Shining One,
Imploring of the Succourer succour, strength,
And justice on pernicious Ahriman,
And, thence returning to his throne, assumed
The Kaian crown; took up the cup, and gazed.
He saw the seven climes reflected there,
And every act and presage of high heaven,
Their fashion, cast, and scope; made manifest.
From Aries to Pisces he beheld
All mirrored in it - Saturn, Jupiter,
Mars, Leo, Sol and Luna, Mercury,
And Venus. In that cup the wizard-king
Was wont to see futurity. He scanned
The seven climes for traces of Bizhan,
And, when he reached the Kargasars, beheld him
By God's decree fast, fettered in the pit,
And praying in his misery for death,
With one, the daughter of a royal race,
Attending him. The Shah, with smiles that lighted
The daiis, turned his face to Giv and said:-
"Bizhan is yet alive; be of good cheer;
Thou wilt not mind, I wot, his being chained
And prisoned since his life is whole in him,
For he is now a prisoner in Turan,
Attended by a maid of noble birth.
Yet filled am I with sorrow for his plight,
He hath such travail, hardship, and affliction;
And both of them are weeping like a cloud
When it is springtide, such a life is theirs
He hath no hope of seeing kith or kin,
But pineth trembling like a willow-bough,
Blood in his eyes and anguish in his heart.
He calleth on his kinsmen and he weepeth
As 'twere a cloud in spring; his life is such
That he desireth death! Who will come forward
To rescue him, who rise with girded loins?
Who is there that will brave the Dragon's breath,
Who from this durance liberate Bizhan?
None save deft Rustam - he who from the deep
Will drag the crocodile. Gird up thy girdle,
Haste to Nimruz, and rest not night or day.
Bear him my letter and breathe naught hereof.
Him will I summon to me, let him know
The case, and soon, O Giv! abate thy woe."
How Khusrau wrote a Letter to Rustam
A scribe was called, the Shah instructed him
To write to Rustam as from lord to liege:-
"O paladin by birth and worshipful,
Exalted o'er the warriors of the world!
Thou dost remind me of thine ancestors,
And art for ever girdled for the fray.
Thou Heart of monarchs and thou Prop of kings,
With loins girt up to succour every one!
Pards yield them to thy manhood, crocodiles
Howl in the deep for fear of thee. Thou cleansedst
The world of the Mazandaranian divs,
And torest off the heads of evil men.
How many a crowned head hast thou dethroned,
And severed from the daiis! Many a foe
Is dead through thee, and many a land laid waste.
Chief paladin and refuge of the host!
Thine influence is mighty with the Shahs;
Thou hast o'erthrown all sorcerers with thy mace,
And by thy bearing lit the crown of kings.
As for Afrasiyab and for the Khan,
Thy name is writ in full upon their signets.
'Twould break the heart of any to undo
Knots tied by thee while thou undoest all,
And art a blessed heaven to the Kaians.
God, who hath given thee elephantine might,
Breast, arm, and hand, and glorious birth, bestowed them
For succouring those that cry, and lifting them
From their dark pit. An instance for thine aid,
And to a worthy kinsman, hath occurred,
Such as no scion of Gudarz before
Experienced from div-faced Turanians.
Gudarz and Giv both place their trust in thee,
Who art a hero now in every land;
Thou know'st what place they have in mine esteem,
Thou know'st their courage, speech, and prudent counsel;
Regard not then this thing as burdensome,
And ask whatever men and means thou wilt,
Because this family ne'er grieved till now
The world hath heard of few more glorious.
Giv had not any son excepting this,
Who was at once a son and succourer.
Giv's influence with me is very great;
He hath been both my grandsire's friend and mine;
I always find him where I look for him,
And he hath stood by me in weal and woe.
When thou hast read my letter tarry not,
But rise and come to me with Giv forthwith,
That we may take advice that shall result
In all points gloriously. I will provide
Men, treasure, and all requisites. I swear
By thine exalted name and glorious footsteps
That thou shalt work thy will upon Turan.
Take order for the road: Bizhan will be
Delivered haply from captivity."
How Giv bore the Letter of Kai Khusrau to Rustam
Giv took the letter when the Shah had sealed it,
Did reverence and, departing to his house,
Prepared to take his journey to Sistan.
He mounted all the horsemen of his kin,
And, having first commended him to God,
Departed through the desert to the Hirmund,
As one that rideth post, or like the game
That he put up, performing two days' journey
In one. With wounded hearts and eager steps
The party faced the deserts and the heights.
Now when the watchman saw Giv from the look-out
He passed the word on to Zabulistan:-
"A cavalier with mounted troops hath reached
The Hirmund; a standard fluttereth behind him;
A falchion of Kabul is in his hand."
Zal heard the watchman's shout and bade his steed
Be bridled, then pricked forth to meet the comers,
Who haply might prove foes, but when he saw
Giv's withered face he was astound and hasted,
Supposing: "Something hath befallen the Shah
Since Giv hath been sent hither from Iran!"
When near at hand the paladin and escort
Drew up across the road and greeted Zal,
Who asked about the Iranians and the Shah,
The chieftains and Turanians. Giv then gave
To Zal the greetings of the great - the Shah's
And high-born warriors' - and told his anguish
For his lost son: "Thou seest me wan, mine insteps
All dappled leopard-like with tears of blood!"
Then asked where Rustam was, and Zal replied:-
"He will return from hunting onager
" I will go," Giv said, "and see him;
I have a letter for him from Khusrau."
" Go not," Zal answered, "he will come anon,
So till he cometh tarry in the house,
And pass one day with us in happiness."
Reflecting on the case they reached Zal's palace,
And even as Giv entered Rustam came.
Giv went to meet him and, on drawing nigh,
Dismounted from his horse and did obeisance.
His heart was yearning and he wept. When Rustam
Saw Giv heart-stricken and in tears he thought:-
"Iran then and the Shah - our age's Moon -
Lighting and embracing Giv
He asked about the wearer of the crown -
Khusrau - about Gudarz, Tus, Gustaham,
And all the warriors both great and small -
Shapur, Ruhham, Bizhan, Farhad, Gurgin,
And every one. At mention of Bizhan
Giv uttered an involuntary cry,
And said to Rustam: "O thou worshipful,
The choiçest of the princes of the earth!
Joy hath returned to me at sight of thee,
And through thy kindly greetings and thy words.
All those whom thou bast named are well and send
Thee salutation, peace, and messages,
Except Bizhan, O champion of the mighty!
Who is reported fettered in a dungeon.
Now seest thou not what stroke of evil fortune
Hath fallen full upon my hoary head?
I had but one son in the world, and he
Was both a son and upright minister,
And I have lost him! None e'er saw our race
In such affliction! Ever since have I
Been in the saddle, as thou seest me,
And speeding like the bright sun, night and day,
Just like the mad, to find some trace of him!
The Shah hath in his world-reflecting cup ....
He stood before the Maker, much imploring
And praising on the royal feast - the Urmuzd
Of Farwardin - then left the Fane of Fire,
Went to his throne, girt up his loins, assumed
The crown, and set the shining cup before him.
He searched therein past measure for Bizhan,
And indicated him as in Turan,
In heavy fetters and disastrous plight,
And, having thus revealed him by the cup,
Sent me to thee in haste. I come in hope,
Although my cheeks are pale and dim mine eyes,
Because I look to thee alone for aid,
Who girdest up thy loins to succour all."
Giv spake, the lashes of his eyes were charged
With tears of gall, and from his heart he heaved
A chilling sigh. When he had given the letter
To Rustam he narrated what Gurgin
Had done, then bitterly bewailed Bizhan,
And poured down tears of blood upon his breast;
For he and Rustam had been long akin,
That chieftain's daughter was the wife of Giv,
While Rustam had Giv's sister for his spouse,
And gallant Faramarz by that brave dame.
Bizhan withal, that hero eminent
In every company, had for his mother'
The daughter of the elephantine Rustam,
Who said to Giv: "Be not concerned hereat,
Because I will not take from Rakhsh the saddle
Till I have clasped Bizhan's hand in mine own,
And have demolished all his bonds and prison.
By God's strength, since the Shah requireth it,
Will I release him from that darksome pit."
How Rustam made a Feast for Giv
Thence they departed to the hall of Rustam,
Discussing as they went what course to take.
When Rustam had perused the monarch's letter
He was o'erwhelmed at what Khusrau had said,
And all the praises that the worldlord Shah
Gave to his famous captain of the host.
Then Rustam said to Giv: "I will dispatch,
And ready me to go as he commandeth.
I know how thou hast laboured, thine achievements,
And thy concernment in all enterprise.
How mighty is thine influence with me,
Who hast wooed war on every battlefield,
Alike in the revenge for Siyawush,
And in the war against Mazandaran
Thou hast borne travail too in coming hither,
And faring by a route so arduous.
I joy exceedingly to look upon thee
Although I am concerned about Bizhan.
I cannot'bear to see thee in such grief,
And fortune-stricken. As the Shah cotnmandeth
In this his letter I will take the road,
And also out of my concern for thee
Will undertake the matter of Bizhan,
Will do my best and, if All-holy God
Shall leave my body and my soul together,
I will not grudge Bizhan life, troops, and treasure.
I gird me in God's strength and by the fortune
Of our victorious worldlord. I will rescue
Bizhan from bondage and from darksome pit,
And will re-seat him on the famous daiis.
Abide with me three days in joy, quaff wine,
Be free from care, for no division parteth
My house from thine, and thou and I are one
In treasure, soul, and body."
At his words
Giv sprang up, kissed his hands and head and feet,
Applauded him, and said: "O man of name,
Endowed with strength and manhood, worth and fortune!
Mayst thou have ever thus the heart and strength
Of elephants and archimages' prudence.
Thou dost partake all excellence, and so
Hast cleansed my heart from rust."
When Rustam saw
Giv's heart content, and felt himself assured
That all would turn out well, he told his steward:-
"Set Set out the board and call the chiefs and sages."
Then Faramarz, Zawara, Zal, and Giv
Sat at the banquet of the valiant chief.
Cup-bearers and musicians with their harps
Came to the hall of jewelled tracery;
The handles of the goblets blushed with wine,
The harps descanted and the cups went round.
Carousing thus in Rustam's palace Giv
Abode three days and made no haste to leave.
How Rustam came to Khusrau
The fourth day they prepared to go, 'twas time;
So Rustam bade to pack the loads and make
All ready for the journey to Iran,
While at his gate his noble horsemen gathered,
Dight for the road. He came forth, mounted Rakhsh,
Girt up his loins, put on a Ruman vest,
And hung his grandsire's mace beside the saddle,
Intent on feats of arms and strategy.
Rakhsh struck the sky above him, but the head
Of crown-bestowing Rustam topped the sun.
They took their loads up, leaving Faramarz
Within Zabul, and Rustam, Giv, and troops -
Picked Zabulis, a hundred thousand strong -
Set forth upon the march toward Iran
All hurried on with vengeance in their hearts.
When Rustam reached Iran, and when the throne
Of Kai Khusrau was coining into sight,
A sweet breeze wafted to him in its love
And gaiety the welcome of the sky.
Then Giv drew near to Rustam saying thus:-
"'Tis fit that I go first and tell the Shah
That matchless Rakhsh hath measured all the road."
Said Rustam: "Go rejoicing, say to him:-
'Be quit of thy distress.'"
When Giv approached
The royal presence with much praise and homage
The Shah demanded: "Where was Rustam left?
How have ye,sped?"
Giv answered: "Shah renowned
Thy fortune bringeth all things to success.
He disobeyed thee not, I found his heart
Devoted to thee. When I gave thy letter
He pressed it to his face and eyes, and hitched
His reins to mine as should a faithful liege.
I have pushed on that I might tell the Shah
That matchless Rustam is upon the road."
"But," said Khusrau, "where is that Prop of chiefs,
That Seed of loyalty? We needs must honour
One both so good and faithful."
Two Two stages back; I came on first to tell thee."
Then Kai Khusrau gave orders to the sages,
The royal princes, and the mighty men,
To go forth with the host to welcome Rustam,
Who came obedient to the Shah's command.
They told Gudarz son of Kishwad, Farhad,
And Tus - chief of the offspring of Naudar.
The more part of the warriors and nobles,
Mace-bearers and foe-slayers, then arose
And dight themselves to go and meet the guest,
According to the usance of Kaus.
The world was azure-dim with horsemen's dust,
The standards fluttered, and the chargers neighed.
When they drew near to Rustam they dismounted
And did obeisance. That chief paladin,
Alighting, greeted all the veterans,
And asked about the Shah and how things went
Beneath resplendent sun and shining moon;
Then swiftly as the bright Azargashasp
The warriors and Rustam all remounted.
He came before that Shah, who loved his lieges,
With measured tread and offered reverence,
For 'twas his duty to revere and love,
Then raised his head, gave praise, and said: "Be thou
Associate with the throne throughout thy years,
Urmuzd himself be present in this court,
Bahman be guardian of thy throne and crown,
May good Ardibihisht, Bahram, and Tir
Watch over thee, and may Shahrir endow thee
With triumph, fame, Grace, majesty, and prowess.
Be thine own sentinel Sapandarmad,
May wisdom be the life of thy bright soul;
May Dai and Farwardin bless thee, the door
Of ill be barred, and may Azar make night
As bright as day to thee, thyself rejoice,
Thy crown illume the world, and may Aban
Make all thine undertakings glorious;
Be turning heaven before thee as a slave,
And may Murdad protect thy flocks and herds
Be ever glad in person and in fortune,
May ancestor and issue smile on thee,
And may Khurdad spread joy o'er field and fell."
When Rustam standing there had offered praise
The king of kings accorded him a seat
Upon the throne, and said: "Thou art well come;
Far be the hand of evil from thy life.
Thou art the paladin of this world's Kaians,
Who readest others but art read of none,
The Kaians' choice, the backbone of the host,
The warden of Iran, the army's refuge.
Thou hast rejoiced me by the sight of thee,
Who art so vigilant and worshipful
Zawara, Faramarz, and Zal - are they
Hale, happy, and content?"
And Rustam answered,
Descending from the throne and kissing it:-
"O Shah most honoured and of sleepless fortune!
Thereby all three are well and happy: blest
Indeed is he, - whom thou rememberest."
How Kai Khusrau held Feast with the Paladins
The chamberlain threw wide the garden-gate,
And made all ready for a royal revel.
He gave command to set the golden crown
And throne beneath a bower that scattered roses,
And laid down court-brocade o'er all the pleasance,
Which shone as 'twere a lamp. They had a tree
Set up above the Shah's throne to enshadow
It and the crown. The stem thereof was silver;
The branches were of gold and jewelry,
The jewels manifold and clustering,
The leaves of emeralds and carnelians,
And fruit hung down, like earrings, from the boughs.
The fruits were golden oranges and quinces
All hollow and all perforate like reeds,
And charged with musk worked up with wine that when
The Shah set any one upon the throne
The breeze might shower musk on him; such showers
Descended on the Shah what time he carne,
And took his seat upon the throne of gold.
All the cup-bearers wearing coronets
Of jewels, gold brocade, and robes of Chin,
With torques and earrings, stood before the throne,
All clad in gold. All hearts were full of mirth.
The wine was in their hands, their cheeks were flushed,
Though no one was bemused, like cercis-bloom,
Or like brocade of Chin. The aloe-wood
Burned and the harps descanted. Then the Shah
Gave orders to the chamberlain on duty,
And said: "Call Tus, Gudarz, and all the chiefs."
He ordered Rustam to approach the throne,
And sit with him beneath the tree. He said:-
"Thou happy bond 'twixt fortune and ourselves!
Thou art a shield betwixt Iran and ill
For aye with outstretched wings like the Simurgh,
And oft hast toiled for country and for king.
Thou knowest how the offspring of Gudarz
In peace and war, in profit and in loss,
Stand in my presence with their loins girt up,
And always are my guides to what is good,
While, more than all, Giv shielded me from harm.
Such grief ne'er came before upon this house
(What greater sorrow than to lose a son?)
And wert thou not to undertake the task
I see none other helper in the world.
Now remedy this matter of Bizhan's,
Who hath been ill-entreated by Turan,
And take of steeds and armour, men and treasure,
Whate'er is needed. Think it not a toil."
When Rustam heard he kissed the ground, sprang up,
And blessed the Shah: "O thou fair-famed," he said,
"Who like the sun art potent everywhere!
Be greed and wrath and need afar from thee,
And may thy foe's heart burn and agonize.
Thou art Shah, lord, and chief above all kings,
And monarchs are the dust upon thy feet.
The throne, the bright sun, and the shining moon
Have never looked on such another Shah.
Thou hast discerned between the good and bad,
And bound the Dragon with thy charms and chains.
My mother gave me birth to toil for thee;
Thine own part is enjoyment and repose.
I am obedient to the Shah's commands,
And go where thou shalt bid. By royal Grace,
And by my massive mace, I plucked the heart
Out of the divs erst in Mazandaran;
E'en so for Giv sake, though the sky should rain
Fire on my head, I will not heed and, though
The spear-points reach the lashes of mine eyes,
I will not turn rein from Khusrau's behest,
But by thy Grace will compass this achievement,
And ask for neither chief nor warriors."
When Rustam had thus said, Gudarz and Giv
With Fariburz, Farhad, the brave Shapur,
And other chiefs, invoked on him God's blessing.
They took the cup and, pledging Zal and Rustam,
Became bemused with wine. Thus revelling
The Shah oped festively the door of spring.
How Rustam made Petition for Gurgin to the Shah
Gurgin heard bruit of Rustam and, aware
That thus a key to loose his grief had come,
Dispatched this message: "Man of fortune, Grace,
And fame, thou Tree of greatness, loyalty,
And treasure; Gate of noble men and Bond
Of bale! if words of mine afflict thee not
I will address thee touching what I did.
Mark the behaviour of this hump-backed sky
In quenching wantonly the light within me,
And pointing out to me the path of darkness!
'Twas written thus, and what hath been bath been.
I will lie down in fire before the Shah
If I may find forgiveness; all is over
With my hoar head if my good name be lost;
So, if thou wilt plead for me, I will go,
Swift as a mountain-sheep, along with thee,
And wallow in the dust before Bizhan
If I may win mine unstained honour back."
When Rustam heard he heaved a deep, cold sigh;
The anguish shown and message sent perturbed him;
He grieved at that request so fondly urged,
And bade the envoy: "Go, return, and say:-
'Insensate wretch! hast heard not what the leopard
Said by the deep stream to the crocodile:-
"' If passion gain the upper hand of wit,
Then nobody will 'scape the clutch of it "?
The sage that quelleth passion hath a record
As of a noble Lion; thine hath been
An ancient fox's, yet thou didst o'erlook
The snare! I should not grant thy frantic wish
That I should bring thy name before Khusrau,
Yet, since I see thee in such straits and all
Confounded, I will ask him to forgive thee,
And lighten thy dark moon. Then, if Bizhan
By God the Ruler of the world's command
Escape, thou wilt be freed and save thy life
From Giv's revenge. Should heaven will otherwise
Deem life and person as unworth thy love.
First will I go forth on my quest and vengeful
In God's strength at the bidding of the Shah,
But if I fail that man of prowesrs Giv
Will then take wreak on thee for his brave son."'
Thus passed a night and day, aind Rustam spake
Naught to the Shah, but when upon the morrow
The sun displayed its crown and took its seat
Upon its silver-sheening ivory throne,
Came Rustam flying unto Kai Khusrau
To ask a boon of that victorious Shah
While speaking of Gurgin, his fallen fortune,
And wretched plight. The Shah said: "Chieftain mine!
Thou wouldst then break my bonds and break with me,
Because I swore by throne, crown, Mars, and Venus,
And sun and moon: 'Gurgin shall see but ill
From me unless Bizhan be freed from bondage.'
Excepting this ask of me what thou wilt
Of swords and signet-rings, of thrones and crowns."
He answered: "Virtuous and famous prince!
If he intended harm he sufferetb,
And is prepared to offer up his life;
But if the Shah will not forgive him first
He will be outcast from the Faith and honour.
WHower turneth from the way of wisdom
Will writhe for his ill-doing at the last.
Vouchsafe to call to mind Gurgin's exploits,
How he hath taken part in every fight,
And been a champion with thine ancestors;
If for my sake the Shah will pardon him
His fortunes may be somewhat brightened yet."
The Shah, that Rustam might not plead in vain,
Released Gurgin from gloomy pit and chain.
How Rustam equipped his Escort
The Shah asked Rustam: "When wilt thou depart
For this campaign? Demand whate'er thou wilt -
Troops, treasure, and companions for the journey.
Malevolent Afrasiyab, I fear me,
Will not long spare Bizhan. The king is headstrong,
And the injurious Div, who taught him magic,
Anon will turn his heart aside and prompt him
To slay our swordsman."
Rustam thus replied:-
"I will achieve this enterprise by stealth,
For only craft will loosen such a coil.
We must not give occasion for alarm,
But set off in the guise of merchantmen,
And tarry for a while within Turan.
This is a case for drawing in the rein,
And not a time for maces, swords, and spear-points.
I shall require much silver, gold, and gems;
We start in hope but we shall stay in fear.
I shall need garments too and carpetings
For giving presents and as merchandise."
On hearing Rustam's words Khusrau commanded
His treasurer to bring him whatsoever
His minister directed from the hoards
Laid up of yore. The royal treasurer
Undid the purses and bestrewed the throne
With jewels and dinars. Came matchless Rustam,
Inspected all, and chose whate'er was needed.
He took ten camel-burdens of dinars,
Five score of other ware; he next commanded
The chamberlain: "Choose out a thousand horse.
Some of the proud and noble lion-men
Must also gird themselves - Gurgin and Zanga,
The son of Shawaran, next Gustaham,
The Falchion of the brave, and fourth Guraza,
The sentinel of warriors, throne, and crown,
To lead the host, Ruhham, Farbdd, two men
Of valour, and Ashkash that lion-hero.
These seven warriors must make them ready
To overlook the escort and the goods."
These, every one in his allotted part,
Vied in their preparations for the start.
How Rustam went to the City of Khutan to Piran
Then Rustam bade those chieftains, those mace-wielders,
Those dealers out of death, to gird themselves
At dawn what time the officer on duty
Came to the gate. At daybreak, when the cock crew,
They bound the drums upon the elephants,
While Rustam came forth like a lofty cypress,
Mace in his hand and lasso on his saddle.
He left the royal portal with his troops,
And called down blessings on the land. The chiefs
Went first, the soldiers followed, and all took
Their lives in hand, their guides were spears and
And every hand had been imbrued in blood.
When Rustam reached the marches of Turin
He picked out all the chiefs, then bade the troops:-
"Abide here cheerfully, move not unless
All-holy God deprive me of my life,
Be dight for battle and prepared for bloodshed."
Thus in those marches of Iran he left them,
And went, he and the chiefs, towards Turan.
He doffed his mail and donned a merchant's dress,
The warriors undid their silver girdles,
And he arrayed them all in woollen robes.
They fared toward Turan - a caravan
All scent and colour. There were eight fine steeds,
One Rakhsh, the others were the warriors' mounts,
Ten camels bearing bales of jewelry,
And five score bearing soldiers' uniforms.
The waste rang like the horn of Tahmuras
With bells and shouting. Rustam journeyed on
Until he reached the city of Piran,
For there was one in those TurAnian marches
Belonging to that chief, but he himself
Was at the chase; his palace was unguarded.
Now when he came back from the hunting-field
The matchless Rustam saw him on the road,
And having covered over with brocade
A golden goblet filled with precious stones
Gave it and therewitbal two splendid steeds,
With saddles made of gold adorned with jewels,
To the attendants, and preceding them
Strode to Piran's throne swiftly, did obeisance,
And said: "O prince whose fortune and whose prowess
Are famous in Iran and in Turan
Thy Grace and crown are peerless, for thou art
King's minister and glory of the throne."
Piran, so God ordained it, knew not Rustam,
But questioned him and said: "Whence art thou?
What man art thou and wherefore hast thou come?"
He said: "I am thy subject. God assigned me
A cistern in thy city. I have measured
A long and grievous journey from Iran
To traffic in Turan. I sell and buy,
And deal in every sort of merchandise.
My soul hath good assurance of thy love,
Such was the power of hope within my heart!
If now the paladin will take me 'neath
His wing I will buy cattle and sell jewels.
Through thy just dealing none will do me hurt,
The cloud-rack of thy love rain gems upon me."
Then Rustam offered him before the lords
The cup of royal gems, and splendid Arabs
With coats too sleek to hold the wind-borne dust.
This wealth with many a blessing Rustam gave,
And fairly clinched the matter. When Piran
Beheld the jewels in the brilliant cup
He praised and welcomed Rustam, seating him
Upon the turquoise throne, and said: "Depart
Content and enter with all confidence,
For I will lodge thee near me; be at ease
About thy goods, thou hast no foeman here.
Go fetch thy wares, seek buyers on all sides,
Make my son's house thy home, and be to me
As 'twere a kinsman."
Rustam answered thus:-
"I will abide here with my caravan,
O paladin! What goods I have are thine,
And 'twill be well with me be where I may,
But in that I have jewels of all kinds,
And must not lose one, by thy conquering fortune
We will remain outside in great content."
Plrdan replied: "Go then and choose thy place,
And I will station guards for thy defence."
So Rustam chose a house, appointed it,
And filled the warehouse with his goods and packs.
News spread: "A caravan out of Iran
Hath visited the noble paladin,"
And buyers everywhere pricked up their ears
When tidings reached them of those jewel-merchants.
Those that would buy brocade or stuffs or gems
Departed toward the court-gate of Piran,
And when the sun arose the world to grace
The warehouse had become a market-place.
How Manizha came before Rustam
Manizha heard and hurried to the city;
Bare-headed, weeping bitterly, she came -
That daughter of Afrasiyab - to Rustam,
And, wiping from her lashes with her sleeve
The tears of blood, blessed, greeted him, and said:-
"Enjoy'st thou life and wealth? God grant that thou
Mayst ne'er have reason to repent thy toils.
May heaven perform thy will, the evil eye
Not harm thee, and since thou hast heart of hope
May this thy travail not result in loss.
May wisdom ever be thy monitor,
And may irari be blessed and fortunate.
What know'st thou of the warriors of the Shah,
Of Giv, Gudarz, and the Iranian host?
Have tidings of Bizhan not reached Iran?
Will not his supplications aught avail,
That such a youth - a scion of Gudarz -
May be released from irons? His feet are galled
With fetters and his hands with blacksmiths' rivets!
He hath been dragged in chains, made fast in bonds!
Poor wretch! his clothes are soaked in his own blood!
I get no rest myself for I must beg.
His lamentations fill mine eyes with tears."
Then Rustam in alarm roared out at her,
And drave her forth. "Be off!" he cried. "I know not
Khusrau or this young chief. I have no tidings
About Gudarz and Giv, and thou hast chattered
My wits away."
Manizha looked at Rustam,
Wept bitterly, and showered tears of blood
Upon her bosom in her wretchedness.
She said to him: "O chieftain full of wisdom
Such heartless words as these become thee not.
Drive me not from thee if thou wilt not talk,
For I am stricken to the heart with anguish.
Is it indeed the custom of Iran
To tell the poor no news?"
He answered thus:-
"What ailed thee, woman, then? Did ihriman
Give thee a foretaste of the Day of Doom?
Thou didst prevent my trafficking, and therefore
I rated thee; but do not take to heart
My hastiness, my thoughts were on my trade.
Besides I have no home within the land
Of Kai Khusrau, I know naught of Gudarz
And Giv, and ne'er have travelled in those marches."
He bade to give the mendicant such food
As was at hand, then questioned her at large:-
"Why is't that fortune is so dark with thee?
Why ask about the Shah's throne and Iran?
Why look upon the road that leadeth thither?"
She said to him: "Why ask about my case,
My travail, and my trouble? From the mouth
Of yonder pit have I with aching heart
Made haste to thee, O noble man! to ask
The latest news of Giv and of Gudarz,
The warriors, and thou didst shout at me
As fighters shout! Fear'st not the Judge of all?
The daughter of Afrasiyab am I -
Manizha. Never had the sun beheld
My form unveiled, but now with eyes all blood,
And heart all pain, with sallow cheeks I roam
From door to door and gather barley bread,
So hath God willed! Can fortune be more wretched?
Oh! that Almighty God would end it for me,
Because resourceless and in yon deep pit
Bizhan beholdeth neither night nor day,
Nor sun nor moon, but yoked and riveted
In heavy bonds is praying God for death.
Hence are my griefs redoubled, hence these tears.
Thou mayst, if thou art journeying to Iran,
Hear of Gudarz son of Kishwad, or see
About the court-gate Giv or gallant Rustam;
Then say: 'Bizhan is in a pit and, save
Thou comest quickly, all is over with him.
If thou wouldst look upon him tarry not,
For iron is below him, stone above."'
Thus Rustam answered her: "O fair of face!
Why rain these tears of love? Why not invite
Thy nobles' intercession with thy sire?
He may be pitiful, his blood may stir,
His liver burn; but for my fear of him
I would have furnished thee with countless things."
Then said he to the cooks: "Bring forth for her
Of every kind of victual that she needeth."
He bade them fetch a bird hot from the spit,
And, as he wrapped it in soft bread, slipped in,
As with a fairy's touch, his signet-ring,
And said: "Convey this to yon pit. A guide
Art thou to those who have no help beside."
How Bizhan heard of the Coming of Rustam
Manizha came back to the pit's mouth, running,
The food wrapped in a cloth clasped to her breast,
And gave all to Bizhan. He saw amazed,
Called to the sun-faced damsel from the pit,
And said: "Where didst thou get the food, my love
That thou hast speeded thus? How much of toil
And hardship hath befallen thee, and all
On mine account, my love and succourer!"
Manizha answered: "From a caravan.
A merchantman - a man possessed of wealth -
Caine hither from Iran in search of gain,
With merchandise of all kinds great and small -
A holy man of Grace and understanding,
Who bringeth many jewels of all sorts.
He is a man of might and open heart,
And hath put up a booth before his house;
He gave to me the cloth just as it is
'Pray for me to the Maker,' were his words.
'Go to the dungeon to the man in bonds,
And take from time to time what he may need."'
Bizhan with hope amid his fears unrolled
The good bread, in perplexity began
To eat, observed the ring, and read the name,
Then burst out laughing in his joy and wonder.
It was a turquoise ring with " Rustam "graven
Fine as a hair thereon. Bizhan beholding
The fruit upon the tree of faithfulness,
And wotting that the key to loose his sorrow
Had come, laughed out and that right royally,
So that the sound was heard outside the pit.
Manizha marvelled when she heard him laugh
From that dark dungeon fettered as he was,
And said: "The mad will laugh at their own acts!"
She paused in sheer amazement, then she said:-
O destined to high fortune! why this laughter?
Why laugh, for thou discern'st not night from day?
What is the mystery? Reveal it! Tell me!
Doth better fortune show thee countenance?"
Bizhan replied to her: "I am in hope
That fortune will undo this grievous coil.
Now if with me thou wilt not break thy faith,
And make a covenant with me by oath,
I will reveal the matter every whit,
For 'though for fear of harm one go about
To sew up women's lips the words will out."'
Manizha hearing this wept bitterly:-
"What hath malicious fortune brought," she said,
"Upon me? Woe is me! My day is done,
My heart is stricken, and mine eyes o'erflow!
I gave Bizhan my heart and home and wealth,
And now he treateth me with such distrust!
My father and my kin abandoned me,
I run about unveiled before the folk,
I gave withal my treasures up to spoil,
My crown, dinars, and jewels, every whit.
I did hope in Bizhan but hope no more.
My world is darkened and mine eyes are dim,
For he concealeth secrets thus from me,
But Thou dost know me better, O my God!"
Bizhan replied: "'Tis true. Thou hast lost all
For me, and I," he added, "needs must tell thee,
O my beloved mate and prudent comrade!
'Tis fit thou counsel me in all, my brain
Is void through suffering, so know that he -
The jewel-merchant, he whose cook provided
The dainty meal for thee - came to Turan
On mine account, for else he had no need
Of gems. The Maker pitied me, and I
Perchance shall see earth's broad expanse. This man
Will free me from these longsome griefs and thee
From plodding to and fro in heat and anguish.
Do thou draw near and say to him in private:-
'O thou the paladin of this world's Kaians,
Affectionate of heart and good at need
Inform me if thou art the lord of Rakhsh? ' "
Manizha left the forest like the wind,
And gave the message. Rustam hearing her,
Who from afar had come to him for help,
Knew that Bizhan had made the secret known
To that slim Cypress with the rosy cheeks.
He pitied her and said: "My Fair! may God
Ne'er take away from thee Bizhan's devotion.
What toils must thou have borne these many days
That thou hast grown so woe-begone with care!
Tell him: 'Yea! God who heareth cries for help
Hath given unto thee the lord of Rakhsh,
Who from Zabul Iranward, from Iran
Turanward, trod the weary way for thee.'
When thou hast said this keep the matter secret,
And give good ear at night to any sound.
Collect dry fuel from the wood to-day
And, when night cometh, set the pile ablaze
To guide me to the opening of the pit."
Manizha, joyful at the words and freed
From trouble, hastened to the mountain-top,
Where in the pit her lover was confined,
And said: "I have repeated all thy message
To that illustrious, glorious one whose steps
Are blessed. He answered: 'I indeed am he,
Whose name and sign are asked for by Bizhan.
O thou who goest with a heart so seared,
And washest both thy cheeks with tears of blood!
Say: "We are dappled like a pard with galls
On hands and girdlestead on thine account,
And now that we have certain news of thee
Thou shalt behold our deadly falchion's point,
Now will I rend the earth beneath my grasp,
And fling that seated boulder to the sky."'
He said to me: 'As soon as heaven is dark,
And night freed from the clutches of the sun,
Set thou a fire, as 'twere a mount, ablaze,
And make it bright as day about the pit,
To guide me on the road."'
Although a prisoner still, and, looking up
To Him, the Almighty Maker of the world,
Said: "O compassionate and holy Judge!
Thou art my Helper out of every ill.
Pierce with Thy shaft my foeman's heart and soul.
Now do me right on him that did the wrong.:
Thou knowest all my sorrows, pain, and grief.
Perchance I may regain my native land,
And leave behind me this malignant star!
And thou, my toil-worn mate, thou who hast made
Life, body, heart, and goods a sacrifice
For me, and in thy toil on my behalf
Hast counted every trouble as a joy,
Hast given up the crown and throne and girdle,
Thy parents and thy kindred and thy treasure!
If I do but escape this Dragon's clutch,
While I am still within the time of youth,
I, like the devotees who worship God,
Will run toward thee with mine arms outstretched,
And, like a servitor before a king,
Gird up my loins to make thee fair return.
Bear yet this toil, thy guerdon shall be great
In goods and treasure."
Bird-like to the boughs
She flew for wood, with arms full watched the sun,
And thought: "Oh! when will night rise o'er the
When Sol had vanished and dark night had led
Its army o'er the mountain-tops what time
The world, its features hidden, taketh rest,
Manizha went and set a-blaze a fire,
That scorched the eye of pitch-black night, and listened
To hear the clanging of the kettledrum
Which told that Rakhsh the brazen-hoofed had come.
How Rustam took Bizhan out of the Pit
Then Rustam buckled on his Ruman mail,
With prayers for succour and support to Him,
Who is the Lord of sun and moon, and said:-
"Oh! may the eyes of evil men be blinded,
And may I have the strength to save Bizhan."
At his command the warriors girt themselves
With girdles of revenge, put on their steeds
The poplar saddles, and prepared for combat;
Then matchless Rustam led them toward the fire.
When he approached the boulder of Akwan,
Approached that pit of sorrow, smart, and anguish,
"Dismount," he told the seven warriors,
"And strive to clear the pit's mouth of the stone."
They strove in vain and sorely galled their hands.
Now while their sweat ran, for the stone stood still,
The lion-chief alighted, hitched his skirt
Of mail beneath his belt and, asking strength
From God its source, grasped, raised, and hurled the boulder
Back to the forest of the land of Chin
Earth shook thereat. Then asked he of Bizhan
With lamentable cries: "How camest thou
To such a luckless plight? Thy portion here
Was wont to be all sweetness; why hast thou .
Received then from the world a cup of poison?"
Bizhan replied: "How fared the paladin
Upon the way? Thy greeting reached mine ear,
And this world's poison was made sweet to me.
Such as thou seest is my dwelling-place,
Mine earth is iron and my heaven stone,
While through exceeding anguish, hardship, sorrow,
And toil I have renounced this Wayside Inn."
Said Rustam: "God had pity on thy life,
And now, O man wise and magnanimous!
There is one thing that I desire of thee
Grant pardon to Gurgin son of MilAd
For my sake, putting from thee hate and malice."
He answered: "O my friend! how shouldst thou know
What conflicts have been mine? And know'st thou not,
O noble lion-man! that which Gurgin
Hath done to me? If I behold him ever
My vengeance shall bring Doomsday down on him."
" If thou show'st malice and wilt not attend
To what I say," said Rustam, "I will leave thee
Bound in the pit, and mount, and hie me home."
When Rustam's answer reached the captive's ear
A wail went up from that strait prison-house
As he replied: "The wretchedest am I
Of warriors, of my kindred, and my people
I must put up to-day too with the wrong -
The great wrong - which Gurgin hath done to me!
Yea I will do so and will be content;
My heart shall rest from taking vengeance on him."
Then Rustam let his lasso down the pit,
And drew up thus Bizhan with fettered feet,
With naked body, with long hair and nails,
And wasted by affliction, pain, and want,
His form blood-boltered, and his visage wan
By reason of those bonds and rusty fetters.
Now Rustam cried aloud when he beheld
Bizhan with body hidden by the iron,
And putting forth his hands he snapped the chains .
And bonds, and freed Bizhan from ring and fetter.
They went toward Rustam's house; on one side of him
Bizhan rode, on the other side Manizha.
The youthful pair sat in their sorry plight,
And told their story to the paladin.
Then Rustam bade them bathe the young man's head,
And clothed him in new robes. - When afterward
Gurgin approached and, prone upon the dust,
Sought to excuse his evil deeds, and writhed
For words so ill-advised, Bizhan condoned
The matter. Then they loaded up the camels,
And put the saddles on the steeds, while Rustam
Assumed his favourite mail and mounted Rakhsh.
The warriors drew forth their scimitars
And massive maces, sent the baggage on,
And dight themselves for strife. Ashkash the shrewd -
The army's Ear - went with the baggage-train.
Then matchless Rustam bade Bizhan: "Away,
And journey with Manizha and Ashkash,
For in my vengeance on Afrasiyab
To-night I shall not eat, repose, or sleep.
Now will I do such exploits at his gate
That on the morn his troops shall laugh at him.
Thou hast endured enough with bonds and pit,
And shouldst not share the fight."
Bizhan said: "Nay,
I lead since ye for me renew the fray."
How Rustam attacked the Palace of Afrasiyab by Night
The baggage thus consigned to shrewd Ashkash,
The seven warriors set forth with Rustam.
With bridles on their saddle-bows they drew
The sword of vengeance. While all slept within
He reached the court-gate of Afrasiyab,
And, breaking with his hands both bolt and bar,
Fierce as a lion flung himself inside.
In every quarter sounds of tumult rose,
Swords glittered, arrows rained, the chieftains' heads
Were all struck off; their hands were filled with dust,
Their mouths with blood, while Rustam in the porch
Cried: "May sweet sleep distaste thee! For thy bed
Thou hadst a throne, Bizhan had but a pit.
Didst see an iron wall between us? I
Am Rustam of Zabul, the son of Zal,
And 'tis no season this for sleep and couching.
I have burst through thy prison, door and bar,
Where that huge boulder stood on guard for thee.
Bizhan is free both head and foot from bonds
Let no one thus maltreat a son-in-law!
Of fighting and revenge for Siyawush,
And dust from Rakhsh's feet upon the plain,
Thou hadst enough yet fain wouldst slay Bizhan!
I know thy wicked heart and drowsy head."
Bizhan too cried: "Dense and malignant Turkman
Bethink thee of yon throne, thy glorious seat,
And me withal that stood in chains before thee.
I challenged combat leopard-like, but thou
Didst bind my hands together firm as rock.
Now see me free upon the plain - a man
Whom savage lions will not seek to fight."
Afrasiyab exclaimed: "Hath sleep enfettered
My warriors? Cut off these men's retreat,
All ye who seek a signet or a crown! "
On all sides was the sound of hurried steps,
The bloodshed made a river at the gate,
And when a soldier of Turan appeared
His place was void forthwith, The Iranians
Came seeking vengeance, but Afrasiyab
Escaped by flight. The lord of Rakhsh rode in
Upon the carpets of brocade. The warriors
Took the fair slaves who caught them by the hand
Took too the noble steeds with poplar saddles,
Whose flaps of pard-skin were beset with gems,
Then left the royal palace, packed the baggage,
And stayed not in TurAn but hastened on
To save the booty and avoid mishap.
So spent was Rustam that he scarce endured
His helmet, while the horses and their riders
Had no pulse left. He sent to bid the host:-
"Unsheathe your vengeful scimitars; no doubt
The earth will be bedirnmed by horses' hoofs,
Because Afrasiyab will gather him
A mighty host whose spears will veil the sun."
They marched along, those warlike cavaliers,
All ready for the fray, with sharpened lances
And reins well gathered in. A scout ascended
The look-out and from far surveyed the route
Whereby the Turkrnan cavaliers would come.
Manizha then was sitting in her tent;
Before her were her handmaids and her guide,
And matchless Rustam spoke to her this saw:-
"If musk be poured away the scent will stay."
Such is the fashion of this Wayside Inn,
Whiles sweets and smiles, whiles travail and chagrin
How Afrasiyab went to fight with Rustam
When Sol rose o'er the hills the Turkman horsemen ,
Prepared to march. The city was astir,
And, thou hadst said, a deafening clamour rose.
Before the court-gate of Afrasiyab
The troops formed rank, the great men loosed their loins,
And bowed their heads in dust before the king,
Exclaiming: "Things with us have passed all bounds!
What must be done? This business of Bizhan
Will be a lasting stigma, the Iranians
Will call us men no more, but women armed."
Thereat Afrasiyab raged like a pard,
And bade them fight for shame. He bade Piran
To bind the tymbals on, and thus he said:-
"This This flouting from Iran is over-much! "
The brass blared at the court-gate of the king,
The troops were all in motion in Turan,
The warriors ranked themselves before the palace,
Arose the din of trump and Indian bell,
And to the frontier from Turan a host
Marched that left earth no surface save the sea.
Now when the Iranian watchman from the look-out
Saw earth heave ocean-like he came to Rustam,
And said: "Make ready, for the world is black
With dust of horsemen!"
Rustam made reply:-
"We fear not, we will strew it on their hands."
He left Manizha with the baggage, donned
His battle-mail, went to a height, observed
The foe, and roared out like a savage lion.
That gallant horseman spake a proverb, saying:-
"What doth a fox weigh in a lion's claws?"
Then to his valiant warriors he shouted:-
The The wage of war confronteth us to-day.
Where are the swords and iron-piercing darts?
Where are the ox-head maces and the spears?
Now is the season to display your prowess,
And rank yourselves upon the battlefield."
Anon arose a sound of clarions,
While matchless Rustam mounted Rakhsh and led
His army plainward from the heights what time
The foe was seen approaching. Both the hosts
Deployed upon that broad expanse and formed
Two camps empanoplied. Then Rustam chose
His battle-ground, whereat the world grew black
With horse-raised dust. Ashkash and Gustaham
Were on the right with many cavaliers,
Upon the left were Zanga and Ruhham.
All rose superior to that conflict. Rustam,
The warriors' warden and the host's support,
Was at the centre with Bizhan the son
Of Giv. Behind the host was Mount Bistun,
In front a citadel of scimitars.
Afrasiyab, when he beheld that host,
With Rustam who was seen commanding it,
In dudgeon donned his armour for the battle,
And bade his troops to halt. He drew them up
In due array against the foe. The earth
Was hidden and the air like indigo.
The left wing he intrusted to Piran,
While brave Human departed to the right;
The centre he consigned to Garsiwaz
And Shida; he himself o'erlooked the whole.
The matchless Rustam went about the host,
And seemed a sable mountain in his mail.
He cried: "Thou luckless Turkman, thou disgrace
To province, crown, and throne! thou hast no heart
To fight like cavaliers, yet shamest not
Before thy warriors, but assailest us,
And coverest the earth with men and steeds,
Though when the armies grapple I shall see
Thy back toward the fight. Hast thou not heard
Those sayings of old times which Zal repeateth:-
'No lion is affrighted at a plain
Of onagers; stars ape the sun in vain;
The lusty mountain-sheep if it shall hear
A wolf's claws named will shiver, heart and ear;
No fox is daring, try he e'er so much,
No onagers the lion's claws will touch'?
Be never king as light of wit as thou,
Or he will give his kingdom to the winds.
Upon this plain thou shalt not get away
Alive and scathless from my hands to-day."
How Afrasiyab was defeated by the Iranians
As soon as that grim Turkman heard the words
He shook, drew one quick breath, then cried in fury:-
"O warriors of TUrAn! are we engaged
In banquet, feast, or battle on this field?
Ye must endure hard toil in this emprise,
For I will give you treasure in return."
They shouted when they heard the monarch's words,
The sun so gloomed with dust that thou badst said:-
"Earth is submerged!" Upon the elephants
The drums were beaten, horns and trumpets blown.
The warriors with their breastplates formed a wall
Of iron on the battlefield. The plain
Shook and the hills re-echoed with the shouts
Raised by the cavaliers upon both sides;
The trenchant swords flashed mid the clouds of dust;
Thou wouldst have said: "The Day of Doom hath come! "
Steel sparths descended like a storm of hail
Upon the coats of mail, the helms, and casques,
While at the gleam of Rustam's dragon-flag
The bright sun's face grew azure-dim; he veiled
The air with arrows, "Smearing," thou hadst said,
"The sun with pitch." Where'er he urged on Rakhsh
He trampled on the heads of cavaliers.
Grasped in his hand he bore an ox-head mace,
And seemed a dromedary broken loose.
He came forth from the centre like a wolf,
And scattered all the foemen's vast array.
Then horsemen's heads were shed as leaves are shed
Before the blast, and fortune left the Turkmans.
Swift as the wind Ashkash upon the right
Sought to engage the swordsman Garsiwaz,
Gurgin, Farhad, and brave Ruhham o'erthrew
The left wing of the monarch of Turan,
While in the centre dexterous Bizhan
Esteemed the battlefield a banquet-hall.
Blood flowed in streams, the Turkman monarch's standard
Sank, he beheld his fortunes all averse,
The warriors of Turan all slain, so flung
His Indian scimitar away and, mounting
A fresh steed, fled attended by his nobles
Toward Turan, balked of revenge, and followed
By lion-taking Rustam, who rained mace
And arrow on the enemy, and blasted
For two leagues, thou hadst said, like dragon grim
The warriors. A thousand cavaliers
Were captured. Rustam then returned to camp
In order that he might divide the spoil,
And, when the elephants were loaded, he
Marched back to Kai Khusrau victoriously.
How Rustam returned to Kai Khusrau
When tidings reached the gallant Shah: "The Lion
Hath come back from the Wood victorious;
Bizhan is free from prison and from bonds,
And from the clutches of his dragon-foe;
The army of Turan is overthrown,
The foe's whole purpose foiled," he went rejoicing,
And fell upon his face, before the Maker.
Whenas Gudarz and Giv received the news
They basted to the conquering Shah. A shout
Went up, troops mustered, and the tymbal-players
Set forth, the trumpet sounded at the gate,
The soldiers shouted. All the riding-ground
Was black with chargers' hoofs, the kettledrums
Roared through the city, horsemen proudly pranced.
And mighty elephants tusked up the earth.
Before the army went the drums and horns,
Gudarz and Tus came after with the standard.
Upon one side were pards and lions chained,
Upon the other were brave cavaliers.
In such wise the victorious Shah commanded
The troops to go to meet their paladin.
They set forth on their journey troop on troop;
The earth was mountain-like with warriors.
When they distinguished Rustam from the rest,
Gudarz and Giv alighted, as did all
The other mighty men and Rustam also,
To whom both young and old did reverence.
Gudarz and Giv saluted him and said:-
"O thou illustrious and valiant chief!
May God be thy protection now and ever,
May sun and moon both circle to thy wish.
Of thee the lion learneth to be bold,
Of thee may heaven weary nevermore!
Thou hast made all our kindred slaves to thee
Through whom we have recovered our lost son.
Thou hast delivered us from pain and grief,
And made us all thy servants in Iran."
The chiefs remounted and approached in pomp
The palace of the monarch of the world,
And, when that chief - the refuge of the host -
Drew near the city of the king of kings,
The Shah himself, - the warden of the troops
And crown of chiefs - went out to welbome him.
When Rustam by the pomp knew that the Shah
Had come, he lighted and did homage, grieved
That Kai Khusrau had come so far. The world-lord
Took Rustam in a close embrace and said:-
"Thou Stay of chieftains and thou Soul of honour
As glorious as the sun are all thy Bests,
And thine achievements broadcast through the world."
Then quickly taking by the hand Bizhan,
Who was abashed before his Shah and sire,
The matchless Rustam brought, presented him,
Rose to his feet, and made the bent back straight.
Thereafter he delivered to the Shah
A thousand captives from TLlran in bonds.
The monarch blessed him lovingly and said:-
"May heaven ever favour thy desires,
May thy hand flourish, may thy heart rejoice,
And thy pure body 'scape all hurt from foes.
How blest is Zal, who will bequeath the world
A Memory like thee! Blest is Zabul,
Whose milk hath nourished such undaunted heroes.
Blest is Iran, blest are its warriors,
Possessing such a paladin as thee;
Yet is my fortune higher than them all
In having such a servant of my throne.
Thou art Iran's crown and the chieftains' stay,
And lacking thee I care not for the world."
Then said the monarch of the world to Giv:-
"The Almighty's purposes toward thee are good,
Who hath restored to thee by Rustam's hand
Thy son, thy well beloved, and in triumph."
Giv blessed the Shah and said: "Live and rejoice
As long as time shall be, may thy head flourish
Through Rustam ever, and may he possess
The heart of glorious Zal with happiness."
How Kai Khusrau made a Feast
Khusrau commanded: "Let the board be spread,
And call the chiefest nobles to the feast."
Now when the guests had risen from the table
They had the place set for a drinking-bout.
Fair slaves illumed the hall, with cup-bearers
And earringed harpers harping on their harps;
Their heads were crowned with massive coronets
Of gold with patterns traced thereon in gems.
All cheeks were ruddy as brocade of Rum,
And fairy fingers made the harps resound.
There were gold chargers full of purest musk,
And in the front a laver of rose-water.
The Shah, resplendent with imperial Grace,
Shone like a full moon o'er a straight-stemmed cypress.
The paladins, the lieges of Khusrau,
All left the palace, well bemused.
Came Rustam to the court, with open heart
And girded loins, for leave to hie him home.
He took much prudent counsel with the Shah,
Who gave commandment, and a change of raiment
Bejewelled, with a tunic and a crown,
A vase of royal gems, a hundred steeds
All saddled and a hundred laden camels,
A hundred fair-faced handmaids ready girt,
A hundred slaves adorned with torques of gold,
Were brought before the master of the world,
Who gave them all to Rustam of Zabul.
That hero kissed the ground and then stood upright.
He set upon his head that royal crown,
He bound that royal girdle round his loins,
Did homage to the Shah, then left the presence,
And made his preparations for Sistan.
Next to the nobles that had been with Rustam
In toil and fight, in happiness and sorrow,
The Shah gave gifts, to each in his degree
They left the palace of Khusrau, rejoicing.
The Shah, when he had finished with the chiefs,
And sat at leisure on his throne, commanded
Bizhan to come, and spake of all his troubles,
While for his part Bizhan informed the Shah
At large of that strait dungeon, of his conflicts,
And what had happened in those evil days.
The Shah forgave him and much pitied too
The pains and sorrows of the luckless damsel,
Called for a hundred garments of brocade
Of Rum, gem-patterned on a ground of gold,
A crown, ten purses also of dinars,
Girl-slaves and carpets and all kinds of wealth,
And said thus to Bizhan: "These precious things
Bear to the lady of the mournful soul,
Use her not hardly, speak no chilling word,
Consider all that thou hast brought on her.
Go through this world rejoicing by her side,
And take thou heed of time's vicissitudes,
How it will raise one to the heights of heaven,
And bear him all unharmed by care and anguish,
Then how that heaven will fling him to the dust,
Where all is fear, anxiety, and dread!
The man whom fortune cherished on its breast
It casteth wantonly to depths of need,
And raiseth thence another to the throne,
And setteth on his head a jewelled crown!
The world is not ashamed of such ill doings,
For it respecteth no one; and, although
For ever dominating good and bad,
Ensueth not the peace of any one."
Such is the manner of our earthly lot!
It leadeth us alike to good and ill,
And noble hearts may live untroubled still
So long as poverty oppresseth not.
The story of Gudarz I next unfold
And of Pirddn; that of Bizhan is told.
As I have heard it in the tales of old.
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